It's like 1899 in there

Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to take a trip back in time to a marvel of Victorian era engineering. Yes, I took the side plate off not one, but two of my Smith & Wesson revolvers.

I had ordered a Power Rib spring kit from Brownells and to install it the side plate has to come off the gun. So off I went with my screwdrivers, YouTube instructional videos, and a bottle of Wild Turkey.  The first thing I noticed was that the side plate was actually kind of difficult to get off the gun – I removed all the screws with no problem, but then I was sitting there and the side plate just didn’t pop off in my hand like I expected it to.  The internet said “tap” the frame of the gun and the vibration will get the side plate out.  It was more like “vigorously whack the crap” out of the grip frame, but that’s the internet for you.

In my fascination with the Victorian engineering, I turned the gun towards me, causing the hammer block to fall out – you can see it installed in the 627 on the right, and the one from my 625 just sitting there on the gun rug, mocking me.  Once I figured out exactly what it was and how it worked, getting it back to where it was supposed to be wasn’t a problem, until I had to put the side plate back on.

But that’s getting ahead of myself.  The goal of the mission was to install a Brownells Reduced Power Mainspring to take some of the weight off the double action trigger pull.  That was actually shockingly easy.  Loosen the strain screw and the mainspring will basically fall right out of the gun.  Swap in the Brownells spring, tighten up the strain screw, and you’re done – assuming that you don’t want to replace the rebound slide spring.  I opted to leave the factory rebound spring, as I want the gun to reset as fast as possible when I’m shooting for speed – the worst thing you can do to a DA revolver in a match is short stroke the trigger.

With the new mainspring successfully installed, I then had the fun and entertaining task of putting the side plate BACK on the gun.  The 625 was a lot easier than the 627, which incurred much cursing, tapping, and eventually beating the frame like it owed me money.  Clearly, I’m not destined to work as a gunsmith.

All that being said, the instructional videos from Brownells and MidwayUSA were surprisingly helpful.  I’m leery of “lurn 2 gunsmif online!” videos, but for something as simple as a spring swap it seems I can muster up the necessary skills to get the side plate off and then eventually back on my gun.

Prior to installing the reduced power mainspring, the double action trigger pull on my 625 was too high for me to measure on my simple spring loaded trigger pull gauge, I’d estimate it around 12 pounds.  After the new spring was installed, the new trigger pull weight breaks consistently around 7.5 pounds.  The difference is incredible in the speed with with I can manipulate the trigger – when compared to my un-modified 686SSR, the trigger on the 625 feels silky smooth and absurdly fast.  I can’t wait to get this out to the range!


  1. I’m so happy to read about other people beating up on their guns – AS I DO!!! At least now I don’t feel like a total “gun abuser”

  2. It’s worthwhile to pick up the Kuhnhausen manual for reference if you’re going to be doing work on your S&W revolvers.

  3. Sure they’re Victorian-era now, but they need more brass fittings to go full steampunk. =)

    Look forward to reading the range report.

  4. I had the action on my Taurus 608SS4 reworked by a fantastic revolver smith. Well worth the $$$, as its so silky smooth and bloody accurate, it is one of my favorite revolvers.

    I bet you smiled when you pulled the trigger… I hear tell Clint Eastwood has a wickedly smooth trigger action in his 8-shot 357 S&W. I think someone in a mag commented that his was in the neighborhood of 8lbs. Just like on his 44mag.

  5. Damn your eyes!
    I have a 625 that, until 5 minutes ago, I didn’t know NEEDS a new main spring.
    One should have as reliable 625 as possible ’cause you never know when Vamps and Werewolves will need slaying.

    1. My 625 did not need a new mainspring. In fact the new spring makes the gun less reliable as it becomes very finicky about primers with a 7.5 pound trigger pull.

      But the new spring makes the gun better for competition shooting, which is what I use it for.

  6. Ah yes, the inside of the Smiths. Yeah, my 640 went to visit the gunsmith in a Ziploc bag due to my adventures beyond the plate. There are some springs you just don’t mess with at home. Ting! followed by the sound of something landing in the dark corner of the living room does not make one happy. It does drive one to drinking.

  7. And that last comment, me, not Michael. He’s smart enough not to go removing parts without knowing what they are.
    That’s what we get for sharing a computer.

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