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Old January 1, 2013, 09:45 AM   #1
Jaywalker
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Longest-Lived Revolvers

Which are the longet-lived revolvers? I don't necessarily mean "big" or "heavy" - within any given size, which revolvers would keep shooting longer without gunsmith's help? That would be a strong design produced well.

I'd like to have a Colt Detective Special, for instance, but from what I just learned on TFL, I'll have to be careful with timing issues. That's not a big deal to me, since I don't shoot as much as I used to, but it did set me to wondering which revolvers might last longest while actually shooting with them. My sense is that Ruger revolvers are pretty long-lived. (They'd better be. If I can't get fire control parts, any glitch would have to go back to the factory - a big inconvenience.)

So, which are the longest-lasting small-frame revolvers? Mid-frame? Large-frame? This isn't about just Smith and Ruger, though - maybe Charter or Taurus has hidden strengths, as long as I might plan to put thousands of rounds through it.

Which ones are lifetime shooters?
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Old January 1, 2013, 09:55 AM   #2
Hal
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Freedom Arms, IMHO, would be about the only one.

And that, only because they are so expensive.

That discourages the "stupid" factor that's responsible for most damage.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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I have three Colt new service revolvers, one made in 1905, one made in 1923, and one made in 1925. I shoot all of them and have had no problems with any of them. I also have an early S&W 1917 that a previous owner saw fit to convert to .45 colt. That one is still going strong too.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:06 AM   #4
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I think a Blackhawk would go on and on, assuming the transfer bar held up. Freedom Arms as well, not because they costs so much or are so well made, but because single actions last a long time.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaywalker
I'd like to have a Colt Detective Special, for instance, but from what I just learned on TFL, I'll have to be careful with timing issues.

There is an assertion that comes up with surprising frequency, particularly in the internet age where everyone is an expert: the Colt Python (and all other Colt revolvers) are "delicate", "go out of time easily", or "not as strong/durable as a S&W.

Let's start with the construction: a Colt revolver, for any given frame size, is as strong as any gun with that frame size. Their metallurgy is absolutely the best, and their forged construction is of superior quality. They are superbly made, and their longevity is a testimony to that fact. You are never compromising when you choose a Colt!

How about the charge of "delicate" or "goes out of time easily"? In my work, I see a lot of Colts; I shoot them extensively myself. With proper maintenance, I've seen no tendency for any Colt to go out of time. Yet, the rumors persist!


Is the Colt Python "delicate"?-by Grant Cunningham, noted pistosmith
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:12 AM   #6
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Longest lived revolver.
That depends on what and how you’re going to shoot.
Shooting standard pressure 38 sp in an S&W mid frame (19) or N frame (27) you’re not going to wear it out.
That’s the same for Rugers. Shooting 357’s in the same guns will shorten the life span of a gun. But the amount that it shortens the span is meaningless. A steady diet of light weight (125 GR) magnums will have more of an effect.
Your statement on Colt Detective specials, the only thing I would be concerned about is used guns that have been abused and a good gunsmith can answer that.
Charter arms, the newer manufactured guns are well built and make a good carry gun but not one I would consider range guns capable massive number of rounds. I own two and have nothing but good things to say.
Taurus, well my only comment to that is select the “search” at the top of the TFL page and type in “Taurus” and look at the comments both positive and negative. Many Taurus’s (not all) should have a round trip ticket to the manufacture for repair issues.
Which revolvers would keep shooting longer without gunsmith's help?
That totally depends on the gun. I have a friend with a Hi point that has been shooting for several years and has several thousand rounds with never a failure. Another has a Ruger that had minor but frustrating problems that Ruger fixed the first time.
Which would I have? I would take the Ruger over 10 Hi points.
But that’s just my opinion.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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GP100 !!!

The only parts that have to be fitted are ,trigger,hammer & cyl .
Anything else is available thru Ruger & some aftermarket suppliers.

Now as far as history goes I feel the Icon of 2 centrys is the prewar m&p S&W AKA model 10 has proven it`s worth !!
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Old January 1, 2013, 12:55 PM   #8
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In the single action world.....Freedom Arms / they're overbuilt to the point of absolutely rugged...and amazing pieces of craftmanship.

In the double action world ...its Colt and S&W...and its hard to pick one over the other in my view. There are pluses and minuses to each ...but either one will last for many generations. I think Ruger is a distant 3rd ...but still a solid gun....then there are the rest ( a very, very distant 4th ...or more...)..

in my opinion ....of course / and to some extent, longevity will depend on the round that is fired in the weapon ...and how the owner treats the gun. There are a few of my buddies I'd buy a used gun from in a heartbeat....and some that I would never buy a used gun from ( they aren't bad guys - but some of them take care of their guns ..and some of them abuse the daylights out of them)..
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Old January 1, 2013, 01:21 PM   #9
Jaywalker
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Here are some comments on the Colt's D-frame innards: http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...09#post5345409
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Old January 1, 2013, 01:46 PM   #10
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This old Colt was born in 1926 and still shoots just fine.


... and is one of my favorite carry guns.
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Old January 1, 2013, 05:49 PM   #11
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Grant Cunningham makes his living off repairing Colts. So much so, that he has to turn down work and is booked years in advance. Does that tell you that there are a lot of Colts that need "maintenance," as he calls it? I think Colts are artistically beautiful, but not the workhorses that S&W's , and particularly, Rugers are. Buy a Ruger and get an action job. I cock my guns very slowly, and do a slow double action pull, also, for a fine let off. Colts, after firing a lot, just do NOT lock up when they are supposed to after prolonged use. I do not like the idea of a revolver going off before the cylinder is locked in place, and not all shots can be fast double action pulls to THROW the cylinder notch into the bolt.
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Old January 1, 2013, 06:24 PM   #12
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Back when 2700 was more popular and revolvers were THE guns, the Colt Officer's Model and S&W K frames were the most used. A lot depends on type of use, light target loads are easier on a revolver than heavy service/combat/hunting loads. Likewise lead bullets are easier on the bore. How about Dan Wessons, they were quite popular with metallic silhouette shooters.
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Old January 1, 2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaywalker

Which are the longet-lived revolvers? I don't necessarily mean "big" or "heavy" - within any given size, which revolvers would keep shooting longer without gunsmith's help?
A Ruger single-action revolver.



.
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Old January 1, 2013, 07:00 PM   #14
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My father has gold rush era pocket Dragoon that we still shoot on special occasions. It cool to shoot a firearm that is about 160 years old.

As far as I know it has never seen a smith.
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Last edited by Deja vu; January 1, 2013 at 07:08 PM.
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Old January 1, 2013, 07:10 PM   #15
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Manurhin would certainly be in contention, although they are not exactly common in the US.
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Old January 2, 2013, 03:47 AM   #16
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This is a 1931 Colt OP in 32/20. shot a 1 5/8" six shot group using 115 gr gas check bullet with a substantial amount of 1680. Plain base with mild titegroup loads go abour 2". Had to do some work on the bold and clean out the sludge, but after that all is well...did the same with my Colt Marshall and it shoots well too (1955).

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Old January 2, 2013, 05:23 AM   #17
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I would like to live long enough to just once, shoot a gun, any gun, enough to worry about wearing it out.

I would brag about it.
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Old January 2, 2013, 05:28 AM   #18
solocam72
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When I think of a revolver that would likely out last me and everything I could throw at it that gun would be a RUGER GP-100, and I don't even own one currently, I have owned 2 of them over the years and shot the living daylights out of em with full tilt magnum loads without a hiccup, they are a shooters gun
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Old January 2, 2013, 06:33 AM   #19
Hal
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Quote:
How about Dan Wessons, they were quite popular with metallic silhouette shooters.
Dans dominated the early games in the production .357mag class until the price cap was removed and Freedom Arms were allowed.
Nothing anyone else - S&W, Ruger or Colt- made stood up to the pounding like the Dans.
That would have been the Monson era Dan. I don't know how robust the newer ones are.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:07 AM   #20
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I'd like to have a Colt Detective Special, for instance, but from what I just learned on TFL, I'll have to be careful with timing issues.
Not true, as I have never heard of that, and even in the thread you reference, notice that no one has a specific example. The D frame action is different and pretty durable IMO.

I would say any of the steel frame snubs will attain a high round count, guns like the 686, GP100 and Dan Wesson 15 do well. Then smaller caliber guns in bigger frames such as the model 17, 27, 22 cal Diamondback, etc, are technically large for the caliber and task at hand. For 44 magnum, the Redhawk seems to be the most durable, but I prefer the aesthetics of a S&W, and all the rest that comes with a S&W.

All in all, it depends on how smart the owner is in a lot of these cases. There is also an element of luck here because all of these factories have made lemons. Being a handloader and then making loads higher than spec will not help and a lack of maintenance will not help either. Because of the variables, most of this thread will be opinions, but some very basic things can be agreed upon by all.
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Old January 2, 2013, 01:45 PM   #21
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If "longest-lived" means durability, I don't think production year is the relevant criteria. I put nearly 20k rounds through my 6 year old 686 this year alone, and my best guess is it's shot around 70k rounds to date, yet my 686 is holding up fine, and likely has multiples of 70k left in it. I'd bet the great majority of older blued revolvers have seen a very small fraction of this.

As far as DA revolver durability, my bet would be on the Manurhin, with Rugers and S&Ws honorable mentions. In SA revos, Freedom Arms likely takes it, with Ruger making a fine showing.
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Old January 2, 2013, 02:00 PM   #22
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I've seen a very odd situation involving a Dan Wesson in .44 Magnum.
The owner found he could no longer get the barrel shroud off.
The barrel had bulged in several places locking it into the shroud , which had matching bulges.
How this happened I don't know, only saw for a moment it while a gunshop owner was examing it.
Could have been excessive pressure handloads.

To remove the barrel for replacement they would have to cut away the barrel shroud.

As to most durable I'd also recommend the S&W revolvers.
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Old January 2, 2013, 03:19 PM   #23
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IMO any of the current production guns out there with maybe the exception of the FA's could use a tune up straight from the factory. Even the venerable Blackhawks will last much longer with some polishing, just ask the CAS shooters.

Aside from that there are guns that are better than others but at the same time they are all subject to failure in componets, materials and workmanship. Whoever's out there spewing Ruger's are a distant 3rd in the durability department needs to do some major soul searching and stop being such a fan boy. There is nothing inherantly more durable with the S&W and Colt designs and in many cases they are less so. You may beleive they are better but better is a very broad term subject to many parameters. Durability is just one of those. But neither of those is anymore durable than a Ruger. For heavy loads or lot's of shooting I'll take a Ruger over a Colt anyday and over a S&W most days.
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Old January 2, 2013, 03:26 PM   #24
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Rainbow Demon said:
Quote:
I've seen a very odd situation involving a Dan Wesson in .44 Magnum.
The owner found he could no longer get the barrel shroud off.
The barrel had bulged in several places locking it into the shroud , which had matching bulges.
How this happened I don't know, only saw for a moment it while a gunshop owner was examing it.
Could have been excessive pressure handloads.

To remove the barrel for replacement they would have to cut away the barrel shroud.
My son-in-law had the same problem. We thought back and tried to re-construct our last outing. We had been shooting near a large creek (plinking) that had ice in it, also some snow covered the ground. We theorized that droplets of water had entered the bore as we were shooting that caused the swelling of his .357 Mag. Dan Wesson. Yep, barrel and shroud went the cut-off route.

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Old January 2, 2013, 09:11 PM   #25
SIGSHR
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I saw something similar with a Dan Wesson, in that instance the owner had changed barrels, then fired it-with the old style detachable barrel changing nut still in place. That's why they went to the larger one piece tool.
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