trigger job is done on a Contender, it will be more prone to "bumping off" when
the barrel is closed abruptly. Here are the reasons and how to deal with it.
trigger job is done, usually per request the pull weight is reduced and the
mating surfaces between the sear notch at the top of the trigger and the tip of
the striker are smoothed to a fine polished finish with Wyoming Stone.
lighter pull and smoother surfaces between trigger and striker mean a better
trigger pull, it also drastically reduces the friction between the striker and
trigger that normally keeps these two surfaces engaged during the jarring the
gun takes when a barrel is snapped shut briskly. Depending on the height
relationship between the top of the locking bolts in the barrel lug and the
corresponding mating surface in the frame, the "locking table," some barrels
will close very easily while others require a more forceful closing to get the
locking bolts to fully engage in the frame. The barrels that require a more
forceful closing also often cause the striker to "bump off." And if the striker
bumps off, you will not be able to cock the hammer.
trigger of the Contender is quite heavy, and the inertia it represents is
sufficient to easily cause the trigger and striker to disengage if:
1) The engagement is
set quite short,
2) the pull weight is very light, and/or
3) the trigger and striker contact surfaces are super smooth, as when stoned
with Wyoming Stone.
the notch in the top of the trigger, and this helps, but with pull weights below
about 2 pounds, snapping the barrel shut quite hard will still disengage the
trigger and striker, even if the engagement is set long. If the striker is
released, it moves the sear out of position to engage the hammer, and thus, you
cannot cock the hammer.
encounter this problem at any pull weight, when closing the barrel simply place
your trigger finger on the side of the trigger and press it forward as you close
the barrel. This keeps the trigger from moving out of engagement with the
There is absolutely no danger in having your finger on the trigger at this point
because the hammer is not yet cocked, or certainly should not be. If you
inadvertently do move the trigger during this process, it simply results in the
striker being released, and you must open and close the barrel again.
no free lunches. You can have a super light, super smooth Contender trigger
pull, but you may have to take steps to keep the striker from bumping off when
the barrel is snapped shut a bit hard.
About the two trigger adjustments:
engagement screw is the one in the top of the trigger on Easy Open frames, or
the screw accessible from inside the frame that projects through the trigger
housing and contacts the trigger on old style frames. This screw can usually be
turned in (right) or out between 1/4 and 1/2 turn from where I set
it for less or more engagement respectively. If a barrel locks up easily or you
hold the trigger as described above, the engagement screw can possibly be turned
change the over travel screw, which is the screw behind the trigger. It is set
minimum and should be left in that position. Setting it any closer can result in
a dangerous condition where the striker is almost released, but the trigger does
not reliably move enough to release the striker and permit the Contender to
fire. In this condition, it may fire unexpectedly.
awhile with the over travel set minimum, you will not be able to readily unlock
and open the barrel.
because the over travel screw is preventing the trigger from moving back far
enough as the sear resets the striker.
of things happen when you squeeze the trigger guard spur besides unlocking the
barrel, one of which is resetting the striker. The striker is pushed up against
the forward arm of the sear. The striker must have room enough to travel
downward if the cams on the trigger housing are to move up far enough to cam the
locking bolts forward. To move downward, it must push forward on the top end of
the trigger, moving the lower portion of the trigger to the rear. Thus if the
over travel stops the trigger from moving back before the trigger housing cams
the locking bolts all the way forward, you won't be able to unlock the barrel.
maintain this minimum over travel adjustment, some material must be removed from
the bottom of the sear. This surface varies quite a bit in tolerance and is not
critical unless the over travel is set quite short. To identify where to remove
material, remove the trigger group and ink the bottom of the sear in the
approximate area where it contacts the striker. Reinstall the trigger group,
work it several times as you would in opening the barrel. Remove the trigger
group and note the "signature" on the sear where the striker contacted it. Grind
some material off at this point, reassemble with the trigger group and barrel
installed, then try unlocking the barrel. You may need to do this several times
before you have ground enough off the sear to give the trigger group enough room
to fully move upward and unlock the barrel.
With a Dremel tool, you may be able to grind on the sear without removing it from the
frame. Normally, I remove it. But if this intimidates you, at least flush out
all grinding dust from inside the frame in a container of whatever solvent you
have... gasoline, diesel fuel, whatever. Then lubricate when you are done with
If you do
remove the sear, simply push out the sear pivot pin, and as you remove the sear
watch for the small spring and plunger between the forward end of the sear and
the frame. Make sure you don't lose it.
Why go to
this trouble? Why not just back the over travel screw out? You can, but then you
lose a significant amount of what you got a trigger job for in the first place.
modification is seldom required... rare to be more accurate, and most people
should be able to do this themselves. In the event you are one who is not
comfortable with disassembling your Contender frame, contact me. I find very,
very few "gunsmiths" understand the Contender frame, so it may be best for me to
do the modification.