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Old May 17, 2010, 09:43 PM   #1
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Barrel Damage to S&W 460, Accuracy is horrible

I was out shooting my new 460 and had a miss fire that lodged the bullet in the barrel. At the time I was several hours away from a gunsmith and made the poor decision to knock the bullet out myself. I wrapped a tent stake in cloth and tapped (actually pounded as it was VERY tight) it out with a hammer. Well the stake ripped through the cloth and I gouged the barrel in three different spots, 2 about 2 inches from the crown and 1 at the beginning just after the forcing cone. Each gouge is about 2-3 mm long and probably less than 1 mm deep. I'm worried because I cant get a group with a scope at any range. At 100 yds variation is more than a foot. I cant get a grouping at 20 yds. Has my dumb @$$ ruined this beautiful gun?
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Old May 17, 2010, 10:01 PM   #2
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Ruined? No. Damaged? Apparently.

Your barrel might be repairable. The factory can certainly replace it. You may have damaged the barrel crown (and not noticed it) as it is crown damage that is the most common cause of accuracy loss.

Certainly the damage to the rifling could have an effect on your accuracy as well. Since you had a squib load (bullet stuck in the barrel) I assume you were shooting reloads? IF not, you should let the ammo maker know what happened. IF there is one drastically under charged case, there might be one just the opposite!

As to the damage you did with improvised tools, I don't think the warranty covers that, so you will likely have to pay for the repair (and shipping).

Give S&W a call, and 'fess up'. They will walk you through the steps needed to get your gun fixed. It may take a while, be patient. They will take care of you, eventually. Some folks, especially when it is warranty repair work, get all bend out of shape when they don't get their gun back in a week. Considering all the jobs in line ahead of yours, and the relatively few people doing the work, a few weeks ( or even longer) is, I feel, quite reasonable.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old May 17, 2010, 10:14 PM   #3
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WOW! A steel stake I take it? And, a handgun so you had to drive at the muzzle end. Id' go with 44AMP and check, or have checked, the crown. I have seen some pretty lousy rifling with visible damage still produce good results but a crown ding in a show stopper.

How deep is the damage, really. Lots of elbow grease with JB Bore Compound might help.
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Old May 18, 2010, 07:22 AM   #4
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A horse of way different color... errr... well sorta...

I've been doing light loads with Trailboss powder, & started with lead round balls & working up lighter cast bullets now, on 100-125 year old top break 32 & 38 S&W guns... some of these bores are so pitted, that the rifling is barely visible, yet with the right load, some of these guns are shooting 2" groups at 30 ft...

I also shoot a Dan Wesson 357 Max revolver, so I do understand the "uber high velocity revolver"... under normal circumstances, I'd agree that you likely nicked the crown, & having the crown touched up, may fix your problem ( it's certainly the cheapest alternative... besides doing nothing )... but it's my expirience, that the higher the velocity of the bullet ( & the 460's a mover ) the more critical it is to have a clean, non fouled barrel ( I haven't shot a damaged barrel, but assume here that the couple spots of damage are similar to "fouling" in how they are effecting the bullet )...

if the crown looks good, you can try lapping the barrel, as was already suggested, but you may find that sending it in for a replacement barrel is the only way to get your groups back ( if indeed you had good groups to start with ??? not trying to imply anything, only that the 460 is a genuine hand cannon, & it's entirely possible that it's more gun than alot of it's owners can handle accurately )
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Old May 18, 2010, 08:19 AM   #5
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If you have a problem, I decided long ago it's best to just send the gun back to the factory and have it fixed. It's worth it to not spend time fretting over it.

Hope you get it worked out.
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Old May 18, 2010, 08:33 AM   #6
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Yes, you probably damaged the crown, and the rifling leading up to the crown, so a simple crown renewal may not help. Your gouges in the bore, without seeing them, sound like they would in all probability damage the base of the bullet in passing, and a damaged base is going to go off target.

This is my opinion, based on your report, and granted, it is more of a pessimistic view than optimistic.

You are wasting your time. You can't fix this. You have possible damage that will never allow you to get back full accuracy. Don't waste your time taking it to JoJo's pawn and gunsmith, send it to S&W and see if they can offer anything.

I really hope you don't just polish out the obvious scratches and unload it on some unsuspecting sucker.
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Old May 18, 2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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Thanks, for the input fellas. I think I'm going to take it in to a certified S&W gunsmith first and see what his opinion is.

Yes it was a reload round with a faulty primer.

I called S&W and asked them about barrel replacement and they said it would cost about $500. That's an expensive lesson! I wish warranty covered stupidity! My buddy has a good pistol rest that I'm going to borrow and see if it still shoots off. I have noticed when out plink'n & shooting targets that my first 10 rounds were accurate, then after that flinching took over. Out of curiosity, what kind of accuracy are people getting shooting the gun off hand at 50 and 100 yds? I bought the gun for bear hunting when they are out of bow range and want to be comfortable at these ranges before I pull the trigger on an animal.

I don't ever plan on selling this gun so if I can repair it without replacing the barrel and restore the accuracy I'd be happy.
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Old May 18, 2010, 10:29 AM   #8
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I wish warranty covered stupidity!
Sometimes it will, sometimes it won't. I've had minor stupid acts that the manufacturers went ahead and dealt with as warranty items (Springfield Armory for one, Remington for another), but those were for cheap parts. When you're dealing with something like the barrel on a revolver, that's an expensive part that isn't easy to replace, so yeah, that's going to be all on you. Sorry, dude.
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Old May 18, 2010, 01:15 PM   #9
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Would you mind posting a good, non-blurry closeup of the crown? I would like to see if there is any damage visible.
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Old May 18, 2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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I called S&W and asked them about barrel replacement and they said it would cost about $500.
They replaced the entire frame, yoke assembly and hand on my 624 (stainless steel N frame 44) two years ago for only $215.
I suspect it will actually be cheaper once they have it in hand.

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Old May 18, 2010, 09:43 PM   #11
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Pciture of crown, 2nd picture shows some of the damage

Picture of crown, 2nd picture shows some of the damage. Its the best I could do with my camera. The crown looks to be in good shape. I do have some copper fouling through the barrel that needs to be cleaned.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Crown.pdf (43.2 KB, 243 views)
File Type: pdf Barrel Gouge.pdf (25.0 KB, 219 views)

Last edited by 13thapsotle; May 19, 2010 at 12:04 PM.
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Old September 29, 2010, 12:45 PM   #12
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are you shure your yoke is not bent?
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Old September 29, 2010, 01:19 PM   #13
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I am having a hard time imagining that the damage to the rifling is causing these issues. Or maybe I just have never seen this type of issue.

Check your scope mount, check your scope, try some different loads.....
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Old September 29, 2010, 02:34 PM   #14
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I dunno here...if S&W told me $500 for a new barrel, I'd start looking into custom options. You might be able to get a setup built that's overall closer to what you want...longer, shorter, custom sight base options, etc. And come out cheaper.
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barrel damage , s&w 460 , stuck bullet

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