The Bob Or Not To Bob Affair

by
posted on January 7, 2009
oldsinews.jpg (1)

With the cycling problems resolved, I focused on the last modification required to have a pistol variant of a U.N.C.L.E. Special: the bobbed hammer—a feature never clearly shown in photos—at least none adequate enough to use as a pattern. Yeah, it looked cool, but did I really need it? It was the one feature I had the hardest time convincing myself to add primarily because of the hellacious double-action trigger pull that would remain once the smoke cleared. As a result, I tried to talk myself into leaving the hammer untouched, but the fact remained doing so took away from pistols' aesthetic appeal—which left only one alternative. I had to find a way to do a trigger job on the pistol. To accomplish such a feat, I had to find a sufficient P38 tech manual. The task took several weeks and God only knows how many hours of searching online, but the effort paid off.

Providing tension for the P38's hammer and magazine release, attaining U.N.C.L.E. Special with a smooth double-action pull requied carefully trimming the P38 hammer spring. Or did it?


Sandwiched between the pistol's hammer strut and European/heel-actuated magazine release, the hammer spring serves a dual purpose by providing tension for both the hammer and its European-style magazine release. The discovery suggested a trigger job would prove difficult (removing too many coils could not only cause misfires but possibly release magazines prematurely) but not impossible. Still, there had to be a way. In search of an answer, I decided to research other post-war P38 variants (one with a reputation for double-action to rival even a vintage Colt Python—the P5).

Swapping the P38 hammer spring with that of a Walther P5 resulted in the smooth trigger pull the author wanted and led to eventual hammer spur removal.

The secret to its silky-smooth, double-action stemmed from two things: a shortened/re-contoured hammer strut and a—you guessed it—a shorter hammer spring. Besides fewer coils, the P5 hammer spring also appeared to be constructed from smaller-gauge wire. Be warned: many gun part/spring sources market P38 and P5 hammer and recoil springs as interchangeable—but their dimensions are different. (To help, I'm in the process of having the both springs measured and plan on posting the specs later). Unfortunately, the P5's hammer strut was not interchangeable with my P38 due to its different shape—but the hammer spring was. Although not as smooth as the P5, replacing the spring significantly reduced the trigger pull as my swapping springs proved! (One possible source for P5 springs is Earl Sheehan's website). Making the discovery, Steve L'Italien assisted me further by providing me a profile image of the hammer from one of the original show props to use as a pattern. However, since then, I successfully managed to trim a P38 spring down to respectable pull weight of 8-pounds without any indications of light primer strikes or misfires. 

For those brave enough to delve deeper into the mind of Bob Boyd, visit Boyd's Blog fan page on Facebook, or subscribe to its Twitter feed.

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