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Old January 25, 2013, 08:22 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 7,227
Be aware the j-frame's spring is a coil, rather than a leaf, as shown in the link.
Yes, and the easiest way to remove it is thus:
  1. Remove stocks (grips).
  2. Cock hammer. This will cause the hammer strut to protrude through the retainer inside the grip frame. You should see a little hole in the hammer strut.
  3. Straighten out a paper clip and insert it through hole.
  4. Decock revolver; the paper clip will hold the spring in compression, so the hammer will have to be pushed forward.
  5. The spring, strut, retainer, and paper clip can be lifted out once the sideplate is off.
Other tips:
  • The hammer block will usually fall out when the sideplate is removed, so it may not be obvious where it goes. The top goes between the hammer and frame. The slot on the bottom engages the little nub on the side of the rebound slide. The engaged position is upwards, and it should be in this position when the sideplate it reinstalled.
  • The hand- the little thing that moves the cylinder- has two pins that engage the trigger. The large pin fits in a hole; the small one fits in a slot. HERE'S THE CLINCHER: There is a little bitty hairpin spring inside the trigger, visible through the slot. First, it is retained by the large pin, so be careful not to lose it! Second, it must be pushed aside with a small tool before reinserting the hand, so it exerts pressure on the small pin and spring-loads the hand. Failure to assemble this properly will result in a cylinder that only turns when the muzzle is pointed downwards. (This is perhaps the #1 n00b mistake when reassembling a S&W for the first time! However, removing the hand is NOT 100% required just for cleaning, so it is often easier just to leave it alone.)
  • This won't apply to this particular revolver, but if you ever work on a 1996 or later model with the free-floating firing pin, the gun should NOT be cycled with the sideplate off. This may cause the pin that aligns the sideplate and retains the firing pin and firing pin spring- known as the "stock pin"- to work its way out and go flying, often taking the firing pin and (very small!) spring with it. Don't ask me how I learned this.
FWIW you shouldn't cycle the action an excessive number of times with the sideplate off anyway, as this can bend various pivot pins, but a few times won't hurt anything.
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak

Last edited by carguychris; January 25, 2013 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Forgot something!
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