View Full Version : Bulged barrel

September 4, 2006, 04:07 PM
I recently found an old S&W pistol with a slightly bulged barrel.
I believe this stretching of the barrel has weakened it and made it unshootable, Correct?

Harry Bonar
September 4, 2006, 07:15 PM
Dear Shooter.
Yes, it is probably unsafe to shoot.
These very old revolvers had sometimes very poor annumition - sometimes, due to handloading, just the ammo itself, or other causes would either get the muzzle plugged either from debris or a bullet stuck in the bbl.
I don't know the details on your pistol but I'd hang it on the wall.
Harry B.

Hunter Customs
September 4, 2006, 09:41 PM
How old is the gun?
Can the barrel be replaced?
Where's the bulge at in the barrel?
Before you try to make a shooter out of the gun I would have it thoroughly checked over by a competent gunsmith.
As Harry suggested it may be best as a wall hanger.
Bob Hunter

September 5, 2006, 09:45 AM
The revolver is an 1877 Schofield.
The barrel can't be removed.
The bulge is in the middle of the barrel.
Thanks for your help.

September 5, 2006, 10:04 AM
My old Stevens .22 have a slight bulge towards the middle of the barrel, but I figured it was just made that way. You can only notice it my sliding your hand up and down the barrel. Could I be wrong?

September 5, 2006, 11:09 AM
Middle barrel bulge is most likely from a bullet having got stuck in the barrel from underloading or failure of contaminated powder to burn completely, then a second round with good powder being fired into it rom behind. If the bulge is extremely slight and you think it may be a manufacturing error in making the exterior contour, slug the barrel with a pure lead bullet or ball. If the friction against the slug is uninterrupted as it pases under the bulge, you are in good shape. If the bulge resulted from an "incident", then you will feel the slug get very loose in the bore when it passes through the bulged portion. In this case you would not only need to replace the barrel assembly, but also check the frame for distortion and chamber dimensions to be sure it didn't bulge the chamber that fired the last round.

A barrel with a bulge in it should shoot blanks, but no real ammunition should be put through. Even if you did put it through, it would tend to lead in the bulged area and wouldn't likely be very accurate. I have no idea whether any replica exists that would have compatible replacement parts available? If not, then you need to look at blanks or take Harry's suggestion.


Bill DeShivs
September 5, 2006, 11:57 AM
Your .22 should be safe to shoot with a slight bulge.

Hunter Customs
September 5, 2006, 10:04 PM
It sounds as though the old S&W may be better suited as a wall hanger.
How about making a shadow box display using the old gun, a playing card hand of aces & eights, and a few poker chips throwed in for good measure.
Bob Hunter

James K
September 5, 2006, 10:27 PM
The S&W Schofield is pricey enough that it would have considereable value even with a bulged barrel, if it is in otherwise decent shape.

That barrel is fairly thin, so I would advise not shooting it; besides, if the barrel were to split or blow open, the value would be near nil.


September 6, 2006, 07:49 PM
I had a Smith and Wesson model 10 with 4" barrel that was very accurate despite having a bulge in the barrel. The bulge was not noticeable looking down the bore.

Mike in Michigan
September 8, 2006, 08:53 AM
How about relining the barrel? Brownells has liners in many different calibers.

Jim Watson
September 8, 2006, 10:38 AM
Barrel walls on those old guns are probably too thin for conventional relining. There was a guy, David Woodruff, since deceased, who would reline about anything that was at all possible, but he was a specialist with a lot of tooling and liner selection.

September 8, 2006, 04:04 PM
A bulged barrel on an older pistol can often be corrected with a blow of a babbit hammer.