The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 29, 2012, 09:35 PM   #1
ky hunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2010
Posts: 124
Pinned Barrels on S&W

Was looking at model 60-3 chief specials 38 5 shot on line some have pined barrels some don't what is the difference? Seems like the ones with out the pin cost more. Is one better than the other? Is it a new safety issue for + P? I like the ones with out the pin.
ky hunter is offline  
Old September 29, 2012, 09:43 PM   #2
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 20,027
For many years, S&W fitted their barrels rather loosely and kept them from unscrewing by using a cross pin. As you note, that was costly and they were the only revolver company to do that. But in recent years, S&W has gone to the simpler method of torquing the barrel shoulder against the frame. Yes, it is a cost cutting measure, and like other such measures has a lot of folks ranting about TEOTWAWKI since S&W quality has gone to heck in a handbasket.

But a company that can't or won't come up with innovative ideas to keep costs down will soon be remembered by another word - bankrupt.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old September 29, 2012, 09:48 PM   #3
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,657
Quote:
For many years, S&W fitted their barrels rather loosely and kept them from unscrewing by using a cross pin.
Actually, the fitting is the same. The pin was there to keep the barrel from coming completely off if the threads got stripped somehow.

Neither approach is better; the company simply moved towards a more efficient approach. The same goes for not counterboring chambers any more--it wasn't necessary, and it just added to the cost.

There really isn't any difference in function, accuracy, or durability.
__________________
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  
Old September 29, 2012, 09:56 PM   #4
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 20,027
Well, no. The barrels were not a crush fit and once the pin was driven out, the barrel was put in the barrel vise and a hammer handle or a piece of 2x2 through the cylinder window used to turn the frame off the barrel. Trying that with a new S&W will result in a badly bent frame.

I agree there is no practical difference.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old September 29, 2012, 10:01 PM   #5
ky hunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2010
Posts: 124
Dose the pin date the gun?
ky hunter is offline  
Old September 29, 2012, 10:24 PM   #6
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,657
Quote:
Trying that with a new S&W will result in a badly bent frame.
Could you elaborate? I was under the impression that crush fitting meant a final "oomph" of torque, and that the older ones were held by torque as well.

I could be wrong; I've heard it both ways.

Quote:
Dose the pin date the gun?
Not really, but you can get a good estimate from the serial number. There's a thread at the top to inquire.
__________________
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  
Old September 29, 2012, 11:59 PM   #7
highpower3006
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 30, 2011
Location: Reno NV
Posts: 453
Actually, the pin does more of less date when it was made. They stopped pinning barrels and counterboring the cylinders sometime around 1982.

Whether they are better without the pinned barrels or not, the fact is that the pinned barrel models are more desirable than the unpinned variety. Those looking to collect S&W revolvers will generally pay a premium for the earlier guns over their later cousins. That's why the prices were higher for the earlier guns.

The same can be said for the S&W's with no MIM parts or the internal locks. There is a perception that the revolvers that were made before those features were introduced are better made and there are people out there that won't own the latest production models.

I personally see no real functional difference between the early vs the later guns.

I do however, collect pinned barrel Smiths and prefer the 5 screw models.
highpower3006 is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 05:32 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,336
The difference is in the amount of torque used to tighten the barrel down, Tom.

The older guns didn't use nearly as much torque. Jim is correct that you can often remove the barrels on the older guns with very little pressure.

The major problem with the new style is that there is no absolute reference to indicate when the barrel is screwed on straight. For years after dropping the cross pin S&W had problems getting the barrel screwed on so that the front sight was vertical. When I was working for the gun shop in the early 1990s we sent quite a few back to the factory that had front sight cants of 10 degrees, or worse.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 05:36 AM   #9
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,336
"Dose the pin date the gun?"

Yes, it does.

S&W dropped the pins (and the recessed chambers on the centerfire magnum revolvers) around 1983.

In some models it happened earlier, in others later. Some revolvers also show one feature and not the other. They're called, roughly, transitional models.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 06:38 AM   #10
ky hunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2010
Posts: 124
How about + P in the S&W model 60-3 SS chief special 38?
ky hunter is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 08:08 AM   #11
highpower3006
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 30, 2011
Location: Reno NV
Posts: 453
The SCSW does not mention a +P rated Model 60 until the guns made from 1993 on. However, if someone has a copy of the literature that came with an earlier gun, it will mention as whether the heavier loading can be used.
highpower3006 is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 09:13 AM   #12
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,657
Quote:
When I was working for the gun shop in the early 1990s we sent quite a few back to the factory that had front sight cants of 10 degrees, or worse.
That still happens, but it's very rare. I've seen it twice in the last 8 years.

Quote:
The difference is in the amount of torque used to tighten the barrel down
Thanks for the clarification. I've heard a number of differing opinions about the definition of "crush fitting" over the years.
__________________
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 09:45 AM   #13
pete2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 881
Most guns with pins are likely to be of better quality than those without the pin. Not because of the pin but because of cost cutting in other areas leading to poor quality on some guns.
pete2 is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 10:07 AM   #14
Nathan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 1, 2001
Posts: 2,065
My 19-3 pinned & recessed is a work of art.

My 1995ish 640 just works...both are fine guns without locks.


I see no reason to buy new ones when the old ones are better and cheaper. Maybe S&W should try listening to their customers. They have a good thing going. Maybe they could shrink the number of models and increase quality and volume to be more profitable??
Nathan is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 11:07 AM   #15
drail
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2008
Posts: 3,150
One thing I have noticed regarding pinned/non pinned S&Ws is that most of the non pinned crush fit barrels have a slight constriction where the frame's threads surround the barrel shank. Most of my S&Ws are P&R models but I have a couple of newer ones (post 94) and you can clearly see the constriction where the frame "crushed" the barrel. It does not seem to be enough of a problem to affect the bullet's engagement with the rifling after squeezing through the tight spot but I feel the old method was better. The old P&R Smiths were assembled with greater care than the current ones and the fit and finishing is better and you almost never got an old one with a trigger pull that really needed any further "enhancement".
drail is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 07:37 PM   #16
CajunBass
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 6, 2005
Location: North Chesterfield, Virginia
Posts: 3,506
Quote:
How about + P in the S&W model 60-3 SS chief special 38?
There is nothing magical about P+ ammo. It's almost the same power level as standard 38 special ammo used to be back in the day. Smith & Wesson has said that any gun with a model number is safe with P+.

I like the pinned barrels better, but I won't turn my nose up at a nice unpinned one.
__________________
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
CajunBass is offline  
Old September 30, 2012, 09:09 PM   #17
Bob Wright
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 10, 2012
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Posts: 1,945
I might add the current method of fitting barrels is adequate so long as its the original barrel installation. I had a Model 29 fitted at the factory with a 5" full lug barrel, a factory retrofit. After a few thousand rounds being fired, by barrel canted slightly until I ran out of windage adjustment in the rear sight. So, took the gun to my gunsmith and had him realign the barrel and dirll and pin it. Problem solved.

Bob Wright
Bob Wright is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 04:13 AM   #18
AKsRul.e
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 234
Lotta misinfo here.

On the older model S&Ws the one piece barrels were threaded into the frame - the cylinder gap was checked and the fixed sights were checked to make sure they weren't canted.

Then the barrel was pinned to make sure it didn't move.

This was before CNC milling machines were common and
handfitting of parts was still the norm.

The pin disappeared when they went to more efficient methods.
AKsRul.e is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 08:37 AM   #19
ozarkguy
Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2008
Posts: 18
Also, IIRC, only the magnum and rimfire calibers had recessed chambers. For example, my model 25-5 is pinned but not recessed. I think 22s are still recessed to prevent damage to the face of the cylinder from firing pin strikes, while on magnums the reason was in the event of case head blowouts which was really not needed.
ozarkguy is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 09:17 AM   #20
drail
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2008
Posts: 3,150
CNC machines may be more efficient but they're not necessarily better unless production quotas are more important than quality fitting.
drail is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 09:27 AM   #21
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,336
I may be mistaken about this, but I'm pretty sure that S&W stopped pinning the barrels BEFORE CNC machinery was rolled out to the company.

It was done, so I'm told, to make sure that their production techniques would accommodate dropping the pin.

For a number of years, given just how many guns came from the factory with misaligned barrels, I'd have to say that their automated processes took a long time for them to figure out.

We were still seeing more than an inconsequential number of guns with canted barrels up through 1997 or so.

It wasn't uncommon for us to have to send 1 in 20 to 1 in 30 revolvers back to the supplier.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 10:25 AM   #22
223 shooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 26, 2008
Posts: 391
Quote:
I may be mistaken about this, but I'm pretty sure that S&W stopped pinning the barrels BEFORE CNC machinery was rolled out to the company.
I would have to agree as the non-pinned came out in the early 1980s . I doubt CNC machining had anything to do with Smith eliminating the barrel pin. The elimination of the pin was simply a cost cutting measure.
223 shooter is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 12:09 PM   #23
old bear
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2009
Location: Not close enough to the beach
Posts: 1,177
Quote:
How about + P in the S&W model 60-3 SS chief special 38?
If you mean is +P safe to shoot in your M-60 the answer is yes. 38 special +P ammo is mostly marketing hype.
old bear is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 12:30 PM   #24
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,657
Quote:
CNC machines may be more efficient but they're not necessarily better unless production quotas are more important than quality fitting.
CNC machining does allow for a greater level of consistency. As much as I love a nicely hand-fit gun, I've seen a few stinkers from the Hellstrom and Bangor Punta era.
__________________
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  
Old October 1, 2012, 02:58 PM   #25
pete2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 881
It's all about cost cutting. I've only owned one that I finally had to get rid of, no good and no luck with S&W service. it was a Bangor Punta model 24. No pin. I finally traded it in on a Colt. I have 5 later model guns, took me 10 years to buy another new one tho. I would rather have a used gun with a pin. The 5 newer guns all would function and are accurate, sent 2 back to factory( one is still not right but it's no longer out of time) , I'm using one as is. Another I bought used and it's really a good shooter. Number 5 went to the local S&W repair center, they scratched it for me.
I guess we should be glad S&W still makes revolvers, I just can't love a Ruger D/A Revolver, Colt quit.
pete2 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12583 seconds with 8 queries