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Old 09-15-2018, 07:11 PM
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Question 908/3913 sear spring pin?

So...

I've been looking for a 908 to complete a group of "Value" pistols. Bought one on the auction site and picked it up. Something's not right with the hammer so I take it home and pull off the grip. Out drops a tiny piece of metal.

Turns out the sear spring is broken in half. Fortunately, the part is available but I'm wondering what size punch is required to drive that tiny pin.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:49 PM
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Probably a 1/16".
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
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Probably a 1/16".
Correct - I knocked one out of a parts frame the other day.
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Old 09-15-2018, 11:08 PM
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Thanks folks. I'll be ordering the punch and a few springs tomorrow.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:44 PM
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Replacing the sear spring requires a little patience, as the advancing end of the sear pin is going to be lifted as it's pushed across the raised ridge of the newer, wider sear spring. This means the forward end of the pin doesn't usually align with the opposite hole in the frame as the pin has to pass across the raised rib of the flat spring. (The older, narrower sear springs just had a pair of vertically stacked raised dimples.)

We were told that the factory eventually began using a fixture that had a pin that pressed forward against the advancing end of the sear pin as the pin was pressed into the second hole in the frame.

I had to replace the sear spring in one of my own 3rd gen's a while back. I replaced both the spring and the pin. Once I'd braced the frame, I started the pin in from one side of the frame, and after the leading end of the pin had passed over the spring's raised rib, I used a wide pin punch to perform the same function as described done by the factory press. I carefully pressed the down (forward) on the leading end of the sear pin just enough, gently curving the end enough to meet the opposite hole in the frame, while continuing to advance the pin. It surprisingly aligned more easily than I'd expected, and was relatively easy to press into place.

It's important to make sure the sear spring is properly positioned for installation (even with the hooked end of the spring contained in the frame hole), as once the pin is set in place the new style spring ought to be firmly secured.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:03 PM
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Thanks so much for that. I guess I'll soon learn whether I should be working on my own guns.

Yes, the broken spring appears to have just dimples. That big outfit in Iowa today shipped one spring (ordered more, backordered) and I believe I also have at least one pin coming.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:04 PM
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FWIW, I decided that it would probably be easier, and make it less likely to have the pin punch slip off the sear pin and damage something (like the frame, or my hand), by pressing against the end of the sear pin with the side of the punch. It made it easier to apply just enough pressure against it that way.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:31 PM
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It's not often that a sear spring requires replacement.

I've been an armorer for S&W 3rd gen's for a while (20 years & 4 classes), and helped maintain more than a thousand early and late production 3rd gen guns during that time. To date I've only ever had to replace that one sear spring.

I've been told that the older and narrower style sear springs might eventually, after a LOT of use, develop a curled top edge, causing the spring to produce less tension against the sear. Also, the ridged style spring is less likely to shift and move, with the pin against the raised rib, instead of passing through the dimples.
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Old 09-26-2018, 07:39 PM
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Thumbs up I actually did it?

Well, today was the day. My care package arrived from Iowa. I'd ordered a bunch of springs and pins but only one of each actually shipped, together with a set of brass punches.

I have zero experience with anything more than simple cleaning and lubing so this was pretty scary for me. I fiddled with it for an hour or more without success. I wasn't able to apply enough pressure to the pin end. Eventually, I found a way to Mickey Mouse it and the gun now functions properly, at least tested with an eraser-tipped wood pencil. I'll take it to the range Saturday. I'll not embarrass myself by detailing what I did to finish driving the pin home.

What I did notice, holding the frame at eye level and sighting up the frame at the pin above the spring, is that the spring's ridge actually makes the pin bow. The ridge puts that much pressure on the pin.

I hope I have the same experience as you and this is the only one I ever need to replace. As I mentioned in the OP, the spring was broken in half when the gun arrived.

Thanks so much for guiding me thru this adventure.

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Old 09-26-2018, 08:50 PM
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Sorry. I guess I should've said the pin would be "bowed" across the raised ridge of the spring when it was installed. I thought my description in post #5 made it clear the raised ridge on the sear spring lifted the pin as it passed over it, and that would require the pin's advancing end to be pressed forward/downward (depending on your perspective) to be able to align it with the opposite frame hole.

Just out of curiosity, was the sear leaf spring broken side-to-side or lengthwise?

The sear leaf spring I replaced in my own 403TSW was because I tried to adjust the original spring's positioning, which had developed some unexpected and undesirable looseness. It could slip downward in the frame, as the bent tab at the bottom of the spring could move lower within the frame hole.

I'll relate one of the embarrassing lessons I learned many years ago, as a younger armorer.

Back in those days (15 years ago?) I was explaining my concern about the somewhat loose sear spring in my 4013 to a more experienced S&W armorer. He explained that there was a method to put more pressure on the spring. He said that the middle of the sear pin could be "adjusted" to press it closer against the sear spring. Yep, that involved a bit of old fashioned whacking with a stout punch and a babbitt bar. He also said that it was sometimes possible to apply too much pressure against the spring, which might risk creating a difficult-to-see partial lengthwise crack in the spring.

Rather than take simple route and just order a new sear pin and spring, I tried to follow his directions and "adjust" the sear pin. Well, it worked. Sort of.

The pin acquired a nice (and noticeable) deflection downward against the spring, and the spring definitely wouldn't move anymore. Now, instead of being bowed across the spring, the pin was flat, but no longer exactly straight, either. It was kinda "flat" in the middle.

The other armorer's words about the possibility of creating a difficult-to-see crack niggled at the corner of my mind. he said that if a crack had occurred, it would likely eventually become visible ... when the spring broke further apart (meaning now visibly) and caused functioning problems. Sigh.

So, I'd sort of thrust myself into one of those armorer lessons that falls into the category of fixing something that wasn't really broken. Sure, the spring was loose and the top of it barely engaged the sear, to a minimal degree, and it bugged me, but it hadn't exhibited any actual functioning problems.

The deflection and weird kink I'd caused to the pin made me wonder if I'd be able to remove it from the aluminum frame without having to cut it, or end up damaging the frame. So, I stored the fully disassembled 4013TSW away in the safe for a while, annoyed with myself for having tried to adjust something that was probably best corrected by replacing parts. I had plenty of other 3rd gen's, and was given my pick of different ones to carry for work, so I could afford to ignore that 4013TSW for a while (meaning until I either got over my embarrassment and decided to just fix it myself ... or arranged to send it off to the factory and let them use their fixture/jig to install a new sear pin over a new spring).

One day I ordered a couple of new double stack frame sear pins, and put them in one of my parts bins. (I didn't have any because they were reported to so seldom break, and I'd never seen another one break out of the thousand-odd guns I'd helped maintain.)

Then, one day a couple years later I finally got out the parts and the stripped 4013TSW frame and decided it was time to either fix it myself, or confirm that I really needed to send it back to the factory and ask for help resolving a dumb armorer screw-up.

Surprisingly, while I was half expecting the no-longer-straight sear pin to not come far enough out of one side of the frame to let me remove it, I was able to drift it out one direction far enough to let me then move it the opposite direction and lift it clear of the frame. The bent/tweaked part never had to enter either side of the frame. It came out so easily I was both relieved and embarrassed (that I'd waited so long to do it).

Next came the installation of the new spring and pin.

Fortunately, I'd thought about how one of the armorer instructors and that other senior armorer had explained gently deflecting the leading end of a new pin across the raised ridge, whether by fixture equipment or by hand, and had a couple methods in mind to try.

Well, as it turned out, once I stabilized the frame (to free both hands) I was able to exert careful and slow pressure against the leading end of the pin, pressing it downward and to where it would align with the opposite frame hole ... and damned if pressure against the other end of the pin, at the same time I was applying pressure against the leading end of the pin, didn't result in the pin simply going into the hole. On the first try.

I'd even managed to keep the spring properly positioned. It was anticlimactic.

My next thoughts were, "That was too easy.", and then, "Now what the hell did I do wrong?!?"

When I finally accepted that it had gone as it was supposed to have gone, and a little forethought and preparation had paid off .... and I was an armorer of some little experience, after all, even if I'd never had to replace a sear spring ... then I kicked myself for having postponed making this repair for a few years.

I assembled the gun, lubed it up and loaded some magazines, and then set it aside in the safe for my next range trip. It ran like a top. I remembered why I'd liked it so much.

I remembered why there were some senior guys at work who were longtime shooting enthusiasts who had been on a list to have one of the then-new (mid 2000's) 4013TSW compacts issued to them, as they trickled in. I'd gotten one back then because of my position as an instructor/armorer, and because my primary assignment was a plainclothes one, and justified me having one.

I used it as my duty weapon when I was sent off to an instructor update class, which involved a lot of shooting for score, including out to 50yds. I also used it to run through our 10-100yds patrol rifle course of fire, and scored a qualifying score (90%) with it, just to show that it could be done. (It was also fun to see the sidelong glances from the guys shooting the qual line with their AR's, seeing me shooting alongside them with a compact pistol. You've gotta get your kicks where you can. )

I eventually arranged to trade it off and have it issued to one of the command staff who really, really wanted one. I took his 4513TSW compact in exchange, which I carried until my retirement.

Thanks for letting us know how it went. (Don't hesitate to take it by a local gunsmith to let him check it out if you wonder about your repair.)
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Old 09-26-2018, 09:45 PM
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The smaller part (with the hook) remained captured by the retaining pin and the longer part fell out when I removed the grip.
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:02 PM
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The smaller part (with the hook) remained captured by the retaining pin and the longer part fell out when I removed the grip.
Well, that seems a bit weird.

Did the sear pin look normal? Not peened, scarred or otherwise visibly damaged?

Okay, this is just a SWAG, mind you ... but ... I'd not be shocked to learn that a previous owner had exerted some improper and significant force against the top half of the spring, for whatever reason, and it weakened it to where it finally snapped off above the pin.
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Old 09-28-2018, 02:33 PM
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The spring pin was a bit rough but I'm not sure that wasn't caused by me removing it. Also, considering the friction caused during previous installation, it might have been like that before I removed it. For sure I'd want to replace the pin with the spring (assuming parts availability).

I hope you don't mind if I prevail on your expertise and generosity. The trigger/hammer/reset still doesn't function properly. So, I threw caution to the wind and disassembled the frame after examining a 3913 first. Look what I found. Think I have a problem with the disconnector?

Also, the sear is stamped "For DA gun use only M hammer". This is a 908. Is that the wrong sear?

Thanks alway!
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:07 PM
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Fastbolt discusses the "super sear" in post 16 here - 5906tsw vs. Regular 5906
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:19 PM
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Fastbolt discusses the "super sear" in post 16 here - 5906tsw vs. Regular 5906
Thanks for that. Very interesting. Even more interesting for me were his comments about the plastic disconnector. I can't imagine what happened to this gun to cause both the disconnector and sear spring to break. Otherwise, the gun doesn't appear abused or "used up". I guess I better order a handful of disconnector while they're available.
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:33 PM
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My 5906TSW was obviously from a group of cop guns - looked excellent - and had the same damaged parts. I replaced the disconnector with a metal version because I already had one in my parts bag but I probably would have ordered the metal instead of the polymer version anyway.
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:39 PM
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The spring pin was a bit rough but I'm not sure that wasn't caused by me removing it. Also, considering the friction caused during previous installation, it might have been like that before I removed it. For sure I'd want to replace the pin with the spring (assuming parts availability).

I hope you don't mind if I prevail on your expertise and generosity. The trigger/hammer/reset still doesn't function properly. So, I threw caution to the wind and disassembled the frame after examining a 3913 first. Look what I found. Think I have a problem with the disconnector?

Also, the sear is stamped "For DA gun use only M hammer". This is a 908. Is that the wrong sear?

Thanks alway!
What the hell happened with that 908?!? That a bad joke or did the previous owner seriously damage (at least?) the sear spring and disconnector in a botched attempt (attempts?) to "work on the gun"?

Yes, the DA Only MIM sear is the proper MIM sear that goes with the MIM TDA & DAO hammers.

Yes, it's possible for an inattentive armorer or smith to break off the tail of the plastic (nylon) disconnector while improperly removing it, if they don't know the order of disassembly and how to carefully move the tail around the drawbar's disconnector tab, using the tip of a pin punch. (The DAO gun is a different when it comes to the order of disconnector & drawbar removal and installation.) However, I've never even heard of one being broken in half, in the middle. Your pics make it look like the bottom curved surface of the disconnector is roughened, too, like maybe someone was really prying or pushing on it?

My advice? Do Not shoot that gun before it's been carefully inspected and repaired by someone trained and familiar with repairing S&W 3rd gen DA guns, to make sure that whoever damaged the sear spring and the disconnector didn't do anything else that might have compromised the gun's normal and safe operation. That's weird and not a little bit scary.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:47 PM
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GB's revenge.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:47 PM
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When the steel disconnector was replaced by the plastic one later in the 90's, we were told in an armorer class that it had been heavily tested before being adopted.

One of the instructors telling us about it (who had worked in production for many years) said that factory testing had shown the plastic disconnector to have run side-by-side with the steel one in exhaustive testing.

If I remember correctly, back then he said the testing had revealed the plastic disconnector ran out beyond 25K rounds fired with no signs of problems. That was when the parts were installed in the guns and just being subjected to normal working forces. The only "weakness" of the plastic part, if you want to call it one, is that inattentive armorers could exert improper force against it and damage the tail or "wings".

An advantage to the plastic disconnector is two-fold.

First, the dimensions and tolerances are more precise and consistent than the older steel parts. In older armorer manuals there was a problem/correction involving a length(height) problem, where the disconnector was too long. A Skips-DA condition could result. I think it was referred to as long tail disconnector. The correction (aside from just trying another disconnector) was to carefully stone the bottom of the tail, but remove too much metal and you could have another, different functioning problem.

As time passed, meaning after the introduction of the plastic disconnector, discussion of the problem/correction of a long disconnector was dropped from the trouble shooting pages in the armorer manual. The plastic disconnectors were uniform in size and length.

A second advantage to the new plastic disconnector was its inherent smoothness and "lubricity" when sliding against the drawbar's disconnector tab. The sides and bottom of the plastic part moved much easier against the drawbar's tab. Also, a little of the natural flexion of the tail was explained as a benefit, too. Ditto up underneath the slide's pickup rail, too. Less resistance and friction when it was smooth plastic against steel at each end.

Fast forward a couple of recert classes, and an instructor casually mentioned that there had been some small discussion among some folks at the factory of maybe bringing back the steel disconnector. The reason? Nothing to do with the plastic part not standing up under usage. No, it was said to be because inattentive or incautious armorers sometimes snapped off the rear of the tail if they weren't paying attention and exerted too much pressure or leverage against it during disassembly and reassembly.

Well, as the 3rd gen's were eventually being phased out of production, the steel part never came back as a regular production part, and when you can find them it's still the plastic parts that are the latest new production disconnectors.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:55 PM
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Your knowledge and helpfulness are boundless. Thanks so much. Do you have any idea whether a metal 3913 disconnector will fit this 908?

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Old 09-28-2018, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
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Your knowledge and helpfulness are boundless. Thanks so much. Do you have any idea whether a metal 3913 disconnector will fit this 908?
While I appreciate the sentiment, my knowledge falls far short of "boundless". It's just what I suspect you'd probably find if talking to another S&W 3rd gen armorer with a little experience and having repeated the class a few times.

The disconnector fits all the 3rd gen's. It's usually a drop-in part, but ...

Installing a steel disconnector would still require the same armorer inspection and bench checks as when installing the plastic disconnector, making sure the new part functions properly and all the usual safety checks are passed. (And bearing in mind the steel one might not be one that's as precisely sized for that particular gun as the newer plastic one, such as if it's slightly too long/tall.)

Some of the things that could involve a damaged, worn, or out-of-spec disconnector (and some other causes, of course), or one not properly tensioned by its little spring, could be: Failure of the hammer to cock into single action; No pick up in double action; Gun will fire on 1/4" disconnect (out of battery); Skips double action. (In older guns, if the hammer falls to half cock in single or double action it could also be the disconnector ... or the hammer, drawbar, sear, trigger or a light or short mainspring.)

It would be probably be better all around if you had a local gunsmith who was familiar with S&W TDA guns who could inspect the gun and not only check for any other unexpected damage, but check the usual things (disconnect, rocking the hammer in DA, no push off in SA, decocking timing, hammer bind, firing pin movement and the safeties, etc).

If you were local to me I'd check it for you, as I'm curious how the hell someone who owned the gun before you managed to break those parts.

BTW, even if you're curious, you don't really want to remove the mag catch nut, spring and body from the frame (unless it isn't working or has also been screwed up and damaged). The plastic mag catch nut/button is a 1-time use part, meaning it's only intended to be installed once.

If ever removed (meaning for repair), armorers are told to replace it with a new one. It snaps over the left/end of the mag catch body's pin by virtue of a raised inner ring in the plastic nut, snapping over a corresponding raised ring on the mag catch body pin. Prying it off can mean it won't fit back over the pin's ring snugly enough to remain affixed to it. These are pretty durable parts, but they aren't "proof" against curious, well intentioned but inexperienced kitchen table tinkers.

The mag body part is getting very difficult to find, although I've seen the plastic nut and tornado-shaped spring (which does have a "right" orientation underneath the nut) sometimes show up at Midway.

You have a gunsmith near you who is familiar with these guns?
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Old 09-28-2018, 07:34 PM
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I've only used one smith in my area and it was for extremely generic and simple stuff. I'll wait until I have all the parts (now need to order a couple disconnectors) and then see how knowledgeable he is. Failing that, not sure where to look in my part of NC for someone experienced with Gen 3's. I'll ask in my local forum.

About the magazine release components, yes, I've seen that comment before and didn't go anywhere near there.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:16 AM
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908/3913 sear spring pin? 908/3913 sear spring pin? 908/3913 sear spring pin? 908/3913 sear spring pin? 908/3913 sear spring pin?  
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Location: Davidson County, NC
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Well, it's just after 2am and I seem to have a functioning 908.

A Care Package full of tiny plastic bags arrived this afternoon (actually yesterday afternoon since it's already tomorrow here) from America's heartland. I managed to get the frame reassembled with a new plastic disconnector in place. Now, with the new sear spring and disconnector, the pistol appears to behave as expected. I even checked the decocking with my fancy new pin gages.

Thanks everyone!!!!
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