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  #1  
Old 07-09-2011, 4:00 PM
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Default How To Import Off Roster S&W to California!! Instructions

How to convert your S&W revolver from Double Action/Single Action to Single Action Only so it is legal for import into California.

I have been asked on more than one occasion how I have purchased pre lock S&W from out of state through the single action revolver exception. So I have decided to create this how to guide to help those other smith collectors on this board. A lot of this same process can be used to convert other brand revolvers as well.

The law says that single action revolver that holds 5 or more rounds with a barrel of over 3 inches and an overall length of 7.5 inches is roster exempt. This means that any S&W K, L, N or X frame revolver with a barrel over 3 inches can be imported into the state of California once converted to Single Action. I have not verified if a J frame with a 3 inch barrel meets the overall length requirement of 7.5 inches.

Now you need to find a local FFL that is willing to accept a S&W revolver from out of state that has been converted to single action. I have found that Rob Blank at RMB Enterprises in Milpitas will accept revolvers like this.

Some FFL's will let you convert the revolver yourself in there shop before starting the paperwork negating the need for it to be done out of state (some ffl's will even do the conversion for you for a charge). If you are going to do this you should be proficient in the conversion process. An FFL does not want to be answering your questions on how to put the revolver back together or have your shenanigans stop them from being able to help other customers.

You know what gun you have been lusting after that meets the size requirements, now you just need to find someone selling it that is open minded.

Ultimately you are going to be removing the double action sear from the hammer. This is what causes the hammer to cock back when the trigger is pulled. Once this is removed and the gun is put back together when the trigger is pulled the cylinder will still rotate but the hammer will not cock. However; the gun will still work when the hammer is cocked manually, thus making it single action only. Since removing the double action sear requires a hammer and a punch I have found it best to purchase a used hammer from gunbroker and remove the double action sear myself. Then if someone is going to do the conversion I can ship out the hammer and it becomes a drop in job. Also if you are doing the conversion at a gun shop just dropping in the hammer without the double action sear in place of the stock hammer is much faster. After a few tries the conversion process takes less than 10 minutes and all you need is a screw driver.

Here is a picture of a factory N frame hammer next to a N frame hammer that the double action sear has been removed. Note the red arrow shows the double action sear.



This following section is for those that do not know how to take your S&W apart. I am going to be using my 624 3 inch for an example.



First thing you are going to do is remove the grips. Next you are going to unscrew 4 screws using the proper sized hollow ground screw drivers. The first three hold the side plate on, the 4th screw holds the leaf spring. Please note which screws come from which holes as they are all different.



So now you are going to need to take the side plate off (do not pry the side plate off!). The easiest way to mess your S&W up is to try and pry the side plate off. So you are probably thinking, "the side plate is on there really well, I don't even know why they need screws. How the heck am I going to get this thing off?!?!?" Don't worry, I have you covered. What you are going to do is turn the gun over and strike the frame in the two spots indicated in the picture bellow. You are going to use a rubber gunsmithing hammer or something like the back of a rubber screw driver. If you are working on a blued revolver it might be best to use a towel in between the gun and the hammer. Make sure to keep your week hand that is supporting the gun under the side plate, don't want it to pop off and fall on the ground.



Once the side plate comes off you are going to see this



The red arrow shows the transfer bar safety, this sits on top of everything else. It can easily fall out. The green arrow shows the double action sear. The blue arrow shows where the trigger and hammer meet. To remove the hammer you are going to need to remove the transfer bar safety. Then you are going to pull the hammer back to almost half cock. Then you are going to need to pull the trigger back till about the same point. Once you pull the trigger back so it is not touching the hammer you will then be able to remove the hammer. Then you replace it with the hammer that has had the double action sear removed.

Now you are going to need to reassemble the smith. First thing you are going to do is install the leaf spring. It hooks onto the back of the hammer and fits into the grove at the bottom of the frame. Once the screw is in place you can test the revolver for function before putting the side plate back on. Second thing you do is install the transfer bar safety. Note on the inside of the side plate that a small grove that the bar fits into. Also on the top of the inside of the side plate is a small nub that fits beneath the frame.

You are going to start by installing the part of the side plate with the nub first making sure that the transfer bar safety is in its proper place. Next you are going to gently push in the other areas of the side plate. Once you are sure the side plate is lined up properly you are going to use the same rubber screw driver handle or rubber hammer to tap the plate back into place. Again, use a towel if you are working on a blued revolver. Once the plate is fully seated you are going to install the remaining three screw in the correct holes. Now install the grips and you have a single action s&w revolver.

Once you wait your 10 days and get your new revolver home you are going to need to follow the same exact procedures to return the factory hammer in place of the single action only hammer. Then you are going to crack open a beer and take pride in how you have stuck it to the man.

I hope this helps you get that hard to find smith.

Jordan
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Last edited by shooting4life; 07-12-2011 at 9:04 AM..
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2011, 4:06 PM
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Jordan, thank you. This is a keeper/sticky.

I will add on the non-gun-tech side that this no longer needs to be done outside CA. Any CA FFL can acquire a revolve, convert to single-action revolver status (providing dimensionally compliant) and then the gun is DROSed/transferred as such.
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Old 07-09-2011, 7:01 PM
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This is probably a guide for S&W's only right because one of my best friends dad really wanted a polished Python. All you have to do is remove the double action sear I wonder if its just a pin in the hammer like the Smith.

This should be a sticky
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Old 07-09-2011, 7:53 PM
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Default How is this process different from semi auto pistols?

Why is a type 07 FFL needed to convert a semi auto into a dimensionally compliant single shot, yet any FFL can convert a double action to single action?

How is dropping in a different hammer any different than dropping in a longer barrel on a 1911?

Am I mistaken about the 07 FFL being needed for semi autos?
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhena81 View Post
This is probably a guide for S&W's only right because one of my best friends dad really wanted a polished Python. All you have to do is remove the double action sear I wonder if its just a pin in the hammer like the Smith.

This should be a sticky
It is, but it is a bit tougher to see and tap out. Same principle though, on the Colt the sideplate is easier to remove and you have to remove the hand and V mainspring.
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Old 07-21-2011, 3:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwiese View Post
Jordan, thank you. This is a keeper/sticky.

I will add on the non-gun-tech side that this no longer needs to be done outside CA. Any CA FFL can acquire a revolve, convert to single-action revolver status (providing dimensionally compliant) and then the gun is DROSed/transferred as such.
Bill, can you provide a DOJ link or something else that states this?
A co-worker wants to import a couple of early 1900s revolvers from her aging dad in New York state. Colt and a Smith, I believe.
I doubt that Markley's in Watsonville has your current info and that's where she wants to go.
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Old 07-21-2011, 4:32 PM
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If they are over 50 years old then they are c&r and exempt from the roster already.
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Old 07-21-2011, 4:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otteray View Post
A co-worker wants to import a couple of early 1900s revolvers from her aging dad in New York state. Colt and a Smith, I believe.
.
C&R handguns (either 50+ years old or specifically listed as a C&R (such as 80's D&D Bren 10s)) are already exempt from the roster, no need to convert to single-action.
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Old 07-21-2011, 5:49 PM
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In other words if I found a S&W model 27 or 28 that was mfg. in the 50's or 60's it would be considered C & R, and could be sent to CA?
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Old 07-21-2011, 6:13 PM
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Thanks for the info...
In that case I'll start a new thread on what her best course of action should be.
After I check the CG Wiki, of course.


EDIT:
Not so sure about the handgun qualifying (exempted) as previously stated.
I recall, only long guns or BP handguns.
When did that change?
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Old 07-21-2011, 6:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMG View Post
In other words if I found a S&W model 27 or 28 that was mfg. in the 50's or 60's it would be considered C & R, and could be sent to CA?
as long as it was made before 1961, it would be automatically considered C&R and therefore exempt fro mthe roster.



Quote:
Originally Posted by otteray View Post
Thanks for the info...
In that case I'll start a new thread on what her best course of action should be.
After I check the CG Wiki, of course.


EDIT:
Not so sure about the handgun qualifying (exempted) as previously stated.
I recall, only long guns or BP handguns.
When did that change?

AFAIK, the C&R handgun exemption has always been there.

12125. (a) Commencing January 1, 2001, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state for sale, keeps for sale, offers or exposes for sale, gives, or lends any unsafe handgun shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.
(b) This section shall not apply to any of the following:
(3) Firearms listed as curios or relics, as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
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Old 07-21-2011, 7:22 PM
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Now that there is some very good info.
Right there in black and white.
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Old 07-22-2011, 6:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gofast View Post
Why is a type 07 FFL needed to convert a semi auto into a dimensionally compliant single shot, yet any FFL can convert a double action to single action?

How is dropping in a different hammer any different than dropping in a longer barrel on a 1911?

Am I mistaken about the 07 FFL being needed for semi autos?
They were doing this originally but have now determined that ANY FFL can do the single shot or single action conversion. Also ANY FFL can install a BB in an OLL.

Read this thread for more info that Bill had posted a while back:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=441766
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Old 07-22-2011, 7:30 AM
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/nosepinch... is the constant engineering oneupsmanship that we have to do for no good reason bugging anyone else. We can apparently engineer our way out of any stupidly crafted legislation. Bravo to engineers, /shakeshead @ legislators.

Is it then illegal for any reason to convert say a Ruger Super Blackhawk into a double action (this is theoretical, I have no interest in ruining one myself) after I own it? That should suffice to answer the remaining question without being, shall we say, explicit.
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Old 07-25-2011, 2:57 PM
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I get a cold chill down my spine for even thinking about having someone do this to one it but this may be a way for me to get access to a Python... I know it's S&W but I wonder if the surgery could be done on a snake.
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Old 07-26-2011, 9:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cprieto View Post
I get a cold chill down my spine for even thinking about having someone do this to one it but this may be a way for me to get access to a Python... I know it's S&W but I wonder if the surgery could be done on a snake.
The same procedure applies to Colts and Rugers, pretty much any DA revolver. You could convert a Python in about 10 minutes, same for any of the older Colt DA revolvers. Correct screwdriver, punch and hammer is all it takes.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:37 PM
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I don't have a colt but I will see what I can figure out with my ruger security six. I would have to think the internals did not change much on the security six compared to the gp series or super redhawk but someone with more ruger knowledge will have to chime in.
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrcarr67 View Post
They were doing this originally but have now determined that ANY FFL can do the single shot or single action conversion. .
Heh..try and find one that will/can do it.
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:55 AM
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Yes they area still a rare breed -

Fortunately - We have a few in the Bay Area now -

Quote:
Originally Posted by oso grande View Post
Heh..try and find one that will/can do it.
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Old 08-03-2011, 3:18 PM
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Quote:
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Yes they area still a rare breed -

Fortunately - We have a few in the Bay Area now -
Rob blank in Milpitas will allow you to do the single action conversion in his office before starting the paperwork. In fact, I just did this very thing on Monday afternoon to start the paperwork on a S&W 629-3 carry comp. Took me about 4 minutes this time.
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Old 08-03-2011, 7:02 PM
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ever done this?
I tried to contact the ffl I've done business with...he wouldn't even return my call.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:45 PM
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It would help greatly if we know the area you're in to recommend one -

Quote:
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ever done this?
I tried to contact the ffl I've done business with...he wouldn't even return my call.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
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It would help greatly if we know the area you're in to recommend one -
Great! I'm in Southern California.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shooting4life View Post
Rob blank in Milpitas will allow you to do the single action conversion in his office before starting the paperwork. In fact, I just did this very thing on Monday afternoon to start the paperwork on a S&W 629-3 carry comp. Took me about 4 minutes this time.
Great! Now that it's roster exempt, you can transfer it to me without having to meet FtF.
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Old 08-09-2011, 9:53 AM
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This is a great post and thank you very much. I have had this question in my mind for a bit now.

Question: If I'm looking at a 50 year old revolver for purchase and import, how do I prove to the FFL it is 50 years old and okay to transfer as C&R? Is it based on serial number and say S&W catalog or is a formal letter needed from the factory, or possibly one or the other, depends on the FFL???
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:34 AM
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I have just told them that it is c&r. Have never been asked to provide any documentation in the past.
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Old 08-09-2011, 5:47 PM
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I have a bit more complicated revolver I'm trying to convert from da/sa to sao for dros'ing. You can follow my progress and chime in over at Gunsmithing & How To - DA/SA to Single Action Only conversion. http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...12#post6931512

My question is, if you disable the trigger from cocking the hammer can you call it single action only and be done, or does the FFL have to see that when the hammer is cocked, the trigger can release it?

Meaning do I have to present a functional single action only revolver to my ffl to start the dros?
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Old 08-09-2011, 6:04 PM
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The revolver has to be converted to single action before the dros paperwork starts.
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Old 08-09-2011, 8:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shooting4life View Post
The revolver has to be converted to single action before the dros paperwork starts.
Correct. In between my FFL receiving the revolver and the dros paperwork being started, the conversion will have taken place. Does it have to be a functioning single action only revolver or can the trigger just be disabled?

Last edited by Jalibass; 08-09-2011 at 10:09 PM..
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Old 08-09-2011, 8:07 PM
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Great work again
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Old 08-09-2011, 8:22 PM
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It has to function as a single action revolver.
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Old 08-10-2011, 9:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shooting4life View Post
Rob blank in Milpitas will allow you to do the single action conversion in his office before starting the paperwork. In fact, I just did this very thing on Monday afternoon to start the paperwork on a S&W 629-3 carry comp. Took me about 4 minutes this time.
(will have better picture in 8 more days)
I'm thinking Rob's business is about to jump!
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Old 08-11-2011, 8:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shooting4life View Post
Rob blank in Milpitas will allow you to do the single action conversion in his office before starting the paperwork. In fact, I just did this very thing on Monday afternoon to start the paperwork on a S&W 629-3 carry comp. Took me about 4 minutes this time.
Just got her home today. Put the correct hammer back in and it is 100% factory now.

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Old 08-13-2011, 10:47 AM
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I learn something new everyday....thanks.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:52 AM
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I would like to hear from any 01 FFL in Southern California who would allow an individual to enter their shop and convert his own DA revolver to SA.

OG

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Old 08-29-2011, 8:04 PM
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Cool. That's great news. Does Rob have the right sized tools that he's willing to let us use? And is he familiar enough with the operations to lend a hand if I am a dumb newbie?
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  #37  
Old 08-30-2011, 7:09 AM
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Im pretty sure he does not have any tools. I would practice on another s&w you own a few times then do the transfer.
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  #38  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:45 AM
NYRangerfan2 NYRangerfan2 is offline
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Lets say after the dros u take it home and turn it back to da, and 6 months later u wanna sell it...do u have to make it sa before selling it???
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  #39  
Old 09-17-2011, 3:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYRangerfan2 View Post
Lets say after the dros u take it home and turn it back to da, and 6 months later u wanna sell it...do u have to make it sa before selling it???
if you are selling it as a private party transfer, no you don't. But if you are going to ship it accross the state to the buyer's FFL, then it needs to be made roster-exempt again.
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  #40  
Old 09-18-2011, 8:25 AM
NYRangerfan2 NYRangerfan2 is offline
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ok ... thx for the info!
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