CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 11

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 7, we reinstalled the hammer strut, hammer, sear, auto safety, ejector, and disconnector.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 8, we reinstalled the trigger, trigger bar and trigger spring.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 9, we reinstalled the mainspring and plug and the safety assembly.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 10, we reinstalled the slide stop and trigger guard latch pin.

In this edition, we’re going to reinstall the magazine catch into the trigger guard and then reinstall the trigger guard onto the frame. As a reminder, in Part 2, we described how to lighten the magazine catch spring. Since doing that I’ve been very happy with the tension on the magazine catch which was very heavy to begin with.

The first step is to assemble the three components that make up the magazine catch.

The small “T” shaped part is the Magazine Catch Lever and goes on top of the larger part…the Magazine Catch…

…and then the spring goes over the plunger on the magazine catch.

On the trigger guard housing, the magazine catch push button is inserted from the side with the larger, oblog hole toward the flat face of the trigger guard housing (away from the trigger guard) and the notch on top.

Center it in from left to right.

Next, slide the catch assembly into the flat face of the trigger guard housing. The small magazine catch lever should be on top when installing. The base of the “T” of the lever will slide into the notch in the magazine catch button.

Next is the magazine catch lever pin. It has an indentation on one end forming sort of a “head”. The “head” should be down when installing.

You’ll have to push the magzaine catch in to get the pin to go through but it should be a loose fit. It should slide right in. Only insert the pin until it is flush with the bottom of the trigger guard housing. If you put it in too far, it will interfere with the trigger guard pin. Release the pressure on the magazine catch and the spring tension will hold the pin in place.

Next, install the trigger guard housing onto the frame.

And tap in the trigger guard housing pin.

Almost done. All that’s left is to reassemble and reinstall the slide, reinstall the grips and test it out at the range.

Next Post in the series.

CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 10

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 7, we reinstalled the hammer strut, hammer, sear, auto safety, ejector, and disconnector.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 8, we reinstalled the trigger, trigger bar and trigger spring.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 9, we reinstalled the mainspring and plug and the safety assembly.

In this edition, we’re going to reinstall the slide stop.

The trigger guard latch pin is also an integral part of the slide stop installation so it will be installed in this edition as well.

First, the slide stop goes easily into its hole in the frame from the left side. Note the hole in the slide stop shaft.

After the slide stop is fully seated, the hole will be basically right up against the edge of the frame. It is a little hard to see in the pictures so I used an arrow to point it out.

The straight end of the slide stop spring slides into the hole in the slide stop shaft.

Next, get the trigger guard latch pin started into its hole. It should be inserted from the left side of the frame and the part with the small “nipple” should be inserted first.

After the pin is started, use needle nose pliers, a dental pick or other instrument to push the slide stop spring up into the frame and out of the way of the trigger housing pin. Then push the pin the in until it contacts the other side of the frame.

As soon as the pin is in far enough to prevent the spring from popping down below it, you can release the spring.

Then tap the trigger housing latch pin the rest of the way in. It should go in fairly easily until the right (smaller) part starts to go into the hole on the right side of the frame. At that point, it should require a tap or two to seat it.

After the pin is fully seated, the recessed ring around the pin should be visible toward the left side of the frame. The crooked end of the slide stop spring pops into that recessed ring to hold the spring in place and maintain spring tension on the slide stop.

Now the slide stop should held in place by the spring. You should be able to push it down easily, but it should pop back up under spring tension when released.

That’s it. Next we’ll install the magazine catch into the trigger guard housing and install the trigger guard housing onto the frame.

Next Post in the series.

CZ-82 Gunsmigthing Part 9

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 7, we reinstalled the hammer strut, hammer, sear, auto safety, ejector, and disconnector.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 8, we reinstalled the trigger, trigger bar and trigger spring.

In this edition, we’re going to reinstall the mainspring and cap and the safety.

The only trick with the mainspring was to be sure that the hammer strut was in the right place before putting the mainspring under tension. You can’t really see what’s going on up there with everything in place so you kind of have to do it by feel. The strut should be pretty well centered and straight in the frame to be sure that it engages the hammer properly.

The first thing I did is slide the spring onto the hammer strut.

Then the cap over the end of the spring.

Then, while keeping slight tension on the spring, I used a pick to straighten and align the hammer strut. While keeping a bit of tension on the spring, I checked the hammer operation to make sure the strut was engaging it properly. You may have to futz around with it a bit to get it just right, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.

After you’re sure the hammer strut is aligned and engaging the hammer properly, continue to keep a little pressure on the spring to hold it in position until installation is finished.

The easiest way I found to compress the spring was to put the end of the cap against my bench and then press the pistol toward it to compress the spring. Before compressing the spring, make sure the cap is turned so that the slot aligns with the pin holes in the frame.

Once the cap slot aligns with the holes in the frame, simply slide the pin into place. This pin is a loose fit, it is held in by the mainspring tension and the grips. It should not have to be driven in and put a finger under the bottom hole to keep it from dropping completely through as you slip it in.

The safety is also a fairly straightforward operation.

The first step is to install the safety latch spring. It is a very small spring that fits into a well on the right side of the safety (it looks like the left in these pictures because the safety is upside down).

Then the safety latch goes into place and presses against the spring. There will be some spring tension so be careful while installing the latch to keep it from shooting across the room. The spring especially is pretty small and would be easy to lose.

Once the latch is in place, it snaps into the body of the safety so it holds itself in place once positioned.

The safety fits over the “beavertail” section of the rear of the frame behind and below the hammer.

After the safety is in place, install the safety pin. It may need a tap or two to get it completely in place, but shouldn’t require a lot of force.

Center the pin and…done.

Next up, we’ll install the slide stop.

Next Post in the series.

CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 8

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 7, we reinstalled the hammer strut, hammer, sear, auto safety, ejector, and disconnector.

In this edition, we’re going to reinstall the trigger parts.

As usual, click all pix to make bigger.

First, it’s hard to see how they go together when installed in the frame, so lets take a look at the components and how they go together before we install them.

This is laid out exactly as they should go together (albeit upside down).

There are holes for the trigger spring in both the trigger bar and the trigger itself.

As you are putting the parts together, be sure the spring is oriented correctly and that the spring arms go into the holes in both the trigger bar and trigger.

To assemble, first put the trigger bar in through the magazine well.

It may take a little finagling, but shouldn’t be too difficult.

The rear of the trigger bar will seat into the notch in the riveted on plate on the right side of the grip frame.

You have to push the front of the trigger bar down below the frame to install the trigger spring and trigger. To keep from occupying a hand to hold the trigger bar in position, I used a jeweler’s screwdriver to hold the trigger bar down in the proper position.

The trigger spring is now installed with the coil down and the arm of the spring into the hole in the trigger bar.

Next, holding the trigger out straight, slide the trigger into place ensuring that the other arm of the spring goes into the hole in the trigger.

At this point, I used a dental pick to hold the three pieces in position. If you don’t do this, you will have to try to hold all three pieces while inserting the small pin into the holes. Basically, there are two holes in the trigger bar, two holes in the trigger and the coil of the spring that all have to be properly aligned to get the pin to go though. I found that lining them up with the dental pick and then sliding it out as I slid the pin in made it go very smoothly.

The pin does not fit tightly…it is held in by the frame so it shouldn’t need to be driven in, it should just slide into place. Wiggle the dental pick around if you need to as the pin is going in and the pick is coming out to get all the holes aligned as the pin goes in.

Then remove the jewelers screwdriver that was keeping the trigger bar propped below the frame, turn the trigger down into position (if the trigger bar, trigger and spring were all installed correctly, there should be some spring tension), align the trigger pivot hole with the holes in the frame and install the trigger pin. The trigger pin will need to be driven in but shouldn’t require more than gentle taps to get it in.

There you have it. Next up: Installing the mainspring and safety.

Next Post in the series.

CZ-82 Gunsmithing, Part 7

[Update] I changed the section on reinstalling the ejector. There was a long gap between performing it and blogging about it and I simply didn’t remember one part of it correctly. Something jogged my memory and I’ve now corrected that section. Sorry for the inconvenience.[/Update]

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6, we covered the basic trigger job.

In this edition of CZ-82 gunsmithing, we’re going to start reassembly.

As usual, click all pix to make bigger.

First, drop the hammer strut down into the mainspring well.

It will just kind of flop around in there until we get a couple of other components in so don’t worry about positioning too much, just keep it from falling back out.

Next, the hammer lever pin slies into the hole in the hammer body.

It’s a loose fit and the lever should be able to swivel freely. The lever should be installed toward the front of the hammer.

Next, drop the hammer and lever into the frame.

Don’t install the hammer pin yet, just let the hammer and lever rest in the frame.

The next step is to install the sear. It has a channel (the arrow points to this area) with ears on either side. The ears straddle the frame when installed.

The sear goes in from the bottom one of the “ears” that form the channel on the outside, one on the inside of the frame. The flat face of the sear goes forward.

This picture doesn’t show it, but the hammer should be forward when installing the sear.

Once the sear is in place, partially install the pin, just enough to keep the sear from falling out, don’t push it all the way in yet.

Next the sear spring is placed in the sear.

When properly installed, the bent arm of the sear spring will be to the rear and laying atop the arm of the sear. The straight arm of the sear spring will be pointing up.

Once the sear sping is installed and positioned correctly, the coiled part of the spring should be aligned with the sear pin holes. Push the pin the rest of the way in to secure the sear and sear spring.

At this point, install the hammer pin.

When installed correctly, the end with the small “nipple” will be to the left.

Now for the fun part. This was the most challenging part of the entire re-assembly process.

With the ejector upside down, place the auto safety into the bottom of the ejector.

The “hammerhead” part of the auto safety should go to the rear, or away from the arm of the ejector.

I ended up using a small piece of toothpick to through the pin holes of the ejector and auto safety to hold them together while assembling. I cut the toothpick piece down so that it would fit inside the frame, then, when I was driving in the ejector pin, the piece of toothpick was driven out. This maintained their relative positions until they could be secured by the pin. After having tried several things to get it together, I was a bit frustrated at this point and ended up not taking any pictures with the piece of toothpick holding them together.

While holding the auto safety and ejector together (preferably with the piece of toothpick that I described) place them atop the sear and sear spring.

It may be easier if you hold the frame upside down and raise the ejector into position.

There is a very small crease in the bottom of the auto safety that engages the sear spring. The sear spring not only holds pressure on the sear, but also on the auto safety. It is IMPERATIVE that the auto safety be installed correctly and that the sear spring engages it properly.

You may have to lift up the front of the ejector slightly and use a dental pick, jewelers screwdriver or other object to manipulate the spring into the right position on the auto safety. There is also a small hole in the top of the ejector through which you can see the spring. You may be able to manipulate the spring through that hole to get it seated correctly.

After you have pressed the ejector and auto safety into place, using your fingers to place pressure on the hammer and to operate the sear, make sure the sear engages and releases the hammer correctly, that the sear and the auto safety both are under spring tension and pop back into position after being pressed.

I had a heck of a time getting the spring to stay in the right place and engaged with the auto safety. it took me several tries to get it to align and operate correctly. Ultimately, the toothpick trick helped me get it but it still wasn’t a piece of cake. Be patient, if it doesn’t work, raise the ejector up slightly, re-align the auto safety withe the spring and push the ejector back down again. Try it as many times as you need to because if this mechanism doesn’t work correctly, the firearm will be unsafe and/or inoperable.

After the ejector and auto safety are in position and you are sure that the sear spring is properly seated and working correctly, drive the ejector pin in, thereby driving out the piece of toothpick used to hold it together for assembly.

Finally, install the disconnector into it’s well in the frame.

And then install the pin that holds the disconnector.

At this point, the hammer strut should still be rattling loosely around inside the mainspring well, but it should be prevented from falling out by the various parts and pins we just installed.

Next time, we’ll install the trigger components.

Next Post in the series.

New Video

At the request of a reader via e-mail, here is how the CZ-82 magazine is disassembled and reassembled:

This text will be replaced


Hope it helps.

CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 6

In the first post of the series, we Introduced the CZ-82 to our collection and identified the areas that needed work.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 1, we discussed the loose grips issue and disassembled the slide components.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 2, we disassembled the magazine catch and lightened the magazine catch spring tension.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 3, we removed and disassembled the safety and disassembled the slide.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 4, we removed the slide stop and spring, and then the trigger, trigger spring and trigger bar.
In CZ-82 Gunsmithing Part 5, we removed main spring, hammer, sear, and associated other fire control parts.

In this edition of CZ-82 Gunsmithing, we’re going to perform a basic trigger job (I was initially going to begin doing the reassembly posts, but this became long enough as it was so I decided to wait on that).

Disclaimer: I am not recommending that you perform this task yourself. I am only recounting what I did. This is very delicate work requiring extreme patience and care. If it is done incorrectly, it could make the pistol unsafe and/or inoperable. I am not a professional gunsmith so I cannot guarantee that any of the methods that worked for me are the “correct” methods or that there isn’t a better way. This post is for informational purposes only. Any actions that you take, and harm of any type that may result from such actions are your responsibility alone.[/Disclaimer]

The trigger pull is one of the most important considerations in accuracy with any firearm. There are several aspects of trigger pull that can be addressed in a comprehensive trigger job.

The take-up is the slack in the trigger before it engages the sear. This aspect is only really applicable in single action firearms as the “takeup” portion of a double action trigger cycle incorporates the motion that cocks the hammer and (in a revolver) rotates the cylinder.

Basically, the only way to adjust the takeup is to change the distance that the trigger must travel before the operating mechanism contacts the sear. On some firearms this is easily accomplished, on some it is impossible without replacing, modifying or manufacturing parts.

I was satisfied with the takeup of my CZ, so I didn’t even attempt it on this firearm.

Another aspect of the trigger pull is the pull weight itself. This is a measurement of the maximum amount of force required to be applied to the trigger in the process of releasing the hammer. It is usually (at least in the US) measured in pounds of force. The pull weight can be affected by many things, but is primarily dependent upon the springs in the action. The trigger spring, the sear spring and the main spring all tend to resist movement of the sear and contribute to pull weight. Some springs may be replaced by lighter weight replacements. Some may be adjusted by removing coils or grinding the spring itself to reduce the thickness of the coils. It is very important not to remove too much too quickly. Removing coils can result in a spring that is too short to be effective. Lightening springs too much can result in light hammer strikes or failure of the trigger or sear to reset.

Pull weight may also be affected by the hammer to sear engagement angles. I’ll discuss that further when I discuss that aspect of the trigger job.

Next is Creep. Trigger creep is felt when the sear is actually moving but the hammer has not yet been released. This is typically one of the most easily adjustable aspects of the trigger/sear relationship. It is adjusted by changing the amount of sear engagement. The goal is to have zero creep. This is not always possible with every design so minimizing creep and making any existing creep as smooth as possible is of paramount importance.

At the end of the creep, is the letoff. The letoff should be immediate, sharp and crisp. This results from clean angles and sharp contours on the sear/hammer contact points. Burrs, rounded edges and uneven angles result in gritty, mushy or inconsistent letoff.

Finally, overtravel is the distance the trigger travels after letoff. Overtravel can be an important aspect for accuracy if one properly “follows through” the trigger pull, but it is even more important for rapid fire shooting as the further the trigger travels after letoff, the farther it will have to travel when released to reset.

Again, the overtravel was acceptable on my CZ so I didn’t even evaluate how it could be adjusted.

The two things that I wanted to adjust were the amount and smoothness of the creep and the letoff. Before this work there was considerable ceep and it was gritty and rough in feel. The letoff was also not crisp, but felt “mushy”. In “cleaning up” those two aspects, I also reduced the trigger pull slightly but that was not a major concern.

Before we can talk about how to adjust these issues we have to understand how the CZ trigger works. These pictures are not perfect, as they were (obviously) taken with the hammer and sear removed from the pistol and I had to paste them together for illustration purposes…but they should give you an idea of how they work together.

NOTE: These pictures have been edited and, in the process, some of the edges have become blurred. They are only to give you an idea of the areas that need to be worked on, not what they should look like when completed. If I ever disassemble my CZ again, or buy another one that needs to be worked on, I’ll try to get better pictures. [/Note]

This represents how the hammer and sear are seated with the pistol cocked, when installed.

the sear was actually pasted into the photo and my picture of the sear was in the wrong orientation so it is “flipped” and actually a mirror image of what it would actually look like.

This shouldn’t matter because the area of interest is the contact point between the hammer and sear. This picture shows how they are seated, even if it isn’t perfect.

This animated gif (click to make bigger and see animation) is in the same orientation, but only shows the contact points. Please forgive the rudimentary graphics…that’s the best I can do with my limited artistic ability.

This depicts “positive” hammer to sear engagement. As the sear (the angle on the right) is moved by pulling the trigger, it actually pushes the hammer back slightly until it releases, at which point the hammer falls. In a “neutral” engagement, the hammer would remain stationary throughout the release of the sear. with “negative” engagement, the hammer would actually move slightly forward as the sear is moving.

The goal is to attain slightly positive engagement. Neutral engagement is generally considered acceptable, though slightly positive is safer. Negative engagement is to be avoided and is considered unsafe.

I don’t know if I can explain this well enough with words but I’ll try. The hammer is being constantly forced against the sear by the pressure of the main spring. If the engagement is negative, the angle is such that the hammer pushing against the sear is trying to push the sear out of the notch. Basically, the sear is going “downhill” and, so is relatively easy to “squirt” out. With positive engagement, the angle is opposite and is such that it is actually capturing the sear. The force of the hammer spring, because of the angle, is trying to force the sear deeper into the hammer notch, rather than trying to force it out. Neutral engagement is exactly that…the angle is neutral and is neither trying to force the sear in nor out. As I said, neutral engagement is acceptable, but for a margin of safety, the standard practice is to attain a slightly positive engagement angle.

If that explanation is not clear enough, let me know in comments and I’ll see if I can come up with a better explanation with illustrations.

At any rate, the more positive the engagement, the stiffer the perceived trigger pull will be as a result of the hammer having to be pushed back against the force of the main spring during sear release…so you want the engagement to be positive…but very slightly so.

The type of engagement is controlled by the angle of contact between the sear and the hammer. Typically the surfaces should be matched so that the angles fit together as smoothly as possible, but this is nigh unto impossible without special jigs to perfectly match the positions that the hammer and sear will be in when installed. I’ve found that, if all of the surfaces are properly polished and the angles are straight, the angles matching perfectly is less important…at least on the few firearms I’ve done trigger jobs on…and every one is different.

In order to make for the best trigger pull, the contact surfaces must be polished as smoothly as possible and the hammer/sear engagement should be VERY slightly positive.

To this end, I first adjusted the contact angle. With this hammer/sear configuration, the angle of the contact point on the hammer has the most control over creating positive engagement. The problem is that the notch on the hammer that the contact point is inside is very small and hard to get into. I ended up using some fine emory cloth wrapped around a the blunt end of a fine exacto knife blade to fit in there well enough to remove material. A wedge shaped fine stone would have worked better, but I don’t have one…yet.

Patience in this evolution is the key. If you take off too much, you can’t put it back.

What I found was, I could put the hammer and sear back into the pistol during the process, “pin” them in place with small pin punches and put pressure on them with my fingers while moving them to immediately see the results of my work.

Make a few strokes, put them in and test them. Take them out. Make a few strokes. Rinse, Lather, Repeat…until I got it right where I wanted it. The movement of the hammer to the rear as the sear is moved should be visible under magnification, but barely perceptible, if at all, with the naked eye.

It is also very important that every stroke with the abrasive be at the same angle, changing angles between strokes will cause uneven surfaces and a “gritty” or rough feel to the trigger pull.

Once the angle is correct and the surface is completely even and flat, the next step is to polish the contact surfaces of both the sear and the hammer with the finest stone or emory cloth available and then finishing with polishing compound on a polishing wheel in my dremel tool. That also was challenging because of the angle and size of the hammer notch, but with patience, I got it done.

It is extremely important to maintain a nice sharp “edge” on the end of the sear where it contacts the hammer. It should contact the hammer notch all the way across its width evenly and be perfectly straight.

I always use magnification when doing this fine work so I can see as much detail as possible. I picked up a variable magnification “head strap magnifier” from Harbor Freight tools on sale for $4.99 over a year ago. The lights don’t work very well, but I don’t need them anyway. Pretty close to the best $5 I’ve ever spent.

Anyway, the key, as I said before, is patience and attention to detail.

Once this is finished, the creep and letoff were very smooth and crisp, but the creep distance was still too great. I adjusted this by gently stoning down the edge of the hammer notch until the sear was barely inserted into the notch.

Again…patience is paramount. Once you’ve removed material, you can’t put it back. Take a few strokes, install and test. Take a few strokes, install and test. Repeat as necessary.

The edge of the contact area on the hammer is equally important to keep straight and sharp so be careful, use magnification, take it slow and don’t go too far too fast. With this hammer/sear setup, it is impossible to completely remove the creep and if you go too far, you may make it so sensitive that banging or bumping the gun may release the sear. This shouldn’t cause the pistol to discharge if the automatic safety is in place and working correctly, but it will cause the hammer to fall and the next shot to be double action. Insufficient engagement could conceivably cause “hammer follow” and uncontrolled double taps as well.

After all was said and done and the pistol was back together, I was VERY pleased with the result. The creep is minimal to the point that it is almost unnoticable. The trigger pull is very smooth and the letoff is crisp and clean.

Just the way I like it.

Next time we’ll start reassembling our CZ-82.

Next Post in the series.

IT’S HERE!!!!

Sorry about shouting, but I’ve been waiting for this for awhile.

I finally got my BAG day gun. I waited patiently for several months in between being notified that the CMP had received a shipment of M1 carbines and then finally starting to take orders on April 30. I got my order in on May 1 and, based on the sheer number of orders they received the first few days, was thinking I’d have to wait until August. Much to my happy surprise, I got the first email on June 2 saying that they were processing my order and last Friday the one saying it had been shipped (overnight Fedex). Today, the long awaited ring of the doorbell and VIOLA! I had her in my hot little hands.

Here is the preliminary picture.

The stock is pretty beat up but the metal seems to be in pretty good condition upon initial look. I’ll know more after I get her broken down, cleaned and have a chance to look her over.

I’m so happy to have a little sister for my Garand and to add to my collection of history.

Undoubtedly, much more to come.

SKS Legal Issues

I’ve been getting a lot of search hits lately regarding SKS Muzzle Brakes, Grenade Launchers, Aftermarket stocks etc. These are apparently in reference to my posts about pimping my SKS.

I recently ran across Survivor’s SKS Boards

While there, someone asked about an SKS they were purchasing from a dealer. The dealer was insisting that they were selling the SKS as a Curio and Relic but it had an aftermarket T-6 stock. The prospective purchaser was inquiring about the legality of the transaction.

There were many assertions about the applicable laws bandied about. Some of them made sense, some of them did not. In order to help clear the air somewhat, I did some research. Not only did I find that some of the assertions were incorrect, but that I had an inaccurate understanding of the law myself. I feel this is important so I am posting my findings here as well:

First of all…legal disclaimers: I am not a lawyer. This is simply my reading and interpretation of the laws, ATF Regulations, rulings and decisions that I have available to me. Nothing I put out is the offering of legal advice, I am not attempting to practice law in any way shape or form. I do not give advice, legal or otherwise, I only provide the basic information and my interpretation of it, do with it as you will at your own risk. Secondly, this discussion only addresses Federal Firearms Laws, not State or Local. Check your State and Local laws as well as Federal before doing anything.

Now that that’s out of the way.

Some people seem to have a “removable magazine will send you to prison” fetish regarding the SKS. I’ve also seen some comments that indicate the Grenade Launcher on a Yugo SKS is problematic.

Although there is some truth to those contentions, they aren’t as clear cut as those people seem to think.

First of all. the problem is not necessarily encoded in the law itself. Since the timely death of the scary looking firearms ban in 2004, there is no prohibition against “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” or “grenade launchers” in and of themselves.

Where those come into play is in the “sporting purpose test” espoused by the ATF which I will address momentarily.

For purposes of this discussion, unless otherwise specified, when I refer to a “Section” of the law, I am referring to a Section of Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44.

Section 925 states:

“(d)The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm or ammunition-…

(3)is of a type that does not fall within the definition of a firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 and is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes, excluding surplus military firearms…

(e)Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the Attorney General shall authorize the importation by any licensed importer, of the following:

(1)All rifles and shotguns listed as curios or relics by the Attorney General pursuant to section 921(a)(13), and

(2) All handguns listed as curios or relics by the attorney General pursuant to section 921(a)(13), provided that such handguns are generally recognized as partucularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.”

Basically, the Attorney General MAY approve the importation of surplus military firearms or firearms not suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purpose, but MUST approve the firearms set forth in this section, and MUST approve those recognized as Curios or Relics.

Currently, the ATF (under delegated authority of the Attorney General) authorizes for importation firearms that meet the “sporting purpose” test. This test is derived from a study conducted in 1989 which resulted in the “1989 Report” http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/wbardwel/public/nfalist/atf_1989_report.txt

The criteria chosen by the ATF for the “sporting purpose” test comes directly from this report. If a semi-automatic rifle has ANY of the following features, it is considered to have failed the “sporting purpose” test:

Folding/Telescoping Stocks
Pistol Grips
Bayonet or ability to attach a bayonet (ie lug or mount)
Flash Suppressors
Bipods
Grenade launchers
Night Sights

A detachable magazine is also listed by the report but is not (to my knowledge) included in the sporting purpose test because many sporting rifles have detachable magazines.

Therefore, since an SKS exibits some of these characteristics, it is banned from importation under section 925(d)(3). However, subsection (e)(1) of the same section allows for its importation because of its current designation as a Curio and Relic (the 20th item down on this list: http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/curios/0301to0505update.htm).

This section, by itself, only applies to importation, once it is in the country, Section 925 no longer applies.

HOWEVER, this section is referred to in Section 922(r) which states:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semi-automatic rifle or shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) of this chapter as not being particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes except that this subsection shall not apply to… “[emphasis added] (the exceptions are not germaine to this discussion)

Current ATF rulings hold that any modification of a military surplus C&R firearm from its “original military configuration” voids its status as a C&R firearm. Current ATF rulings also indicate that virtually ANY modification to a firearm can be construed as “assembly” of a new firearm.

Since the Yugo SKS exibits two of the features (three if your model has the flip-up night sights) ANY modification voiding its C&R status could constitute “assembling from imported parts” a rifle “identical” to one banned from importation under section 925(d)(3). In other words modifying it IN ANY WAY may be construed as a violation of Section 922(r).

Removable magazines are not any more egregious than replacing the stock, even if the new stock does not have a pistol grip and is not folding or telescoping. The newly furnished SKS is no longer a C&R, it has a grenade launcher, a bayonet, and possibly night sights; therefore, it may be considered “identical” to a firearm banned from importation under section 925(d)(3); therefore, when you “assembled” it, you may have violated section 922(r).

So, how do we modify our rifles and stay legal?

The obvious answer is to remove all items that make it “identical to any rifle or shotgun banned from importation under section 925(d)(3)…” That means, remove the grenade launcher, remove the bayonet AND MOUNT, and remove the night sights if it has them. Also, avoid bipods and folding or collapsible stocks as they instantly turn your modified SKS back into an illegal model…unless you opt for playing the “ten or less game”.

The ten or less game is enshrined in 27 CFR, Chapter II, part 478.39:

“(a)No person shall assemble a semi-automatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purpose.”

(c) For purposes of this section the term imported parts are:

(1) Frames, receivers, Receiver castings, forgings or stampings
(2) Barrels
(3) Barrel Extensions
(4) Mounting Blocks (trunions)
(5) Muzzle Attachments
(6) Bolts
(7) Bolt Carriers
(8) Operating Rods
(9) Gas Pistons
(10) Trigger Housings
(11) Triggers
(12) Hammers
(13) Sears
(14) Disconnectors
(15) Buttstocks
(16) Pistol Grips
(17) Forearms, Handguards
(18) Magazine Bodies
(19) Followers
(20) Floorplates

The point is, if your newly “assembled”, non C&R Yugo SKS is comprised of ten or less of the listed imported parts, is no longer considered to have been “assembled from imported parts” but is considered of US manufacture. If you can successfully play the ten or less game, your rifle is Home grown and you can “Bubba” it to your heart’s content…including installing a removable magazine, bipod, pistol grip etc.

In keeping with playing the “ten or less game” we’ll analyze which parts pertain to the SKS and what we can do to get under the magic number.

The SKS contains the following parts from the list:

1) Receiver. 2) Barrel. 3) Bolt. 4) Bolt Carrier. 5) Operating Rod (gas piston extension). 6) Gas Piston. 7) Trigger Housing. 8) Trigger. 9) Hammer. 10) Sear. 11)Disconnector (some contend that there are actually two disconnectors so, to be safe, this is counted as #12 as well). 13) Buttstocks. 14) Forearm/handguard. 15) Magazine Body. 16) Follower. 17) Muzzle Attachment (Yugo only…grenade launcher).

The only US manufacture replacement parts currently made are the Operating Rod and Gas Piston, the Buttstock and Forearm/handguard, Muzzle attachments (muzzle brake to replace the Yugo grenade launcher), and removable magazines. All of these parts can be obtained from TAPCO.

That leaves us with an “imported” parts count of:

1) Receiver. 2) Barrel. 3) Bolt. 4) Bolt Carrier. 5) Trigger Housing. 6) Trigger. 7)Hammer. 8) Sear. 9) Disconnector. 10) Second (disputed) Disconnector.

The only problem with this is the fear that some enterprising young ATF agent may interpret the Bayonet and mount as a “Muzzle Attachment” so to be truly safe, the bayonet should be removed and the mount ground or cut off.

I’ve been asking around to see if any of the machine shops that make gun parts might be interested in manufacturing a US made trigger, hammer and/or trigger housing for compliance purposes but have had no takers so far. If enough SKS owners start asking for these parts, I’m sure someone somewhere could be convinced that it would be worth the effort. The lower the “imported” parts count, the less chance that the ATF could creatively interpret some other feature as a counted “imported” part. I’m sure some would like to leave the original fixed box magazine in place versus using duckbill mags of suspect quality and effectiveness which is another reason to come up with more US made compliance parts.

Now, after clarifying all that, I get to the part where I answer the original question. The law precludes importation of banned rifles and it precludes assembly of rifles that would be “identical” to those banned. It says nothing about possessing them, and it says nothing about selling them. That means that it is perfectly legal to own or sell one AS LONG AS YOU WEREN’T THE IMPORTER OR ASSEMBLER…and…AS LONG AS YOU DON’T TRY TO SELL A MODIFIED SKS AS A C&R.

In other words, in answer to the original question, the dealer trying to sell an SKS with an aftermarket stock as a C&R is probably breaking the law. The purchaser should not be as long as they can document the fact that they purchased the rifle modified and didn’t “assemble” it themselves with more than ten of the listed imported parts.

In summary: The best bet is to leave your SKS stock. If you purchase a modified SKS, make sure the bill of sale or receipt clearly identifies it as a non C&R, modified rifle. If you feel you must modify it (or purchased it modified but can’t prove that you didn’t do it yourself), to ensure that you stay legal, you can either remove all of the features that make it fail the sporting purpose test (grenade launcher, night sights, bayonet and lug), OR replace enough parts with US manufacture parts to get below the magic number of ten “imported” parts.

With all that said. I would point out that I’ve never heard of anyone being charged with owning an illegally modified SKS (and I see them at the range all the time) so take all this with a grain of salt. If you want to be absolutely sure that you are staying within the letter of the law, hopefully this will help you do so.

If any of the actual lawyers out there (or anyone else for that matter) finds any problems with my analysis, logic or interpretation, or knows of any case law that might shed more light on this issue, PLEASE let us know about it in the comments.

Mosin Info

This is good info so I didn’t want to leave it delegated to comments. From Straightarrow:

That light of a trigger on a mosin is an indication that something is wrong. I have four, two m-44’s, m-91, and a 91/30, all have heavy triggers. I had to lighten one with a very little polishing to take out the gritty feel. BTW, m-44’s are made to be shot with the bayonet extended. Point of aim should change for you from one configuration to the other. Try it both ways. One of mine was way different, the other was just a little different. You will love mosins, they are absolutely idiot proof and tougher than a 25 cent water buffalo steak.

I hope you enjoy it. All your surplus ammo will be Berdan primed, so even if it says non-corrosive, it is corrosive. A good first step when cleaning it to get out the corrosive salts is first pass a hot water and ammonia patch through the barrel a few times. It neutralizes the salts, then you can finish cleaning it as normal. I highly recommend the ammonia/water mix for the first few passes. I never thought I would clean any gun of mine with water, but these benefit from the neutralization of the corrosive salts.

you are aware I hope that you must enter the carbine in your bound book? Also, you cannot move your collection of anything in the bound book without BATFE’s permission, should you change residence. And they can come inspect at their pleasure.

Two of the reasons I never got a C&R, but each to his own. Happy shooting, these are great pieces.

The most accurate piece of any make I ever fired was a mosin M-59, which unfortunately I had bought to refurbish as a gift to my son-in-law. I hated to give it up. But a gift doesn’t count unless it counts to the giver. Have fun.

One more thing, surplus ammo has two flash holes in the head. You will need domestic brass to reload with boxer primers, effectively.

Sorry for running on so long, I just love these guns and am always happy to see someone else appreciate them. Those Russians were small arms geniuses.

Thanks my friend.

I was pretty sure the trigger pull wasn’t right. I can’t imagine a rifle designed for infantry use with that light a pull. I’ll start troubleshooting and see what I can come up with.

You are absolutely right about them being “idiot proof”. The design is the essence of simplicity but very effective. One thing about the Russians: they definitely had the “KISS” concept down pat.

As far as cleaning, I had read to just use warm soapy water to get the salts out so that’s what I did after my first shoot. I have a shallow tub that I use when cleaning cosmoline out. I used that to run warm soapy water through the barrel and receiver, then cleaned it normally after that.

Does the ammonia work better than soapy water? I’ll try that.

She’s already entered into the book. I did quite a bit of research before getting my C&R. The advantages are getting shipping right to the house which enables me to shop around and get the best prices, some places give dealer discounts to C&R licensees, and I can shop out of state without having to futz with an FFL (and pay their fees).

There are some disadvantages but the potential for uninvited visitors isn’t as bad as it sounds. The ATF can inspect at any time only with a warrant. Without a warrant, they can inspect once a year to ensure recordkeeping compliance or in the course of a “bona fide criminal investigation” and those inspections may be conducted “at the election of the licensed collector” at the nearest ATF office rather than the home or site of the collection. In other words, the only way they can legally just drop in and inspect your home is if they have a warrant. They could do that whether you have a C&R or not.

There is also the fact that the .gov now knows for sure that I’m armed but that is not much of a big deal for me as I also have a Concealed Handgun Permit which pretty much answers the question already. My understanding is that the “permission to move” thing is primarily to make sure you don’t move someplace where your collection is illegal. Not bloody likely in my case so I’m not worried about that. I generally try to stay as law abiding as possible so I decided that the benefits outweighed the costs. It is a personal decision though that each person must reach on their own. I wouldn’t make a recommendation either way regarding the issue.

Thanks for the good info. If I have any more questions about Mosins I know who to ask.