• This community needs YOUR help today. We rely 100% on Supporting Memberships to fund our efforts. With the ever increasing fees of everything, we need help. We need more Supporting Members, today. Please invest back into this community. I will ship a few decals too in addition to all the account perks you get.

    Sign up here: https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/account/upgrades
  • Friends, our 2nd Amendment rights are always under attack and the NRA has been a constant for decades in helping fight that fight.

    We have partnered with the NRA to offer you a discount on membership and Muzzleloading Forum gets a small percentage too of each membership, so you are supporting both the NRA and us.

    Use this link to sign up please; https://membership.nra.org/recruiters/join/XR045103

What should I use to polish and smooth tumbler and lock pieces?

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Sep 15, 2021
Reaction score
Been told I need to "stone" my lock pieces, to remove any machine markings and smooth them out. Make everything work better.

"Don't take off any metal, but get them smooth as a baby's bottom."

Okay, so once I figure how to take the lock apart and put it back together, what's the best tool for this?

I really don't want to use a wet stone or whatever. Can't I just use high grit sandpaper or a metal file?

Also, when I remove the mainspring with a mainspring vice, can I take the vice off and completely remove tension on the spring?

Thanks for the advice, fellas!
I use a collection of honing stones in a variety of shapes and different levels of fine to very fine grade. Wouldn't use any type of file unless you find an unusually large burr. As you said, do not remove or reshape the metal, your only want to polish. If you have nothing but sandpaper you can use 1200-2000 grit, but a honing stone is easier to control and gives better results. I do a finish polish using different sizes of wool felt tips and polishing rouge with a dremel.

And yes, you can remove the main spring from the spring vise if you want to, but leaving it in the vise is fine too. Pull the hammer to full cock, then put the vise on and snug it good, then trip the sear to release the hammer and the spring will come off easily.

Also, if your lock has a fly on the tumbler, which it most likely does, don't let it get lost when you remove the bridle. They're very small and can disappear easily.
Last edited:
Any smoothing will be an improvement. Even 800-1000 grit paper will give a decent result. For reference, I had a Russian rifle with a horrible trigger (something they're known for.) The machining marks looked like hacksaw or bastard file cuts. I filed them down with fine files, then fine sandpaper. It was as smooth as any other trigger after that.

If you don't want to remove any metal, just smooth the high spots. That's where the friction is anyway, because those are the points of contact.
On the idea of stones .... I found some good ones from McMaster-Carr. Good quality and inexpensive. Also, different grades. And these boys do ship fast.

On lock work overall .... agree with Flint....you can send it out for smoothing and tuning - but - to someone reputable. I know Cabin Creek does excellent work and is note for this. Call and ask.

Also, use the search function here and see who others may recommend.
Hate to be a negative Nelly, but…….. if you don’t know how to dismantle, and reassemble a lock, you definitely should NOT be sanding, filing and stoning lock internals.
Have someone reputable do the deed. Watch if you can.

I don't know anyone in Southern California that can do this.

It's also just a cheap Traditions Deerhunter. I bought this gun exactly to learn how to do this stuff.
I don't know anyone in Southern California that can do this.

It's also just a cheap Traditions Deerhunter. I bought this gun exactly to learn how to do this stuff.
That's how you learn. Research the proper disassembly process that can be searched for here and maybe a few decent youtoo videos. I believe Jim Kibler has a good disassembly video. Also familiarize yourself with the proper way to remove the hammer from the tumbler. Done incorrectly the tumbler can be damaged easily. Post questions on any point your unsure of.
I don't know anyone in Southern California that can do this.

It's also just a cheap Traditions Deerhunter. I bought this gun exactly to learn how to do this stuff.
The 3 most important things:
1) tools- get a spring vise for the mainspring, and proper hollow-ground screwdrivers
2) take pictures of the lock fully assembled, and maybe while disassembling
3) label screws as you remove them, either in cups or baggies. This is especially helpful when several screws are similar and easily confused
CBRIGHT Sharpening Stone Set,16pcs Triangle Knife Whetstone Set White Corundum Oil Stone for Knife,Most Bladed&Moldel-120#,240#,320#, 400#,600#,800#... Amazon
I use one of these. Have been known to let the magnet hold it in the middle of a cookie sheet.

Keep a couple of empty pill bottles. Handy if you want to carry a screw to the hardware store looking for a replacement.

Put an old white bed sheet on the floor under my work area and have a flashlight handy. Also a magnifying glass. And my cel phone for pics.

Latest posts