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Old October 21, 2010, 01:31 AM   #1
greywalker
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Is the smith + wesson 6906 extractor same as the 5906?

I have recently acquired a nice used 5906 and the extractor appears to be a bit rough, it is failing to extract and so I wish to replace it- these parts are hard to find, apparently S+W wants to sell only to qualified smiths, but there are none in my area that I would trust, and I am confident I can DIY this- I am able to find extractors for a 6906, and wonder if they are compatible- thanks to any who can help.....
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Old October 22, 2010, 04:41 AM   #2
oldandslow
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gw, 10/22/10

I have a 5906 and a 6904 (the blued slide version of the 6906). I measured the lengths of the extractors on each by dial caliper and the 5906's extractor is 0.015" longer than that on the 6904. Furthermore I looked up the part numbers for the extractors for the 5906 and 6906 on Numrich's parts sight (www.e-gunparts.com) and they are different. Unfortunately they are out of both the nickeled and stainless extractors for the 5906. When in this position in the past my last resort is to email the guntechs at Brownells (www.brownells.com) and ask them if they can special order the part. They have always been able to find the parts somewhere.

One other addition- fitting an extractor to a SW 3rd generation pistol like the 5906 is not just a drop in job. There is a metal shoulder on the same side as the extractor hook that needs to be filed down to get the extractor working adequately. I have fit three or four on my pistols and I usually measure the shoulder of the extractor that I am replacing and start with that measurement. So far it's worked well. There have been threads on SW extractor fitting either here or on the SW forum (www.smith-wessonforum.com) or TheHighRoad (www.thehighroad.org) which have been very helpful, I think authored by a gentleman named Fastbolt (from memory). Do a search and see what you can turn up.

best wishes- oldandslow

PS- did search and found thread titled "s&w 5906 extractor" by Sea Buck, first on Jan. 28, 2010, here on TFL. Fastbolt posted great info on extractor replacement. Good luck.

Last edited by oldandslow; October 22, 2010 at 04:49 AM.
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Old October 22, 2010, 09:37 PM   #3
fastbolt
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There are 3 extractors listed for the 5906, with 2 of them being revisions.

There are a couple of extractors listed for the 6906, with 1 being a revision.

Both models share one of the extractors.

Also, there are other 9mm extractors which can be used for repair in 9mm 3rd gen guns. One was the result of one of the Value Line guns having slide mass differences which affected "moment of mass" and general extractor functioning in that model. In at least 1 of the other repair extractors the hook is a couple thousandths of an inches shorter (and yet it still requires fitting). This wasn't discussed in any of the armorer classes, but was something I learned when discussing a problem with one of the repair techs one time. I've come across something similar before regarding an unusual difference in an extractor spring made for one production series of the 410, as I recall (because of a slide mass variation from other production runs).

The thing is that installing a 3rd gen extractor is not a "drop in" replacement procedure, especially when it comes to older 3rd gen guns (due to differences on machining and tolerances of the various parts). The older 5906's, for example, actually had 2 optional extractor springs, 1 of which used a 'nested' pair of springs. This was due to the older machining methods which involved more hand-operated equipment, and which could cause the depth and shape of the extractor spring hole to vary.

Fitting a S&W 3rd gen extractor requires a pair of tools, a bar gauge (Go/No-Go) to check the depth of the hook's reach, and a force dial gauge to check the tension of the spring (at a minimal deflection of the extractor tail). There's a standard recommended range of tension, although sometimes an older production gun might require a heavier tension in order to provide for proper functioning. There are heavier and lighter (than standard) extractor springs available to armorers in case a particular gun might require it.

The actual fitting of the extractor requires some careful filing on the adjustment pad of the extractor, located directly behind the hook. I've had some that required a lot of filing, and some that required only a couple of strokes. I've also encountered some variance when it came to having to use different extractor springs in order to get the tension within the recommended range ... and then had to carefully double check with live-fire to make sure the tolerance variations didn't introduce other issues (like feeding problems with a heavy spring). It can sometimes be harder with .40's because the heavier recoil of that cartridge could sometimes require an extractor in a particular gun be set so it blocked (with the bar gauge) very tightly.

Now, when I took my 4th armorer class for the 3rd gen guns a while ago, I learned that with the newest production guns and parts, every once in a while an extractor might indeed drop into a new production slide and actually fall within the expected tolerance without filing. The instructor told us that he'd seen it happen once recently during an armorer class. In the class I attended we had 2 extractors & 5906's fit together without having to be filed.

That's really unusual, and the best guess the instructor offered for it happening was that the latest of the continual & ongoing improvements in manufacturing were apparently resulting in much closer tolerances in some of the components (like the slides and the extractors, in this case).

If you need a new extractor installed in your 5906, I'd either have it done by the factory, or else by a gunsmith who is familiar with S&W 3rd gen guns and has the tools. (Unless you know a S&W trained armorer.)

FWIW, once a 3rd gen gun gets old & worn enough to start exhibiting chipping or breakage of the extractor hook, looking at both the extractor spring and the ejector is often a good idea. The ejector is the forgotten half of the hard working extractor/ejector team. It can get worn, too. It is a drop-in replacement, though.

Well, the only parts that require fitting nowadays on the 3rd gen guns are the extractor and the sear release lever.

Rarely a drawbar might require some filing to correct a Skip-DA issue (usually with a new drawbar being put in an older gun). It doesn't happen very often, though. I've only had to do it once out of more than a thousand guns I've helped support.

The barrels are coming much better machined and generally fit in newer production slides without fitting (filing on the barrel tab). (Tolerance is still checked with repair barrels, though, using appropriate feeler gauges.)

The use of the plastic disconnectors have eliminated the need for correcting (filing) for a "long-tail" disconnector condition. It's not even listed as a problem (or how to correct it) in the newer armorer manuals.

The ejectors have benefited from revisions and refinement over the years, too. The newer ones have longer tips for faster and more positive ejection, and the previous sharp corner/angle under the tip (to the rear) was eliminated, replaced with a curve, to help eliminate the potential for a stress riser to occur.

I'm not an expert on this, being just an armorer, but bottom line? This isn't a do-it-yourself kitchen table (or garage workbench) repair without some tools and knowledge.

Okay, I've rambled enough. Sorry.

Why not call S&W?
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Last edited by fastbolt; October 22, 2010 at 10:26 PM.
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Old October 22, 2010, 11:38 PM   #4
greywalker
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right then, I may call them on monday then....I have to admit I was unaware that there were so many variables on the table, and that makes me a little sad, I really someday want to own a pistol that is owner maintainable...... Thanks much to the both of you for the useful info, It likely saved me a lot of headache in the long run....
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Old October 24, 2010, 02:35 PM   #5
fastbolt
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The 3rd gen S&W's are easily maintainable by the owner. Field strip level cleaning and replacement of the recoil & mag springs every 5 years or 5,000 rounds. Keep the magazines clean. Don't use excessive amounts of solvent, CLP or oil which can migrate to places not intended. Don't allow those liquids to migrate to the firing pin channel or behind the extractor, where they can solidify and cause functioning problems.

It's the preventive maintenance armorer inspections and repair that requires some training & experience.

Even on other designs there are things that just aren't easily done by owners, without some training, even when fitting of parts isn't involved.

The Glock is one of the simplest handgun platforms around when it comes to armorer support, and even then you can find virtually an inexhaustible number of instances where owners have tried to do their own parts replacements, "upgrades", repairs and modifications and have experienced problems. It often seems they're trying to "fix" problems which aren't problems in the first place, and then they create problems.

As a 3rd gen S&W armorer, the significant number of problems I've had to correct with S&W pisto9ls have been owner/shooter-induced, and most of those have been the result of either no cleaning being done, or excessive cleaning being done (which causes unintended liquids to migrate and become trapped behind the extractor and inside the firing pin channel). I even had one person cause a 4566TSW to start exhibiting hammer follow (it wouldn't stay cocked in SA after being fired). When I stripped the gun I found excessive amounts of lubricant which had turned to goo & sludge inside the frame, and it was seemingly causing the sear to stick. Once the gun was cleaned, reassembled and lubricated normally it ran perfectly fine.

Extractors can start to become work hardened and brittle over time. One fellow from the factory once told me that a rough rule of thumb might be that once a 3rd gen gun has been used and fired for 10 years, or at least 10,000 rounds, that the extractor might start to chip or break. They can run longer, too. I saw instances of both examples when supporting the guns. My first 6906 experienced a chipped extractor after I'd reached approx 12,000 rounds (and it was used when I checked it out). The gun was still running fine even with the chipped extractor hook (and I've seen that happen in other 3rd gen guns), but I naturally replaced the extractor once it had started to chip. I came across a number of other older 3rd gen guns which needed new extractor springs once they'd reached the 12-16 year mark in-service. Some broken ejectors, too.
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