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Thread: Pietta Smith top strap issue

  1. #1
    hawkeye2 is offline
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    Pietta Smith top strap issue

    I just picked up a Pietta Smith and it is almost impossible to open. If I lay it across my legs upside down and use both thumbs on the lifter I can barely release the strap to open the gun. The lifter is free and the hinge works easily, it's just the top strap is too strong, any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Joe Plakis, 9575V is offline
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    My Smith has the same issue, I can open it but pretty much nobody else can. See if backing the top strap screw off a 1/4 turn helps. If it does you need to cut a shim to take up the slack. That is what I had to do with mine.
    Joe Plakis XXVIII
    Middle-Atlantic Region
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    9575V

    "Great leadership does not mean running away from reality. Sometimes the hard truths might just demoralize the company, but at other times sharing difficulties can inspire people to take action that will make the situation better." John Kotter

  3. #3
    Tim Iannuzzi is offline
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    Agree with Joe. Had the same issue. Loosen the top strap screw a bit, then either shim it or use Loctite Blue on the threads to hold it where it works for you (that's what I do).
    Last edited by Tim Iannuzzi; 04-13-2024 at 09:33 AM.

  4. #4
    Muley Gil is offline
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    If the screw is too loose, the action will pop open after your shot. Makes it quick to reload!

    Don't ask me how I know this.
    Gil Davis Tercenio
    # 3020V
    34th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry
    Great, great grandson of Cpl Elijah S Davis, Co I, 6th Alabama Inf CSA

  5. #5
    hawkeye2 is offline
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    The first things I had looked at were the top strap and lug on the frame for burrs, free movement of the release and that the hinge worked easily. All was good there. Has anyone ever tried thinning the strap from the bottom to reduce it's tension?

  6. #6
    Lou Lou Lou is offline
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    FWIW, I have found bent lifters causing issues.
    Lou Lou Lou Ruggiero
    Tammany Regt-42nd NYVI

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    I tried the shim thing and it was still way too stiff. I took a drum sander on a Dremel tool and slowly sanded the bottom of the top strap, checking it often until it was light enough. Then I reblued the bottom to keep it from rusting.
    John Hamilton
    Commander
    3rd Georgia
    DS-180 #8802V

  8. #8
    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Further to Lou's point, please:

    With my essentially mint original, the tip of the lifting rod was slightly below the opening in the top of the receiver.
    A dab of epoxy raised it to flush so a little more lift was created.
    Respectfully,
    Kevin Tinny

  9. #9
    Rebel Dave is offline
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    If your Lifting Rod is getting too short, you can dab it with Brazing Rod a time or too, then file it down for proper fit, and
    function. That always worked for me.


    Dave
    Last edited by Rebel Dave; 04-15-2024 at 02:06 PM.
    Past Member 14th Mississippi

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    Hawkeye2.


    What I have read, through old threads and research online, some individuals state the release will become easier after firing the carbine a lot. I bought a used Pietta from a teammate who bought it from a retiring skirmisher. After reviewing Steve's entry submission on production dates, my Pietta was produced in 2005. The skirmisher(s) before had worked upon the carbine...they created an ungodly light trigger pull (for my liking). Needless to say, my release was outrageous! It actually bruised my trigger finger by the pressure needed to break open. I contacted our retired (60 plus-years) team gunsmith and asked how to ease the pressure. Polishing certain areas does help ease tension. Shimming with thick aluminum foil under the dovetail was suggested, but only to one side of the screw (adding a slight tilt), The option I chose was to the thin the top strap and re-blue. This was a great choice, as it alleviated the problem with my trigger finger...however, be careful when thinning. Since I, or we do not know your skill sets (as a machinist or gunsmith), and if you do not want to perform this feat yourself I suggest contacting Larry Flees, Dan Whitacre, or Charlie Hahn for their service. Reading this thread, maybe someone else will offer their service to fix the problem. There is a last resort...it involves heating the strap, but this is a tricky situation and needs a professional gunsmith for the proper application with temperature control and tempering.


    Hope this helps...take care.


    Keith A. Williams
    15th Reg VA Vol Cav
    Also called Northern Neck Rangers and Critcher's Battalion.
    Last edited by Keith Williams; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:56 PM.

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