RECENT S&W Factory Reblue/Repair Work?


November 11, 2006, 02:47 AM
Have searched various threads, forums, and boards (including S&W website).

Has anyone RECENTLY (2006) sent an older 1960s blued revolver (P&R, pre-MIM, pre-lock) back to the S&W factory for reblue and/or minor repair?

What was your experience and would you do it again?

Turnaround time?

If they were less than capable or botched the work...who would you recommend for non-custom, factory-level restorative work (reblue, timing)?

Anyone recommend a quality revolversmith in Texas (who doesn't have a six-month backlog)?

Thanks in Advance...

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November 11, 2006, 05:11 AM
I've had two S&W Model 29's factory-restored to new condition a few years back (early 2000's) and they did it well. Nothing this year, though.

Three recommendations for a revolversmith - all top-notch.

1. Grant Cunningham (

2. Hamilton Bowen (

3. Turnbull Restoration ( (this one for cosmetics rather than innards).

All three will require your sending your gun away, but if you want the best, you gotta go with the flow. I think Grant Hamilton might have the quickest turnaround, and I've handled several revolvers he's worked over. To call their actions "superb" is an understatement by an order of magnitude! I'm not sure how much refinishing he does, or whether he sends that out. Check with him on that.

If I wanted the best, money no object, I'd have Grant Hamilton do the action and re-tuning work, then send the gun to Turnbull for cosmetic restoration. I'd choose this over S&W factory work anyday, but YMMV.

November 11, 2006, 11:16 AM
Thanks Preacherman. Good links and advice.

November 11, 2006, 12:39 PM
Smith and Wesson cannot put the same sort of bluing on your revolver that they used to. It's more of a black finish. I did come across a finisher on the Internet that did it very close to the old way, providing a deep luxurious blue. Anyway, if you want the old style that Smith no longer does, check out Doug Turnbull ( He's got a very good reputation.

November 11, 2006, 02:09 PM
Some of my favorite Turnbull restorations / custom jobs:

Where's that 'drooling all over my keyboard' smilie when I need it? :)

November 12, 2006, 10:26 PM
I'd still like someone's recent experience with sending a Smith back to the barn in Springfield...

November 13, 2006, 10:24 AM
I'd still like someone's recent experience with sending a Smith back to the barn in Springfield...
You asked for it...

Sent my 4" 29-2 to S&W in June to fix a factory defect in the forcing cone.

Came back after a month with two DEEP cuts in the barrel. No comment about cuts. When notified, they claimed not to know how it happened (obvious misuse of tools) They wanted to buff/grind the cuts out. Would never explain how this wouldn't either leave flats, assymmetry or reduction in overall barrel diameter.

Told them I wanted a new barrel. They kept wanting to grind on it. Insisted on a new barrel. Sent the gun back to them for examination. They said they'd replace the barrel.

Got a two line email TELLING (not asking) me that they had no barrels and were going to refinish my gun instead of replacing the barrel. Couldn't get hold of the person I'd been talking to. Called customer service to find out if they'd started doing what I'd told them a dozen times NOT to do. Nobody knew. Hurriedly wrote and faxed them a letter reminding them of my ABSOLUTE refusal to have them grind on the original barrel and call it a "repair". Told them if they'd started grinding on the gun without my permission, I'd sue them. Got call from person I'd been dealing with. Said they hadn't started. Told them AGAIN that I would NEVER authorize them grinding on my barrel. Told them that I'd relied upon their promise to replace barrel and stopped looking for a replacement. Told them I'd put them in contact with seller. They said they wouldn't buy from third party, but they could grind on my barrel or put BIRCHWOOD CASEY on DEEP CUTS! Continue this dance for a day. They finally agree to reimburse me for a barrel which I find. Find two barrels. Tell them barrels at least will need to be refinished, since there are no new barrels. While I'm waiting for my barrels to come from the sellers, get a phone call from the technician telling me that their "master" polisher is leaving and that I need to have the entire gun refinished RIGHT NOW. Remind him that I ABSOLUTELY refuse to let them grind on the original barrel, and that THEY had agreed to reimburse me for a replacement barrel. Tell him I'm not going to just eat cost of barrel THEY agreed to pay for in order to get barrel ground on. Send barrel. They reject first barrel. Send them second barrel. They install it, do not refinish it or gun. Matter still in dispute.

S&W customer service has been an absolute nightmare since the gun was returned to me the first time.

They first attempted to slide the damaged gun by me, hoping I wouldn't notice.

They then denied responsibility for what was obviously their negligence.

They then propose a "repair" that's NOT a repair, since it doesn't return the gun to its original condition.

They then promise to replace the barrel. They go back on their promise, and lead me to believe they're going to violate my explicit instructions.

They then reject a barrel, use the second barrel and refuse to refinish it, KNOWING that it needed refinishing, since by THEIR admission, there are no new barrels.

I feel as though SBC has gotten into the gun lock business...

Reliable reports on say that their polisher has indeed retired and that they won't be doing any gloss blue refinishing for at least six months. If they do something to the finish of your gun, you are out of luck for at least six months. I'm betting that if they gouge the daylights out of your gun, after YOU call them on it, they will propose to "fix" the problem with cold blue.

Use S&W at your own risk.

November 14, 2006, 03:20 PM
Latest word from is that S&W now recommends that you send NO guns to them for rebluing, because one polisher retired and the other one has health problems.

There's a hidden message in that statement. Here's what it is:

If you send a blued firearm to S&W for ANY repair, you're taking a BIG chance. I sent them my 29-2 to have the forcing cone recut and the barrel set back. Somehow (who knows???) in the process, they managed to cut the barrel in two places. Were you to send them a gun and have that happen now, they CAN'T fix it, AT ALL.

You just have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky?

November 14, 2006, 09:32 PM

I'll hold off on a final decision, but S&W factory work isn't looking like something I'd want to currently chance.

November 14, 2006, 10:19 PM
I'll hold off on a final decision, but S&W factory work isn't looking like something I'd want to currently chance.
If you want refinishing, you have other alternatives. Ford's is probably the best, better than S&W.

November 21, 2006, 12:32 AM

With thanks to previous posters...anyone else?

I'm already following similar threads over at S&W Forums, so no need to link or repeat info from there.

Revolver fanatic
November 21, 2006, 08:34 AM
I would suggest sending yours to Fords refinishing. They have a strong reputation of doing first class work and are the ONLY one's in refinishing to offer a full year warranty on their refinishing job. Here is a link, check out their customer links and testimonials. Revolver fanatic

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