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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2009 at 22:55
lucznik View Drop Down
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O.K. gentlemen (and ladies, if you have an answer).

I have a S&W 686+ that is my favorite gun.  However, lately I have noticed a small problem that I need to get fixed.

When I fire single action I get ignition on every pull of the trigger, no exceptions.  However, sometimes when shooting double action I get a light strike on the primer and the gun fails to fire.  Subsequent hits on the same round result in a proper discharge so; I am pretty sure it's not the ammo. 

What could be the culprit here and how do I go about fixing it?


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2009 at 23:07
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Could be a timing issue which only a good pistolsmith can fix. Don't know how handy you are, but you could try removing the grips to get at the action spring and remove it. You will see which way it is normally bent. Try putting more bend in it to increase the tension and reinstall. Don't know if that makes sense to you. If not, I'll try to conjure up a photo and go from there. I don't know if you would feel safe doing this, but when you experience a misfire, opening the cylinder to examine the primer could tell you if your getting light hits when your shooting double action. It sounds like that is what is happening.



Edited by Roy Finn - July/29/2009 at 23:16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2009 at 23:21
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+1
 
 
 
Good Luck!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/29/2009 at 23:27
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Actually it's not that hard to do. In the photo you just posted you will see a small set screw (#55) and you could try putting more tension on the spring that way first by screwing it in. Either way, once the grips are off, the spring pops out pretty easily and putting a little more bend in it is no big deal. I don't have a 686 to see if that gun has a set screw for spring tension or not.

Edited by Roy Finn - July/29/2009 at 23:28
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 08:41
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are you holding the trigger back completely through the da cycle? open the cylinder hold the latch opener back and pull the trigger da, now watch the firing pin as you slowly let up on the trigger , the block will start to move the hammer back decreasing the force -- some smiths are really bad, and need to be adjusted. other problem, shooting 38s in 357 with too much headspace, the shorter 38 special case slops back against the recoil shield and two much of the force of the hammer blow is used up in moving the round forward to seat  in the cylinder.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 10:05
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Roy Finn Roy Finn wrote:

Could be a timing issue which only a good pistolsmith can fix. Don't know how handy you are, but you could try removing the grips to get at the action spring and remove it. You will see which way it is normally bent. Try putting more bend in it to increase the tension and reinstall. Don't know if that makes sense to you. If not, I'll try to conjure up a photo and go from there. I don't know if you would feel safe doing this, but when you experience a misfire, opening the cylinder to examine the primer could tell you if your getting light hits when your shooting double action. It sounds like that is what is happening.



Thanks Guys!!

Roy, I did open up the cylinder when the ftf happened and could definitely see that the primer had been struck, though with visibly less force than on the rounds that fired.  Opening these side panels and adjusting the action spring and/or tightening the set screw doesn't sound too difficult. I'll definitely try that.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 10:17
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I'm about 95% sure that spring tension is the problem then. Not being a gunsmith, perhaps you could check with Dale C on this thought which is to remove the safety bar that he was speaking of. You will see this in the above diagram (#78). Think of it as the revolver equivalent of a Remington 700 J-Lock. IMO, useless. You will have to remove the action side plate to access this. Just a thought.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 11:58
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A new spring is a cheap and easy fix. I have done that on a few Smith's.
I have had Smith's do it and a Colt that is doing it now, but never had the issue because of timing. I guess I have never had one that far out that FTF's occurred. That is interesting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 12:01
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Originally posted by Roy Finn Roy Finn wrote:






Wow, what is that thing?  It almost looks like a pistol, but without a mag well.  Where do the bullets go, in the round thing?

WTF, over?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 12:06
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The mainspring strain screw (55 in diagram) should be tightened down all the way. DO NOT remove the hamer block (78) from the action, it has no bearing on howsmooth the action is, or how hard the hammer falls.
If it is a timming problem the hit on the primer is probably not centered in the primer, and the revolver should be checked by a smith that knows what he is doing (Smith & Wesson's have a lifetime warrenty).
If the hammer is not striking the primer hard enough, then the strain screw is either not tight or too short. There should not be a problem with the mainspring unless it has been altered in some way or replaced with an aftermarket spring that is not strong enough. The fix would be to tighten the screw and/or replace the defective parts.
Is this a used 686 or was it bought new? How old is this 686? Is the firing pin in the frame or on the hammer?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 13:11
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RC, that's not mine, I pulled it off the net to illustrate what had to be done. I have a Model 19 with a single action kit so I figured that might not illustrate the works the same way as a DA photo would. Those old Smith's were smooooooth.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 17:39
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by BeltFed BeltFed wrote:

The mainspring strain screw (55 in diagram) should be tightened down all the way. DO NOT remove the hamer block (78) from the action, it has no bearing on howsmooth the action is, or how hard the hammer falls.
If it is a timming problem the hit on the primer is probably not centered in the primer, and the revolver should be checked by a smith that knows what he is doing (Smith & Wesson's have a lifetime warrenty).
If the hammer is not striking the primer hard enough, then the strain screw is either not tight or too short. There should not be a problem with the mainspring unless it has been altered in some way or replaced with an aftermarket spring that is not strong enough. The fix would be to tighten the screw and/or replace the defective parts.
Is this a used 686 or was it bought new? How old is this 686? Is the firing pin in the frame or on the hammer?


I started out by looking (as suggested by Roy) at the mentioned strain screw (#55).  It was not tightened all the way.  I have tightened it down and will test as soon as I can.  If that doesn't work, I will try bending the action spring as suggested.  Then I'll go to replacing it.  If none of those ideas work, then it's off to find a gunsmith.

The primers are being struck dead center so; based on your description, I am doubtful that it is a timing issue.

The gun was purchased by me used.  I don't rightly remember just how long ago.  It has a frame-mounted firing pin.  Upon pulling off the grips and side panel and just from the look of it, I do not believe that it has ever had any aftermarket work done on it (except for having received a different set of grips).

Thanks again for the help, guys.


Edited by lucznik - July/30/2009 at 17:41
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 22:45
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More likely than not, tightening (or replacing) the strain screw will fix the problem! 
 
A lot of people think that unscrewing it part way is a good way to get a lighter trigger pull.  It's not, because then the screw can back out! 
 
A far better choice is to have an action job by a qualified gunsmith, who can polish the action and see to it that the strain screw is the proper length to give reliable ignition.
 
Roy Finn is right.  Those old Smiths are smooth!  I love my Model 19!  
  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 23:09
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Wolff standard power mainspring will improve smoothness and consistency of the pull cost $17.00 from Brownells
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/30/2009 at 23:29
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Originally posted by Sgt. D Sgt. D wrote:

+1
 
 
 
Good Luck!
 
Now we are talking about a gun I know unfortunately my gunsmith died of old age 20 yrs ago.  There are several likely culprits. I think you have found the most likely. People have a tendency to un screw the #55 screw. That is a mistake.  A close examination of parts 76 and 77 will show that 77 is a heavy trigger return spring and one may successfully cut one coil off of this thereby reducing the weight of the trigger pull.  Item #31 is also a likely culprit as the cylinder yoke length determines the position of the cylinder front to back and one that is not long enough will tend to bind the cylinder against the forcing cone of the barrel and at the back have excessive space.  The fix is to have a rod the diameter of the inside of it and to use a pipe cutter with the edge removed to draw a line or two around it thereby stretching it to a useable length.  Since you wont have the tools to do this and most gunsmiths will be beyond incompetent it would likely need to return to Smith and Wesson.    Hopefully tightening the #55 screw did the trick.   Also to determine if a revolver is timed correctly #67  the cylinder stop should when pulling the trigger double action click into place prior to the hammer falling.  One should be able to pull the trigger back stageing the trigger until the cylinder turns and the cylinder lock engages let off and go sequentally to every chamber without the hammer falling. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/31/2009 at 00:51
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have you tried to clean and oil it i had a s&w model 17 i was doing the same thing all it need was a good cleaning
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/31/2009 at 08:28
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by dale.l dale.l wrote:

have you tried to clean and oil it i had a s&w model 17 i was doing the same thing all it need was a good cleaning


Damn it dale.l, that's just too simple.  We can't have no simple, logical type talk around here.  Just where do you think you are, mister!?!  Big Grin

Truthfully though, yes, this gun is kept rather meticulously clean.  It is my favorite gun, after all.  Sometimes I clean it just to have an excuse to hold it.  (My wife frowns on the practice of just wandering around the house fondling firearms for no apparent "legitimate" reason.) 


Edited by lucznik - July/31/2009 at 08:28
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/31/2009 at 09:00
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shes afraid your going to use one on her
during the 80's after smith was bought by a british firm almost every gun they put out had to be returned to a warranty dealer. Check out Cheshire and Perez in Cal. also wilson still does cyclinder guns. I think, they are still around. as mentioned unscrewing the strain screw was common practice along with taking it out and shortening it on a grinder (so it could still be tightened down) was common practice. The hammer block can't be removed as it immobilizes the action, if it didn't most ppc and bianchi cup shooters would have them gone along time ago, --but its still a way to watch the timing. brownells has end shake washers for the yoke (to fix ufriends suggestion) or send it to Ron Powell- he invented them. Aside from the MIM parts used in alot of the smiths made today they are good guns.
current list of s&w revolvers-- as ufriend suggest pretiming is determined in DA mode by quickly moving the trigger back which throws the cylinder into lock, the sight picture is then readjusted and the final squeeze is made -- a ppc technique for accurate DA shooting, (also why 27's shoot faster as the cyclinder has more mass).  
2 wilson ppc used in ppc and Bianchi cup
mod.18 22lr
mod. 617 stainless-same model in 10 shot  22lr
mod. 38 bodyguard
mod. 65
mod. 686
mod. 19
mod.520
mod.27
mod.629
mod.57
mod625
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/31/2009 at 09:37
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what would a action job cost on a l frame smith
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2009 at 20:47
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Brownell's 2003-2004 catalog has a "Shop Price Survey" on the last of the yellow pages showing a range of $60 to $120 for this work. 
 
If one of the forum members has a more recent catalog, they can give you the current rates.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/10/2009 at 17:56
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LUCZNIK, did you get your wheelgun straightened out????????????????????
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2009 at 19:31
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I forgot to give a follow up as to the results of my question and the advice given.   Sorry.

 
I tightened the strain screw as suggested and the problem was instantly fixed.  Thanks guys!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2009 at 19:47
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Thunbs Up
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2009 at 07:39
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Glad to see it was an easy fix.  Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2009 at 00:20
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Yea that is probably why the last guy sold it he had some idiot friend lighten the trigger pull for him by un screwing it a little - that made it unreliable.  Proof that just a little knowledge can be dangerous.   It's actually good for you to remove the ammo and click the trigger on a revolver you need to have a good feel for when it will fall.  Try staging the trigger as we have explained it.  double action pull the trigger enough to rotate the cylinder to locked position then gently continue to where the hammer falls -  with practice this can be very fast and very accurate.
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