Smith and Wesson 19-5 unrepairable!


June 16, 2005, 11:57 AM
On May 14 I found this beautiful S&W model 19-5 (made in 1982) at the local pawn shop. Since the pawn shop policy is no returns, my son and I gave it (what we thought was) a complete check over before I bought it for $300 OTD. It was very good in lockup, tightness, etc.

Here is what she looked like:

However, when I was disassembling and deep cleaning it at home, I found that the forcing cone had a crack on the bottom edge  (Damn!!)

Checking on the internet S&W oriented forums, I found that this was a common problem with these “K frame” 357s caused by too many full-house 357 magnum rounds of light bullets being fired (from the wear patterns, I figured it was owned by a cop). Also found out that once cracked, they should not be fired so I didn’t even try to fire it. I called Smith and Wesson to see if it could be sent in for repair. The lady assured me that it could probably be fixed and she sent out a prepaid Fedex overnight pickup label for it. On the letter that I enclosed, I gave them my charge card number, expecting to pay a hefty amount to repair it.

But on June 6, I get a call from a fellow in customer service at Smith and Wesson – He told me that not only can the barrel NOT be repaired, it also could NOT be replaced because S&W no longer had the replacement parts for it  (Damn again!!!!)

But……. (There IS a God!), The Customer service man then told me, since S&W could not fix the 19-5, they would REPLACE IT WITH A NEW REVOLVER! And the closest to it still being built is a 4” 686-6 (MSRP of $694.00). So they would be sending one out to me AT NO CHARGE, WHATSOEVER, as soon as I provided them with an FFL’s address to send it to  (Hallaluya!!!!)

They are also sending me back (via Parcel Post) the grips from the 19-5, since they say they are nice "collectables".

Just think of this analogy – You buy a used, 1982 high-end line car, say a Cadillac. You get home and find it has a problem that cannot be repaired, but the seller won’t allow a return. Would you think that GM would send you a BRAND-NEW 2005 MODEL CADILLAC AT NO CHARGE?? (I don’t THINK SO!)

So here is what I received yesterday:

I already took it out to the range and shot it (over 2 boxes of 50 ea.) and zeroed the sights and it is a TACK DRIVER now! No functional problems what-so-ever right out of the new box. Now to go register it at S&W for the lifetime warranty!

And some of you out there still won’t buy a Smith and Wesson because of them caving-in to Clinton! Well, that was when it was Brit – owned - Now they are American owned and they are bending over BACKWARDS and UPSIDE-DOWN to earn customer loyalty. Well – They’ve EARNED MINE – for LIFE!


P.S. I was so impressed with the Smith and Wesson “Edge” that I went out and bought this (just to give S&W something back, you see):
(A S&W 629-6 .44 magnum 4 inch “Mountain Gun”!)

If you enjoyed reading about "Smith and Wesson 19-5 unrepairable!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
June 16, 2005, 12:28 PM
Wow that is customer service. Thanks for the story. The 686 is an excellent revolver and I'm sure you will be very happy with it for a long time.

June 16, 2005, 01:57 PM
It's truly sad to lose an older S&W, even if from the often-disparaged BP era, but I am truly impressed by the way S&W treated you. You literally could not have asked for more, once the gun was determined to be unrepairable.

June 16, 2005, 03:34 PM
Now take those great grips from the Model 19 and stick 'em on that 686. Guns are supposed to be wood and steel :D


OOPS! Just noticed that the 19 was a square butt, and the 686 is a round butt. Oh well, go forth and find ye a K-frame to stick 'em on.

Black Majik
June 16, 2005, 04:04 PM
That's probably one of the best customer service stories I've heard in a Long time!

Good job S&W. That was a beautiful model 19 however.

June 16, 2005, 04:13 PM
Having S&W's just made me feel a little better...great story!

June 16, 2005, 04:29 PM
And some of you out there still won’t buy a Smith and Wesson because of them caving-in to Clinton! Well, that was when it was Brit – owned - Now they are American owned...
And the revolvers still have integral gun locks. When those go away, then I'll believe they have come back into the fold.

That being said, their customer service is very, very good. I've called to ask questions about my Walther P99 (imported by S&W) and gotten first-rate advice. When we had a problem with my sweetie's Ladysmith, they fell all over themselves sending us a free part to fix the problem. They wanted to fix it for me, but were happy to just send me the part.

J Miller
June 16, 2005, 05:07 PM
I guess I'll be the odd man out here. If S&W offered me a new key-locked gun inplace of my "unrepairable" gun, I'd tell them NO, just ship it back. Even free I wont accept a gun so equiped.
Add the key locks to the Clinton agreement which is still in effect and waiting for a hostile administration to come along, and there's just no way I could accept one.

The fact that only the barrel is damaged isn't enough to condemn that 19-5. There are many gunsmiths with S&W barrels in their parts bins. A little research would have turned one up.

I'm glad your happy with your new gun. That's the important thing.


No Quarter
June 16, 2005, 05:42 PM
Gun snobbery aside, you did great. The 686P is a nice gun. The lock in no way shape or form reduces the gun's ability to bring you pleasure at the range or defend your life on the street. Shoot it and enjoy it.

If you were buying guns for collector status and as an investment, you better be looking a lot higher up the scale than a garden variety S&W that you can still find pretty much everywhere and won't appreciate in value to any real extent until you are a worm feast. The 19 you bought would have abeen a great shooter, but I bet you will enjoy the 686P more both for it's ruggedness and it's low-maintenance materials.

Sounds like you like shooting what you buy - in that case, you have a great gun1 I have a 686P snubby that is the bee's knee's at the range and for CC.

So, good on ya' That is a great customer service story from a company that is obviously trying to do the right thing by one of their cusotmer's.


George Hill
June 16, 2005, 05:42 PM
*heading out to the pawnshops to look for old junked S&Ws*

June 16, 2005, 05:59 PM
"*heading out to the pawnshops to look for old junked S&Ws*"

Oh Gawd!

That response is just the thing that I was afraid of if I posted this experience.

I hope that S&Ws kindness is NOT abused and thus spoil it for everyone with a genuine problem!


George Hill - I HOPE that you were just kidding! :)

Standing Wolf
June 16, 2005, 07:53 PM
...some of you out there still won’t buy a Smith and Wesson because of them caving-in to Clinton! Well, that was when it was Brit – owned - Now they are American owned...

The agreement Smith & Wesson signed with the Snopes Clinton-Liar Gore régime hasn't been rescinded. It could still be enforced at a moment's notice.

Personally, I refuse to do business with shameless anti-Second Amendment bigots.

June 16, 2005, 08:04 PM
What I don't get is how a company can be so responsive to an "irrepairable" product problem, and so deaf about an easily repairable political problem. :banghead:

June 16, 2005, 08:33 PM
Thats pretty amazing, makes me want an S&W.

Johnny Guest
June 16, 2005, 09:09 PM
RonJon was telling us proudly of his treatment by the current company. He is rightly tickled at the result, so he's entitled to his two sentence reference to "The Agreement." That is plenty. No one else need contribute to thread veer by additional comment on the political aspect.

If you must discuss this matter, start your own thread in Legal & Political forum. Before doing so, though - - Please utilize the SEARCH function for several key words such as "S&W AGREEMENT" and "S&W BOYCOTT," and read all the comments you were going to make.

Thanks for your cooperation.

June 16, 2005, 09:30 PM
I wonder if the other upstanding, champion of 2A rights gun companies will do the same for this lucky individual. You did good by getting a new 686 over an old and worn out 19. Keeping it as an investment is not going to make you rich. Smith made ALOT of those guns. Nothing special.

The Rabbi
June 16, 2005, 09:55 PM
You was robbed. The M19 was the best gun Smith ever built.

June 16, 2005, 09:56 PM
Outstanding !! :)

June 16, 2005, 10:01 PM
Though I bet you could have had the 19 fixed by a local gunsmith, it's hard to argue with a brand new replacement revolver :what:

Sir Aardvark
June 16, 2005, 10:09 PM
Lock or not - I still make mine S&W.

I have both pre- and post-lock models, and while I am more partial to the non-lock, no MIM models, I still love them both!.

This story from Ronjon is all the reason you need to purchase a S&W product. Service like this is rare - I have never heard of Glock replacing one of their kaBOOM!'d frames for free....but let's not go there. And what about Bearcoat?........

Thanks for the uplifting customer service story, Ronjon; it's good to see that there are companies out there who still make proper service a priority.

June 16, 2005, 11:06 PM
Well, S&W is willing to send out a brand new 686 when they could (if they weren't too proud) call up Numrich or Brownell's and pick up a new 19-5 barrel in 2.5, 4 1/8, or 6' for $100-$130? That's amazing, really.

I still totally would have just bought a 2.5 barrel and had someone swap it in for me, but then, I already have a performance center 686. ;) Glad you had a good experience.

June 17, 2005, 12:49 AM
It's a shame you couldn't get your M19 back also. There are K-frame barrels around and it could be repaired.

June 17, 2005, 01:17 AM
I am impressed. It seems that S&W is on an all-out campaign to reclaim goodwill.

June 17, 2005, 02:17 AM
I have a customer service story for ya, from S&W.

Some of you might remember that some time ago, I sent a Model 29-3 that I had for many years to S&W for rebluing and replacement of the hammer and trigger group due to unsafe firing conditions.

Well, I finally got the gun back. I opened the case, and there it was--looked like black glass!

I picked it up, glad that a Christmas present from my wife (in 1985) had come back. Then I opened up the cylinder, and took a look.

I noticed the following:

1. I sent them a 29-3. Why did I get a revolver with a pinned barrel back?
2. Checking the serial number, I noted that the numbers and letters were in a nice straight line. On the original it was offset. :confused:
3. Finally, I popped the sideplate. In my early years of gun plumbing, I took the sideplate off of this revolver the wrong way, and put a serious gouge on the inside of the frame. The gouge was gone.

So, I called S&W. Here's what happened:

As part of the repair process, they were going to remove the barrel, and recut the forcing cone due to erosion. When doing so, the original frame cracked.

Thus, after recutting the forcing cone, they searched and found a BRAND NEW frame from a M29-2--and reassembled the revolver!

They not only replaced the hammer and trigger--they did the WHOLE innards of the revolver.

In short, I got a BRAND NEW 29-2 hybrid--it's not recessed, but it's sure pinned!!!

So, it begged to be broken in. 200 rounds loaded; 150 of 250 grain LSWC, hand cast and sized to .430, on 9.0 of Herco. Next were 50 rounds of 180 gr. Sierra Power Jackets, on 27.0 of H110.

Of course, I just had to do the 180 grain JHP first; at the first pull of the trigger, the range literally echoed thunder, and a huge fireball blasted out of the barrel as the revolver boomed with Magnum firepower for the first time in almost three years. The backstop--a huge angled piece of armored plate--rang like a bell when that JHP hit it. The curved, dark wood grips rolled back in my hand like an old friend, and I just stood there savoring the feeling for a minute or two.

(Can you tell that this is my favorite revolver? ;) )

June 17, 2005, 02:21 AM
"It's a shame you couldn't get your M19 back also. There are K-frame barrels around and it could be repaired."

Same thing I was thinking, and I have a spare 4" 19 barrel. Paid all of $20 for it at a local shop.

June 17, 2005, 09:22 AM
""It's a shame you couldn't get your M19 back also. There are K-frame barrels around and it could be repaired."

Same thing I was thinking, and I have a spare 4" 19 barrel. Paid all of $20 for it at a local shop."


The above represents a lot of the replies I got to my original thread. Here is my response to them:

1. The new 686-6 that S&W sent me is worth at least twice what I paid for my 19-5.

2. I do already have a 686-4 Power-Port 6", but a 4" 686 is something I always wanted too.

3. I can easily find another Model 19 (and make sure it has a good forcing cone/barrel) at a gun show since they are not uncommon and buy it for the difference in value between what I sent to S&W and what I got back.

4. That would also be less hassle (and cost) than trying to find a gunsmith around here (non-existant as far as I can find) that could properly install and fit another barrel to the old 19-5.

5. If I got a 19 at a gun show, I'd prefer to find one earlier than a 19-5 so that I could get the pinned and recessed version simply because I feel that would be a better one for my collection of S&Ws than the 19-5, which was not P&R'd.

6. I'm absolutely delighted with the generous treatment that S&W gave me on this issue, and I definitely would NOT have spoiled it by asking for even more.

Hope that you all now understand my actions on this. ;)


June 17, 2005, 09:27 AM
It makes me happy when I read customer service stories like this. I have often thought how sad it is that there is so little loyalty towards American brands and due to this I have started buying as much American made stuff as I can. This includes guns. I am a huge GLOCK fan but my last two guns have been Smith & Wessons and I think I am going to stick with that brand. No no matter how one looks at it, getting a brand new gun after sending in a used, damaged one is pretty darn nice. Thumbs up for Smith & Wesson on this one.

June 17, 2005, 01:01 PM
congrats on your luck there. not an every day thing!
enjoy it and continue your search for another 19.
getting work done and getting it done properly are 2 different things as you are aware of. I think your situation turned out well.

June 17, 2005, 09:09 PM
They probably felt they were doing somebody a favor.

The 686 should work fine as a plinking gun or target gun. For use as a defensive gun, I'd sell it and use the money to find a Model 19 or two without cracked forcing cones.

I wish I'd known there was a Model 19 out there needing a new barrel. I think I have a 4" variant sitting in my parts drawer as I type this.

Now I'm scared to send my Model 52 in to them for a reblueing job. :(

June 17, 2005, 09:36 PM
I hope they're that nice to me with a brand new 2005 model 520 that I just bought that had blemishes on the top of the barrel and the underlug. I really hope they come though for me to.


June 17, 2005, 11:36 PM
You were well-treated by S&W....

...but I get the feeling you traded off a classic Cadillac...

for an Escalade...

...not that there's anything wrong with that.... :scrutiny:

Ruger Redhawk
June 19, 2005, 01:35 PM
Smith & Wesson I think went out of the way to make things right.They could have very well returned the gun as unrepairable.Then he would of had to spend his time and money hunting a replacement barrel.Granted the barrels aren't hard to find.S&W replaced a gun for me years ago.Ruger is another company who takes care of their customers.They also replaced a defective framed SRH.I'm not a S&W person like I was at one time. It is nice to know that there are still companies who care about their customers,before and after the sale.Thanks for sharing your experience RonJon. I'm sure you'll like that 686 lock or no lock.Soon all the guns will have them. Might as well get use to the idea of them.

Ruger Redhawk

June 19, 2005, 01:49 PM
Well said, Ruger Redhawk!

BTW, I have a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum in my collection.


Ron ;)

June 19, 2005, 04:19 PM
Soon all the guns will have them. Might as well get use to the idea of them.
That's weak. Just plain weak. :barf:

June 19, 2005, 10:30 PM
Two outstanding S&W service jobs. Wish I could send them back my old M-10 in Full House PPC form as the light loads, used in PPC, was really the last straw on the poor guns back due to hundreds of thousands of rnds & it blew away the left side & top side of he cylinder to even buckle the top strap.

That was such an accurate & lovely gun to handle. I nearly want to cry over the loss. No I was not injured nor was anyone around me. Mind you when it blew up & knew something was wrong & when I looked at the gun then next I looked at both hands & not a mark of anything or even to my shooting glasses or face.

So while we have seen photos of guns in similiar states we finally have our first one in our club.

Still have another S&W M-64 in Full House PPC Form I am still shooting. Also a S&W 586X4" & am thinking of going for a bull bbl, possibly slab sided, & good Bo-Mar sights along with PPC trigger pull as rest of the guns is aimed that way as well.

For anyone's interest I was with a cast 158gr SWC, Federal primer, & 3.1 gr of Winchester 452AA powder.

June 20, 2005, 04:27 PM
You got lucky. I sent one gun back to S&W for repair several times before it was a year old. They never did fix it right and refused to replace it.

June 20, 2005, 08:16 PM
What a great story with a happy ending. You should post it on the Smith & Wesson Forum. Those guys would appreciate it. ;)

June 20, 2005, 10:57 PM
I did:

S&W forum Link (

If you enjoyed reading about "Smith and Wesson 19-5 unrepairable!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!