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Old September 16, 2002, 11:48 AM   #1
Coltdriver
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Changing A Revolver Barrel

I am a novice at revlovers, so if this is too simple of a question I am beggin yer pardon in advance.

What is involved in changing a barrel of a revolver?

For instance, if one wanted to change a S&W M13 4" to a 3" is this a major effort??

Thanks
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Old September 16, 2002, 12:02 PM   #2
C.R.Sam
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On about everything except Dan Wesson...
Yes, major deal.

Shoulder on barrel has to be just right so the sight lines up when the barrel is properly torqued. (something the factory seems to have difficulty with lately.)

Barrel to cylinder gap needs to be correct.

If chamber end of barrel needs trimming, may have to recut forcing cone.

Ejector rod-latch relationship usually needs work.

Etc.

Sam
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Old September 16, 2002, 12:41 PM   #3
Mike Irwin
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You also need some fairly expensive specialized tools to do the job properly without ruining the frame of the gun.
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Old September 16, 2002, 06:31 PM   #4
Dfariswheel
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To change a barrel you would need the MINUIUM following equipment:

A LARGE vise. Sears Roebuck won't cut it.

Special barrel holding blocks made of aluminum or plastic.

An action wrench, with the proper inserts for your model gun.

A lath or hand-type cutter setup to remove metal from the back of the barrel, so the barrel can be indexed properly.

A cutter and guide set to trim the back of the barrel to the proper barrel/cylinder gap, and to cut a proper forcing cone in the barrel.

You will occasionally still read somewhere about whittling out some barrel blocks from wood, locking the barrel in a vise, and using a hammer handle to "twist 'er off".
This is the best way possible to destroy a gun's frame. The frame will be either sprung or broken in the barrel area.

Bottom line: Unless you are willing to spend the bucks on the equipment, and learn how to use it, have a qualified gunsmith do it for you.

There are a number of people how can do this, including Smith and Wesson themselves.
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Old September 16, 2002, 07:59 PM   #5
C.R.Sam
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And...
If your Model 13 has a pinned barrel, un pin it before unscrewing it.

Sam
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Old September 19, 2002, 12:20 PM   #6
jmlv
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well on my 15 VH Dan wesson I just

put the barrel wench into the notches on the barrel nut and unscrew it from the barrel. slip off the barrel shroud, and unscrew the barrel from the frame. then I screw the new barrel (8 inch) into the frame till it connects to the .06 barrel gap gage and put the 8" stainless shroud over it. Put the new barrel nut on the barrel and tighten with the barrel wrench. Oh you don't have a Dan Wesson revolver you say? Well why not if you want to change barrel lengths simply and easily(as well as grips and front sight blades too) <VBG> just kidding. But I do find that the Dw revolvers are among the most verstile and accurate revolvers out there. What other gun allows you to shoot a 2.5" snubbie barrel in the morning and a 8" scoped hunter barrel in the afternoon - All without a trip trip the gunsmith.
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Old September 20, 2002, 08:17 AM   #7
Hemicuda
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I dunno, Jmlv...

I kinda prefer the 2.5" barrel in the morning, then the 6" HVR barrel at lunchtime for target practice, and THEN the 8" target barrel with scope for hunting in the evening...

but that's just me!
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Old September 20, 2002, 11:19 AM   #8
Radicalcleric
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Well, according to the above you need a PhD from MIT and a shop full of specialized tools to swap a S&W barrel. I guess it's a good thing I didn't know that before swapping the barrel on the Victory Model I picked up last year.

Used a six-inch vise bolted to the bench in the garage. I think it did come from Sears, actually. Special blocks? Might be nice but I used two 1X4X6 pine blocks. Used a small nail to drift the barrel pin out. No problem at all. A couple of taps and out she came.

Clamped the barrel (the original 4" had a huge bulge in it so it had to go) between the two blocks in the vise. Very tightly, I might add. Put hammer handle through cylinder window of frame. Some folks have cautioned that this absolutely will bend or twist the frame. Again, I guess nobody told this gun it was supposed to bend because with a bit of pressure the frame unscrewed from the damaged barrel as easy as pie. I did spray some penetrating oil in there and let it set over night, and of course, if you really force it when it doesn't want to come damage is certainly possible. But under normal circumstances I think this method works fine.

Had 5" M&P barrel I picked up for $5 on ebay. Screwed it in by hand after cleaning all threads on barrel and in frame. Hand-tightened about 10-15 degress shor of top dead center. Clamped in vice and tugged it into place. Took a couple of tries to get it right where it needed to be, but got it there. Held up to light and looked like barrel pin hole was aligned with notch in barrel. Put feeler gauge on barrel/cylinder gap and it was .007. Maybe not quite as tight as a perfectionist would want, but it was within specs.

Worst part was getting pin back in. Had terrible time. Later learned that pins are mated to barrels. Had to polish pin on wire wheel (also from Sears, BTW) and it did eventually go in.

Despite the warning above regarding the ejector rod, mine worked fine with no adjustments needed. At the range the pistol fired and ejected empties with great monotonous regularity.

Now, understand that I was working on an old gun that I bought for $60 because it was damaged. I figured I had little to lose in trying this myself. It just wasn't worth paying a gunsmith $100 to do this. Also, I was lucky in that the replacement barrel pretty much fit right in. It might not have been so easy had the sight been past TDC when snugged. That would mean relieveing the shoulder of the barrel to bring it around. With a lathe, not so bad. With a file, a real bitch of a job. Same thing with the gap. Mine was close enough. Another attempt might not be so lucky. I think that if the barrel is used, and has been installed on a frame, the manufacturing tolerances are so close that there is a very good chance the barrel will almost drop in as mine did. With a new part, installation with final fitting becomes a requirement.

Like I said, I was working on what was basically a junk gun. On a nice gun, I would be careful about attempting this. But I think it can be done. Well, Hell, I know it can be done because I did it.
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Old September 20, 2002, 08:31 PM   #9
Robert Foote
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Have done it--three times. Twice on a very old Colt SAA of my own, and once on a M10 S&W, changing the 2" barrel out for a 4". The Colt worked out OK. The S&W got troublesome as outlined in the other posts, and while I got it sorted out, any future jobs of that sort will go off to a real revolversmith or the factory. Everything in a revolver is connected with everything else somehow. Interchangeability is a sometime thing.
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Old September 20, 2002, 08:50 PM   #10
C.R.Sam
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Saxon Pig's experience pretty common...
When workin on PRE 82 guns. (Pinned barrels.)

Sam
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Old September 20, 2002, 10:30 PM   #11
Mike Irwin
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That's the beauty of a pre-1982 gun. The barrels weren't screwed in nearly as tightly as they are on guns that aren't pinned.

Why?

They don't need to be. The pin keeps the barrel from becoming loose.

I'd NEVER EVER use a hammer handle on a revolver where the barrel is screwed in only. Too much chance of springing the frame.

I do know, however, one person who has used Jorgenson clamps with GREAT success over the years.
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Old September 21, 2002, 12:31 AM   #12
Jim March
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Why not chop the 4" barrel down an inch, re-crown it, and take the opportunity to put a really good aftermarket sight setup on?
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Old September 21, 2002, 11:52 AM   #13
4V50 Gary
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I wouldn't use pine blocks but oak (or some other hard wood) for bracing the barrel in. Don't forget to slip a drill rod into the bbl for extra support to prevent collaspe. As for wrench, you can make one if you can drill two bars of metal and drop a couple of nuts and bolts through. The key is the spacer and for that, I'd cheat and use acraglass to make an adapter/insert that will fit the frame. The frame will have to be covered liberally to prevent the acraglass from becoming "stuck" to it.
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