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View Poll Results: Do you ever take your revolvers apart?
I have never taken a revolver apart, and would not. 23 12.99%
I have not, but would if I had to. 39 22.03%
I have, but don't like to for fear of losing/breaking something. 39 22.03%
I do, for every new revolver purchase. 41 23.16%
I can take apart and reassemble my revolvers blindfolded. 35 19.77%
Voters: 177. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 21, 2012, 01:49 PM   #26
RKG
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Quote:
Sorry about my calling the hammer block a transfer bar...I am not up on all the names for the parts.
I wasn't intending to be a terminology quibbler, and I hope it didn't come across that way. There are transfer bars and there are hammer blocks, but they are functionally entirely different concepts.

A transfer bar is a bit of metal that, upon the right input, is inserted into and completes the physical path by which the kinetic energy of the hammer is transmitted to the firing pin and thus to the primer. An example is the transfer bar in later Ruger SAs.

A hammer block is a bit of metal that, absent the right input, is left in the path the hammer needs to travel to complete energy transfer, so as to block that travel and prevent that transfer.

Remove a transfer bar and the weapon doesn't fire. Remove a hammer block, and it fires just fine.

The interesting thing is that the hammer block in S&W DA revolvers is not part of the original design and does not in fact perform the hammer blocking function. That function is performed by the rebound slide. Smith added the additional hammer block in 1947 in response to the request of one particular customer who had incorrectly diagnosed the cause of one particular event.

You can remove the hammer block from a classic S&W DA revolver, reassemble it, and then perform the "spoon test" (which tests the hammer blocking function) and you will find that it works just fine.

("Spoon test:" cock an unloaded S&W DA revolver, drop a new pencil eraser end first down the barrel with the revolver pointed to the ceiling and pull the trigger. Pencil jumps, signifying that firing pin has hit the pencil's eraser (and would have hit the primer had the revolver been loaded). Now set up the same test, but this time tap the trigger with something (usually a spoon is required) until the hammer drops. (You are simulating a push off, jar off, or sear failure.) The pencil doesn't move! Why? Because in order for the hammer to fall to the point of ignition, the trigger must be pressed and held for the entire time of hammer fall. Why? To keep the top step of the rebound slide from getting under the hammer foot and performing its intended hammer block function.)

For those who are interested, shake a classic S&W DA revolver whose hammer is down and you'll hear a rattle. That rattle is the hammer block.

Last edited by RKG; November 21, 2012 at 02:09 PM.
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Old November 21, 2012, 02:00 PM   #27
Zhillsauditor
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Quote:
but if over done can lead to both function and safety issues.
I normally do not use my revolvers for self defense (exc: I sometimes use an un-modified Model 15). Therefore, I allow myself more leaway on potential light trigger strikes. Even saying that, however, I always test a firearm I have modified (or a new firearm for that matter) with a few hundred rounds before I feel confident. I have a 625 that will fail unless using federal primers, although it was that way before I got it. I could maybe go to a stronger mainspring, but as it is a range gun, I simply use federal primers with it and have no problems.

Frankly, I am not sure I would want more than two or three firearms if I did not disassemble them. I am not a tinkerer by nature, but show me a gun, and I will show you something I want to disassemble.

I currently have that Iver Johnson completely stripped in preparation for my first rust blue job. And I have a colt 1903 completely stripped for my second rust blue job. So many guns, so little me time.
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Old November 21, 2012, 02:06 PM   #28
RKG
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Again, only for those who are interested:

I once had a student, after this presentation, challenge me on the uselessness of the 1947 hammer block, something like:

"Yes, but what if the rebound slide has hung up and fails to move forward, and then the gun is dropped with the hammer sitting on a loaded round?"

"And the operator doesn't notice that the hammer hasn't rebounded to its normal at rest position after the last intended shot?" I asked.

"Yes," said the student eagerly pressing his point.

"And the operator doesn't notice that the trigger hasn't moved to its forward rest position after the last intended shot?" I further asked.

"Yes, that too," rejoined the student, a little less confidently as he began the perceive the improbability of his hypothetical.

"Well, in that case, the hammer block [referring to the 1947 hammer block] isn't going to prevent the round from going off either, since the position of the hammer block is governed by the position of the rebound slide."

"Oh . . . yeah."

I actually gave him points, both for thinking enough to pose the question and in utter confidence that at the end he'd better understand the rebound slide/hammer block function than anyone else in the group.
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Old November 21, 2012, 02:25 PM   #29
Wallyl
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M-29 trigger troubles

RKG...

Glad that you are sharing your knowledge with us as respects S & W revolvers.......

The misfires with my M-29 always perplexed me. It is just fine now, but I should clarify what would happen... I'd shoot single action. I pull on the trigger would sometimes not fire, but the let-off would be abnormal--IOW the hammer would drop before the trigger was pulled to it's normal "let off" postion...the round would not fire and the firing pin/hammer would not make contact with the primer. Never happened with my other 3 S & W revolvers--I believe the M-29 is a M29-5...
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Old November 21, 2012, 03:19 PM   #30
Bob Wright
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Didn't answer the poll, nothing seemed to fit quite right.

But I've replaced parts in many of my revovlers, Colts, Smiths, and Rugers. Parts swapping is part of the fun of single actions.

Never replaced a barrel, but have realigned them after they rotated in the frame.

I started disassembling revovlers when they were cheap and just kept it up, but only when necessary, not for routine cleaning.

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Old November 21, 2012, 04:45 PM   #31
m&p45acp10+1
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I take my black powder revolvers apart to clean them after they are shot every time. I take them apart, and put them back together fairly quickly without problems due to the fact that I have done so many times over.

For my double action revolvers I leave them alone. If it requires work inside I take them to the gun smith. I am sure I could do anything they needed to have done if had to. I prefer to have them serviced by some one that can do it better than I can, and is qualified to do so.

On a side note. Just because I can tear down, and rebuild an engine, or carburetor or fix most problems in my car does not mean I would attempt to rebuild an automatic transmission. I more than likely could do it. I prefer to have a transmission shop do the work though.
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Old November 21, 2012, 04:58 PM   #32
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Absolutely.... Need to to clean them up or stone a few parts, update a spring. New ones I always do the first time. Now, note that it's not every time I clean. The internals need it only maybe once a year. Of course if shooting BP, I always strip the revolver(s) down for a good cleaning after every outing.
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Old November 21, 2012, 05:16 PM   #33
1 old 0311-1
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Fixing something that ain't broke has NEVER been a good idea.
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Old November 21, 2012, 05:35 PM   #34
Hal
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I unplugged all the spark plug wires once on a 289ci Mustang, then went to put the new ones on......
The towing bill was bad enough, but, standing around watching a couple guys trying real hard not to split their sides open laughing was worse.

One time I opened the sideplate of my S&W M19, looked inside, thought of the spark plug incident and closed it back up.
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Old November 21, 2012, 05:49 PM   #35
Dave T
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Didn't vote in your pole because none of your answers actually fit.

I can and generally do take apart Smith & Wesson revolvers and have done so since buying my first one in 1973. I also frequently took apart the Ruger single action revolvers I've owned, but they were all 3-screw models. When I was really into black powder cartridge shooting (for close to 10 years) I routinely took apart my Colt SAAs, down to the last possible screw for thorough cleaning. Even taken a few of the above guns apart for repairs or tuning although I don't consider myself any kind of gun smith.

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Old November 21, 2012, 05:57 PM   #36
Dragline45
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Breaking down S&W revolvers are very simple, especially J frames. I voted can do it blindfolded, not because I literally can, but because I can strip a S&W revolver down to the bare frame in a matter of only a couple minutes. Not really hard to do at all, just know you shouldn't be forcing anything in or out, it should all do so smoothly, except the rebound slide takes a little prying with a non marring tool to get it started to come out and getting that sucker in is a pain without the proper tool.
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Old November 21, 2012, 06:06 PM   #37
RKG
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Quote:
The misfires with my M-29 always perplexed me. It is just fine now, but I should clarify what would happen... I'd shoot single action. I pull on the trigger would sometimes not fire, but the let-off would be abnormal--IOW the hammer would drop before the trigger was pulled to it's normal "let off" postion...the round would not fire and the firing pin/hammer would not make contact with the primer. Never happened with my other 3 S & W revolvers--I believe the M-29 is a M29-5...
Off hand I haven't a clue as to what might cause this.

When you cock the hammer to shoot SA, the hammer foot forces the trigger back. In turn, the trigger strut forces the rebound slide aft, and the pin in the rebound slide cams the hammer block down (so as to allow the nose of the hammer to pass over it, into the firing position).

I could hypothesize some failure of the pin on the rebound slide that, coupled with binding of the hammer block in its raceway in the side plate (I have seen hammer blocks deformed when a user tries to remount the side plate while the hammer block is not properly lined up with its raceway), might allow the hammer block to hang in the "up" position notwithstanding having cocked the hammer. However, I don't really see how lubrication might fix this problem.

You might try a couple of things. One: after insuring that the revolver is unloaded, insert a fired case (with spent primer intact) into one charge hole; slip a piece of thin paper behind the fired case, close the cylinder and align for next shot; cock the hammer and pull the trigger; examine the paper to see if the pin touched the spent primer. Two: invert an unloaded revolver and cock it, then examine the hammer tunnel (you'll probably need a mirror and bright light) to see if the hammer block is in the nominal "down" (firing) position.

The reason I say to invert the revolver is that is is at least theoretically possible that the rebound slide pin is missing; the hammer block bound in the up (non-firing) position; and when you lubed it you released the binding so that the hammer block was dropped into the down (firing) position and resides there full time. The fact of the matter is that I'm speculating, perhaps unrealistically; as noted, trained eyes should look at this revolver.

The bottom line, though, is that this revolver needs the attention of a qualified S&W smith, even though it appears to be functioning properly now.
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Old November 21, 2012, 06:14 PM   #38
jamaica
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I have had two Ruger Single Six revolvers and a Colt SAA. I have many times taken all the moving parts out of them for thorough cleaning. I have a newer Ruger Blackhawk. I have not taken that apart yet, but would not hesitate. I have never taken a DA revolver apart, but then I have yet to drop my DA into sand, mud or water. If it comes down to the DA needing it, I would give it a whirl.
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Old November 21, 2012, 09:19 PM   #39
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I field strip my GP100 and SP101 every time I clean them. It's a lot easier to clean with the cylinder off of the frame. My first Super Single-Six I used to take apart to clean but the one I traded it for has never been apart. Neither have my two Blackhawks. I don't think there is anything to be gained by disassembling them other than removing the cylinder. The Blackhawks will come apart though if the Super Blackhawk hammers I have on backorder with Midway ever show up. I don't own any Smiths or Colts but if I did I would be hesitant to mess with them. The Ruger DAs are a piece of cake though.
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Old November 22, 2012, 12:21 AM   #40
James K
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That failure to fire sounds like too light a trigger pull, usually the result of tampering with the trigger or hammer, or too light a mainspring or trigger return spring.

What might happen is that when the trigger is pulled, the force required to release the hammer is so light that the finger does not keep the trigger back. That allows the trigger to move forward, letting the rebound slide and/or hammer block keep the hammer from falling all the way. The result is a misfire.

A comment on S&W hammer blocks. First, I don't know what a "1947" hammer block is. S&W has used three different types of hammer block safety. The last and current type was first used in December 1944 on the M&P "victory model", the only revolver in production at the time, and was installed on all post-war production. S&W has never used a transfer bar.

Originally, S&W thought the old style rebound hammer would act as a hammer block, but it was not strong enough to keep the gun from firing if dropped hard on the hammer. They then thought the rebound slide would be good enough, but finally had to install a hammer block to compete with Colt's "positive" block. But S&W's first two blocks were not positive, being spring loaded into the blocking position. Finally, Carl Hellstrom, in 1944, designed the block that is used today and is positive.

Tests have shown that under extreme blows, the rebound slilde can be crushed or the hammer stud sheared off, allowing the firing pin to reach the primer of a cartridge if there is no hammer block. Would a transfer bar do the same thing? Yes, but transfer bars have the disadvantage that they are struck a blow every time the gun fires or is dry fired and have been known to break under that stress. A hammer block is not stressed, since it is never touched by the hammer unless it is needed, after other safety systems have failed; it is the last protection, not the first.

Jim
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Old November 22, 2012, 07:01 AM   #41
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I have never had the need to, but if I had to, I'd at least take a look if there was a problem.
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Old November 22, 2012, 09:15 AM   #42
Wallyl
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S & W M-29 problem

Thank you RKG....after the "fix" last year it never acted up again. The pistol was returned to the factory five years ago. I had another issue with it and I did open it up---I could never get that spring in the trigger in the right position...what a goofy set-up. Looks like they designed it to baffle us. IMHO these things should be designed to be relatively easy for an average guy to be able to service them. S & W fixed it up and then I started have the problems mention. I never tried to adjust the main spring tension for a lighter trigger, but when it was mis-firing (as mentioned before) I did tighten the strain screw.

Also have a 1974 Ruger Superblackhawk that I've had issues with....

1) The stud that holds the ejector housing pulled off--they now no longer use one opting to screw the holding screw into the barrel--had to send to Ruger
2) Broke a few transfer bars--all broke at the same spot...in a narrow bend that IMHO is just too thin.
3) One frame screw head snapped off--I could not extract the screw and without doing one could not take it apart--had to send to Ruger

I shoot the .44 Mags about 800 times a year with medium loads and with no heavy bullets..seems like none of the pistols I have in that caliber are all that durable.

A real PITA to get them fixed now---because FedEx & UPS want your left arm to ship them...all because employees steal them. Knowledgeable gunsmiths are hard to find ....and the cost is very steep and they don't hurry to make the repair.
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Old November 22, 2012, 11:37 AM   #43
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Quote:
Fixing something that ain't broke has NEVER been a good idea.
The S&W revolvers I have bought over the years have "come broke", in the sense that they have come with their internals rougher than a cob. The people who never do work on them, or have work done on them are either: Very lucky, or use them as they are while being oblivious to how rough they are, do not care how rough they are. There is a night vs. day difference in a S&W revolver as they come from the factory and one that has been smoothed and lightened by someone who knows what to look for (triggers dragging on the frame, hammers flopping sideways during travel, etc.). In many, the only reason they function as well as they do, is that the springs are overly heavy as to force them to function despite the faults as shipped. Ignorance is bliss.
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Old November 22, 2012, 11:50 AM   #44
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Quote:
Thank you RKG....after the "fix" last year it never acted up again. The pistol was returned to the factory five years ago. I had another issue with it and I did open it up---I could never get that spring in the trigger in the right position...what a goofy set-up. Looks like they designed it to baffle us. IMHO these things should be designed to be relatively easy for an average guy to be able to service them. S & W fixed it up and then I started have the problems mention. I never tried to adjust the main spring tension for a lighter trigger, but when it was mis-firing (as mentioned before) I did tighten the strain screw.
The strain screw should always be, and have been, tightened all the way in. Some shooters wrongly loosen the strain screw to obtain a lighter double-action pull. But one of the problems with that is, the screw is then likely to become looser via recoil, to the point where misfires occur. Swap-out the mainspring for a lighter one if you must, but the strain screw should always be tight in the frame.
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Old November 22, 2012, 01:42 PM   #45
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I've taken apart every S&W I've owned. I do a little polishing if it looks like some is rubbing more than it should or where it shouldn't. I've taken apart a Colt SA to replace broken springs. It's not that tough to take one apart. I did have trouble with a SA but only one time on one gun.
I think given the current situation in the world that knowing how to do a few light repairs is a good skill to have.
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Old November 22, 2012, 02:15 PM   #46
Mike Irwin
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I just randomly grind on parts with a dremel...

Works great!
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Old November 22, 2012, 03:13 PM   #47
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Voted Yes

I have not bought a "NIB" revolver in years, that does not mean I have not bought a revolver recently.
The most removed part is the cylinder. I, from time to time, remove the cylinder to soak it to remove the crud from the end and the ring that builds up from shooting specials in a magnum chamber.
Rarely I'll pop the side plate to clean and lube the action, really there is no reason to do that very often, in my opinion.
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Old November 22, 2012, 03:47 PM   #48
dahermit
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Quote:
I just randomly grind on parts with a dremel...

Works great!
Yup! Dremels is what keeps gunsmiths in business. And remember, never force anything; always use a bigger hammer.
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Old November 22, 2012, 04:58 PM   #49
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Yes. With my copy of Kuhnhausen's manual for the revolver in question, plus my NRA and J. B. Wood books and any other references I can find. Plus several sets of gunsmithing screwdrivers. I learned to disassemble an M-14, an M-16, an M-2 .50 caliber, an M1911, an M9, an M-60. What's so difficult about disassembling a revolver-at your own pace, in the quiet of your own home?
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Old November 22, 2012, 06:30 PM   #50
George1965
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If I buy a used gun that is the first thing I do is take it down and clean it and check for wore parts. I guess it is just me but I got to know what my gun looks like on the inside.
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