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 Lock Polishing: A how to

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FrontierGander
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PostSubject: Lock Polishing: A how to   January 9th 2014, 6:34 pm

WARNING! Lock parts may come hardened from the factory. Polishing may remove hardening, causing the parts to become weaker and prone to breakage over time.
Now lets move onto the lock! Be very very careful with that main spring guys! It will cause you a ton of pain should it slip from your grasp and fly off at your face or even worse, hit you in the knuckle.  I use a small C clamp or heavy pair of channellock plyers and grasp the main spring and gently pull it from the lock plate. Once it has been removed, you can now safely remove the hammer, bridle and remaining lock parts. Be careful that you do not lose the FLY! Its a tiny piece that allows the double trigger set up to work.



The Lock panel, sear and tumbler are our main areas to pay attention to. Roughness, burrs, etc are the cause of a gritty feeling lock. This lock felt great, but after going through the kit, why the heck not polish up the parts a little bit? I did not go to the extreme of polishing the parts like a mirror, but just enough to smooth out the surfaces and knock down any edges that may be present.

I like to use a flat file and wrap my sand paper around it and gently polish all the flat surfaces first before moving on to anything that's rounded. When I come to rounded parts, I very gently roll that part onto the sand paper, keeping any edge, flat so I do not make something round, that should be flat, or the other way around. Any errors you make on the sear or tumbler can cause your lock to malfunction, resulting in a dirty pair of underwear, injury or death.

Note the slight edge. This is the stuff we are looking for when we take the lock apart and inspect it for flaws. This is exactly what we are looking to polish out so we have a nice smooth, clean lock when we pull the hammer back, as well as when the hammer falls onto a live percussion cap. Do NOT get over crazy with sanding! This section engages the tumbler and gives of Half Cock "Safety" & Full Cock " Fire at will!" positions. Get to crazy sanding and polishing it, you will thin it out, causing breakage in a short time. Traditions Mainsprings are VERY heavy duty and that added pressure WILL be putting straight on the sear if you thin it out to much.


Moving on to the other side of the sear, polish those sides! They rub up against the lock panel and the bridle! Remember, you don't have to remove every scratch or pit mark. Just knock the surfaces down on a flat file with 150 grit sand paper and work up to 400 grit to get the surfaces smooth. Note the purplish blue mark towards the left side, this is the factory hardening treatment I've mentioned to look out for.




My final polishing project at its end! Now to bag up all the lock parts and brown the lock plate.


Many other areas to note where polishing may need to be done! This lock below had some very rough casting on the tumbler.


A light polish on the lock plate itself can help smooth things out.



Polishing the bridle and other places that rub against the bridle is also a must.


This picture showing a section of the bridle, clearly shows a rubbing issue with this deep scarring. Polish out areas like this along with the part causing that deep scar.


Note the red arrow on the left pointing to the tumbler. We can clearly see the main spring is installed. Polishing the curve of the tumber, where the main spring comes into place will greatly help reduce felt drag.


Last edited by FrontierGander on July 23rd 2017, 11:12 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   January 9th 2014, 10:12 pm

Very Happy 
Jon,
Thanks for the info. It's going to be brand spanking new when your done  cheers  cheers  cheers 

Ray............. Shooter

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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   January 10th 2014, 3:52 am

Who cares if it's brand spanking new when done Ray , it must be silky smooth !

I spray mine with graphite after the polishing stage and that smooth it out even more.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   January 10th 2014, 6:01 am

Well like I said, it's going to be brand spanking NEW and SILKY SMOOTH   Cool      
Ray................ :Bat

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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   January 10th 2014, 6:19 am

Yep no denying that !
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   October 31st 2015, 12:22 am

It's wise to have some case hardening or surface hardening compound on hand.  Often over-zealous hobbyists go after sear and drum surfaces with excess enthusiasm, wearing thru the surface hardening, and into softer underlying metal.  If not re-treated, these smooth-as-silk parts will prematurely wear.  Surface hardening is simple, straightforward, and mandatory if you've reconfigured engaging surfaces in any gun mechanism.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   October 31st 2015, 2:29 am

So far so good. Ive been going solid for 3 years now with no problems.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   October 31st 2015, 7:51 am

Was that lock a kit, or was it intended by the manufacturer to be used as-is?  There's some cosmetic finishing on the bridle flat, but the actual working surfaces look to be as cast/sintered or forged.  Any finishing you could do will guarantee better performance. It looks to be a solidly made lock, but someone must have been looking at profit margins & not performance.  What rifle is it from?

I've got a couple of India-Made locks that look better affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   October 31st 2015, 11:28 am

CVA Hawken. Ive had some that were really worse but cleaned up superbly after an hour of polishing the tumbler and sear.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   October 31st 2015, 11:57 am

I've passed up a couple of good deals on CVA's in years past that shooters at the range didn't like shooting, especially after firing some of my Lyman/Cabelas - Investarms rifles, but never thought to find out why.  It's really no big deal to fine tune your own locks once you have some guidelines.

I've recently worked on a couple of better quality India-made muskets that some folks shun because of bad rep from some of the cheaper-made varieties.  Mine are all solidly assembled, but all should be considered just pre-assembled kit-guns.  They all benefit from complete disassembly, wood fitting & finishing, and of course, lock tuning.  The best frizzen I own is on a .62 cal fusil that I reworked into a showpiece.  After several hundred rounds fired, it barely shows any wear, and is easy on flints.  I think I'm only on my 3rd flint  - can't knap worth a darn, but the black English flints are long lasting anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   October 31st 2015, 12:13 pm

haha I hear you on the frizzen. I had one of those african trade muskets years ago, a 54cal smoothie. Horrible fit and finish but that lock sparks like a mother and shot extremely fast! A simple bead front sight and no rear sight. You could still keep it in a 4" group at 75 yards.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   November 1st 2015, 10:13 am

Something else to consider is the abrasive-impregnated Dremel wheels and drums.  They will polish without cutting or changing part profile or geometry.  I've used them for decades in polishing pistol barrel feed ramps, and also for sidelock engaging surfaces.  The fine and medium grit are ideal for all my applications.  Whenever I'm at a gun show, I always stop at the tool tables and buy a couple.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   February 16th 2016, 9:58 pm

If sanding, I like to finish off with 600 and/or 800 grit wet paper. This is what auto shops use to prep metal for painting. It will practically make a mirror finish. You won't need to press hard, the wet sandpaper will cut the metal better than you think. Wash off with very hot water to clean and inspect.  Just my $.02
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   July 23rd 2017, 10:04 am

Jon you need to make a place (folder) that you could place in printable form of all your suggestions you provide. By doing this it would be the one place that the members and visitors could go to get this valuable information plus they could print that information for their files.

Probably locking it to only your access would be a good idea so others don't put misc. information in this folder that has not been tested like you have done.

I would also put your research of your products you now have for sale, all of this is good material and your testing results are very important to those that don't have the time, the access or a place do to as you have already done.

Please give this some thought kid. t up   cowyboy hatoff

Let's here what the other members think of this idea???  Doh

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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   July 23rd 2017, 10:32 am

thanks for bringing me to this thread Buck. I will have to re post the pictures!

I will consider your suggestions as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Lock Polishing: A how to   July 23rd 2017, 10:47 am

FrontierGander wrote:
thanks for bringing me to this thread Buck. I will have to re post the pictures!

I will consider your suggestions as well.

Jon it would be a real asset to old and new shooters; whether hunters or target guys. It would save time at the range, plus have their firearms working and performing better than before... that's a true NO SHIT. 

Sorry ladies, tell your old man to pay attention as he can help your muzzleloader with such information available at the touch of the mouse. cheers

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