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Old 10-10-2018, 11:48 PM
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Default Modifications to S&W Revolvers, your thoughts.

Like many of you, I’ve been owning, shooting, & using for work S&W Revolvers since 1985. I’m no authority, I’m not a gunsmith, but back when S&W revolvers were King in American Law Enforcement, slicking up the trigger pull was something that was done often, both for work, competitive, and recreational shooting purposes.

Over the years, I’ve observed a few things I’ve liked and don’t like when it comes to tinkering with a Smith & Wesson Revolver, things that work well and some things that don’t.

Things I don’t like: Jewelling the hammer and trigger, or grinding off the serrations on the trigger face.

Messing with the Single Action pull. In my opinion, there is no reason to try and improve on the SA pull of a Smith revolver. My personal observation is that when this is attempted, the usual result is an unsafe revolver, where the hammer will malfunction & fall, or the revolver has hammer push-off.

Round butting the frame, narrowing the trigger guard or fitzing the trigger guard altogether is a no-go in my book.

I’ve heard of guys “stoning” the internals, or polishing. My concern with this practice is taking too much off the hammer or trigger, making the revolver unsafe. I steer clear of this practice.

Magna-porting. I don’t like it. I’m probably uneducated on this. I’ve not much experience with the factory ported models like the new model 19’s and the 586’s. If it causes lower velocities, I find this mod akin to drinking near-beer, putting low-octane gasoline in your 1969 Chevy, or getting all your protein from soy.

Things I like. Now concerning the DA pull, some work can be done here, with positive results.

Talking with Art Bellerose from S&W, he advised the thing he likes most is just swap out the main and trigger springs for a better DA pull. He’s done that at the factory for several of my Smith’s, and they never fail to ignite a primer, and the DA pull is awesome.

A .160 rear sight blade notch will help older eyes, but for accurate work, the stock plan black rear blade works best for me. Ditto up front, I like plain serrated black front sights. Skeeter Skelton liked a 1/10 thick front sight blade as opposed to the newer 1/8th. Charles Askins Jr. liked a gold bead front on his New Service, I’ve yet to try it on a revolver. I did have one on a Colt Government Model. I found it washed out in bright snowy conditions too much during the winter to be of any practical use.

So, what do you like to do to improve the performance of your revolver, to make them your own, and maximize your performance with them?

Almost forgot, grips. Always on the hunt for the ultimate grips.

Last edited by GRT3031; 10-11-2018 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:06 AM
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Default Revolver Modifications

The (only) revolvers I shoot have all been sent to TK Custom for full moon clip cylinder modifications, and action work, and I have sent extra cylinders for my "K" frame revolvers to TK's to be machined for 9MM, giving me the 3 caliber choice options of 38/357/9MM. As far as grips, I like rubber Pachmyar decelerator grips. Fancy wood grips are nice, but to me not practical especially when shooting a lot and in all kinds of outdoor weather. I found that once I dedicate a revolver for shooting I accept (the reality) that the revolver has lost any collector value, but truly makes it a custom gun just for me to shoot and enjoy..
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:47 AM
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I used to polish the rebound slide and the mainspring stirrup. I felt it reduced friction between the slide and the frame, and between the stirrup and the mainspring, and also the stirrup and the mainspring rod swivel. I also occasionally polished the cylinder stop to reduce the line on the cylinder. I never messed with the interface between the trigger and hammer myself, though, but I did occasionally have a gunsmith work on them.
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by GRT3031 View Post
Like many of you, I’ve been owning, shooting, & using for work S&W Revolvers since 1985. I’m no authority, I’m not a gunsmith, but back when S&W revolvers were King in American Law Enforcement, slicking up the trigger pull was something that was done often, both for work, competitive, and recreational shooting purposes.

Over the years, I’ve observed a few things I’ve liked and don’t like when it comes to tinkering with a Smith & Wesson Revolver, things that work well and some things that don’t.

Things I don’t like: Jewelling the hammer and trigger, or grinding off the serrations on the trigger face.

Messing with the Single Action pull. In my opinion, there is no reason to try and improve on the SA pull of a Smith revolver. My personal observation is that when this is attempted, the usual result is an unsafe revolver, where the hammer will malfunction & fall, or the revolver has hammer push-off.

Round butting the frame, narrowing the trigger guard or fitzing the trigger guard altogether is a no-go in my book.

I’ve heard of guys “stoning” the internals, or polishing. My concern with this practice is taking too much off the hammer or trigger, making the revolver unsafe. I steer clear of this practice.

Magna-porting. I don’t like it. I’m probably uneducated on this. I’ve not much experience with the factory ported models like the new model 19’s and the 586’s. If it causes velocities to go down, I find this mod akin to drinking near-beer, putting low-octane gasoline in your 1969 Chevy, or getting all your protein from soy.

Things I like. Now concerning the DA pull, some work can be done here, with positive results.

Talking with Art Bellerose from S&W, he advised the thing he likes most is just swap out the main and trigger springs for a better DA pull. He’s done that at the factory for several of my Smith’s, and they never fail to ignite a primer, and the DA pull is awesome.

A .160 rear sight blade notch will help older eyes, but for accurate work, the stock plan black rear blade works best for me. Ditto up front, I like plain serrated black front sights. Skeeter Skelton liked a 1/10 thick front sight blade as opposed to the newer 1/8th. Charles Askins Jr. liked a gold bead front on his New Service, I’ve yet to try it on a revolver. I did have one on a 1911, found it washed out in bright snowy conditions too much during the winter.

What do you like to do to improve the performance of your revolver, to make them your own, and maximize your performance with them?

Almost forgot, grips. Always on the hunt for the ultimate grips.
FOR THE MOST PART, I AGREE WITH YOU--- WITH EXCEPTION OF YOUR AVERSION TO REDUCING AND SMOOTHING THE S/A PULL.. AND ROUNDING AND SMOOTHING THE FACE OF THE TRIGGER ON SD WEAPONS. ALSO--I HAVE NEVER SWAPPED SPRINGS. IF LIGHTER SPRINGS ARE BETTER, WHY DOESNT THE FACTORY INSTALL THEM ? ? ? THE COST TO MANUFACTURE THEM MUST BE THE SAME......

IMHO, THE MOST CRITICAL ISSUE ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PERSON DOING THE WORK ! ! ! THERE IS A MAJOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUBBA AND HIS DREMEL TOOL, AND A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL LIKE DENNIS REICHARD, OF SAND BURR GUN RANCH. HE DOES ALL OF MASSAD AYOOBS WORK---AND BEYOND EVEN THE LEVEL OF MAS, HE IS A MULTI CHAMPIONSHIP PISTOLERO. MAS REFERS TO HIM AS "THE BEST GUNSMITH, CURRENTLY WORKING ON S&W REVOLVERS". HIS .44 MAGNUM REVOLVERS ARE LEGENDARY, AS IS HIS SKILL IN SHOOTING THEM.....

BASED ON THAT ENDORSEMENT, DENNY HAS BEEN GETTING ALL OF MY WORK.....
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:02 AM
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FOR THE MOST PART, I AGREE WITH YOU--- WITH EXCEPTION OF YOUR AVERSION TO REDUCING AND SMOOTHING THE S/A PULL. ALSO--I HAVE NEVER SWAPPED SPRINGS. IF LIGHTER SPRINGS ARE BETTER, WHY DOESNT THE FACTORY INSTALL THEM ? ? ? THE COST TO MANUFACTURE THEM MUST BE THE SAME......

IMHO, THE MOST CRITICAL ISSUE ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PERSON DOING THE WORK ! ! ! THERE IS A MAJOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUBBA AND HIS DREMEL TOOL, AND A GUY LIKE DENNIS REICHARD, OF SAND BURR GUN RANCH. HE DOES ALL OF MASSAD AYOOBS WORK---AND LIKE MAS, HE IS A MULTI CHAMPIONSHIP PISTOLERO. MAS REFERS TO HIM AS "THE BEST GUNSMITH, CURRENTLY WORKING ON S&W REVOLVERS"......

BASED ON THAT ENDORSEMENT, DENNY HAS BEEN GETTING ALL OF MY WORK.....

Regarding springs and DA pull weight, I think over the years the DA pull has got heavier due to the endurance package modifications done in the Post 1990 era guns, 19-6, 19-7, 27-4, 27-5, 29-4, 29-5, and 25-9 Models etc. They put a heavier mainspring in, mostly for reliable ignition, and possibly because of liability. Those are my guesses. Post script, you are hurting my ears.

Last edited by GRT3031; 10-11-2018 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:12 AM
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Several of the things that you dislike, I love.

I have ground off the trigger serrations on many a S&W. I have also round butted a fair number, both for my own use and also for other police officers with smallish hands. I have polished the interior parts as well.

Different stokes for different folks.
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:38 AM
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Several of the things that you dislike, I love.

I have ground off the trigger serrations on many a S&W. I have also round butted a fair number, both for my own use and also for other police officers with smallish hands. I have polished the interior parts as well.

Different stokes for different folks.
Same here
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Old 10-11-2018, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by GRT3031 View Post
Regarding springs and DA pull weight, I think over the years the DA pull has got heavier due to the endurance package modifications done in the Post 1990 era guns, 19-6, 19-7, 27-4, 27-5, 29-4, 29-5, and 25-9 Models etc. They put a heavier mainspring in, mostly for reliable ignition, and possibly because of liability. Those are my guesses. Post script, you are hurting my ears.
I THINK THAT IS A LOGICAL CONCLUSION, GRT3031.....

RE YOUR PS---I HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON THE HARD WAY, FROM THE FORUM ADMINS.....

ALL THAT I CAN SAY IS THAT I TYPE IN CAPS, BECAUSE MY VISION IS IMPAIRED......
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Old 10-11-2018, 03:24 AM
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In the 1980's I was doing a lot of action work on duty and competition guns stoning a little polish and altering springs if done right will reap a lot of reward on any gun if done right. I did a 44 mag for Larry Hagman for his personal collection in his JR days. I have done round butt conversions, bobbed hammers, replaced and fitted triggers, hammers and barrels, installed standard sights, installed ribs and built custom competition guns.

On duty weapons a reliable ignition is very important but ,smoothing things out can help in qualifications and with most officers it may help to instill confidence in their weapons.

With competition guns you can go a lot farther with more polishing and reshaping a few parts, replacing and hand fitting some parts as needed, cylinder alignment and gap, adjusting and balancing spring rates and installing custom barrels.

All of my personal weapons have been tuned anywhere from mild to wild.. I have a target gun with a 4.5 pound double action trigger pull and 1.2 pound single action that is a dream to shoot but, only on the range. One of my carry pistols has a five and a half pound double action that is 100% reliable. The older guns with a fixed firing pin are the best for getting the lightest actions.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:12 AM
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WELL OBVIOUSLY, YOU ARE AN ACCOMPLISHED, AND VERY WELL QUALIFIED 'SMITH.....

THE VAST MAJORITY OF US HAVE NEVER FIRED A FIREARM WITH TRIGGER PULLS LIKE YOU DESCRIBE....

ALL I CAN SAY IS, "WHAT A RUSH ! ! !"
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:49 AM
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I've used bushings from Power Custom. Bought a few tools to install them. Removed a burrs on the inside frame/action area. Havent changed any springs yet. The DA is still pretty stiff. The SA isn't bad. The bushings helped the SA the most, and really smoothed the action.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:30 AM
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FWIW, Smith told me the factory sets trigger pulls at 4.5 lbs SA, 12 DA.
I have a new K and L frame and while I would say the SA trigger is a bit heavy for my tastes the break is clean. I'm inclined to just let them wear or lap in naturally.
Sight mods mentioned above are interesting though. If you can't see it you can't hit it, no matter how slick the action is.
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:27 AM
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i polish the mainspring stirrup, and use wilson combat springs in almost all my S&W revos... with the exception of my old 586, and a model 10-5 with pencil bbl. they never needed any help, they are old, and shot a BUNCH. that said, yes, i do mod. i also practice, a lot.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:02 AM
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If you look at the older prewar Smiths most internally (near the hammer stud area) are super smooth/flat. Newer ones you can see swirl/machining marks. I stone the inside to get it much smoother. Also did it to my one Taurus (that one was like 100grit sandpaper inside ). I also use wolf spring kits.
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:11 PM
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I often stone the bosses for the studs, where the rebound slide rides, . Never found much need to mess with a S&W sear, except the double action sear which must be right to get a smooth transfer from it.

I have round butted guns, shortened grip frames, chopped barrels, changed barrels, reamed cylinders, cut off hammer spurs, milled and installed adjustable sights, cut cylinders for moon clips and about anything else you can do to them.
In other words, I make them the way I want them. I have plenty that are bone stock too.

Hows this for a modification.Shoots 45 colts or 45acps.


Here is what started as a 1917, added adjustable sights, installed a cut down 1959 barrel and cut down and rounded the butt.


How about a 25-5 with barrel cut to 5" and a m0del 29 recessed cylinder fit to get a pinned and recessed 5" 45 colt.


The front gun in this picture started life as a 10-2, now has a recessed 19 357 cylinder, round butt, adjustable sights and a 2 1/2" 19 barrel.


I have as much fun making them what I want as I do shooting them.

Have a round but 10-6 that has a 22 Harvey Kay Chuck cylinder and a 6" K22 barrel. It has a spare cylinder to shoot 22TCM.
Also have a Brazilian that has a 45 colt cylinder and a 4 1/4" 1950 barrel.

I have another Brazilian and a couple 28-2 that will be something else someday.

Present project is an XP100 becoming a 6mm Remington.

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Old 10-11-2018, 02:32 PM
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I've tuned on a few from time to time......

I kind like em my way, smooth DA/crips SA and big in bore size.

Slick em up on the inside to suit....

I've semi-round butt'd a few N frames for concealed carry.

Instead of grinding trigger faces, I install smooth combat triggers.

Having taken two or three wrecks and made one dandy one, a time or two.

I like having what suit my needs.

One of the latest to come off'n the bench.




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An RM convert able.... .357 Magnum & .44 S&W Special.




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Old 10-11-2018, 02:36 PM
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I have shot in competitions since 1979 with only S&W revolvers, heads up against single shot and bolt actions in IHMSA, and semi autos in just about everything else. In order to be as competitive as possible, I have done tons of action work, built lots of custom guns and invented lots of parts and accessories.

My current project is a lockworks kit that makes the DA trigger pull get lighter as you pull the trigger back. The spring tension is adjustable for whatever primers you want to shoot. The current prototype will go from any starting weight down to around 4 pounds right before the hammer falls. The starting weight can be anywhere from 6 to 11 pounds.

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Old 10-11-2018, 03:14 PM
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I have shot in competitions since 1979 with only S&W revolvers, heads up against single shot and bolt actions in IHMSA, and semi autos in just about everything else. In order to be as competitive as possible, I have done tons of action work, built lots of custom guns and invented lots of parts and accessories.

My current project is a lockworks kit that makes the DA trigger pull get lighter as you pull the trigger back. The spring tension is adjustable for whatever primers you want to shoot. The current prototype will go from any starting weight down to around 4 pounds right before the hammer falls. The starting weight can be anywhere from 6 to 11 pounds.

I was shooting (IHMSA) handgun silhouette back about that time...
Had a 29-2 8 3/8 that did purty good....
That Smith had one chamber that shot extra well.

I'd load and shoot that one chamber for good effect, winning several matches using the creedmoor position.

It wasn't a year of so, that practice of just loading one chamber in the revolver class was banned.

But, those slicked up S&W revolvers did us proud.


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Old 10-11-2018, 03:20 PM
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I was shooting (IHMSA) handgun silhouette back about that time...
Had a 29-2 8 3/8 that did purty good....
That Smith had one chamber that shot extra well.

I'd load and shoot that one chamber for good effect, winning several matches using the creedmoor position.

It wasn't a year of so, that practice of just loading one chamber in the revolver class was banned.

But, those slicked up S&W revolvers did us proud.


.
I still shoot mine, DA only, all chambers. Usually get 35/40 or better.
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Old 10-11-2018, 03:21 PM
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When I bought my 17-4 in 1984 it had a crappy DA trigger pull. I took it to Bob Chow in San Francisco and he told me "yes the trigger pull is not as good as it should be" and did a trigger job and action cleanup, charged me 60 dollars. The trigger pull both SA and DA is slick as can be, the timing is perfect etc. I have since put about 15k rounds through it and it is still a joy to shoot. Best 60 dollars I have ever spent. If you know what your doing or have a good gunsmith do the work a trigger job and action tuneup is worth it in my opinion.
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Old 10-11-2018, 03:22 PM
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That is one nice fixed sight 44 special Keith. Notice it has a recessed cylinder, which I bet started life as a 357. What is the frame from?
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by steelslaver View Post
That is one nice fixed sight 44 special Keith. Notice it has a recessed cylinder, which I bet started life as a 357. What is the frame from?

Steel,

A 520 frame, a 29 cylinder and 24 barrel

I shoot mainly 44 Spl "Keith Loads"...
But, could loaded up a few magnums if and when it might be necessary in Bear Country.

Dave


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Old 10-11-2018, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Several of the things that you dislike, I love.

I have ground off the trigger serrations on many a S&W. I have also round butted a fair number, both for my own use and also for other police officers with smallish hands. I have polished the interior parts as well.

Different stokes for different folks.
For many years, Smith didn't offer the round butt configuration. So guys did the modification themselves. Thankfully there are enough factory rounds now I wouldn't feel the need to make one.

Depends on the use and the need. Don't get me wrong, I would not lose a friendship or a potential friendship over this modification.
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by shocker View Post
FWIW, Smith told me the factory sets trigger pulls at 4.5 lbs SA, 12 DA.
I have a new K and L frame and while I would say the SA trigger is a bit heavy for my tastes the break is clean. I'm inclined to just let them wear or lap in naturally.
Sight mods mentioned above are interesting though. If you can't see it you can't hit it, no matter how slick the action is.
When I was issued my S&W 67 when hired on by Savannah PD in 1990, I asked the armorer (a very cantankerous sort) about smoothing up the DA pull and he bit my head off, went on a liability rant. Afterwards he handed my a bottle of breakfree and told me to drench the innards & dry fire the revolver while watching my favorite TV programs. Told me to do this two or 3 times a week for a few weeks.

I don't know if the muscles in my forearm, or the DA pull improved, maybe both, it worked. That stainless non-pin barreled 67 had a super slick DA pull afterwards. No, I was not watching days of our lives.

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Old 10-11-2018, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by keith44spl View Post
I've tuned on a few from time to time......

I kind like em my way, smooth DA/crips SA and big in bore size.

Slick em up on the inside to suit....

I've semi-round butt'd a few N frames for concealed carry.

Instead of grinding trigger faces, I install smooth combat triggers.

Having taken two or three wrecks and made one dandy one, a time or two.

I like having what suit my needs.

One of the latest to come off'n the bench.




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An RM convert able.... .357 Magnum & .44 S&W Special.




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Beautiful. I'd love to have a revolver like the 520 in .45 ACP
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Old 10-11-2018, 11:16 PM
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A buddy of mine emailed me his DA trigger job method. Hopefully this won’t derail a good thread.

"The only mod I make is to degrease gun in hot acetone, remove sideplate and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of Johnson's talcum baby powder thruout the action, making sure to get even coverage. Then replace sideplate.

Install SANDS OF IWO JIMA in DVD player and alternate 3 fast DA pulls to 2 SA pulls during every appearance of John Wayne throughout the movie. Make sure to apply hard thumb pressure to the hammer during release of SA pulls. Add 3 drops of acetone thru the hammer slot at every 50 DA pulls and shake the gun vigorously.

At the finish of the movie and before the credits end {not sure why, but this makes a difference}, remove sideplate, wash out the interior with acetone and liberally coat all interior surfaces of the action with used motor oil obtained from a cold pickup sump, making sure to strain oil thru at least six layers of cheesecloth before applying.

Replace the sideplate, load and holster. You are now ready to go face a collapsing civilization.

The results will amaze you. A DA pull that defies description, eliminating all sense that the gun is made of actual metal, feeling not unlike pulling a claw hammer through a bucket of boiling butter. If the sear notch remains on the hammer, SA pulls are amazing. This is of course my SD modificaton, so SA pulls are considered an added but unnecessary perk. However, if needed and absent, the grip hold can be shifted just a bit to allow the off hand thumb to retain tension on the hammer thus eliminating any jerking of the gun thru poor trigger manipulation.

Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing on my S&W wheelguns.

Too much chance of messing something up."
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:34 AM
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different strokes
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:56 AM
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Beautiful. I'd love to have a revolver like the 520 in .45 ACP

I had this'n until a close friend saw it....


45 ACP & Long Colt / Pre-War HD




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