S&W Model 41 detailed dis-assembly and assembly instructions

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Post by mikemyers on 6/5/2019, 9:41 pm

By following the illustrated instructions on this page, I was easily able to clean out many years of "crud" buried deep inside the slide on my S&W Model 41.

https://guntalk-online.com/Model41maintenance.htm

Maybe everyone here already knows all these things, and of the existence of this page.
For me, it was clear, easy to follow, and the illustrations (click on them to see full size) made everything so much easier.
Before reading this page, I wasn't even aware of what things I should do, let alone how to do them.

I haven't yet done the trigger pressure adjustment, just cleaning everything as shown in the first section.
I bought a set of brass punches and a gunsmith's block from Midway; worked fine.

Some of the last sections are way above my "skill level".  
I don't expect to even try them.
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Post by mustachio on 6/6/2019, 7:42 am

I have done the trigger pressure adjustment on my 41. My advice is simple, go slowly, do not totally remove the pin, move one notch at a time and check the pull. I find that between 2 and 2.25 lbs is a nice pull. I used that same web site to guide me.
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Post by mikemyers on 6/6/2019, 7:54 am

Thanks - I know about not pushing the pin "too far", and going one notch at a time makes sense.  For you, did you just go one notch, and test it right then, or go one notch and go shooting, before deciding whether or not to do more?  

(I think my 41 feels perfect, until I try a friend's gun, and he tries mine - and his gun takes so much less effort.  He doesn't like my trigger at all, too strong.  On a Wheeler Trigger Pull Scale, my trigger pull ranges from 2.5 to 2.75 pounds.  How sensitive is the adjustment?  Will moving the wheel just one notch be "too much"?  I like mine the way it is now, but I like his lighter pull more.)

I know it's all psychology, and stuff like that, but my trigger feels so much lighter when I'm dry-firing than when I'm at the range with live ammo.  Silly.  I'm sure it's me, not the gun - my fingers just get more sensitive.

Dave Salyer and others have told me how to do this, but the illustrations make everything so much clearer.

While I'm asking - do you ever spray everything with something like "Gun Scrubber" to clean those parts in place?  Those parts haven't been cleaned since I first got the gun in the late 1970's or so.
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Post by mustachio on 6/6/2019, 8:05 am

I moved one notch at a time, put the pin back in and tested the pull on my 2 kg lab spring scale. It releases at 1 kg (2.2 lbs.). I had to move a total of 2 notches to get that trigger weight. 

I don't have Gun Scrubber, but I do use my air compressor to blow out crud from the innards. If you don't have a compressor, the air cans used to clean computer key boards works well and does not leave a residue. I lube with Ballistol. A little goes a long way and slicks up the slide and trigger. 

Adjust your trigger to what feels comfortable and safe for you and gives you the best control of the shot.
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Post by spursnguns on 6/6/2019, 10:02 am

mustachio wrote:If you don't have a compressor, the air cans used to clean computer key boards works well and does not leave a residue.

Hello,

A quick warning....

Most of the "canned air" products blow moisture laden air.  Same as a compressor without a water trap installed.  Not the best scenario for steel guns.

Jim
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Post by mustachio on 6/6/2019, 1:26 pm

I've never had an issue using compressed air.
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Post by mikemyers on 6/6/2019, 3:49 pm

I dug out my old Paasche air compressor that I've had for 40 years or so (back when I was into model railroading and custom painting) - with an air hose and one of those fittings with a nozzle that directs air.  I'll see how well that works for me.

The slide components were disassembled, cleaned, and re-assembled, without using any lubricant, other than my oily/greasy fingers.  I'm wondering if I should have used any oil there.

Gun went together fairly easily.  Took it to the range this morning, and for an hour it shot great.  Then it started "catching" shells that were being ejected in front of the slide.  Every so often, as the gun cycled, it didn't load the next round from the magazine. 

I'll take the slide off, and put a drop of light oil on the rails, then try again.  I'll also try a different magazine.
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Post by mustachio on 6/6/2019, 4:28 pm

I find that my 41 likes to run wet.
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Post by Domino1 on 6/7/2019, 3:56 pm

The above link is a good illustration of working on a 41.  I don't know of any other instructions like that.

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Post by mikemyers on 6/7/2019, 6:49 pm

mustachio wrote:I find that my 41 likes to run wet.
What I was reading earlier today was every few weeks to put a drop of light oil on the firing pin hole, and on the ejector hole, and more frequently on the grooves for the slide.   Some people were saying to put a drop of oil on the first round of a magazine, but my experience with that is that it makes a mess.  Anything else to be done on a routine basis?

Maybe it's just me, but for reasons I don't understand, if I disassemble my 41 and clean it, when I get to the range next time it takes five or six rounds before it starts working normally.  A round gets "stuck" in the barrel, maybe twice, and from then on it's fine.  Even when it's working fine, every so often it fails to load the next round in the magazine.  I will try a different magazine - and for that matter, I've never cleaned my magazines, as I don't know how.  Two of the are very old, with numbers on the side for how many rounds are loaded.  The other two don't have that.

Starting next week, I'll get to see how well I do with a Model 17 revolver.  Someone (actually two people) responded for my post asking if anyone wanted to sell one.  If I was rich, I'd buy both.....
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Post by mustachio on 6/7/2019, 9:29 pm

I shoot my 41 weekly, not weakly. Before I shoot a match I run one magazine through the gun to clear out any light oil coating that may be in the barrel. You would be surprised at the poor accuracy you can get with an oily barrel. I never put oil on the firing pin. Putting oil (a very small amount) on the first round of the first mag keeps rounds from sticking in the chamber. Failure to load a round may mean the previous round was a bit weak, I have had that happen. I keep my rails wet with Ballistol, or Break Free or any other good oil that I have on my bench. Keep it wet and use good ammo and you should be okay.
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Post by Domino1 on 6/8/2019, 8:08 am

I love the smell of Ballistol.  NOT.

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Post by mustachio on 6/8/2019, 9:12 am

Domino1 wrote:I love the smell of Ballistol.  NOT.

My wife says it smells like vomit, but it sure does work well.
Break Free smells like Band-Aids
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Post by Domino1 on 6/8/2019, 10:38 am

I was going to say it smells like a wet dog.

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Post by Domino1 on 6/9/2019, 8:23 am

Mustachio,

When you drift out the pin to adjust the trigger pull weight did you use a cupped tipped punch?  The pin is rounded and I thought I saw S&W cupped tipped punches in Brownells.  Just curious what punch you used.

Thanks,
Jeff

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Post by mustachio on 6/9/2019, 8:33 am

I used a smaller flat tipped punch (1/16") since I did not have a cupped punch. Go slow, tap lightly and don't knock the pin all the way out. Then use a pointed object (I think I used a dart) to move the scalloped lever forward or back to make your adjustment. Don't exert a lot of force. I moved only 2 notches.

Got your PM...you are welcome.
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Post by mikemyers on 6/9/2019, 9:27 am

Apparently, cup tip punches are steel - Brownell's carries them:
https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/general-gunsmith-tools/punches/cup-tip-punch-set-c-sku080620306-656-2829.aspx?gdffi&cm_mmc=affiliate-_-Itwine-_-IR-_-57565&utm_content=57565&aid=332675&utm_source=ir&utm_campaign=itwine&utm_medium=affiliate&source=ir&clickid=3PyXmUyFJxyJREBwUx0Mo3YyUklUQuydIVQlRo0

If I did buy one, do you know what size it should be?  

Because of what you wrote, and what I've read, I only plan to move it one notch.  I'll see how that works out before I consider doing more.  

Every so often, a round fails to eject.  Do I just replace the ejector and the spring?

Every so often, a round fails to load into the gun from the magazine - I take out the magazine, and the round is just sitting there at the top.  Not sure yet if this is caused by the magazine or the gun.  Since the magazines haven't ever been cleaned, that will be my next step, if I can find directions on how to do it.
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Post by mustachio on 6/9/2019, 9:47 am

Some one is selling 41 bolts, but no firing pin or extractor. Have you tried a Volquartsen extractor? i hear they are good, but my OEM is working fine for me. Cleaning your mags might be a good idea, too.
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Post by mikemyers on 6/9/2019, 10:19 am

No, haven't tried anything yet but for cleaning.  I have a feeling the problem is the round being "stuck" in the chamber.  Every time I clean the gun, it takes 10 rounds or so before they start ejecting.  Not sure what to use to clean the chamber.  I have some "dummy rounds".  Will try those.

What cupped punch size would be used for this gun?  Or, I can follow your advice with a 1/16" dia. brass punch.
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Post by mustachio on 6/9/2019, 10:28 am

I think the flat punch will be adequate. Mine is actually steel, not brass.
Do you have carbon build up in your chamber? Try a piece of brass chore boy scrubby lightly wrapped on a 22 brush. I got one from Publix. Sometimes I use a "used" up 38 cal brush and spin it in the chamber to clean it. Are you having a problem with extraction or ejection?  That is why I suggested the Volquartsen extractor. Are you sure you are holding the grip firmly enough and not limp wristing?
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Post by mikemyers on 6/9/2019, 10:32 am

I've tried changing my grip to the way I shoot my 45.  No change.  Extraction.  The round remains in the chamber, and I need to use a range rod to get it out.  I'll try your suggestion - will start with the 38 cal brush.  That's easy.  On my next visit to Publix, I'll get the other.
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Post by mustachio on 6/9/2019, 10:47 am

If you would like me to take a look at it some time, I would be happy to  help you out. You can try my 41 at the same time.
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Post by mikemyers on 6/9/2019, 11:18 am

Thanks, but I think you already solved that issue!  :-)

I cleaned the barrel the way I normally do, then took the wire brush which apparently is for barrel cleaning (which I never use it for) and screwed that brush into the handle for the cleaning rod.  I pushed it a little into the chamber, then pulled it out.  Since the bristles have to change direction, they really scrape into the chamber.  I did this over and over, each time with the brush a little further into the chamber.  Then a few patches, wet, then dry, and then I repeated the process.  I then put some Hoppe's on a patch - for whatever reason it was much harder to push through the barrel.  I did this a few times, then went with dry patches until they came out clean.

Barrel now looks perfectly clean, including the chamber.  My test bullets fall right out of the slide when I point the slide upwards.  Ditto for a live round I tested. 

If this issue is cured, it will probably cure my last concern with cases getting trapped by the closing slide.  

Will try this Monday, and the try to lighten the trigger pull.



Thanks for the offer.  You're already helping me out with SO MANY concerns, with this gun, and my Taurus.  Another fellow at the range let me fire his Model 41, and he fired mine.  His had a very light trigger pull, and I liked it.  He very much disliked mine - too much trigger pull.

I will order a 3/32" punch on Monday, probably cupped.  Brownells has them in stock.
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Post by -TT- on 6/9/2019, 11:43 am

mikemyers wrote:If this issue is cured, it will probably cure my last concern with cases getting trapped by the closing slide. 
I bet it is. I was going to say that both failures (non-extraction and trapped-by-slide) can definitely be caused by a tight chamber. When the brass fails to leave the chamber, the slide doesn't move very far either. And, in a .22 the extractor really doesn't do the extraction, it's just there to hang on to the brass until it hits the ejector and flies out. The blowback is what does the real work.

Get yourself a .25 or .243 cal bronze brush for cleaning the chamber. And please don't scrape it in and out, bend the brush into an L and use a twisting motion, with plenty of cleaning solution. Don't go further than about 3/4", you really don't want to damage the forcing cone area just in front of the chamber.

When you're done finding any schmutz, clean the chamber out with a Q-tip and then fire 5-10 rounds through it to clear out any remaining oil film. This film will hang on to the brass for a few rounds and can cause all kinds of strange behaviors. At that point you should be good to go.

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Post by mustachio on 6/9/2019, 11:51 am

-TT- wrote:
mikemyers wrote:If this issue is cured, it will probably cure my last concern with cases getting trapped by the closing slide. 
I bet it is. I was going to say that both failures (non-extraction and trapped-by-slide) can definitely be caused by a tight chamber. When the brass fails to leave the chamber, the slide doesn't move very far either. And, in a .22 the extractor really doesn't do the extraction, it's just there to hang on to the brass until it hits the ejector and flies out. The blowback is what does the real work.

Get yourself a .25 or .243 cal bronze brush for cleaning the chamber. And please don't scrape it in and out, bend the brush into an L and use a twisting motion, with plenty of cleaning solution. Don't go further than about 3/4", you really don't want to damage the forcing cone area just in front of the chamber.

When you're done finding any schmutz, clean the chamber out with a Q-tip and then fire 5-10 rounds through it to clear out any remaining oil film. This film will hang on to the brass for a few rounds and can cause all kinds of strange behaviors. At that point you should be good to go.
As I stated, spin the brush, not an in and out movement. A well used 38 brush fits perfectly.
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