Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

1
Installing a Wilson Combat 321 Custom-Tune Spring Kit S&W J Frame and minor polishing cleaning of trigger and related components. Overall, it’s not a complicated project. Simply for swapping out the springs the only tools required are a small flat blade hollow ground screwdriver, a pick and a ball point pen of some type. In the interest of knowing, I decided to get before and after data measuring the trigger pull using a Lyman Trigger Pull gauge. Refer to pictures 1 and 2.
1-Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning.jpg
Picture 1 Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning
2-Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge.JPG
Picture 2 Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge
Last edited by sikacz on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

2
Using the trigger gauge, the trigger pulls on the Model 49, I measured both the double action (DA) and the single action (SA). The DA was reasonably heavy at around 12 lbs with a measurement of 11 lbs and 10.0 oz. The SA pull was 3 lbs and 5.9 oz which was not all that bad to begin with. It had a clean break. The double action needed a bit more work. Refer to pictures 3 and 4.
3-DA 11 lbs 10 0 oz Pull Before Tuning.jpg
Picture 3 DA 11 lbs 10.0 oz Pull Before Tuning
4-SA 3 lbs 5 9 oz Pull Before Tuning.JPG
Picture 4 SA 3 lbs 5.9 oz Pull Before Tuning
Last edited by sikacz on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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I had already removed the grips for testing, but removing the grips would be the first step. Assembled all my tools and the Wilson Combat 321 kit. Followed by removing the three screws for the side plate. Keep the screws in order, they are not all the same. The side plate comes off by gently tapping the lower frame until the frame starts to lift. It will literally pop off. Refer to pictures 5 and 6.
5-First Step Grips Removed.jpg
Picture 5 First Step Grips Removed
6-Second Step Side Cover Removed.jpg
Picture 6 Second Step Side Cover Removed
Last edited by sikacz on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

4
Now the revolver is ready for removal of the existing springs, the hammer spring and the trigger rebound block spring. The hammer spring removal is relatively easy. Pull the trigger gently and insert a paper clip into a small hole on the spring guide mechanism. It is exposed just slightly before the trigger would break. Release the trigger and the hammer spring mechanism is ready to be removed. At this point pushing on the spring retaining cup and removing the clip the spring can be changed out. The new spring is an 8 lbs spring. Install the new spring on the spring mechanism and reinsert the paper clip and put the spring mechanism aside. Refer to pictures 7 and 8.
7-Third Hammer Spring Pinned.jpg
Picture 7 Third Hammer Spring Pinned
8-Hammer Spring Removed.jpg
Picture 8 Hammer Spring Removed
Last edited by sikacz on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

5
The trigger return block spring is a bit trickier, but not all that difficult if one is careful. Using a pick gently start lifting the block from the spring side. Ensure that a finger is placed on the spring end side. As it lifts off it will pop out. Refer to pictures 9 and 10.
9-Ready For Trigger Return.jpg
Picture 9 Ready For Trigger Return
10-Fourth Popping Trigger Return Slide Spring.jpg
Picture 10 Fourth Popping Trigger Return Block Spring
Last edited by sikacz on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

6
Remove the cylinder and yolk. At this point remove the hammer and trigger. Start with the trigger and hold the arm away from its normal position so it will clear the frame and wiggle and lift the trigger out. Next manipulate the cylinder release and move the hammer back and lift out. Now all the parts that need to come off are off for a slight clean. At this point I cleaned all the components and slightly polished the trigger return block bottom and both sides. Also polished the flat top part of the trigger just to remove some of the ridges. This can be done with a stone or in my base a level steel block and very fine sandpaper and Flitz polish. Once all the parts are clean lube with oil and wipe excess off. Refer to picture 11.
11-Parts All Off - Fifth Clean and Polish.jpg
Picture 11 Parts All Off - Fifth Clean and Polish
Last edited by sikacz on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

7
Ready for reassembly. Reverse order, install the hammer by pull the cylinder release back to allow the hammer to be placed in, then the trigger manipulating the arm away from the frame as the trigger is pushed in place. After the trigger is in place the trigger return block spring are ready for installation. The kit had three to choose from, I chose the lightest at 13 lbs. Align the block with new spring in place making sure the trigger pin aligns with the block. Keeping the spring side lifted push the spring in with a ball point pen. Once the spring is compressed past the spring retaining pin in the frame push the block down. Now install the hammer spring and remove the paper clip. The trigger mechanisms should function after the cylinder is put in place and closed. Replace all the remaining components and cover. Screw cover in place, note correct order of screws. Refer to pictures 12, 13 and 14.
12-Sixth Replace Slide With 13 lbs Trigger Spring.JPG
Picture 12 Sixth Replace Trigger Slide Block With 13 lbs Trigger Reset Spring
13-Seventh Install 8 lbs Hammer Spring.jpg
Picture 13 Seventh Install 8 lbs Hammer Spring
14-Eigth Reinstall Cover.jpg
Picture 14 Eight Reinstall Cover
Last edited by sikacz on Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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Finally at this stage the revolver can be retested. My measured results indicated an improvement in the DA, SA and the smoothness of the trigger movement. I did not do a full polish on all the trigger and hammer locations that I could have. I chose to start with just one part of the top of the trigger and if needed I can later do more. The new reading for the DA is now at 9 lbs 14.0 oz which is about a 2 lbs improvement. The SA was not as dramatic but still significantly improved at 3 lbs 1.3 oz. Refer to pictures 15, 16 and 17. This is not a hard job and easily accomplishable if done with care.
15-The Retesting.jpg
Picture 15 Retesting
16-DA 9 lbs 14 0 oz Re-Test.jpg
Picture 16 DA 9 lbs 14.0 oz
17-SA 3 lbs 1 3 oz Re-Test.jpg
Picture 17 SA 3 lbs 1.3 oz.

Overall pleased with the results.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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Thanks for the walkthrough - you are a braver man then me. I just take the side plate off once every couple years and blast it with CLP. That’s pretty much my periodic revolver maintenance.

Ruger I have taken apart - a lot easier (less scary). My Ruger SP 101 smoothed out nicely over a dozen years - has a better trigger than my J-Frame. I like a decently stiff trigger on any of my DA carry wheel guns. Range only I want light in SA.


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Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

11
INVICTVS138 wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:47 pm Thanks for the walkthrough - you are a braver man then me. I just take the side plate off once every couple years and blast it with CLP. That’s pretty much my periodic revolver maintenance.

Ruger I have taken apart - a lot easier (less scary). My Ruger SP 101 smoothed out nicely over a dozen years - has a better trigger than my J-Frame. I like a decently stiff trigger on any of my DA carry wheel guns. Range only I want light in SA.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
These revolvers are pretty simple to take apart. Basic rule is if it feels okay don't mess with it. The SA was pretty good, so I didn't really touch any trigger surfaces that would affect it. The DA needed a bit of work, so I polished only one surface. There are two other spots to work on for DA if needed. I think the slightly under 10lbs is good for carry. I recall reading from Grant Cunningham's book that somewhere in the nine's is good. It won't go off by itself. The SA though is pretty sensitive. The 3lbs is not a lot of force and it will go off easily.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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cooper wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:26 am Good post. I like reading these. Don't have a similar model, but like seeing the degree of complication others take on. I recently completely disassembled a Ruger single action and it was a serious learning experience.
The more you do the better you get and the more you learn. Highly recommend working and tuning these revolvers. Rugers are stout guns, good you got your feet wet!
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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sikacz wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:30 am
cooper wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:26 am Good post. I like reading these. Don't have a similar model, but like seeing the degree of complication others take on. I recently completely disassembled a Ruger single action and it was a serious learning experience.
The more you do the better you get and the more you learn. Highly recommend working and tuning these revolvers. Rugers are stout guns, good you got your feet wet!
This time around, all I did was change the hammer from Blackhawk to Super Blackhawk style with lower hammer spur. I didn't do anything that changed the trigger mechanism. I don't think I've been shooting long enough to appreciate those subtleties yet. But eventually.

But yeah, I like knowing the ins and outs of things. Every time I do something outside my comfort zone (guns or otherwise) I think, "one less mystery in the world." It's a great feeling. Hoping it delays dementia in the long term!

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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cooper wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:42 am
sikacz wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:30 am
cooper wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 8:26 am Good post. I like reading these. Don't have a similar model, but like seeing the degree of complication others take on. I recently completely disassembled a Ruger single action and it was a serious learning experience.
The more you do the better you get and the more you learn. Highly recommend working and tuning these revolvers. Rugers are stout guns, good you got your feet wet!
This time around, all I did was change the hammer from Blackhawk to Super Blackhawk style with lower hammer spur. I didn't do anything that changed the trigger mechanism. I don't think I've been shooting long enough to appreciate those subtleties yet. But eventually.

But yeah, I like knowing the ins and outs of things. Every time I do something outside my comfort zone (guns or otherwise) I think, "one less mystery in the world." It's a great feeling. Hoping it delays dementia in the long term!
I have the same hopes! LoL.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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highdesert wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 1:38 pm Very nice, a humpback or shrouded hammer revolver. I like them better than a hammerless revolver that can't be cocked.
Same. Looking for a stainless 649-3 to appear in Cabela’s used gun library. It’s essentially the same, but stainless and preferably a .357 magnum so I’d get more options on ammo. The model 640, the hammerless, seems available, but I don’t want one at least not yet. Perhaps later, I’ll get a 640.
Last edited by sikacz on Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

18
sikacz wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:00 pm Installing a Wilson Combat 321 Custom-Tune Spring Kit S&W J Frame and minor polishing cleaning of trigger and related components.
Minor is the key... The case hardening of your internal parts is only about .001”-.0015” thick. Any polishing of mating surfaces need to be very carefully considered or you will greatly increase the wear of internal parts, eventually leading to timing problems. Just be mindful of that. Absolutely NO stoning should be done to the SA sear, the DA sear. The sear shelf on the trigger should be lightly touched until things are smooth. I typically polish the inside of the rebound slide, and then I address any flaws in the cylinder star that may be problematic to smoothness.
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Re: Smith&Wesson Model 49 Tuning

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FrontSight wrote: Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:38 pm
sikacz wrote: Sun Jan 09, 2022 6:00 pm Installing a Wilson Combat 321 Custom-Tune Spring Kit S&W J Frame and minor polishing cleaning of trigger and related components.
Minor is the key... The case hardening of your internal parts is only about .001”-.0015” thick. Any polishing of mating surfaces need to be very carefully considered or you will greatly increase the wear of internal parts, eventually leading to timing problems. Just be mindful of that. Absolutely NO stoning should be done to the SA sear, the DA sear. The sear shelf on the trigger should be lightly touched until things are smooth. I typically polish the inside of the rebound slide, and then I address any flaws in the cylinder star that may be problematic to smoothness.
Thanks. Yes aware of the thickness issue. Rebound is the one I gave my attention to mostly. Stayed away from the sear edges. Only one flat area received mild polish.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

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