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Old November 16, 2002, 05:00 AM   #51
Jim March
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Dill: good question. First thing I'd want to know is "how likely is this a stretched frame?", that being the worst sort of wear.

If it's an older gun, or esp. an alloy frame, that becomes a serious concern. You also want to think about whether it's a gun at the "edge of it's power curve" of frame strength to caliber. The M66 is unfortunately such a gun - a lot of hot loads can stretch a stainless K-frame S&W. The K was originally a .38Spl platform, slightly beefed up for the .357, but still kinda marginal esp. in stainless.

A gunsmith could tell you what's up. If the frame isn't stretching, it could probably be shimmed up pretty easily. All that "the test" can really tell you in this case is "skip that gun unless you have a real good reason otherwise". The danger on that gun is that the cylinders are lined up with the barrel end to end, but not "in line" - there may be a slight effective "bend" in the bullet's direction from cylinder bore to barrel.

ADK: Sam called it right. I'd still test rotational slop at full lockup on general principles, but I'm not sure it matters on an N-frame. It makes a difference on some guns, not others. I just specified "test at full lockup" to cover any possible situation.

SimonBarsinister: I asked over on the semi-auto forum if anybody could do an equivelent post like this. Short answer I got: not possible, way too many variations. You just have to know the particular gun type and do what you can. They're actually simpler; most problems happen at the feed ramp or magazine.
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Old November 16, 2002, 12:45 PM   #52
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thanks for the reply Jim. I bought the gun used from a dealer who had it as a police trade in, and hadn't shot it in years. I've never shot a .357 round out of it, all .38 special, as I was aware this gun wasn't the best one to shoot .357 out of, and .38 special was good enough for me. The cylinder has the same play when its catches up against the nub on the frame, which is what is making the 'click' as I move it back and forth. It seems the whole shaft the cylinder is on is moving. I'm not sure if the cylinder is supposed to be pressed against this nub at all times, or not. It spins alot more freely when its not touching the nub. If they were to shim it, would the shim be place in front of the cylinder, or behind it?

How can I tell how old it is? and what Generation M66 it is? I have heard that the earlier ones have pinned barrels, but I'm not sure how to even tell if its pinned or not. I have ready access to a digital camera if this would help.

I'll see if I can find a gunsmith to take a look at the gun. Thanks again.
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Old November 17, 2002, 03:57 AM   #53
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Huh. If the play is there with the cylinder open, that doesn't scream "frame stretch" to me. Frames stretch at the top, not the bottom. So maybe just a shim at the crane hinge would do it.

Have a gunsmith check it. It sounds like it's fixable.
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Old November 17, 2002, 12:50 PM   #54
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thanks alot Jim!
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Old November 17, 2002, 02:00 PM   #55
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On the new N-frame with cylinder slack, with the trigger pulled it is about .006 total. I contacted S&W about it and told them I was concerned what it would turn into with some shooting, being 44mag.

They said to send it to the plant for repair, freight-paid with a special label they sent. Now we can see what their gunsmith says and does. Appreciate the help. adk
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Old December 10, 2002, 02:49 PM   #56
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I'd like to add a tip on checking for barrel bulges. Run your fingers down the outside of the barrel to feel for any bulges.

Also check for bent ejector rods by spinning the cylinder with it out and it should ship without wobbling.

Check the firing pin mount for any burrs or if it's loose.

Check the crane/cylinder closed frame fit on the front of the gun. Should be nice and tight without gaps or frame might be stretched/too much one handed opening/closing.

The cylinder shouldn't drag open when you release it.

The crown of the muzzle shouldn't be stratched.

Check cylinder stops for excess wear/abuse.

What was the S&W sing test used to check? When you pull the hammer back slightly and spin the cylinder and you can hear the clicking?
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Old December 31, 2002, 08:07 PM   #57
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So long TFL...

This thread continues HERE:
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Old December 31, 2002, 08:21 PM   #58
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And thank you Jim for one of the finests threads at TFL.
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Old June 7, 2005, 10:58 AM   #59
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Found this in a link from another thread and was thinking ... man, wouldn't it be a good one to put BTT for everyone?

I'll think on it some more and decide ...
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Old June 7, 2005, 11:37 AM   #60
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wouldn't it be a good one to put BTT for everyone?
Yes it would. In fact it's going to remain there from now on.
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Old June 8, 2005, 03:04 PM   #61
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Thanks Mal!
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Old June 8, 2005, 08:06 PM   #62
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Great! Now I'll never have trouble finding it.
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Old June 12, 2005, 08:37 AM   #63
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A few comments - since you generally know what caliber you're shopping for,
buy some good snap caps first and stick them in your pocket- i guarantee
Mr Gunshop isn't going to have any. If He won't let you cycle the revolver,
go someplace else. Things I can't understand #8004961: Why does Mr Gunshop think it's ok to put a used revolver in his case uncleaned? I don't
mean a little bit unclean, I mean can't see the bore unclean. Would Mr used car dealer do that? The only way ( THE ONLY WAY ) to accurately check
bore/cylinder alignment is with a range rod. This is rarely ( I didn't say
never) an issue with new revolvers. A battered or non-concentric forcing
cone is a dead givaway on a used one. Sock drawer special: an older
model that looks unfired, but the da pull is about 100 pounds. You know
that stuff you take off your dryer filter?
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Old July 11, 2005, 04:09 PM   #64
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Great Post!

I just ran down to my safe to check out the S&W 629 Mountain Gun I picked up today. Whew! Your post was so informative, I printed it off so I'd have it for my next purchase. Thanks!
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Old July 17, 2005, 01:05 AM   #65
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Great Tips! Your passage has helped me big time in picking up a used revolver.
Thanks !!!!

Safe Shoot To Ya !!
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Old July 21, 2005, 10:27 AM   #66
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Great Thread

Thanks for the tips. I plan to use them when I buy my first used revolver!
"si vis pacem, para bellum"
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Old August 8, 2005, 10:34 AM   #67
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Two of my revolvers (Colt Python and S&W mod 36) had cylinder throwby. This occurred when pulling very fast in DA. The cylinder would over shoot the cylinder stop. The S&W was fixed by a thorough cleaning (bought it used) and the Colt by reading Jerry Kuhnhausen shop manual.

I don’t know how to check this without performing the DA pull and pissing off the seller.
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Old August 18, 2005, 08:22 AM   #68
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Python first post question

Hi guys, first post here.

I did a little searching but couldn't find the simple answers I was looking for so I hope the patient among you will indulge me with a couple of questions:

1. I note that Jim March signed off and headed for thehighroad forums, but I can't bring that web site up in any way shape or form. Is everything moved back here now?

2. (And directly relevant to this thread) I have a stainless Python w/6" barrel that acts peculiarly. Let me first say that I went through Jim March's procedures for checking out a revolver, and this Python seemed to pass perfectly. It's serial number is K937**.
In full lockup, there is absolutely no cylinder play front to back or side to side, and the gap is .004 which feels awful good to me.
With the hammer down and trigger forward, there is just a very slight amount of (expected) rotational cylinder play. No problem there.
And you can pull the hammer back to SA cocked position and it does so as smooth as butter (most of the time, which leads to the following):

So with that mental picture of a "perfect" revolver in mind, here's something I haven't figured out yet:

Looking at the pistol from the rear in it's hammer down, trigger forward condition, it's ready for SA cocking.
And it cocks SA fine most of the time, but occasionally the hammer will hang up and stop about 1/8" into the SA cock.
So I fiddled with it, and finally noticed that this can be reliably forced to happen by gently rotating the cylinder clockwise to where it stops (as seen from the rear) and then trying to SA cock it. Keep in mind that there is only about .015 (guesstimate) of movement in rotation available to the cylinder in any of the 6 cartridge positions in it's unlocked condition.
When turned clockwise to where the cylinder stops, the hammer will always hang up 1/8" back into the SA cock.
Then if I gently move the cylinder counter-clockwise just enough to get the cylinder away from it's clockwise stopped condition, it will always SA cock just fine.

My feeling is to just send it off to Colt, but I'd like to know a little more about what's going on with it before I do. On the other hand, someone here might be know about this problem well enough to suggest a simple fix that won't require any smithing.

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Old October 5, 2005, 01:03 PM   #69
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As great as the write up at the start of this string is, and that post really described a proper first inspection of a revolver, the real test of a new handgun is at the shooting range.

Anyone really new to shooting should join a shooting club before aquiring their first gun, where they can test fire a number of guns before shelling out the cash. Almost all folks I know who buy a gun first then join a shooting club and start participating, will almost always switch guns within a few months. Finding a piece that shoots naturally for you is no easy task.

Again, your first step is to sellect a shooting club with members you enjoy, and even that can take a while, every club seems to have a prevailing personality(?)... Some clubs are "militia" geared, to the extent of being military, some are arnchair "cop" styled, with home security being ever discussed, I always look for one with members that just really enjoy serious competitive shooting.

About the time your scores are high "sharpshooter" and beginning to intimidate the rated "experts", you will know what kind of a handgun really works best for you.
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Old October 21, 2005, 10:42 AM   #70
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thanks jim. you have done a very nice job with this help. i know it has saved a lot of money, for a lot of us. very well done. chris and toni. n,e. ohio. have a safe day.
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Old December 24, 2005, 11:05 AM   #71
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Bought a bad one? Colt New Service

Posted as a new thread

I have been sitting on a New Service that I bought several years ago. It is rechambered to .45 Colt, probably from .455, also refinished. The action is tight, and I thought I was getting a good shooter. I made up some light loads with 230s, and they locked up the cylinder. same with factory 250s. I think the chambers are loose enough to allow the cases to set back against the breech. The case heads are binding against the breech face, and locking up the cylinder. I am thinking that I am SOL. Any ideas?
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Old December 28, 2005, 03:04 AM   #72
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Thanks for digging up a great thread!
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Old January 24, 2006, 02:07 PM   #73
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Looking for a user revolver


This is a great post. One question I had was as cylinder gap increases what are the tradeoffs/dangers that go with it. Also say a revolver has a gap of .015 how big a deal is it to have a smith pull it back to something in spec. Any ideas of approx cost?
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Old February 12, 2006, 08:00 PM   #74
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wow, just noticed this tread, will use this this info tommorow ,if i purchase this sw mode 66-1.
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Old March 20, 2006, 11:22 PM   #75
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The bore of the cylinder matching up with the bore of the barrel at lockup is "alignment". "Timing" is the sequence of events that occurs when the trigger is pulled in double action or the hammer is cocked and released in single action. Alignment is checked with a range rod. Timing is checked by watching the movement and function of the cylinder stop, cylinder, and the hammer.
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