View Full Version : Trigger Wiggle - 1858 Pietta blue steel Target

September 21, 2010, 10:39 PM
My first black powder piece, a Pietta 1858 NMA in blued steel with target sights is a really nice revolver. As I now have a much better understanding of the black powder revolver replica markets, (and much thanks to the members of this board for their patience with me while I learned from them), I understand that if the major and primary pieces of the revolver are made to spec and fitted well, that the little pieces can be fixed and fitted to make an excellent shootin' iron that will compete well with modern pistols, (nice modern pistols at that).

So it's not a complaint as it might have been before I began to come out of my "green", and my concern for this posting is "Trigger Wiggle", lateral trigger wiggle, not back and forth but side to side.

The trigger really sits way forward in the trigger guard and I don't get any where near a "flat squeeze" on the trigger, it slopes forward quite a bit. And I've noticed that Uberti in general have a much flatter trigger, they don't pitch forward as much. In general, I find the Pietta of this type and model have a trigger that pitches forward at an angle so when you squeeze the trigger the finger rides up the trigger into the notch it forms with the bottom of the frame.

I've seen people term loose actions as "sloppy" and I figure the internals of the trigger are a bit sloppy.

Of all the revolvers that I inspected and graded as I developed my "Remmie grading spreadsheet and checklist", this had the best barrel fitting, great cylinder and flash gap and all the major parts including fit and finish to a great degree in all areas are very nice ... except the trigger. The timing of course from the factory is "two click" and the cylinder bolt is creeping out of the cylinder bolt window while the hand is still turning the cylinder. The bolt finally lets loose and drops and very nearly drops exactly into the cylinder notch.

When I draw that hammer back to get a second shot off at a wild pig or game, it's going to overturn the cylinder with a strong pull on the hammer for sure. Of course I'll fix that by shortening the small leg of the bolt spring underneath a magnifying glass ... or send it to Jay Strite per the plan which I'll probably do after shooting a few hundred rounds through it.

Chamber mouth to flash gap alignment is really dead on. Tested it with a dowel, and a ramrod from a .50 Hawken that i recently borrowed from a friend. I REALLY like the balance in the Hawken. It's a SOLID rifle, (Cabela's model, date code "BB"). This Hawken has that little door on the right side of the shoulder stock with an area underneath to put possible items.

So back to my pride and joy, the Pietta 1858 NMA target in blued steel ... I never ran into one that had noticeable lateral trigger wiggle. It won't "rattle" when you shake the gun or gently mallet the butt into your hand, but it certainly slides to the side when you pull the trigger. It can easily be moved from side to side with the fingers perhaps as much as an 1/8th of an inch.

The trigger has close to a 6 pound pull, it's stiff and I know it will wear in to some degree and of course an action job by a good gunsmith would clear it all up, but I'm wondering what exactly I should look for that is causing the trigger to wiggle from side to side.

And I think my intention is to shoot reasonable loads in it to get used to it and after it's broke in real good send it to Jay and spend some money on it. I've got only $230.00 in it new including shipping and it's a great candidate to turn into an excellent Remmie so I can then have a representative model to base future gunsmith learnin' upon.

So what's with that Trigger Wiggle.

Oh, the revolver is date code "CF" which is 2010 and I've seen 4 of these target models total and of those, 3 were really nice. I got the nicest of those 4 of course.

I'm working up a super-duper, extra-special pictorial on it to share.

Also, the hammer likes to lean a bit to the left as I've noticed on MANY of the 2010 Pietta, but I know that's easily adjusted by a good gunsmith as well. There is a small amount of side to side wiggle in the hammer, but not near as much as the lateral trigger wiggle.

September 22, 2010, 12:26 AM
The side to side trigger wiggle is due to clearance difference between the diameter of the pin the trigger rides on and the hole in the trigger. This difference is normally .003 in. That isn't much across the pin but out at the tip of the trigger it is more pronounced. This is the same thing with the hammer which should have the same clearance. It is kind of unusual to notice it as much in the hammer as as they generally fit very close in the frame side to side. In any case it is not anything to be concerned about.
As to the trigger pull that is typical Pietta. They have about twice the depth of engagement as Uberti for no good reason.
I generally boost the hammer about 25 times and that smooths out the pull as well as I can do stoning it with no chance of wearing through the case hardening and then pin the full cock notch to limit depth of engagement to about half of what it is. I posted some pictures of this process a couple of pages back in reference to a pair of Hickok 1851 Navys. The efect was to take them from long 5lb pulls to 32OZ pulls that break like glass The principal is the same and I've also done it to my Pietta Remmies. You're right about over running the notch with a two click gun. Just have to have the bolt drop a little earlier.
Get out there and shoot that puppy you will like it.

Here's a link to that thread I mentioned

September 22, 2010, 07:48 AM
Like denster said the trigger wiggle is caused by the trigger to trigger pin clearance. The trigger return spring weight well effect how much wiggle you feel. I've never known it to cause a problem. Even the ROA's have trigger movement side to side.

September 22, 2010, 08:52 AM
I don't like the curve that both Pietta and Remington have in their triggers. I prefer a much straighter trigger. I was replacing a worn trigger and thought, what the heck. I put the worn out trigger in the vise and tightened it a little across the bowed area. It straightened nicely. They bend very easily. I have all of my match guns done that way now. It the trigger is straightened too much the tip may rub on the trigger guard. Either bend it back a bit or hit the tip with a Dremel tool.
One of the things I really don't like about the 1860s is the stock attachment screws that protrude from the frame. Chuck the threads in a cordless drill and turn the screw heads against a fine file until you achieve the degree of "roundness" you like. Makes them much more comfortable for me to handle.

September 22, 2010, 06:54 PM

That's the ticket then. I'm going to purchase a parts/kit from Cabela's to replace the trigger and see if I can limit that wiggle, then I'll straighten out that trigger.

Very, VERY good information on that. Thank you.

As per all of you, thank you for the information and diagnosis !

September 22, 2010, 08:40 PM
One of the parts kits is a good thing to have handy however don't expect there to be any less trigger wiggle as the clearance will still be the same. There of course is a solution and that would be to have your gunsmith make an oversize trigger bolt pin and lap it to the size of the trigger hole so that it is just barely a running fit. Souldn't cost more than $75. Seriously though you are making a problem where none exists.

September 22, 2010, 11:13 PM

More and more the green is wearing off of me, :D.

I've made some thick leather strips to fit in the hammer window and have been dry firing some and I see that I'll simply get used to all that, I'm happy with it, it's just my nature to be a perfectionist and the BP adventure is a good therapist. :cool:

September 22, 2010, 11:18 PM
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And what that says about this forum is that the content is the most relevant for BP revolvers without question of any forum on the internet as well as many other good things about the forum, especially the penchant for membership to stay on topic.

Thanks again to everyone for helping.

September 22, 2010, 11:46 PM
Cajun. We were all green at one time. Now most of us are somewhat darker and smell somewhat of sulfur most of the time. Go and do likewise.:D:D

September 22, 2010, 11:59 PM
Cajun. I noticed you are from Louisiana. Sparked a memory of what first got me interested in black powder. It was in the late 50's and I was in 8th grade and read an article in Outdoor Life about this Swamper in Louisiana that hunted gators with an original 1860 Army. I thought that was the coolest pistol I had ever seen. I really wanted one but it wasn't untill I got out of the military that I had the chance to pick one up. Been a lifelong addiction ever since.

September 23, 2010, 12:14 AM
HooOOOO WEEEE cha, me I heard dey catch 'em a big gator, say mebbe' 80-90 year old in da bayou just lass night. Boudreaux he say day strangess ting he say, yeah ... dat dey foun a black powdah pistol right in dat gator's big belly, shiny new but mussa been mebbe 60 mebbe 70 year ole ... now ... what choo tink a dat cha! HoooOOOO Weeee, I say me!

September 23, 2010, 02:41 AM
And now I've noticed that the lateral trigger wiggle is only present in hammer down, in half cock and in full cock the trigger is rock solid, (no side to side movement).

September 23, 2010, 03:58 AM
I say Chu bes ring up Boudreaux say Boudrreaux don chu be stirren dat gator gumbo I knows chu mekin wit dat pisol no sireee it mite still be loaded an blow chu all to kingdom com say I.:D

On another note. You won't find any trigger movement when the pistol is cocked or in half cock because of the lateral pressure on the notches on the tip of the trigger from the combined forces of of the mainspring and trigger spring. An dats how tis say I.

September 23, 2010, 04:40 AM
Ohhhhh ME ! :D