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Old January 23, 2013, 05:06 PM   #1
TonyAZ
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Nice S&W model 19

Hi! I'm new here, but been shooting and collecting for (too) many decades. Lurking here for a while, I can see there are some real experts, so I have a question or two.

I recently acquired a S&W model 19-3 chromed 2.5" .357 Magnum revolver. It has a smooth trigger, red ramp front sight and no white outline rear sight. The immaculate walnut grips lack the diamond design found on some. The serial is 6K137xx.

Can someone tell me when this gun was built? I'm thinking 1968-77, but would like to narrow it down.

Though it appears in excellent condition in every other way, I am concerned that when cocked, the gap between the barrel and cylinder is about 0.010 or 0.011". I don't know what spec is, but I do know my Ruger SecuritySix is 0.005. Is this gap a matter of concern?

I paid $580 total including a very nice custom leather holster. It appears to be an average value right now. Am I right?

I would post a photo or two, but can't figure out how to do so on this forum. I hoped the FAQ would explain, but it didn't.
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:15 PM   #2
Webleymkv
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Rather than check the B/C gap with the hammer cocked, you should really check it when the gun is a full lockup. Full lockup means that the trigger is held fully to the rear and the hammer is resting fully forward as it would be when the gun is fired. A good revolver checkout can be found in Jim March's Revolver Checkout thread which is stickied at the top of the revolver forum.

Also, your gun is most likely not chrome plated unless it has been refinished at some point. The two standard finishes for the M19 were blue and nickel and I suspect that you're mistaking nickel for chrome. Finally, stay away from full-power .357 Magnum ammo with bullets lighter than 140gr in your revolver. K-Frames such as your M19 have a thin area at the six o'clock position of their forcing cones that's known to crack if the revolver is fired with large amounts of full-power, lightweight magnums (the full-power 125gr loadings are the most well-known offenders). So long as you stick to either .38 Special ammo or Magnums with heavier bullets, your revolver should last long enough for your grandchildren to enjoy it.
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:30 PM   #3
Duke City Six
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According to the Standard Catalog, it appears to be from 1974.

For photos, in FAQ under "Reading and posting messages," you will see "Attachments and images." It can be a little tricky at first, and your file can't be too big, but you can test it in the "Software and function testing" forum.

Last edited by Duke City Six; January 23, 2013 at 05:36 PM.
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:45 PM   #4
Erno86
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I have a M-19 "snubbie" that keyholes Sellier and Bellot, 38 Special Wadcutter bullets. Anybody know why?

Thank's,

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Old January 23, 2013, 05:58 PM   #5
TonyAZ
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More info and photos

Thanks to Webleymkv--measured as you specify, full lock up, the cylinder gap is still 0.011". Yes it is a nickel finish, not chrome; my slip.

Thanks to Duke City Six--I attach photos, having benefitted much from your pointer to the forum info section.

I attach (I hope) two photos of the model 19. One general shot, and one of the breech end of the barrel. Is the "forcing cone" the slightly tapered first mm or two of the barrel? Is the weak point where the metal is thinner because of the flat cut into the bottom of the barrel?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2282-sm1.jpg (204.1 KB, 134 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2288-sm.jpg (45.4 KB, 96 views)

Last edited by TonyAZ; January 23, 2013 at 06:30 PM. Reason: typos
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Old January 23, 2013, 06:31 PM   #6
BigJimP
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Yes, the forcing cone ...is the rear portion of the barrel..at the cyclinder end...and it is slightly tapered so its easier for the bullet to enter the forcing cone ...as it emerges from the cyclinder.

By the way ....that carbon build up around the forcing cone --- can be cleaned up ...and if you stay after it, after every time you shoot it ....it'll look way better !!
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I agree 1974 is what my book says ...
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I only shoot the traditional 158 gr bullets in all of my K frame S&W's ( model 19's or 66's )...and I reload ....but there is a good variety of ammo available in 158gr...
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:29 PM   #7
TonyAZ
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Gap info?

Thanks for all the answers to my questions on my model 19-3.

One question remains, is my cylinder gap of 0.011", measured from full lock-up, normal or not? The piece is otherwise such pristine condition that I can't see how it could have gotten enough (ab)use to put it out of specs, but that gap is double of several other revolvers (Rugers) that I have on hand.
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Old January 24, 2013, 11:44 AM   #8
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Check out the "how to check a revolver link above" in this section of the forum ....but 0.002 on some of my older model S&W 19's, 27's, 29's is about what I see on most of my guns...

I'd suggest you check it again with some feeler gagues .... 0.011 is quite a bit.../ if its really that wide, I'd probably have a competent S&W revolver gunsmith evaluate the gun - see what he or she can find..../ but your gun has a lot of carbon buildup in the area on -- and around the forcing cone..and that should be cleaned up, in my opinion, before you check it.

Last edited by BigJimP; January 24, 2013 at 11:50 AM.
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Old January 24, 2013, 03:06 PM   #9
TonyAZ
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Feeler gauges

Thanks, Big Jim, but I am using feeler gauges, and with the gun in full lock-up, 0.010 easily slips in, and 0.011 with a little resistance. Just by eye-balling it I can see that it looks far wider than on my Rugers.

I wish there were a good local gunsmith. As I said before, it is hard to imagine why this could have so much gap, while showing almost no sign of wear elsewhere.
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:10 PM   #10
BigJimP
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I don't know why its that wide either....maybe its ok / maybe not ....but I don't think this is something we can help you evaluate over the internet either.

You might ask around at your local range...see if there is someone in your area that is experienced with S&W revolvers.../ but that scorching and carbon buildup around the forcing cone, is an indication to me, the gun hasn't been that well cared for.

Is the timing tight ...or is it a little suspect too ? Check out the revolver link in detail - on how to check a revolver - if you haven't done that...it'll give you a lot more detail.

and good luck - whatever you decide.
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:30 AM   #11
TonyAZ
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Within specs

Well, I did find a gunsmith, and he says S&W specs for the mod 19 are rather loose, 0.006 to 0.012, so mine is just within specs. He inspected the gun and confirmed that it seemed to have had very little use, so the gap probably existed from the beginning. Finally, he made clear reducing the gap would be a major job. The barrel would have to be rotated into the frame one full frame, which would probably require machining the end of the barrel to allow adequate gap, and moreover the extractor rod would now foul the shroud, so it too would have to be shortened! I think I'll try to live with it.
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Old January 31, 2013, 10:11 AM   #12
Bob Wright
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SHOOT THE BLAMED THING! Then determine if the barrel/cylinder gap is excessive.

I carried one of these little gems for a couple of years, loaded with Federal .38 Special Nyclad hollow points.

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Old January 31, 2013, 10:12 AM   #13
Hal
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A 19-3 would have been smack in the middle of the Punta years.
Bangor Punta owned S&W from 1965 until 1984.

QC during those years wasn't as good as it should have been & a whole lot of stuff was made that's borderline - such as the "just barely squeaks by being in spec" cylinder gap on your 19.

The drop in QC during those years was a fact.
The actual drop in QC wasn't all that bad.....it was greatly exaggerated.

It did used to have an effect on the value though.
That's one of the reasons I sought out M19's made during that period - they were excellent values.

And more importantly - all the ones I picked up were exceptionally good shooters.

Honestly though - if everything else works as it should then the CG isn't anything to worry about.

If it bothers you all that much, find someone with a chrono and clock some loads through it and see what it shows.
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Old January 31, 2013, 10:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
SHOOT THE BLAMED THING! Then determine if the barrel/cylinder gap is excessive.

I carried one of these little gems for a couple of years, loaded with Federal .38 Special Nyclad hollow points.

Bob Wright
Bob, you have never carried a double action revolver in your life - unless it was to pistol whip someone who tried to take one of your single actions... Just kidding there Bob!

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Wright. Take it out and shoot it. Don't spend too much time worrying about it.
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Old January 31, 2013, 08:11 PM   #15
TonyAZ
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Shoot the damned thing!

OK, I did. In about 24 rounds, half .38 Spl reloads, half Federal factory .357mags I got six FTFs--the primer was indented but did not fire. What does that tell you?
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Old January 31, 2013, 08:35 PM   #16
m&p45acp10+1
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Sounds like someone did a trigger job with lighter springs. Not at all uncommon to run into. Try some Federal ammo. They tend to have softer cups that fire easier.
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Old January 31, 2013, 08:58 PM   #17
Viper99
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Tony,
That is one gorgeous revolver.
Joe
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:28 PM   #18
m&p45acp10+1
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Did you try to fire the ones that did not go off again. If it was reloads then it could have been from primers that did not seat far enough. If it was with the magnum factory loads then you will need to look into getting heavier springs.
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Old January 31, 2013, 11:26 PM   #19
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Is the strain screw on the lower-front of the grip screwed all the way in?
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Old February 1, 2013, 12:33 AM   #20
TonyAZ
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Strain Screw

@Redlevel42--I was able to screw it in another half-turn CW. Is that likely to make any difference in the miss-fire problem? I can't detect any change in trigger pull (using finger, not a gauge).
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Old February 1, 2013, 01:06 AM   #21
jglsprings
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Reloads or factory ammo?

The strain screw could very well cause the FTF problem. Incorrectly tightened (too loose) would cause light hammer strikes. It is often referred to as a poor mans trigger job.
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Old February 1, 2013, 06:28 AM   #22
Hal
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Quote:
--I was able to screw it in another half-turn CW. Is that likely to make any difference in the miss-fire problem? I can't detect any change in trigger pull (using finger, not a gauge).
Yes. For sure.
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Old February 1, 2013, 08:29 PM   #23
TonyAZ
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Awaiting another opportunity

Thanks to all. Having adjusted the screw, I'll report back after I'm able to shoot the gun again, I hope within the next few days.
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Old February 2, 2013, 06:26 AM   #24
Hal
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Another thing to check - and it's not something common, but, I've had it happen....

Make sure the firing pin on the hammer is free to pivot. I had one that was sort of frozen in place and didn't pivot. Crud or something had built up on it.
I hit it with some #9 and a brass brush and scrubbed it good and freed it.

Since the gun is older and used, it's possible it was cleaned with WD40 and the WD40 has turned to varnish.

BTW - the finish is probably nickle not chrome.
Be careful with using #9 or anything else with ammonia in it to clean the gun.
Worst case is the ammonia will attack the finish. Less severe is the tendancy for the ammonia to turn it yellow.

I use Ballistol on all my nickle guns to clean them.
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Old February 3, 2013, 01:18 AM   #25
TonyAZ
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More tests

Well, I shot about half a box of fresh Federal .357 mags and all fired normally. I then shot some of the old (30-year old) .38 Spl reloads and about 20% failed to fire. It appears that tightening the adjusting screw was enough to ensure reliable firing of fresh factory ammo. The old .38 Spl may have deteriorated, and account for those miss-fires, though only more shooting with fresh ammo will totally convince me that my problem is solved.

The firing pin seems to move easily against spring tension in the hammer.
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