Question on Forehand & Wadsworth Revolver

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Old Gun Guy, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

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    Hello!
    This picture shows the inner parts from a F&W .38 top-break revolver.I am trying to get this revolver to index and fire correctly. It will cycle and line up very well in double action, but then I have to push the trigger forward to engage the next shot. The hammer will not lock back in single-action unless I very carefully cock it back, and when the trigger is pulled it won't release the hammer all at once, but in a "double-step" if that makes sense.
    My questions are: Does the lifter push the bottom of the hinged arm (arrow #1) to cock the hammer? What function does this hinged arm serve? What holds the hammer in the single-action position? What releases the hammer in the SA mode?
    This revolver doesn't have a separate trigger return spring. The mainspring serves as the hand, hammer, and trigger spring. It doesn't have a sear for SA.Does anyone have any suggestions on what I need to do before I start whittling on the wrong part?
    Thank you!
    Old Gun Guy
    [​IMG]
  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    That is actualy a rather clever design, a variation of the one Colt used for many years.

    It has a sear for SA, it is the point of that curved arm at the top of the trigger. It sounds to me like either the sear or the SA notch is broken/worn out, so that the engagement is not sufficient for the finger to pull the trigger past the hammer strut (that "spring loaded lever").

    If that happens (quite common in both S&W and Colt revolvers that have been worked on by amateurs), pulling the trigger releases the hammer but the resistance is so low the finger doesn't pull the trigger hard enough. The result is that the hammer strut catches on the sear (trigger) stopping the hammer from falling. You have to pull the trigger again to release the hammer and you have what you call the "double step".

    You MIGHT be able to deepen the SA notch with a small file, and then use Casenit to harden it, but I would not guarantee the results. I very much doubt that any parts are available for those guns unless you can buy one in poor outward condition to cannibalize.

    Jim
  3. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    Answers to your questions:

    1. Yes, but not to full-cock
    2. The double-action sear
    3. The tip of the lifter/sear into a corresponding shelf on the hammer
    4. Typical single-action trigger pull

    Jim K has the malfunction of the trigger pegged. Looking at the picture, it appears the single-action notch on the hammer is the culprit. To repair, we would recut that notch and refit the sear. That V-spring is pretty heavy and should have plenty of spring tension to return the trigger, so I suspect it is not fitted well to the hand/trigger.
  4. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

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    Gentlemen,
    Thank you for your inputs. You were both right on the mark. HRF from a different post had already given me some clues as to what was wrong, and I now have it working correctly. I stoned the notch on the hammer and sharpened the tip on the trigger to correspond, and it locked up nicely in the SA mode. It still double-stepped when I pulled the trigger, so I took a miniscule amount of material off the end of the hammer strut and that was enough to release the hammer correctly.
    It's always a learning process with these old revolvers, and I really appreciate the knowledgeable people like you guys on this and other forums.
    Thanks again!
    Old Gun Guy
  5. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Jim K - STONE,
    Damn, I'm, again, impressed = this is a great forum, what knowledge - glad to be here, everyday is a good day.
  6. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

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    And let me add Jim,
    We're glad to have you!! And everyday is definitely a GOOD day!!
    OGG
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    One thing I have never found out is exactly what that reflex action of the finger is called that is used to make guns work, especially the old ones. I refer to the fact that if there is resistance to the trigger pull, (we say a "hard" pull) the finger can't recover without coming back past the point where the sear disengages. Yet, if the trigger pull is light, and the finger can stop at or just after sear release, the gun will often malfunction. And this is really designed in to the mechanism of a lot of guns.

    Is there a name for that physical reaction of the trigger finger that it can't stop if it has been pulling hard?

    Jim
  8. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

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    Jim,
    In my case it is the result of 24 years in the USN with my trigger finger wrapped around the ear of a coffee cup. That's my explanation, and I'm sticking to it!
    Old Gun Guy (BMCM USN Retired)
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Jim Hauff,

    Thanks for the kind words. Coming from one of the most knowledgeable people on this or any other gun site, I consider that a high compliment.

    Jim
  10. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    Good question. I have never heard of a name for it, maybe we can make one up?

    The closest thing I can think of is "staging." The act of pulling back the trigger in double action to the point where the sear is about to let go so that you can steady your sights. This is easy to do with a good S&W revolver.
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I know staging, I do it all the time with a DA revolver. But I am referring to the pure reflex action that keeps the finger going back once the sear "breaks".

    It is that action that designers depend on to move and keep the sear out of the way of the notch(es) in the falling hammer. AFAIK, there has never been a term for it.

    Jim
  12. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    It's an important concept. One that revolver gunsmiths encounter often.

    Let's invent a new word, maybe an accronim:

    First proposal: TARM (Trigger And Reflex Momentum)
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