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Old December 23, 2012, 07:46 PM   #1
Sevens
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S&W timing issues

I'm spoiled. My first S&W was a new 17-6 circa 1989, new, from Mom, for Christmas. (blew me AWAY) My second S&W was new a 686-3 that I bought with paper route money. (this one still blows me away! )

I cut my teeth on fine, box-fresh K & L frames.

I decided earlier this year that it was just plain ignorant and improper that I didn't own a Model 19. Found a forum friend that had a 4-inch 19-4, the SN of which dates it to 1978 or '79. I made a very fair offer when he asked me to help him set a price. As such, I did not get a steal on this revolver (as I so love to do!) but the gun karma is strong. He's a great guy and we both wanted me to own this revolver.

I am not 100% happy with the cylinder timing of it.

It's not "dangerous" per se, in either DA or SA it carries-up and locks in place. But when doing a very slow and deliberate double action, it's HORRIBLY difficult for me to get it to advance and lock and hold -- before dropping the hammer. I don't know if this is any manner of a "standardized" check, but it is the timing check that I have always used. I should be able to double-action pull a S&W revolver and get it to advance, lock, and hold before dropping the hammer not only on all six chambers, but equally (or close) on all six chambers.

This one is very, very difficult to accomplish that. 4 of 6 are pretty good, two of six are not as good.

Should I be talking to Smith & Wesson? This revolver pre-dates their Lifetime Warranty, which went in to effect right about when I got my first two, somewhere in the very late 80's. And as I said, it's not "broken" or "dangerous", it just isn't as perfect as I want it to be.
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Old December 23, 2012, 08:37 PM   #2
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Yessir, I believe you would benefit the mostest from calling S&W up on the telephone. It's been my understanding they don't like to work on things from Pre-'57. There's nothing as right as factory right.
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Old December 23, 2012, 10:30 PM   #3
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I had a similar situation with a Model 29. Bought off a different forum, it did not carry up consistently in DA mode.

I sent it to S&W, $50 overnight, since I'm on the west coast.

After a couple of weeks I called and they let me talk to the guy working on it. Needed a new hammer and hand. The repair was about $100.

All they had in stock was a target hammer, which is nice. But now it no longer fits the safety strap on its Don Hume 721. So, I was out another $50 for a holster that doesn't fit.

Now it carries up on all charge holes. Not really consistently, but it is safe.

Next time, I'd look for a local smith to work with. Anybody could do that work and S&W just did not impress me that much.

Just trying to share experiences. You will get your 19 sorted out and you will love it.
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
....in either DA or SA it carries-up and locks in place. But when doing a very slow and deliberate double action, it's HORRIBLY difficult for me to get it to advance and lock and hold -- before dropping the hammer.
Personally I wouldn't worry about it. It carries up and locks in both modes in normal usage, and it's only when you do a "very slow and deliberate double action" that it doesn't immediately lock up, a situation that won't occur in normal use. The cost of sending it back to S&W to make it "perfect" would not be worth it to me. You might be better off to find a local smith that could fix it for much less.
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Old December 24, 2012, 11:03 AM   #5
drail
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You might be surprised at how many revolvers will not carry up when cycled as slowly as you described. (most will) But if it really bothers you it can be fixed by a smith who understands DA revolvers (be advised that a lot of "local smiths" don't). I have several S&Ws that are a little slow to carry up but when cycled normally they work fine.
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Old December 26, 2012, 12:17 AM   #6
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be advised that a lot of "local smiths" don't
That is good advice
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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One would think there would be a real "dyed-in-the-wool" Smith smith within reasonable proximity to central Ohio.
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:33 AM   #8
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Fortunately, the S&W's have such a large following and are so well made and popular that, similar to Harleys and the original VW's, there are folks out there whose lives revolve around them---as stated earlier, just check around in your area, because there will be a very qualified S&W "smith" within a reasonable distance that can work magic on your 19---the owner of Sand Burr Gun Range, on the north side of Rochester , Indiana, is not real close, but would be well worth the drive---he lives and breaths S&W, has been to their facilities on occasion and can repair or correct any problem with a "Smith"----google Sand Burr, Rochester, In----
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:39 AM   #9
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Try 574-223-3316, ask for Denny -----


[The phone number is for Reichard's Firearms in Rochester, IN.]

Last edited by Mal H; December 26, 2012 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Added clarification of phone number given.
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Old December 26, 2012, 05:28 PM   #10
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re:

Quote:
it carries-up and locks in place. But when doing a very slow and deliberate double action, it's HORRIBLY difficult for me to get it to advance and lock and hold -- before dropping the hammer.
As long as it will carry up and lock at normal speed, it's okay.

And how often do you operate it in a very slow and deliberate speed?

Test it again with empty cases in the chambers. It'll probably speed it up a bit.
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:56 PM   #11
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Guys, I realize that my Model 19 isn't "unsafe" and that it does work within the range that it was designed around. This isn't a deal breaker or a game changer. It's quite simply that my first two S&W revolvers are the ones that shaped my entire idea of what the platform is capable of. One is a K-frame, the other an L-frame and though both have countless thousands of rounds through them, they continue to run like fine watches and the timing is perfect. That's what I'm accustomed to, that's what I expect, that is what feels right to me so this particular K-frame isn't delivering that.

As for "how often" that I operate it at a slow and deliberate speed? That would be roughly every time I have it out on the range. I enjoy double action shooting and a very slow and deliberate staging before breaking the trigger is pretty much my favorite way to shoot my double action revolvers.

I have actually heard of the Sand Burr Gun Ranch, I've seen the small ads with other pistolsmiths in the back of the American Handgunner magazine and I made a mental note because of the location and it's (relative) short distance from me. I know exactly where that town is and I've been there. This is the first I've heard it referenced in a discussion forum -- but then, I haven't looked for such discussions. I think I may look for some more. I really like the idea of a short road trip to talk with someone that would take on some work on one of my handguns. If there's a chance I could do a little shooting while I'm there -- all the better!
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:42 AM   #12
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I had bought a used S&W 629-1 Classic Hunter a few years ago with the dreadful floating hand which did not please me at all. I called S&W and discussed it with them and they sent me a hand that I fitted.

I had the priviledge to learn a lot from a S&W certified police armourer, who also was a PPC shooter but the Kuhnhausen manual is also a good source of info.

I found it not very hard to fit the hand - particularly in comparison to this week's project, cutting checkering on a flintlock stock.
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Old December 30, 2012, 10:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens
I enjoy double action shooting and a very slow and deliberate staging before breaking the trigger is pretty much my favorite way to shoot my double action revolvers.
Well, now, you'll need to stop that staging stuff. Timing issue aside, it's not the most accurate way to shoot DA, ironically enough. It is a tough habit to break, though.

As to your timing, sound like it's a hair slow, and if so, a relatively simple fix might be to lightly peen the hand to lengthen it a hair. I never used the technique myself, so I can't personally vouch for it.

Depending on where in central OH you live, I know an outstanding wheelgunner (who does most of his own work) that could likely take a look at it and offer his thoughts. PM me if interested.
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:09 PM   #14
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Actually the final carry up in a S&W revolver is accomplished by the side of the hand. Peening the hand to lengthen it will only escaberate the problem. If you know what you are doing you can peen it to thicken it a couple of thousandths. Although the real solution is to fit a slightly thicker hand.
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Old December 30, 2012, 12:44 PM   #15
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Well, now, you'll need to stop that staging stuff.
I've seen your videos -- I do NOT have a DA revolver with the kind of trigger pull you've got. I also don't have the skill or confidence to make it that way, and for sure, I don't have the skill in shooting them that you've got. Yes, we can talk about practice and ability, but a "better than stock" DA trigger pull makes a gaping-wide difference, IMO.

What I -need- is to ship it to YOU, and see what comes back. Then my 686, too!

I will definitely PM you re: guy local to me. I am running out the door at the moment, I'll get back to you on this.

As for doing ANY modifications to it, especially to the hand... haha, never, ever going to happen. I'm a whole lot smarter than to stick my nose in somewhere it's got no business.
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Old December 30, 2012, 08:15 PM   #16
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IIRC, Brownells sells S&W hands that are thicker than normal and should solve the problem described. Peening the hand was common with the old Colt DA revolvers because the second level of the hand acted to bring the cylinder into full lockup by pushing directly on the ratchet tooth. But in an S&W the hand moves the cylinder and then moves up PAST the ratchet tooth so peening the hand won't help much if at all.

Jim
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:34 AM   #17
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Yes, the S&W cylinder rotates as the hand pushes the ratchet tooth up and to the left, then it slides right past the tooth just as the cylinder locks up. A wider hand would push the tooth a little more to the left before sliding past, advancing the timing a bit. But it seems to me that a slightly longer hand would advance the timing a hair as well, as it would push the tooth a little higher before sliding past. Seems peening's a cheaper and quicker fix than buying another, thicker one. Again, though, I'm no gunsmith, nor have I ever tried messing with timing issues, let alone peening the hand, so I may be way off here.

Sevens - For the first coin-on-the-barrel vid, I used a bone stock Model 65. No über action job on that one. Still, I have to admit it's got the finest factory trigger I've ever felt.
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Old December 31, 2012, 01:55 PM   #18
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IIRC, Brownells sells S&W hands that are thicker than normal and should solve the problem described. Peening the hand was common with the old Colt DA revolvers because the second level of the hand acted to bring the cylinder into full lockup by pushing directly on the ratchet tooth. But in an S&W the hand moves the cylinder and then moves up PAST the ratchet tooth so peening the hand won't help much if at all.

Fitting and oversized hand is not something the average person should try doing as this a job left best to a good S&W mechanic. I know a lot a gunsmiths who will not even attempt this job and send them out the back door for this work. To fit up a new hand can require opening the hand window, shaping or filing the hand tip correctly and fitting the hand to the ratchets for correct timing. Keep in mind most of the time one or two ratchets may be higher or lower than the others so the hand tip must be fitted correctly to adjust for this. The hand window and hand thickness must be close yet not so tight as to interfere — a job for a surface grinder really. It is possible to bend the hand tip to adjust for some timing issues but again this can lead to big problems if not done correctly. So I stand with the suggestion that just because you can buy an oversized hand don't think this is anywhere close to a drop-in fix
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Old January 2, 2013, 12:30 AM   #19
denster
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With all due respect Garbler any gunsmith who can not fit a S&W hand has no business calling himself a gunsmith. The tip does not have to be filed and shaped it come that way and the tip only carries the cylinder through the first 30 degrees of it's 60 degree rotation(assuming a six shot). The balance is accomplished by the side of the hand is more of a pushing than lifting. Here hand thickness is paramount. You generally don't have to do any work to the window in the frame unless it is a really old worn gun and then at most you just square it up.
The ratchet teeth will all be the same height. If they are not then someone has messed with it and it is time for a new ratchet. Here it is a good idea to send it in as S&W can cut the teeth on the ratchet while it is installed in your gun and most Smiths don 't have the broach tool to do this properly. A S&W repair guy can cut all six teeth in less than a minute. Really all you need to do is measure your hand window and order the correct thickness hand if it needs to be reduced a bit a flat bench stone makes short work of it.
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Old January 2, 2013, 08:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
With all due respect Garbler any gunsmith who can not fit a S&W hand has no business calling himself a gunsmith. The tip does not have to be filed and shaped it come that way and the tip only carries the cylinder through the first 30 degrees of it's 60 degree rotation(assuming a six shot). The balance is accomplished by the side of the hand is more of a pushing than lifting. Here hand thickness is paramount. You generally don't have to do any work to the window in the frame unless it is a really old worn gun and then at most you just square it up. The ratchet teeth will all be the same height. If they are not then someone has messed with it and it is time for a new ratchet. Here it is a good idea to send it in as S&W can cut the teeth on the ratchet while it is installed in your gun and most Smiths don 't have the broach tool to do this properly. A S&W repair guy can cut all six teeth in less than a minute. Really all you need to do is measure your hand window and order the correct thickness hand if it needs to be reduced a bit a flat bench stone makes short work of it.


Do general gunsmiths send out work they are not comfortable with or not really set up to do ? Of course they do and whether people want to acknowledge that a gunsmith cannot cover all the bases and needs to farm out some work to keep a customer happy should not be earth shattering news. As long as the shop is doing what is best for his customer. Almost every rifle maker does the same with outsourced barrels, triggers, stocks or finish work. They put it together, chamber it and make it work for the customer. Not every gunsmith specializes enough in S&W work that he wants to tackle fitting up an oversized hand or run into a series of problems with the frame or ratchets so he sends it out. So what ? If you want a specialist that is fine and they are out there but often a gun shop is a local business that takes what ever comes through the door in order to keep the door open and I respect a man who knows his limits.

As for your other points I agree on many and differ on others. With oversized hands from .096 to a full competition hand at .102” you will have to file and open the window to varying degrees and this must be done dead nut on or the hand will push off and not engage the ratchet lugs properly. A sloppy hand window cannot support the hand during it’s travel to rotate the cylinder and the dirtier the gun gets the more rotational resistance you get which will cause skips and timing issues. Furthermore S&W hands are hardened and as such if the tip is not shaped a bit they will score the ratchets which are much softer. With guns that have been shot a lot it is pretty obvious. Then there is the matter of hand tip protrusion beyond the recoil shield and what is tolerable and what is not. On K & L frames the hand tip cannot protrude at all and therefore some stoning may be required to the hand belly and at the same time this must be done properly so the hand remains vertical or parallel to the cylinder. Can you buy a new hand, drop it in, and expect it to function properly ? Yes and No but it all depends on the condition of the gun.

I did not know Smith & Wesson would re-machine ratchets so this is something I am just learning. Years ago they would not and would only sell you a new cylinder. This I think is good news. As for all ratchets being the same size or height ( riding or engagement surface ) well perhaps the newer guns built on CNC machines are indeed that uniform but trust me the older guns were not. Wishful thinking there and to fit a oversized hand you really need to find the lowest ratchet lug of the six and fit to that one or you will have problems.

I used to maintain and repair a lot of range rental guns and worn hand windows, hands and ratchets was very common and a pretty steady business for a while. I watched a S&W custom shop mechanic one time show me a technique they used to bend/peen the hand tips to the low ratchet with a plastic hammer hard on the cylinder. It worked but nothing I could get the hang of. Bending or peening the tip of the hand is in essence bending it to make it act like a thicker hand where the offset makes up for the sloppy window — a temporary fix but it does work if done delicately. Ron Power showed me the same thing about twenty-five years ago at a gunsmith school. In fact it was Ron who showed us how to fit up oversized hands and how to find and stone a hand to the lowest ratchet lug. . So this is not just my opinion but that of probably the premier Smith & Wesson mechanic in the country.

I am thinking you are a gunsmith and if so I wonder if you have fitted up many hands on the older revolvers ? Or maybe most of your work is on newer guns ( post 1990 ) where parts and tolerances are much more uniform than I am used to. When I was in the business most of the repair market was older pre-CNC guns that were assembled from the parts bins one at a time on the benches. Back then the model 41’s and 52’s and a few others were all assembled in the Custom Shop where they had the ability to fit up a gun the old way one part at a time and the parts were sorted. As I recall the Custom Shop and all of that old talent went away when Steve Melvin and the British took over S&W . They installed CNC machinery and considered the old fashioned hand fitting of parts a throw back and an inefficient waste of time and money. Some of the guns coming off the line in 1990 were absolutely abhorrent and I recall J.D. Jones and myself going at it with S&W and the ‘ new and improved ‘ mind set of this company with and their newly released 625’s. They thought they could actually mill it and send it out and nobody would be the wiser. There was no real QC or gun builders on the job.

In fact I don’t know anybody at S&W anymore that built the target or special product guns. I used to know a few of these mechanics pretty well and they would help guys like me with parts and a ‘heads up’ on things they saw coming down the pipeline. With the older guns there were variables on almost all the parts and even the frames were something you had to adjust and work with. In fact the term often used was an accumulation of tolerances which was a clever way of saying a lot of play or slop from inconsistent parts. Ron Power was an amazing mechanic and a guy who could pop a side plate drop the guts and tweak it all into a lock work that was tight yet butter smooth. He was not just a gunsmith but more so an innovator who shared a lot of his ideas, techniques and tooling/fixtures with the Smith & Wesson factory. The real deal.

Let me just add — Google and Kuhnhausen don’t have it all — there is more

Regards,

Last edited by garbler; January 2, 2013 at 10:32 PM.
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Old January 2, 2013, 08:20 PM   #21
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Worked for me !!

See if this helps !! ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=...ture=endscreen

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:23 PM   #22
denster
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Sorry Garble didn't mean to get your panties in a wad.
Pahoo. Thank you that is exactly what I was refering to.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:27 PM   #23
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Pahoo

That is really great I have never seen this before and honestly never thought Potterfield would put something like that out for consumption. Makes you really appreciate class people like the Brownell's.

So you just buy this barrel, a reamer and just chuck it up, drill it, screw the barrel back on and you have made your 223 'whatever' into a Donaldson Wasp sub MOA grouping machine — it's just that easy.

Gotta love marketing strategy.
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Old January 2, 2013, 10:37 PM   #24
garbler
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Denster

Sorry if I came off that way I didn't mean to. I have a heavy hand when I type and don't mean to sound offensive so my apology
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Old January 3, 2013, 12:42 AM   #25
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Garbler,

I have to agree with you. In general it is quite easy to change and fit an oversized hand but Mr. Potterfield is giving us a simplified version, while usually fixing the problem, there are a lot of little details that need to be known to do the job really right when the interaction of the ratchet and hand needs attention.

But then, who cares for "hand sing" these days?
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