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Old September 19, 2012, 09:55 PM   #1
tahitian.tedgrace
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Removing the lock on a 642!

After reading many pages of pro and con reasons used against the S&W manufacturing Co. I wonder why people who fear lock failure just don't remover the lock! Youtube has a number of ways to do that.It seems that no ill effect will result to the revolver. What am I missing in this simple solution?
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Old September 19, 2012, 10:39 PM   #2
9mm
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I bought the one without it.
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Old September 19, 2012, 10:41 PM   #3
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I bought 442s without locks, too.

The fact that no-lock version J-Frames are available may not be known to many who are not gun enthusiasts.
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Old September 20, 2012, 06:20 AM   #4
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Also keep in mind that some of the furor directed against the lock is that S&W put in on their guns at all. While I believe that examples of lock failure are beyond rare and removing the lock might be simple, many will simply not forgive S&W for installing them period and the lock issue isn't likely to die any time soon.
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Old September 20, 2012, 07:23 AM   #5
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My 642 came with a lock. I heard the stories of failures, though I never seen evidence or conformation they occur I figured why take the chance.

I couldn't see a reason to ever use the internal lock so I just removed it.

When I got mine there wasn't an option of a no lock 642, or at least in the area I lived.

I don't care about destroying the future value of my 642, I got it for a carry gun not an investment, so I don't care if I still have the little key hole, and I don't have to worry about whether lock failure is true or not.

I guess its an individual thing.
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Old September 20, 2012, 08:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
After reading many pages of pro and con reasons used against the S&W manufacturing Co. I wonder why people who fear lock failure just don't remover the lock! Youtube has a number of ways to do that.It seems that no ill effect will result to the revolver. What am I missing in this simple solution?
What you're missing is that many, if not most, of the lock haters deep down hate the lock because of politics or looks more than actual documented problems with it. They resent the lock out of general principle rather than because of actual problems though they often try to blow the very few documented cases of the lock causing problems out of proportion in order to justify their own emotional response.
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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That may be, I don't know. I do know I didn't need the lock, so I got rid of it. Just something else I don't have to worry about.

Removed it years ago, and until this post haven't thought about it for a long time.
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:21 AM   #8
MLeake
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Of course, if a gun with removed lock is ever sent to S&W for warranty work, it will come back with a spiffy new lock...
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:37 AM   #9
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What you're missing is that many, if not most, of the lock haters deep down hate the lock because of politics or looks more than actual documented problems with it. They resent the lock out of general principle rather than because of actual problems though they often try to blow the very few documented cases of the lock causing problems out of proportion in order to justify their own emotional response.
My emotional response is that I do not want a gun with a hole in the side where a lock used to be. I would no more buy such a gun with that hole than I would if someone took a pre-lock S&W and drilled a hole in the frame. On the other hand, I have a Taurus with a lock that is subtlety placed in the hammer of the gun that does not trigger a negative emotional response. I will buy no gun with a gaping hole in the frame as long as there are plenty of used S&W's available.
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Quote:
What you're missing is that many, if not most, of the lock haters deep down hate the lock because of politics or looks more than actual documented problems with it. They resent the lock out of general principle rather than because of actual problems though they often try to blow the very few documented cases of the lock causing problems out of proportion in order to justify their own emotional response.

My emotional response is that I do not want a gun with a hole in the side where a lock used to be. I would no more buy such a gun with that hole than I would if someone took a pre-lock S&W and drilled a hole in the frame. On the other hand, I have a Taurus with a lock that is subtlety placed in the hammer of the gun that does not trigger a negative emotional response. I will buy no gun with a gaping hole in the frame as long as there are plenty of used S&W's available.
Like I said, looks. If you don't like the look of it, that's fine as long as you're honest about it. I personally think that a full underlug on anything but a Colt Python is hideous, but I don't go around telling people that guns with full underlugs are of sub-par quality or unreliable. Looks is a matter of personal preference that there's no point arguing about. The people I take issue with are the ones that try to justify their personal preferences by blowing the lock stories out of proportion.
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:52 AM   #11
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Over at www.smith&wessonforum.com, a gentleman sells a product called "The Plug", comes in different finishes. Voila! No Hole! Just search for it in the accesories for sale forum. They are very nice.
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Old September 20, 2012, 10:09 AM   #12
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Over at www.smith&wessonforum.com, a gentleman sells a product called "The Plug", comes in different finishes. Voila! No Hole! Just search for it in the accesories for sale forum. They are very nice.
I would no more buy such a gun with that hole than I would if someone took a pre-lock S&W and drilled a hole in the frame....and then filled it with a plug. As long as there are used...
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Old September 20, 2012, 12:19 PM   #13
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yes and no..

my 442 has not had problems so it still has the lock and flag..

my 642 developed problems where it would lock up and not turn the cylinder or allow the trigger to be pulled..and very hard to release the cylinder, so I left the lock key plug in it as it is retained by a spring, but took the flag out of it.. yes it has a small pinhole in the frame where the flag used to be , but it is 100%...

I'm like kragwy, its a carry gun and it needs to be 100% functional.

But these are the only smiths that have the ILS in them I have..
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Old September 20, 2012, 12:53 PM   #14
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I detest the fact that my gun has an unneeded lock on it. But after several thousand rounds I no longer "Worry" about it. I assume the key may still be in the box but I haven't even looked in a long time. My revolver goes to the range with me almost weekly. If it EVER fails because of the lock I will remove it. Until then I'm not gonna worry about it.
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Old September 20, 2012, 02:45 PM   #15
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I just hate the way they look with the lock hole.

I've purchased both a 642 and 442 without the lock.

Other than that, I prefer to buy older S&W revolvers that were made without locks.
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Old September 20, 2012, 03:18 PM   #16
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I own several J-frames. Only one of them has the ILS (lock), but that's because that model was only originally offered with the lock (M&P 340) when it was first released.

When they later made a version of the M&P 340 available without the ILS, I used that as an excuse to buy a second one.

I've fired a lot of rounds through that first 340 with the ILS, including assorted .357 Magnum and assorted standard pressure and +P loads. Never had an issue with the ILS engaging in an unwanted manner since I bought it and started trying to wear it out.

Now that I have 340's with & without the ILS, I've found that more often than not it's still the first one, with the ILS, that I'm using for a range gun and most of my retirement CCW carry usage.

I've seen a fair number of guys bring ILS-equipped J-frames through range quals & practice (some of which I've also handled & fired), and none of them have yet experienced (or reported experiencing) any ILS-related problems.

I've had to do some corrections and repairs on older & newer S&W revolvers for other things at one time or another, though. (It's mostly been the older wheelguns than the newer ones that have required the attentions & repairs.)

Other S&W revolver armorers with whom I've spoken also haven't experienced, or had reported to them, any ILS problems.

Not convinced it's a potential significant "problem".

Sure seems to annoy "purists" & aficionados, though.
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Old September 20, 2012, 04:04 PM   #17
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I've got 'em both...pre-lock...and three with the dreaded "LOCK"...all work well and I've not had any problems with any of them...the LOCK furor is another "the sky is falling" internet commando, pseudo-problem in my opinion...yours, of course, may vary, and probably does...Best Regards, Rod
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Old September 20, 2012, 04:50 PM   #18
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My 642 has a lock. I would rather it didn't but it is quite innocuous. It is reliable, light, and accurate, and I keep it in a pocket holster. I guess I don't take issue with it.
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Old September 20, 2012, 05:18 PM   #19
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In 50 years, my 686 with lock is going to go for a premium to a collector who needs it to finish out his collection!
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Old September 20, 2012, 05:29 PM   #20
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While I believe that examples of lock failure are beyond rare...
You are free to believe as you wish. I am fifty-five years old, and I have never known anyone who died of heart disease, although that is reputedly the #1 killer of adults (especially those in my age group). My own lack of first-hand experience does not change the facts, nor does it matter one whit to the Grim Reaper, who may be looking over my shoulder as I type...

At one point I owned six ILS-equipped S&Ws...then It Happened to an acquaintence. He was dry-firing his 360 at the time. If it can happen, even once, while dry-firing, I have no confidence in the design. I sold all of my ILS-equipped S&Ws (most of which were the Scandium Ultra-Lightweights that seem disproportionally represented in Auto-Lock instances) and slowly replaced them with older and often heavier models.

The S&W site once had a thread that went on for pages about Auto-Lock occurrances, and the many who chose to argue pro or con. While the arguers outnumbered the people who had actually had It Happen to them, there were (IIRC) well over a dozen, and perhaps two dozen instances. The board subsequently changed ownership, and the new owner made his opinion known without saying a word--all of the evidence disappeared overnight, and any further discussion was shut down rapidly. I don't spend much time there anymore.

I actually bought a 4" M25 Mountain Gun in .45LC recently--the previous owner had removed the lock bits and put them in a small zip-lock bag. Price was right, too Those parts are still in that bag, and they will stay there until I sell that gun or drop dead (of heart failure, no doubt) one day...at which point I really won't care.

Quote:
On the other hand, I have a Taurus with a lock that is subtlety placed in the hammer of the gun that does not trigger a negative emotional response.
Actually, if you look at the design, the Taurus' lock works on an axis 90* from the recoil (ergo, the lock is designed to be unaffected by the recoil impulse), where the S&W lock is on the axis of recoil. So...in my case at least, it is not an "emotional response", but a fact-based, mechanical engineering-supporteded response.

An example of Taurus using innovation instead of imitation...and in this case, it worked well.

Best regards, Rich

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Old September 20, 2012, 05:35 PM   #21
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Given that the company that makes the ILS bought S&W several years back, I don't see the locks going away anytime soon, at least not across the board; and I am not surprised they might not want to publish stories of lock failures.

That said, I have not heard of many, and most of the ones I have heard about involved magnum recoil in Scandium guns.

I don't see a plus side to the ILS, though, and I dislike it both aesthetically and on principle. I sold my only ILS gun last month. All my S&Ws are older, or new but no-lock.
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Old September 21, 2012, 08:15 AM   #22
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At one point I owned six ILS-equipped S&Ws...then It Happened to an acquaintence. He was dry-firing his 360 at the time. If it can happen, even once, while dry-firing, I have no confidence in the design. I sold all of my ILS-equipped S&Ws (most of which were the Scandium Ultra-Lightweights that seem disproportionally represented in Auto-Lock instances) and slowly replaced them with older and often heavier models.
If you have no confidence in a gun that has the potential to experience even one malfunction, then I'm surprised you own any guns at all. Many, many things can potentially cause problems with a S&W revolver (or any other revolver for that matter) such as a backed-out ejector rod, dirt under the extractor, or a broken firing pin.

Also, I feel that the ultra-lightweight scandium magnums are really just pushing the limits of the design in several ways. A gun with recoil so ferocious that you have to worry about bullets jumping crimp, a blast shield that needs to be replaced at the factory periodically, and which can't fire bullets lighter than 120gr lest the topstrap be eaten up is probably going to wear out most of its components faster and is, IMHO, more drawback than benefit.

Quote:
The S&W site once had a thread that went on for pages about Auto-Lock occurrances, and the many who chose to argue pro or con. While the arguers outnumbered the people who had actually had It Happen to them, there were (IIRC) well over a dozen, and perhaps two dozen instances. The board subsequently changed ownership, and the new owner made his opinion known without saying a word--all of the evidence disappeared overnight, and any further discussion was shut down rapidly. I don't spend much time there anymore.
Anonymous internet forum posts are not a particularly reliable means of tabulating information for several reasons. In particular, the honesty of the poster cannot be verified, the poster's understanding of the incident cannot be verified (a problem with locks up a S&W revolver could easily be mistaken for an auto-lock by someone not familiar with the design), and one person can post about the same event multiple times under different handles giving the impression that one event is many.

Quote:
Quote:
On the other hand, I have a Taurus with a lock that is subtlety placed in the hammer of the gun that does not trigger a negative emotional response.

Actually, if you look at the design, the Taurus' lock works on an axis 90* from the recoil (ergo, the lock is designed to be unaffected by the recoil impulse), where the S&W lock is on the axis of recoil. So...in my case at least, it is not an "emotional response", but a fact-based, mechanical engineering-supporteded response.
The lock "flag" on a S&W, which is the part that actually blocks the movement of the hammer, rotates up and back into engagement and down and forward out of engagement. When the revolver recoils, the gun moves up and back as well so inertia would be forcing the lock "flag" down and forward out of engagement. Also, the stud on the lock "flag" must be lined up with a recess in the hammer in order to be put into engagement. When the hammer if fully forward against the firing pin, as it would be at full lockup when the gun is fired, the recess in not lined up with the stud and thus the "flag" is blocked from up/back movement.

This leads me to believe that on the extremely rare occasion that an auto-lock does occur, it is the result of defective and/or improperly fitted parts rather than the design itself. This is reinforced by your report of an auto-lock when a gun was dry fired as the recoil arc has nothing to do with dry fire as there would be no recoil. The Taurus and Ruger designs (or any design for that matter) are no less susceptible to defective/improperly fitted parts than the S&W design is, but they are less noticeable to the casual observer.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:30 AM   #23
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Well said, Webley.....Rod
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:33 AM   #24
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Webley, good post, but begs the question - why add unnecessary parts that add complexity and increase (if only slightly) chances of a malfunction?

How many of us use the lock?

I have gun safes. Locks (ILS, cable, etc) see no use at all with my guns.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:44 AM   #25
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Good reply as well Mleake. And I'd opine that S&W rolled over for the lawyers in their midst, taking a dubious route to avoid law suits. The locks installed on my guns are left "Off" as well, and I'd prefer them without...but the fact remains that in my experience, they've not been a problem. Rod
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