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Smith & Wesson 78G restore project

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J-S View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01 Dec 2020 at 11:13am
Something I had hoped would be a simple fix but may turn into a bit of a project..

I imported a couple of Smith & Wesson 78G Air Pistols from USA mid this year and one turns out to be a bit of a dud.. They were resealed before sending which is good, but both started hissing after a few shots. These did come by post during Covid so took quite a while and who knows if vibrations had shaken things loose..

These are a bit of a rarity in NZ so they are worth fixing up. They feel lovely in the hand, and are nice and solid. Nice to have an air pistol from the Smith & Wesson factory rather than another licenced brand product from Asia.



The one in question here has a serial number Q00XXXX - a 4 digit serial number which could very well mean first year production?
It has at some point been spray painted black - very crudely too. it was sprayed when fully assembled, thick in some areas with finger prints where it was handled when tacky.. Nice.

It is a pistol that participated in the recall of these when daisy took over in the 80's, as shown by the 'D' stamped on the underside of the grip. It has a sh*tty Daisy Hammer and a sh*tty Daisy trigger. It did not work well; there was a pause in the firing which meant the hammer didnt strike the valve at full speed - you could almost fire the pellet then run and catch it at the other end..



I managed to find an original S&W Hammer which I had installed hoping to fix the issue, however this is what proved the trigger is a daisy - its not compatible. So I need to source an original S&W trigger blade and HOPE that is the only other compatibility issue, which will allow this to shoot! (holding the trigger down and releasing the hammer manually gave a good pop so technically it should work).


So..
Once function is proven, I will decide next steps. I may strip it down to bare bones, strip the spray paint and give it a couple of light coats of satin black spray paint to get it closer to what it should be. I have read that baking the sprayed gun may help cure the paint to a slightly harder wearing finish - I will have to read more into this..



J S Airguns
Air Arms TX200
Theoben Sirocco
HW35E
S&W 78G
FAS AP604
HW45
FWB 300s

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dvlnme View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dvlnme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2020 at 7:50am
had one or two these back when first took up pistol shooting many years ago because they were made as trainers for the real pistol of which i had for many years,weight and balance,handling exactly like the firearm,there were quite a few in pistol club shooters hands as trainers we could use at home,but as you say bit rare these days as they had issuses with a certain part that we couldnt get as replacements etc,made few these parts but cant remember now exactly what it was other than it was brass,i did make few these but was 30 years ago,they were all painted but that one not factory paint job thats for sure,used to repaint them with black stove paint then put them in oven at 100 degree f for bout hour to harden paint,they came out like factory finish,frames made of zinc alloy so wont anodise anyway,prob why factory painted them i would think,really neat pistols tho,Ron may still have or be able to source parts and seals.
 cheers mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2020 at 10:52am
Originally posted by dvlnme dvlnme wrote:

had one or two these back when first took up pistol shooting many years ago because they were made as trainers for the real pistol of which i had for many years,weight and balance,handling exactly like the firearm,there were quite a few in pistol club shooters hands as trainers we could use at home,but as you say bit rare these days as they had issuses with a certain part that we couldnt get as replacements etc,made few these parts but cant remember now exactly what it was other than it was brass,i did make few these but was 30 years ago,they were all painted but that one not factory paint job thats for sure,used to repaint them with black stove paint then put them in oven at 100 degree f for bout hour to harden paint,they came out like factory finish,frames made of zinc alloy so wont anodise anyway,prob why factory painted them i would think,really neat pistols tho,Ron may still have or be able to source parts and seals.
 cheers mike


The valve is made from brass, so may well have been these that needed replacing - they take a bit of a pounding by the steel hammer so may crack over time. Also the valve pin had a brass piece; these are commonly replaced by polymer these days to improve gas flow.

Yes this paint is terrible on this so will see the true condition of the metal once stripped..

I went to see Ron about it the other day, he had no parts but pulled out a 79G (.177) that was missing its piercing cap. I snapped that up too.. testing with the cap from the project gun it sealed up nicely. I will put it over the chrony to see if it is up to the expected power and check in a few days if its held gas..
It has a fracture on the top section from where someone must have tried to take it apart without taking out the collar piece in the front. There is no pressure on that section, I will try to take it apart and add some JB Weld or something for a bit of extra strength and with careful use it should be ok..
Only other thought was to strengthen it with a long dovetail rail accross the top with tapped screws..




Edited by J-S - 03 Dec 2020 at 10:56am
J S Airguns
Air Arms TX200
Theoben Sirocco
HW35E
S&W 78G
FAS AP604
HW45
FWB 300s

Current projects:
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Paintba
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dvlnme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2020 at 5:40am
you could possibly vee out the crack and fill it with jb weld then flush it off clean out lettering again with dremel tool etc,that would disappear when painted,wont really be any stress on that area when assembled and being used.
 cheers mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2020 at 1:31pm
Originally posted by dvlnme dvlnme wrote:

you could possibly vee out the crack and fill it with jb weld then flush it off clean out lettering again with dremel tool etc,that would disappear when painted,wont really be any stress on that area when assembled and being used.
 cheers mike


Great idea.. Though im keen to keep it original paint finish as it is quite good condition. I may do that on the inside though to get a good amount of JB Weld in there.

The outside is not too noticable - neither myself or Ron saw it until i gave it a good inspection at home and it caught the light. Ron did offer a refund, but I decided to keep it anyway as I dont think it would be a problem - as you say no stress on the area.
J S Airguns
Air Arms TX200
Theoben Sirocco
HW35E
S&W 78G
FAS AP604
HW45
FWB 300s

Current projects:
Diana 45
Paintba
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dvlnme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2020 at 8:25am
damage like that is a classic case of someone not knowing what they are doing and totally stuffing something up in the process.the old storey eh!! if something not broken,you keep fixing it til it is broken ha ha,now you really do have something that needs fixing eh!!pity they dont know how to fix what they have broken trying to fix it before it was broke,worlds full idiots who consider themselves experts coz they seen it on utube and became instant experts on the subject.
 cheers mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2020 at 10:15am
Originally posted by dvlnme dvlnme wrote:

damage like that is a classic case of someone not knowing what they are doing and totally stuffing something up in the process.the old storey eh!! if something not broken,you keep fixing it til it is broken ha ha,now you really do have something that needs fixing eh!!pity they dont know how to fix what they have broken trying to fix it before it was broke,worlds full idiots who consider themselves experts coz they seen it on utube and became instant experts on the subject.
 cheers mike


Indeed!
With these, if you dont know about the colar inside the hammer spring area and try pull the top off, this happens..
J S Airguns
Air Arms TX200
Theoben Sirocco
HW35E
S&W 78G
FAS AP604
HW45
FWB 300s

Current projects:
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Paintba
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2021 at 9:02pm
Had a few moments to strip the 78g down. A pretty simple pistol so that’s a good start.
I tested a little Citristrip on the top section which proved to remove the spray paint pretty easily.

You can see the top section was sanded by a previous owner before spray painting. Surprising as the spray paint job was so terrible. Luckily the writing and S&W logo haven’t been dulled - they look as sharp as the other origins finished pistols I have on hand.

This will still need some work on paint removal, a gentle surface buff and a clean with acetone before a couple of light coats of satin black.



Edited by J-S - 04 Jan 2021 at 9:03pm
J S Airguns
Air Arms TX200
Theoben Sirocco
HW35E
S&W 78G
FAS AP604
HW45
FWB 300s

Current projects:
Diana 45
Paintba
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jan 2021 at 9:22am
With everything stripped of the paint, and given a good acetone bath / wipe down, I have started spraying the parts with satin black. The finish is slightly glossier than the factory finish, but I think matt would be too flat.. the factory finish must be somewhere in between and the satin will show less blemishes than the matt would..
speaking to Ron he said it’s easy to tell refinished S&W pistols as the finish is usually too good! You can see from the original in the pic that the finish is not perfect - designed as a functional tool rather than a show piece..

Question, should I proceed and be happy with the satin, or should I strip again(!) and try a matt black to see if it is closer to the original?

J S Airguns
Air Arms TX200
Theoben Sirocco
HW35E
S&W 78G
FAS AP604
HW45
FWB 300s

Current projects:
Diana 45
Paintba
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dvlnme View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dvlnme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jan 2021 at 7:13am
i agree with Ron the origional finish on these guns was never that good in the several examples i have owned over the years,rebuilding and refinishing guns is bit like restoring cars,there is a big difference btween restoring something to factory standard or a concours build,the facts are a gun or car can only be origional once,so any rebuild changes that origionality personally i would go with the finish you like best and leave it at that,its no longer a collector piece,because its no longer in origional condition,its now a very nice shooter so enjoy it for what it now is,and its value is that it is a fully rebuilt and nice shooter.awsume job by the way.
 cheers mike
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