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Old January 21, 2013, 07:39 PM   #1
Armchair Bronco
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Homebrew Trigger Job for Makarov Using J-B Bore Compound and Elbow Grease?

I recently purchased an East German Makarov from the early 1960's.

The Single-Action trigger is nice and crisp but the Double-Action trigger leaves a lot to be desired. It's very, VERY heavy and not as smooth as I'd like.

I'm not prepared to do any homebrew polishing of the hammer, sear, and trigger bar by removing components from the gun and subjecting them to a polishing stone. However, I'm hoping that by patiently using some 9x18 Makarov Snap Caps and dry firing the gun (in both DA and SA mode), I can improve the trigger pull.

What I'd like to know is whether I can help the process along by using some J-B Bore paste as a lapping compound. Several years ago, I used J-B Bore paste on the bolt and safety tab on my CZ-452 Scout 22LR rifle; both of these steel parts needed a little help and the J-B Bore paste, along with several hours of manually working the action, did the trick. The bolt is now smooth as silk.

Can I do the same thing with my Makarov?

(And if this is a dumb idea, I apologize in advance.)

Last edited by Armchair Bronco; January 22, 2013 at 07:40 PM.
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Old January 21, 2013, 10:38 PM   #2
Armchair Bronco
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Wow, well over 200 views, yet no one has weighed in with *any* opinion...

For what it's worth, I plan to disassemble the Makarov according to the following instructions:

http://myweb.cableone.net/leolani/mak-disassembly.html

If the feedback is "bad idea!", then I'll probably just lube and oil and metal-to-metal areas on the gun.

If the consensus opinion is that bore compound won't harm the internals, I'll probably use some compound where the hammer, sear, and hammer bar touch each other, then spend a weekend dry firing the gun with some 9x18 Snap Caps.
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Old January 21, 2013, 10:58 PM   #3
Armchair Bronco
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Got some feedback on another site:

"This is generally said to be a pretty poor substitute for a trigger job and a bit of a gun guys' old wives tale. (It is most often rendered as putting toothpaste into a revolver's action to loosen it up.)

Problems are, you can't control where the abrasive is going, and can't control what it is cutting. So in essence you're just wearing out the gun, in a random fashion, at an accelerated rate.

Of course, there will be plenty of folks who swear it has done miracles, but it isn't something I'd do to a gun I planned to keep and use."


So, sounds like my options are to either: A) just keep using the gun as is, and dry fire it A LOT with some snap caps; or B) pay for a proper trigger job.
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Old January 21, 2013, 11:22 PM   #4
klyph3
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Why can't you disassemble it and use a stone?
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Old January 22, 2013, 12:27 AM   #5
Dfariswheel
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As you found, filling the action with any kind of abrasive is likely to do more damage then you suspect.

Honing or "polishing" gun parts requires that some surfaces and edges remain sharp and uniform.
Using an abrasive will round those off.

In short, bad idea.
Shooting the gun and dry firing will do it without damaging anything.
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Old January 22, 2013, 12:41 AM   #6
Armchair Bronco
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@klyph3

If I knew what I was doing, I'd give it a shot. But using a stone on a trigger and/or sear is not something I should be cutting my teeth on. Like they say, it's easy to take off metal, but pretty much impossible to put it back on.

Doing a trigger job myself with zero prior experience is just too risky IMO.
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Old January 22, 2013, 03:20 AM   #7
Powderman
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You can do a trigger job on any firearm--but you have to be aware of some basic (but very important) guidelines.

1. The actual contact surfaces between sear notch (hammers) and sear noses (triggers) are hardened. The contact angles are set. If you stone these angles to the point where you have changed the engagement angle in any way, you have broken through the heat treatment--meaning that there is a limited lifespan left to those parts before they become unserviceable.

2. Most action jobs consist of eliminating binding points on the moving parts that compose the ignition system. Some problem areas are:

a. The sides of the hammer v. the frame
b. The sides of the trigger v. the frame
c. The bearing surface of the hammer and trigger pins v. the bearing surface of the hammer or trigger.
d. The sides of the sear v. the frame.
e. The movement areas of the recoil and main springs.
f. The trigger return spring itself--which is USUALLY the thing governing pull weight--NOT the sear angles.

To smooth out a trigger pull, first make sure that any rough spots, burrs, shavings, etc. are removed from all contact surfaces. I have found that a medium and/or fine India stone works well here. Use a good clean oil to lubricate the stone for a smooth cut. Make all of your stoning passes exactly square to the work surface; use a light and even pressure. Don't overstone either--go slow and test fit often.

You might have to go as far as a light application with a file for some serious burrs or nicks. I recommend the use of a good Swiss pattern file. Here, clean your work before you start, and use a good cutting fluid or oil. After filing, clean up the work with some light passes with the India stone, followed by a ceramic or hard Arkansas stone.

Go ahead, and inspect the sear engagement surfaces. If it is chipped or uneven, your best bet is to try to get another set. If you can't do that, then stone VERY lightly with a hard ceramic or Arkansas stone. Use lots of oil, and go VERY lightly.

Finally, use good lubrication for the pistol or revolver's action. You would be surprised at what a good cleaning and proper lubrication will do.

In closing, remember the basic rules of gunsmithing:

Drop in parts usually aren't.
Always go slow, with a lot of fit and try. You can always take more off, but you can't put it back on.
When at all possible, think twice before trying to "loosen" up a tight gun. Try lubing the parts first with some good, thick motor oil, then hand cycle about 50 to 100 times. The metal involved will usually burnish itself.

When in doubt, DON'T.

Have plenty of good written references nearby.

Brownell's is an excellent resource; give them a call and talk to their tech services department--which is, of course, gunsmiths.

And the single most important rule is:

ALWAYS cut on the cheapest part first.
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Old January 22, 2013, 06:57 PM   #8
Armchair Bronco
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@Powderman

Great feedback, and a very well-written summary. My plan is to do a complete teardown and properly lubricate everything as you suggested before breaking out the stones.

I did a field strip of the gun after my first trip to the range and added some gun oil to exposed parts. After letting the oil soak in overnight, the trigger was already behaving much better.

For all I know, this gun hasn't been fired (or fired much) in over 50 years, although it has been well cared for (the finish is perfect with no pitting anywhere -- looks like the gun was made yesterday).

I think I'll start with the simple stuff (complete breakdown, oiling, and greasing of the rails) and then spend some "quality time" with the Double Action trigger and some 9x18 Makarov Snap Caps. Then I'll report back in a week or two.
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Old January 22, 2013, 09:02 PM   #9
Dragline45
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I have done stoning and polishing on one of my J frame revolvers with great success, but I also had a step by step video telling me exactly what to stone and to what degree, and what not to stone. The most stressed part of the video was do not stone the single action sear, I am sure the same goes for auto's with this as well. If you take the edge off that single action sear, and when the hammer is cocked back, enough force on the hammer could cause it to drop and result in a negligent discharge. Powderman pretty much covered everything in his post. You really want to just focus on rough spots on contact points, you in no way want to change the angles. I used an arkansas stone when I did mine by the way.
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Old January 22, 2013, 09:28 PM   #10
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Hard Arkansas stones are the best for finish stoning, without a doubt.

Unfortunately, they're also VERY expensive.

I have had great results with a set of hard ceramic stones, available from Brownells. They cut smoothly and evenly, clean up very well with soap and water--and if you get a bit ham-handed and drop one (and break it), they're easy to replace. I have used the same set now for a long, LONG time.

Armchair Bronco, tuning up a gun is actually easy. Simply inspect ALL metal-to-metal rub areas. The only ones you should NOT touch are the ones already listed. Some areas that are usually overlooked are: the mainspring strut and.or retainer; hammer and trigger pivot pins, hammer and trigger travel areas.

Here's a tip: One of the secrets of a good action job is to actually clean up the SPRINGS. You can polish the outer surfaces easily on heavy springs--chuck them gently in a VSR drill, cover the outside of the spring with JB compound, put some oil on a big patch or cloth and turn at slow speed for about 10 seconds. Small springs can be done by hand. Leave the tiny ones alone--they'll tun away and you'll never see them again.

Clean the spring well, and put a drop of oil on them before replacing.

Hey, Dragline--wanna do a good trigger tune on that Smith? Polish the bottom and left side of the rebound slide, shim the hammer boss (Ron Power shims), carefully ream the inside tunnel on the crane and install an endshake bearing; then replace your rebound spring with a 14 lb. Wolff spring. Smooth as silk, with a reliable ignition.
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Old January 22, 2013, 09:50 PM   #11
Dragline45
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Quote:
Hey, Dragline--wanna do a good trigger tune on that Smith? Polish the bottom and left side of the rebound slide, shim the hammer boss (Ron Power shims), carefully ream the inside tunnel on the crane and install an endshake bearing; then replace your rebound spring with a 14 lb. Wolff spring. Smooth as silk, with a reliable ignition.
I have already stoned and polished the rebound slide, as well as installing a 14lb rebound spring from wolf. The lighter 14lb rebound spring makes a world of a difference without sacrificing trigger reset problems. What do you use for reaming the inside of the crane? I gave it a quick go through with the red polishing compound that comes with the Dremel tool I have then finished with mothers mag polish. Also ill have to check out the shims you mentioned.
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