View Full Version : S&W cylinder will not open

December 6, 2005, 02:42 PM
I have a S&W .38 revolver, the little snubby airweight hammerless. I got it this fall and have not had much of a chance to try it out. I took it to the range today and fired one shot. At this point the cylinder locked up and I can't open it. This gun has the child safety lock with the little key to lock the cylinder. I have tried unlocking it but that does not work. I suspect this lock mechanism has something to do with. So does anybody have any experience with something like this? I don't like fooling around with it with four live rounds in the cylinder.

December 6, 2005, 02:47 PM
S&W has a lifetime warranty on the gun I believe and they should be the ones to work on it. Call them and set up a return for it and let them work on it for you.

December 6, 2005, 04:48 PM
The cylinder may be binding. I had a older model snubbie that would let the screw holding the yoke in place come loose. I finally "loc-tited" the screw in place. Try gently pushing the rod or cylider back while trying to open the piece...

James K
December 6, 2005, 05:15 PM
The lock only blocks the hammer; something else is causing the cylinder to bind. You can't send it to S&W (or anyone else) loaded, so you will have to take it to a local gunsmith or figure it out yourself.

First, I assume the cylinder will not turn, not just that it won't swing out. I suspect that may be an ammuntion problem. Try pushing forward on the latch, and tapping the cylinder on the right side with a block of wood. This can often get the cylinder open if a fired primer has set back.

If that doesn't work, go to a safe place and pull the trigger while turning the cylinder by hand. (The gun may fire, so keep the hand well back of the barrel cylinder gap.) If you can't turn the cylinder at all, get back with us and see if we can figure out something else.


December 6, 2005, 06:43 PM
Hi Maleman,
There is a posibility the ejector rod has backed out and is binding. I had this once with a Combat Magnum. The thread on the ejector rod is probably LEFT handed. GL HTH

James K
December 6, 2005, 06:48 PM
S&W hasn't used RH threads on their rods for years, so any gun with a lock is going to have LH threads. That doesn't totally eliminate a rod backing out, but reduces it by 99.99%.


December 6, 2005, 08:18 PM
I assume the bullet left the barrel? A squib round might stick a bullet in the forceing cone and stall things. I hope you can get it open, I assume there are other live rounds in there! Never heard of the ejector rod unscrewing on a new gun, only after lots of use. Let us know what the prob. turns out to be so we can watch out! You can't mail it back to Smith for warranty work with rounds in it if it is jammed shut.

December 7, 2005, 03:21 PM
Thanks to all who took the time and trouble to reply. I got off work early and took it to the only Smith in these parts. Yup Jim, it was an ammo problem. Extra points to you Tom2, a squib round it was. The bullet on the second round I tried to fire came out of the case about half way. Just enough to lock everything up. These were a few old rounds from years ago when I first started reloading. Figured I'd shoot em up. Well all is well that ends well. :)

James K
December 7, 2005, 04:45 PM
Being slow this week, I didn't think of a squib load. I assume the smith just drove the bullet back into the cylinder, the usual fix for that problem.