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Adjusting Trigger Pull Weight

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britrifles View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 23 2018 at 12:33pm

I've been noticing the trigger pull weight has been increasing on my No. 4 Mk 1*/3 over the last year.  I've put several thousand rounds thru the rifle; at least 1000 in the last year.  It had a very nice trigger on it set by Foultons back in the '60's.  I had measured it with a scale a few years ago at about 4.25 lbs if I remember right.  Well, it is now about 6.5 lbs.  The face of the cocking piece looks a bit worn/notched near the bottom edge.  It could probably use a touch up. 
I've got diamond grit files for knife sharpening; so I carefully worked the face of the cocking piece with the files, medium, fine and X-fine grits.  Looked pretty good when I finished.  This got the pull back down to about 4.5 lbs, but first stage lost it's nice smooth feel; probably bc I drew the file across the face 90 degrees to the direction of the sear movement (didn't remove the cocking piece from the bolt, bc I haven't got a firing pin removal tool; just ordered one today). 
 
Anyone know any tricks to reshape this face, especially to retain the line contact it makes with the sear?  Maybe a jig of some sort to hold it at the right angle, then polish it smooth once reshaped.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote englishman_ca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2018 at 1:10pm
What you describe seems to be about right. The angle of the bent has a dramatic effect on the pull off. It is very sensitive to even a slight change and it is real easy to screw up if you dont know as to what you are doing.

You seem to on the right track but you do need to dismantle the bolt and have the cocking piece off to work on it. A striker removal tool is not difficult to make. Not expensive to buy. But you do need one for sure to continue on tuning.

I polish the bent on my projects and hopefully maintain the correct angle nice and square by holding the cocking piece in a small table top vise with flat faced jaws, bent face upwards. I carefully eyeball it making sure that I rotate and position the cocking piece to present the bent flat to be aligned horizontal and parallel with the top face of the vise jaws. This way I cannot screw up the angle or make it go off kilter. Holding in the parallel flat faced jaws keeps it perpendicular in the one direction. This will ensure a nice contact line of the sear tip across the face.

I use progressively finer wet and dry paper using a flat file as a backer using the top face of the jaws as a file guide. The bent face needs to be shiny and smooth as if it were chrome plated. The smoother the finish, the smoother the trigger.

But a caution. If any significant amount of material is removed, it will have an effect on the let off in that often the sear will catch on the half bent as it goes by. If the trigger is operated with enthusiasm, it will work as it should, but if the trigger is squeezed slowly and gently, it will catch and jump into half cock. If this happens, the cocking piece is scrap. It cannot be reworked unless you add material by welding to bring it back to dimension.

The first thing I examine on a cocking piece that I might buy is to see if anybody has been d**king with the bent. (haha, naughty word detector thinks that 'd**king' is a bad word. Sorry gents, I didnt mean to offend your delicate sensitivity with such an obscenity). A wear mark or even a small divot is fine, but any sign of being reworked, I pass as it is not worth the headache and piss off of spending hours polishing something that will never work properly.

If an on-line auction does not show a pic of the bent face for some reason, I simply continue looking for another one. Most of the ones that i see on 'that' auction site are probably found in a junk pile for exactly this reason. Caveat Emptor
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2018 at 2:21pm
The face is case-hardened only, its possible you've gone through to the softer metal below.
The ONLY way I know is to reface vertically.
Sorry, I'd suggest re-hardening after removing & polishing vertically.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2018 at 2:27pm
Way beyond my skill set! What is the normal trigger pull from the factory? I have a trigger scale, but it seems to have got misplaced in the move.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MJ11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2018 at 5:53pm
A file ? A soft cotton buffing nub and a super fine polishing compound maybe. Worst case a fine Arkansas stone.

Lets hope the profile didn't change and a buffing can restore things. How is the stock fit ? Anything rubbing. A 1*/3 should have free movement.

Good luck. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2018 at 6:14pm
Originally posted by MJ11 MJ11 wrote:

A file ? A soft cotton buffing nub and a super fine polishing compound maybe. Worst case a fine Arkansas stone.

Lets hope the profile didn't change and a buffing can restore things. How is the stock fit ? Anything rubbing. A 1*/3 should have free movement.

Good luck. Thumbs Up


“File” is probably somewhat misleading, it’s a diamond grit impregnated surface resembling a file in shape and how it is used. The x-Fine “file” leaves almost a polished surface. These will put a razor edge on a knife blade and the best way I know how to sharpen stainless.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2018 at 6:09am
Originally posted by Honkytonk Honkytonk wrote:

Way beyond my skill set! What is the normal trigger pull from the factory? I have a trigger scale, but it seems to have got misplaced in the move.

Its not something to be taken on lightly. Usually you need to fabricate a jig to get the angle dead right & its probably killed more cocking pieces than anything else!

First pressure should be 3~5Lbs, second 4~6Lbs.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2018 at 8:10am
For those of you that also shoot the Martini Henry, it typically has a heavy trigger (compared to the LE). My Dad's MH commercial MK III (which I don't think had ever been fired before I did) had a 10-12 lb trigger pull.  I worked it down to 6 lbs very carefully.  Yes, this is tricky, but not impossible to do. 
 
In my OP, the only issue I had after "filing" (with a X-Fine diamond file) the cocking piece sear surface was that the first stage pull seemed to be rougher than it was previously, that might have lead to the conclusion there is something else wrong.  I likely removed 0.0005 inch of material at the most, and probably less than that.   The surface is not quite as polished as it was, but that can be improved.  I'll see if I can take a close up pick once I get the cocking piece removed from the bolt.    
 
If I screw this up, I've got two new cocking pieces and two new bents.  But, I suspect it will be just fine and I will get the pull weight and smooth operation back to where it was.   I appreciate everyone's input. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2018 at 8:19am
You might want to polish, not grind, the trigger bumps & the upper face of the sear's lower bent as well & put a  small dab of grease on it. Most of the first stage is just those 2 contact points swapping out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2018 at 9:50am
Shamu, I've been negligent in cleaning/greasing the contacting surfaces, that might have caused the issue in the first place.  The cocking piece sear surface appeared to have had a very small/shallow indentation right at the bottom edge that may have become slightly worn from trigger let off.  That's what I dressed out.  I'll polish these surfaces, bit of grease, then it should work just they way it came out of Foulton's in 1965.    
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2018 at 2:02pm
I've seen the marks before, its actually pretty normal after a few thousand rounds.
I like the green "ScotchBrite pads", used so they're not quite as abrasive & lightly oiled. I put them round a Popsicle stick cut to size. ONLY back & forth no side to side. Then clean well with gun-scrubber or your preferred solvent & lightly greased. You can also put a little grease on the cocking piece front face, that help quite a bit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2018 at 7:27pm
I see something else that may have caused the increase in pull off. The cocking piece is loose on the striker. I can see it moving vertically independently from the striker as the first stage is taken up on the trigger. I have no idea how long that has been going on, and can’t be a good thing.

I’ve never taken this bolt apart. I’ve got a striker removal tool on order and when I get it, I will disassemble and clean, but I suspect that won’t make the slop go away. Peter Laidler’s recommendation is to apply solder to the striker threads. Then reassemble and test.

I’ve got numerous “new” spare parts that my Dad aquired from a RCMP armourer back in the 1960s, I’ll check the fit of the cocking piece on a new striker, and a new cocking piece on the old striker. In comparison, the cocking piece on my No. 4 Mk 2 does not have any perceptible play on the striker threads and a zero perceivable second stage drag, perfect consistent release at 4 lbs. it’s a joy to shoot and extremely accurate (but has a 7.62 service weight barrel that can’t be used in the Vintage matches).

As I said earlier, I’m sure I’ve put at least 5,000 rounds thru this rifle and the loosening up of the cocking piece has likely affected the let off, and likely contributed to the small wear depression in the face of the cocking piece. I want to salvage these parts if at all possible so I’m contemplating following Peter Laidlers recommended procedures for trigger pull. After I read them another 3 times.

I’ve only noticed the increasing trigger pull this year. Particularly in slow prone where the release is not happening when I expect it to. I shoot about 150 to 200 rounds a month and I could feel this change take place. I was surprised when I measured the pull weight how much it had increased. I can still shoot good scores, but it’s messing with my mental confidence in matches.








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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2018 at 5:36am
Sounds like you're on the right track
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pukka Bundook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2018 at 6:40am
Brit,
 
After polishing out the groove in the face of the cocking piece, I (with it removed from bolt)  give it a quick pass on a buffing wheel. Very quick and always from Top to Bottom of the nose, never sideways or angled.  Shines like glass after this, but still gets a light dab of grease on re-assembly.
I think the loose striker will be allowing things to wander and bind, so if that is addressed, you should be good to go.   Believe I have heard of even using Teflon tape on the threads.  (future  dis-assembly easier and all that)
 
Good luck,
R.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2018 at 6:50am
More good thoughts, I appreciate everyone's contributions.
I also thought about using loctite on the threads, but the movement may be too much and break the bond.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goosic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 25 2018 at 2:03pm
I had to double check myself before I commented.
I have an unissued trigger and sear/bent.
I polished the two contact points on the sear/bent,to a mirror finish. Did the same to the trigger. I then polished the pins that the trigger and sear/bent reside on but,not before chamfering the holes on the trigger and sear/bent. The cocking piece was polished out to a mirror finish as well. I reinstalled everything using sewing machine oil on all contact points. Without the stock on I manipulated​ the trigger so to watch the 1st and 2nd stages. It is doing what it is supposed to be doing however, it has become too smooth, almost acting as a single stage pull off. With my trigger gauge installed I am now getting consistent 40 ounce pulls. This did not change after reinstalling the forestock.
This is a non​issue for me, however,for those of you wanting to smooth out the trigger pull issues your respective rifles may have, please refer to Peter Laidler's​ informative instructions on this subject. I did this only because I wanted to see if you can over polish the contact surfaces. I believe that you can...
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