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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay, I expect this is going to garner me a metric tonne of flak, but in reading and learning on this phantastic site over the past few years, I started developing a theorem.

Basically, your really don't need to dump a ton of dollars into precision machined ignition parts to get substantial improvement in your perceived trigger pull.

There, I went and said it. I too have gone out and bought precision engineered ignition parts (sear, disconnector, hammer, trigger, pins even) from the best and most notable manufacturers out there. Did I get improvements? Heck yeah, but I mean, SOME of my guns I want - I NEED - to get trigger improvements, but the gun itself isn't worth dumping $125, $150, $200 or more into great parts just to make it more enjoyable to shoot.

So I set out to prove to myself, and to anyone who was interested, that taking what I have learned from all of the Addicts who are WAY more knowledgeable than myself on this great forum, a few abrasive stones, screwdrivers, sandpaper, a hammer, a file or two, some oil, and a Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge, that I could make SIGNIFICANT improvements in trigger pull to even the most crappy of my guns, WITHOUT spending a dime on parts.



Case study #1: Deadpool

Trigger Iron Metal Revolver Gun accessory



I figured that NOBODY could find a bigger challenge that this old gun. It's internals look ALMOST as rough as the outside. Those of you who had the opportunity to shoot this one at @limbkiller 's shoot last year can attest - Deadpool has a really crappy trigger pull.

As it sits, it varies between 7 lbs and 8 lbs on a good day. Below is a photo of the BEST pull I could measure out of six or seven measurements made before I began my work.


Gun Firearm Trigger Electronic device Technology



Anyway, I proceeded to clean Deaddy up using all the original parts, just as I got it.

One quick disclaimer: Seeing as Deadpool is over 100 years old and apparently spent much of its life as an "urban outdoorsman" before I came into possession of him, I cannot say for certain that its sear, sear spring, mainspring, and disconnector are original. I know from appearances that the thumb safety has been replaced, but not the grip safety.

From all appearances however, the pins, hammer, trigger, MSH, and hammer strut ARE original (or at least as "weathered" as the rest of the gun). I did not replace any parts, springs, or pins for this test. I only used the tools I have on-hand to clean the parts up, polish, and tune everything in the ignition assembly.

I have owned Deadpool for about four or five years now. I get him out to the range occasionally to show him off and for the "street cred" that owning a functioning 103 year old 1911 brings. It wasn't clean when I bought it, and I never fully detail stripped and cleaned it in all the years I have owned it. Most I remember doing, was running a bore snake through it once or twice.

Also, regrets in advance for NOT taking photos of each step in the following processes. I was squeezing these improvements in sitting at my desk at work and didn't have time to do proper photo shoots. Anyway, . . . . . .



First task at hand was to smooth and polish the trigger and trigger track. The original trigger looked like it had been coated with the heaviest application of cerakote you've ever seen. I could invert the gun with all other parts removed, and the trigger would stay put. I polished the trigger bow (heavy cast steel, not thin lightweight stainless like modern triggers) removing the high spots. I polished the trigger track in the frame, sides top and bottom. I cleaned out all the gunk I could reach (first time I ever fully detail stripped this gun) and liberally oiled everything. Once this was done, the trigger slid in and out of the track via gravity. No more grit, no hangups. I even polished the inside of the trigger bow to allow the magazine to slide in and out more smoothly. An extra bonus. Nice.

Second task at hand was smoothing and polishing the hammer gap. The hammer felt gritty moving within the frame. I smoothed out the contact between the sides of the hammer and the hammer gap in the frame. Not sure if this affects trigger pull, but why not clean it up anyway?

Third step was addressing the sear and disconnector. These had so much gunk on them, they were almost "welded" together. A lot of cleaning revealed that all metal on metal surfaces were still rough - again, it looked like they were coated with cerakote or parkerized. I polished the face of the disconnector where the sear spring contacts it. I polished the sear nose using a stoning jig. Polished and cleaned out the frame where the sear sits. I polished the sear pin and hammer pin. I polished and cleaned the crap out of everything in these areas.

Final step, addressing the hammer hooks. These were a tad long and looked as though they had never been polished - looking like they were parkerized. I think the hammer hooks were even ground to an angle of LESS than 90 degrees, because it felt as though the sear had to travel "uphill" to clear the hooks. The sear was really binding a bit under the hooks, so I corrected the geometry to 90 degrees, shortened them a bit, and polished everything up real nice.

I adjusted the right leaf on the sear spring slightly to give MORE pressure to the grip safety so it wouldn't rattle when shaken. Other than that, all I did to that old spring was polish the nose of the center leaf where it contacted and slid against the disconnector, and made sure it had sufficient contact with the disconnector. I made sure that its travel was effortless.

After everything was cleaned up and polished, I reassembled ALL THE ORIGINAL PARTS AND SPRINGS back into Deadpool and gave it a test. Results below.


Gun Firearm Trigger Technology Gun accessory



I am confident that I could do a little more work to Deaddy to get the trigger pull down closer to 3.0 lbs, but I am totally satisfied with where he now sits. I have a little more I want to do to eliminate some of the "pre-travel" of this ancient trigger. I learned a little trick from a post that @Joe C made about seven or eight years ago on modifying a trigger to add a little "pre-travel" adjustment tab to a trigger that doesn't have one. I will let you do the research to find that zombie post. It would be nice if this trigger had an over-travel adjustment screw, but I can epoxy in a small block of wood on the back side of the trigger to manage that, like I did on one of the early triggers I used in my ZOIDS1911 build.

Now I am not advocating that you forgo purchasing the best tool steel ignition parts for the next custom build you are looking to do, but the next time you think about getting rid of your old truck gun because it isn't worth sending in for a trigger job, maybe you might want to reconsider (or sell it to me, because I LOVE getting old unloved 1911's to function).

Again, regrets for not taking pictures along the way. I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

Z
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I love the post. Not tempted to stone the sear angles after cleaning up the hammer hooks?
I guess I should have been more specific in step #3. I did address the sear angles - primary and secondary as well.

Good, Bad, or Ugly, I settled on more of a radius on the sear nose than a dual angle. While not as precise as what John Harrison does on his sears, I can say I am not unhappy with the results.

I should also add that cleaning out the gunk from the gun didn't result in much improvement. It dropped the trigger pull from #6-12oz to around #6-4oz or so. I was looking for more.

The sear angle and hammer hook issue gave me my best improvements, followed closely by polishing up the disconnector/sear spring contact and other metal on metal surfaces within the assembly.
 

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Zoid
I’m still wrapping my mind around
you having a 3# pull on a gun I figured was completely frozen in time.

But I agree. 28 years ago I bought a copy of “The Colt .45 Automatic: A Shop Manual Volume 1 by Jerry Kuhnhausen.”. I know it’s old school,
but learning how to do an old school trigger job has saved me a ton of money in parts and gunsmith charges.
I typically leave the stock hammer hook angle but stone the hooks to .020 and dress the sear using a .020 feeler gauge to create a secondary angle. This along with polishing the disconnect as Zoid describes typically gives me a break of 3.75-4.5# but it breaks like a glass rod.
For a carry gun I shoot for 4#s give or take .5#.

That being said I still replace MIM fire control parts with
high quality tool steel parts. It’s just what I do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I’m still wrapping my mind around
you having a 3# pull on a gun I figured was completely frozen in time.

But I agree. 28 years ago bought a copy of “The Colt .45 Automatic: A Shop Manual Volume 1 by Jerry Kuhnhausen.”. I know it’s old school,
but learning how to do an old school trigger job has saved me a ton of money in parts and Gunsmith charges.
I typically leave the stock hammer hook angle but stone the hooks to .020 and dress the sear using a .020
Feeler gage to create a secondary angle. This along with polishing the disconnect as Zoid describes typically gives me a break of 3.75-4.5# but it breaks like a glass rod. For a Carry gun I shoot for 4#s give or take .5#s.

That being said I still replace MIM fire
Control parts with high quality tool steel parts. It’s just what I do.
Kenny,

Get yourself a "throw away" sear and try stoning the nose to a nice radius instead of primary and secondary angles. I think you will find it to be a true "jaw drop" moment . . . . . . . .

I cannot argue with your wanting to replace MIM parts with tool steel. None of the internals of this old gun are MIM, leading me to think quite possibly, they may be original. If they were MIM, I would have changed them out - but it wouldn't have made for as good of a story.

G
 

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I reluctantly bought a True Radius Sear Jig from John Harrison a couple of years ago. I say reluctantly because I had never stoned a sear before. Money well spent and relatively easy to do. I've done several stock guns along with truing up the hooks and reducing the height to the above mentioned .020.

Once I saw what most stock sear angles look like I quickly became more comfortable with doing them myself.
 

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...The sear angle and hammer hook issue gave me my best improvements, followed closely by polishing up the disconnector/sear spring contact and other metal on metal surfaces within the assembly.
I polish whatever surfaces that I can with 1500 paper but I don’t have the confidence (yet) to take a file to the sear angle or to the hammer hooks.

I’m planning on ordering a sear/hammer jig and giving it a try though.
 

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I guess I should have been more specific in step #3. I did address the sear angles - primary and secondary as well.

Good, Bad, or Ugly, I settled on more of a radius on the sear nose than a dual angle. While not as precise as what John Harrison does on his sears, I can say I am not unhappy with the results.

I should also add that cleaning out the gunk from the gun didn't result in much improvement. It dropped the trigger pull from #6-12oz to around #6-4oz or so. I was looking for more.

The sear angle and hammer hook issue gave me my best improvements, followed closely by polishing up the disconnector/sear spring contact and other metal on metal surfaces within the assembly.
Zoid:
Awesome to see you dive into the 1911 ignition system and discover all it has to offer! :)

After completing Chuck Warner's 1911 Ignition System Workshop, I came to truly appreciate all the possible trigger "jobs" that were possible with the TR Pro jig! Easily produce CCW jobs, rolling bullseye jobs, and those infamous "glass rod" trigger jobs.

One tidbit I came across that I have started testing prior to any trigger work, is what I refer to as the "residual resistance" that is inherent to the sear/hammer/hammer spring operation. Will many times reveal that a lot of the resistance (trigger pull weight) is coming from areas we don't really consider......

Again, it's great to see you tackle this 100+ year old pistol and show that with some elbow grease and determination that significant improvements can be made to those "old, stock parts"!

Great info!

:thumbs::thumbs:
 

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I'm a terminal 1911 Addict!
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Kenny,

Get yourself a "throw away" sear and try stoning the nose to a nice radius instead of primary and secondary angles. I think you will find it to be a true "jaw drop" moment . . . . . . . .

I cannot argue with your wanting to replace MIM parts with tool steel. None of the internals of this old gun are MIM, leading me to think quite possibly, they may be original. If they were MIM, I would have changed them out - but it wouldn't have made for as good of a story.

G
@Steve Owens did my first TR trigger on the 38Superb/9x23win Valor he built me.
It was a bit strange compared to the crisp break that I am accustomed to.
But after my second trip to the range with the gun I became a believer.
My problem is I know how to safely get a good 3.75 crisp, no creep trigger
I need the old school way and am very ambivalent in stoning the hammer hooks to 90 degrees in order to get the best TR trigger.
I have some MIM sears and hammers around here to practice on,
so I might just give it a go as see what comes of it. Wish me luck.
Anyone got an extra TR JIG they want to sell???
 

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@Steve Owens did my first TR trigger on the 38Superb/9x23win Valor he built me.
It was a bit strange compared to the crisp break that I am accustomed to.
But after my second trip to the range with the gun I became a believer.
My problem is I know how to safely get a good 3.75 crisp, no creep trigger
I need the old school way and am very ambivalent in stoning the hammer hooks to 90 degrees in order to get the best TR trigger.
I have some MIM sears and hammers around here to practice on,
so I might just give it a go as see what comes of it. Wish me luck.
Anyone got an extra TR JIG they want to sell???
Dwe:
Being an USPSA Unlimited/Limited competitor from a "long time ago", I became accustomed to and 110% preferred the "glass rod break"; and still do in any of my 1911/2011 pistols that are strictly fun/range guns. And I aim for 2.5# or close to it.....

My initial thoughts after trying a couple of John Harrison's TR sears, was that the "break" I was after was not possible to reproduce using the TR Pro jig. After attending Chuck's workshop, I was totally proven wrong!

As soon as I get my new TR Pro jig in, I'll be glad to send you my current one, as a loaner, to play with for a while........

:thumbs:
 

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Dwe:
Being an USPSA Unlimited/Limited competitor from a "long time ago", I became accustomed to and 110% preferred the "glass rod break"; and still do in any of my 1911/2011 pistols that are strictly fun/range guns. And I aim for 2.5# or close to it.....

My initial thoughts after trying a couple of John Harrison's TR sears, was that the "break" I was after was not possible to reproduce using the TR Pro jig. After attending Chuck's workshop, I was totally proven wrong!

As soon as I get my new TR Pro jig in, I'll be glad to send you my current one, as a loaner, to play with for a while........

:thumbs:
Thats right good of ya.:cheers:
How is the Pro jig different than the original?
 

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Space Circle Silver Science
Thats right good of ya.:cheers:
How is the Pro jig different than the original?
Went back to my notes, and the original TR-805 jig was designed to yield one final sear length of .403. (Print is .4045")

The new TR Pro (TR-806) allows the user to create final sear lengths of .402" up to .405" all with one jig!
So useful especially when trying to keep/use the existing thumb safety!
 

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View attachment 390215

Went back to my notes, and the original TR-805 jig was designed to yield one final sear length of .403. (Print is .4045")

The new TR Pro (TR-806) allows the user to create final sear lengths of .402" up to .405" all with one jig!
So useful especially when trying to keep/use the existing thumb safety!
You sold me.
I just ordered one.:)
 
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