View Full Version : .38 Special heavy barrel---

March 22, 2008, 12:57 PM
I have a S&W model 10-7 with regular 4 inch barrel. A guy has a 4 inch
heavy barrel to trade - both are pinned. Wouldn't the heavy barrel fit to
my model 10 ? I also have another model 10, but on the model 10-7 the
style and shape of the frame where it joins to the barrel on top has a
small line on each side designed in the metal that looks to match the heavy.
Is it a lot of trouble and expense to change one and wouldn't it have
to be headspaced ?


March 22, 2008, 05:26 PM
I don't know the barrel without looking at it, but no, headspacing is not involved. Headspacing occurs where the chamber(s) is, and on a revolver that happens in the cylinder, not the barrel. You will, however, need a gunsmith to check the barrel/cylinder gap and preferably one with a forcing cone diameter gauge.

March 22, 2008, 07:16 PM
The barrel would probably fit.

However, changing out a revolver barrel is VERY definitely NOT a do-it-yourself job.
It's a lot more complicated than you'd think, and it requires some special tools and gages to do it.
The WORSE thing you could do is try the old idea of locking the barrel in a vise and using a piece of wood shoved through the cylinder window to twist the barrel off.

What you need are a special barrel vise and a special gunsmiths frame wrench with hard plastic inserts made to fit the S&W "K" frame.
Also needed are a lathe, and several special and very expensive tools.

By the time you find a GOOD barrel, (many being sold are damaged) and have S&W or a really good gunsmith change the barrel the right way, you'd be better off selling the gun and buying one like you want.

March 22, 2008, 07:34 PM
What does the barrel look like? Anyone you trust or someone with a barrel on a web posting? Like they said, there is the possibility something is wrong with it, why was it taken off a gun to begin with? Unless it is new unused. And it is true that the cylinder gap would have to be right. If the breech end of the barrel is short and there is excessive gap, I don't know myself how to fix that. If it is long, the gunsmith can trim and chamfer it for a perfect fit. It depends on your gunsmith if it will be economical to install. I suppose that the price to change the barrel varies all over the place so you would get quotes. And keep your fingers crossed that the barrel is unused or will fit your gun. What is your motive to swap it anyway? It will make the gun heavier to tote around, but a bit more weight in the front for reduced recoil I guess. I can't say whether accuracy is any different between an ideal barrel of either contour though.

March 22, 2008, 11:49 PM
Thanks for all the information. Guess I'll be satisfied with the .38's and
.357's that I already have like they are from the factory. Too big of a
chance to take. The barrel is used with some finish wear in spots.
I was trying to make it be more like my S&W model 65 heavy barrel.
Some people are never satisfied.

James K
March 27, 2008, 12:53 PM
As you figured out, the frame contour is different for those heavy barrel guns. So even if you can overcome the other problems already mentioned, you will have an odd-looking "step" where the barrel meets the frame. I think your decision to skip the idea was a wise one.


Harry Bonar
March 29, 2008, 02:50 PM
Hey jim;
Are those Smith bbl. and frame assemblies - are the threads 'timed?'
Harry B.

James K
March 29, 2008, 06:58 PM
Yes, pretty well, but there is often a little difference, enough to require trimming or rolling the shoulder. Sometimes they go right up with no fitting at all. That is when you go "whew!"