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Old 01-25-2012, 06:17 PM
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Default 686 Spring Upgrade Question

I am looking at buying a mainspring/rebound spring that includes a mainspring and three different rebound springs for my S&W 686 4".

The two I am deciding between are:
Wolff Shooter's Spring Pack or
Custom-Tune® Spring Kit | S&W K/L/N Frame Revolvers-Wilson Combat

What are your thoughts on either of these upgrade kits for those that have used them and is there another brand you would recommend more? Thanks!
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:23 PM
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I've been shooting revolvers in competion for a lot of years, and I wouldl not call these "upgrade" kits.
They are specialized spring sets for people who are more interested in the lighest trigger pulls for range use, and not do much interested in maximum reliability with all ammo for defense use.
Second point: grabbing a handful of aftermarket springs and tossing them into a revolver is not optimum and often not productive. Suggest you get Mr Miculek's excellent videos on revolvers and look at what it takes for a full competition setup. First comes the fitting and smoothing, and then selecting springs for the purpose at hand.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKFC05 View Post
I've been shooting revolvers in competion for a lot of years, and I wouldl not call these "upgrade" kits.
They are specialized spring sets for people who are more interested in the lighest trigger pulls for range use, and not do much interested in maximum reliability with all ammo for defense use.
Second point: grabbing a handful of aftermarket springs and tossing them into a revolver is not optimum and often not productive. Suggest you get Mr Miculek's excellent videos on revolvers and look at what it takes for a full competition setup. First comes the fitting and smoothing, and then selecting springs for the purpose at hand.
Ok, excellent advice! I have read that these springs (especially the reduced power ones) can cause FTF due to lighter firing pin strikes depending on the primer.

I would like to smooth out the trigger pull for both range and woods carry but I don't want to spend the $100+ for a trigger job. I will have to check out those videos.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:58 PM
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I installed the wolff reduced power mainspring and 13lb recoil spring in my 629. It is like a new gun, the action was always pretty smooth but now it is much better and lighter. I have not had any issue with light strikes and have used many different primers. To me it was certainly worth the $10. Since the K frame hammer is lighter you may need a heavier recoil spring to keep it reliable but the beauty is they supply three.

Try it and see, if you don't like it then put the stock parts back in or pay for a proper action job. There is very little risk and high reward. Make sure it works with your preferred ammo and you are good to go.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckprax View Post
I installed the wolff reduced power mainspring and 13lb recoil spring in my 629. It is like a new gun, the action was always pretty smooth but now it is much better and lighter. I have not had any issue with light strikes and have used many different primers. To me it was certainly worth the $10. Since the K frame hammer is lighter you may need a heavier recoil spring to keep it reliable but the beauty is they supply three.

Try it and see, if you don't like it then put the stock parts back in or pay for a proper action job. There is very little risk and high reward. Make sure it works with your preferred ammo and you are good to go.
I too was excited with the prospect of three different rebound springs to find exactly what works. I am sure not a competition shooter and am not planning on building a platform for that. I would just like to smooth/even out the trigger pull for less $$ without impacting the overall performance or reliability of my 686.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:17 PM
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I have installed Wolff spring kits in the Smith & Wesson revolvers I use for punching paper and every one has functioned flawlessly. But I left the original springs in the ones I might use for hunting - I don't want take a chance on cold weather affecting a primer and costing me a shot at a nice game animal.

Ed
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:24 PM
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Ed - That is a great point about ensuring reliability for real life situations. Maybe I will hold off on doing my .44 Magnum (my camping gun).
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:58 PM
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I bought a new 686+-6 back around 2004 or so. When I first tried it out, I discovered that the factory trigger pull was so stiff I could scarcely keep from pulling the muzzle downward when I fired it. There was just no way I was going to put up with that. I promptly installed a Wolff reduced-power kit and a Cylinder & Slide extended firing pin for insurance. I have not had a single light primer strike/FTF with that gun.[NOTE: the C&S firing pin doesn't help with positive ignition because it's longer, but because it has a cone-shaped tip. This provides for a deeper dent with a lighter hammer blow. The stock pin has a hemispherical tip, which requires a heavier hammer blow.] And yes, it is a home defense gun.

If I had it to do over, I would probably have chosen another company's spring kit. The Wolff hammer spring has a rib in it in which the strain screw doesn't fit very well. It will also relax over time and need to be replaced.

Hope this is somewhat helpful.
Andy

Last edited by snowman; 01-26-2012 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:59 AM
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I tried the a reduced power mainspring, it happened to have the rib, and I found that the strain screw went into the middle of the rib and made it reduced the strength too much. It kind of turned the spring and wore the strain screw. I took it out. I tried one with a bent tip where it hooks the hammer. I didn't like that one either. I went back to the old fashioned method of clipping two coils off the trigger rebound spring and slightly kinking the mainspring to balance the springs. It works well for me and does not wear out. This is for target guns and range guns. For most of my guns, I just leave the springs as they came from the factory. Most will smooth out and lighten themselves with use. One serious thing I noticed is if there is hand/ratchet interface bind, it is sometimes covered up with strong springs. It really shows up after light springs are installed. To me, since I shoot mostly double action, this is worse than the stronger factory trigger pull. I found out a long time ago when shooting PPC, that a smooth trigger pull is better than a light pull that has a hitch in it.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:34 AM
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I have used both the Wilson, and the Wolff and they are about the same.

I get mine from brownells.

I use the middle weight spring, and have never had any trouble with light hits.

Like others have stated, get the Jerry Miculek S&W revoler tune up DVD.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:55 AM
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I dont know about jerrys video but AIG's video is pretty good. Also, on both my PC guns they came from the factory with upgraded Wolf springs. The trr8 and the 327pc snub are defensive revolvers and smith listed the wolf springs as part of the PC package so i dont buy any argument that the full power mainspring causes failures.

I would order jerry's or AIG's video and a set of gunsmith stones (or if you have square ceramic knife sharpening stones already they will work) with the wolf kit (its cheaper on Wolf's site) and just do it all at once. After the first "trigger job" you will probably want to do all your revolvers. I did and every revolver I have is defensive with no problems.

FYI: If you arent mechanically inclined and haven't ever sharpened a knife by hand or filed anything, doing gunsmithing work on your revolvers might not be for you.

Last edited by dan-g; 01-26-2012 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman View Post
I bought a new 686+-6 back around 2004 or so ... I promptly installed a Wolff reduced-power kit and a Cylinder & Slide extended firing pin for insurance. I have not had a single light primer strike/FTF with that gun.[NOTE: the C&S firing pin doesn't help with positive ignition because it's longer, but because it has a cone-shaped tip. This provides for a deeper dent with a lighter hammer blow. The stock pin has a hemispherical tip, which requires a heavier hammer blow.] And yes, it is a home defense gun.

If I had it to do over, I would probably have chosen another company's spring kit. The Wolff hammer spring has a rib in it in which the strain screw doesn't fit very well. It will also relax over time and need to be replaced.

Hope this is somewhat helpful.
Andy
Andy, this is excellent advice - especially the part about the extended firing pin. I will most certainly have to try this out in addition to the spring kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightowl View Post
To me, since I shoot mostly double action, this is worse than the stronger factory trigger pull. I found out a long time ago when shooting PPC, that a smooth trigger pull is better than a light pull that has a hitch in it.
I too try and shoot DA since this is how I imagine I would find myself firing in a real life SD situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan-g View Post
I dont know about jerrys video but AIG's video is pretty good. Also, on both my PC guns they came from the factory with upgraded Wolf springs.
Was this the power-rib mainspring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan-g View Post
FYI: If you arent mechanically inclined and haven't ever sharpened a knife by hand or filed anything, doing gunsmithing work on your revolvers might not be for you.
I actually have been having a blast learning to disassemble and reassembly the internals. I have already cleaned and oiled everything internal on both my 686-6 and 29-2 and I am yearning for more to tinker with.

You all have offered exceptional advice and personal experience. I think I will get the Wilson kit to avoid the power-rib issues you have outlined, and go with the extended firing pin to minimize any issues I may have with FTF. I also have Jerry Miculek's video on order from MidwayUSA. Thanks gents!
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:06 PM
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I use the Wolf standard power rib mainspring with a 12 lb. rebound spring. I also polish the internals.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:56 PM
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Bryan,

Which dash number is your 686? I ask because the firing pin I spoke of works only with -5 and newer. Dash 4 and older have the hammer-mounted pin.

If you get the pin, you may find that it doesn't retract far enough without filing the forward edge of the retaining slot. I think the instructions mention this also, as I recall.

You also may want to check out a company called Apex(I believe). I'm told that they also make an extended pin.

Let us know if there are more questions.
Andy
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OKFC05 View Post
I've been shooting revolvers in competion for a lot of years, and I wouldl not call these "upgrade" kits.
They are specialized spring sets for people who are more interested in the lighest trigger pulls for range use, and not do much interested in maximum reliability with all ammo for defense use.
Second point: grabbing a handful of aftermarket springs and tossing them into a revolver is not optimum and often not productive. Suggest you get Mr Miculek's excellent videos on revolvers and look at what it takes for a full competition setup. First comes the fitting and smoothing, and then selecting springs for the purpose at hand.
Springs are inexpensive, VERY easy to install, simple to test, and make no permanent change to the revolver.

'Fitting and smoothing': almost NONE of the above.

Few people here, by percent, compete with their revolvers.

But, many people like to smooth out and lighten the trigger pull in a revolver used only at the range, and spring kits are ideal for this.

I've been doing it since the 1970's, with no harm to ANY of my revolvers. I used to buy 'Bullseye spring kits', though I cannot remember the manufacturer. Trapper Guns... something or another (?).

Now I get springs from Wolffs, as do so many others. They work very well.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:50 AM
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I've installed Wolff spring kits in every S&W revolver I've ever owned except for the two M27's I've had. That has to have been at least 6 or 8 revolvers over the last 30 years and I've never had a problem with light primer strikes or trigger rebound. Of course I polish up the internal parts and clean and lube everything and I keep my guns clean. If you're inclined not to clean or lube your guns then maybe you'd need a heavier rebound spring but if you slick em' up you can get by with a lighter spring without problems.
Right now I've got the 8# hammer spring and the 13# rebound spring in my 642 and it seems to be working just fine.
I'm going to load up some ammo tomorrow and then maybe I can get out this weekend to really ring it out a bit but I really don't see anything taking place except for a lot of shooting.
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:38 AM
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There's some good info in this thread.

1) Get the Miculek video, it's the best $30 I've ever spent on anything gun related except for loading manuals.

2) Wolff of Wilson are good. I prefer the Wilson.

3) Install the lightest rebound when reassembling. Set your mainspring tension first. I grind the screw down to the length that gives reliable ignition every time and bottom it out in the frame. Once you have that done check the trigger return (do this with the side plate on). This where the "balance" comes in. Good positive trigger return may require one of the heavier springs. Once you have this and it's all back together remove the strain screw and reinstall torquing it down with about 10 in/lb using blue loc-tite.

4) The C&S pins are good but you can't dryfire practice without snapcaps. Get the Apex, it's made out of hardened tool steel. Actually the factory pins are fine but if you want an extended the Apex is the way to go.

Notes:
When setting your mainspring tension fire some rounds. Not just 10 or so, run about 100 through it. Also add about 1/4 turn of tension for insurance and while firing make sure it's not moving, because it will! If it's moving you don't know where you are. I set the screwdriver slot either up & down or straight across and always adjust in 1/4 turn increments for this very reason.

The Miculek video is a great home trigger job, but there are other things to do to get a great custom action, but you can make a huge improvement just by following this video.

Use a blue steel strain screw. The stainless ones are super soft and deform badly.

Last edited by shadowrider; 01-27-2012 at 01:52 AM. Reason: Added notes
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman View Post
Which dash number is your 686? I ask because the firing pin I spoke of works only with -5 and newer. Dash 4 and older have the hammer-mounted pin.
Andy, I have a 686+-6 (2010) as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman View Post
You also may want to check out a company called Apex (I believe). I'm told that they also make an extended pin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrider View Post
4) The C&S pins are good but you can't dryfire practice without snapcaps. Get the Apex, it's made out of hardened tool steel. Actually the factory pins are fine but if you want an extended the Apex is the way to go.
Well, that is two votes for Apex so I will most certainly have to compare them to the C&S firing pins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNFrank View Post
Of course I polish up the internal parts and clean and lube everything and I keep my guns clean. If you're inclined not to clean or lube your guns then maybe you'd need a heavier rebound spring but if you slick em' up you can get by with a lighter spring without problems.
Frank, I actually went in to clean my new 29-2 that was pretty dirty from its previous owner and after some CLP and oil on the internals, it is like a new trigger. I am sold on keeping all aspects of my firearms clean both to satisfy my OCD and due to the extreme difference in DA trigger pull I noticed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrider View Post
3) Install the lightest rebound when reassembling. Set your mainspring tension first. I grind the screw down to the length that gives reliable ignition every time and bottom it out in the frame. Once you have that done check the trigger return (do this with the side plate on). This where the "balance" comes in. Good positive trigger return may require one of the heavier springs. Once you have this and it's all back together remove the strain screw and reinstall torquing it down with about 10 in/lb using blue loc-tite.
...
Notes:
When setting your mainspring tension fire some rounds. Not just 10 or so, run about 100 through it. Also add about 1/4 turn of tension for insurance and while firing make sure it's not moving, because it will! If it's moving you don't know where you are. I set the screwdriver slot either up & down or straight across and always adjust in 1/4 turn increments for this very reason.

The Miculek video is a great home trigger job, but there are other things to do to get a great custom action, but you can make a huge improvement just by following this video.

Use a blue steel strain screw. The stainless ones are super soft and deform badly.
Shadow, this is phenomenal information. I have noticed that my mainsprings do all sorts of things to the strain screw on their own accord. I will most definitely order a blue steel strain screw. Thanks for all of your detailed suggestions on setting up the mainspring and rebound spring!

I will go with the Wolff kit based on what you gentlemen have suggested as well as an apex extended firing pin and a steel strain screw. I am even more excited to learn from Jerry's video now after the overwhelmingly positive feedback that keeps pouring in.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:43 PM
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If your 686 is a -5 with the floating firing pin (frame mounted instead of hammer mounted) the other main feature of the C&S pin, beside being longer, is the slot that limits the fore and aft travel is also longer. This does assist in more positive ignition. The only down side is you must have snap caps in the chamber when dry firing. Otherwise you could damage the gun. No knowkedge of Apex, but I'm guessing it's the same design as C&S.

Bryan78 kind of beat me to it.
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