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Old 04-11-2012, 02:45 PM
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Default S&W 642 trigger job

A few weeks ago I bought I new 642 double action .38sp. It's got a real stiff trigger on it, had it measured with a cheap(er) quality gauge and it was off the charts. The gauge out went to 12 lbs, so a friend of mine is guessing its around 15 lbs.

I thought it would loosen up after a few hundreds rounds. Well I've put almost 500 thru it and it's still stiff as can be. This will be my main ccl weapon but with the trigger so stiff I'm not currently carrying it.

So I'd like to do a trigger job on it. I've watched videos online, and it seems relatively easy, but I've never done any smithing only shooting. I am however a mechanical engineer by trade and I feel like a handy guy, but I've never messed with guns. What is a trigger kit you'd recommend? And would you recommend attempting this myself or paying to have it done?
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:15 PM
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The 640 and 642 triggers often break at about 12 or 13, so it's not unusual for shooters unused to these snubbies to find the heavier trigger pull extreme. Still, if the trigger is smooth, the pull weight is almost secondary. Before thinking trigger job, just open her up and clean it out. Check for burrs or metal filings. Lightly polish contact points. Some dry lube may be helpful -- just a bit. It might feel a lot better.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
This will be my main ccl weapon
Then caution is in order to keep from getting a light pull, and misfires from light strikes. Beware of some spring kits in the J frames for carry.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:56 PM
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I picked up two 642s over the last couple years, gave one to my dad. Local gun shop had a sale. With the rebate, I think both were under $300/ea. They had heavy pulls, as expected. I simply went to a slightly weaker spring, cleaned them up, and did a little polishing with a dremel tool They smoothed right up. The thing about S&W revolvers, the more you work them the smoother they get. As mentioned, you don't want a spring that's too light and definitely get one from a known manufacturer: Wilson combat, etc. You can buy a Wilson Combat spring kit for a J frame for around $10, which has different weights to try.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:27 PM
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The law of physics dictates that you can never achieve the same lightness of a K, L, or N frame.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:01 PM
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You might want to google 638 trigger job ( yoda g mod ).
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icemn View Post
You might want to google 638 trigger job ( yoda g mod ).
Here is the link you speak of... Another Nutnfancy video.

S&W Airweight Trigger Job: "The Yoda G Mod" - YouTube

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Old 04-11-2012, 08:31 PM
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If you search around the forum, you'll find a number of threads on this topic. The J frames, and it seems the hammerless ones in particular, have stiff triggers.

I bought a Wolff Springs rebound spring and main spring kit. I think the stock rebound spring is 18 pounds, and I used the 13 pound one. The stock mainspring is 8 1/2 pounds and the replacement is 8 pounds.

I'm by no means an expert, but I found the work pretty easy. Brownells has a video showing how to do it. Although they show a nice rebound spring tool, after reading around, I found out you don't need one.

Buy a decent set of screwdrivers because you absolutely want the screw driver to fit the screw precisely. It seems, again from reading, that it's very common for people to bung up the screws and the finish on their pistols by using craptastic screw drivers.

My gun is a 442, but all of the J frames are the same. I found that mine was totally dry inside, so in addition to the springs I oiled it.

I also found that by putting the gun inside a large ziploc bag I was able to do the work and not lose any parts. Small parts and springs mean that parts will fly around the room if you don't take steps to contain them.

After replacing the springs and oiling the internals, I found the trigger pull much better.

Before you do anything, search around the forums. There is a wealth of S&W expertise here and I've found the members more than willing to help.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edmo View Post
Here is the link you speak of... Another Nutnfancy video.

S&W Airweight Trigger Job: "The Yoda G Mod" - YouTube

Edmo

Not bad, but there's a lot of things he does in that video that you really have to be careful or you could do some serious damage to your gun. Remember he's an experienced gunsmith and knows what he's doing. He doesn't explain too clearly what, were and how the small parts surfaces are that he's honing. Doesn't explain what grit of Arkansas stone etc. I know what he's doing and I can also do it, but I'm just saying, unless you have done this a few times and have gained experience, be careful, it's not for amatuers! Most guys just do the spring kit change.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:50 PM
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The Centennial models, ie 442, 642 are not hammerless, the hammer is fully enclosed inside the frame.

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Old 04-11-2012, 09:55 PM
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Watching the video, I was thinking the same thing. He's obviously done that thousands of times, but most of us haven't.

I heard him say that you are polishing, not removing metal, but he didn't talk about the risk of over polishing and removing the hardened metal.

When I did my 442, I did the springs and some lubrication, but that was it. It helped a lot with the trigger pull and I was happy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonback68 View Post
Not bad, but there's a lot of things he does in that video that you really have to be careful or you could do some serious damage to your gun. Remember he's an experienced gunsmith and knows what he's doing. He doesn't explain too clearly what, were and how the small parts surfaces are that he's honing. Doesn't explain what grit of Arkansas stone etc. I know what he's doing and I can also do it, but I'm just saying, unless you have done this a few times and have gained experience, be careful, it's not for amatuers! Most guys just do the spring kit change.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
Watching the video, I was thinking the same thing. He's obviously done that thousands of times, but most of us haven't.

I heard him say that you are polishing, not removing metal, but he didn't talk about the risk of over polishing and removing the hardened metal.

When I did my 442, I did the springs and some lubrication, but that was it. It helped a lot with the trigger pull and I was happy.
Exactly my point. I highly suspect, actually I more than suspect, that when you send your gun to the factory for a standard trigger job you aren't getting all that extra honing and polishing you see in that video. They do polish the rebound slide and hone the trigger/hammer sear surfaces somewhat though. The rest is done in the springs area. Probably a 1000-1200 cycles of dry firing will accomplish the same thing.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:25 PM
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Thanks for the input guys. Ill keep all this in mind and for this time pay a gunsmith for his knowledge if I decide to proceed.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:33 PM
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My 49 is really heavy, heavier by far than my S-series Highway Patrolman, but I'm going to shoot it until it smooths out. Lots of dry-fire drills should help. Keep in mind that mine had set in a desk drawer or glovebox until I bought it and de-gunked the action.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:42 PM
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Get the apex trigger kit easy to install and do a little polish and it will make a huge difference
https://apextactical.com/store/produ...php?pid49.html
that's what I did
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBradford View Post
So I'd like to do a trigger job on it...
just be aware that a trigger job will not make you a better shooter, nor make you more accurate, nor give you trigger control. all of that comes with practice and technique.

try these grips and this grip technique.

Hogue Bantam Grips with Top Finger Groove S&W J-Frame Round butt

PRO TIPS with JERRY MICULEK, shootingusa.com/, sixth panel down - j-frame grip

the hogue bantams will absorb most of the kick while jerry's technique will allow you to better learn trigger control with the j-frame's DA.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:08 AM
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There are two references that will allow most anybody to do "passble work" on S&W Revolvers. This opinion is based on personal experience.

I have both of the Jerry Miculek DVD's but the only one anybody really needs is "Trigger Job."

The other reference that I find the most helpful is the book, "The S&W Revolver....A Shop Manual" by Jerry Kuhnhausen.

I have quite a few other references but the two mentioned above pretty much covers what most of us "shade tree" gunsmiths should be trying to do on our own. Actually they go far beyond that level so they will also give you an idea of what the next learning steps would be.

Having done 9 "Trigger Jobs", 8 on J Frames, my personal preference when it comes to spring kits is Wolff, with Wilson my 2nd choice. I purchased over $100 in Apex Kits and after trying them have pulled them from the guns they were installed in.

The reason I prefer Wolff over Wilson is that I have yet to experience 1 light primer strike with the Wolff reduced weight mainsprings, but have had 3 with the Wilson on two different guns.

To be fair to Wilson, this could have been due to idiosyncrasies in those specific actions so it could have been the luck of the draw. Since reliabilty is paramount I didn't even bother trying the reduced weight Wolff mainsprings in those 2 guns, I went right back to stock weight mainsprings, although I did use Wolff over S&W springs.

Based on my trigger pull gauge the Wolff 8.5 lb. mainspring (stock weight) gives me a lighter pull weight than a new, S&W factory 8.5 lb. mainspring. Why that is I have no idea but know that I have yet to have a light primer strike with any of the Wolff springs used, even with CCI primers, so I am very confident that any fail to fire issue would be ammo, not gun, related in any gun that has a Wolff 8.5 lb. mainspring.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:41 AM
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Info on my Wolff spring replacement, with some video links-

Best weight for rebound spring for a J

Then scroll down a couple of posts to see my range test results.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:05 AM
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I guess I'm from a different school of thought here. My CCW's - and home defenders - are not resprung nor do they have their triggers polished. I do deep clean them pre and post break-in - and break them in, either by dry-firing or shooting them, or some combination, to about 1,000 rounds equivalent. This preserves the stronger hammer spring's ability to pop any & all primers - and I can say, in court, if need be, that my CCW's aren't altered. They aren't plinkers! This started with my 296, then my 2" 10 & 642, and, finally, my 4" 64. The 642 is quite serviceable - but the K & L frames are even better (As said, better geometry!). Learn to adapt to your revolver - it's far more reliable that way.

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Old 04-12-2012, 01:27 PM
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The Wilson "Custom-Tune Spring Kit, S&W J Frame 321" I put in my new 642-1 "post lock" made the trigger pull a smidge lighter. However, it was just what this little gun needed.

After hundreds of rounds of various makes and different handload primers (CCI) I feel confident in it making any cartridge go "bang".

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Old 04-12-2012, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f2 View Post
just be aware that a trigger job will not make you a better shooter, nor make you more accurate, nor give you trigger control. all of that comes with practice and technique.

try these grips and this grip technique.

Hogue Bantam Grips with Top Finger Groove S&W J-Frame Round butt

PRO TIPS with JERRY MICULEK, shootingusa.com/, sixth panel down - j-frame grip

the hogue bantams will absorb most of the kick while jerry's technique will allow you to better learn trigger control with the j-frame's DA.
I completely understand that. I practice all the time and im not wanting this done with those expectations. I just want a softer trigger pull cause this seems abnormally high, even thou after research I know now it's not.
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonback68 View Post
Not bad, but there's a lot of things he does in that video that you really have to be careful or you could do some serious damage to your gun. Remember he's an experienced gunsmith and knows what he's doing. He doesn't explain too clearly what, were and how the small parts surfaces are that he's honing. Doesn't explain what grit of Arkansas stone etc. I know what he's doing and I can also do it, but I'm just saying, unless you have done this a few times and have gained experience, be careful, it's not for amatuers! Most guys just do the spring kit change.
Diamondback, I agree. This video lacks MUCH info that the novice would-be gunsmith needs to know. Even SIMPLE things like taking off the sideplate W/O damaging it are not mentioned. I think that there must be better instructional videos than this available....
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:54 PM
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I have a 642. So far, I have installed a Wolff 8 lb mainspring and 14 lb rebound spring. I have both 13 and 12 lb rebound springs on order, as it is still a bit too stiff for my liking.
If you go this route, be sure to grind the ends of the rebound spring flat, as is the factory rebound spring. Otherwise, it is difficult to install even with a dedicated gunsmithing tool. Grinding is easy with a common drill and grinding stone attachment.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyo5 View Post
I have a 642. So far, I have installed a Wolff 8 lb mainspring and 14 lb rebound spring. I have both 13 and 12 lb rebound springs on order, as it is still a bit too stiff for my liking.
If you go this route, be sure to grind the ends of the rebound spring flat, as is the factory rebound spring. Otherwise, it is difficult to install even with a dedicated gunsmithing tool. Grinding is easy with a common drill and grinding stone attachment.
I would advise others to be very careful with any power tools and abrasives.

You can get a nice smooth rebound slide, bottom end edges included,
with a fine polishing stone, in just a few minutes.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogilvyspecial View Post
I would advise others to be very careful with any power tools and abrasives.

You can get a nice smooth rebound slide, bottom end edges included,
with a fine polishing stone, in just a few minutes.
I recommended grinding the ends of the Wolff spring, not the slide.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyo5 View Post
I recommended grinding the ends of the Wolff spring, not the slide.
Sorry about that!

I never heard of that being recommended before so my mind must have reverted to what's "normally" done.

With that said, I usually put my springs in a vibrator / tumbler for a while with corn cob media to polish them up a little.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogilvyspecial View Post
Sorry about that!

I never heard of that being recommended before so my mind must have reverted to what's "normally" done.

With that said, I usually put my springs in a vibrator / tumbler for a while with corn cob media to polish them up a little.
The factory rebound spring has the ends ground flat, while the Wolff springs do not. It isn't *too bad* trying to install the Wolff 14 lb rebound spring, but for lesser weights the length is greater (more preload) and they are difficult to compress without them bending and going 'boinnngggg' across the room. Grinding the edges flat makes them alot easier to compress and install. That's probably why the factory does it.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:50 PM
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As has been the case on this forum on this issue in the past, there have been alot of different thoughts expressed and that's good. The individual can then decide for themselve's what they want to do. This forum is a great resource. There is alot of tremendous information here and some great people who are willing to share their extensive knowledge and experience.

(for what its worth, I used an ultra fine arkansas stone on my 2 j- frames and have subsequently put several hundred rounds down range in each with no issues )
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