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Distinguished revolver question.

August 21 2016 at 1:38 PM
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Jim C  (Login jamesrchapman)

 
Text of Email from Marc Lipp, NRA HQ.

Morning James,



The applicable PPC Rules for your Distinguished Revolver question are 3.1, 3.4, and as you mentioned, PPC Rule 3.18. Competitors should start with the mindset that handguns used for PPC Distinguished Matches HAVE to be FACTORY and the only changes that can be made are those specificity listed as being allowed in rules.



Replacing the factory Strain Screw with a non-factory screw would be an alteration not listed as allowed in PPC Rule 3.1, or under 3.4, so would be considered an unauthorized external modification and since it effects internal components, an internal modification as well. And as you point out, Rule 3.18 would consider it disallowed as well.



While we are not so naive as to believe that competitors never “adjust” their Strain Screw, any armorer that has been certified by Smith & Wesson has been instructed that once the Strain Screw is fitted to the revolver it is never to be backed off and it is considered a safety issue to back it out.



Again, while we know it is occasionally done, it actually does nothing for actual trigger pull weight, it just takes tension off of the Main Spring which causes lighter primer hits, can lead to misfires, and can cause the main spring to come off the hammer strut, disabling the revolver. The Rebound Spring and Slide are the main components that deal with trigger pull weight. Work on these components and polishing are what create a “crisper and/or smoother trigger pull” as allowed under the rules.



Should a PPC competitor go ahead and change out the Strain Screw as you detail, if a Referee sees the change or receives a complaint from another competitor, the revolver would be prohibited from usage in the match. If the revolver had already been fired in part of a match, all rounds fired before the revolver was pulled would be scored as Zeros. If the entire match had been fired, the competitors score would be recorded as Zero and the competitor Disqualified from that match.



Thanks for the inquiry James and I hope to see you next month at the National Police Shooting Championships in Albuquerque.



Good luck with the X count !



Marc


Return Contact Information:



Marc Lipp
Law Enforcement Competitions Manager
NRA Law Enforcement Division
11250 Waples Mill Road

Fairfax, Virginia 22030

Office: 703.267.1625
Fax: 703.267.3834
E-mail: mlipp@nrahq.org

Information: www.nrahq.org/law



 
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toddcfii
(Login toddcfii)

Marc Lipp's answer

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August 24 2016, 12:04 AM 

While I appreciate Marc's answer and think he really is the last word on what is officially OK, I do not think his understanding of how a revolver action job works is completely correct. Marc said:

"Again, while we know it is occasionally done, it actually does nothing for actual trigger pull weight, it just takes tension off of the Main Spring which causes lighter primer hits, can lead to misfires, and can cause the main spring to come off the hammer strut, disabling the revolver. The Rebound Spring and Slide are the main components that deal with trigger pull weight. Work on these components and polishing are what create a “crisper and/or smoother trigger pull” as allowed under the rules."

Taking tension off the mainspring does make a lighter trigger pull weight (at least DA). I and many, many others have seen it first hand through replacing main springs, adjusting set screws and bending main springs. In fact replacement of the rebound spring does almost nothing for trigger pull weight unless combined with other things like adjusting or changing out the mainspring. Polishing parts does also often leads to a lighter trigger pull.

I make these assertions from 1. My first hand knowledge and using tools to measure trigger pull weights in various configurations, 2. Talking to my local very experienced S&W gunsmith and 3. Perusing the internet at length on the subject.

I think Marc is trying hard to interpret the rules as he thinks is right and obviously others agree with him but his statements about how trigger pull weights are affected make me doubt his knowledge on the subject a little bit. I AM NOT A GUNSMITH. And I am talking about PPC competition type revolvers, not everyday carry. Marc's statements about S&W gunsmiths and their training and light primer hits are not relevant to the PPC discussion at hand as long as the gun works for your application. So feel free to disagree but I can point to a lot of online sources that show what I am talking about.

Respectfully.

Todd

 
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JB
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Distinguish Gun question

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August 24 2016, 12:21 PM 

Some observations and opinion(s)- After the "many" years of participation at Pearl,Jackson,Des Moines and numerous years at Regionals, had never seen a gun disqualified for an altered or changed main spring screw in a distinguished revolver. Unless there is a hole in the grip to access to make a change in the tension it is normally covered up with the often used target/after market grips, therefore the head not visible. Only other situation would be a if it was a grip that was not of the target style were it would be visible, but even then never saw one dq'd if it picked up the 2 1/2 lb weight when checked. Never heard nor saw another competitor file a protest on something anywhere close to this. I am referring to revolver only now. With a semi this would not even apply that I am aware of With semis, other ways of causing light pulls that will not qualify them for the distinguish match.

Now when they check the gun and triggers, I have seen them dq them for alterations to the trigger, push off,sights,alterations, to hammers adding trigger stops or any other visible alteration to a factory gun. I even saw them try to weigh factory "double action" only 92D Berettas-duh.

In many cases the trigger will not lift the 2 1/2 lbs because some wanna be smith got into the inners and changed the angle of the single action sear or the trigger nose along with other "lightening" and "smoothing" butchering. Absolutely, shortening the strain screw and/or backing it out will lighten the pull and as pointed out very possibly cause misfires with lighter hits. Thinning the main spring or over polishing, or bending too much can lighten and cause problems. "I" had never seen anyone pull the grips off to check a strain screw or main spring, not saying wasn't done.
There are things that can be done by a gunsmith that knows what they are doing to smooth the action up giving the distinct perception of a "lighter" pull and not actually lighten the trigger weight or cause problems.
It pretty much all boils down to the ability of the shooter and applications to the basics more the mechanics of the gun. Sure a smoother, finer action/trigger will help for sure and everyone always looking for that edge and a better mousetrap.
Stay safe

 
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Unregistered Member
(Login jamesrchapman)

Re: Distinguish Gun question

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August 24 2016, 4:22 PM 

JB's correct,probably a non-issue as far as disqualification. Marc is correct if they found a set screw rather than the distinctive S&W strain screw. The factory screw can be shortened to reduce trigger pull weight on D.A. but, it does often result in that 1 in 150 round failure to fire cartridge. That you have to ask yourself is it worth it for what little is gained.

As is often said, "You pay's your money and you take your chances"

Good luck at nationals.

 
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toddcfii
(Login toddcfii)

Well said

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August 27 2016, 10:15 AM 

JB:

Well said. I appreciate someone with years of experience in the PPC game relaying their first hand knowledge of how the judging and competition really works. I am not one to push the rules and have sent my two revolvers to a gunsmith for action work and to put back in the set screw. I hope they come out as well or better than when I sent them in.

To other comments about light hits with an action job: I recommend extensively test firing a gun before any competition and if you get any light hits then there is not enough tension on the main spring so do something! 1 in 150 light hits is obviously not acceptable. However, I have talked with a lot of competitors who only use federal primers because they get failures to fire with other primers. So the thing they did was use Federal primers. Worked for them.

Respectfully,

Todd

 
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JB
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Well Said

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August 27 2016, 7:20 PM 

Thank you sir. Your added suggestions are very good. Using Federal Primers the way to go if reloading and the primer strike has been lightened to any extent. If you are using the newer S&Ws with the floating firing pins,(MIM guns) can even get better results in comparison to the older hammers with the integral pivoting pin. Some have added a small spring to the older hammers like the N frame hammers for even more consistent ignition on some of the harder primers. I know some of the reloading tool makers say don't use Federal Primer for liability reasons(CYA), but have never really heard of any real problems. I have been using Dillon for years and use Federal all the time for .38s and Winchester for 9mm. Remigton and CCI the hardest with Winchester and S&B next(my opinion)Making sure the primer seated right and bottoms out in cup important too.
Test and experiment and determine what will work best. Some advocate a "hard" strike for better and consistent accuracy performance.You be the judge on that.

 
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Unregistered Member
(Login jamesrchapman)

Re: Well Said

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August 29 2016, 8:48 PM 

JB, we must have come from the same father, different mother, lol

Federals for .38's, win for 9mm.

I've also notice the 14-7(?) frame mounted firing pin does seem to be a bit more consistent.

On the strain screw. usually, it's over bending or thinning the mainspring too much. Sometimes the smith equates light pulls with positive results, when a really smooth 7 # will reliable fire every time.

At least that's what I've found since starting PPC in '76.

Jim

 
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JB
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Distinguished question

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August 29 2016, 9:47 PM 

Jim, going out for a DNA test tomorrow and let you know. LOL
Bending, grinding, or mutilating the spring means problems. Some polishing doesn't hurt. Agree that that 7-8 lb smooth trigger is all that you need to get the lighter feel and crisp let off. Sometimes trying to fix something when it works makes it worse.
Still comes back to the basics and each individuals abilities. You know and I know you could give some the shooters an Iver Johnson break top and out shoot many with the high end competition masterpieces that Mojo or Tanaka puts out.
The new Smiths in my opinion don't come close to the same quality of the older classics, including the actions straight out of the box.

 
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Unregistered Member
(Login jamesrchapman)

Re: Distinguished question

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August 30 2016, 9:40 PM 

Well, it turned out that the new one I got was owned by a retired S&W high official, according to reliable sources. it was very, very nice....

 
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