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S&W-Smithing Maintenance, Repair, and Enhancement of Smith & Wesson and Other Firearms.


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Old 02-03-2020, 12:14 AM
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My father in law has a N frame 357 that he acquired used from the original owner in what he believes was around 1963. The guy he got it from was a target shooter and had done some filing on the sear to lighten trigger pull. All was fine for many decades, but now the revolver has developed severe push off. The lightest touch to the hammer (or the trigger for that matter) will cause the hammer to fall when cocked in single action. The double action sear works fine.
What parts do I need to source to correct this properly? Hammer spur is .500" wide. Do I need a hammer and trigger, or will a hammer alone suffice?
Can parts from a later model N frame be used? How will replacement parts effect value?
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:20 AM
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I have repaired push off by replacing the hammer or the trigger. If you know only the hammer was messed with, that's what I would replace first. Out of the 4 or 5 I've repaired there was only one Highway Patrolman I couldn't fix and It had to go back to S&W, they replaced more parts than I had on hand.
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:21 AM
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Try to find a used hammer. Has to have the firing pin on the hammer. You can swap the double action sear from the old one. Most likely it will be fine. You can also make it double action only. But I wouldn’t on that particular gun.
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:45 AM
S&W revolverman S&W revolverman is offline
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I haven't seen this N frame .357, but if it were mine, first thing would be to count how many coils the rebound slide spring has. Less than 17, I'd replace it.
The other thing I would look at is to carefully stone the bevel of the trigger to sharpen it. This will increase the single action trigger pull, and eliminate the push off condition as described.
Unless some serious ill fated filing has been done previously, I don't think it would require any new parts.
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:48 AM
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Before replacing the hammer or trigger check the rebound slide spring to see if has been shortened or replaced.
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:53 AM
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Here's a thread I started not long ago on 686 with the same issues.
686 no dash with issues
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:15 PM
regmag-621 regmag-621 is online now
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Owly,

usually shooters stone the hammer foot to achieve a lighter trigger pull and at this juncture the angle of the latch is rounded and not longer correct.
A friend of mine (toolmaker here in Germany) restored a destroyed hammer base for me. He ground a special (little) cutter to produce the 90 degree angle.
I think a good gunsmith will be able to bring it back into working condition but he needs an accurate milling machine. He must work very careful (only mill a few 1/100 of a an inch), install the hammer a check if he holds. If doesn't hold he must mill again a few hundredth

Best regards from Germany
Paul SWCA 1354

Ps. My experience with stoning wasen't successful

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Old 02-03-2020, 08:31 PM
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Since you said it worked fine for quite some time, I'm thinking the previous owner stoned past the case hardened and it took awhile for the unhardened metal to wear to the point where it failed. One like that you may as well replace the trigger. Also look at the mainspring and the strain screw. Often the screw will be backed out or shortened to reduce the trigger pull. Or, old bullseye shooters sometimes "re-formed" (bent) the mainspring up near the top 1/2 of the spring.
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Old 02-04-2020, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by H Richard View Post
Since you said it worked fine for quite some time, I'm thinking the previous owner stoned past the case hardened and it took awhile for the unhardened metal to wear to the point where it failed. One like that you may as well replace the trigger. Also look at the mainspring and the strain screw. Often the screw will be backed out or shortened to reduce the trigger pull. Or, old bullseye shooters sometimes "re-formed" (bent) the mainspring up near the top 1/2 of the spring.
Absolutely, I had a 29-2 that I bought from a very reputable and honest Gun Dealer, but a month or so after I got it home,, (it was and still is drop dead gorgeous), except for the ding when the rear sight was broken off on the way home from the new hammer at Smith and Wesson,,,

Of course they had NO new blades, when I begged them to send me the rear sight assembly, they told me to go cut bait...

I told them about the nasty ding on the top strap, they said send it in, we will refinish it,,,, nah, I don't think so....

Now Hank at Smith was a maestro, and I have an kind of homely, poorly work hardened hammer, which Hank replaced, and an absolutely gorgeous trigger that breaks like the proverbial glass rod....


That was the beginning of Smiths down hill slide in the "we'll get it right dept"....

It's still a very nice, low milage 29-2, its been shot enough to say so, but I semi retired my 29-2's shortly after I purchased a 29-5 Classic DX, sadly gone for a Combat Commander when I had a need of such a thing, with a nice wad of cash from my shooting partner...

Still, I would find a nice used hammer, don't skimp on that, and a reputable revolver smith.... tell your Father in Law, not to cheap out, do it right, and it will outlast us all.
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Old 02-04-2020, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bobbysixkiller View Post
Try to find a used hammer. Has to have the firing pin on the hammer. You can swap the double action sear from the old one. Most likely it will be fine. You can also make it double action only. But I wouldn’t on that particular gun.
yes, and period correct....
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:01 AM
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Great insight from all who responded. Thank you gentlemen. Now that I've got some ideas as far as what to look for, now I need to pull the sideplate and have a look inside. I will inspect the springs and probably replace them while I'm in there. I'll have a spare hammer available too to swap in incase the original can't be salvaged.
Thanks again Gents
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Old 02-04-2020, 10:32 AM
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If you have a push off condition, the problem is likely with the bevel on the trigger, and not the hammer. Take a look at the trigger bevel with a magnifier....the sharp edge that the hammer interfaces with during SA. It should be very sharp, and not have a dull or "shiny" edge.

Also, look closely at the SA cocking notch in the hammer. If this notch has been tampered with or is damaged, you'll need a new hammer. This notch cannot be restored.

As others have correctly indicated, a cut or light rebound slide spring can make an existing condition worse, and contribute to the push off scenario. A good cleaning and a full length OEM rebound spring may solve the problem altogether.

If the push off persists after adding the new, OEM rebound spring, and the hammer notch has been examined and determined to be ok, then the trigger bevel should be sharpened to restore proper function. This is not a difficult repair job, but requires the proper 6" medium India stone, and strict adherance to a specific procedure. Sharpening the trigger bevel is much easier than repacing the trigger, and potentially creating a host of new fitting issues by doing so.
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Last edited by armorer951; 02-05-2020 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 02-05-2020, 12:20 AM
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If you need parts you can get them from Numrich Gun Parts.

Smith and Wesson Revolver Parts for Sale
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:19 AM
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The SA notch on the hammer is only .003-.004” deep and case hardened to a approx depth of .003”. It’s pretty much impossible to stone the notch at all due to the hardening depth and the geometry of the notch. As Armorer said it’s the trigger bevel. Pull the hammer and with a glass look at the hammer notch and if it’s been monkeyed with it will be very apparent and as said there is no fix. Put a 15# rebound spring in the gun and see if you can achieve a 4# push - no more. If not replace the trigger. I have seen lots of safe light target triggers ruined by people trying to push off triggers. Every time you force a trigger off you damage the fine SA edge of the trigger. Do it enough and somebody’s work is gone.

Rick
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