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Old October 11, 2012, 06:03 PM   #1
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Does every S&W have "wiggle"?

When I see ads for S&W revolvers, they're often described as "locks up tight". Recently, a seller told me that "every S&W has some wiggle". Is that right?

What is the best way to describe acceptable motion (if any) of a locked cylinder?

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Old October 11, 2012, 06:14 PM   #2
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E-Shock rounds are engineered to expend maximum energy into soft targets, turning the density mass into an expanding rotational cone of NyTrilium matrix particles, causing neurological collapse to the central nervous system.- Yeah I can do that.
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Very slight rotational play is normal for S&Ws, Rugers, Taurii and most others.

Colt used a "tight lockup" system as did early Charter Arms and some others.

The deal on the "loose" types is that the bullet is supposed to make the final alignment between cylinder and barrel. As the gun wears the rotational slop can increase but the gun will still shoot safely.

On a "tight lockup" gun the accuracy is better when the alignment is perfect. However, if the alignment starts to drift off with use, it will STILL form a "tight" lockup but in a mis-aligned state. This is bad. At this point the gun starts to beat itself to death with every shot.

"Tight" action guns need to be checked for alignment by the user fairly frequently (as in, every few hundred shots minimum) and if it's off, send it for tuning before damage sets in.

Endshake is another matter - "fore and aft" play lets the cylinder act as a battering ram, slowly stretching the frame. This will happen VERY quickly with aluminum (or scandium) frames or those with serious power for the gun's overall weight and toughness. As one example: 38Spl ammo in a heavy gun like a Ruger GP100 or S&W 686 won't hurt it much even if there's significant endshake, but stout 357 loads might.

All of this is covered extensively in the "revolver checkout", top of this sub-forum.
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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Most of mine have some side to side wiggle. A lot of end shake would be more of a concern to me.
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Old October 11, 2012, 07:56 PM   #5
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Yeah, "some" wiggle is normal. A lot is not. The referenced thread is an excellent one, worth printing out and taking to the next gun show with you.
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Old October 12, 2012, 01:37 PM   #6
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Tightest wheel gun I ever saw was a NIB no-dash Model 60. It was flawless by my inspection. The seller would not budge on the $550 price, though.

I still think about it. A new M60 costs more and is not nearly as nice.
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Old October 12, 2012, 01:47 PM   #7
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The newer S&Ws seem to have less or even no rotational "wiggle". I think it is due to the newly redesigned (again) hand and ratchet.

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Old October 12, 2012, 01:52 PM   #8
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Every revolver I've ever owned, Smith, Ruger, and Colt has it. Don't worry about it.
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Old October 12, 2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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Did you cock the hammer when checking for lockup 'wiggle'?
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Old October 12, 2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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Hand & ratchet have nothing to do with rotational cylinder "wiggle" tightness, that's determined by the bolt stop fit both in the frame and in the cylinder notches.
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Old October 12, 2012, 10:50 PM   #11
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Very slight rotational play is normal for S&Ws, Rugers, Taurii and most others.
My 642 is a very tight lock up, there just very little jiggle, and when you look down the pipe with one in(DUMMY ROUND MIND YOU) and then wiggle it, you don't see the cylinder gaps/hops.

Now I have a Taurus 94, and when I wiggle it with a DUMMY ROUND IN!!!!! you can see it move off track. I have never had a problem with it, I wouldn't want this in a 38/357 revolver. Mind you my Taurus 94 has over 3k rounds now.

I have seen some Ruger's and a lot of Taurus at gun shows with way more wiggles than S&W, its just what you pay for and what you get. On a 22lr I don't mind it, but on a 38/357/44 etc... when the round can kaboom and blow up the gun thats dangerous. Just go to a gun show and feel all the Judge models, they have very loose wiggle room, but they still fire.
Has Taurus really spent more on shipping customers their firearms back to them than actual sales?
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Old October 13, 2012, 10:20 PM   #12
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Every double action revolver I've owned had a bit of wiggle, from barely noticable to sloppy feeling. But each locked up tight as a bank vault when the trigger was pulled.

I'd have to say that while the single action depends on the fit of the locking bolt to eliminate wiggle, most if not all modern double actions will tighten up by the action of the pawl working against the lockup of the bolt.
Many antique double actions depend on the push from the pawl on the ratchet with the indentation in the cylinder only closed on one side, the other side being a mere open ended section of a cone shaped cut.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:33 PM   #13
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I'd disagree about the pawl working against the lockup of the bolt to tighten up the cylinder.
I've not seen or heard of that.

The pawl or hand (depending on which brand you're talking about) only materially affects lockup in an older Colt DA.
Likewise pulling the trigger only affects lockup in the same older Colts.

Otherwise, the fit of the bolt or cylinder stop in its frame recess & the fit of the bolt in the cylinder notches will be the primary determinants of wiggle degree.

None of my Smiths or Rugers are affected in the slightest by the trigger position relative to cylinder lockup.

Last edited by DPris; October 15, 2012 at 01:21 AM.
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:06 PM   #14
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Guess it depends on the individual revolver. My .32 Hand Ejector is a bit worn so having the trigger all the way back doesn't completely eliminate wiggle, but my High Standard Sentinel is also a bit worn yet having the trigger all the way back eliminates all wiggle.
As for Ruger double actions, I don't own one so I can't test it.

The tip end of the pawl of my S&W is beveled, whether from wear or made that way I can't be sure. If not for the bevel I think it would apply more resistence to wiggle.

Off hand I can't remember a single double action revolver I've handled that did not take out most if not all wiggle when the trigger was all the way back, and that includes a number of older S&W revolvers.

Difference in tolerances between older S&W and newer models or some alteration in the shape of the pawl may be the reason.
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:09 PM   #15
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To answer the original question. Yes. S&W and every other revolver that locks up in similar fashion. Even the MK III and later Colts. Every revolver of that type has some slight rotational play. It's NOT a big deal unless it becomes excessive.
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Old October 15, 2012, 01:29 AM   #16
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I have S&W revolvers going back to 1927, the trigger has no affect on lockup on about 25 Smiths of various vintages & frame sizes here.
No Smith or Ruger I've ever handled made the slightest difference in cylinder lockup with the trigger pulled.

At one time I was a Smith armorer for my department & went through an S&W armorer's course.
I don't understand how the trigger COULD affect lockup.

I have Rugers, both SA & DA going back to 1975, no trigger affect on lockup.

As I said- older Colt DAs where the hand is a locking point, yes.
Can't speak for a Sentinel.
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