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Joined: Nov 2020
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Sidelock
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Sidelock

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A friend asked me to help him disassemble his old LC SMITH that went thru a flood earlier this year. I recommended he have a real Gunsmith familiar with these old jewels take it apart and clean it but he’s too cheap. So we are on a mission to take it apart or tear it up trying.
Everything has come apart better than I expected. That is until we got to the trigger assembly. I cannot get it free of the receiver. I would imagine the rust in there is the biggest problem so I have been soaking it in Kroil to try to loosen it up. In looking thru a description of the disassembly of a hamerless model I read that you may need to drift the top leaver out of the recesss in the trigger plate. Would that apply to this model? If I apply heat what should I keep the temp below to not cause any issues with the receiver? I really don’t want to heat it and cook any part of the stock but I can’t think of a better Idea at the moment. The stock is pretty nice considering it took a swim.
Any recommendations / tricks to try and free the trigger plate from the receiver?
Thanks
Eddie.

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Sidelock
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Sidelock

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Don’t know anything about Smith hammer guns but that one looks just like a hammerless. If it is and you haven’t found it, there is a screw under the top lever that screws into the same hole, from the top, that the trigger guard is screwed into.
That hole in front of the trigger guard is the bottom of the top lever shaft, it has a very heavy spring pushing against it. Tap on it with a punch in the bottom of the shaft hole so you don’t damage threads and move it only far enough to disengage the trigger plate. That spring will give you lots of grief on reassembly. There is a special tool you can make to make assembly somewhat easier.

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Is the top tang screw out?
I imagine it is but just asking...

Push the top lever over a bit and slide a long slender but stout punch down into the hole where the top tang screw came out of.
It;ll bottom out in the bolster on the trigger plate that the tang screw threads into, just ahead of where the triggers are attached and pivot on.

That gives you a pretty good and solid place to tap on the punch and by that you are directly pushing the trigger plate downward and off.

Go easy as there is probably plenty of rust and crud built up around the edges of the plate, wood and internal parts.
Easy does it, little by little to avoid breaking wood out from the stock.

The spindle end of the top lever will snap out of the trigger plate and kick to the side under the heavy top lever V spring pressure.
It'll do no good to tap on the bottom of the spindle visible thru the trigger plate as it sets now as the spindle cannot be pushed up and completely free of the frame anyway.
There's more to take apart once the trigger plate is off and the frame is off of the wood, then you can get at the top lever parts and locking bolt, ect.

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Sidelock
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Sidelock

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Thanks guys, top tang screw is out. I will put a brass drift thru that hole and try a little tapping tomorrow evening.

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Turn it upside down and tap the watertable on your bench. The vibration will move the trigger plate up.

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Sidelock
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Worked like a charm. I turned the end of a Brass Drift down enough at the tip to sit inside the screw hole against the stud of the trigger guard and tapped for a bit. Then smacked it with a little force and it popped right off. Thanks for that advice Kutter.

Question two......what is the prefered method to free the top lever from the heavy spring? I'm going to find that thread on the disassembly of the hamerless model on that other site and see what it says. looks the same as I recall.

Mark I had done that for quite a bit yesterday as well as tapping on it with a brass hammer. I't was stuck tight.

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It may serve you better in not removing it until you are able to break free the screw that connects the top lever to the coupler. The spring will help hold the top lever from moving as I have found that to be the hardest screw to remove in these guns. If not the case I usually take a punch and tap the end of the top lever spring down until it pops out of the receivers milled out portion which holds it.

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Good advise to leave the spring as is while you work on getting that upper screw un-done.

Once the screw is out, I usually just place a tapered screwdriver blade into that clearance betw the spring arm and the frame that is noticable in the pic.
Tap the blade down in betw the two and it'll push the arm of the spring away (compress it) slightly. That takes the pressure off of the top lever spindle and it's free to exit thru the top of the frame.

Take care tapping on the extreme end of the top lever spindle where the small screw hole is.
The part is case hardened and that end often got near through-hardened because of it's small size.
The result is that the end is brittle and can break easily often with a piece of the internal threaded tip chipping off.
The hole is a standard 4-40 IIRC.

It doesn't take much compression of that spring arm, so it one screwdriver blade doesn't do the job because the taper isn't enough, try a different screwdriver with a little more taper to the blade. All this just to avoid simply twisting the screwdriver to push the spring arm aside,,which you can do of course. But that can leave marks on the spring which don't do it any good for it's service life.

Tap the over hanging arm down gently to kick the back end V up slightly and you can work the spring out of it's cavity in the frame to remove the spring.
Or,,You can also put the frame straight up (tang up) in the vise and a stout bar of brass or steel behind the long arm of the spring. With a hand on both ends of the bar, pull towards you and pull the spring from it's seat in the frame.

I favor the former as it is a bit more controlled!
But I saw both methods used at Marlin in the early 70's in the repair dept when elderly LCS came in for repair.
Only 2 of the 'smiths in the repair dept worked on them.
Shortly after that, Marlin started to decline any work on them (and any older MArlin firearm) with the excuse of 'no parts available anymore' which wasn't true. We had ton's of parts.

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