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Old July 9, 2019, 08:00 AM   #26
smee78
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If you in such a big hurry "My big thing is I don’t want to wait another 8 weeks" then demand a refund and go spend your money some ware else? What is so difficult here? What response did S&W give you yesterday when you contacted them?
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Old July 9, 2019, 09:42 AM   #27
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Waspinator:

A few things that you may already know.

ECM is done by a non corrosive plug with the shape of a rifled bore locked into the bore. Corrosive chemicals are pumped through the bore and they burn out a mirror image of the inner plug. Leaves you with smooth rifling. The first time I heard about it general dynamics had started using it to bore artillery barrels. I don't believe that it is common in rifles, only handguns.

Nobody uses broaches anymore. those things were eliminated decades ago, and hook cut rifling is probably almost gone by now.

I have almost convinced myself that the thing was drilled, but not reamed to a sub caliber smooth bore. Drilling leaves spiral cuts as the thing works its way through. Reaming it with a straight flute reamer cleans off those ridges and cuts it to proper size. Then, the things are button swaged. The carbide button is bore sized and has grooves that are supposed to be land diameter. If a button swaged barrel that wasn't reamed smooth is processed, those rings from the drilling will not go away, they will just be compressed into a bore that is the proper size, but still covered inside with the marks of the drill.

https://absolutemachine.com/what-is-button-rifling/

There just can't be any other explanation for near microscopic apparently concentric grooves that cut across the inner surface of the barrel. They either forgot to ream or the reamer was wrong somehow.
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Old July 9, 2019, 11:10 AM   #28
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I am told that the S&W PC barrels for these guns are actually made by an outside supplier called Lothar. They use a computer controller broaching method to create rifling.

At least this is what I have been told by others, which looking at this, may make some sense.


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Old July 9, 2019, 01:19 PM   #29
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Walther uses buttons. Some of the larger companies use cold forging such as remington ruger and CZ for rifles. A broach is fine for running out handgun barrels because it doesn't need to be treated after the work is done. No forging or annealing to stabilize the compressed metal. A broach for rifling is far less expensive than they were even 20 years ago, the precision machining and materials have done so. Maybe some of them are diamond, cobalt, tungsten, not hardened carbon. A broach is a single pas and done unit like a button, but seriously, there's no reason to prefer a broached over button swaged.

Harold, a broach would not have left those marks, it is pushed or pulled through the barrel and cuts the steel out and drags it forward. First, that set of cutters would have eliminated the rings around the inside. Second, in almost EVERY case you would have found evidence of lengthwise scratching. There would be flakes and chips that get caught, or maybe nicks in the cutters.

A broach used to require dozens of individual hooks that were all hand set and required constant sharpening. they were only steel. It was a quicker way to rifle a gun than a single cutter but what gunsmith wanted to tie up his time in this? Only mass production has made it practical again. A smalll company that makes its own barrels is more likely to use button rifling. I can't prove this, but this is the only possible explanation that I can come up with. A poor job of reaming followed by a poor job of rifling.
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Old July 9, 2019, 01:23 PM   #30
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If it belonged to me and this was the only problem involved, I would consider fire lapping the bore to see if the rings are removed.
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Old July 9, 2019, 01:38 PM   #31
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Im wondering if those marks are the result from some type of internal expanding mandrel that is used as fixturing for a machining operation ?
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Old July 9, 2019, 03:51 PM   #32
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Fire lapping won't remove that!
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Old July 9, 2019, 04:19 PM   #33
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That barrel AIN'T RIGHT!!!! Make S&W replace or refund. I took some pics of my 460 Performance Center barrel. My barrel has maybe 50 rounds down it and it's smooth as glass, no tool marks or anything, just a little copper which is perfectly normal.
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Old July 9, 2019, 05:36 PM   #34
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My barrel has maybe 50 rounds down it and it's smooth as glass, no tool marks or anything...
I see faint traces of lines like those in the OP's bore pic.

Pic 1 at around 4:30, and pic 3 around 8-9:00.
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Old July 9, 2019, 07:25 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Carmady View Post
I see faint traces of lines like those in the OP's bore pic.

Pic 1 at around 4:30, and pic 3 around 8-9:00.
I looked at the pics again and even ran the scope down the barrel again, I see no such lines. Maybe it's the picture quality making it look like that, I don't know.

Either way mine shoots well and looks nothing like the OPs barrel.
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Old July 10, 2019, 08:02 PM   #36
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I haven't even had a chance to call them yet because I've been so busy at work, and I am usually working during the same hours they take phone calls. Hopefully I'll have time to do it tomorrow (probably not) or Friday.

I will keep everyone informed on the outcome.
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Old July 10, 2019, 11:36 PM   #37
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The photo is incredible. Shooting lead down it would be dreadful! I'm not even certain how they could make a barrel like that! I have an off-the-shelf Model 686 and it's perfect. That you should have a Performance Center gun with those problems males me glad I didn't have a gun those guys screwed up! Weren't they supposed to make S&W guns better?

Getting them on the phone sounds like a good idea. The idea is to make them send you a fabulous gun in return and get them to inspect the damn gun before returning it. And for that you need a commitment from a manager.


Smith & Wesson is one of the best gun makers of
all time, and, in its prime, also made some of the
world's most beautiful revolvers. This 629 was
virtually perfect, and it was flawless!


Surely the Performane Center has a manager. And he's the one you need to talk to. If you've sent the gun in twice, they should certainly feel a certain amount of shame o over the matter. I remember one time I bought a beautiful stainless steel Virginia Dragoon. Not a fancy gun by any standards. The first time I shot it, second shot, the hammer crystallized and shattered like glass. It was just a screw-up of the metallurgy. The thing I remember was how nice the people were at Interarms. I drove to their place in Alexandria, Virginia, and they fixed it for me overnight. Can't imagine an expensive gun at the S&W Performance Center! I world expect them to be very apologetic, especially with a barrel that looked and sounded like a zipper!

I'd send the photo first, then talk to the PC manager. Then I'd ask him what I was looking at, and how a barrel could be manufactured like that! I've bought a lot of S&W guns and most of them were perfect. Even the autos. The first generation autos were astoundingly bad and gave the company a black eye, but my second and third generation guns were great. The only issue was on a 659 9mm model. The backside of the gun, on top, was uneven, and was a bit higher on the left than the right; however, it shot reliably, and accurately. It was just unsightly. And it was one of my favorite guns. I owned two others of the same model. Still do. But I got rid of it and kept the other two. Just found it distracting.

Please let us know what happens. I hope they make things right.

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Old July 11, 2019, 02:57 AM   #38
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I'm not even certain how they could make a barrel like that!
My thoughts exactly. I dont know how that could be done, I mean if you wanted to. The radial ridges down in the grooves like that? On top of the lands, common, but; down in the grooves, weird?
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Old July 11, 2019, 06:45 AM   #39
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I dont know how that could be done
There's only one explanation.
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Old July 11, 2019, 01:49 PM   #40
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Email the CEO you will get referred to the executive complaint staff. They will take care of you. Tell them you want the new gun you paid for in perfect condition, or a full refund of your purchase price and other costs.
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Old July 12, 2019, 11:32 AM   #41
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Howdy

I have completely given up buying new S&W revolvers because of the lack of quality. The last S&W revolver I bought was in 2015. A Model 686-6 that had QC issues.

Your photo did prompt me to look down the bore of my 686 however, and the rifling is spotless. I can see a slight hint of drag marks in the grooves, indicating to me that the barrel was rifled either using a broach or a button.

I did buy a S&W 9mm 1911 PRO semi-auto this year that I have been very pleased with. I just took a look down the bore and the rifling is spotless. There appears to be a hint of drag marks in the grooves, indicating to me that this barrel was also rifled either with a broach or button.

I have no idea how those crazy tool marks could have been left in the OP's bore, particularly down in the grooves.

I guess I am not up on the latest in rifling techniques, I never even heard of ECM rifling. Just a classic guy who likes old Smiths.

Smith and Wesson has definitely cut down on the in process inspection steps they used to have. Look on the frame under the grips on an old Smith and you will see several inspector's marks, each stamped there after an in process inspection. It appears they are content to accept the cost of returns rather than pay in process inspectors.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; July 12, 2019 at 07:57 PM.
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Old July 12, 2019, 12:14 PM   #42
Jim Watson
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Although I have seen reamer marks across barrel lands, I can't figure out how to get evenly spaced marks across the bottom of the grooves, so I am going with the aliens theory.

I understand the monster magnum barrels are ECM rifled. I don't know about current standard models. They used broach rifling and lapping for years because cut rifling was too slow and the unsymmetrical shape of a barrel with rib and underlug would not button evenly. I suspect the two piece barrels are buttoned by the mile and cut off by the foot.
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Old July 12, 2019, 12:54 PM   #43
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Seems as though the working theory on the other forum about this particular gun is that Lothar made the barrel and it somehow missed the last step in manufacturing.
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Old July 12, 2019, 02:11 PM   #44
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I can't figure out how to get evenly spaced marks across the bottom of the grooves
I'll join the chorus of bafflement at that. Aliens make as much sense as anything I can come up with, meaning, of course, zero.
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Old July 12, 2019, 05:10 PM   #45
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Star Washer Theory

Those little lines also run up from the grooves to the lands in the pic of the OP's bore. I don't know Diddley about machine work or firearms manufacturing, but if I wanted to duplicate that look I'd get a stack of star washer like things and stack them using some twisted guide rails to give the rate of twist. The outside portion of S&W's 2-piece barrel would hide the lines and hold the mess together. Maybe have the rate of twist guide rods attached to the outer part, and the star washers also notched on their outside diameter so they would be held in place. I know it wouldn't work, but it would resemble the OP's bore (until it was fired).
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Old July 12, 2019, 09:45 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Driftwood Johnson View Post
Howdy

I have completely given up buying new S&W revolvers because of the lack of quality. The last S&W revolver I bought was in 2015. A Model 686-6 that had QC issues.

Your photo did prompt me to look down the bore of my 686 however, and the rifling is spotless. I can see a slight hint of drag marks in the grooves, indicating to me that the barrel was rifled either using a broach or a button.

I did buy a S&W 9mm 1911 PRO semi-auto this year that I have been very pleased with. I just took a look down the bore and the rifling is spotless. There appears to be a hint of drag marks in the grooves, indicating to me that this barrel was also rifled either with a broach or button.

I have no idea how those crazy tool marks could have been left in the OP's bore, particularly down in the grooves.

I guess I am not up on the latest in rifling techniques, I never even heard of ECM rifling. Just a classic guy who likes old Smiths.

Smith and Wesson has definitely cut down on the in process inspection steps they used to have. Look on the frame under the grips on an old Smith and you will see several inspector's marks, each stamped there after an in process inspection. It appears they are content to accept the cost of returns rather than pay in process inspectors.
In process inspecting has become the machine operator's job. IDK how it goes with barrel making, but for normal CNC machine work it's not one guy per machine, more like one guy (making 10-12 bucks an hour) on 2 or 3 machines, not necessarily making the same exact parts. Operators are under the gun (no pun intended) when demand is high, but with how things have been the past 2+ years, demand is not high, definitely not for .460 revolvers.

Especially those that have been sent back to the factory with QC issues already.

Whatever the issue was with the chambers on the revolver months ago, mistakes do happen, but nothing explains this absolute failure on all levels and there are no acceptable excuses other than sloppy workmanship and ZERO QC of something like this to be sent out to a customer on a "fixed" $1100 gun.

It's like just when I think Ruger's newly made revolvers are suffering from poor QC, I see something like this from S&W. My best guess as to why it took 8 weeks for this to be sent back to the OP is S&W is horribly backlogged doing warranty work.

I agree with you: stay the Hell away from newly made S&W revolvers, stick with the older, better made classics.

EDIT: Maybe the J frames are okay given the sheer volume of those that are made. Like with the LCR, it seems the small frame snubbies are pretty solid QC wise.
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Old July 13, 2019, 12:56 AM   #47
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I've had to send a gun or two back to Smith & Wesson for work that should have been done the first time. 8 weeks is not that long of a time. Smith's are worth the money and they will take care of you.

I would call and write down the name of the person you talk to. Also ask for their supervisor's name if you don't get the answers you are looking for. For one of my guns I kept asking for the next supervisor because I kept getting a different story as to where my gun was. I went to the top and got my gun back in one week, perfect.

It's worth giving them a chance but you have to stay on top of it.
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Old July 13, 2019, 03:34 PM   #48
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In process inspecting has become the machine operator's job. IDK how it goes with barrel making, but for normal CNC machine work it's not one guy per machine, more like one guy (making 10-12 bucks an hour) on 2 or 3 machines, not necessarily making the same exact parts. Operators are under the gun (no pun intended) when demand is high, but with how things have been the past 2+ years, demand is not high, definitely not for .460 revolvers.
I don't know where you have been working, but operators operating more than one CNC machine has been done for a lot more than 2 years. And they don't make $10 - $12 per hour either. In a former life I was a mechanical designer for an electronics manufacturer, and I would visit the machine shop regularly. I often saw guys running two or three machines at once. This was over twenty years ago. And they sure were not making just $10 - $12 per hour. More like $30 an hour. At about that time the machine shop did get rid of the inspection department and the operators were responsible for their own QC of finished parts. But before anything shipped it had to be run by the company's inspection department. They did a very good job of inspecting to Mil standards. I can recall seeing lots of rejected parts.

S&W used to have inspection after each major assembly, probably 3 or 4 in process inspections in all. I suspect now that if there is any inspection being done at all it is just before the finished firearms are shipped.
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Old July 14, 2019, 12:08 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Driftwood Johnson View Post
I don't know where you have been working, but operators operating more than one CNC machine has been done for a lot more than 2 years. And they don't make $10 - $12 per hour either. In a former life I was a mechanical designer for an electronics manufacturer, and I would visit the machine shop regularly. I often saw guys running two or three machines at once. This was over twenty years ago. And they sure were not making just $10 - $12 per hour. More like $30 an hour. At about that time the machine shop did get rid of the inspection department and the operators were responsible for their own QC of finished parts. But before anything shipped it had to be run by the company's inspection department. They did a very good job of inspecting to Mil standards. I can recall seeing lots of rejected parts.

S&W used to have inspection after each major assembly, probably 3 or 4 in process inspections in all. I suspect now that if there is any inspection being done at all it is just before the finished firearms are shipped.
Should have been more specific, $10 to $12 per hour in firearm manufacturing. S&W probably pays more like $14/hour, but that's in Massachusetts, cost of living is very high there, so bottom line is pay is still low.

Everybody was making better money 20 years ago, relatively speaking.

I agree with you that inspection is done just before shipping. I don't think individual parts are being inspected by professional inspectors, they're getting checked by operators and I can speak from personal experience, we'll let one or two things go if they're not too far out of spec it keeps us from having to deal with supers asking, "What happened?"
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Old July 14, 2019, 01:11 PM   #50
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I really wish that i could inspect that myself to see if there is any roughness that can be physically detected, or are those lines nothing but an illusion of roughness?
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