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Old 09-08-2018, 12:40 AM
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Default Help: Pietta 1873 .357 SAA Trigger

I just picked up a Pietta 1873 SAA clone in .357. It's one of the older ones without the transfer bar (so it's really a 5-shooter).

It was the basic model with dull matte black finish, brass trigger guard and backstrap and very nice walnut grip. I have not had it to the range, but it works just fine with snap caps (see 'em in the picture below).

My only concern is the trigger. It's about 3/4 of a pound. Touch it gently and it goes BANG!

I did a bit of interwebs search and most everyone has nice things to say about the trigger. This one has zero takeup….just press - boom.

So I'm wondering two things: is a very light trigger normal for SAA-type revolvers and has anyone had any experience with this particular one.

We just came back from a cross-country drive, but sped through the east coast and Midwest to get to SD, Black Hills, Cody, Yellowstone and Montana. Bought me a nice cowboy belt buckle, cowpoke's hat and a western shirt. Figured I need a cowboy gun to complete the outfit. (Plus I've always wanted one and a model in .357 means I can shoot .38 sp and some nice light handloads. )

Any help is certainly appreciated.
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:52 AM
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I would be concerned about a SA revolver with so touchy a trigger pull. Did you purchase this revolver new? Has someone "tuned" the action? Did Bubba have it on his kitchen table?
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Old 09-08-2018, 01:05 AM
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Got it used...and I have no idea about Bubba. Looks like I may need to figure out how to take it down and/or bring it to my smith for an inspection before I take it to the range.

(And the reason I'm asking about this is I am concerned about a SA pistol all I have to do is think about shooting. Really drives home the concept of trigger control. As I'm not considering doing any action shooting and will confine this to the range and plinking, I don't have to worry about carrying it. But I still am concerned with a 1/2 pound trigger. It was clear when I bought it that it had a light trigger...but I did't realize how light until I put the snap caps in and began practicing.)
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:45 AM
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3/4# trigger pull is certainly way too light.
Can you 'push off' the hammer from full cock?,,not touching the trigger and just pushing on the spur of the cocked hammer, can you make it fall?

Does this gun have the 1/4 and 1/2 cock notches in the hammer and are they present. Do they hold securely? (Can you pull the trigger while the hammer is in either of those and still have the hammer fall?)

Any of the above is a quick check for hammer/sear engagement problems w/o doing any disassembly.

Even if someone replaced the trigger/locking bolt spring and also the lightened the hammer spring to 'slick up the action', the sear engagement (trigger tip to hammer notch) should be secure, squarely cut and at the correct angle so as not to let the hammer cam the trigger away from the sear engagement all by itself.
That is the cause and effect of very light trigger pulls like this most often, and the trigger spring ends up being what holds the engagement together instead of mearly setting the engagement.

I'd take it apart and check the insides carefully.
See what if anything has been done in there.
Maybe nothing and the sear edge/notch is just worn and rounded out.
It can happen even on a reletively new gun if the part isn't heat treated correctly.
Most of these hammers on the clones are case hardened and sometimes not too deeply.
I've seen hammer notches that have been 'staked' on both sides also on some guns,,that limits the depth the sear/trigger tip can fall into the notch. The idea is to have the sear get a razor thin grasp on the hammer.
Light pull?,,you bet, but very dangerous and usually wears quickly.
It was once quite popular to do on 1911 'accuracy jobs'. But the staking was minimal,,then it got carried away. So did some of the guns when they went FA.

Colt SAA and their clones are not difficult to disassemble and reassemble at all.
A couple nicely shaped screwdrivers to take the small guard and grip back strap screws out w/o damaging them or the surrounding metal is a must.
And the others to remove the side screws which hold the hammer, bolt and trigger in the frame.
Those three parts come out freely after the 2 springs mentioned above are removed which are simple flat springs held in place with flat headed machine screws inside the assembly.
The hand w/spring will slide out with the hammer.

Plenty of disassembly info on the Net.
Plus info on what the condition and shape of those engagement surfaces should look like, ect.

If you are not comfortable working on the gun, then take it to someone you trust that is.

IMO the pistol with it's 3/4# trigger pull is just a terrible accident waiting to happen.
It's just way too light and un-necessary as well for any normal range and field use.
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Old 09-08-2018, 08:23 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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How do you know this is a 3/4 pound trigger. I think you said you have no experience with this style of firearm. They all have light/lighter triggers. Maybe you are used to the modern junk trigger and are now the owner of a real trigger the way Sam Colt meant it to be. I have sniper rifles with factory light triggers, 19 oz and 12 oz. If I let someone use them the just pull through them and claim they are "Hair Triggers and unsafe", when in fact they just need getting used to it. I have a trigger scale, that goes all the way up to 8 pounds. There are a lot of junk triggers out there, don't mess up what is possible the best trigger you will ever own.

I currently have 9 single action revolvers of Colt, Ruger, and S&W designs. When cocked, they all have very light triggers! It they stay cocked on 1/4 and 1/2 cock, and are safe when at full cock, then you might want to put in a slightly heavier main spring (keeping the original spring for later use. (Wolfe springs , makes whatever you need. Midway sell many of these)

Small hint, when working on the internals of almost any Single Action revolver, use a small vice, pad the jaws with wood or leather, grip the top strap in the vice and work on the revolver upside down. It leaves both hands free. Work in a well lit room and still have a good flashlight handy.

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Old 09-08-2018, 08:53 AM
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The only method I would use to disassembly a Single Action Revolver is to grow two extra hands
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:19 AM
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:47 AM
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The Pietta you have is a closer clone to an original SAA than the Ubertis are. The one you have was marketed by Cabelas. The EMF company sold / sells them in basic like yours and in more refined versions as the "Great Western II" As noted no transfer bar. Main difference mechanically between yours and on 1st generation model Colt SAA is a coil hand spring rather than a leaf (an improvement actually) spring. Size, weight, balance, and the rest of the lockwork is the same. Should have removable cylinder bushing as well (the part the base pin goes through in the cylinder).

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Old 09-08-2018, 03:00 PM
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Your pieta resembles my uberti Cattleman Hombre with low-lustre finish, brass grip frame and wooden grips. Mine is 4-3/4" but in .45 Colt. I've installed a reduced weight spring kit and the action is pretty nice. Mine has the safety to allow carrying 6 rounds safely if used. When I get to the shop, I'll gauge the trigger pull (if don't forget) but I'm sure it's above 3/4 lb. Mine prints fist size grips at 10yds. while standing off-hand and unsupported using various loads (both bullet type and weight) from cowboy thru hunting/SD loads. Definingly worth the $250 I paid for it new.
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Old 09-08-2018, 03:40 PM
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The trigger pull might not be 3/4#,,or 1.0#,,,but if it's so light that the shooter feels it's just a breath away from letting go,,then it's too light for that shooter (IMO).
The SAA requires a lot of trigger/hammer manipulation through the loading stage and then placing the hammer down on an empty chamber.
Also during unloading the gun. That operation can take place while there are still a loaded round or 2 still in the cylinder.
It's no place for a trigger that the shooter feels releases that easily.

It's the simplest of trigger mechanisms,,the trigger/sear tip engaging directly in the sear notch of the hammer.
No levers and counter levers built into a special Timney type trigger mechanism to be able to give you the ultimate, but still safe, trigger pull.
No mechanical advantage of any sorts other than geometry of 2 parts, hammer and trigger.
When the pull gets down to feeling that light, something is usually off.
The engagement angle is 'positive', the engagement edges are rounded, the engagement depth is shear minimum or any combination of the three.

It's a firearm.
If you don't feel comfortable with it,,it isn't safe in your hands.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:22 AM
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Many thanks to all who commented.
A couple of answers:
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:32 AM
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A couple of answers:
I got a spring loaded trigger gauge. It's good enough for me and the gum is firing under 1 lb.

Can you 'push off' the hammer from full cock?,,not touching the trigger and just pushing on the spur of the cocked hammer, can you make it fall?


No...rock solid at full cock.

Does this gun have the 1/4 and 1/2 cock notches in the hammer and are they present. Do they hold securely? (Can you pull the trigger while the hammer is in either of those and still have the hammer fall?)

Yes has both 1/4 and 1/2 cock and is rock solid at both positions.

('Course as someone used to S&W revolvers I get confused as the cylinder revolves "backwards" in a clockwise manner. I never could figure why Colt couldn't get cylinder rotation correct.)

And just for the record I've got a couple of guns with fairly nice triggers....my Browning HPs are well tuned; my Smith revolvers are pretty slick; my 1911 is sweet; the two Walther Q's are as good as striker-fired triggers can get. 2152hq is right. I just ain't comfortable with a so-called hair trigger...and I won't be shooting it until it's right for me. Say a gritty 12 or 14 lbs SA? Oops...must have been thinking of a glock.
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