Scratched Model 29!


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Deanimator
July 31, 2006, 01:03 PM
I posted this elsewhere, but didn't get a real answer.

I sent my 4" Model 29 to S&W to get a defect in the forcing cone repaired.

The forcing cone squaring and barrel set back was done professionally, eliminating the spitting problem I had.

The bad news: Somewhere along the way, they put an about 1/8" scratch in the left side of the barrel, perpendicular to the length of the barrel, near the printing. It's deep enough so that when you run your fingernail over it, it hangs up.

I called them, and when they called back, they said that they'd have to remove the barrel, buff out the scratch and reblue the barrel. It sure seems to me that they'd have to do a butt load of buffing. I'm no machinist, but I'd think that'd involving buffing all over, lest the barrel end up asymmetrical. Also, it's a .44 Magnum. How much is it safe to take it down? Will this screw up the barrel markings, requiring them to be restamped [differently]?

To top it off, they're off for two weeks today, so I won't even be able to SEND the gun for two weeks. They undid my trigger job (expected). I was planning to give it to my gunsmith to have the trigger job restored with the parts they removed and returned to me. If I get the trigger job re-done, and have to send it back, I'll end up paying for the same trigger job THREE times.

Finally, what are the chances that they'd screw something ELSE up, like on the FRAME, that can't POSSIBLY be replaced? What then? Will they try to replace it with one of their stainless pieces of crap? (I LOATHE stainless, nevermind the lock.)

Bottom line: The scratch isn't TOO long, but it's deep. I can put some cold blue on it to protect the bare metal. Should I take a chance on the cure being worse than the disease (and them screwing something else up)? Or should I just leave bad enough alone?

I've got two weeks to decide.

I'm REALLY unhappy.

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Bob79
July 31, 2006, 02:26 PM
I sent a 342PD I used to have to S&W for their "Action Enhancement" and when I got it back the area between the trigger guard, and barrel was all chewed up. I knew I had not done it because I would have remembered gouges/scratches that deep. Looked like it was in a vise without proper protection.

I called them up, and they tried to talk me into just having them put some "cold blue" on it. They kept saying how long it was going to take to refinish it. I was really mad, but I said keep it and re-blue it, even though there was a long wait. Better to have it done right.

I send all my stuff to CCG for action jobs, etc. But S&W has that lifetime warranty, and why should you have to pay for the forcing cone to be fixed if they will fix it at no charge? Hopefully we are the minority, and S&W is not doing this on a regular basis.

Deanimator
July 31, 2006, 02:42 PM
I send all my stuff to CCG for action jobs, etc. But S&W has that lifetime warranty, and why should you have to pay for the forcing cone to be fixed if they will fix it at no charge? Hopefully we are the minority, and S&W is not doing this on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, I was not the original owner, so it wasn't a warranty job. It ran something like $64, which I considered reasonable. It's the scratch which I consider unreasonable.

I really hope somebody can answer my technical questions, because I don't want to FURTHER diminish the value of the gun, even though I'll never sell it again.

How hard is it to get a replacement pinned barrel for it? A casual search in Google for replacement Model 29 barrels turned up NOTHING. I didn't look that long, but that gives me a bad feeling.

P95Carry
July 31, 2006, 05:40 PM
I too would be REALLY unhappy :(

As to a solution - somewhat rock and hard place IMO. The hassles of sending back, the lack of guarantee of satisfaction - all would make me leary of so doing - but at same time here you are with in effect a ''damaged-repaired gun'' - annoying paradox.

True enough ''buffing'' to me is no easy answer as any work would require taking down surface by scratch depth - grinding and refinishing would seem more appropriate.

I wonder if you can get any recompense at all really and on balance would I guess, while remaining eternally pissed - try and suck it up and keep cold blue on that to decrease visibility.

Sorry no useful solution to give.

Deanimator
July 31, 2006, 06:16 PM
I wonder if you can get any recompense at all really and on balance would I guess, while remaining eternally pissed - try and suck it up and keep cold blue on that to decrease visibility.
I'm not even sure if grinding would even be reasonably possible. Certainly I'd wonder how they could do it evenly, and that still raises my original question of whether taking off that much metal would leave me with the same gun. I'm thinking not. If I wanted a mountain gun, I'd BUY one!

Other than replacing the barrel, I see NO good solution.

That leaves two questions:

Are they willing to do what REALLY needs to be done?

If the answer is "no", are they happy to have a VERY unsatisfied customer talking about them as though they were SBC?

I've heard that at times they've been very reasonable about making mistakes right. We'll see what happens.

Deanimator
July 31, 2006, 09:19 PM
I took the gun to the range for my smith to take another look at. He discovered even more similar scratches farther up and down the barrel. It's obvious that some sort of vice or fixture was improperly used when the barrel was removed or reinstalled.

Now it HAS to go back to S&W.

Sigh...

Majic
July 31, 2006, 11:11 PM
You can tell them to leave the action alone and they won't adjust or replace any parts.

Standing Wolf
July 31, 2006, 11:15 PM
I took the gun to the range for my smith to take another look at. He discovered even more similar scratches farther up and down the barrel. It's obvious that some sort of vice or fixture was improperly used when the barrel was removed or reinstalled.

Seems to me it needs a complete new barrel.

PinnedAndRecessed
August 1, 2006, 12:54 AM
By all means, keep us posted. Customer service is an important issue for us.

Deanimator
August 1, 2006, 02:19 AM
Seems to me it needs a complete new barrel.
Probably not that extreme, but what if it DID? What would they do? I'm thinking they may not have big stacks of 4" pinned barrels lying around.

Deanimator
August 1, 2006, 02:20 AM
By all means, keep us posted. Customer service is an important issue for us.
The truly frustrating part is that I can't even send it to them for two weeks, since they're closed for the next two!

Deanimator
August 13, 2006, 12:15 PM
After talking to a bunch of people about this issue, I sent S&W an email telling them that the only acceptable remedy was a new barrel. I expressly forbade them to buff, grind or refinish the barrel in any way.

I received a UPS label from S&W. The gun went back to them Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, accompanied by a letter again forbidding them to attempt to "repair" the barrel, since said "repair" would be instead a further defacement for the following reasons:

1. If the barrel is ground/buffed to below the gouge depth on both sides (the ONLY professional way to do the work), that will reduce the outside diameter of the barrel. When I sent them the gun, I didn't ask to have the OD of the barrel reduced. I don't want it done now.

2. If they only grind/buff one side, that leaves the barrel assymetrical, an unprofessional "repair" at best.

3. If they grind/buff only at the cuts, that will leave flats or depressions in the barrel, not just unprofessional, but grossly incompetent.

Here are the alternatives.

1. Refinish, see above. Unacceptable. It merely further defaces the gun.

2. Replace the barrel. That's what I want... with an identical 4" barrel. What if they don't have any 4" barrels? I expressly bought the gun for self-defense. A 6" or 8 3/8" barrel is inappropriate to that task. I don't have the slightest interest in handgun hunting, or hunting at all for that matter. Could a 6" or 8 3/8" barrel be cut down to create an IDENTICAL barrel? Beats the crap out of me. A friend asked yesterday if they could machine FROM SCRATCH, a 4" half lug, pinned barrel. Sure. They could build me a one of a kind Triple Lock too. One's as likely as the other. That'd probably cost them more than buying me another Model 29-2. Somebody asked if they could fit a current production barrel. Don't know. Doesn't matter if it isn't an identical 4", half lug, pinned, blued barrel. Otherwise, not interested.

3. Replace the gun with another identical Model 29-2, 4", pinned and blued. Not my preference, but acceptable. At least my loss would be made whole. I see this as doubtful.

4. Replace the gun with something from their current production. Not just unacceptable, but insulting. I will NEVER own a firearm with an integral lock. Besides, their current production revolvers are tasteless kitsch, utterly devoid of any character or artistry. It'd be like replacing Holbein's portrait of a hare with a painting on velvet of dogs playing poker. A roundbutt, stainless steel revolver with a built-in lock (that locks by itself) has all of the grace and beauty of a messhall sink.

I have the unpleasant feeling that I'm totally screwed on this deal. All I wanted was to have a factory defect (the forcing cone) fixed, and willingly at my own expense. Instead, I've had the esthetics of my firearm ruined, and had offered FURTHER defacement as a "repair".

Oh well, I'll probably hear from them this week now that they're off from their two week summer break. My expectations are low...

SeanSw
August 13, 2006, 01:13 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your problems. My only experience with S&W repair service was decent. The 6 weeks turnaround was a bit much but the revolver came back functioning like brand new without any damage.

What did they undo to your trigger job? And why? Did you have factory parts altered for the trigger job or were new parts installed for it?

Deanimator
August 13, 2006, 01:34 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your problems. My only experience with S&W repair service was decent. The 6 weeks turnaround was a bit much but the revolver came back functioning like brand new without any damage.

What did they undo to your trigger job? And why? Did you have factory parts altered for the trigger job or were new parts installed for it?
This was my first [and probably last] experience with S&W as a company. I've owned a lot of their revolvers, but never dealt with their customer service before. It took a while for them to get the requested work on this revolver done, but when it came, the problem was eliminated. Even though it was a manufacturing defect, I don't have any problem with the cost. My sole objection is their negligent defacing of the gun in the process.

They removed two springs and a small part which I could not identify. These parts were returned to me. I can't tell you what the original gunsmith did, only that the gun had a beautiful DA (and SA) pull when I got it back. He had a serious illness a number of years ago. I don't even know if he's still alive, nevermind if he'd remember what exactly he did. My current gunsmith does a great trigger job anyway.

I'm glad they did a good job on your gun without causing any unrelated damage. I'm really afraid that either they won't have a replacement barrel, or that they'll try to stick with the idea of ruining an otherwise beautiful barrel by grinding it down. As I said, I have NO other experience with them. From reading people's experiences in various online fora, they seem to have quite a schizophrenic approach to customer service. About 50% of the time they'll do literally anything to fix a problem. The other 50% of the time they treat you as though they were shady roofing contractors. I might just as well flip a coin to determine which treatment I'll get.

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