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S/W .44 woes

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Bill, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    Mar 31, 2003
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    Bought a S/W model 29-3 a year ago. Took it to the range and it would occasionally not rotate to the next round when the trigger was pulled back resulting in the hammer landing on the last spent cartridge. Promptly returned it to the gun dealer. Read John Taffin's article which described the problem.

    Recently bought a used model 629. After only 6 rounds or so the gun locked up preventing the hammer from being cocked in either single or double action mode. Opening the cylinder seems to reset things and it will operate properly for 2 or 3 rounds then again lockup.
    Whats up with that? I'm about to give up on the S/W .44Mag revolvers. Also, the 629 shoots way left and I finally got it to hit close to center by running the rear sight all the way to the right.
    Any advise will be appreciated. Thanks, Bill
  2. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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    Bill, I own several 'N' frame S&W revolvers and have never experienced a problem like you described. I have heard of people talk about the crane being sprung, but never with this frequency. Most people I know talking this way use the 'Dirty Harry' way of closing the cylinder with a full population of cartridges and then just snapping their wrist to close the cylinder. This method leads to springing the frame and cylinder .Repeated use of this method will cause the frame to warp and keep they gun from timing right. If this is the case, close the cylinder and turn the 'UNLOADED' gun toward you and see if there is a gap between the frame and crane. If there is, then this is the problem. Smiths are not noted to be strong in this point. However, they were not made to do what Dirty Harry did to them either. Let us know.
  3. Smokin Guns

    Smokin Guns New Member

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    Bill, I'll pull out this long barrel one tommorow, i'll see if it has any of the same trait's as yours!...;)

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  4. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    Implanotx

    The gun doesn't look like its had much use and shows no sign of abuse that I can detect. Not sure where you are suggesting I look for the gap. I just noticed a very slight fore and aft movement of the cylinder...Behold I pushed it to the rear and the gun started cycling propery and I can't make it jam up again. I suspect once I fire it the problem will show itself. Also, any suggestion of why the gun shoots so far left. I suspect guns that require the rear sight to be off set so much.
    Thanks for your advice, Bill
  5. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    Implanotx,
    Sorry I wrote the previous email too quickly. On close inspection in good light I see the surfaces of the crane and frame. Hair line space, can't get my fingernail into it. Compared it to my Dan Wesson, about the same except the DW looks like slightly tighter.
    Also the DW has about the same fore/aft cylinder movement, in either case I think it less than .001 inch.
    After I got the gun working again, I thoroughly cleaned and lubed it. Monday I'll take it to the range again. I'll bench it to make sure the left shooting tendency is not induced by me.
    I'll let you know the results.
    Thanks, Bill
  6. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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    Bill, once y'all bench it let us know what happens and we can go from there.
  7. CountryGunsmith

    CountryGunsmith New Member

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    If the crane is damaged, you may notice rub marks on the barrel face and the recoil shield from the cylinder no longer being in line with the axis of the gun (for lack of a better description). Also, the gap between the crane and the frame (viewed from the front) would be uneven and/or excessive.

    Since your problem goes away when the cylinder is held to the rear, I am suspecting a problem known as excessive endshake. This occurs when the crane is not long enough to hold the cylinder to the rear, allowing it to ride forward and rub against the barrel. For it to completely 'lock up' is pretty extreme, though.

    A good S&W revolversmith will begin by checking cylinder alignment with the barrel using proper range rods. All six should be aligned. Also, we use a gauge to check crane alignment with the hole in the recoil shield. That hole, by the way, should be ROUND and not egg-shaped. The rear of the barrel should be checked for squareness and faced off if necessary; now is a good time to recut the forcing cone if need be. Fore-to-aft play in the cylinder is corrected by squaring the end of the crane and installing special endshake bushings to maintain a consistent barrel-cylinder gap at about .004-.006". Would not hurt to check the cylinder - although I have never seen one that is NOT square anything is possible with 1990's S&W quality control.

    Make sure the cylinder hand is not binding in the window and correctly engages the extractor star. Also, the bolt should ride freely in its window in the bottom of the frame, and be released to spring up to engage the cylinder stop notch about 1/4"-3/8" before the cylinder completes its turn.

    I have seen S&W revolver barrels installed at an angle (threads cut incorrectly at the factory) but this is extremely rare. Most of the time, big revolvers that 'shoot to the left' are a result of the shooter anticipating the recoil. A good laser boresighter will tell that tale.
  8. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    I'm very impressed with the posts reguarding my original question. Shows the value of this forum. Following Country Gunsmith's advice a careful inspection revealed:

    Rub area on right side of barrel face
    Unusual rub marks on left side of recoil shield

    Gap between frame and crane was tiny but not perfectly even

    In the full open position the cylinder hinge would tighten up.

    So I guess I missed some important details when I bought the gun. I'm better educated now. I returned the gun for a used Ruger Superhawk. Lost money on the deal but I think the RH will serve my needs. Thanks again for the informative postings.
    Bill
  9. masterdave

    masterdave New Member

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    checking zero

    Bill a better way to check if off center groups are the falt of the gun or you is as follows. 1 have someone els load the gun [out of sight ] 2 dont load any or all chambers . 3 when you come to a empty chamber while shooting ALL things are clear at once . I have done this for maney years and it works , just watch the front sight or dot or crosshairs and you will see what i mean . The same thing works for auto pistols and even rifles but you have to do it 1 shot at a time . Hope this helps you let me know. Keep em in the black DAVE
  10. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    Masterdave,
    Great advice and I've used a similar technique by loading 4 out of six chambers then spinning the cylinder. I've greatly improved my trigger control over the last few years. I suspected the Smith had a problem as I picked up my Dan Wesson and fired 12 rounds fairly centered in the 3 inch black at 30 ft.
    Yesterday before trading the S/W I benched it and I was able to take out about half of the rear sight displacement. The gun shot fairly well benched, keeping my last dozen shots at 50yrds inside the 8 ring.
    My guess is the gun does shoot slightly left and my faulty grip was causing the additional left impacts. Also, I carefully lubricated the gun and it funtioned without lockup. However every few rounds it was difficult to cock.
    Thanks for the input.
    Bill

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