Brownells Reduced Power Pro-Spring Kit

Lose the Pounds!

The piece in question: A stumpy, square-butt 3" hammerless Model 13 Smith.

Using the lightest rebound spring in the kit, there were no later ignition problems with
Mag-Tech, Winchester, Federal, Remington, Black Hills or Buffalo Bore ammo.

If you have a fetish for DA revolver shooting, you’ll eventually run across an “out-of-print, price-is-right” Smith you simply can’t live without. My latest — yes, I’ve danced this dance before — was a tight-as-a-tick 3″ Model 13-2, featuring an unlikely square butt (most extant 3″ specimens are rounded). Later consultation with Massad Ayoob, our resident K-Frame authority, indicated it was part of a shipment to an Australian LE organization back in the day, parts of which somehow trickled back Stateside.

Double-action operation for this particular gun was pretty much mandatory. My holster-worn prize had a “factory bobbed” hammer and my first impulse was to get an SA-friendly replacement hammer with a spur, since thumb-cocking the gun in its current configuration was an amazingly tedious, semi-risky, two-handed proposition. Honestly, three hands would’ve been even better. I know this because I actually tried with a snap-cap loaded cylinder.

So here’s the $64 dollar question: Why didn’t I simply get a new hammer? My shooting buddy Thomas Mackie lobbied hard for it — he won’t give up the thumb-cocking option under pain of death. But my boss, Roy Huntington, shamed me into living with it as-is. He reminded me I had hammerless J-Frames pocket snubbies, after all, so why not suck it up and learn to shoot a beefier K-Frame the way God — not to mention Ed McGivern and Jerry Miculek — intended?

When I did, I experienced something close to a religious conversion. I’d been banging around with J-Frames for so long I’d almost forgotten how pleasant Plus-P .38’s could be out of a K (.357’s are easier too, well, kinda). My initial range results from 7 to 25 yards were good to great. I used 125- to 158-gr. .38’s with a couple of 125- and 140-gr. LeverEvolution Hornady .357’s thrown in just to see where they went.

But I kept on a-wonderin’ what I might do with a lighter DA trigger. So after perusing the latest Brownells catalog, I sent off for their K/L/M-201 Pro-Spring Reduced Power Kit (080-665-201WB). The kit consists of a lighter-than-stock replacement Power Rib Mainspring plus a trio of 13-, 14- and 15-lb. rebound springs. The price was $19.99 and turned out to be one of the best performance investments for the money I can recall — certainly above and beyond any sight or grip upgrade.

I popped off the sideplate and grip panels, installed the Power Rib Mainspring and 13-lb. return spring, flushed out the innards and then dabbed Gun Butter on the contact points. Many years ago I tried monkeying around with altering stock K- and L-Frame mainsprings by shaving and bending (dumb) and backing off strain screws (really, really dumb) to get a better DA trigger pull. The Pro-Spring Kit — made by Wolff — is better by far. The pull ended up lighter, shorter and smoother. It had actually been pretty good before but now it was great — as in a pull weight just under a paltry 7 lbs.

The first move was to try the gun out with every brand of ammo I could lay hands on to check for ignition problems with specific primers. No worries. Everything went bang first time, every time (which was not always the case with my long-ago strain-screw diddling). Although my groups aren’t significantly tighter, my shot strings are faster with not having to focus on the mechanics of the trigger break quite as hard. It just kind of happens …

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