In our last episode…
I had gone shooting with friends, and marveled at the significantly lighter trigger of my friend’s Smith & Wesson .38 snubbie.
Having carried my electroless nickel S&W 442 for going on 22 years, with the stock 14 pound trigger(!), I thought it might be time for improvement.
SO, I order a Wilson Combat spring kit through Brownell’s (for a whopping $9) and excitedly awaited it’s arrival so I could swap out the springs and share in the love…
I received it in about four days, found my brand X gunsmithing screwdriver, and went to remove the S&W sideplate. Two screws in, I discovered that screw #3 was NOT loosening! Not too much of a surprise, as the cheap screwdriver shaft was turning in the handle (!), and I had never had the sideplate off. Ever.
I own a second (better quality) gunsmithing screwdriver. However it remains beneath a pile of unpacked boxes. And between being disabled, having back problems (and just not wanting to) there it remained.
Suggestions were made for screw-loosening oils, but without a decent tool, it wasn’t going to happen…
My roommate said she had a quality gunsmithing screwdriver, and offered it for my use. I jumped at the chance. But Life got in the way. For almost two months. Sigh.
FINALLY, I had the tool and the time. And access to the You Tube videos regarding J-Frame Smith smithing. And I began the task at hand.
That stubborn screw continued to be stubborn – but not impossible. 🙂
The sideplate was finally removed, and with some minor difficulty ( I repeat, I am NOT a gunsmith), the mainspring has been replaced!!
And the trigger pull went from fourteen pounds to a whopping EIGHT!
I’ve not yet replaced the trigger return spring (Wilson give me three from which to choose!) and the instructional videos have instruction regarding stoning certain surfaces to smooth them up. I’m not certain I’m up for that. As Inspector Harry Callahan said, “Man’s got to know his limitations.”
FTC – I bought all the screwdriver sets (except my roommate’s), the spring replacement kit and the revolver. Go and buy your own!
I’ve always liked fine blued firearms. Even though my corrosive sweat destroys them when I’m within six feet of one. 🙂
Had a friend years ago who picked up a Colt LW Commander for $125 (This was the 70’s). The slide was in bad need of refinishing. He spent hours with steel wool and degreaser, followed by a cheap cold blue. (Birchwood Casey?) Never got it to look right, and later traded it for an early S&W model 60. (Which I later acquired 🙂 then had stolen 😦 )
I spent years touching up my various blued firearm and parts with cold bluing and bluing pens (and scratches on alloy frames with oxide pens!) Never seemed able to get bluing solution of a quality formula (this was pre-Internet). I did hear there was one Canadian formula, though. It was like the Holy Grail of bluing!
Years later, a gunnie friend was helping a neighbor with her recently-deceased husband’s firearms. He’d a 50’s vintage Colt Python that had developed some rust issues in storage. We cleaned her up and applied a good cold blue. It was like color-changing steel magic! Colt metallurgy was excellent! (Of course, it probably ruined the value the unadulterated gun would have received.)
My own NM 1911 (The Bob Hall Signature Model) had a blued slide that had been dinged-up and developed some rust and pitting. The frame was a stainless Vega – no issues there. I tried cold bluing a number of times, but was never happy with the result. Eventually, I coughed up significant funds ($200, in 1983?) and had Robbie Barkman work his magic, coating the whole gun in Poly-T and putting NP3 on the internals and mechanicals.
She looks worn on the edges today, but still runs 20K+ rounds later. All I do is change out the recoil spring every 3K rounds, or so, and keep her lubed with lithium grease.
And nary a rust issue to be seen! 🙂