S&W .38 Model 10 problem


September 29, 2004, 02:35 PM
Does anyone here know how to dismantle a Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver to get to the cylinder release mechanism? Mine has suddenly gotten very sticky when the cylinder is closed and would like to avoid taking it to a gunsmith if possible. I already put oil under the cylinder release button but it didn't help any.

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September 29, 2004, 02:48 PM
Howdy genxsis, and welcome aboard.

Is it the release latch or the pin? Get the cylinder out and see if the
pin is loose. If it's backed out, it'll make it hard for the cylinder to open.

If you still need to go into the lockwork, use hollow ground screwdrivers to remove the sideplate screws. Remove the grips too, by the way...Open the cylinder and slide it forward to remove the cylinder and crane assembly.

Hold the revolver in one hand by the cylinder window and rap on the right side grip framewith a plastic mallet or screwdriver handle. Strike it fairly sharply at about mid-point, or a little lower. The sideplate should pop out unless it's badly rusted.

It probably has a hammer block, and it's hard to see how it goes back because it'll fall out when the sideplate lets go. I'm limited for time just now, so come back and sing out when it's time to button it back up.
Somebody will see it and respond.

If you figure out how the block goes back, lay the sideplate in place, and get the small tab under the frame lip. Put light pressure in the center of the plate and rap in the right side of the grip frame again. The sideplate will
press back in place. Do NOT pry on the sideplate to remove it, or hit it to reseat it.

Standin' by...


September 29, 2004, 03:08 PM

That's alot to digest! Maybe it's alot more complex than I thought! I'll print out your post and try following everything step by step. But I have a question: What is the pin you refer to at the beginning when you said it might be backed out or loose? I only know of that stud that fits into the hole in the recoil sheild that holds the cylinder in the closed position. That part pushes in and springs out smoothly when the cylinder is open and I push on it. I believe that's what the cylinder release button works against when pressed while the cylinder is closed.

September 29, 2004, 03:31 PM
Sorry Genexsis,

The pin that the cylinder spins on. Sometimes they back out and tie up the cylinder. It's a matter of screwin' it back in...and unless your revolver is unusual, it's got a left-hand thread. It'll probably back out again unless you put a little lock-tite on it and tighten it up pretty well. Use a leather or heavy denim strip on the knurled end to keep from buggering it up, and use
pliers to tighten it. Don't get too carried away...Those threads are small and will strip if you put too much torque on it.

I sounds complicated, byt it's really not. It's just hard to write out step-by-step instructions in one paragraph. The hammer block only goes in one way, and there's a slot in the sideplate that it has to ride in. The top
of it goes in toward the left side of the gun, between the hammer and frame. The slotted end goes over the small pin on the rebound slide, and the sideplate slot fits over it. It'll make more sense when you get it out.

If the latch is gummed up, spray it with WD-40 to wash out the gunk, and let it fry for an hour or so...then put a drop of fine machine oil in the mechanism...Sewing machine oil will do, or household 3-in-1 is pretty good...or Marvel Mystery Oil will also work. just a little goes a long way.

Since the problem started suddenly, my guess is that the pin backed out.
There may not be a need to take it apart.



September 29, 2004, 08:52 PM
Sure sounds like your ejector rod is comming loose. Probably left hand threads. Might want to give it a ckeck.

Good Luck...


Jim K
September 29, 2004, 10:32 PM
My suggestion for a "sticky" revolver is to remove the grips, then cock the hammer and spray down in front of the hammer and in front of the trigger with something like Gun Scrubber. Let the gun drain, then apply G96 Gun Treatment the same way to dissolve anything the scrubber didn't get and provide a light rust protection.

Do the same thing thing on the cylinder while working the extractor rod back and forth. Apply a few drops of gun oil to the works (same places) and to the extractor and extractor rod.

I have nothing against "first echelon maintenance" but some folks just don't care to take a revolver apart; they are not made for casual detail stripping and a lot of things can go wrong.

As to the extractor rod on an S&W working its way out, the left hand thread was supposed to correct that, but I guess it didn't. The Loctite solution works fine.



September 29, 2004, 11:12 PM
EJECTOR ROD!! ROFL...My brain farted long and hard there...I couldn't think of it to save me from Helle'sBelles...:rolleyes:

That's what I get for tryin' to do three things at once...Cyber-Smithin',
Dog Trainin' and tryin' to get another dang pistol back together. Guess I had pins on the brain...:banghead:

I need a 30-hour day...

Dave Sample
September 30, 2004, 01:56 PM
Loose Ejector rod gets my vote.

September 30, 2004, 03:51 PM
1911 Tuner,

I took the revolver apart last night the way you said. I found the part where the cylinder latch is located in there but the problem didn't seem to be there. The latch has always slid smoothly when operated with the cylinder open. I managed to get it put back together fine, and the problem persists. I'll see what I can do with that ejector rod you and JoeHatley were talking about and let you know how it works!

Boy! I sure hope I can fix this thing! I've been getting burned by autos for awhile (jams and hangups endless!) and I was just ready to stick with revolvers and keep it simple. I think this should be a simple fix.

September 30, 2004, 04:55 PM
Hmmm...Wonder if the EJECTOR ROD could be bent, or the crane sprung.
Please tell me you haven't been flippin' the cylinder open and closed.
Tha'll ruin a good revolver about as fast as anything that I know, short of backin' over it 8 or 10 times with a farm tractor.

Close the cylinder and see if there's a gap between the frame and the
crane. It should fit pretty close.

Sorry 'bout that mental flameout yesterday...Geez...I forgot my own phone number once.:rolleyes:

Ain't gettin' old a pisser though?:D

September 30, 2004, 05:04 PM
1911 Tuner,

I haven't been flipping the cylinder open and closed. I have heard that's not a good thing to do. This problem just came up suddenly after I had just fired 6 light loads through it, reloaded and then tried closing the cylinder.
There is no gap between the frame and crane that I can see. It looks nice and tight. Also, the ejector rod isn't bent. When I spin the cylinder, it doesn't wobble. If I were examining this gun as if I were buying it, it would pass with flying colors, except for this cylinder latch thing, of course!

Yeah, getting older is a pisser all right! I'm not that old yet, but I can feel it coming!!! :p

September 30, 2004, 06:30 PM
The details:

This problem just came up suddenly after I had just fired 6 light loads through it, reloaded and then tried closing the cylinder


Get an old toothbrush...open the cylinder...Dip the toothbrush in solvent...
Push the extractor rod to lift the star off the cylinder and scrub the unburned powder and carbon out from under the star. Dry it with a patch, and try it...betcha it gets better.:cool:


Dave Sample
October 1, 2004, 03:20 PM
Light loads was the big clue. I am with Tuner on this one.

October 1, 2004, 04:55 PM
1911 Tuner, and Dave Sample,

Thank you guys for being patient with me on this.....
I'm on a public computer, so I can't do what you said before I reply. But I'll try scrubbing under the extractor star with a toothbrush and let you know how that works.

Another detail I had forgotten is that when I push the cylinder latch, it is sticky so bad when aligned with a certain chamber, then I rotate the cylinder and it gets worse or better, depending which chamber is aligned. I guess I'm trying to say that it gets a bit easier when the cylinder is rotated to certain positions than others. I think that matches your theory about what the problem is. It is with the cylinder, not the cylinder release switch. I will go home and try what you suggested and let you know the results in the next day or so.

BTW, why would light loads cause unburned powder to get under the extractor star? Should I not be using them? They are light reloads done by a local gunshop. They were cheaper than factory and I just use them for fun.

Jim K
October 1, 2004, 10:35 PM
Make sure the gun is empty. Then hold the revolver up so you can look through the barrel-cylinder gap. Rotate the cylinder. I think that at one point you will see the gap close up. If the gun always worked before, you can rule out a bad cylinder, so just clean the front of the cylinder and the end of the barrel with a brass brush. I suspect some lead from those loads has gotten onto the front of the cylinder and is causing binding at that point.


October 2, 2004, 07:53 AM
Jim may have nailed it too...although I'd check it with empty cases in the chambers.

The reason that light loads cause fouling to get under the extractor star is because the pressures aren't high enough to expand the brass and positively seal the chamber. Gas blowby, complete with unburned powder grains gets under the star. Think of it like an engine with worn compression rings. All kinds of combustion by-products get into the crankcase. Same principle...If the cases are blackened and smudged,
that's the sign of inadequate chamber sealing.

Dave Sample
October 2, 2004, 01:52 PM
Sometimes it's very hard to tell if you have a slightly bent crane. Or a very slight bend in the ejector rod. Look carefully at the ftont of the crane/receiver area where it comes together and make sure that it fits together tight. Either one of these problems could cause the cylinder to be slightly off round. Good Luck!

October 2, 2004, 02:42 PM

But it didn't have anything to do with unburned powder under the extractor star. I checked that and cleaned it and it didn't improve it. Instead, it didn't even involve the cylinder at all! It was with that little piece under the barrel that is directly in front of the ejector rod when the cylinder is closed. It has a little rod in it that springs in and out when the cylinder latch is pressed and the cylinder is closed. I don't know what purpose it serves and didn't even see that little rod before! Didn't even know it was there! I wiped it off with a tissue and a little dirt came off of it. Now the cylinder latch isn't sticky anymore. I feel like a free man again! :D

Thank you 1911Tuner and the rest of you guys! I would have been lost without your help!

October 2, 2004, 03:29 PM
Excellent news! High fives all around, lads!

It's the little things that getcha...:D

That pin is the front latch, and works off the cylinder release . The small diameter pin that goes through the ejector rod is the mechanism that activates it, and it provides a little lockup at the tront of the ejector rod.

Later on!


Badger Arms
October 2, 2004, 03:32 PM
That little piece is the important part that locks the cylinder in its closed position! If you look at the front of the ejector rod, you'll note that it's hollow. That spring-loaded piece rests in this hollow well and keeps the cylinder from popping open at the front from recoil. It's an old design that is somewhat cumbersome, but cheap and effective. The Dan Wesson and some Taurus guns have a latch right under the breech or the barrel. Current Rugers have a different design that accomplishes the same thing in the same place. Smith & Wesson has a ball-bearing there that doesn't lock, but merely stabilizes the barrel there IIRC.

October 2, 2004, 03:49 PM
I learn something new every day! I always thought that little "button-like nubbin" in the back of the cylinder (in the center of it) that fit in the little hole in the middle of the recoil sheild is what held the cylinder closed all by itself. I guess it's better to have it held in the front AND back!

Dave Sample
October 3, 2004, 09:59 PM
I am delighted that you found the problem and solved it. Sometimes they are easy solutions, but very hard to find. Good Job!

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