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Old October 19, 2013, 08:54 AM   #51
buck460XVR
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The police detective purchased a NIB Smith & Wesson 329 Sc frame .44 to start using on duty. He took the S&W .44magnum to the range & it misfired a few times.
He considered the security lock system to be a part of problem. The cop went back to carrying his trusted S&W snub N frame .44 revolver.
The lock will not make the firearm "misfire a few times". This is what most complaints about the lock are all about.......something else. I've helped folks at the range who's lock they claim Mal-functioned only to find the ejector rod lose. Local gun smith tells me of all the Smiths brought in for a "broken lock" none have ever had a self engaged lock failure, all were something else. A problem arises with a new Smith, the owner posts about it online and the first replies are "does it have the lock?"....even when it's a finish/fit/cosmetic problem. The lock is really a non-issue. S&W now make most of their snub SD revolvers with or without it. It is easily removed from those guns that have it if you don't want it.....or there are older Smiths and other brands readily available. I have heavy recoilin' Smiths with and without the lock from Airweight +p snubbies to X-Frames. After thousands of rounds thru them all, the failures are always the same.... loose ejector rod, strain screw backin' out, sticky case that didn't bounce back from the recoil shield, powder residue under the extractor or something else coming loose from the vibrations of heavy recoil. Have never engaged the lock on any of the firearms with it, was told by a S&W rep that not totally disengaging it is the main reason they self-engage. I don't even notice the hole when lookin' down the sights.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:13 AM   #52
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Michael Bane (Outdoor Channel) and Massad Ayoob (LE specialist) have both reported S&W internal lock failures. See Michael Bane Blog 8/27/2007 and Ayoob, M. American Handgunner, 01-02, 2005].

Out of my 5 S&W ILS revolvers, when inspected (side-plate removed) 2 had the light blue coil spring partially worked off and loose: instead of sending the guns back to S&W I simply removed all 5 internal locks. These guns were bought for personal protection, and since I am already handicapped by having only 5 or 6 rounds on board, I need every round to work, my assailant may well have a hi-cap semi-auto or large claws and teeth.... ie bear.

I continue to buy S&Ws because I like their products (just bought another one), I have simply improved mine so that they will work as intended.
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Old October 19, 2013, 04:14 PM   #53
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How much should it cost to have one of these locks removed and the hole plugged with something that minimizes appearance, like a steel plug that sits flush?
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:12 PM   #54
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I have but one S&W with a lock, my 627. It's one of my competition guns, and gets fired often and as fast as I can! The lock has not failed. It's a non-issue

The internet is full of haters, no matter what, they find things to hate on. I like to see the glass half full. I will continue to support all US gun makers, S&W included. They employ a lot of good folks up there in Springfield, lots of them just like me and you



Here's my 627, warts and all


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Old October 19, 2013, 10:00 PM   #55
James K
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I once was told that a 642 was misfiring because the transfer bar was broken. I pointed out that S&Ws had hammer blocks, not transfer bars, and was called a liar because the guy had "checked on the Internet". Then I told him that the 642 didn't have a hammer block, either, at which he called me several choice names and stalked away. I never learned (and didn't care) what was really causing his problem, but I did get a look at his ammo, and it was some of the worst looking reloads I have ever seen, so I can make a guess.

I once watched a revolver misfire several times, after which a range officer launched a diatribe against the S&W lock and how the shooter should get a Ruger. He ceased his ravings when the man told him that the misfiring revolver was a Ruger, a GP-100.

Can the S&W lock malfunction? I think the early ones might have and, as I said, S&W made a change in the design. But I am also certain that, like others have said, the lock gets blamed for problems that have other causes, and even on guns without it.

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Old October 19, 2013, 10:33 PM   #56
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Cosmodragoon, I believe the plug is about $28.00. Here are the instructions on how it is done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVPYgohVCNM

You can go to the Smith and Wesson Forum and do a search on the "Plug", and get the contact for the seller of the plug.
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Old October 19, 2013, 10:45 PM   #57
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But I am also certain that, like others have said, the lock gets blamed for problems that have other causes, and even on guns without it.
The following is a list of things for which people have brought me guns and blamed the locks:
  • Timing problems
  • Hammer pushoff, due to obvious dremel abuse of the sear
  • Cylinders that are locked shut because the ejector rod came unscrewed
  • Cylinders that are locked because the ejector rod was bent from slapping it shut
  • Inconsistent grouping
In one case, the gun didn't even have the lock.

I've never, ever seen an example of the lock malfunctioning. Nor have I heard a credible firsthand account. I've been dealing with these guns since I was a teenager. I've seen overtorqued barrels, miscut chambers, missing firing pins, and in one case, the wrong cylinder on a gun.

Can it happen? Yep. Does it happen? Probably. However, the problem isn't nearly as widespread as people claim. If it was, I'd have seen it by now.
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Old October 20, 2013, 09:50 AM   #58
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The simplest way to tell if an S&W ILS is working properly is to note the position of the flag, if it is up the gun is 'locked.' If the gun is not working and the flag is in the down position, the problem is very likely something else. Please note that on the traditional Bodyguard model the lock flag cannot be seen because it is screened by the humpback frame.

If the lock flag comes up (fully or partially) during normal operation the gun should be sent back to S&W for repairs.

The ILS is comprised of 6 moving parts: key, 3 internal metal parts and 2 internal springs. With the side-plate off, it is interesting to watch the the movement. Over-engineered Rube Goldberg. The reason you don't read criticism about Springfield Armory, Taurus, and Walther is they have better lock designs.

Also note that without the side-plate off, it can be difficult to diagnose a problem, and users are advised not to remove the side-plate, done incorrectly damage can result.

I have 6 S&W revolvers with the ILS. 5 have been completely removed. All the lock components look the same, but I have not put them to a micrometer. Since one of my S&Ws is a range/practice gun, the lock is still that one.
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Old October 20, 2013, 01:24 PM   #59
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lamarw, thanks for the info. My few newer S&Ws are going to get plugged. This will help assuage my philosophical and psychological affect, though I will be also happy with the greater mechanical simplicity.
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Old October 20, 2013, 04:27 PM   #60
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Choking on the hateraide....

Yes, I am a "hater".
I hate being shot at & concerned that my DA revolver may misfire or break because of the parts inside of it.
I also hate having to buy a firearm with a "safety feature" that I don't want or need.
A by-product of the post-9/11/2001 era rise in new gun owners & new CC laws was a major push to keep firearm makers or distributors from being sued/civil actions for the products are used.
These new legal actions & political steps negated the need for safety features/warning labels/security locks.
Lawyers & the estates-family members of some "victims" of gun violence wanted to blame the major gun companies(HK, Remington, Beretta, Colt, Ruger, etc) because they had the deep pockets & $$$.
Most pro-gun/2A + states changed or added the laws to keep gun companies out of the event(s).

Clyde
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Old October 21, 2013, 01:04 PM   #61
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You are certainly entitled to feel that way, but you are basing your concerns on a story by someone who apparently didn't experience the problem himself or really investigate the misfiring problem since, as was noted, the lock engaging will not cause misfires, it will lock up the revolver completely, immobilizing the hammer and trigger.

Jim
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Old October 21, 2013, 06:48 PM   #62
ClydeFrog
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Fair enough...

That might be true but Im not going to drop $800.00 USD on a .44magnum or .454 snub that might break.
Id save up & buy a NIB Ruger Alaskan wheel gun in .44 that I know does not have the security lock.

FWIW; I like S&W's newer hammer system. That seems like a improvement over the older version.
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Old October 21, 2013, 09:39 PM   #63
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I've explained this before, but since there seems to be several members here newly investigating the topic, I think it bears repeating: I think the whole lock issue is an overblown "tempest in a teapot."

First and foremost, I simply cannot accept the word of anonymous internet posters as authoritative. Even if we assume that everyone reporting "auto lock" is 100% truthful (and I don't think they all are), we still have the issues of unknown expertise in diagnosing the problem and, as described by another member (I can't remember who or I'd give credit), the "internet echo chamber.

As James K and others have pointed out there are a myriad of other issues that could cause a S&W revolver to lock up. The only way I'd be willing to assume that the dreaded internal lock was the culprit of the problem without pulling the sideplate would be if I could see the lock "flag" protruding upward and that would not be possible with shrouded and internal hammer models. I'd be willing to bet that a large percentage of the "auto locks" reported are actually caused by some other issue, but due to the rather vocal complaints on various forums, the lock is assumed to be the culprit.

Secondly, I reject the notion that the design of the lock, at least on the newer specimens that I've examined, is conducive to "auto locking" unless QC issues like defective or improperly designed parts are also present. The manner in which the lock works is actually quite simple: the "flag" has a small protrusion which, when the "flag" is rotated up, engages a groove in the hammer and prevents its movement. Because the "flag" is rotated up and back to engage the lock, it will be pushed forward and down and thus out of engagement when the revolver is in recoil. Also, when the hammer is fully forward as it would be when the revolver is fired, the "flag" protrusion is not lined up with the groove in the hammer and thus the lock cannot engage. The fact that the majority of reports of "auto lock" seem to be with lighweight guns in hard recoiling calibers like .357 or .44 Magnum, which place more strain on all the parts, and guns with relatively low round counts further reinforces this notion. Also, I don't believe I've ever heard/read a report of "auto lock" reoccurring after the gun was returned to S&W for repair.

Finally, we have the "internet echo chamber" to contend with. Because forum posting is largely anonymous, it is not only possible, but likely, for one incident to be reported multiple times and appear to be multiple incidents. For example, if one person experiences an auto lock, two other people witness it, and all three post of three forums under different handles, one incident would suddenly appear to be nine incidents. When you then take those nine reports and start repeating them as "I heard about this guy who had an auto lock" as is often done, and the one original incident may very well appear to be dozens, if not hundreds.
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Old October 21, 2013, 10:58 PM   #64
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The reason I have not flat denied the possibility that lock up could happen is this. If you look at the early "flag" you will see that there is no forward extension under the locking cam. If you have the hammer out, you can move the flag up into the locked position with your finger; the only thing holding it down is the spring.

If the hammer is all the way forward, pressing in the firing pin, the flag cannot move. But if the hammer is in the rest position, where it could be driven by the backpressure of the primer, the vibration of the revolver (not recoil as such) could cause the flag to move upward. Now I agree that this requires a lot of things to happen the wrong way at the same time, but in fact that is sometimes the case when a gun is fired, and some are right odd.

The later flags I have seen have a forward extension on the flag that won't allow the flag to move upward when the cam is on the bottom (unlocked) position. (If you look, you will see what I mean.)

So is there a possibility of the gun locking up? Yes, everything has to be exactly wrong at the same time, but IMHO, it could happen.

Has it ever happened and caused a tragedy? Not that I know of. Might it have happened at some time in some test? Maybe. Is it something I worry about? Nope. Is is a reason to threaten to kill people or blow up a factory? Hell, no, and folks who think like that are just plain insane.

Jim
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Old October 22, 2013, 09:38 AM   #65
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The only Smith revolver I've ever owned was a pre lock K frame; it's no longer mine, but still in the family.. I only bring that up to say I don't really have a dog in this fight, although it's something I think about from time to time. With that being said...

I DO NOT understand the ideology of a corporation that flat out refuses to listen to its customer base. I simply don't get it. Maybe for every one person out there that won't buy b/c of the lock, there are two that still will, but correct me if I'm wrong, but is that not a 33% loss of potential revenue?
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Old October 22, 2013, 11:13 AM   #66
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True, but I suspect the ratio is probably closer to one person who refuses to buy the lock for every 100, or 1000, who will.
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Old October 22, 2013, 02:05 PM   #67
RussB
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Truth be told, there are people who will buy a S&W revolver BECAUSE of the lock. I know of one such person...
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Old October 22, 2013, 02:25 PM   #68
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Truth be told, there are people who will buy a S&W revolver BECAUSE of the lock. I know of one such person...
Quote:
True, but I suspect the ratio is probably closer to one person who refuses to buy the lock for every 100, or 1000, who will.
RussB, RickB.. these may be true, perhaps I have been hanging out at The Firing Line too much, a forum where I have seen hundreds (if not a thousand) of complaints about the lock, and posts in favor of the lock in the single digits... well, to be fair, maybe a couple dozen ever.
Someone out there is obviously still buying those revolvers... Smith quality is (arguably) still great, and I think for that reason people will overlook the lock, but I will say this: someday down the road, my next handgun will be a .357 or .44 mag. I really, really, like the Smith 629. But because of that lock, I just might end up getting a Ruger Redhawk...
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Old October 22, 2013, 02:57 PM   #69
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A hundred complaints is often the same 4 people saying it 25 times!


I also visit a competition flavored gun forum. There are guys who shoot many rounds a year through their "lock" S&W's. Like 3000+ a year, with some going into 5 figures. There are also some top revolversmiths who claim S&W is building the best guns ever...EVER!

There are also a lot of guys waxing poetic on the internet, telling how everything was better "back in the day" and those ungodly lock holes just ruin the gun.

S&W sells a whole lot of revolvers. Most people really care less one way or the other about the lock. That's because it doesn't matter one way or the other. They're good guns, with a great warranty

Last edited by RussB; October 22, 2013 at 03:11 PM.
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Old October 22, 2013, 08:47 PM   #70
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Internet rants absolutely equate to real world numbers. Just ask President McCain.

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Old October 22, 2013, 09:18 PM   #71
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So buy a Ruger. Problem solved.
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Old October 22, 2013, 09:31 PM   #72
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The Million-dollar question about the Smith & Wesson lock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliottsdad View Post
The only Smith revolver I've ever owned was a pre lock K frame; it's no longer mine, but still in the family.. I only bring that up to say I don't really have a dog in this fight, although it's something I think about from time to time. With that being said...

I DO NOT understand the ideology of a corporation that flat out refuses to listen to its customer base. I simply don't get it. Maybe for every one person out there that won't buy b/c of the lock, there are two that still will, but correct me if I'm wrong, but is that not a 33% loss of potential revenue?
I would be shocked if that number is anywhere near 33%. My guess is it is less than 5%. You see a few die hard complainers on Internet forums, but remember Internet forum people are a very, very small percentage of the actual gun buying public. The lock issue gets blown out if proportion on the Internet and yet most posters don't have a problem. I imagine the vast majority of the people actually buying guns have no opinion on the lock

And anyone who want to unload a lock smith for cheap, PM me. I don't have a problem buying a gun that will function without issues
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Old October 22, 2013, 11:23 PM   #73
Elliottsdad
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You see a few die hard complainers on Internet forums, but remember Internet forum people are a very, very small percentage of the actual gun buying public
Honestly, I forget this sometimes! I (somewhat foolishly) work under the assumption that we are the norm...
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Old October 23, 2013, 01:34 AM   #74
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How often do you hear people complain. Dang! I wish mine had a lock!

There is a reason why these threads keep going. Lets not fabricate a hypothesis that it's only a few that don't like the lock. There are many reasons for the dislike: political, aesthetics, functionality, location. Just because the "lock lovers" can't see why people hate the stupid things, doesn't mean they are wrong. Believe me I can't understand how they can just ignore it.
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Old October 23, 2013, 09:08 AM   #75
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And as others have said, any problem, real or not, gets blown out of all proportion on the Internet. One person posts about a problem he claims he saw happen. A thousand people read his post. Then each posts about the problem, accepting without question the allegations of the first poster. Then another thousand people read those posts, again accepting the claims (now third hand) made by the original poster and now saying that "thousands" of such incidents have occurred. (Remember, there was really ONE incident, and no one ever investigated or challenged that one.)

And so it goes. In any other field, people would ask for proof or evidence that the problem was/is real. But it seems that gun site folks are especially gullible and accept anything they read as gospel. Of course this tendency is known and used by people with very large axes to grind, like those who would wish to put gun companies out of business. (The Second Amendment won't mean much if there are no arms to keep and bear.)

There are those who denounce S&W and promote Ruger, for example. If S&W is forced out of business, they will soon find Ruger being attacked by the same people who attacked S&W. Don't kid yourselves; the anti-gun people assume many disguises, and one of them is pretending to be concerned for your safety.

Yes, we have to blow the whistle on truly dangerous guns and ammunition. But ask yourself how many guns would be available if outfits like the CDC were allowed to decide which guns are "safe" enough to own. The answer, of course, is zero; the only people with guns would be government-approved thugs who would loot and kill in the interests of the rulers.

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