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Thread: My fix for a bad trigger on a CVA Pistol

  1. #1
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    Dean D.'s Avatar
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    My fix for a bad trigger on a CVA Pistol

    Last fall I purchased a nice used CVA Kentucky percussion pistol in .45 cal.. The pistol shoots very well but the factory trigger is terrible! I never measured the trigger pull on it but it had to be 15 pounds or more. After showing the pistol to Waksupi at a rendezvous last fall and discussing what could be done about it I decided to try reworking the trigger myself.

    After disassembling the pistol it was obvious why the pistol had such a hard trigger pull. When you look at the geometry of the original trigger design there is no mechanical advantage built into the trigger at all. The original trigger consists of a base plate, brass trigger, steel dowel pin and a claw shaped "keeper" that attaches to the inside of the trigger plate with a screw. Below is the original trigger group:


    The next two pictures show the measurements of the trigger as pinned originally:



    I stripped the trigger plate bare and made a cardboard pattern to test dimensions with. Using some scrap 1/8" mild steel I cut out a new trigger. After some clean up and shaping with a file and a bit of forging on the anvil to flatten the trigger shoe I had a fair trigger made. I used a piece of a finishing nail for the new pin.


    Now all I needed to do was assemble it. I had used the pivot point of the locks sear bar as my location for my new trigger pin so drilling that hole was pretty easy to locate as the stock had a faint mark where the pivot screw lightly touch the lock mortise. I used a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the finishing nail pin. Here is the final assembly of my new trigger:


    I don't have a trigger pull scale but I would guess the trigger pull on the new trigger is somewhere between 2 and 3 lbs. A huge help and a pleasure to shoot now!

    So, if you have a CVA with a similar trigger setup don't give up, they can be fixed with just a few hand tools.
    "The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise." - Benjamin Franklin

    "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson


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    waksupi's Avatar
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    Good pictures and description of the problem, and the solution. I hope others pay attention, and upgrade their triggers.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks I now have a project before hunting season.
    This is sticky material.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I have one to fix as well. Not a CVA but one of the early imports, problem made by the same people that made the CVA imports. Mine says Hopkins & Allen on it. It was sold at JC Pennys back in 74. Good fix though and write up. Mine I'll be too is at least 15# or maybe closer to 20.
    Aim small, miss small!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Crawdaddy's Avatar
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    I have a Hopkins and Allen turn barrel with the same problem. Going to take it apart and see it it is the same problem.

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    Boolit Mold Nit Wit's Avatar
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    Good Job!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    You not only introduced some mechanical advantage, but also eliminated the usual scrubbing between the trigger bar and sear arm by placing the trigger pivot in line with the sear arm pivot. That's something for all builders (of anything) to keep in mind.

    Something else that's very clear in the close-up photo of the wood. The wood was finished at the factory with the metal bits removed, resulting in the edges of the lock mortise (and other inlay cuts) being rounded over from the sanding and steel wool, etc. Whether re-finishing a factory gun, building a kit or doing a scratch build, if you want a really crisp metal to wood fit, you ALWAYS do ALL your wood finishing with the metal parts in place. Metal and wood finished together. The very last thing you do is remove the metal for blueing or browning.
    Last edited by Omnivore; 01-21-2014 at 04:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man beroen's Avatar
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    Did the trigger bar at rest height change?
    I would like to do this same thing using this trigger blank but I am unsure of this part thank you

    I went for it I took a little to much off the trigger and it moves forward more than I would like but it's so much better now to just buy a new sear so I have a more positive engagement..

    Last edited by beroen; 04-10-2014 at 05:21 PM.

  9. #9
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    I used a thin piece of cardboard as a model to check the fit before I modified the new trigger. I'm not sure I understand your issue but I'd think another new trigger blank would be cheaper than a new sear.
    "The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise." - Benjamin Franklin

    "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson


  10. #10
    Boolit Man beroen's Avatar
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    The sear is all beat up and angled from being dry fired 100s of times by the first owner and it catching on the half cock position of the tumbler.. It didint have anything to do with the new trigger I guess I was just saying

    Thanks for the cool idea!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master freebullet's Avatar
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    Very interesting, thank you for sharing your experience.

    Am I correct that your trigger is not connected to the original metal trigger plate? It appears the pin goes through the hardwood and trigger only?

    Have you shot it much since the mod? I'm curious how it has held up, no walking of the pin/wood fit? I would think the hardwood should hold up well enough.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    any chance i could get a "cardboard templet" of your modified trigger ?

  13. #13
    Boolit Man beroen's Avatar
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    I sold the pistol yes, it worked well. Dixie gun works has these blanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gordie View Post
    any chance i could get a "cardboard templet" of your modified trigger ?
    Gordie, they will all be slightly different, as you need to trim the contact surface so there is a slight amount of free play between the trigger and sear bar.

    Triggers that are wood mounted are, and were very common. I have built well over 100 guns with them so mounted, with no problems.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
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    thanks for the reply...

    i think i'll check DGW for a trigger to "practice" on...

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Now I have a new project for my two CVA's. I am assuming that the trigger is the same on the flintlocks?

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    Yep...
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean D. View Post
    Last fall I purchased a nice used CVA Kentucky percussion pistol in .45 cal.. The pistol shoots very well but the factory trigger is terrible! I never measured the trigger pull on it but it had to be 15 pounds or more. After showing the pistol to Waksupi at a rendezvous last fall and discussing what could be done about it I decided to try reworking the trigger myself.

    After disassembling the pistol it was obvious why the pistol had such a hard trigger pull. When you look at the geometry of the original trigger design there is no mechanical advantage built into the trigger at all. The original trigger consists of a base plate, brass trigger, steel dowel pin and a claw shaped "keeper" that attaches to the inside of the trigger plate with a screw. Below is the original trigger group:


    The next two pictures show the measurements of the trigger as pinned originally:



    I stripped the trigger plate bare and made a cardboard pattern to test dimensions with. Using some scrap 1/8" mild steel I cut out a new trigger. After some clean up and shaping with a file and a bit of forging on the anvil to flatten the trigger shoe I had a fair trigger made. I used a piece of a finishing nail for the new pin.


    Now all I needed to do was assemble it. I had used the pivot point of the locks sear bar as my location for my new trigger pin so drilling that hole was pretty easy to locate as the stock had a faint mark where the pivot screw lightly touch the lock mortise. I used a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the finishing nail pin. Here is the final assembly of my new trigger:


    I don't have a trigger pull scale but I would guess the trigger pull on the new trigger is somewhere between 2 and 3 lbs. A huge help and a pleasure to shoot now!

    So, if you have a CVA with a similar trigger setup don't give up, they can be fixed with just a few hand tools.
    Very well done post we need more like it thanks

    Yep I know it's a old post,but the information is still good.
    I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Man beroen's Avatar
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    Yep good info right here

    Sent from my LG-D850 using Tapatalk

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    Dean D, Do you have any pictures of the assembly put back together but outside of the gun? And compared to the old trigger.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check