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Posted: 1/6/2006 7:18:10 AM EDT
Need some help reducing trigger pull and/or length on a NIB S&W 686 4" SS.

I consider myself mechanically inclined, but have (very) limited experience with wheelgun trigger work.

Are there any quick fixes for a S&W to reduce DA trigger weight. I figure that reducing the pull length in DA is better left to a gunsmith, but have heard of a "strain screw" in S&W revolvers (I'm assuming is connected to the mainspring) that can be turned down for a lighter pull.

Their owner's manual is worthless so any informed instruction would be most helpful.

Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 2:45:28 PM EDT
Before you do anything drastic I would suggest taking the guts out, clean completely, then lube with moly slide or similar. You may be surprised at the improvement a simply clean and lube can do.

Its not hard to do, but you will need the instrctions. My local library had the book on how to do it. I don't know if the instructions are availible on line or not. I would think so, but haven't looked.

The strain srcew is the small screw at the base of the grip. As the title suggests, it puts strain on the mainspring. Its a very simply adjustment but go slow. Easying the strain to much will result in light hits, ie, misfires.

As far as shortening the length of the DA pull, I never heard of such a mod and given the geometry of the trigger system I can't see if its even doable.

Do not, repeat, do not start stoning the trigger parts. Its harder to do CORRECTLY than most people realize. It is very easy to get the angle off and then you have a mess on your hands.
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 2:55:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 6:42:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2006 6:43:25 AM EDT by jmt686]
My 686 is currently around 6.5# DA. SA is a hard wish but I very rarely use it. I'm not sure what spring set is in it, I bought this one used. It is only 100% reliable with ammo using Federal primers. This is no problem for me since I reload and only use this gun for range/competition. My Christmas present from my wife this year was a Heritage Series Mod 15-9 McGivern commemorative. Serious collectors flame away, I put 500 rds through it in the first week. I swapped out the factory springs with a Wolff reduced-power set that I bought from Dillon. DA is 9-10# (best guess, no scale) and doesn't seem to be ammo sensitive. Don't loosen the strain screw. I started using blue loctite on mine after having one work loose and cause the gun to go CLICK instead of BANG. Both guns also got a light polish job and I generally give the internals a very light coat of KG-5 after a thorough cleaning. If you are not comfortable with stoning trigger parts there are some options. Either a factory action job (S&W Custom Shop) or many reputable gunsmiths can do this for a reasonable price. The cheapest way is lots and lots of dry fire to wear in the parts. I would recommend also using the dry fire to work on trigger control so you don't pick up bad habits by just pulling the trigger over and over as fast as you can. Trust me, it takes a lot more (proper) practice to unlearn those kinds of bad habits.
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 7:03:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Ameshawki:
Do not, repeat, do not start stoning the trigger parts. Its harder to do CORRECTLY than most people realize. It is very easy to get the angle off and then you have a mess on your hands.



no problem

I've seen garage-smith work on 1911 triggers and the best was mediocre, at worst hammer follow and doubling.

it appears that the best "quick fix" is spring replacement, with the option of reducing trigger pull length a no-go unless I want to delve into a serious custom "fix" with a commensurate price tag for the work.

I'll do a search for a 686 diagram, or dissasembly how-to.

thanks for the help guys.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:30:32 AM EDT
Wolf Springs offers replacement spring kits for these guns, have you checked their options yet?????
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 7:56:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rob78:
Need some help reducing trigger pull and/or length on a NIB S&W 686 4" SS.

I consider myself mechanically inclined, but have (very) limited experience with wheelgun trigger work.

Are there any quick fixes for a S&W to reduce DA trigger weight. I figure that reducing the pull length in DA is better left to a gunsmith, but have heard of a "strain screw" in S&W revolvers (I'm assuming is connected to the mainspring) that can be turned down for a lighter pull.

Their owner's manual is worthless so any informed instruction would be most helpful.

Thanks in advance.



Loosening the mainspring retainer screw will do nothing to improve trigger pull. All it does is lock the mainspring in place in the action. Loosening it will likely cause problems with reliability. You can go to a lighter mainspring to decrease DA pull, but the tradeoff is increased lock time and decreased hammer force, which could be a problem if you go too light. I can't see how you would reduce what you call "pull length" (I assume you mean the amount of trigger travel required to cycle the action DA) without completely redesigning the revolver. Believe it or not, one of the most effective things you can do to improve the DA pull on a S&W is to polish the bore that the rebound spring rides inside, and lube all the pivots (including the mainspring saddles) with a high quality lube. Take care when removing the lockplate. Proper way is to remove the grip, remove the lockplate screws, then tap the grip frame with a plastic mallet until the lockplate pops free. Trying to pry it out will damage the lockplate.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:03:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/17/2006 5:03:57 AM EDT by Hawgleg44]
There was a club in my area who was having an open house, and they advertised S&W Performance Center gunsmiths on site for free "cleaning and inspections" of any S&W handgun.

I brought along my 6" 617. During the summer, I shoot it every day down behind my house on the riverbank, and only clean it once a week. Basically, that's about once per 550 round Federal Bulk Pack.

They pulled the sideplate off (by prying on it with a screwdriver!), gutted it, and stoned all the contact points. I've stoned many S&W actions, including one 686, and as long as you maintain the same factory angles on all the parts, it's not hard to do. Remember, you are not trying to REMOVE material, just smooth it out. If you remove material, you will be damaging the action, possibly to the point of getting hammer push-off, since the parts won't be fitted properly anymore.

I asked him about using a plastic hammer to take the sideplate off. He said that, as long as you pry gently, you won't damage anything. He said he's never taken one off that way, and nobody else in the PC does, either.
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 7:32:00 AM EDT
thank you for the additional replies. I'm looking into Wolff replacement springs after I go through and slightly polish and lube the action.

Trigger travel reduction was, as many of you said (and became quite obvious after listening to my 'smith), is possible, but not cost or time efficient. We're talking major headache.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 1:41:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 1:42:58 PM EDT by hamishdhu]

Believe it or not, one of the most effective things you can do to improve the DA pull on a S&W is to polish the bore that the rebound spring rides inside, and lube all the pivots (including the mainspring saddles) with a high quality lube.


I'm not sure if that reference is to internally polishing the rebound slide or polishing the rebound slide channel. I normally deburr and polish the channel. Put in a lighter rebound slide spring, that'll lighten up the pull substantially. They are normally sold in singles by weight or in a set with different spring weights.

Keep the strain screw screwed in tight.
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