Older S&Ws


G. Glock
January 17, 2003, 02:44 PM
Having been shooting S&Ws since 1973, I 'm not so sure I like their changing the firing pin from the hammer to the frame. Guess I've not been paying attention lately (Too much Glocking), but I miss the old S&Ws. My two .44 mags are from the pin barrel era, and the other newer and smaller Smiths I own at least have a hammer-mounted firing pin.

While I wasn't looking, it appears what I considered the norm has become "collectible."

What do you all think about the new changes in firing pin? Does it seem to work just as well, even if it is a break with tradition?


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January 17, 2003, 04:00 PM
All of my S&W revolvers have the hammer mounted pin primarily since I haven't purchased a S&W since their sellout to the Brady camp. The remainder of my revolvers (with the exception of Ruger 3-screws) use the transfer bar.

So I would say the new firing pin/safety features are fine. Just hard to change from what you are used to. Like the case deflector on the M16/AR rifles. I hate the way they look. The first one I acquired was on a Bushmaster M4 upper for my M16A1. Guess I'm just used to the old M16/AR. Of course, I'm not lefthanded either!:)

Standing Wolf
January 17, 2003, 04:43 PM
I doubt there's anything wrong with a frame-mounted firing pin, although since it's spring-loaded, it requires slightly more hammer energy.

I'm not buying new Smith & Wessons for two reasons: integral locks, and the company's sell-out of our Second Amendment civil rights to the Snopes Clinton-Liar Gore régime.

January 17, 2003, 05:20 PM
The frame-mounted pins have been around for nearly as long as S&W has been making revolvers. Their rimfire guns have always been that way. With probably untold billions of rounds fired through them in the past century, any problem with the design would surely have surfaced by now. Despite what you may have read/heard, the MIM-equipped models can be tuned every bit as well as an older gun.

January 17, 2003, 06:08 PM
VictorLouis is dead on. I only have two Smiths with the frame mounted pin. A 1951 vintage K22 Masterpiece, and a 686-5 Snubby. The L-Frame is as smooth and precise as anything in my collection, and the .22?........well, it's a Masterpiece. ;)

January 17, 2003, 07:48 PM
Was the 38 Safety the first Smith to use the floating firing pin?

G. Glock
January 17, 2003, 09:34 PM
I agree; there's nothing wrong with change, if it's for the better. I was one of the first around Middle Tennessee to carry and compete with Glocks in the late 80's. Most people were still crying in their beer about the ugly plastic; didn't matter that the thing was a "masterpiece" in many ways.

I guess since for me the big Smiths are classics that are primarily range guns, similar to a 1911-A1 or a Colt SAA, I'd like them to remain true to their origins. For my carry Glock, I value function over form, while with my good old classic steel guns, I want to maintain form over function, to some extent. They be good enough they way they are!

But then I'm an onery old cuss who bought his first Smith in 1973 and wants things the way he wants them!

January 17, 2003, 11:12 PM
Well, as one who has purchased five S&W's in the past six months I have found that NIB guns with hammer mounted firing pins are literally everywhere. Go buy what you want - they are all over the place. Odessa

January 17, 2003, 11:34 PM
If I liked newfunkyhightechchange more, why would I be buying revolvers, huh? ;) :p

Someone pointed out that MIM parts are more uniform and require almost no hand-fitting. I replied that I liked hand-fitting; if I wanted to shoot something soulless that had been popped out of a mould, I'd go shoot a Glock or a Taurus. :D

G. Glock
January 18, 2003, 08:39 AM
"If I liked newfunkyhightechchange more, why would I be buying revolvers, huh? "

Thanks, Tamara; that's kind of what I was trying to say. I'm not interested in trying to make a classic revolver design more high-tech or "better." A good revolver is already very, very reliable, just as the Smiths have been for about a 100 years. There will always be new ways to save a few bucks in the manufacturing process; that's the real enemy of these classic designs.

Now, excuse me while I go finish installing that 10x Leopold scope on my Hawken rifle! :-)

Mark IV Series 80
January 18, 2003, 12:40 PM
I see some problems with the S&W frame-mounted firing-pin design:

There are more ways that it can fail..... the return-spring can break, and the firing-pin can fail to retract...... The firing pin channel can get gunked-up, causing failure to fire.

If you get a pierced primer, the firing-pin can be stuck in the forward position, with the extruded primer around it..... your revolver is tied-up. With the hammer-mounted firing-pin, you cock the hammer, and the firing-pin retracts.

More shooters have reported broken firing pins since S&W went to the frame-mounted firing pin.

Another problem: The new mechanism for the frame-mounted firing-pin requires more force to hit the firing-pin to reliably ignite the primer...... This translates into heavier springs, and a trigger-pull that is about 30% heavier.

IMO, if you have a choice, find a used model S&W in excellent condition, with the hammer-mounted firing-pin, no MIM parts, and no key-lock on the side.

January 18, 2003, 04:39 PM
Gotta love those MIM parts. They go together real well.

One of last nights informal Bullseye targets. 10 shots single action:


Don't get me wrong. I love my old Smiths, but the best shooting ones I own, have been made since 2000.


January 18, 2003, 05:30 PM
What means this "single action"? ;) :p

My Performance Center N-frame (circa '01 or '02) has a great SA trigger, but a DA pull that's only fair-to-middlin' when compared to my dead-nuts-stock early '90s 625s.

Most of my other Smiths already have trigger jobs (even the PC guns), so maybe I'm fussy.

Kahr carrier
January 19, 2003, 06:49 AM
I prefer the older Smiths myself ,they seem a little smoother ,and well made ,plus I dont like the key lock thats built into them.;)

J Miller
January 19, 2003, 10:43 AM
I have yet to see, let alone check out a new S&W with the MIM and Frame mounted Firing pin. So I can't really comment about them.
The newest of the two S&W's I own is 20 years old.

A comment about the frame mounted firing pin. In theory I suppose are more fragile and prone to breakage. But in application I can't really back it up.
I have never had a failure of a hammer mounted firing pin. No S&W, Colt, or Clone that I have owned has ever broken.

I have have fired a number of Rugers, both CF and RF with the frame mounted FP's with no failures either. Filthy loads, black powder, desert dirt and dust from four wheeling all day long has caused me no problems.
The one and only breakage of a frame mounted FP was in an Interarms Virginian Dragoon SA .45.
This was not the only problem this gun had, but the FP broke after many hundreds of dry firings.
I no longer dry fire any gun with a frame mounted firing pin.

I would rather S&W keep the hammer mounted FP, but I don't think there will many problems with them.

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