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Old 08-01-2017, 08:27 AM
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Default 3913: I Just Can't Shoot this Pistol

I've posted a couple of threads about a new-to-me 3913 9mm covering sight issues. I've now done everything I can to the pistol itself but I just can't shoot it properly. I'm posting today to see if anyone has any suggestions for me to improve my results with this. I like the pistol overall and it fits a nice niche in my concealed carry collection but I can't carry something I can't shoot well.

First, "can't shoot it properly" means my shots are all low and to the left shooting with a two handed Weaver grip. At 20' shots are 1-2" left and cluster about 3" low, though there is an embarrassing vertical spread of the shots. I am a competent shot and in every range session where I've had poor results with the 3913 I've fired another handgun from my collection of S&W Model 60 revolvers, Kimber .45 1911s, or a Kimber Micro 9. I shoot these pistols right where I'm aiming with nice tight groups.

I've added the Hogue grip to fill out the grip on the 3913 and restored the sights on the pistol to factory originals. (The sights on the pistol when I acquired it were worn out night sights with a front sight that was slightly too high.) The new old stock factory sights made a definite improvement on the fuzziness I experienced with the old sights (subject of an earlier post). Also, when I shoot the pistol from a rest it shoots slightly to the left but vertically at the point of aim.

I've studied the "what you're doing wrong" chart for bullet impact and it is telling me I may be using too much or too little trigger finger and that I may be tightening my finger tips. I've experimented with all of this to no avail.

There are two things that bother me when shooting this pistol: First, the length of the grip just doesn't seem right to me. A standard 1911 grip perfectly fills my hand. I also own a 6906 which is overly large for me necessitating me rotating my hand slightly to get a good trigger squeeze, but I don't have trouble shooting where I'm aiming with the 6906.

Second, the trigger on the 3913 is HEAVY. When I try to focus on getting the best possible "surprise me" trigger squeeze in single action it seems to take forever for the seer to break and sometimes I have to stop the squeeze and start over with breathing, sight picture, and trigger. I don't have a scale to measure the pull but it is orders of magnitude heavier than my other pistols.

If I shoot this pistol at a silhouette using rapid fire point and shoot techniques (not precision aimed fire with a deliberate sight picture) I get results similar to this kind of shooting with my other handguns. Shots are in the silhouette and I can reliably count on all 2 or 3 shots fired in quick succession going into the target area. However I want the option of taking reliable aimed shot if appropriate and I just have no confidence I can do that with this pistol.

Counting original purchase price, new sights, spare mags, and gunsmithing I've got about $600 into this pistol. If I'd known this going in (original price was $300) I'd have bought a new 1911 in 9mm. I'm reluctant to dump any more money into this (e.g., trigger job) without having absolute confidence it will improve my performance.

So, I'm looking for any advice on whether I can improve my performance with this particular pistol. I am totally open to the problem being with me but... as I have said, I shoot my other pistols quite competently.

Many thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:49 AM
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You have a grip issue. Are both of your thumbs resting on the left side of the frame or are they locked down on each other like we were taught to do when shooting revolvers?
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:24 AM
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Isn't the rear sight adjustable for windage?

There should be a small set screw in the rear sight.
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:37 AM
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I grew up on SA/DA triggers but had accuracy issues with my 3913. I, like you switched the grips to the fatter Houge grips and it helped a lot. Can I do headshots at 25 yards like my 1911 , no, but quick drawing and firing on multiple targets with in 15 yards, it shines. I bought a 9mm shield to replace the 3913 but sold it after 1 month, I was better with the 3913. Keep trying!
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:41 AM
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Please put me in for this great karma of a 3913!
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:05 PM
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I had the same issue with my 3913TSW. Yet I'm very capable with a 6904/06.

Clearly it must have something to do with the grip. My theory is that I just wasn't able lock the 3913 down under recoil, and the shots would "slip" away from POA. I feel like the wider grip on the 69XX guns lets me exert a lot more lateral force with my support hand... which helps to stabilize the gun. I find I get the same advantage with my Beretta 92 Compact. And I shoot both of those platforms very well.

For single stack DA/SA carry, I went with the Sig P239. While it's not quite as svelte as the 3913, I find it outrageously accurate in my hands. Strangely, its grip is nearly as thin as that of the 3913... yet for some reason, I get a better purchase with my support hand. And the addition of Karl Nill grips or Hogue G10s improve that even more. Also, I think the heavier slide on the P239 might keep it a little more stable while shooting. Caveat: these are all theories, based on "educated conjecture"--not science.

At the end of the day, I have to conclude not every pistol is going to work for every shooter. The 3913 is a great gun, just didn't suit me quite as well as others.

Though I still often think about buying it back from the friend I sold it to...
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyD380 View Post
At the end of the day, I have to conclude not every pistol is going to work for every shooter.
This is gospel. My 3953 is stupid accurate but sometimes small ergonomic conflicts between shooter and gun make a big difference.
It sounds like you are experiencing real world self-defense appropriate accuracy but if it is shaking your belief in the pistol it may just be a "doesn't work for me" situation.

Sorry, great gun otherwise.

GHEN
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:04 PM
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What are you using for ammunition? I had the exact same problem with my pre rail 3913TSW and my 3953. I was using 115gr rounds at the time. I found that moving to 124gr improved both issues greatly (I still pull a bit to the left, but that's me). It's even less of an issue with 147gr.

Here is an picture of my target with my new pre rail 3953TSW.



As you can see, I still do pull a bit to my right, but not as much as I used to.

This is an earlier target with my pre rail 3913TSW with 115gr rounds.



I can't comment on the "heavy" feeling of the trigger, all of my 3913s have a good trigger pull. The DAO are a bit heavier, but once you get used to that, it's not bad. Actually similar to a DA trigger on a K frame. Which I think was the goal there.

Like you, I was incredibly frustrated until I has an "AH HAH" moment with regard to the ammunition.
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:10 PM
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Has anyone else shot the pistol? Same issue?

Some thoughts..........................

20 ft is 7yds......bore is 1/2" or so below the sights.... bullets travel in an arc.

What hold are you using? A 6 O'clock hold or covering the intended POI with the front dot? Using a 6 O'clock hold on a bulleye target at 21 ft almost guarantees the shots will be low.

Three dot sights line up the dots horizontally ....don't line up top of front sight with the top of the rear sight.........

you replaced the rear sight ...... is it centered?? ...maybe move rear sight to the right........

Ammo weight will also impact............ I use 124gr or maybe 115 ......... not 147

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Old 08-01-2017, 03:04 PM
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Echoing other posts; you have two problems, .... you have a grip and reaction to the shot problem...and....you have now developed a lack of confidence in this handgun and your ability to make it shoot accurately.

The weight of the trigger pull is significant in that you have developed a habit in 'staging' your trigger pulls. That is OK in target shooting, but is a terrible habit that can get you killed in self defense. I would get the trigger pull 'fixed' just because it should be.

IMHO, you should find a competent handgun shooting coach to watch you shoot this handgun. Then follow his advise.

In the meantime do this while practicing: using mild loads....place the gun in your strong hand firmly, wrap your support hand around the strong hand, make sure that the gun when in firing position is lined up directly with the strong hand forearm, interlock your thumbs in any manner that is comfortable to you, press upward with the index finger on your support hand against the trigger guard, maintain the same pressure every time you are pulling the trigger.

Your body should be positioned as a "C" with about 60% of your weight on the front ball of the feet with your upper body leaning forward. The strong arm should be tense in pushing while the support arm should be tense in pulling. Your chest from arm to arm should be tense. Your feet should be firmly planted and slightly pigeontoed. All these positionings should be consistent from shot to shot.

In the first few shots of any practice session you should look slightly over the sights, at the target and at the shot be looking at the rear of the handgun. Watch the slide work and the ejection of the brass. Do that a few times and then forget about it. Go back to using the sights. DO NOT look at the target after every shot to see where it hit. Make sure that when the gun fires you are looking at that front sight and nothing else.

Do all the above and watch your groups move back to point of aim
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:06 PM
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Thanks much for all of the great and thoughtful comments. I want to reply to a few of them in detail but that will have to wait just a bit. But I really appreciate the comments and insights.
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:09 PM
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Iwestatbus...I'm sending you a pm.
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
Has anyone else shot the pistol? Same issue?
Had two range officers/instructors shoot the pistol on two different visits. One put the shots right through the ten ring and the other shot right where I did. Go figure.

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Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
What hold are you using? A 6 O'clock hold or covering the intended POI with the front dot? Using a 6 O'clock hold on a bulleye target at 21 ft almost guarantees the shots will be low.
I actually shoot at 2" Shoot 'n' See pasters on plain 11 x 17 paper and hold at 6 o'clock on the pasters.

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Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
Three dot sights line up the dots horizontally ....don't line up top of front sight with the top of the rear sight.........
That's what I do. (I'd also contacted S&W about designed POA on this pistol and they replied it was intended to cover the intended POI with the front sight dot, not to hold under it.) But when I comment on the POI being low it is relative to my POA.

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Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
you replaced the rear sight ...... is it centered?? ...maybe move rear sight to the right........
Had the new sights installed by a gun smith of good reputation, though he is more a 1911 guy than a 3g guy. I am definitely going to move the sight to adjust for windage but want to be sure I can get the elevation under control first as that is the most vexing problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
Ammo weight will also impact............ I use 124gr or maybe 115 ......... not 147
Had the same POI problems with the original (to me) sights and experimented with all three bullet weights. I had no discernible difference in POI with the three weights.

Thanks much for the thoughtful advice.
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:28 PM
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Lots of good advice already in this thread, and since I just spent the weekend helping a friend get used to shooting his new 908, I'll add a few ideas.

First, coming from 1911 semi-auto's, the 3913 trigger is going to take some practice to get right. I've found 1911's to be the easiest pistols to shoot accurately, but they kind of spoil you for a TDA trigger like this. To start, I would recommend doing a lot of dry-fire practice with your 3913's DA trigger pull. Think of it as building muscle strength and memory, and don't go overly slow to begin with or get caught up on you're sight picture or being perfect. Get your hand used to the trigger pull and weight, with a secondary goal of trying to keep the gun steady while you're doing this. After the gun feels more natural in hand from this practice, slow the pull down and concentrate on more finesse with a smooth trigger break and steady front sight.

Secondly, I prefer to place the pad (or middle) of the end of the finger on the trigger when shooting. This seems to me to be the best way to mitigate shooting to the left.

Lastly, leaning forward with your stance, locking the elbows out, and keeping a firm (but not a shaky death grip) on the gun while firing will give you a good base and hopefully help with the shots 'dipping.'

I'm sure that you already have heard some of this advice, but basically what I'm stressing is doing lots of dry-fire practice off the range to get yourself used to this pistol. It pays huge dividends at the range (and can save lots of money too).

Best of luck with you're 3913!
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Old 08-01-2017, 06:40 PM
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Sold mine, wish I hadn't. I'll take it! But seriously, it is a thin pistol and needs a proper grip. Once you get the hang of it you'll be sold.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiganScott View Post
You have a grip issue. Are both of your thumbs resting on the left side of the frame or are they locked down on each other like we were taught to do when shooting revolvers?
Both on the left side of the frame--right hand (shooting hand) thumb on top of the left thumb.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Cholla View Post
Echoing other posts; you have two problems, .... you have a grip and reaction to the shot problem...and....you have now developed a lack of confidence in this handgun and your ability to make it shoot accurately.
True.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Cholla View Post
The weight of the trigger pull is significant in that you have developed a habit in 'staging' your trigger pulls. That is OK in target shooting, but is a terrible habit that can get you killed in self defense. I would get the trigger pull 'fixed' just because it should be.
Not sure exactly what you mean here, especially about 'staging'. I have learned that this pistol has a very short reset if you control how far you let it out after a shot. Is that what you mean by staging? My major concern with my performance stems from doing deliberate, slow fire, focus on the basics of breathing, sight picture, and trigger squeeze. If I can't master that your comment on confidence is right on target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Cholla View Post
In the meantime do this while practicing: using mild loads....place the gun in your strong hand firmly, wrap your support hand around the strong hand, make sure that the gun when in firing position is lined up directly with the strong hand forearm, interlock your thumbs in any manner that is comfortable to you, press upward with the index finger on your support hand against the trigger guard, maintain the same pressure every time you are pulling the trigger.

Your body should be positioned as a "C" with about 60% of your weight on the front ball of the feet with your upper body leaning forward. The strong arm should be tense in pushing while the support arm should be tense in pulling. Your chest from arm to arm should be tense. Your feet should be firmly planted and slightly pigeontoed. All these positionings should be consistent from shot to shot.

In the first few shots of any practice session you should look slightly over the sights, at the target and at the shot be looking at the rear of the handgun. Watch the slide work and the ejection of the brass. Do that a few times and then forget about it. Go back to using the sights. DO NOT look at the target after every shot to see where it hit. Make sure that when the gun fires you are looking at that front sight and nothing else.
Much of what you write here is what I am already doing but I will pay attention to some of the details which are new to me, at least in terms of thinking about them. The final paragraph in this block is definitely new to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Cholla View Post
Do all the above and watch your groups move back to point of aim
Hopefully.

A lot of your advice seems to focus on some shooting basics and I feel myself to be a competent handgun shot with a wide variety of firearms. My main focus on this particular pistol is to discover why fundamentals that work quite well for me in other handguns aren't working for me on this one.

Thanks for the thoughtful advice.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
What are you using for ammunition? I had the exact same problem with my pre rail 3913TSW and my 3953. I was using 115gr rounds at the time. I found that moving to 124gr improved both issues greatly (I still pull a bit to the left, but that's me). It's even less of an issue with 147gr.

I can't comment on the "heavy" feeling of the trigger, all of my 3913s have a good trigger pull. The DAO are a bit heavier, but once you get used to that, it's not bad. Actually similar to a DA trigger on a K frame. Which I think was the goal there.

Like you, I was incredibly frustrated until I has an "AH HAH" moment with regard to the ammunition.
I experimented with all three common bullet weights for 9mm and did not find any change in POI between them. This was a full box each in one session using the same techniques. This was before the sight change out.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal44 View Post
Isn't the rear sight adjustable for windage?

There should be a small set screw in the rear sight.
Yes, the rear sight is adjustable for windage and my gunsmith told me he had not put LockTite on the set screw in case I needed to make an adjustment. I'll definitely fiddle with this but my main priority is the abysmal performance, both POI and distribution in the vertical dimension.
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:00 PM
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I have to ask - did you change the recoil spring (part #100950000)? Something as simple and cheap as that may affect the accuracy.
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:43 PM
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I am so glad that someone else "can't shoot the 3913xxx". After all the talk about what a grand firearm they 3913's are I had to have one. Found one on-line and ordered it up. Took it to the range a couple of times and out in the back yard a few....had my son shoot it..............

Neither of us liked it; couldn't shoot it; took it to the next local gun show and traded it to a dealer for a S&W 19-2............WOW....Now, I'm happy!

edit - fatfingered the model LOL. Traded for a 19-2.

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Old 08-02-2017, 07:51 AM
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As others have indicated, sometimes, the firearm just doesn't fit - no matter how hard you try, or want it to. I've tried on two different occasions two different S&W handguns in the 6900 series. Neither time worked for me. I couldn't hit what I was aiming at, others had no problems killing the "X" ring. I consider myself a competent shooter, and used to shoot competitively with some success. I finally concluded that the S&W 6900 series just doesn't work for me. Same story with the Sig Sauer P-220.

Also, I'm struck by one thing you wrote: "...I also own a 6906 which is overly large for me necessitating me rotating my hand slightly to get a good trigger squeeze, but I don't have trouble shooting where I'm aiming with the 6906." Have you tried using something like a Hogue HandAll grip on your 3913: HandAll Universal Grip Sleeves - Handgun Grips - Hogue Products

Good luck,

Dave
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:13 AM
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Here is some more information on the pistol and some responses to the later posts in this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lwestatbus
Second, the trigger on the 3913 is HEAVY
I took the pistol to a local gunsmith I'd located who has experience with S&Ws of all types. He measured the trigger pull and found it was 7.5 lbs!!! Ouch. His partner in the shop called it a "cop trigger" which made a lot of sense but which doesn't help with my issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbethel View Post
I have to ask - did you change the recoil spring (part #100950000)? Something as simple and cheap as that may affect the accuracy.
I discussed options with the gunsmith. He said he absolutely would not do any work on the seer for liability reasons and I concur with that assessment. We did discuss changing the hammer spring (not recoil spring). He's aware of an approach where you buy a couple of new hammer springs and start trimming coils from one to see if the reduced pressure on the hammer reduces the trigger pull. More on this in a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double-O-Dave View Post
Have you tried using something like a Hogue HandAll grip on your 3913: HandAll Universal Grip Sleeves - Handgun Grips - Hogue Products
Looked these products up and might consider them but I already have the thicker Hogue grips for this pistol installed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TercGen View Post
Lots of good advice already in this thread, and since I just spent the weekend helping a friend get used to shooting his new 908, I'll add a few ideas.

First, coming from 1911 semi-auto's, the 3913 trigger is going to take some practice to get right. I've found 1911's to be the easiest pistols to shoot accurately, but they kind of spoil you for a TDA trigger like this. To start, I would recommend doing a lot of dry-fire practice with your 3913's DA trigger pull. Think of it as building muscle strength and memory, and don't go overly slow to begin with or get caught up on you're sight picture or being perfect. Get your hand used to the trigger pull and weight, with a secondary goal of trying to keep the gun steady while you're doing this. After the gun feels more natural in hand from this practice, slow the pull down and concentrate on more finesse with a smooth trigger break and steady front sight.

Secondly, I prefer to place the pad (or middle) of the end of the finger on the trigger when shooting. This seems to me to be the best way to mitigate shooting to the left.

Lastly, leaning forward with your stance, locking the elbows out, and keeping a firm (but not a shaky death grip) on the gun while firing will give you a good base and hopefully help with the shots 'dipping.'

I'm sure that you already have heard some of this advice, but basically what I'm stressing is doing lots of dry-fire practice off the range to get yourself used to this pistol. It pays huge dividends at the range (and can save lots of money too).

Best of luck with your 3913!
Terc, You seem to have primarily been writing about dealing with the DA trigger but, given what I know about the trigger weight in SA some of this advice is going to be relevant. See immediately below.

Here's what I've decided to do:

I'm going to keep the pistol and see if I can learn how to deal with the heavy trigger. This is going to necessitate learning some new techniques but I'll stop this effort if it interferes with muscle memory on my other handguns. The 3913 will probably never go into regular carry rotation given my confidence issues with precision aimed fire but will be a back-up resource in case of a zombie apocalypse. I don't think I am going to fiddle with the hammer spring as I've already got too much money into this but may change my mind if enough people tell me they have had success with this approach.

Many thanks to all who had suggestions and thanks to those who had similar problems--its nice to know I'm not alone with this.

Larry
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwestatbus View Post
We did discuss changing the hammer spring (not recoil spring).
Not knowing the exact age of your pistol or round count, that recoil spring may have been compressed in the pistol for up to 27 years. PM your address and I will send you a new one just to take that out of the accuracy equation!
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Old 08-04-2017, 05:49 PM
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For me it was just insuring I am actuating the trigger straight back. It's so easy to move your trigger finger to the left thus pushing the shot low and left. I was once told "It doesn't matter if you pull the trigger, squeeze the trigger, jerk the trigger, yank the trigger, press the trigger or whatever...just don't move the gun when you do it!"

When dry firing I watched the front sight and found out for me how to hold and fire it so it didn't move. If I do my part it hits POA. I shoot all my 3rd gens well now and can transition between them and striker fired without issue.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:05 PM
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I think it may be the gun just does not fit you, as others have said. I was looking to buy a browning hi-power, so I rented it to use in the range one day. I kept missing the target completely. Then i started hitting the edge down and to the left( just like you). I realized that gun and me just didn't mix.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:20 PM
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Just a few thoughts. Your comment about the heavy trigger and shooting a model 60 has me wondering if you are shooting your model 60 exclusively in Single Action. If this is the case set a new rule for yourself with any revolver, that is NO SINGLE ACTION SHOOTING AT LESS THAN 15 YARDS Because training with a revolver in double action is the surest method I have ever found for improving and refining trigger skills.

Second, some 9mm semi autos are more sensitive to bullet weight than others. My carry pistol is a Ruger LC9S Pro and with 115 grain ammunition and with a Combat Hold it shoots about 2 inches low at 10 yards. Change to 124 grain ammo and it shoots about an inch low. Then load it with 147 grain ammo and it is dead on perfect with a Combat Sight Picture (the bullet shoots to the dot in the front sight). If I get out my 9mm Ruger SR1911 the deviation between bullet weights is about half what I get with the smaller pistol. Note, until I built up enough once fired cases for 9mm I was shooting the LC9S exclusively with 115 grain Remington UMC and I was half convinced that my shooting low with this pistol had to be because I was flinching. It wasn't until I actually started loading my own ammo before I became convinced the pistol had the sights regulated for 147 grain bullets.

BTW, if you are interested in a spectacular pistol for Pocket Carry treat yourself to an LC9S. The trigger is the finest striker trigger I have ever shot and it has a very short pre-travel, very clean break, and a weight of 4.5 lbs. on the dot. recoil can be a bit snappy, especially with 115 grain loads but it's not the least bit painful and 147 grain loads will have you thinking you are shooting a much heavier pistol. Finally with well over 1800 rounds downrange I have yet to have one single failure of any description. BTW, that includes the Federal HST I carry.

Concerning your windage issue I would suggest that you do some very careful sighted shooting from a sandbag rest. Because before you drift your rear sight you really want to be certain that your not shooting left due to a flaw in your technique.

BTW, I have been shooting for enough years to have experienced nearly every possible fault in technique and what helped me the most was practicing and mastering shooting a revolver in Double Action. I will also note that I have a 6 inch Dan Wesson 15-2 that has a DA trigger weight of about 13 lbs. and I even practice with this revolver in double action, sometimes even out to 50 yards off a rest.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:03 PM
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There are some really easy, simple things you can do
all by yourself to improve that trigger WITHOUT getting
in over your head.

1. Take the assembly apart, just as in the Utube Vid.

2. Simply clean and inspect every piece, individually.

3. Rub a piece of cotton over the mating surfaces...
if hairs pull out, you have machining burrs.

4. Use a piece of 600-grit to CAREFULLY sand them smooth.
Take care to use a BLOCK and DON'T CHANGE ANY ANGLES.
You are just cleaning up a mess, not creating a new one

5. Pay attention to the sides of the parts where they attach
internally, smooth as needed, again, no angle changing.
(see those pin holes? should be baby butt smooth around them)
Replace any rusty pins if you can't clean them up nice.
It is AMAZING how many 20+yr old guns are filled with rusty pins.

6. Lube lightly, Reassemble and poundage test.

7. Notate the results. Lighter pull? Feel better?
If you like the new feel, STOP THERE.

Also known as a light Fluff & Buff

If it's not quite enough, the next stage is to disassemble,
then lightly polish the mating surfaces. Simply Polish a little.
Again, no angle-changing or heavy grinding. Just Polishing.
NO DREMELS, NO POWERBALLS. Light Hand Polishing.
Lube, Reassemble, Test.

Copious amount of Utube vids on this...if needed.

Just remember one thing.
NO POWER TOOLS OF ANY KIND.
Unless you wanna make your gunsmith rich
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:35 PM
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My suggestion is shoot the gun off a bench rest with various types of ammo, all single action. This will gve you a good idea of the intrinsic accuracy of the gun & ammo selection.
Then try various grip stles 2 hand, making one change at a time... the scientic method we were taught in school... record all your results.
Have your instructor watch your grip. It may just be that the gun doesn't like your grip.
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flagman1776 View Post
My suggestion is shoot the gun off a bench rest with various types of ammo, all single action. This will gve you a good idea of the intrinsic accuracy of the gun & ammo selection.
Then try various grip stles 2 hand, making one change at a time... the scientic method we were taught in school... record all your results.
Have your instructor watch your grip. It may just be that the gun doesn't like your grip.
Thanks, Flag. I've actually done this. Before the sight change all three bullet weights were hitting at POA at 20 ft. I haven't tried the different bullet weights after the sight change but when shooting 115 from a rest at 20 ft I am vertically on POA and 1-2" to the left. I'll deal with that issue after confirming it with another range session.
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhump1961 View Post
For me it was just insuring I am actuating the trigger straight back. It's so easy to move your trigger finger to the left thus pushing the shot low and left. I was once told "It doesn't matter if you pull the trigger, squeeze the trigger, jerk the trigger, yank the trigger, press the trigger or whatever...just don't move the gun when you do it!"

When dry firing I watched the front sight and found out for me how to hold and fire it so it didn't move. If I do my part it hits POA. I shoot all my 3rd gens well now and can transition between them and striker fired without issue.
This is definitely going to be the focus of my next session with this pistol. My first issue pistol in the Army was a 1911 that was significantly older than I was and that rattled when you shook it. But I took only head shots on the silhouette targets by just using both eyes open and looking down the sides of the slide. In my next session I was going to throw away the book on target shooting and focus on mastering the trigger in just the way you have suggested and focus on overcoming the downward POI drift.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:31 AM
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I share your difficulty with the 3913 in the ways that you have though I have not pursued resolve to the extent you have. I have changed out the grip to the Hogue grips but have not enjoyed any resolve.

I shoot 124 gr in this pistol and my groups are insufferably low and left.

I do think a trigger job would help though I now subscribe to the "not every pistol works for everyone" school. I'm keeping the 3913 because it's a classic and it's cool to me.

The last thing that I can offer in terms of information is that I mainly shoot Sigs (P229 Extreme, P229 SAS, M11 A-1, and P239) and I'm dead on with those leaving me to think that it's the pistol more than the shooter.

I may try 147 gr in the 3913 to experiment.
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:58 AM
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I read through the thread, but didnt see where the OP tried 147 grain rounds. All my 39XX series pistols like 147 grain best and shoot the tightest groups to POA with it.

Hogue grips generally improve control of a 39XX gun too.

Im inclined to go with those who say that some folks are just not compatible with certain guns. Like me and the Glock 36. I want to like it but it just doesnt work, for me.

OP before I dumped that 3913, I would dry fire it 2 or 300 times and try some 147 grain rounds, if you havent already. Good luck! Regards 18DAI
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:20 AM
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He mentioned in a post that he tried all three common weight rounds. I'd guess that 147 was one of them.

I've found that putting a grip sleeve over the Delrin grips improves my hold and comfort level. The stock grips always feel, for lack of a better word, "loose" in my hands.

Or it might just be that the 3913 is not for him and it's time to move on. I found the same with the M&P9c I had for a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
I read through the thread, but didnt see where the OP tried 147 grain rounds. All my 39XX series pistols like 147 grain best and shoot the tightest groups to POA with it.

Hogue grips generally improve control of a 39XX gun too.

Im inclined to go with those who say that some folks are just not compatible with certain guns. Like me and the Glock 36. I want to like it but it just doesnt work, for me.

OP before I dumped that 3913, I would dry fire it 2 or 300 times and try some 147 grain rounds, if you havent already. Good luck! Regards 18DAI
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:24 AM
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As many have mentioned, there are just some guns that don't fit a specific shooter. I have had some. Just had an experience with a Sig 320C. Me + that gun = crappy performance.
As an example where I did adapt is my Chiappa Rhino. I bought one because I love the engineering principle and like different stuff. First trip to the range was not so pretty. Did some research on grip style and the next trips were all where they should be.
I am more of a shooter than a collector so I would post that 3913 here on the forum. Reason being the guys know what each item you did to that gun costs and you did all the recommended things. So, you'll get credit from these guys. Post it on Armslist or GB and nodoby'll give you anything more than a plain jane 3913.
Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
I read through the thread, but didnt see where the OP tried 147 grain rounds. All my 39XX series pistols like 147 grain best and shoot the tightest groups to POA with it.
Yep, did try 115, 124, & 147 grain rounds. When shooting from a rest there was no discernible difference in POI between them and all three were shooting at POA.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by email4eric View Post
I share your difficulty with the 3913 in the ways that you have though I have not pursued resolve to the extent you have. I have changed out the grip to the Hogue grips but have not enjoyed any resolve.

I shoot 124 gr in this pistol and my groups are insufferably low and left.

I do think a trigger job would help though I now subscribe to the "not every pistol works for everyone" school. I'm keeping the 3913 because it's a classic and it's cool to me.

The last thing that I can offer in terms of information is that I mainly shoot Sigs (P229 Extreme, P229 SAS, M11 A-1, and P239) and I'm dead on with those leaving me to think that it's the pistol more than the shooter.

I may try 147 gr in the 3913 to experiment.
Seems like we have quite a bit in common. Thanks for the comments.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:56 AM
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Default Ordered New Hammer Springs

I'd said I wasn't going to put any more into this pistol but...

In a previous post I relayed that the gunsmith I'd consulted discussed trimming coils from the hammer spring to reduce pull weight. I started researching this approach and found that Wolff Gunsprings actually makes replacement springs in different weights and sells a pack of three springs in different weights.

Wolff's site says that the factory original springs are designed to be 20 lbs (this isn't the trigger pull weight) and the pack includes springs for 17, 18, & 19 lbs. The spring pack was only $9.00 (shipping was almost as much) so I'm willing to give these a try.

You can see Wolff Gunsprings S&W Numbered Series Pistols. Wolff seems to offer a pretty comprehensive set of springs for a number of handguns.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
What are you using for ammunition? I had the exact same problem with my pre rail 3913TSW and my 3953. I was using 115gr rounds at the time. I found that moving to 124gr improved both issues greatly (I still pull a bit to the left, but that's me). It's even less of an issue with 147gr.

Here is an picture of my target with my new pre rail 3953TSW.



As you can see, I still do pull a bit to my right, but not as much as I used to.

This is an earlier target with my pre rail 3913TSW with 115gr rounds.



I can't comment on the "heavy" feeling of the trigger, all of my 3913s have a good trigger pull. The DAO are a bit heavier, but once you get used to that, it's not bad. Actually similar to a DA trigger on a K frame. Which I think was the goal there.

Like you, I was incredibly frustrated until I has an "AH HAH" moment with regard to the ammunition.
this chart cut up like a pie pertains to right handed shooting with a double action revolver. Notice that there is no info on that chart regarding the weak, support hand. The info there may not help you with a two hand hold.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:25 AM
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One other thing I'll say about shooting pistols and the advice given is that what works for one is great but might not work for another...too many variables. Having small hands I can't replicate what someone with larger hands does, I have to grip it to suit my hands. There are fundamentals that shouldn't be ignored but a lot of it is personal preference.

For example some will say that you should use just the tip or first pad on your trigger finger and not the second knuckle. Most of us have watched Hickok45 and wish we could shoot like he does yet he sinks his finger deep into the trigger guard!

I know the OP will figure out what he need to do with the 3913 to get the desired result. I would also be willing to wager that whatever that is can be used successfully on most all other guns and perhaps improve things overall. When I start to struggle a bit I revert back to my revolvers in DA to shore up my trigger finger...revolvers in DA demand good technique and keep me from getting too loose.

I look forward to future range reports.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:06 PM
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I have found that if I am not on the range regularly with my compact 3rd gens ( 3904,6904, shorty 40, TSW 4013 ect ) I have a tendency to put to much finger in the guard and will pull low left consistently with them. Takes a little time to get the groove back and then I will shoot well with them. I normally carry a 5943 DAO and shoot it often but will struggle at first when I go directly to the normal D/SA smith and pull low and left. It's a fight for a few rounds until I think about it and watch how I hit the trigger with my finger.
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Old 08-07-2017, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwestatbus View Post
Terc, You seem to have primarily been writing about dealing with the DA trigger but, given what I know about the trigger weight in SA some of this advice is going to be relevant. See immediately below.

Here's what I've decided to do:

I'm going to keep the pistol and see if I can learn how to deal with the heavy trigger. This is going to necessitate learning some new techniques but I'll stop this effort if it interferes with muscle memory on my other handguns.

Larry
Hi Larry, glad you decided to keep the 3913 and to try and adapt to it. I feel that the first DA shot is the hardest to master, but after doing so the SA shot becomes much easier, as you have already become used to the grip and built up some muscle memory. Not to mention that it is just plain easier to dry-fire practice in DA with the 3913, simply hold in place and keep pulling the trigger.

Like 18DAI mentioned, hundreds of dry-fires will really help with this pistol. The Hogue grip sleeves have been mentioned for a better grip and that's not a bad idea either, I personally like to use a strip of traction or grip tape on the back of the grips.

I own many TDA S&W 3rd Gens, but have no problem transitioning to DA Kahrs, the original Ruger LC9, or revolvers - more of an automatic adjustment with each, though I mainly practice with TDA guns . Everyone is different, but for me it seemed to expand my muscle memory rather than replace one with the other.

If you swap in the lighter Wolff mainspring, I would recommend just going down 1lb in weight, and making sure that your firing pin channel is nice and clean. I have read that one of the reasons for the stronger factory mainspring is to ensure that the firing pin makes it through any blockages with a dirty firing pin channel with enough force to set off the round. Removing the safety body and firing pin would be the best way to get things clean, but a pipe cleaner through the breach face side of the firing pin hole will work good too.

Good luck Larry, and I hope you are able to find some common ground with your 3913!
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:21 PM
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flagman1776 flagman1776 is offline
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I don't know if there is enough thickness in these grips but on my M39-2 in 9X21 and a 1911A1... I relieved the underside of the grip panels (with a mill) and used skateboard tape on the front strap. Trimmed to fit under the grip panels edge. (Also a couple of other mongrel 22 pocket pistols I did both front & back straps.)

My old service M66-1 still wears Hogue nylon (not rubber) monogrips... there is something sophisticated about the shape. With factory service stocks, the drill was fire 2 (full house magnums) & adjust grip on the gun. With the ugly monogrip, I could rip through all 6 & have a better grip after than when i started. I don't know if there is any such for the 3913... besides it's probably a individual hand fit thing.

Best wishes.
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Last edited by flagman1776; 08-07-2017 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TercGen View Post
Hi Larry, glad you decided to keep the 3913 and to try and adapt to it. I feel that the first DA shot is the hardest to master, but after doing so the SA shot becomes much easier, as you have already become used to the grip and built up some muscle memory. Not to mention that it is just plain easier to dry-fire practice in DA with the 3913, simply hold in place and keep pulling the trigger.

Like 18DAI mentioned, hundreds of dry-fires will really help with this pistol. The Hogue grip sleeves have been mentioned for a better grip and that's not a bad idea either, I personally like to use a strip of traction or grip tape on the back of the grips.

I own many TDA S&W 3rd Gens, but have no problem transitioning to DA Kahrs, the original Ruger LC9, or revolvers - more of an automatic adjustment with each, though I mainly practice with TDA guns . Everyone is different, but for me it seemed to expand my muscle memory rather than replace one with the other.

If you swap in the lighter Wolff mainspring, I would recommend just going down 1lb in weight, and making sure that your firing pin channel is nice and clean. I have read that one of the reasons for the stronger factory mainspring is to ensure that the firing pin makes it through any blockages with a dirty firing pin channel with enough force to set off the round. Removing the safety body and firing pin would be the best way to get things clean, but a pipe cleaner through the breach face side of the firing pin hole will work good too.

Good luck Larry, and I hope you are able to find some common ground with your 3913!
Thanks much for the update. Still waiting on the Wolff springs to arrive. Will definitely clean out the firing pin channel but will experiment with all three spring weights in the kit just to get an idea if there is any real difference. I went ahead and invested in an inexpensive trigger pull weight scale and it is consistently recording a 7 lb trigger so I'll be able to check to see if the springs make any difference almost immediately.

I'm not too worried about the first DA shot. In a defensive situation the first shot is either going to be up close and personal and followed by several more or part of a 2-3 shot suppression effort followed by set up for more finely aimed fire if possible (or running away). IF I can improve my performance with this pistol I will ramp up my efforts to find a spurred hammer for the pistol. Numrich had one a few months ago but it is now shown as out of stock.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
I have found that if I am not on the range regularly with my compact 3rd gens ( 3904,6904, shorty 40, TSW 4013 ect ) I have a tendency to put to much finger in the guard and will pull low left consistently with them. Takes a little time to get the groove back and then I will shoot well with them. I normally carry a 5943 DAO and shoot it often but will struggle at first when I go directly to the normal D/SA smith and pull low and left. It's a fight for a few rounds until I think about it and watch how I hit the trigger with my finger.
This is interesting. I did experiment with different finger placement on the trigger but it is interesting to hear that this specific issue had a specific cause and effect relationship with the same problem I'm having. Once I get my new springs in I'll try to experiment with this more systematically.
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:00 AM
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Interested in hearing an update!
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:48 AM
foxy320 foxy320 is offline
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When my dept went to Beretta 92's I carried one awhile. It fed anything, worked fine & from a rest shot great groups. When I shot it the target looked like it had been shot with a shotgun. Probably put a thousand rounds thru it & just couldn't shoot well with it. Finally went back to my grandfathered revolver
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:01 PM
James&theGiant1911 James&theGiant1911 is offline
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Interesting....

Every short stack or double 9mm Smith and Wesson third gen I have owned has never fit my hand right. Hence why I no longer own a 9mm in Smith and Wesson, if you want the best 9mm on the planet then get a Hi Power. Otherwise stick to 40 cal and 45 cal 3 rd gens

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Old 08-13-2017, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by email4eric View Post
Interested in hearing an update!
Here it is. I can shoot it now!!!

Received my Wolff Gunsprings assortment of three different hammer springs Friday and I had also purchased my own trigger weight gauge. Wolff says the original spring on this pistol is 20 lb and the original tripped the gauge at 7 lb. I successively cycled through the 19#, 18#, and then the 17# springs but each of them still tripped the gauge at 7 lb. Bummer. But when I was dry firing with the 17# spring the trigger release just felt smoother to me. Time to hit the range.

Just returned from the range 10 minutes ago and am VERY pleased to report the pistol is now working fine for me. Left the 17# spring in since it was the last one I'd installed and I also put the trigger almost to the knuckle on my trigger finger.

My original groups were vertically on POA and slightly left. However when I really locked back my right arm (I shoot right handed) POA became POI!! Further, the trigger just felt lighter and definitely crisper despite what the scale said. I never had any of those, "When is it ever going to fire?" moments where I had to take a new breath and start over with the shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter123 View Post
Just a few thoughts. Your comment about the heavy trigger and shooting a model 60 has me wondering if you are shooting your model 60 exclusively in Single Action. If this is the case set a new rule for yourself with any revolver, that is NO SINGLE ACTION SHOOTING AT LESS THAN 15 YARDS Because training with a revolver in double action is the surest method I have ever found for improving and refining trigger skills.
Took my trusty old K22 Masterpiece to the range with me on this session because of Scooter's advice. After getting reasonable groups with the 3913 I fired about 50 rounds in DA only with the K22 and focused on trigger while keeping the pistol on target. This worked surprisingly well and I learned a lot with just a few rounds. Went back to the 3913 and shot even better, including a 15 round sequence of rapid fire (3 mags of 5) with very satisfactory results. Many thanks for this advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lhump1961 View Post
For me it was just ensuring I am actuating the trigger straight back. It's so easy to move your trigger finger to the left thus pushing the shot low and left. I was once told "It doesn't matter if you pull the trigger, squeeze the trigger, jerk the trigger, yank the trigger, press the trigger or whatever...just don't move the gun when you do it!"
Thanks. This is what I really worked on with the K22 revolver and it helped with the 3913.

Thanks much to everyone with advice on some selective parts changing and cleaning (Big Shrek). Haven't tried these yet but will.

The bottom line is that I now have confidence in this pistol where I had none before. Am I ready to carry it as a self defense weapon? Not yet. I'm going to want 2-3 confirmatory range sessions with it before I'm ready for that but... If they go as well as today did then I'm in business with this.

BTW: I had no mechanical issues with the 17# spring changeout. I fired 85 rounds of Remington UMC 115gr factory ammo and the pistol worked flawlessly.

I really want to thank everyone who contributed to this discussion. For me personally this thread is the epitome of how an online community can collectively offer support and solutions to each other. I have used (or plan to use) suggestions from multiple people in this endeavor and sometimes the, "Hey, I've got that problem too," posts were supportive.
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:04 PM
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Great news and thanks for the follow up...enjoy that 3913

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