First, the hammer must be decocked. When you think the strut is in the groove, and rearward enough, keep wiggling it and it will go back a bit further, to the point where the part of the strut that extends downward is almost rubbing the rear of the frame cutout. You should then be able to push on the strut and make the hammer move. Then, while holding it in position, slip the spring on and the base, and compress until the base is seated. When you discover that the strut slipped out of position when you were doing this, rinse and repeat.
Gentlemen, Thank you a bunch. With the help of the visual aides, and the last few descriptions, I was able to successfully get the gun back together. Now let's see if it shoots! Time to ring some steel on Sunday.
It took about 2 weeks to get this disassembled and reassembled. My wife was laughing at me probably as much as some of you!
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