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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a 1941 H&R Sportsman that has a problem. The hammer was jammed when I bought it, PO said that he had taken it to a smith who had told him he could 'fiddle' with it and clear it without disassembly, but he couldn't get it to clear. He brought the price down to $70, so I figured it was worth a chance.

On disassembly, I found two immediate problems, the hammer screw threads in the frame were stripped, the only thing holding the hammer screw in was pressure from the main spring. The main spring guide "crutch' was bent, presumably from 'fiddling' with it.

After looking at the frame, there just wasn't enough metal left to try to re-thread, someone had already tried to drift the metal back into the hole and then botched a retap. I drilled out the right side of the frame to match the left side and replaced the hammer screw with a 3/16 pin, swaged to the right side. The hammer is now nice and solid, no side play and moves freely.

I straightened the crutch, checked all the other springs and parts, then reassembled it, hoping that the hammer screw shifting had been the problem. It wasn't.

I now have a nice crisp double or single action back to cocked position, but the back of the trigger is nearly 1/16 short of making contact with the sear. Squeezing hard on the trigger would probably fire the gun, but it would probably also bend the crutch again. I can trip the hammer by using a fingernail to press the sear, so I know the engagement surface is good. I also thought the sear spring might have been shortened or lightened, but it doesn't move any further forward with pressure, so it seems to have full engagement.

It looks like the sear may have been replaced with the wrong part at some time in the past. My sear has no hook at the bottom to make contact with the trigger. I do see a pronounced hook on the bottom of the sear on SleazyRiders gun and most others on the Sportsman Research thread. I suspect that the smith worked on the hammer screw may have swapped the sear.

I also see that the spring on the cylinder lever on mine is bent and that the picture on Numrich shows it straight. Does anyone know if it should be straight? It can be seen as the thin wire between the lift lever and the coiled trigger spring.


Note gap between sear and trigger.

Does anyone know of a good source for a correct sear for this series? I see them on Numrich, but don't have a lot of confidence in them to get the right one when there have been several model changes. I'd be tempted to replace the extractor also, mine is worn to the point that the stamped numbers aren't visible anymore.

Thought I'd throw in the tear down pics I took, in case anyone sees a problem I missed.


First out, the trigger guard group, two springs. Reassembly requires holding both springs and a short dummy pin to hold the sear in place. The cylinder lock spring in the front of the trigger guard engages the notch in the cylinder lock bar just to the left of the hole in the bar. It is fun to get in place while also trying to hold the sear so it's spring doesn't pop out.


Next out, the lifter and trigger, have to wiggle it a bit to disengage/engage the lifter from the hammer. The cylinder lock can be dropped in after the trigger is pinned.


Hammer and mainspring, only trick here is pulling the hammer back so you can slide/push/drive a short pin thru the hole in the end of the guide rod to hold the tension on the spring. Getting the pin back out is even more fun.


Relationship of parts with the hammer forward.


Relationship of parts with the hammer cocked.

On the plus side, I can now reassemble it in about ten minutes. The third hand I had grafted on while working on my dads old Winchester 94 really helps.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Replying to myself, since no one else has jumped in.

Changing the sear to the correct one fixed the fail to cock and release problems, as well as putting the sear close enough to the trigger to work correctly without bending the crutch.

Changed out the trigger spring (original was bent) which smoothed out some crunchy/grating feel in the action.

Changed the cylinder lever (hand) and now it can move the cylinder to lockup if I give it a bit of a start. The straight wire spring is supposed to be bent slightly where it goes into the trigger, but not in multiple directions like mine was. The new hand comes with the spring too long, so it has to be shortened. The hand itself also needs to be fitted to get the right engagement with the star on the cylinder, but I ran out of range without being able to get the hand to pick up the worn outside point of the ejector star, but it does engage enough to finish the cylinder rotation if I give it a little start.

Will try shooting it this weekend and decide if it's worth the cost of a new cylinder and ejector (if I can find them).

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update, got the ejector replaced finally. Had it out shooting and it looks like it's good for another 70 years.

New (used) ejector on the old cylinder, took a while to find a good one for the early design.



New finished pictures, you can see the new sear sticking out far enough that it can be tripped by the trigger. It has a 2.5 # trigger pull with no work beyond cleaning and light polishing.




Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sort of an excuse for a report.

The gun shot great, no feed or jam problems, good feel in single action, actually pretty good in double action (really good compared to my Keltec).

But, I can't even guess at the accuracy, other than to say that it had the same pattern size as my other long barrel revolver, an Iver Johnson Sealed 8. Seems that someone forgot his prescription shooting glasses and had to try shooting with his progressive bi-focals, which involves tipping your head up into the lights while trying to sight down your nose and still not being able to see either the front or rear sight, just some shaded gray blurs on top of your hand. The range I was at (conveniently close by) doesn't allow rests in the pistol booths, so I was shooting two hands standing. Both guns did manage to concentrate on the bull of a slow pistol target at 15 yards, so I'm going to guess that it's shooting right where it's aimed, but real measurements will have to wait for a session with the right glasses and a good rest.

Bob
 

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I had been trying to decide what 22 semi I would purchase for plinking and target shooting, no competition, just fun at the cabin.
This past spring I had a chance to shoot an Ultra Sportsman. I really liked it. It fit my hand well.
Now I'm looking for one also.
Nice job saving a classic wheel gun. Looks beautiful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all, I think this one's a keeper.

Finally made it to an indoor range with the right glasses, some CCI SV and no one else shooting a hand canon next to me.

First target is single action, slow fire at 15 yards, two hands, shoulders braced on the sidewall.

Second target is double action, 7 yards, two hands, four cylinders (35 shots). The loading block and HKS speed loader worked great.





I like it!

Bob
 

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I'd like to add my thanks as well for this very informative post on a revolver that few seem to be interested in. The photos are great!

I purchased a pre-war Sportsman Single Action (Mod 199) last winter and am quite pleased. I agree with your comment, "it's a keeper".

My Sportsman's tight cylinder chambers are a problem for a lot of the cheap ammo I use, just won't seat all the way, but after reading your post I think I'll get a speed loader and take a few minutes to trial fit each round before hand.

cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
MWP,

You might just have a hard carbon ring in the chambers from someone shooting shorts or longs. The best thing I've found for removing carbon rings, leading and light rust is Big45 pads. They really work, possibly even better than their advertising. It is definitely not just a Chore Boy or steel wool.

Mine has been tight with some ammo, but not to the point of any hanging up, just needing light finger tip pressure before closing the action.

It looks like they may ship to Canada, or at least they have a number for Canadian customers to call.

You can do a fast check for carbon rings by dry patching the chamber till it's shiny, then add a small drop of thin oil like CLP and checking for a dark ring 12-15 mm into the chamber where the end of the brass would be for a short or long.

Bob
 

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ShootsAtSky, I gave the chambers a good going over and don't see any rings.

Federal bulk 22LR in the blue box load just fine, Blazer not too bad, Auto Match not so good while American Eagle has a 20% reject rate with some of those jamming right at the start of the case neck while others go in part way.

By the way, my SA Sportsman is ser# S150XX which should date it in 1934, early in the run for the Single Actions. I wonder if anyone else with an early production Sportsman has noticed tight tolerances in the chambers?

Thanks for the tip on the Big45 pads, I spoke the owner and he is going to try to find a Canadian distributor for his product to try to get around the high cost of shipping small orders to Canada.

Marv
 

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Nicely done!

Especially on a gun where there's little "common knowledge" that's common any longer -- even with gunsmiths!

A trick you may have used, and that will help others -- is to use a "slave pin" to hold the sear & sear spring in the trigger guard as it is reassembled into the frame. I shave down a small length of toothpick so it is a little short and fits snug (so it doesn't wiggle out). Without using such a pin to put it back together, you'd need to have 3 hands, which usually doesn't work out too well...

Glad to see you got that one shooting -- enjoy it!!!

Old No7
 

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I owe many thanks to ShootsAtSky for starting this thread, and izhm for resurrecting this thread, and Old No 7 for the comment about the toothpick slave pin.

I finally had the guts to pull out the trigger and hammer parts out of my 1981 Sportsman to see why in the blazes the single action trigger was so heavy.

It turned out that the sear notch on the hammer had nicks and burrs in it, and the edge of the sear had a roll over burr on it. I also noticed that the trigger spring was absurdly heavy and likely near full compression when the hammer was cocked.

I polished up the hammer and sear the best I could, and since I didn't have a lighter trigger spring, I clipped about 1.5 to 2 coils off of the existing trigger spring.

After all that, I'd guess the single action trigger takes about 80% of the effort required before I took the gun apart. I'm going to keep an eye out for a lighter trigger spring, though.
 
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