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Old September 5, 2013, 11:57 PM   #1
AID_Admin
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Need a part for SW J-Frame (a question)

Gentlemen, I have a question for those of you who fix their own guns. I now own a vintage model 38 "Bodyguard" which has a broken pin. I believe the part on which this pin is located is called a "hand", but you can quickly recognize it on the picture below. I checked the Brownells and they are out of stock. No problem, I found a few used ones on Ebay. But there is the problem: all of them including the one on Brownells show this broken pin (the one to which red arrow points) larger diameter! You can see the diameter of the broken pin on the picture by the imprint. And below my image is an image from Brownells. You can clearly see the pin is much wider diameter. I am not sure it's going to fit. Any thoughts? Thanks.


MINE:


BROWNELLS/ EBAY:
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Old September 6, 2013, 09:48 AM   #2
PetahW
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.

While a call to the S&W Parts/Service Dept would ensure getting the correct part, since the fitting of a new pawl's critical to the timing, in this case I'd send the revolver to Smith for the repair.

(BTW - It's legal under Federal Law for you to ship your revolver for repair & get it back, w/o the use of an FFL on your end. Your state's laws may vary)



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Old September 6, 2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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Gunsmiths: Out of curiosity, and being a compulsive fixer, how is the pin held in there? It is not likely integral to the part. Seems it would have to be a press-fit. Then, it should be able to be pressed out. and a new pin could be made of drill rod (or a small box of hardened pins could be ordered from an industrial supply), hardened/drawn and pressed in. Then the original hand could be used without changing the timing. Or, am I missing something?
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Old September 6, 2013, 10:02 AM   #4
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If I'm not mistaken, that "pin" is shown larger diameter in the ones you're finding because it is shaped like a mushroom.

What you're seeing is the reduced diameter shank that is mated to the hand. The "cap of the mushroom," so to speak, is what has broken off. I'd have to rip apart one of my J frames to make sure, but I think I'm correct.
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Old September 6, 2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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Interesting update

Ok, so I took a gun apart again to see where this pin connects to other parts and could not find any obvious connections. At than point I found a broken pin somewhere inside the gun, removed it, and assembled the gun back together. And here is and interesting news: it seems to work fine! Trigger pulls, hammer falls, cylinder rotates. Timing seems to be good and lockup is fine. I did not take it back to the range for real firing test yet, but dry-firing check was passed with no concerns.

At this point the curiosity was so bad I called Smith and Wesson with questions. Waited on hold for about half an hour for parts department and someone answered. I explained my situation and asked what this pin is responsible for. The answer was "ahhh, I don't know. I need to see the gun". Really?! SW rep needs to see a standard J-Frame to tell me what this pin is for?! Ok, so my next question was, if I take the gun to the range and there are any issues can I buy a replacement part and will it work due to a wider pin. The answer was "ahhh, yes, we sell it, I think it should work, you just have an older gun, but newer parts should work". Well, I have to admit this question was unnecessary... If the guy doesn't know what this pin is for, how he can answer if the wider pin will fit?

Anyway, I'll take the gun to the range and see what happens. Perhaps within J-Frame models there were guns that used extra parts and this pin was needed, but mine doesn't... I just don't know...
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Old September 6, 2013, 10:21 AM   #6
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Gunsmiths: Out of curiosity, and being a compulsive fixer, how is the pin held in there? It is not likely integral to the part. Seems it would have to be a press-fit. Then, it should be able to be pressed out. and a new pin could be made of drill rod (or a small box of hardened pins could be ordered from an industrial supply), hardened/drawn and pressed in. Then the original hand could be used without changing the timing.
It is a press fit and yes, I can probably press it out, cut a new pin and press it back in. I don't have tools at home to do it, so I will have to ask friends to help. I thought, since replacement part is less than $20, I will not bother other people with this issue. But if you read my post above, there is a chance this is a non-issue altogether...
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Old September 6, 2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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If I'm not mistaken, that "pin" is shown larger diameter in the ones you're finding because it is shaped like a mushroom. What you're seeing is the reduced diameter shank that is mated to the hand. The "cap of the mushroom," so to speak, is what has broken off. I'd have to rip apart one of my J frames to make sure, but I think I'm correct.
Mike, that pin is same diameter, not a "mushroom" I have a broken pin in my possession, its same diameter as imprint on the part in the picture. But again, read my post above.... now I am really puzzled what this pin is for.
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Old September 6, 2013, 11:18 AM   #8
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"At than point I found a broken pin somewhere inside the gun,
Perhaps within J-Frame models there were guns that used extra parts and this pin was needed, but mine doesn't."

Ha, Ha, very funny.
Was a joke, yes?

That pin is called the hand torsion lever pin.
It, and the torsion spring that lives in the middle of the trigger, is what keeps tension on the hand, as it rotates the cylinder.
Very necessary.
Make sure the spring isn't lost.
Its a very little coil spring with arms in both directions.
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Old September 6, 2013, 11:26 AM   #9
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Get the thing to a QUALIFIED gunsmith.
The pin's there for a reason, or it would not be there.
The factory would not still be using the pin just out of tradition or to add an unnecessary step in parts fabrication.

You obviously got a clueless rep when you called S&W, spend the money to correct the problem. If you can't find a local gunsmith, get it to the factory.
The people who answer the phones there rarely know much & are not the ones to talk to with technical questions.

Monkeying around with a replacement pin on your busted hand, trying to drop in an entire new hand when you don't know anything about fitting it, or just ignoring the problem, are inadvisable.

When you're in over your head, as you are, best to PAY COMPETENT PEOPLE to do it right.
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Old September 6, 2013, 11:33 AM   #10
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Ha, Ha, very funny. Was a joke, yes?
No, not funny and no joke. It was a serious question from a guy who is not a gun smith, but has over 10 years of professional watchmaking experience, which allows him to be fairly proficient with levers, pins and springs a lot smaller than ones found inside of a revolver.

I am aware of the spring inside the trigger. That spring is connected to a different pin on the "hand". On the picture above you can see two pins right next to each other. The wider one goes inside the hole in the trigger which holds the assembly together, the thinner one right next to it, goes into a slot in the trigger and connects to the spring inside the trigger you are describing. The broken pin is in the middle of the hand and not even close to anywhere to the trigger.

So, unless I completely misunderstood your post, this is not it. Thanks.
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Old September 6, 2013, 11:45 AM   #11
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The pictures are not coming up on this thread for me.
Guess I'll have to mess around with something or other.
Well, if that's not the pin in question, another possibility is that it's a guide pin to help the hand go up and down as it should.
If so, it's important, too.
Sorry if my question seemed insulting.
It just sounded funny - extra parts left out of a reassembly wouldn't be strange, but extra parts left inside.....
You gotta' admit, that was different.
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Old September 6, 2013, 12:01 PM   #12
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Aid,
Seriously, seek professional help.
Your .38 isn't a watch & you, again, don't know what you're doing.

Messing with a busted hand is not something for a novice to be tinkering with.
One facet of responsible gun ownership is knowing your practical limitations, understanding that there are often invisible complexities involved in parts' construction & relationships, and realizing that swapping grips is a kitchen table job, while repairing or replacing a busted hand that controls timing is not WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WHAT.

Dinking around with that pin is not even something most gunsmiths would do.
They'd replace & fit a new hand. Messing with the pin would be a last resort used only if a new hand was not available.

There's more at stake here with a device that explodes things than just messing up a timepiece.
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Old September 6, 2013, 12:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
That pin is called the hand torsion lever pin.
It, and the torsion spring that lives in the middle of the trigger, is what keeps tension on the hand, as it rotates the cylinder.
Very necessary.
Make sure the spring isn't lost.
Its a very little coil spring with arms in both directions.
So, it's a spring with one arm that rides up against the missing pin? Sounds to me like the diameter of the missing pin wouldn't be critical.

But...

Quote:
Monkeying around with a replacement pin on your busted hand, trying to drop in an entire new hand when you don't know anything about fitting it, or just ignoring the problem, are inadvisable.
...my understanding is the hand is something that does need to be properly fit. Sounds like you need to find a gunsmith competent in S&W revolvers.
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Old September 6, 2013, 12:08 PM   #14
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Well, if that's not the pin in question, another possibility is that it's a guide pin to help the hand go up and down as it should.
I am sorry if I sounded a bit edgy English is my third language and sometimes when I try to explain myself it comes out sidewise. I did not realize you can not see the pictures... The "guide pin" does sound logical though, I just could not see any groove this pin goes inside of...

I emailed SW a minute ago with a detailed explanation of my situation. Hopefully whoever sorts their emails will turn it over to a knowledgeable staff member. I don't mind sending a gun in. My fear is that a repair and shipping may cost more than the value of the gun. So, the least I hope for, they can answer that question for me
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Old September 6, 2013, 12:15 PM   #15
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Sometimes the cost of shipping & repair does exceed the value of the gun.
That's just an occasional part of gun ownership, if you want to keep them running.
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Old September 6, 2013, 12:52 PM   #16
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Just a guess, but
If that extra pin was indeed a guide pin, it might have been there to align the hand and keep it from rubbing on the window, where it goes through the frame to the cylinder.
Looking at some youtube videos not all S&W hands had that third pin.
So maybe yours will work without it.
If the timing looks ok, it's worth a try.
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Old September 6, 2013, 01:04 PM   #17
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For those of you who have a sudden urge to take their J-Frame apart to get a better visual on the pin, no need to do so. Just refer to the image below where red dot represents a pin. As you can see it does not touch anything in either uncocked or cocked position. However in cocked position it sits very close to the release latch. So may be there is some kind of safety function this pin serves, although I still can not see what that function would be ...



P.S. Before anyone starts screaming: this is not a live ammo in the gun! All my caps are 357 and they don't fit, so I used empty shells for dry-firing
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Old September 6, 2013, 01:26 PM   #18
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First that pin is not essential to the gun working. What it does is to prevent the bolt from moving forward under recoil and releasing the cylinder. It is not the torsion pin, which is the smaller of the two pins in the bottom end of the hand (the other is the hand pivot pin).

It is a relatively new change to the S&W lockwork, made necessary by the very light revolvers chambered for heavy recoiling rounds like the .357 Magnum.

(I am not sure if it is used in all of the newer S&Ws or not; something like a Model 10 wouldn't really need it.

Jim
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Old September 6, 2013, 01:35 PM   #19
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It is a relatively new change to the S&W lockwork, made necessary by the very light revolvers chambered for heavy recoiling rounds like the .357 Magnum.
James, thanks a lot. That makes perfect sense. If that's the case I will test fire it on the range and leave it alone for now.
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Old September 6, 2013, 01:47 PM   #20
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I might be wrong, but I don't think the hand you picture goes back 50 years. You say you "now own" the gun; that seems to indicate the gun has not been in your possession and untouched for 50 years, so I suspect that at some point a new hand was put in.

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Old September 6, 2013, 01:51 PM   #21
g.willikers
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Betcha' then the hand was a replacement at one time.
A newer style part in an old gun??
And that's why it has the third pin.
Oops, slow on the draw, James beat me to it.
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Old September 6, 2013, 01:58 PM   #22
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Oh, no! The gun has not been in my possession for last 50 year. Come to think of it I have not been in my own possession for 50 years, as I am younger... I just got this gun on a trade less then a week ago, took it apart for cleaning and found this pin being slightingly bent. For the rest of the story you may refer to the beginning of the tread. But it's interesting thought about the "hand" part being a replacement... In fact while the bore is clean and lockup is good, the gun does show a fair amount of wear, so replacement parts are a good possibility. Either way, thanks again!
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Old September 6, 2013, 06:06 PM   #23
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Ok, just came back from the range with excellent results. Gun shoots great. I put about 70 or 80 rounds through it, not a single hick up or issue. I tried double and single action, rapid fire, you name it. Below is a target with 10 shots in it, 8 yards. Yes, I know I still need to learn how to aim that little thing better. But it's a lot of fun, especially for someone like me, who always shoots heavier revolvers with target sights.

I want to thank everyone for their input. Even though disassembling revolver ended up being a fairly easy task and I think by now I can do it in my sleep, still it's a firearm. No jokes. As one of the members rightfully said, unlike a pair of watches this thing can explode in your hands. So, all the knowledge of the more experienced members is greatly appreciated.

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