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Old February 1, 2009, 08:13 AM   #1
snubbies
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S&W Ejector Rod

I have run across several instances where on S&W revolvers the cylinder will not release. I have taken them to the gunsmith and for $30.00 and 2 minutes work it is fixed. Can anyone give me a clue on how to repair this problem and save me a few bucks??
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Old February 1, 2009, 08:23 AM   #2
dssajj
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That has happened to me. In my case the ejector rod was comming unscrewed from the cylinder do to recoil. I used some thred lock that you can get loose if you need. Next time you go shooting check to see if the rod is comming loos.
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Old February 1, 2009, 09:13 AM   #3
FlyFish
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Note that S&W changed to a left-hand thread on their ejector rods in the early 60s. The left-hand threaded rods often but not always have a groove around the rod just inboard of the knurled bit on the end. Whenever you remove or replace the rod, be sure to drop a couple of pieces of empty brass (of correct caliber, 'natch) into the cylinder to take the strain off the two small pins that hold the extractor star in place. Very recent models don't use the pins, but it's a good idea to insert the brass anyway.

Last edited by FlyFish; February 1, 2009 at 09:49 AM. Reason: Edited to clarify that only empty brass should be used to protect pins
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Old February 1, 2009, 10:35 AM   #4
Casimer
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The rods are inexpensive (e.g ~ $8.00). Rather than attempting to lock-tite mine, I tend to just replace them.
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Old February 1, 2009, 11:55 AM   #5
Hunter Customs
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I have a 686 in the shop now that has a damaged center pin ( that's the small rod that runs through the center of the ejector rod).
The head is bent beyond repair so it will need a new center pin.
I recommend you do not force the cylinder open, I believe that's what was tried with this gun.
If you are unsure as to what to do it might be best to take the gun to a smith in your area that's familar with S&W revolvers and let him take a look at it.
Regards
Bob Hunter
www.huntercustoms.com
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Old February 1, 2009, 12:17 PM   #6
dahermit
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Quote:
The rods are inexpensive (e.g ~ $8.00). Rather than attempting to lock-tite mine, I tend to just replace them.
If they shoot loose, you replace them??!! How about the rest of the screws in the gun; if they shoot loose you replace them too?
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Old February 1, 2009, 04:42 PM   #7
Casimer
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Quote:
How about the rest of the screws in the gun; if they shoot loose you replace them too?
OF COURSE !

well no, but any time that I've had an extractor rod that won't stay tightened, it's because the threads are shot and it's often bent - so I just replace it.
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Old February 3, 2009, 09:54 PM   #8
James K
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I agree with the use of Loctite. We also used to use lacquer and some folks put on a drop of acid so the rod would rust in place. I have never replaced a rod for unscrewing; if the rod threads are bad, the extractor threads are probably bad too, and replacing that is both expensive and sometimes requires fitting. I won't avoid the job if necessary, but it rarely is.

A rod that has unscrewed can usually be screwed back in just by holding the end either with the thumb or small pliers (use a piece of cloth Band-Aid or thin copper as padding), then turning the cylinder the appropriate way. For right hand threads, you have to work the trigger/hammer to get the cylinder to back up, but it can be done. (Or remove the sideplate and take out the trigger, hammer and cylinder stop.)

Jim
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Old February 3, 2009, 10:32 PM   #9
Nnobby45
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Quote:
I recommend you do not force the cylinder open, I believe that's what was tried with this gun.
If you are unsure as to what to do it might be best to take the gun to a smith in your area that's familar with S&W revolvers and let him take a look at it.
I did discuss the matter with a Gunsmith, and here's what he told me: And showed me, even though my gun wasn't experiencing that problem at the time-- he had it for another reason.

If you're on the range and can't open the cylinder because the ejector rod has unscrewed you MAKE SURE all rounds have been fire from all cylinders. Then push in on the rod, or hold it if it's unshrouded, and don't let it turn. Now pull the trigger a few times until the left hand threaded rod screws itself back in as the cylinder rotates to the left.

Open cylinder.


He then removed the cylinder screw (if it was loose to begin with, this could have been the problem), removed the cylinder, crane, etc. He placed the knurled end of the rod in a vice (no, it wasn't dinged or marred), placed two empty cases, opposite one another in the cylinders, and simply turned the cylinder to the left to screw it in. I didn't ask him about Lock Tite.

In another thread, Mike Irwin described a method that included using a wedge between the cylinder stop and the cyl. and another between the ejector rod and the cylinder bolt, which would allow the cylinder to be opened.

Anyway, about this gunsmith. After stripping my gun down in about 1 minute---as in all internal parts-- he looked around for the problem, which was a jammed cylinder stop that wouldn't move. He found a tiny piece of metal wedged in there. He examined all parts, including the firing pin nose (of course) and couldn't find where if came from. He said that the only other place it could come from was the back of the firing pin inside the hammer where we can't see it.

That was the problem, and he replaced the firing pin. It had broken because the teeny little spring had been missing that positions the fp properly so it doesn't batter the firing pin busing and eventually damage the fp.

He then took his stone to the hammer, and rebound housing (no more than 30 sec.s), lubed and reassembled the gun in about 5 minutes (testing stuff as he goes along), after replacing the rebound spring.

The gun, a 586, had been reasonably smooth to begin with, but now it felt like a world class trigger job. He then checked the hammer tension which met the 3.5lb. S&W standard and I was all set. It was at this point that he showed me the trick re: the unscrewed ejector rod after I asked him about the problem.

I like making trips to his shop, what I learn is incredible, and when he talks, I listen. That's why I wanted to point out that method of dealing with the ejector rod, though he didn't claim it was any big secret.

Last edited by Nnobby45; February 3, 2009 at 10:42 PM.
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Old February 4, 2009, 01:25 PM   #10
James K
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That gunsmith "trick" will work only if the rod has left hand threads. If it is an older gun with right hand threads, turning the cylinder in the normal direction will unscrew the rod. That is why I said "the appropriate direction" in my above post.

Using a vise to clamp the rod is perfectly OK, but I hope he used copper jaws or a piece of copper to prevent marring the knurling on the rod.

I will also note that not all S&W's have a spring under the hammer nose.

Jim
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Old February 4, 2009, 06:13 PM   #11
Nnobby45
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Quote:
That gunsmith "trick" will work only if the rod has left hand threads. If it is an older gun with right hand threads, turning the cylinder in the normal direction will unscrew the rod. That is why I said "the appropriate direction" in my above post.

Using a vise to clamp the rod is perfectly OK, but I hope he used copper jaws or a piece of copper to prevent marring the knurling on the rod.

I will also note that not all S&W's have a spring under the hammer nose.

Jim
Yes, you said appropriate direction, and I was referring to left handed threads on all but the older guns. Mike Irwin's description would work with either, as would yours.

Yes, now that you mention it, I believe they were copper jaws. He has is set up to change quickly from copper to steel, to rubber, if I recall correctly.

I was told that the latest type of hammer firing pins use a slightly different method to position the fp, and that it didn't involve a spring. This may involve just a few models, and only some of those. He explained how it worked, but I can't recall the details. I think the pin cams itself into position.
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