Armature influence on mesh

hello all,
I am getting very close to actually finishing my first rigged character, and trying to get it ready for BGE. I have worked out a lot of problems on my own so far, but can’t figure this one out.

I have my mesh completed, and I am putting the rig together piece by piece and testing it as I go, so I don’t have to go back too much in the end to fix it all. I have had great success on the left side so far, with the arm, hand and fingers (Thank you David Ward at for the BC Baker series, I love the finger rig and have used it and modified it a little because all I need my character to have is either a gripped hand for grabbing or an open hand, so I used a control bone that all the finger bones copy the rotation of), but I digress.

So the left side from the waist up works great, for the first time ever in 3 years of blendering, I have something that works and I am proud of.

Then, when I duplicate all the arm bones and scale them across the x axis and rename them for use on the right side, the influence of the armature seems like it is not as great, and I am getting some weird deforms, like the right hand won’t follow correctly. My setup: I used an armature modifier on my mesh, and bound it only to vertex groups, not envelopes. I have named all the vertex groups as I want them to deform, and named the appropriate bones with the same names. All the deform bones are checked to Deform in the Bone panel. I thought I worked through this problem last night for the left side, and now the left side behaves exactly as I wish, but I can’t for the life of me remember how I made that happen (my first time seriously attempting rigging, and I spent several hours at it last night, but dammit, I figured it out on my own, now I can’t remember how).

I have tried the options of removing the armature modifier from the mesh and then reapplying it, no luck. I have tried renaming the bones and the vertex groups, no luck. I made sure my bones were rolled with the z-axes all facing upward, still no luck (maybe this is the problem?)

To be fair, I am re-rigging the right arm, and have not rigged the entire thing yet (with the hand and the fingers taking up a lot of time), but with the duplicate of the left arm bones I tried earlier, it still exhibited this diminished influence. So now I am rigging out distally from the center and trying as I go. Do I need to rig the entire arm (hand and fingers included), before it will behave?

Any help is greatly appreciated, I would send the blend file mesh portion I am having problems with if I can figure out how to send it (it seems we can only upload so large a file).

Anyway, any help anyone can give is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,