My guess would be that the weapon has been dry fired too much and the firing pin spring(return spring) is frigged up or even shredded. I have heard tell that dry firing the Encore even as little as 10 times could cause this problem.
I'd simply take out the firing pin bushing screw,then remove the firing pin bushing and take a look at the spring and the pin both. I'd say that is what your problem is. The spring could also be inserted backwards. The big end of the cone shaped spring should be towards the bbl.
The Encore's should never be dry fired. I have a small piece of soft rubber that I slip in back of the frame between it and the fall of the hammer. It will cushion the hammers blow(slow it down) and there is not such a "SLAP" when I dry fire.
I have dry fired my Encore Pro Hunter probably 500 times with out a problem. Give this a try. -----pruhdlr
Pruhdlr has it right. I dry fired mine once(by accident) and it gave the exact same symtoms that you are describing. You don't have to take the entire frame apart just the firing pin retainer whatchamacallit thing and check out the spring and firing pin. You might be replacing one of them(or both) or you might get lucky like I did and just reposition the spring back on the firing pin and it was fine. Dave
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