The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 25, 2013, 01:09 AM   #1
alex0535
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 781
Dissassembly of a S&W Model 36 - Should I be intimidated?

Mods, if you feel this would be more appropriately answered in "The Smithy" I won't be bothered if you chose to move this there.

This thing is pretty old, I think when I looked up dates on the serial numbers it was made around 1958 give or take a year.

This thing has probably never been opened up and cleaned. If it has been, it has at least been in the terms of decades. DA pull is too hard, and I just know that the old gun has a lot more potential than it has right now.

I have a desire to take it apart, give it a good cleaning and oiling, might even go as far as installing a spring kit.

I have taken apart most of the firearms I have access to and they all went back together. I have been studying youtube videos on taking them apart. I would probably order the rebound spring tool from brownells because I know enough to know that the rebound spring is one of the biggest hurdles in taking one apart and putting it back together.

I feel pretty confident that I can take it apart and put it back together. Any tips from people who have taken apart j-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers?
alex0535 is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 01:26 AM   #2
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,159
You can probably do it, but it's not necessary.
Get a can of brake parts cleaner and just blow all the old oil and crud out of the inside. Then, spray the same areas with WD 40 to get lubrication and protection into the gun's nether regions, as the brake cleaner will remove all the oil from inside the gun. Be very careful not to get this stuff in your eyes, and rubber gloves are recommended. Dry the gun thoroughly, and use a good oil like Quick Release on/in the gun.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 02:46 AM   #3
MrBorland
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 1,883
Sure, give it a whirl. Below is a link that might help. There are likely some YouTube vids on the process, too.

Be aware the j-frame's spring is a coil, rather than a leaf, as shown in the link. Also, I'd remove tension in the mainspring before removing the sideplate (it's done after in the link).

Read over the process beforehand so there's no surprises. A little bitty spring that launches tends to put a damper on the fun. When in doubt, do the disassembly in a shoebox or even a ziplock bag.

Use a screwdriver with the proper hollow ground bits.

Don't use WD40. It's designed as a Water Displacer, not as a cleaner or lubricant. Besides, there are plenty of quality gun cleaners & lubes available. If you don't want to spring for an actual gun lube, use ATF.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=397027
MrBorland is online now  
Old January 25, 2013, 07:25 AM   #4
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,242
I taught myself how to disassemble S&W revolvers simply by observing what was going on with the sideplate off.

Regarding the sideplate...

NEVER EVER attempt to remove it by prying it off! You'll bend it, bugger the frame, and it will never look right again.

I use a Phillips head screwdriver for my rebound slide spring removal. Works great.

The best reason to disassemble is so that you can properly lubricate the internals with a layer of gun grease. Grease is FAR better than oil in the closed environments of a Smith revolver as it stays where you put it. Oil slowly (or quickly) runs away, leaving you with a dry gun that is difficult to relubricate.

And, I have to disagree with the advice to use WD-40. It is far too light an oil to provide any real long-term lubrication value, and it can (being a penetrating oil) get where you don't want it, such as the primers in rounds that are carried in the gun.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 08:22 AM   #5
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,585
Quote:
Be aware the j-frame's spring is a coil, rather than a leaf, as shown in the link.
Yes, and the easiest way to remove it is thus:
  1. Remove stocks (grips).
  2. Cock hammer. This will cause the hammer strut to protrude through the retainer inside the grip frame. You should see a little hole in the hammer strut.
  3. Straighten out a paper clip and insert it through hole.
  4. Decock revolver; the paper clip will hold the spring in compression, so the hammer will have to be pushed forward.
  5. The spring, strut, retainer, and paper clip can be lifted out once the sideplate is off.
Other tips:
  • The hammer block will usually fall out when the sideplate is removed, so it may not be obvious where it goes. The top goes between the hammer and frame. The slot on the bottom engages the little nub on the side of the rebound slide. The engaged position is upwards, and it should be in this position when the sideplate it reinstalled.
  • The hand- the little thing that moves the cylinder- has two pins that engage the trigger. The large pin fits in a hole; the small one fits in a slot. HERE'S THE CLINCHER: There is a little bitty hairpin spring inside the trigger, visible through the slot. First, it is retained by the large pin, so be careful not to lose it! Second, it must be pushed aside with a small tool before reinserting the hand, so it exerts pressure on the small pin and spring-loads the hand. Failure to assemble this properly will result in a cylinder that only turns when the muzzle is pointed downwards. (This is perhaps the #1 n00b mistake when reassembling a S&W for the first time! However, removing the hand is NOT 100% required just for cleaning, so it is often easier just to leave it alone.)
  • This won't apply to this particular revolver, but if you ever work on a 1996 or later model with the free-floating firing pin, the gun should NOT be cycled with the sideplate off. This may cause the pin that aligns the sideplate and retains the firing pin and firing pin spring- known as the "stock pin"- to work its way out and go flying, often taking the firing pin and (very small!) spring with it. Don't ask me how I learned this.
FWIW you shouldn't cycle the action an excessive number of times with the sideplate off anyway, as this can bend various pivot pins, but a few times won't hurt anything.
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak

Last edited by carguychris; January 25, 2013 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Forgot something!
carguychris is online now  
Old January 25, 2013, 08:25 AM   #6
lowercase
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2012
Posts: 247
Do you have a gunsmith screwdriver?
lowercase is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 10:23 AM   #7
Tatume
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2013
Location: Gloucester, Va.
Posts: 9
Mike is absolutely correct about not trying to pry off the side plate. Don't do it.

However, he stopped short of telling you how to remove the side plate. With the screws removed, hold the gun in one hand with the side plate down in your palm. Smartly rap the gun on the other side with the handle of your gunsmith's screwdriver. The sideplate will start to move. Rap it again if necessary, until you can turn the gun over and lift off the side plate with your fingers.

Be careful about how much the side plate moves when you tap it. Stop tapping when you can lift off the side plate. You don't want all the action parts to come out in your hand. You want to be able to see them all in place in the gun so you can observe how they inter-relate.
Tatume is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 10:37 AM   #8
chewie146
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2010
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 853
Things that I have found that make the double action harder than it should be all have to do with the cylinder and "miscellaneous crap" buildup in the area around the ejector rod, on the yoke. That's a technical term, btw. Disassembly is easy, and you should not be intimidated. Reassembly can sometimes require 2.5 hands, but it's not all that hard once you get the hang of it. The most difficult part will be the smaller springs and avoiding escape velocity when reinstalling those. The mainspring is a cinch with a small pin used to capture it.

In my opinion, Smith has one easy to disassemble revolver there. I break my 637 down every time I have a long shooting session, as I shoot cast through it, but I don't yank all the guts out of the gun. It's mainly just a cylinder breakdown to get the lube, lead, and carbon out of the parts that are supposed to spin. As mentioned, the internals are best dealt with with some chlorine free cleaner of some sort and liberal finger pressure on the nozzle, also known as the "shoulder thing that goes up." Dental picks and the nylon versions are great for buildup in these areas.

A couple things to remember in all of this is that smith cylinders are reverse threaded and that excessive force is not your friend in the disassembly. I have had a few Smiths that have red loc-tite on the side plate screws and yoke screw. Other than that, there are no real problems. Make sure you use a well-fitting screwdriver blade for those screws. Of course, if you bugger them up, add some more to your next Midway or Brownells order if you're worried about the unsightly appearance. Buggered screws and side plates are a good indicator of bubba-smithing and will hurt the gun value next time.

Since you've gone through the trouble to take it apart, lube it up in there as well. You don't need it to be leaking oil into your pocket holster, but there are a few areas I like to add a little grease, etc. There are some good videos on youtube, as I recall, on where to apply some lube.

Also, I like to have a dremel on hand with some nylon or brass brushes for certain areas for cleaning. You don't need warp speed, and an adjustable dremel is the way to go here. I use one to get the carbon from the top strap and sometimes on the yoke/crane.
chewie146 is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 10:37 AM   #9
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,242
I figured since he was studying the youtube videos on how to disassemble a Smith, he already was well versed in the how of removing the sideplate, but possibly not the why.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 12:59 PM   #10
Tatume
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2013
Location: Gloucester, Va.
Posts: 9
Hi Mike,

I didn't mean any harm. Based on what you said I went and looked at a couple of YouTube videos myself. The first one pointed a revolver directly at the camera. No harm done, but it sure made me feel queasy. Another did a good job of disassembling a J-frame revolver, so you're right; the information is there. Personally, after looking at some really stupid YouTube videos on reloading, I would not recommend them to a beginner.

Thanks, Tom
Tatume is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 01:14 PM   #11
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,242
No, not at all, Tatume, you were right to call it out, and I was wrong not to explain the process.

It was early, I was being lazy...
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 05:01 PM   #12
alex0535
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 781
Thanks for all the advice guys.

For those that mentioned the sideplate, I am familiar with its removal by tapping on the frame with a something that will not mar the surface and the side plate should come loose.

To the question of if i have a gunsmith screwdriver, not yet. I will either order something appropriate or find/make one that works. Does anyone know off the top of their head of a screwdriver that will work for me?

And I will also acknowledge that some of the youtube demonstrations are not great, others are done very well, this is why I definitely watched more than one.

Last edited by alex0535; January 25, 2013 at 05:20 PM.
alex0535 is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 07:45 PM   #13
Tatume
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2013
Location: Gloucester, Va.
Posts: 9
Brownells!

http://www.brownells.com/search/inde...iver&ksubmit=y
Tatume is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 08:35 PM   #14
alex0535
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 781
I know where to get a gunsmith screwdriver. There are just so many to choose from.
alex0535 is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 10:12 PM   #15
Dragline45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2010
Posts: 2,651
This is the video that taught me to disassemble a J frame, he does a really good job of walking you through the steps. I can strip a J frame bare and re-assemble now in a matter of a few minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVPYg...v9oohVGsXhm9vg


Quote:
I use a Phillips head screwdriver for my rebound slide spring removal. Works great.
Absolutely +1 to this. First time I put the rebound spring back in I tore up my thumb forcing the spring down. A small phillips screwdriver makes the job much simpler.

Quote:
I know where to get a gunsmith screwdriver. There are just so many to choose from
You really don't need a gunsmithing screwdriver, although it's always a safe choice. If you use the correct size screwdriver you shouldn't bugger up the screw heads as long as you don't overtighten and slip. When using a screwdriver that's too small it can bugger the screw heads up which can be unsightly on a good looking 36.

By the way while your going to have the rebound slide off, I highly recommend swapping the factory rebound spring out for a 14lb from Wolf. It really helps dramatically with lightening and smoothing out the trigger without sacrificing light primer strikers. It is not recommended to go with a lighter mainspring however as this can lead to light primer strikers.

Last edited by Dragline45; January 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM.
Dragline45 is online now  
Old January 25, 2013, 10:27 PM   #16
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,835
In 1958, the extractor rod did NOT have left hand threads. It uses regular right hand threads and if you have to remove it (don't unless you have to for repair), tighten it very tight or use blue Loctite.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old January 25, 2013, 11:00 PM   #17
alex0535
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 781
Thanks James, good to know. I just looked it up the serial number seems to correspond to 1957.

Quote:
For models 36, 37, 38, 49, 50 and pre model number versions.

1950 = start at 1
1952 = 7369 - 21342
1953 = 28916
1955 = 55050 - 75000
1957 = 117770 - 125000
1962 = starts at 295000
1969 = ends at 786544
Serial is 123XXX, not sure how accurate this information is. Was non reversed threading used in 1957?
alex0535 is offline  
Old January 26, 2013, 07:17 AM   #18
Tatume
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2013
Location: Gloucester, Va.
Posts: 9
Personally, I like the fixed, blue-handled Brownells screwdrivers (not tips). I also carry a Magna-Tip set when I leave the shop. But if you want a small set specifically for S&W revolvers, again, Brownells.

http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-to...o-prod406.aspx
Tatume is offline  
Old January 26, 2013, 08:56 AM   #19
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,242
If you remove the extractor rod, when you go to reassemble it, don't just stick a pliars on it and crank like hell.

If you do that, you run the very real risk of screwing up the ejector star.

Put empty cases in the cylinder FIRST. They help support the star when you're tightening the rod, and the chances of bending something are significantly reduced.


As for screwdrivers, WalMart's sporting goods section carries (or did not too long ago) a nice multi-set that is Winchester branded. The only complaint I have about mine is that the magnet came loose and when I remove the tip from the handle as often as not the magnet comes with it.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old January 27, 2013, 11:25 AM   #20
KenW.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 13, 2004
Posts: 151
Quote:
And, I have to disagree with the advice to use WD-40. It is far too light an oil to provide any real long-term lubrication value, and it can (being a penetrating oil) get where you don't want it, such as the primers in rounds that are carried in the gun.
You can clean with WD40, but as it is kerosene based, it will dry out and not lube very long. Use a quality lube like remoil or that frog stuff I've heard about.
KenW. is offline  
Old January 27, 2013, 11:55 AM   #21
dgludwig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: North central Ohio
Posts: 5,182
After decades of using WD-40 as a protectant and a lubricant, I learned the hard way of another reason not to use the stuff, especially in areas of small, moving parts. Over time, WD-40, if left in the same confined area, will (or at least can) congeal into a semi-solid, hard, waxy substance that is difficult to remove. If this hardened residue finds itself in a place where tolerances are tight for small working parts to move, it can result in a malfunctioning firearm.
__________________
ONLY AN ARMED PEOPLE CAN BE TRULY FREE ; ONLY AN UNARMED PEOPLE CAN EVER BE ENSLAVED
...Aristotle
NRA Benefactor Life Member
dgludwig is offline  
Old January 27, 2013, 01:08 PM   #22
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,835
WD-40 is great and I use it all the time on my garage door. I don't get it anywhere near a gun. Not only will it harden but it will mildew and ruin the finish of a blued gun.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old January 27, 2013, 02:53 PM   #23
stepmac
Member
 
Join Date: January 17, 2013
Posts: 41
My Smith 36 I bought when they still cost $68, that's bout 50 years ago. I just about ruined it by squirting WD40 into the works at the lifter. Now it's pretty gummed up in there and it kind of sticks. I'm not taking it apart though. I just deal with it. But I'd never squirt WD40 into the guts of any gun today. It hardens and things don't work as smooth as they did when new.
stepmac is offline  
Old January 28, 2013, 12:23 AM   #24
Dragline45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2010
Posts: 2,651
Quote:
My Smith 36 I bought when they still cost $68, that's bout 50 years ago. I just about ruined it by squirting WD40 into the works at the lifter. Now it's pretty gummed up in there and it kind of sticks. I'm not taking it apart though. I just deal with it. But I'd never squirt WD40 into the guts of any gun today. It hardens and things don't work as smooth as they did when new.
If you watch the video link I posted a few posts up it walks you through every step. It's not hard at all and if I were you I would open it up, scrub the wd40 out, and re-oil the parts.
Dragline45 is online now  
Old January 28, 2013, 12:55 AM   #25
lowercase
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2012
Posts: 247
Quote:
My Smith 36 I bought when they still cost $68, that's bout 50 years ago. I just about ruined it by squirting WD40 into the works at the lifter. Now it's pretty gummed up in there and it kind of sticks. I'm not taking it apart though. I just deal with it. But I'd never squirt WD40 into the guts of any gun today. It hardens and things don't work as smooth as they did when new.
I have a pre-Model 10 that was full of petrified WD-40 when I got it. YUCK.

I just removed the side plate and blasted the heck out of the internals with Gun Blaster (same as brake cleaner) and let it sit for a bit before hosing it out with more Gun Blaster. Did that a few times, let it dry and oiled it up. Good to go.
lowercase is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:12 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13072 seconds with 9 queries