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Old 01-01-2017, 02:26 PM
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Default Push-off & Safety

Somewhere on one of the many forums, posts, comments I read concerning S&W revolvers, I remembered reading about push-off, or the breaking of the cocked hammer by thumb pressure alone. I never really gave it much thought but last night, I thought I would check my 66 out. To my dismay, it may have taken seven to ten pounds of pressure to break the hammer. (Of course, the gun was unloaded)
I'm no gunsmith but I do know how to use Google & everything I read, reminded me that I'm no gunsmith. The concensus was, no amount of push-off is acceptable & could be caused by a plethora of reasons (ok...a few) that I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to amend.
I guess the reason I'm posting this is two-fold. One, is this gun still safe to shoot in both DA & SA, or just DAO, or two, is it a paperweight until I get a gunsmith to address the issue?
I know opinions are well intended & every one is appreciated, I have my own...but I've seen opinions varying from don't worry about it, to worry about it...a lot, so I'm asking for more of an experienced imput about the seriousness of this. I'm not looking for free fix instructions...I believe people need to be paid for their knowledge...but a professional voice would not be ignored. Thank you all in advance & I hope this didn't come across as smart-assed.

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Old 01-01-2017, 03:40 PM
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What you describe is not normal and could lead to problems, either for you or the next owner. Best to find a gunsmith and/or replacement action parts and have it fixed.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:34 PM
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Depending on vintage S&W might fix it for free. Including shipping both ways.

Call them.

They don't like their guns being in a unsafe condition and will return it to factory spec for little cost, even if it is not under warrantee.
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:09 PM
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It's a "72 year model, in excellent condition otherwise but just guessing, it's probably way out of warranty. That would be a blessing if that could happen.

From the little I've been able to find on the internet (nobody wants to be responsible...I get it), it doesn't appear too difficult to fix but precision is the key...with tools I don't own, so I'm figuring on finding a good gunsmith &...ahem...bite the bullet. Could shoot in DAO but not taking any chances.

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Old 01-01-2017, 08:09 PM
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Push-off is not a good thing, but you don't want to actually attempt to force it to push off either. The engagement surfaces are tiny, and forcing it can cause the edges to round off and create a problem where none existed before.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:38 PM
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The condition is caused by damage or wear to either the SA bevel on the trigger, or the SA cocking notch on the hammer, or both. Modification of the mainspring or the rebound spring (or both) can also contribute, as well as dirt and debris.

If the hammer notch is in-tact and has not been tampered with, you may be able to restore function by sharpening the trigger bevel back to the factory prescribed angle. This is a job for someone that has the proper stone, and knows the correct procedure. If the hammer is damaged, it will have to be replaced. You can't restore a damaged hammer notch.

If the gun came to you used, I would also suspect that the OEM rebound slide spring has been either cut or replaced with a lower poundage, aftermarket one. Replacing the altered rebound slide spring with a new, OEM spring may restore function if the trigger and hammer surfaces are undamaged.

If you cannot find a trusted, trained gunsmith in your area, I would agreee that sending it back to S&W is probably the best way to have the issue resolved.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by johngalt View Post
Push-off is not a good thing, but you don't want to actually attempt to force it to push off either. The engagement surfaces are tiny, and forcing it can cause the edges to round off and create a problem where none existed before.
That's how it's checked for proper function. You shouldn't be able to push the hammer off . . .
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:07 PM
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This was not uncommon with the early stainless revolvers, I had a model 64 that developed that problem.

Send it home, they will replace the hammer (and possibly the trigger) and return it to you in no time.

Its been a long time and under different warranty conditions, but I think they did it for free back then.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
That's how it's checked for proper function. You shouldn't be able to push the hammer off . . .
Sure, by applying a few pounds of pressure. But, you can "force it" to push off by applying excessive pressure which will create a problem where one did not originally exist.

Jim

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Old 01-01-2017, 11:19 PM
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Sure, by applying a few pounds of pressure. But, you can "force it" to push off by applying excessive pressure but will create a problem where one did not originally exist.

Jim
That's not how it works . . .
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:23 PM
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That's not how it works . . .
I don't understand. Please explain.

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Old 01-02-2017, 01:36 AM
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FWIW, I have never tried this so-called safety test on any revolver. Never an issue with any of mine either, but I do know that the sear surface isn't very large, and under the right (wrong) conditions, the sear engagement may be damaged by performing the push off test. I don't believe this"test" to be necessary.

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Old 01-02-2017, 01:48 AM
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I had a Model 67 with push off and my gunsmith fixed without replacing any parts. He had a Jig that he put the part in and then he ground the part and that ended the push off. I'm not a gunsmith so he must have known what he was doing because the problem was fixed.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:17 AM
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I wouldn't consider the 7 to 10 pounds of force that the OP estimated that he applied to the hammer excessive. As fyiimo stated above, there is a jig that insures the proper angle is cut on sear engagement surfaces. Most gunsmiths should have this tool which should solve the dilemma for the OP.

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Old 01-02-2017, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
It's a "72 year model, in excellent condition otherwise
I had an early Model 66, with the same problem. Contacted Smith and Wesson they did not want to fix it. Person I spoke with stated it was not a safety issue, as the hammer block would prevent the revolver from firing if the hammer was knocked off from the single action position.

After more than a little "back-and-forth, they did send me the replacement part. Sadly I don't remember what the part was.
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:40 AM
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I had an early Model 66, with the same problem. Contacted Smith and Wesson they did not want to fix it. Person I spoke with stated it was not a safety issue, as the hammer block would prevent the revolver from firing if the hammer was knocked off from the single action position.

After more than a little "back-and-forth, they did send me the replacement part. Sadly I don't remember what the part was.
That's strange. If it's not a safety issue, why would gunsmiths have a jig to "fix" a non-issue?
The only thing he could have sent would be a new sear or trigger assembly, which is what the gunsmith would "true up" or replace if too much material had been worn off.
After checking it again, it didn't release with the lesser pressure I've seen demonstrated in any videos showing push-off. I may have exerted more pressure than needed. Anyway, I'll just shoot DA untill I can get it checked out. NO GRINDING HAMMER OFF FOR ME! It's too purty.

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Old 01-02-2017, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
What you describe is not normal and could lead to problems, either for you or the next owner. Best to find a gunsmith and/or replacement action parts and have it fixed.
The only problem I could foresee for me, would be a ND if I carried it around cocked, which I would never do. The only time I would have it in SA would be in a precision drill at the range...&it would be pointed downrange at that time. DA is how I would shoot in a defensive situation as I have a fairly strong grip & trigger pull so not a problem.
Also, I won't be selling this gun as it was a gift from my son so, no worries there.
I do appreciate your imput though, as with everyones. This is a great forum!

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Old 01-02-2017, 10:07 AM
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I don't understand. Please explain.

Jim
The function test is to assume a normal one hand grip, put your thumb on the hammer spur, and give it a shove. If the hammer falls forward, the innards need reworking or replacing. If it's properly fitted, your thumb can't overcome the mechanics. There is no threshold for "too much force," unless of course you smack it with a babbitt . . .
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:19 AM
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A trigger that pushes off can be like a chipped tooth that you can't stop exploring with your tongue.

The more often you push it off, the easier it gets.

Push it off enough times and you can break the hammer block.

I tried to buy a 60 hammer from S&W and they didn't have any for sale. The tech kept me on the phone while he rummaged around on his bench, scavenged one from a 60 corpse and sent it to me for free.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:43 AM
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I guess my question for the OP would be....were there any "symptoms" exibited by the gun that would indicate there was a problem with the single action prior to your test for push off?

The S&W armorer's manual describes the pressure used to test the hammer trigger interface as "nominal". (whatever that is) Having some experience with testing for, and repair of this condition, I would estimate this pressure as 4 - 6 pounds. Excessive pressure should not be used as this can damage the very sharp bevel on the trigger.

Revolvers suffering from push off will usually also exhibit specific symptoms of the problem, including a "mushy" (opposite of crisp) and very light SA trigger let off.....below 2.5 lbs.

Symptoms can manifest themselves after years and years of heavy use, build up of dirt, debris or old/improper lubricants.....or from modification of factory installed components, including the mainspring, mainspring strain screw, rebound slide spring, or the hammer/trigger SA interface. (or combination of these factors)

Since the term "nominal" pressure is subject to a wide range of interpretation............if there are no other obvious mechanical or felt symptoms indicating a problem with the hammer and trigger, and the internals are confirmed clean and properly lubricated, perhaps a better test to check the integrity of the single action for most revolver owners would be to simply use a quality trigger pull gauge. Factory minimum recommended SA pull is 3 pounds.
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
That's strange. If it's not a safety issue, why would gunsmiths have a jig to "fix" a non-issue?
Good question. One I can't answer. Other than the fact there are folks, such as myself, who like the items we own to work properly.
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Old 01-02-2017, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
I guess my question for the OP would be....were there any "symptoms" exibited by the gun that would indicate there was a problem with the single action prior to your test for push off?

The S&W armorer's manual describes the pressure used to test the hammer trigger interface as "nominal". (whatever that is) Having some experience with testing for, and repair of this condition, I would estimate this pressure as 4 - 6 pounds. Excessive pressure should not be used as this can damage the very sharp bevel on the trigger.

Revolvers suffering from push off will usually also exhibit specific symptoms of the problem, including a "mushy" (opposite of crisp) and very light SA trigger let off.....below 2.5 lbs.

Symptoms can manifest themselves after years and years of heavy use, build up of dirt, debris or old/improper lubricants.....or from modification of factory installed components, including the mainspring, mainspring strain screw, rebound slide spring, or the hammer/trigger SA interface. (or combination of these factors)

If there are no other obvious mechanical or felt symptoms indicating a problem with the hammer and trigger, and the internals are confirmed clean and properly lubricated, perhaps a better test to check the integrity of the single action for most revolver owners would be to simply use a quality trigger pull gauge. Factory minimum recommended SA pull is 3 pounds.
As I stated in my first post, I estimated the push at about 7-10 lbs., which apparently, is more than needed for the test. As another poster suggested, it shouldn't break at any push (at least, that's how I interpreted it), so that concerned me. Now, you say 4-6lbs. should be a better indicator. It's not exhibited any other signs like a mushy pull or anything. I had just read about push-off on another article & thought I would check mine.
I haven't had the cover plate off but I can to do a visual & check the spring screw for any backing off but I'm not confident enough to start taking things out & checking for any chipped or rounded edges. I haven't just kept pushing to check it so I doubt I've overdone it to the point of MAKING it fail. Like I said earlier, I did check it this morning with lighter pressure with no problems, so hopefully, I just need to quit reading so much & creating problems that may not exist...but I love reading about my guns. 🙄

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Old 01-02-2017, 02:14 PM
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Hammer push-off test is one of many checks I use before buying a used revolver.
It is a safety check.
If you have a bathroom or postal scale of some sort, place the muzzle on the scale plate, push down on the hammer spur and see how much pressure it takes before it pushes off.
This is a better way to check than guessing how much pressure you are using with your thumb.
Jerry Kuhnhausen states if you can get to 16#'s, you do not have push-off.(so no need to go any further).
Jerry also states that "some experts" state 10-12#'s.
I am in the 10-12# camp and never had a safety issue.
I have worked on some friends revolvers in the past that you could just slightly push or look at it wrong and the hammer would fall.(not safe at all).

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Old 01-02-2017, 05:03 PM
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Hammer push-off test is one of many checks I use before buying a used revolver.
It is a safety check.
If you have a bathroom or postal scale of some sort, place the muzzle on the scale plate, push down on the hammer spur and see how much pressure it takes before it pushes off.
This is a better way to check than guessing how much pressure you are using with your thumb.
Jerry Kuhnhausen states if you can get to 16#'s, you do not have push-off.(so no need to go any further).
Jerry also states that "some experts" state 10-12#'s.
I am in the 10-12# camp and never had a safety issue.
I have worked on some friends revolvers in the past that you could just slightly push or look at it wrong and the hammer would fall.(not safe at all).

Clarence
I did the bath scale (acurate as heck, I know) & it said 11lbs. It was a digital scale so it held the reading for a couple of seconds. I probably will still have a smithy check it out. I like to err on the safe side.
I appreciate the imput.

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Old 01-02-2017, 05:35 PM
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Glad to assist when I can.
Keep us updated.
Stay safe and shoot well.

Clarence
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Old 01-02-2017, 05:39 PM
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Have you checked the SA trigger pull rate?
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Old 01-02-2017, 05:50 PM
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Have you checked the SA trigger pull rate?
I don't own or have access to a gage. Once again, just a guess but I figure about 3 lbs.

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Old 01-02-2017, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
I guess my question for the OP would be....were there any "symptoms" exibited by the gun that would indicate there was a problem with the single action prior to your test for push off?

The S&W armorer's manual describes the pressure used to test the hammer trigger interface as "nominal". (whatever that is) Having some experience with testing for, and repair of this condition, I would estimate this pressure as 4 - 6 pounds. Excessive pressure should not be used as this can damage the very sharp bevel on the trigger.

Revolvers suffering from push off will usually also exhibit specific symptoms of the problem, including a "mushy" (opposite of crisp) and very light SA trigger let off.....below 2.5 lbs.

Symptoms can manifest themselves after years and years of heavy use, build up of dirt, debris or old/improper lubricants.....or from modification of factory installed components, including the mainspring, mainspring strain screw, rebound slide spring, or the hammer/trigger SA interface. (or combination of these factors)

Since the term "nominal" pressure is subject to a wide range of interpretation............if there are no other obvious mechanical or felt symptoms indicating a problem with the hammer and trigger, and the internals are confirmed clean and properly lubricated, perhaps a better test to check the integrity of the single action for most revolver owners would be to simply use a quality trigger pull gauge. Factory minimum recommended SA pull is 3 pounds.
Please explain how the rebound spring can affect push off? Not being argumentative, just trying to learn.

Mike
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:03 PM
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The rebound slide spring not only performs the essential task of resetting the action and returning the trigger and other components to their "stand by" positions, but it also holds necessary tension on the trigger bevel when the action is cocked SA.
The trigger bevel is the very sharp, angled edge at the top of the trigger that interfaces with the SA cocking notch on the hammer. When the hammer is cocked SA, the tension from the rebound spring, working together with the pressure exerted by the mainspring, keeps the point of contact (bevel) standing at rest under tension on an approx .008" wide ledge called the cocking notch, or SA notch.

Decreasing the stardard length (OEM) rebound spring tension does not in and of itself cause push off, but merely lowers the threshold where the push off can occur. All other things being equal, it makes the interface less viable, if you will, when viability is evaluated purely in terms of SA trigger pull weight.
Other factors also negatively effect the viability of this interface, including dirt and debris, unsuitable lubricants, wear and tear, modifications, etc.

It's important to consider the role of the rebound spring not only in terms of it's job in trigger return, but also the important role in SA integrity as well.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:26 PM
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Thank you for the excellent explanation. That makes a lot of sense but seems to be largely ignored in how low can you go discussions about rebound springs.

Mike

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Old 01-02-2017, 10:09 PM
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Armorer951, I thought you gave a very intelligent & insightful explanation. I'm not saying I understand it all but that's part of the learning curve in learning about your gun & it's workings. I have to say, I understand the correlation of the parts better than I did & I will apply that knowledge to my benefit &hopefully to the benefit of my firearm. Thanks!

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Old 01-02-2017, 10:31 PM
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Thanks, that's very kind. Even after 42+ years I still have much to learn......that's one of the reasons I'm here.

At the top of the "S&W - Smithing" forum page, there are a couple of great sources of information listed as "Stickys".....the FAQ and the Notable thread index. Links are listed below......

If you are interested in learning more about the internal working of the S&W revolvers, I would suggest picking up a copy of Jerry Kuhnhausen's book, The S&W Revolvers, A Shop Manual. 5th edition. It's full of high quality illustrations, schematics, and other information. Well worth the money.

FAQ thread link:
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:49 PM
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I just checked on what date smith would do refinish work on. 72 falls in the year that they will take back and re work. Do as u wil but for a phone call and sending it back for a safety issue, I bet smith will repair for no cost, its worth the call.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:11 AM
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I just checked on what date smith would do refinish work on. 72 falls in the year that they will take back and re work. Do as u wil but for a phone call and sending it back for a safety issue, I bet smith will repair for no cost, its worth the call.
I'll do that! Thanks for the info.

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Old 01-03-2017, 12:27 AM
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Thanks, that's very kind. Even after 42+ years I still have much to learn......that's one of the reasons I'm here.

At the top of the "S&W - Smithing" forum page, there are a couple of great sources of information listed as "Stickys".....the FAQ and the Notable thread index. Links are listed below......

If you are interested in learning more about the internal working of the S&W revolvers, I would suggest picking up a copy of Jerry Kuhnhausen's book, The S&W Revolvers, A Shop Manual. 5th edition. It's full of high quality illustrations, schematics, and other information. Well worth the money.

FAQ thread link:
FAQ's

Notable link:
Notable Thread Index
As the old saying goes..."you only stop learning when you're dead", I have a long way to go before I know it all & hopefully, a long time to take as much in as I can.
I downloaded the manual for my particular model but it doesn't go into a great deal of "smithing", which I guess, is really a good thing. From what I've seen, it's a very involved & precise trade...& a bit costly. I'm a bit old (& broke) to take on the trade but maybe I can learn enough to recognize what I don't know & I won't screw something up. Lol

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Old 01-06-2017, 08:01 PM
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As the old saying goes..."you only stop learning when you're dead", I have a long way to go before I know it all & hopefully, a long time to take as much in as I can.
I downloaded the manual for my particular model but it doesn't go into a great deal of "smithing", which I guess, is really a good thing. From what I've seen, it's a very involved & precise trade...& a bit costly. I'm a bit old (& broke) to take on the trade but maybe I can learn enough to recognize what I don't know & I won't screw something up. Lol

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As the old saying goes...
I took my own advice & decided to "educate" myself on the inner workings. I thought about the dirt & crud issue brought up by armorer951 & with the help of the manual (to name the parts) & select YouTube videos (thanks Jerry M. & Harry P.), I dove in. Not overly cruddy but dirtier than I liked, so...
Long story short, you definitely learn from your mistakes but learn I did...& in a good way. After a couple of goofs (hand return spring, trigger tension spring [still not sure of names but I know what I mean]), I got it cleaned, lubed & back together & working fine. The main spring had a major bow to it but a little straightening, even helped with push-off & trigger action.
I would never try anything on a gun but my own but I believe in hands-on learning...even with an expensive risk. Thank God & good information, it worked!
Whew! 😊



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