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Dantankerous

Slip hammering

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For shooters who use revolvers that do not have a Colt style half cock (factory Rugers for example), is there generally a main cause of slip hammering mandating the shooter "go all the war around again" to get back to the live round? I am postulating the cause is a combination of a couple issues. I believe the problem to be two fold. The first item being a stock hammer spring. This factory spring rate makes it naturally harder to complete the hammer cock when compared to a lighter spring. Combine this with nerves, sweaty hands, smaller hands, shooter's ability over running the gun, hands cold and numb, etc., and you have a decent chance of eventually succumbing to the dreaded slip costing valuable time. The human factors when combined with a relatively more difficult to operate hammer spring equate to a higher chance of the slip hammer issue to "get us."

 

The Colt style half cock by my understanding would prevent the slip and keep the shooter on track to finish the cylinder w/o having to rotate all the way through it again.

 

I have slipped the hammer on my stock Vaqueros with live rounds and dummy round dry firing on more than just a couple occasions. I would like to do something to mechanically assist in preventing this.

 

I am thinking of either having my guns tuned or having the half cock installed.

 

Just wondering which may prove to be more bang for the buck, so to speak as to have both done is kinda very pricey.

 

Comments or thoughts?

 

Thanks

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Dantankerous,

 

i got 1 thought concerning the springs.

 

I think its probable that a real stiff hammer spring can create some problems for a shooter.....especially if that shooter does not dry fire or practice their preferred shooting technique.

 

BUT, one other thing to consider is this: if you use a lighter spring, your hammer drop time will be slower and if your a fast thumber, you will find yourself thumbing (cocking) the hammer back BEFORE it has time to completely fall and ignite the primer. When that happens, the shooter blames it on a 'slipped hammer' when in reality, the shooter may have cocked it completely but didn't give it time to completely fall.

 

If your REAL fast, you want a good, reliable hammer spring. Maybe not extra strong but you surely don't want a weak spring that creates a slow hammer drop.

 

Anyhow, just my .02

 

 

..........Widder

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I used to have to go around again fairly often with my (big) vaqueros shooting duelist. Replaced the hammers with SBH, low, wide target hammers, and haven't had the problem since. The issue was if my grip wasn't perfect, I'd grab just the tip of the hammer and sometimes slip.

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You could add the half cock notch or install Ron Powers hammer and trigger sets. No more going around the cylinder.

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Well Dan, I have to say what you are talking about can be a problem. It happens to me with my RBVs if I get my hand too high on the grip when shooting with both hands.

 

The halfcock notch will not prevent the slip, it will catch the hammer so it can be re-cocked without skipping that chamber.

 

One other thing, what you are talking about is short stroking. Slip hammering is holding the triger back and firing the gun by cocking the hammer and letting the thumb slip off at full cock.

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The main cause of what you describe is technique on the part of the shooter. Usually because the shooter is trying to go faster than what they are capable and have practiced. Springs won't make much if any difference.

With a Ruger, if the hammer falls all the way down the hand retracts fully and drops contact with the star and can't, because of the design, pick it back up so you have to go around. A half cock position on a Ruger may or may not resolve the problem, depending on where the half cock is placed on the hammer. If the shooter is deliberately "slop hammer" shooting, it won't make any difference at all because the trigger is deliberately pulled.

 

There are three solutions. 1 is the dreaded "P" word. Practice. Lots of practice. 2. Have a VERY competent smith add the half cock. 3. Install a Power Custom hammer and trigger with the half cock notch. Then, revert to solution 1 and do lots of that anyway.

 

Coffinmaker

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When I first started that would happen to me every now and then with stock RNV. Over time I did it less and less to where I don't remember the last time I did it. I think I'd look hard at hand position and such rather than springs.

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:FlagAm: Contact Jimmy Spurs at Cowboy Gunworks...... he converts Rugers so this won't happen.

 

http://www.cowboygunworks.com/work.html

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I did the Ruger-go-round at least once per monthly match until I moved to duelist. It still occasionally happens. Yes, I had action jobs done and the guns are smooth as they can be without sending them off for a four-year degree with some very expensive professor. Those top-notch 'smiths do put out great guns, but I never felt that I could really benefit from the extreme work that they do. Shooting duelist makes me slow down and do it mo' right. Now I have moved from the middle of the age-based pack to placing in FC duelist. I simply tried to shoot faster than my skills.

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It's a technique issue - it ain't the gun or the design of it. How do you cock the hammer? Pulling your thumb back, or down towards the backstrap? If you pull back, you will slip off the hammer now and again. If you pull down to the backstrap, you are much less likely to slip off the hammer.

 

Dry fire practice will help.

 

 

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If this happens frequently, you may want to check your timing.

If the cylinder starts to turn before the bolt drops, the cylinder momentarily stops.

Then the hammer stops, your thumb doesn't... there's your slip hammer.

I've had a few Rugers with this problem...usually one notch.

A couple of strokes with a file on the hand (very light strokes)...test for clearance.

Just cock the hammer very slowly and watch, bolt needs to be completely clear when the cylinder starts to move.

Normal cocking and you'll never see it...it's a split second thing.

Just another possible cause.

 

And if all else fails, just reach up with your thumb and turn the cylinder to the left...you don't have to go all the way around.

 

I use to practice that but figured , I was just teaching myself to Slip Hammer!! :wacko:

 

BH

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Howdy

 

First of all, let's get our terms correct.

 

Slip hammering is a specific shooting technique. It consists of holding the trigger back with the trigger finger of one hand, and working the hammer with the thumb of the other hand. The shooter purposely allows the thumb to slip off the hammer spur as the hammer is drawn all the way back. Since the trigger is already depressed, the hammer falls all the way and fires the cartridge. Not many shooters use this technique, but that is slip hammering.

 

What you are talking about is accidentally loosing your grip on the hammer. If the shooter's thumb slips off the hammer spur before the hammer is all the way back, the hammer may not have enough force to fire the cartridge. But as has been stated, the bolt will reset and the shooter will have to go all the way around again to fire that cartridge.

 

If a Power Custom half cock hammer and trigger are installed in a stock Ruger, yes the half cock notch on the hammer will catch the hammer before the bolt resets. So the shooter can merely pull the hammer back again and release it properly with the trigger and the cartridge will fire. I hasten to add this is not the design purpose behind the Power Custom half cock hammer. The purpose is to allow the chambers to line up with the loading gate when the hammer is set at half cock, so the gun can be loaded and unloaded more easily. It eliminates the annoying habit big Vaqueros used to have of the cylinder slipping a teeny bit too far past the loading gate, so that one had to go all the way around again to service that chamber. Yes, shooters do use the Powder Custom half cock hammer to make up for sloppy hammer technique, but that is not its design purpose.

 

The same thing will happen with a Colt or clone if the hammer is released early, but the internal parts of a Colt or clone are not as massive and rugged as a Ruger. Do this too many times with a Colt or clone and you will eventually break off either the half cock notch or the sear.

 

As has been already said, the real answer is to slow down so the hammer can be controlled.

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Don't forget improper or sloppy technique; if your thumb is obstructing the free motion of the hammer, it may not strike hard enough to pop the primer, and you'll be going around again. Practice Properly!

 

Cheers,

FJT

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I use to do it all the time.....I installed a set of power customs with the half cock and the problem went away. Since then I went to a set of Jimmy Spurs and had him install them “just in case” because with the half cocks I can’t tell if I’m doing it or not….it covers up the problem. In hind sight poor technique, trying to shoot too fast and lack of practice was the cause and I probably could have overcome it in time.

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Wife started doing it with her new NMVs. The hammer spur is higher than the old Vaqs, so I installed the old style hammer and it stopped happening. Don't know the mechanics of it, but problem solved.

 

CR

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In the fall of 2009, Huckleberry installed Super Blackhawk hammers with a half cock notch that he built on my Vaqueros. Before this, it didn't happen frequently, but since then, I haven't had to go back around even one time. I have from time to time had my thumb slip off the hammer, but when I went back to it, it was right where I left it and had not indexed. I recommend highly.

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The halfcock notch will not prevent the slip, it will catch the hammer so it can be re-cocked without skipping that chamber.

 

That has not been my experience. I've managed to pull the hammer back far enough on Uberti and Pietta revolvers to advance the cylinder far enough to skip the chamber on the recock.

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Thank you all for the helpful comments and insight.

 

I especially liked the "slop hammering" notation. :D I think that is most likely the case for me as I speed up. It does not happen all that frequently, just enough to perturb me. I am wondering if perhaps the heavier hammer springs don't contribute to me not getting the hammer pulled back al the way whereas a lighter spring would assist in the effort, especially at faster speeds. The less resistance thing...

 

I do quite a bit of dry fire practice as I do not have access to a shooting range for live fire practice. (I generally only get live fire practice at the monthly matches.) I also dry fire practice a varying speeds, much like the old football and shot putting days, 1/4 speed, 1/2 speed, 3/4 speed, etc. Proper technique building through concentrated motion. I agree with the p word sentiment and don't have a problem following that advice as it is always sound advice.

 

I love shootin' these big Rugers. I have had a chance to play with tuned Rugers and could not believe the difference between a stock gun and a tuned gun. I cannot but help think a little "polishing" will help make the gun more user friendly. (Of course, only with continued gun handling which ain't a problem... ^_^

 

Another thing I have been wondering about with respect to the heavier hammer pull is whether that helps pull the gun slightly off target when compared to a lighter hammer pull. I can't help but think the added resistance could potentially tweak the gun ever so slightly off target contributing to that other dreaded word... miss.

 

Thanks again, ya'll!

 

Dan

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It ain't the hammer spring. I went through the same thing when I was gettin' faster. It's technique. Look at the "Pistols" chapter in my book "Breaking the Shot" (available for free download on my web site at http://www.jspublications.net).

 

If you're using your sights properly, the only thing that can create a miss is between your ears.

 

 

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Doc,

 

That is some great stuff there! Thank you!

 

That will make good reading on the way to EoT! B)

 

:D

 

Dan

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When you short stroke your hammer cocking it, a half cock notch may save you but not always. It kinda depends on how short the short stroke was. My experience is that it works well over half the time, just cock the gun again and it fires when it works. When it doesn't, then you have to go around the cylinder cocking and pulling the trigger until you reach the unfired round(s).

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It ain't the hammer spring. I went through the same thing when I was gettin' faster. It's technique. Look at the "Pistols" chapter in my book "Breaking the Shot" (available for free download on my web site at http://www.jspublications.net).

 

If you're using your sights properly, the only thing that can create a miss is between your ears.

I have found one more thing which can cause slip hammering. If your sear is poorly cut and you have a little bit of overtravel on the hammer, the force the hammer builds up from falling from the overtravel position to the sear engagement will sometimes overpower the sear and the hammer will fall. On a gun with a transfer bar, this looks just like slip hammering because the gun doesn't go off unless you're holding down the trigger when the hammer falls.

 

Badlands (what used to have poorly cut sears) Bud

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