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Old July 5, 2007, 08:34 PM   #1
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S&W 617 Problems

I picked up an older S&W model 617 a few months ago on Gun Broker and it does seem to have some "issues". It seems to shave lots of lead during a typical range session, some of it spits back at me and the rest gets all over my equipment. I also noticed that after a hundred rounds or so, the outer front edges of the cylinder get burnt pretty bad.
I don't know how to check timing, but I did notice the space between the cylinder and the barrel is wider than in any of my S&W 38's. If that's a problem, what could be done to repair it ? How wide would this space normally be ? What is S&W's policy about repairing used guns ? So many questions, thanks in advance for any helpful responses.
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Old July 5, 2007, 08:58 PM   #2
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I think a good gunsmith can repair it - the mechanics of the medium and large framed S&W are basically the same and widely known. Or, to flip it around, if they couldn't work on the timing of a S&W revolver they shouldn't work with any revolver.
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Old July 5, 2007, 11:39 PM   #3
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The first check is for barrel/cylinder gap, and you check with a automotive feeler gage.

Press the cylinder to the rear and hold it there while you gage the gap.
The correct gap for a S&W is "about .005" with a maximum allowable gap of about .010".

Then press the cylinder forward and hold while you gage again.
If you notice a big difference between the two measurements, this is an indication that the gun has developed end shake, or wear that allows fore and aft movement of the cylinder.
S&W is in spec if the difference between cylinder to the rear and to the front is no more than "about" .005".
Anything over that requires repair.

Another thing to check is the forcing cone, which is the "funnel" in the rear of the barrel.
Unfortunately, you'll need a pistolsmith who has the proper plug gage to check that.

To check timing on the S&W, simply cock the hammer very slowly.
The cylinder locking bolt should drop into the cylinder locking notch with an audible "click" and the cylinder should lock up BEFORE the hammer reaches full cock.

If in doubt, send the gun in to S&W. They'll give it a full check-up and do any necessary repairs for a reasonable price.
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Old July 6, 2007, 05:13 AM   #4
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change your brand of ammo

try other manufacture of ammo
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Old July 6, 2007, 09:58 PM   #5
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My 617 is/was new last month. It also burns badly on the outside of the cylinder, no problem. Spitting lead at, equipment, I agree with Jdomin try dif. ammo 1st. I prefer jacketed, not much more cabbage and much, much cleaner. With .22 revos and non-jacketed ammo I find I have to clean the barrel and charge holes very frequently. Use a chamber brush, or a 6mm for the charge holes. later
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Old July 7, 2007, 09:47 PM   #6
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617 Problems

Thanks for the good suggestions. Maybe some burning around the front shoulders of the cylinder is normal for this gun. I still need a few extra minutes to get it out of the safe to check out some of these recommendations. I have tried 3 different ammo manufacturers, some jacketed hollow point, some lead nosed, I think I used Peters, Remington and one other whose name escapes me at the moment. I can't say that it made much difference on the ammo. I'll post again after checking those specs. Thanks
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Old July 8, 2007, 03:25 AM   #7
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All my stainless Smiths get burn marks on their cylinder's front edge after heavy use.

I am sure the blue ones get them too I just don't see em.
If you can kick in the pants the person responsible for your problems, you won't be able to sit for a month.
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Old July 8, 2007, 04:34 PM   #8
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Smith will fix your gun even if you aren't the original owner...and they will send you a fed ex number to ship it on them...I did it with my used 442 when it shaved lead...their customer service is hard to beat.
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Old July 9, 2007, 08:55 AM   #9
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If its a 617 it was made after 1989 and has the lifetime service plan.
Even if you are not the original owner they will send you a fed ex label and repair it free of charge.

Call Smith and Wesson, and they will fix it free.
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Old July 9, 2007, 07:50 PM   #10
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I did check the gap today between the cylinder and the barrel, but the thinnest feeler gauge I have is .010. That was a snuggish fit when holding the cylinder back, but was a definite no-go with the cylinder held forward, so it was hard to say how much end shake it has. The click test seemed fine and I tried the revolver check on the "sticky" at the top of the revolver threads, but didn't have any luck seeing that far back into the barrel and cylinder. Sounds like I should give S&W a call, I didn't think they'd do much in the way of warranty work on an older 2nd hand revolver, but sounds like it's worth a phone call. I know my other K-frames don't do the lead shaving thing and I can clean the soot off the sides of the cylinders with a rag after shooting several boxes of ammo. After a couple boxes of .22 LR's in my 617, I need a piece of 600 grit wet & dry sandpaper and lots of elbow grease to make it look decent again. Thanks to everyone who responded, I appreciate the advice.
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Old July 9, 2007, 08:23 PM   #11
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Get a lead free cloth to clean the powder burns. Just do not use them on blued guns, only stainless and nickel. I have some guns that don't leave much in the way of powder burns and some that do, my 617 will get them also.

Mine will not shoot Remington Golden bullets without locking up after about 20 rounds. Shoots the Federal Value packs all day long with very good
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Old July 11, 2007, 09:33 AM   #12
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Well, I just got off the phone with S&W customer support and he said it sounded like a timing problem to him, both the lead shaving and the burn problem on the front of the cylinder. I asked about it being done under warranty and he did say I would have to be the original owner of the gun to do that. ( Maybe I'll look for a local smith to work on it, I guess I'll have to sleep on that one)
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