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Old January 30, 2014, 08:01 PM   #26
haymaker
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Let me ask this in a different way. Considering that a IL Smith might lock up would you still trust it over any Taurus?
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Old January 30, 2014, 08:12 PM   #27
FoghornLeghorn
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Let me ask this in a different way.
That's not asking the question, differently. That's asking an entirely different question.

In answer to your question, yes, I hold both of them in equal contempt.
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Old January 30, 2014, 09:08 PM   #28
Hal
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Let me ask this in a different way. Considering that a IL Smith might lock up would you still trust it over any Taurus?
You can always deactivate the lock - but - a Taurus will always be a Taurus...

Take that either way.

I shot a Taurus once.
That's all I needed to know about them.
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Old January 31, 2014, 01:48 AM   #29
Webleymkv
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To fully understand the issue, you must first understand how the lock actually works. The main component of the lock is a small "flag" that rotates up and back when the lock is engaged. On the side of the "flag" is a small stud which engages a groove in the hammer so that, when the lock is engaged, the stud blocks the movement of the hammer thus preventing the action from being cycled.

The notion that the lock can spontaneously engage itself under recoil without multiple grossly out-of-spec, improperly installed, and/or broken parts is erroneous for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the recoil arc of the revolver will, through inertia, force the "flag" forward and down out of engagement. Secondly, when the hammer is fully forward and in contact with the firing pin, as it would be when the revolver is fired, the groove in the hammer is not aligned with the "flag stud" thus preventing the lock from engaging. Finally, the "flag" is under spring pressure pushing it forward and downward out of engagement which is only overcome by the camming action of turning the lock key.

You must also remember that the reliability of "auto lock" reports on internet discussion boards is inherently unreliable not only because the truthfulness of those reporting such incidents cannot be verified, but also because the expertise and identity of such individuals is unknown. As Tom Servo alluded to, I suspect that many instances of S&W revolver malfunction are erroneously blamed on the lock because of assumptions made by the owner and/or witnesses. This would be particularly likely with a revolver that has a shrouded or fully enclosed hammer as the lock is not visible externally on such models and thus the only way to diagnose it as the root of the problem would be to pull the sideplate.

Also, bear in mind that because people often post on multiple forums under multiple pseudonyms, one instance of a S&W revolver malfunctioning can easily appear to be multiple incidents, particularly when the event is reported secondhand. This phenomenon has been dubbed the "internet echo chamber" and I wish I could remember the member who originally coined that term so that I could give him/her the proper credit.

Finally, we can draw a few conclusions from the reports of such incidents despite their unreliability. Most reports I've seen tend to occur when the gun is relatively new and has relatively few rounds through it. Also, as has been mentioned, the issue seems more common with lightweight revolvers firing heavy-recoiling ammunition. These two trends further reinforce my belief that, on the rare occasion that the lock does cause a malfunction, it is due to QC issues rather than a design flaw. In my experience, QC problems in firearms usually make themselves known in relatively short order and lightweight guns firing heavy-recoiling ammo will place extra strain on defective/broken/improperly installed parts thus hastening their failure.

Because of this, I believe that the chance you will experience a malfunction due to the lock at a critical moment is no greater, and probably substantially less, than the chance you'd experience a malfunction due to some other cause at a critical moment. It also seems to me that thoroughly testing you revolver's reliability before relying upon it, as you should do with any firearm, would further decrease your chances of experiencing a lock-induced malfunction at a critical moment.
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Old January 31, 2014, 10:08 AM   #30
Sgt127
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I just think its an awful design from an asthetic standpoint. I really don't want a big hole in the side of my Smith nor do I like the way they had to redesign the top arc of the frame where the hammer rides.

If they had put it under the grip, on the backstrap or even like Taurus did on the back of the hammer, it would be slightly more acceptable to me.

I agree, there is a VERY small chance of it locking up, but, if it does, you won't know about it until you need it as you can't see what its doing inside the gun. The Taurus, at least, you can see and feel if its engaged.
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Old January 31, 2014, 10:30 AM   #31
Rogervzv
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I know it's been discussed before but the one reason why I would not buy a Smith and Wesson revolver is because of the chance of the internal lock accidentally locking under recoil. Used Smith revolvers are as easy to find as 22 lr ammo and there isn't any of that to be found around here. I would like to consider a 686 or possibly the governor but the lock issue concerns me. What's the real deal? Is it really an issue?
No this is not in the least an issue. This is your typical internet garbage where someone heard about someone at some range somewhere, who saw someone else ... etc. etc. The new S&Ws are fantastic revolvers and if you don't use the lock (I don't) it is as though the stupid thing is not even there. I and my friends and family have put thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of rounds through two 686s, a 627, a 625, all with locks, and all with 100% reliability.
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Old January 31, 2014, 10:54 AM   #32
pete2
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I have 3 with the locks on them. No problems what so ever with the locks. I can't sat that about other stuff like timing, extractor, bur in forcing cone, lop sided rear bbl face but no sweat on the locks.
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Old January 31, 2014, 11:40 AM   #33
buck460XVR
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Webleymkv pretty much sums up my experience with talking with folks outside the internet about the IL. This includes reputable gunsmiths and S&W reps along with fellow shooters and owners. The design is not problematic. If it was, S&W would have made changes to it years ago. On two occasions myself I have witnessed new Smiths locking up on the range where their owners cried "internal lock"! Both times they were on their way to the LGS to send the gun in. Both times the issue was corrected at the range. One was a loose extractor rod, the other was a high primer on a reload. Both guns had fewer than 2 boxes of ammo thru them. This is the other thing I see. Folks buy an auto-loader and are advised to put 500 rounds downrange before trusting it with their life. A new revolver comes outta the box and it's expected to be ready for service immediately. Never have understood this one. Both have the same possibility of leaving the factory with a problem or an issue with certain ammo. But only the auto-loader needs to be tested thoroughly.

Again, there are lots of options. One is to ignore the lock and go on with life. The other is to remove the lock. Easy to do. Sure it leaves a hole in the side, but it's not near as ugly as the billboard on the sides of Rugers. Or, one can buy something else, either another brand or an older Smith or one of the few new ones without the lock. These are all easy options and are the route most folk take. Last but not least, is to continuously post on every thread started on S&W revolvers and whine about it. Whatever works for you.
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Old February 1, 2014, 12:31 AM   #34
jason_iowa
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Jason,
The lock IS more prone to failure in activating itself statistically than a standard mechanical failure, by the nature of its unnecessary design.

And I've personally had to pound a lead bullet out of my S&W Model 25-5 that only made it halfway down. Commercial reload, the primer popped, but there wasn't enough pressure to drive the bullet all the way through the barrel.

This was, incidentally, at a police training session using ammo from a reputable reloader.

Just because these things have never happened to you does not mean they don't exist.
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That is why I qualified it with I think, not I know. I don't know that its not an issue. I just don't believe it is. I have purposely tried to reproduce a squib and have been unable to.
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Old February 1, 2014, 08:14 AM   #35
hAkron
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Used S&W's, around here at least, are generally a good (sometimes great) value. I've also seen some very fair deals on sites like Armslist, gunbroker, and gunsamerica. Factor in shipping and FFL transfer if you go the online route, but even still they are usually quite a bit cheaper than current production guns.
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Old February 1, 2014, 10:30 PM   #36
Arkhog
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It's in the bag.

Finding a New In Box Model 640 took me a while. All stainless steel .357 in a J-frame. I really liked the gun. I love it now. The IL is in a plastic baggie.
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Old February 1, 2014, 10:48 PM   #37
spaniel
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"As to the squib issue I find it laughable. My lifetime around guns in and out of the military and law enforcement along with everyone I have ever met in and out of the military and law enforcement none have ever seen a squib or hang fire. I think they are issues of a bygone era and simply not possible with modern ammunition and firearms."

Your opinion is countered by numerous facts. I've had to pound out two squibs, both with H110 in cold weather. Don't use H110 anymore. But it is a modern powder which was hit with modern primers in a modern gun.

I've got a 329PD, which is supposedly more prone to lock failures than most. Personally I have never had an issue, and I shoot a decent amount of full power loads. But I won't pretend my experience or the experience of others I know constitutes fact and doubt those who have had bad experiences with the lock in their own hands.
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Old February 2, 2014, 05:58 AM   #38
Hal
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Just a primer will drive a bullet through the barrel of any firearm I own. If you don't believe me try it yourself. Even a 91/30 with a long barrel and a 40 year old primer drove the bullet through the barrel went 5 yards and stuck in an oak log.


That's so untrue it's not even funny.

& yes- I've tried it & yes the result was a stuck bullet that had to be pounded out.
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Old February 2, 2014, 08:50 AM   #39
skoro
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Is it really an issue?

An extremely unlikely one.

That said, I have only one S&W with the lock, and it's one I carry regularly, the Model 642. I'd prefer that they didn't keep putting these silly, unnecessary locks on their products, but the truth of the matter is that they aren't going to ever listen to or seek my input on the matter.

I just buy used S&W revolvers that are widely available in almost like new condition at decent prices.

Problem solved.
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Old February 2, 2014, 09:47 AM   #40
Driftwood Johnson
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As to the squib issue I find it laughable. My lifetime around guns in and out of the military and law enforcement along with everyone I have ever met in and out of the military and law enforcement none have ever seen a squib or hang fire. I think they are issues of a bygone era and simply not possible with modern ammunition and firearms.

Just a primer will drive a bullet through the barrel of any firearm I own. If you don't believe me try it yourself. Even a 91/30 with a long barrel and a 40 year old primer drove the bullet through the barrel went 5 yards and stuck in an oak log.
Well, I can tell you that a few years ago I had a squib with commercial 44 Special ammo. I do not remember at this point what brand it was, but it certainly locked up the gun, an old S&W 44 Hand Ejector, 3rd Model. The squib happened and the bullet lodged halfway out of the chamber and halfway into the forcing cone. When I drove the bullet back into the chamber, and unloaded the chamber I was surprised to see fresh, unburnt powder fall out of the chamber. Turns out there was no flash hole in the primer pocket! The punch that makes the flash hole must have broken, there was an indentation of where there should be a hole, but no actual hole. So the powder never lit. It took me a while to figure out exactly what had happened. The flash hole punch had struck the bottom of the primer pocket, and had ruptured the brass enough to make some pin holes and cracks, but had not made a real flash hole. So the primer pressure was enough to force the bullet out of the case, and bind up the gun, but not enough to light the powder. This was with commercial ammo, so yes, poop can happen.

As far as primers driving a bullet all the way out of the barrel, I can't tell you how many times I have helped drive a bullet out of the bore at a Cowboy match. Inexperienced reloaders have either not put any powder in the case, or not put in enough. Bottom line is a bullet stuck in the forcing cone, stuck there by just the primer. No where near enough pressure to get the bullet all the way out of the barrel. Seen this happen many times.
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