Colt Double-Action Trigger work from Cylinder & Slide
By David W. Arnold 

Originally published in
 
Guns & Ammo Handguns© November 2000 Issue
Click on images to see larger size.

Bill Laughbridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop in Fremont, Nebraska is a pistolsmith who offers trigger work on revolvers, including those made by Colt.  Having served as a consultant for that company in the past, he is well qualified to undertake such work.

Cylinder & Slide recently worked on one of my Colts, a new Magnum Carry in .357 Magnum.  While its double-action trigger was actually quite good, I felt that it could be improved upon.  A phone call to Bill resulted in an invitation to send him the revolver to see what he could do with it.

PERFORMANCE
BEFORE 
CUSTOMIZING


During my initial shooting with the revolver, I found that the dou­ble-action trigger pull, while accept­able, tended to pull my groups to the left, especially when I tried to increase the speed of my shooting.  Apart from this, I have really grown to like the little revolver, which I find carries well in a Gallagher belt slide holster and points well so that I can get on target quickly from a draw.  In spite of its short two-inch barrel, the revolver displays minimal recoil with .38 Specials.  In fact, I have enjoyed shooting it so much that I have given serious consideration to using it for IDPA competition, if only I can improve the trigger enough to tighten up my DA groups.

     To determine what improvements could be effected, I did some controlled shooting with the Magnum Carry before sending it off to be worked on. Initially, I measured the double-action pull to be around 11 pounds.  But on shooting the revolver, it seemed to be somewhat heavier and on remeasuring the pull I found it to be closer to 12 pounds.

     I set up a B-27 target center at seven yards and then fired several aimed six-shot strings, shooting as fast as I could maintain acquisition of the sights.  The ammunition was Black Hills 158-grain JHP+P. Each string was timed with a Pact elec­tronic timer and all shooting was done with a one-hand hold.

     Even though I had replaced the rubber stocks with a nice set of wood Hogues, the revolver exhibit­ed mild recoil.  An acceptable six shot run was six shots within the nine ring of the target.  I was able to accomplish this quite consistently in 4.44 seconds with my best run being in 4.00 even.

     I then changed to shooting fast two-shot strings with my fastest time being 1.4 seconds.  My only complaint was that my two-shot strings were spread apart by about twelve inches, and try as I might I could not get it any closer.  Another minor problem was a tendency of the trigger to tie up as I increased my speed, because I did not allow it to return all the way forward.

     Not long after this, I shipped the revolver off to Cylinder & Slide together with a second Colt that is Part of another improvement pro­ject I am working on.

Damage
Report


     Not long after I had shipped the revolver, Bill called with the disturbing news that the revolvers had apparently come in contact during shipping, resulting in the Magnum Carry sustaining some bad dings to the barrel. It was obviously my fault for not packing them more carefully. He said he would do what he could to remove the dings along with the trigger work too.

     About a month or so later, Bill called to say the revolver had been shipped back to me. When the package arrived, I held my breath as I unpacked it, anticipating the sight of a badly dinged Magnum Carry with evi­dence of attempts to restore the original smooth satin-finished surfaces.

   I was both relieved and pleasantly surprised to find my Magnum Carry looking as good as when I packed it for shipping, there being absolutely no evidence of dings or scratches on it.  The revolver looked as good as new.



Performance


   The most obvious feature of the custom work done to my revolver was the radiusing of the edges of the trigger face. Originally, the face had a flat surface that could be uncomfortable when shooting heavy Magnum loads.

   On doing some dry firing, it was obvious that the double-action was much improved seemed a lot lighter and easier.  In addition, I was able to cycle the double-action trigger quick without tying up the action.

When I shot the Magnum Carry on our range at the Petersen ranch, putting it through exactly the same exercises already described, I saw an immediate improvement in the size of my groups and I consistent­ly kept everything  within the ten ring of a B-27 center.  Shooting fast double-taps, the revolver con­sistently printed the two shots close together.

As far as reliability was concerned, the revolver performed flawlessly with everything that I shot in it, in spite of its seemingly lighter 11-pound trigger.

  The trigger work is priced at around $90.00, and as far as I am concerned it is well worth every dime.  (Price reflects print pricing at time of article. For current pricing visit our online store.)  My Magnum Carry has been transformed into a revolver that has been elevated to one of my favorite shooting guns.