S&W J frame lock problem / Overhaul

S&W J frame lock problem / Overhaul

This is a discussion on S&W J frame lock problem / Overhaul within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I love my snub. It's been my trusty weak side secondary access weapon and my primary on many occasions for several years. After several hundred ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    S&W J frame lock problem / Overhaul

    I love my snub. It's been my trusty weak side secondary access weapon and my primary on many occasions for several years. After several hundred rounds, I got fairly proficient with it from 15 yards. All was right with the world.

    About a week or so ago, I started dry-fire practicing with my weak hand since I haven't had much range time lately. I practiced keeping it on point of aim while pulling the trigger, double taps, and firing from weapon orientations other than just straight up and down (figure weak side probably won't be perfect). PROBLEM!!! I noticed in rapid fire and at some angles, if I didn't let the trigger re-set completely (I mean almost finger back off the trigger) the trigger would lock stone cold and not budge. I'd have to let all the way back off and pull. It wasn't a permanent lock, but it happened enough that it wasn't acceptable.

    So, I figured if I was going to have to go in for surgery I might as well order a sef of Wolff springs and do the whole nine yards.

    Here's the before pic:

    DSC01442.jpg

    1) Removed grip
    2) Removed three exterior plate screws and cylinder release screw/button on opposite side
    3) Removed plate (tapped on frame handle with little wood mallet and it popped off)
    4) Removed main spring assembly (pull trigger back slowly, hold, and put pin through hole in the bar to hold spring compressed and pull it all out)
    5) Remove hammer (pull trigger back slowly until it clears frame on the inside and lift out with tweezers)
    6) Remove cylinder bolt (w/ tweezers pull back and out, don't lose spring loaded plunger)

    Here is the lock in the gun:

    DSC01448.jpg

    7) REMOVE THE LOCK (hold the small spring down from the frame slot and lift out with tweezers). That's it.

    DSC01450.jpg

    8) Remove trigger return spring assembly (pry out with small pic and hold plastic bowl over while you do it so the spring won't fly)
    9) Remove trigger (pull the verticle bar back and lift out)
    10) With 1500 grit emory, smooth all contact points of trigger, sear, and hammer until shiny and smooth. Gently, not over done.
    9) Replaced the factory trigger return spring (18# spring) with a Wolff 14# spring.
    10) Replaced main spring (hammer spring, factory 12# pull) with a Wolff 8# spring)
    11) Put everything back (the trigger return spring assembly was tricky without the tool made for it...but a Stanley 1/32" nail set worked perfectly the 1st try)

    DSC01445.jpg

    12) I replaced the factory grip with an old S&W Chief's Special grip. It fits my hand better and gets it higher on the bore axis which improves recoil and accuracy tremendously. Gives it an old school look and is easier for me to draw from my pocket either hand. Since this is a square butt grip and a round butt gun, I am making a wooden piece to fill the void perfectly. It will be painted matte black to look like the backstrap and will be glued and pinned to one grip side not the gun. Effectively, but not permanantly, converting it to a square butt which fits my hand great.

    DSC01452.jpg

    I dry fired it many times after it was all together and was never able to replicate the trigger lock-up. PROBLEM FIXED!!! I put 50 through it this afternoon and from 12 yards I was punching out the center circle of the shoot-n-see target (3" circle). I was ecstatic, it felt great, and is now a dream to shoot and shoot dead on target. Now the only thing left is the grip void piece and to paint a bright orange section on the front ramp sight.

    Just thought I would share the problem, the solution, and the outcome...hope it helps someone else before they have an issue. It all only took about an hour, and that was taking my time.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
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  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array pirate's Avatar
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    I removed the lock "flag" on my J Frame model 642 a couple years ago. Did not have any issues with the lock but its so easy to remove and the revolver works perfectly without it of course so why not just do it. There is a great You Tube tutorial that takes you step by step through the removal and its very simple to do. I do think the issues with the locks on the J frames are way over stated and 99.9% of the J frames with the lock work perfectly but since its so easy to remove the lock why not do it.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    I wish that I knew about this a few years ago when I got rid of my 340PD. I never had a problem with it, but I couldn't get my head around the IL so I got rid of it.

    I like the old school look of the wood grips. Sweet little J frame. Enjoy it.
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pirate View Post
    I removed the lock "flag" on my J Frame model 642 a couple years ago. Did not have any issues with the lock but its so easy to remove and the revolver works perfectly without it of course so why not just do it. There is a great You Tube tutorial that takes you step by step through the removal and its very simple to do. I do think the issues with the locks on the J frames are way over stated and 99.9% of the J frames with the lock work perfectly but since its so easy to remove the lock why not do it.
    I've had it several years and shot it a lot and never had an issue with the lock and was never concerned about it until I experienced the issue dry firing...not sure if it was the lock or not, but like you said it's so easy why not remove one element of the equation. I use cable locks as a visual indicator, so I didn't use the IL anymore anyway. I used to use it, but I found myself come home one evening and went to lock it and discovered it was already locked. I had been carrying a locked firearm the entire day and didn't know it. That was the last time I ever used it. Now I never have to wonder, and I use safes anyway.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
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    Guns are like sex and air...its no big deal until YOU can't get any.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Super Trucker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pirate View Post
    I removed the lock "flag" on my J Frame model 642 a couple years ago. Did not have any issues with the lock but its so easy to remove and the revolver works perfectly without it of course so why not just do it. There is a great You Tube tutorial that takes you step by step through the removal and its very simple to do. I do think the issues with the locks on the J frames are way over stated and 99.9% of the J frames with the lock work perfectly but since its so easy to remove the lock why not do it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVPYgohVCNM

    None of my newer S&W's have a working lock. I even buy "the plug" from a guy on the S&W forum just to make sure the lock is completly gone.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    Excellent post BugDude

    You've enhanced the awesomeness of your gnarly snubbie.

    Most excellent, indeed
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    I had a similar problem with a Colt Python I had in the late 70's. If I fired it DA and let the trigger out slowly, the whole gun locked up. If I fired it DA rapidly, it worked fine. I just traded it in for a S&W M-27.
    "First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand."
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