The Arduous Smith & Wesson Trigger Job

For those of us that own and shoot Smith & Wesson revolvers, sometimes we get one that needs a little tweaking. Too many though, if you mention the words “trigger job”, assume it means some magical procedure that only a trained gunsmith can perform. Nay!

So what is a trigger job? With a Smith & Wesson revolver, you are really just smoothing out the contact surfaces of all the parts that come into contact with one another; you don’t want to actually take off any metal. Like any good job, you will need the correct tools.

The first thing I recommend getting is a copy of Jerry Miculek’s Trigger Job DVD. Jerry has done a lot with Smith & Wesson revolvers, including setting a few world records for speed shooting, no one knows these guns better. Get his DVD, and then watch it three or four times before you attempt to proceed.

There are a few things that the DVD doesn’t mention. One, when you first get the side plate off of the revolver, take a quick picture of the innards with a digital camera, believe me I have gotten one or more calls from someone saying that they took their Smith revolver apart and could not figure out how to put everything back in order.

I also recommend getting a rebound slide spring tool from Brownells, it makes taking the trigger return spring out much easier than trying to use a screwdriver, not a thrilling proposition when the thought of impalement is in the back of my mind.

One of the things to realize when watching the DVD is that Jerry is working with a new revolver. If you have a well-used gun, you are going to want to smooth out the parts a little less. Just take your time, its simpler than you realize.

It is up to you when you are finished smoothing out the parts if you want to replace the trigger return and main spring with new reduced power springs. Some revolvers I have tuned don’t need them, I reassemble the gun and try out the double action pull, if it is smooth and I am happy with the pull, than I button it up and call it a day.

If you do replace the main spring, you might notice that your strain screw, which is the one that puts pressure on the main spring, no longer seems to fit in the gun. This isn’t a problem, just run to your hardware store and get a couple different lengths of hex head grub screws (or set screws) in 8×32. Just make sure the ones you acquire are heat-treated.

I have read a lot of comments about how some folks get a trigger job done and then find that they’re not happy because the revolver misfires or has light strikes on the primer. This is where you have to adjust the set screw against the main spring. Take a few rounds of the same ammunition with the same primers so that your results will be accurate. Turn the screw inward until you get reliable solid hits on every round. Fire twenty rounds or so just to be sure.

The Smith & Wesson trigger job is certainly anything anyone with a basic knowledge of tools can perform, with a little patience and some common sense. Remember that the best gunsmith in the world had to start off somewhere, once you do your own trigger job, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do one sooner.