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Old September 6, 2018, 05:21 PM   #1
mellow_c
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S&W 19-5, question regarding condition

I have a well used S&W model 19-5. Original owner said it probably had about 10,000 rounds through it, almost all .38 special.

Everything looks great on it so far and it feels solid. I have no worries about shooting it although i have yet to do so.

After looking it over more closely I've noticed something slightly concerning (this was an online purchase so i couldn't look it over before buying it). . .

What I've noticed is that the gap between the front of the cylinder and the forcing cone is very slight, probably could not fit a piece of paper between them on 3 of the chambers, but there is still a gap. Then the next 3 chambers start to actually make contact between the forcing cone and the front of the cylinder near the top of the cylinder and forcing cone.

So, for example. . .


Chamber 1, all clear.

Chamber 2, all clear.

Chamber 3, all clear.

Chamber 4, top of chamber touching top of forcing cone, with a slight gap between the lower 3/4ths

Chamber 5, no gap showing at all, full chamber appears to be in contact with full forcing cone.

Chamber 6, top of chamber touching top of forcing cone, with slight gap between the lower 3/4ths of forcing cone and chamber (same as chamber 4).

Then back to chamber 1, all clear again.


My questions are, how big of a deal is this? Can it or should it be repaired? How much would this affect the value of the revolver?

I paid about $500 for this thing out the door after shipping and background check and wonder if that was too much, or if i could ever hope to get my money back on it should i decide to sell it down the road.

Again everything else seems fine and the revolver appears solid and like it would function perfectly for a long time to come.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

Last edited by mellow_c; September 6, 2018 at 05:27 PM.
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Old September 6, 2018, 06:20 PM   #2
smee78
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I would take it and go shooting, the tight barrel to cyl gap may be a problem after you put a lot of rounds through it due to a build up of crud. Clean it and go shooting again.
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Old September 6, 2018, 10:11 PM   #3
Eddietruett
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As long as its not binding when cocking in SA its not a problem but as smee78 said, residue buildup will probably cause it to drag after shooting a lot of rounds. Lead bullets will most probably have more buildup than jacketed or plated. In theory the tighter the gap, the more accurate the gun should be but in a revolver in the hands of most shooters it is not noticeable. One of the best gunsmiths in the country lives here and he sets all of his reworked revolvers to .004. He wants it as close as possible but doesn't want it touching. (.004 is the thickness of a sheet of copy paper). He was telling me recently when he built a lot of competition revolvers years ago, some of the owners would specify a .001 or .002 gap knowing they would clean well after just a hundred or so rounds. I'm pretty sure that factory specs on Smith and Wessons today allow up to a .008 gap and still call in spec.
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Old September 6, 2018, 11:23 PM   #4
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Do any of you know if what I'm seeing could be related to the gun being shot a fair amount, or if it might be some other sort of misalignment due to misuse or aggressive handling? Because the gaps are so small to begin with on one side of the cylinder and then non existent on the other side, it's not as if the misalignment is very drastic, but still I don't like the idea of it and I would like to know how this could end up happening, or if this particular revolver may have just been like this from the factory right from the start?
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Old September 7, 2018, 07:48 AM   #5
arquebus357
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Sounds to me like your yoke could stand some tweeking. If you have a local gunsmith, that's a routine job for them. If it were mine, I would buy the yoke alignment tool and play with it myself. But, I'm a bubba.
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Old September 7, 2018, 08:41 AM   #6
Jim Watson
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Uneven gaps are an unfortunate fact of life.
Contact between cylinder and barrel is unacceptable.
I would ask S&W if they are still working on guns that old.
If so, have them overhaul it.
If not, search for a specialist revolversmith.
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Old September 7, 2018, 08:51 AM   #7
J.G. Terry
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19-5 and K38 for repairs

My experience: I had returned my 19-5 to Smith for repairs. There was some weird problem with the gun where the crane could not be reinstalled. It was not a good day. Was quickly told by S&W rep that there were no more cylinders or barrels for 19's. Locally, there were no gunsmiths who do good revolver work. YMMV. Also had 19-5 returned to factory specs at the same time. It's a keeper.

On the second go around the problem was with a K38 that would shoot around corners. In a letter sent with the gun spoke of the gun having been worked on by gunsmith. Promptly had the gun returned since Smith would not work on guns where others had tried repairs. Had the revolver done by Clark into a Light Revolver. Another keeper. Never looked back. As a practice my Smith's go back to Smith without anybody attempting to fix.

Addendum: It would be a good thing to check out with Smith does today. Earlier I had called about repairs on a five screw Combat Master piece. I was told quickly that work would be no longer done on hand guns with no Model Number. I'd did not have any problems getting my 19-5 fixed. About that time the Mother Ship overhauled my 28-2. All this has been in the last few years.
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Old September 7, 2018, 09:15 AM   #8
Driftwood Johnson
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I agree with Jim Watson and arquebus357.

Probably a bent yoke. Once upon a time there were plenty of gunsmiths who could deal with this. It might be hard to find one today.

And no, there is no way the revolver left the factory this way. Impossible to say exactly what bent the yoke, but it would never have gotten past the inspectors and out the door in the old days.
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Old September 7, 2018, 09:39 AM   #9
Jim Watson
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Yup.
1. A 19-5 is the variant that lost the "pinned and recessed" construction in 1982, minor change to -6 in 1988. Pretty old as the Internet Generation tells time.

2. Once upon a time, a company trained S&W armorer got, as part of his tool kit, a babbitt bar. He had been taught to beat a crooked revolver into line.
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Old September 7, 2018, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Jim Watson

Yup.
1. A 19-5 is the variant that lost the "pinned and recessed" construction in 1982, minor change to -6 in 1988. Pretty old as the Internet Generation tells time.

2. Once upon a time, a company trained S&W armorer got, as part of his tool kit, a babbitt bar. He had been taught to beat a crooked revolver into line.
I had an ex wife that would beat me back into line with a bar - I wonder if she worked for s&w?
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Old September 7, 2018, 12:07 PM   #11
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The first thing I would check is alignment. That should be easy and inexpensive for any gunsmith to fix.
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Old September 7, 2018, 12:41 PM   #12
J.G. Terry
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Any Gunsmith?

Fixed by any gunsmith? Lots of luck on that one. I have had no problem getting the handguns repaired by Smith&Wesson. Bubba is a living authority of working on Smiths-nothing too it. Just ask him.
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Old September 7, 2018, 02:38 PM   #13
mellow_c
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Story continued...

I called S&W customer service, explained the situation, they offered free return shipping but said there is a $40ish initial inspection fee and then $90 an hour for repairs with a minimum of 1 hour if work is needed plus the cost of parts. While on the phone i decided to go ahead and they emailed me the free shipping label.

After the phone call, i decided to look the revolver over again. I was visually checking the gap between the forcing cone and all cylinders. This time i only noticed two of them making contact, and only at the top, not full contact like i was seeing earlier. I will admit that this time i may have had a bit better lighting, (i used a white background this time and the last time i checked).

I only checked through two full rotations this time, but again, i only noticed two of the chambers making contact at the top instead of three like last time. I will have to check again soon, opening and closing the cylinder a couple times to see if that makes any difference.

I just couldn't help feeling like it's not going to be a problem after seeing that the issue appears to be less drastic than I first thought. And the idea of spending a minimum of $130 on this revolver isn't appealing to me. I feel like id be better off just hanging on to it and then selling it for what i paid down the road.

I ended up calling the same guy back and explaining my thoughts to him, he recommended I go put a few rounds through it, and to go from there.

I think that's what i will do.
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Old September 8, 2018, 12:15 AM   #14
J.G. Terry
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Mostly 38 Special?

That did seem like a bunch of rounds through that 19. Getting fixed I kinda figured that kind of money most anywhere working on guns. My old 28-2 ran more than that since parts were replaced. I just did not want to run the risk of having problems made worse by some local person. My problem is wanting everything just right-not perfect but just right. Will be sending a Vaquero back to Ruger for an overhaul. Looks like I'm the home for orphan handguns. Hope your deal works out.

Addendum: How much 357 magnum was in that "mostly 38 Special?"
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Old September 8, 2018, 02:22 AM   #15
mellow_c
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The original owner just said that he shot some magnums out of it every now and then, just for fun. I think he used it for bullseye shooting if I remember correctly. So what ever that equates to

I finally just took a flashlight and shined it through from the opposite side of the forcing cone / cylinder gap. I saw that really only two chambers are touching the top of the forcing cone and not very much if hardly at all. There doesn't seem to be any wear marks from it, and the rest of the chambers gaps are clear but nice and tight, with the opposite side of the cylinder still tight enough that I don't think I could fit a piece of copy paper in the gap.

I would bet this gun will continue to shoot and hold up just fine, as much as I would really care to shoot it, so long as I don't abuse it. However it would be nice to have it gone through and to have any maintenance or repair issues addressed by an S&W gunsmith.

maybe I should just load two magnums in the two chambers that appear to be in contact with the forcing cone, and then just specials in the other 4 cylinders, every time I shoot it... that should bang everything back in to perfect alignment... Right?
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Old September 8, 2018, 06:04 AM   #16
J.G. Terry
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Sounds like a plan. BE is usually done with minimum loads with wadcutter bullets. I'd get antsy if there were rub marks. On my built up revolver the gap is really small. I use my 19 as mainly a 38 Special also. Couldn't find a K38. Good luck and best wishes.
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Old September 8, 2018, 10:03 AM   #17
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy Again

I suggest you buy some shim stock so you can get an actual idea of what your cylinder/barrel gap measures. When measuring, push the cylinder all the way forward, to take up any endshake (forward and back slop) if it exists. With the cylinder shoved forward, see how large a piece of shim stock you can slide into the gap.

This is the set of feeler gauges I have been using for years to measure cylinder /barrel gap in all my revolvers.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Precision-Brand-19G20-20-PC-POC-KIT-FEELER-GAGE-ASSORTMENT/17207856?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1122&adid=22222222227023006849&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=107716015517&wl4=aud-261800281660la-300853230317&wl5=9001904&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=101593696&wl11=online&wl12=17207856&wl13=&veh=sem
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Old September 8, 2018, 10:34 AM   #18
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Driftwood's post is a good one. You should be able to find feeler gauges at your local auto store for around $10. Measure the gap with the the cylinder pushed forward and then again pushed rearward. Knowing these actual figures will allow for a better assessment of the severity of the problem.
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Old September 8, 2018, 11:15 AM   #19
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"...what ever that equates to..." Means the mostly .38 Special story is true and it'd be .38 Special 148 grain WC's with 2.7ish of Bullseye. Did the same thing for eons with a 19 and a GP-100.
Give it a really good bath before you do anything. A steady diet of .38 WC's out of .38 Special cases, will leave a bunch of lube gunk crud. Comes off easily with normal cleaning.
"...what bent the yoke..." Flipping the cylinder closed a la TV and movies does it. Not likely done by a bullseye shooter though.
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Old September 8, 2018, 11:23 AM   #20
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"...what bent the yoke..." Flipping the cylinder closed a la TV and movies does it.

I think T. O'Heir is correct. At least, I have heard/read this before and maybe on this forum or the S&W Forum.
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Old September 9, 2018, 03:23 AM   #21
J.G. Terry
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So I know?

Sure enough using a feeler gauge is the only way to know for sure. I stand by comments on rub marks. Might be good to measure end play. Not flipping the cylinder is a serious basic no-no. Taught that as a kid when Smith had five screws.
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Old September 11, 2018, 03:01 PM   #22
mellow_c
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Made it out to the range.

Gun shot well! I put about 12 rounds of magnums through it. Another 12 .38 special +p and the rest regular specials. About 100 rounds in total. All the regular specials were older dirtier shooting 158 grain lead bullets that I've had on hand for a good while.
By 100 rounds, I noticed a bit of tightness with the cylinder rotation on just one chamber when shooting double action. All other chambers were fine. I noticed it was the same when dry firing, so i guess that would be my only complaint.

Other people at the range commented on how nice it was and what a great trigger it had. Everyone thought I got some great deal. I think i did well enough.

Attached is a 12 shot single action group i shot standing and unsupported at 7 yards.

Would any of you mind posting a link to feeler gauges for sale online that would work for measuring the gap? Id just like some examples, then maybe I'll pick some up at the hardware store.

Also wanted to mention again, I didn't see any wear marks on the front of the cylinder at the two chambers that appear to make contact with the top of the forcing cone. With the cylinder locked in place, I can pull it backwards and there is then a very slight visible gap on the two chambers that otherwise appear to make contact with the forcing cone, with the cylinder pushed forward, they appear to make contact to the same degree as when I'm just clocking and releasing the hammer like normal. The other 4 chambers don't appear to make contact even if I push the cylinder forward.
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Old September 17, 2018, 06:53 AM   #23
dogdoc
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Easy fix. Get some power custom end shake bearing/washers. Google them . Easy install to fix cylinder endshake. Probably you tube videos on doing as well.
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Old September 20, 2018, 06:17 AM   #24
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Removing the end shake is a viable approach and easier than stretching the crane as taught by S&W. I personally would invest in a trip to Smith & Wesson as the work will be done correctly and warranted. I attended several S&W revolver schools in past years and have all the gauges, crane fixture etc. ——-somewhere in my stuff as there has not been a need for them in a lot of years.
End shake and cylinder gap are easy repairs for the factory to complete.
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Old September 20, 2018, 07:37 AM   #25
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I've shot twice that many .38's through a Model 66-2 that I had rebuilt fifteen years ago and it shows little appreciable wear. The two loads I shoot are lead bullet reloads that most would consider mid-range. I don't think I've shot more than 100 rounds of .357 through it.

I picked the gun up at a gun show on the cheap as it was pretty beat up. I had it rebuilt outside of the factory. It came back with a .003" gap and zero end shake. It now has a barely perceptible amount of end shake. It still shoots well inside 2" at 25 yards off sandbags.

My point would be I don't think 10,000 rounds of .38 is all that much in a 19.
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