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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 heís 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 donít want to heat it and cook any part of the stock but I canít 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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Donít know anything about Smith hammer guns but that one looks just like a hammerless. If it is and you havenít 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 donít 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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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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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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That screw is quite stuck. The one that connects the top lever to the coupler. I have straightened up the damaged head and slot and will try an impact bit driver with backup to see if that will free it.

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Impact driver to the rescue. Its apart now. I don't have anything for reference but man the toggle to rotary locking bolt feels very sloppy. After everything is cleaned up I'll post up some pics and info on the fit of the internals.

Thanks for the help

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Originally Posted By: FISHSTICKER
That screw is quite stuck. The one that connects the top lever to the coupler. I have straightened up the damaged head and slot and will try an impact bit driver with backup to see if that will free it.


One valuable lesson you are learning here is that Kroil is overpriced junk. I don't think it is much better as a penetrating oil than diesel fuel or kerosene. Just my experience, based upon all of the times I have seen totally dry threads after prolonged soaks.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]
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Keith, I have used all kinds of shit and never could see where one worked better than the other. I get the Kroil for free so that's what I use. What do you think works best for penetrating and freeing rusty parts?

skeettx, thanks, good to know they have a few parts, I may be looking for some.

So.......I completed the disassembly of the receiver. The biggest issue appears to be a lot of wear between the rotary bolt and the coupler connecting the top lever

So much wear that there is a hole in the bottom of the bolt where the tip of the coupler wore thru.

Questions: Does the bolt usually wear or the bore in the receiver where it rest or both? With this much wear would you bother buying another bolt to try? What should the OD of the bolt be?

Last edited by FISHSTICKER; 12/12/20 02:23 PM.
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The trip also appears to be very loose in its bore. Here is a pic showing what that looks like. When you open the top lever you have to hold it open to open the barrel. When you release the top lever it closes partially. Looking down at the trip it just wobbles all around when you operate the lever.

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Another angle

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I also took the Trigger group apart, cleaned and reassembled it. Looks like the trigger shoe for the front trigger is bent a bit and will hang up if you pull it hard. I will try to straighten it when i take it back apart.

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Gun looks to be all numbers matching, 85166. Barrels, locks, receiver, fore end, top lever, I could tell someone had brazed one of the hammers back together. However, after further inspection it looks like the broken part was lost and they borrowed a part from another hammer.

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I did put the receiver back together with the trigger plate and dropped the barrels back on. I am quite amazed at how tight the fit still is with all that wear. You can barely feel any movement without the forend on. Lever is well left when shut. About 6 thousands gap between the barrel flats and the water table furthest from the breach. Zero gap at the breach. I'm pretty sure that's not how it should be.

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Another question, Does this braze look to be a repair? I saw what looked to be a crack in this same location during some of my google picture searches of other L C Smiths.

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ANOTHER ANGLE

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I did spend a little time trying to get some of the surface rust off the barrels so my hands don't turn orange handling them. There is actually very little shallow pitting. Nearly none on the inside of the barrels which for the most part are very shiny. One very small dent near the muzzle on one barrel, and a broken off front brass bead.

Part of the bottom rib has been re-soldered at one point and the top rib is loose near the muzzle. Barrels are 32" and full/full

I'm going to look at some options for removing the rest of the rust from the barrels.

Last edited by FISHSTICKER; 12/12/20 02:59 PM.
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Nice job taking it apart and in the cleaning. When the extension rib was put on from the factory it was brazed on, so what you are seeing is residue.

Your friends gun was made Jan. 1901.

To remove rust from the barrels, sand them as they will have to be rust blued if steel or if Damascus will have to be rusted and then etched.

The gap between the water table and the barrels is good, there has to be a gap for wear. If metal to metal that is no good.

Glad to see that you got the rotary bolt together, the coupler pin that goes into the rotary bolt has to go into the side where that hole is in the rotary bolt or else the gun won't open.

Compressing the top lever spring could be hard to do unless you know a way to do it. If you have problems let me know.


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Nice clean up of the metal parts.

The space you describe betw the bbl flats and the action flat..

A gap out at the nose of the action betw the 2 surfaces,,but no gap up at the breech face.
You are correct in thinking that shouldn't be that way.

The bolt is pulling the the bbl down hard onto the action flats (water table) at the breech end of the bbl.
The bbl is rotating around the 'pin' in the frame.

There is enough wear to either the hook or the pin (or both) that the bbl s are allowed to sit up higher than they should be. That amt is the gap you can see at the front of the action flats betw the action and the bbls.

Often the wear is from the abuse of 'flipping' the gun open and closed. That bends the bottom of the semicircle lip of the hook on the bbl lug. It opens up the hook opening on the bottom. So when the bbls are closed, the opening is slightly greater in dia. The bbls now are allowed to sit higher,,that's the gap you see at the front.
The locking lug pulls the back end down to the frame if you are lucky to make things feel tight.

Actually things should be the other way around.
No gap at the front and a very slight gap at the back at the breech for future wear. This with a tight lock-up
..and that lever to the right side not way over to the left.

If you carefully move the lower lip of the hook back into position and make the hook a true semi circle again, it will then pull the bbl back into position onto the frame flats.
It will also push the bbls back slightly and tighter against the breech face.

The locking bolt will engage quicker and the lever will lock up tightly with it being farther to the right where it should be.
There should then be a very small gap under the bbls betw them and the action flats at the breech if there is not too much wear in the action. But don't wish for too much!

That rotary bolt,,it's not uncommon to see the small hole in the side where the stem of the yoke comes through a small amt.
Some are just machined that way. The hole is drilled very close to the outside edge.
It doesn't take much fitting/filing to reveal the cavity if you are not careful.
Some people get a little carried away and take too much off too quickly especially with a belt grinder.

The slot in the rotary bolt that catches the hold-open pin gets worn on the tension side from use. That heavy duty V spring puts the bolt under a lot of pressure and when the gun is closed that bolt snaps shut and it & the hold open pin disengage their sharp edges which get worn over.

You can usually peen the locking bolt slot back into good shape with clean sharp edges. The hold open pin also, but sometimes it's just easier to make a new one with sharp edges.

If the pin is undersize as this one sounds and looks like as it is turning side to side, I'd go ahead and make one.
That'll take care of the need to hold the top lever open a little while closing the bbls.
The top '1/2 dia' portion of the pin should be just enough in size to come through the hole in the frame which is blocked off 1/2 dia by the locking bolt. That way the pin cannot wobble or turn & twist side to side.
That keeps the lower locking component lip of the pin in line with the locking slot in the bolt.
The top lever opens, locks and stays exactly where it's supposed to be.

Broken hammers and brazing jobs are very common on SxS hammer shotguns MixMaster hammers are also.
LC Smith hammers are one of the more common types, or at least they were. Sometimes it's just easier to use what you have. Trim up the repair jobs a little if you like and use it like that. The guns saw a lot of use and that's what they were made and bought for.

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Thanks for that detailed write up. I bought a NOS bolt from Numrich and found a few used pins and toggles. When I get them Iím going to try to better assess the wear on the original parts and go from there.

Thanks again for the detail.

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"That rotary bolt,,it's not uncommon to see the small hole in the side where the stem of the yoke comes through a small amt.
Some are just machined that way. The hole is drilled very close to the outside edge.
It doesn't take much fitting/filing to reveal the cavity if you are not careful.
Some people get a little carried away and take too much off too quickly especially with a belt grinder."

Kutter I have taken many L.C. Smith's apart and everyone has that small hole in the rotary bolt. The coupler pin goes into this hole and protrudes ever so slightly. If the coupler pin does not go into this hole you cannot get the coupler to be in alignment with the top lever and will prevent the top lever to move and won't close.
I phrased that wrong in my statement above, I stated gun won't open. I figuratively jumped "the gun" in posting that.

Also I have never seen a worn out rotary bolt and I have some that are over a 125 years old. The part that wears is the slope on the extension rib causing the rotary bolt to cam farther onto that slope and then the top lever closes farther to the left of center. The best way to prevent that is to hold the top lever over when closing the gun, this prevents unnecessary wear on the extension rib slope.
There was a saying in that "an L.C. Smith never shoots loose".
That is also why there is a gap between the barrel flat and the receiver to let this wear allow the barrel to fully close.
Now they will get a gap between the breech face and that is caused by wear on the hinge pin.

Last edited by David Williamson; 12/20/20 09:44 AM.

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It just looks like there is a lot of slop between the bolt and the bore is sits in. I could not find any dimensions to verify so I assumed the bolt / bore or both were worn. The trip pin and/or its bore are very worn. As mentioned I should be able to turn one of those out. Any recommendations on how many thou of clearance to shoot for between the trip pin and bore?

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Here are two drawings, one of the rotary bolt and the other of the coupler. You can determine how much is worn by comparing these two. I had forgotten about the trip pin and included it.
[img]https://i.imgur.com/8AyAsLl.jpg?1[/img]
[img]https://i.imgur.com/ntW0ZgP.jpg?1[/img]
[img]https://i.imgur.com/WYrRlUZ.jpg?1[/img]


Last edited by David Williamson; 12/21/20 08:57 AM.

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FWIW-- the braze repair on the right hand hammer looks to be a good job--RWTF


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Fishsticker,
To add to RWTF's comment, the added hammer spur seems to have enough "meat" to allow filing to match the original one, if a replacement is not "in the cards". The braze joint can be "faired in", cleaned up, and colored black, to be a lot less noticeable.
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In going over your pictures (very well taken) I noticed the repair on the one hammer that was brazed. The one part that was put on is not from an L.C. Smith. I had the same problem with the top part of the hammer broken off and fabricated a new one and Mig welded it on.



You can also get replacement hammers from Dixie Gun Works. You need to drill and file the square to fit the tumbler. You also have to orientate the hole so that it places it in the right location. Best to use layout blueing and orientate the square that way.


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The Dixie castings are of the third type hammer. Sometimes called the C type.

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That is the what Fishsticker has on the shotgun shown, a 3 pin back action lock with the Type III (C style) hammer started in 1899. This last style Type III lasted until the end of production in 1934.


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David, Could you talk to us a little about the checkering?
I find the small curved surface difficult to do well.
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Chuck it is tedious, I used a small triangle file and laid out out a pattern similar to the other side. Far from being exact but at least it has enough for a thumb hold.


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Thanks for those drawings, greatly appreciated, and all the other info and discussion. Parts came in from Numrich. Iíll pull the receiver back apart and take some measurements over the Christmas break.

If I can solve the sloppy bolt and trip I may try to talk the owner into getting a double gun smith to fix the rib separation and adjust the barrel / receiver fit. We can tend to the remaining issues on the cheap. Be nice be able to pull it off the wall and shoot it in my opinion.

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