Return of the Smith from Hell


El Tejon
November 25, 2006, 03:40 PM
Earlier I detailedl my trials and tribulations with a Smith M48, well, the problem child Smith 48 is at it again. This morning I went to the range after retrieving my weapon from the gunsmith. The birds were singing and the sun was shining as I loaded the revolver with 6 fresh .22 mags and knocked down 6 steel plates from 15 yards.

I knocked out the empties and tried to put in 6 new ones. No dice. Even with the cartridges out the cylinder will not close.:banghead:

I was overcome with frustration. I am off to see the gunsmith about the "fixing" he did to my revolver and I now have trading stock for the next gun show in Indianapolis.:banghead:

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November 25, 2006, 04:26 PM
Sounds like your finally ready for a reliable ruger ! :banghead:

El Tejon
November 25, 2006, 04:35 PM
Ruger, Colt, FN, Smith, I've broken them all. I've got Rugers and I've broken a Ruger, but it was a .357, as well. Heck, if Man can make it, El Tejon can break it.:D

Yeah, I have a nice quasi-kit gun collection growing and I was overjoyed to find this M48 at a show in Indy last year with my bro. He bought the M17 and I got the M48. And now I think I will trade it for something at the next show in Indy. Maybe another 17 (I need a 4th) or 18 or put it towards something else.

Terrible. I really wanted to like this pistol. However, I cannot stand to have a weapon that does not function.:banghead:

November 25, 2006, 05:12 PM
so have you cleaned out from underneath the ejector star? I have two M-48's(1959 & 1965) and I have to keep that area really clean and they shoot just fine.

El Tejon
November 25, 2006, 05:16 PM
steveno, when I received the weapon back from the gunsmith when it malfunctioned the last time, one could eat off the weapon. I fired a grand total of six (6) rounds through the gun. Definitely not a cleaning issue.:(

Wil Terry
November 25, 2006, 07:21 PM
Any S&W sixgun can/will choke if you eject the fired cartridges without the barrel pointing upwards so any bits of unburnt powder, or powder ash, will drop free of the gun along with the spent cases.
If you eject with the pistol horizontal that ash will be deposited underneath the ejector star and will tie up the gun when the ejector cannot return fully forward into the cylinder.

Comments deleted due to lack of civility.

November 25, 2006, 08:30 PM
El Tejon, how old are you anyhoo?

Old Fuff
November 25, 2006, 08:50 PM
I would suggest that you have your gunsmith remove the ejector and lightly stone it on the underside of the star, and across the ratchet teeth to be sure that a little burr(s) isn't causing your problem. Also make sure something isn't causing the center rod to bind. And make sure the little pin(s) that keep the star aligned aren't slightly bent and keeping the star from fully seating. These points are often overlooked.

At the front, be sure the front of the yoke isn't hitting the barrel as you close the cylinder. Look for burnish marks where the blue has been worn off by rubbing in places where it shouldn't rub.

Mike Sr.
November 26, 2006, 02:36 AM
I sent an email to your web page...I had the same problem with an early 629 only to find out the about the cylinder being loose and backing out under recoil. The ejector rod screws in if this is loose it'll be nearly impossible to get cylinder out...after firing...and when closing it'll be difficult.

November 26, 2006, 05:41 AM
El Tejon, sounds like you have a loose ejector rod. Check by simply turning with your fingers; the rod loosens CLOCKWISE, by the way.

If this turns, then it is a simple fix to tighten it up correctly.

If you have more than one S&W revolver, invest in a Wessinger tool; this is simply a knurled collar with a set screw to prevent you from marking the ejector rod.

Clear the weapon; then remove the cylinder by first removing the screw near the front of the frame on the right side. Use a properly sized screwdriver; you don't want to booger up the screw head.

Now, get a jeweler's screwdriver. At the front of the ejector rod shroud, under the barrel, you will see a spring loaded pin that goes into the front of the ejector rod. This is the forward lock; insert the tip of the jeweler's screwdriver, push the pin out of the way and the cylinder should open.

With the cylinder opened and the front screw removed, hold the cylinder and slide the yoke out of the frame. Lift the cylinder free.

Insert at least 3 fired cases in the cylinder to prevent breakage of the cylinder alignment pins. Now, apply the Wessinger tool--or a padded pair of pliers--and turn the ejector rod COUNTER CLOCKWISE to tighten. Get it nice and snug; reassemble the revolver.

Test for function by pulling the trigger on a cylinder full of empty cases. Hopefully, this should fix the problem! Good luck!

And, by the way, for this poster:

Any S&W sixgun can/will choke if you eject the fired cartridges without the barrel pointing upwards so any bits of unburnt powder, or powder ash, will drop free of the gun along with the spent cases.
If you eject with the pistol horizontal that ash will be deposited underneath the ejector star and will tie up the gun when the ejector cannot return fully forward into the cylinder.

Thanks! We are all so happy that you are such a master at the Smith and Wesson, and are willing to pass on your vast knowledge without criticism and personal attack. Your post is in the very best tradition of the High Road.

Sarcasm off.

November 26, 2006, 08:16 AM
Mr Terry, I find that the bottom half of your response is lacking not only in literary merit, but in civility and in common decency toward the forum's members in general, and toward El Tejon in particular. I think that if you search through some of his posts, that you'll find him not only knowledgeable about firearms in general, but also a very intelligent and talented writer. The staff and the membership consider him to be an asset to the forum. Your comments in the bottom half of your reply....the part that appears to be screaming...tread very close to a personal attack, and that's not permitted here on THR. I strongly suggest that you go and re-read the rules that you agreed to, and abide by them in the future.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

November 26, 2006, 08:33 AM
Now then...back to El T's issue.

It may be unburned grains of powder under the star. I had an old M-57 Smith once that was bad for that when I used reloads charged with Hercules 2400
powder and cast bullets...and it would do it with only two cylinders full. Any other powder...from Unique to Olin 296, and it worked slick as a button. 2400 and jacketed problem. As long as I used a brush to get under the star on every other cylinder, it was good to go. Try another brand of ammo. Might work...

Don't know what the headspace specs are for the .22 magnum. If anybody knows for sure, help him out here. Could be that the smith used an endshake washer that was too thick.

Mike Sr.
November 26, 2006, 10:52 AM
Powderman, WONDERFUL answer with tip's and precise info about tools required you tell us about the ""Wessinger tool"" and I want one,you,you(sorry about the stam...stammmer) bu...bu..butt...butte-head :what: where do I get one....grrrrrrrrrrr.:banghead: :banghead:

November 26, 2006, 11:08 AM
I bet Mike Sr & Powderman are right with the loose ejector rod diagnosis. RE; the rod tool. Brownell's naturally. The large size fits everything except J frames. $20. Vise grips with a leather pad and blue lok tite have also been used sucessfully. Don't sell your gun!

November 26, 2006, 11:26 AM
Interesting! I've noticed that it burns dirty too. So much so, I prefer Unique because it takes less powder, and cleaning is a little easier. The 2400 is a no-no in semi-auto's for me. It causes extensive fouling inside the gun.:what:

As far as his problem? The only S&W .22 mag I heard of that had a problem was a Titaium model that the cases swelled excessively and it was almost impossible to extract the cases. The gun was sent back to the MFGR by the dealer. I never did hear the verdict on that one. Glad I didn't buy one but it was a NICE looking gun (I almost did buy one). I guess the expanding case thing was a KNOWN problem by S&W but I didn't hear the fix.

Old Fuff
November 26, 2006, 12:05 PM
#2400 powder was originally intended to be used in shotguns. Elmer Keith discovered that it worked well in handgun cartridges, if (big "if") it was loaded to maximum levels. This powder is progressive burning, which means it only burns clean if the pressure reaches a certain point. Because it is slower burning, relative to pressure it can push a bullet in a large-bore revolver faster while staying within reasonable pressure limits. But if you underload it you will get unburnt powder around the cylinder.

November 26, 2006, 12:33 PM
Extrapolating a bit on what Old Fuff noted...and veering just an inch or two off-topic...I didn't get nearly the volume of unburned powder with an identical charge behind a jacketed bullet of equal mass. The reason being that the jacket offers more frictional resistance to acceleration, and thus slightly elevated pressures over the cast bullets...and the powder has a tick more time to burn.

Back on-topic...

.22 WRM doubtless uses slower powders than the standard .22 rimfire stuff...which appears to be loaded with Bullseye, or something similar. A switch to a different brand may solve the problem...IF...unburned powder grains under the ejector are indeed causing it.

If it's the ejector rod...which I have a little doubt about, since one trip around the wheel is unlikely to unscrew it that far unless it's bent...then a switch won't help at all. At any rate, check the rod first...then switch brands. If it's neither one of those, it's time to call on a smith to see where the bug is makin' its nest.

November 26, 2006, 12:54 PM
Adding to the great points made in regard to extractor, ejector rod - may I suggest Grant Cunningham perhaps as well could shed some light on the head space question and this problem as well.

The more eyes that sees the same thing - the more things that are revealed.

El Tejon
November 26, 2006, 02:37 PM
Wil, I guess age is relative, but I'm 37 and have been shooting for over 30 years. I must admit that even after a couple of revolver classes instructed by nationally known trainers this is the first I have heard that your suggested methodology as mandatory. However, be advised that your suggestion is how I clear empties and reload.:)

Powder, Stu says he checked it. Man, if you want anything done right . . .:banghead: I simply must take some gunsmithing courses. I admit that I am a horrific gun mechanic and can screw up simple things. All the hours I have in gun skul but none include how to fix them. Have to remedy that!

Tuner, I'll go over all of this with the smith.

George, I know, I shouldn't sell it. I'm just frustrated.:o

Thanks to all. I may be an ignorant, young squirt (ahhh, to be actually young again without a bum shoulder and a bad achilles!) but I really enjoy my Smith .22 collection and am frustrated by this one piece. I'll stick with it.:)

November 26, 2006, 05:02 PM
El Tejon

just curious as to what year your M-48 was made? My M-48 made in 1959 has a rh ejector rod so I have to keep an eye on it from coming loose. My M-48 made in 1965 has the lh ejector rod and the ejector rod coming loose is not a problem

Jim K
November 26, 2006, 06:39 PM
On the ejector rods, look at the rod directly behind the knurled portion. If there is no groove around the rod, it is a right hand thread. If there is a groove, it is left hand and needs to be tightened accordingly.

FWIW, I never used a special tool. With the cylinder out, I just clamped the knurled end of the rod in a copper jaw vise and turned the cylinder. Of course, use fired cartridges to keep the extractor star from trying to turn in the cylinder.


El Tejon
November 28, 2006, 02:20 PM
steveno, don't know, good question. Don't know if I looked that one up.

The one in my safe that works is early '60s ('62, IIRC).

November 28, 2006, 02:27 PM
El Tejon.

How silly of you to not realize that a .22 revolver made by a very famous gun company is so fragile, so complicated, so persnickety that it has to be unloaded only with the muzzle pointing directly at the North Star on alternate Wednesdays in months that feature an equinox when Jupiter can be seen merging into The House of Mars.

I mean, c'mon....anyone who knows ANYTHING about guns knows you can't unload a revolver made by S&W without pointing the muzzle directly at the North Star on alternate Wednesdays in months that feature an equinox when Jupiter can be seen merging into The House of Mars.......don't they?


I say unload that thing, and get yourself a revolver that works.


November 28, 2006, 02:34 PM
I left a brass thread from a cleaning rod under the star, and I couln't close the cylinder. the tolerance is that close!

took a while ( and a lot of cussing,) to figure it out!

El Tejon
November 29, 2006, 05:34 PM
Hill, it's still a good idear to do so, but yeah the blankety-blank thing should work.

Artic, yeah, a brass sliver was the cause of the first problem that I had with this gun a couple of weeks ago. Should have linked the other thread.

UPDATE: Gunsmith called, swore he checked everything twice including ejector rod and ran a nylon and then a bronze brush over the back of the cylinder. It now opens and closes like it should.

I fired a grand total of six rounds through it and this happens! Why, oh, why does gear hate me so.:banghead:

I'll pick it up Saturday and see if it works. If it does not, I am sending it back to Smith & Wesson.:cuss:

Old Fuff
November 29, 2006, 06:26 PM
I'll pick it up Saturday and see if it works. If it does not, I am sending it back to Smith & Wesson.

I took this long for you to figure out what too do?

Ya must be a lawyer.... :neener: :D

El Tejon
November 30, 2006, 08:05 AM
Old, that's why they call it the "practice" of law. Going to practice until we get it right!:neener:

Alright, smartypants, I'll report back this weekend (if we don't get too much snow and ice from this Alberta clipper that is about to hit us, raining cats and dogs now). :cool:

Old Fuff
November 30, 2006, 09:38 AM
I was in your part of the world awhile back, but I swung southwest before I got to Indy. Had I known of your problem I could have come around with my magic screwdriver and disassembled the revolver...

...and then left. :evil:

El Tejon
November 30, 2006, 11:31 AM
Great, I'll throw pieces of the pistol at the target!:D

Old Fuff
November 30, 2006, 11:46 AM
Great, I'll throw pieces of the pistol at the target

Well if that what it takes to hit it... :neener: :D

El Tejon
December 2, 2006, 04:08 PM
Picked it up today, since we got no snow, but a lot of rain, tomorrow I shoot it (again, I hope).:uhoh: I'll wear my Spring boots.:D

El Tejon
December 31, 2006, 03:28 PM
It did it again.:banghead:

It worked and then it stopped working today (December 31st). I just can't win with this thing.

Off to Massachusetts you go, you scurvy dog of pistol!:fire:

Look, today I officially announce that my services as a gun tester are for hire. If you own or build firearms and are looking to test them, hire me to come out and test your guns. I will require a travel expenses, lodging and sushi.

If your firearms survive El Tejon, they can survive anything.:D Maybe a proofmark in the shape of a badger could be stamped into any weapon that survives me.:evil:

Old Fuff
December 31, 2006, 05:30 PM
(Sniff) To think that this poor, helpless Smith & Wesson had the ill fortune to fall into your hands...

I am ready to give it a decent burial as soon as I can get some blasting powder... :what:

This is Arizona after all... :cool:

Jim K
December 31, 2006, 06:01 PM
I knew a guy like that who worked in QA for a software company. If there was a way to break the stuff, he would find it. In another setting, he might have been called "unlucky", but in his situation, he was extremely valuable and well paid.

He frustrated the heck out of programmers who claimed that he didn't follow the book, but the bosses figured that in the long run he saved time and money and put the company in good with the customers (especially DOD) who liked reliable, fool-proof software, not something that would go down if someone typed a couple of letters in the wrong order or hit a control key by mistake.


El Tejon
January 4, 2007, 04:50 PM
Old, yeah, I am soooo "lucky". I can bury my gun by chucking my revolver out my bedroom window and watch it sink under six feet of mud. If it does not stop raining soon, I am building an ark.:uhoh:

Jim, see, hiring me as a destruction consultant would save gun companies money.

Talked to Smith customer service today. A polite man named Lenny suggested that that charge holes may be drilled too short, and if so, that Smith may correct the problem FOC.:cool:

Regardless of what is wrong, I'll send it off to Massachusetts either Friday, January 5th or Saturday, the 6th.:)

January 4, 2007, 05:21 PM
if you get anywhere close to Nebraska you are required to give me 2 weeks notice so I can hide my M-48's. they work just fine now but I'm concerned you are an accident that continues to happen.

Old Fuff
January 4, 2007, 05:25 PM
El Tejon:

With your unique skills, I would think that Ruger and Taurus would have you on retainer... :neener: :D

El Tejon
January 7, 2007, 03:21 PM
steveno, your guns will be fine as I cannot yet break guns with my Jedi Mind Powers. I still have to handle the guns to break them.

Fedex'd the Revolver from Hell back to Massachusetts on Saturday the 6th. Who knows when I'll see it again.:( Hopefully it will be a quick turnaround.:)

If they do not fix it quick, I will threaten to come to S&W and touch all their guns.:D

Old Fuff
January 7, 2007, 06:55 PM
If they do not fix it quick, I will threaten to come to S&W and touch all their guns.

Ah..... (!).... Please be sure you go east, and don't come west....

Please.......? :uhoh:

January 7, 2007, 07:17 PM
El Tejon

I think Old Fuff and I just happen to think you are a jinx and very afraid you may head west

Old Fuff
January 7, 2007, 08:12 PM


Maybe he can be sidetracked and they'll keep him in New York.. :evil: :D

El Tejon
January 9, 2007, 12:03 PM
New York City? Have not been there since 2004. Why would I go to New York, to break Kimbers and Henrys?:uhoh:

I go to Boston at the end of the month maybe I can hit S&W, run up to SIG in New Hamster and then turn south and hit Kimber and Henry, then . . . off to CT!:evil:

Old, a jinx! How can you call me that? Just because I break "unbreakable" guns like FN or Colt or Smith revolvers?:evil: :D My brother does want to go back to Gunsite with me this year or next. How about I swing by your place when I'm in Arizona and you show me your collection?:neener:

Old Fuff
January 9, 2007, 01:01 PM
How about I swing by your place when I'm in Arizona and you show me your collection?

Sounds like a serious threat.... :what: I'd better retain a good attorney... :D

El Tejon
January 9, 2007, 03:08 PM
Hah, even if you are able to keep me out of Arizona, just wait until I complete my Jedi training and am able to break guns with mere thoughts!:cool:

Old Fuff
January 9, 2007, 05:20 PM
... just wait until I complete my Jedi training and am able to break guns with mere thoughts!

Oh heck..... I can do that now... :what:

I think, "I'm going to fix this #$%$ with my big hammer." So I pick up the hammer and... :evil:

January 9, 2007, 06:08 PM
please take the southern route to get to Arizona

Old Fuff
January 9, 2007, 06:11 PM
Thanks... :what: :D

January 10, 2007, 10:05 AM
Sorry, but I don't have time to read everybody's posts in this thread.

To the original poster,
Do you still have that pesky Model 48?
Is it a six inch version?
Do you want to sell it?

Old Fuff
January 10, 2007, 10:33 AM
Might be of interest:

El Tejon
February 20, 2007, 01:08 PM

Sitting at my desk, attempting to see the top of it and my receptionist walks in and says "something from Massachusetts came for you at lunch.":what:

"Why didn't you tell me sooner?"

"You were being productive and quiet so I didn't want you jumping around here bothering us."


Wow, it only took 6 weeks! I guessed summer if ever.

Hand written note with it sez "Mod Obs, realigned cyl, best as possible, tested w/ CCI Mini Mags, keep under ext. clean, no oil"

So, my cylinder was off kilter???:confused: How did that happen?

It's warming up and the snow is almost gone. I shoot it this weekend if I can swim to the range.:D

February 20, 2007, 01:31 PM
El T wondered:

>So, my cylinder was off kilter??? How did that happen?<

Misaligned or bent crane/yoke assembly. Possibly due to the crane itself, or the hole in the frame it slips into...and requiring that they twist the crane outta whack to compensate for it.

Best WAG is that it's the frame. Straightening the crane is pretty straightforward.

El Tejon
February 20, 2007, 03:52 PM
1911, is the gun damaged when they fix it then?

If you had this weapon, would you trade it, or just shoot it if it works?

February 20, 2007, 04:12 PM
If it works...shoot it. Many's the 1911 pistol that I've had to compensate tweak to make'em run.

Old Fuff
February 20, 2007, 04:40 PM
What works, works... although in your case there is cause for worry... :uhoh: :D

Anyway, before you go out to shoot, run a dry patch through the chambers to clean out any excessive oil. Of course when you get home clean the gun and re-oil the bore and chambers. While shooting, watch out to be sure unburnt powder doesn't build up under the extractor star. If it does you may have trouble closing the cylinder or getting it to go 'round.

The man at S&W said it will work, but then he doesn't know about your special powers... :evil:

February 20, 2007, 05:54 PM
All I can say is that I'm glad El T is on our side. Imagine if he worked for the Bradyites !!!!! All he would have to do is go from range to range, gun shop to gun shop and just touch each gun, and none of them would ever work again.........:neener: :neener:

February 21, 2007, 01:19 AM
Brownells has this ( tool.

February 21, 2007, 12:47 PM
El T's back yard is probabaly littered with broken anvils.:D


El Tejon
February 26, 2007, 03:49 PM
Backyard is chock full of Norwegian Spruces.:D All living, btw.

So today Smith & Wesson sends me a letter saying that I now have my pistol back and to call if I have any questions. I'll call and see if they'll talk to me.:)

Customer service rep said they had to "swedge out the cylinder." Alrighty then.

March 1, 2007, 12:59 PM
things to make them straight reminds me of the old custom rifle barrel joke that I believe can be attributed to P.O. Ackley: "Our premium barrels are those that do not need to be straightened after rifleing". "Thus, our standard barrels get straightened and our premium barrels are still crooked".:D

March 6, 2007, 08:05 PM

This is troubling, because I picked up that 17 on the same day from the same vendor,and the 17 has yet to malfunction in any way. Have you had any issues with the uber-Mauser you purchased from that source? Reading of this trial makes me want to look twice at the 17. Just curious if the seller of the firearm could be a concern. Because he usually has really nice stuff.:confused:

See you at the show. #3 or #5 will join us this time.

El Tejon
March 27, 2007, 11:27 AM
Matt, no, think this problem was specific to the 48. Since the weapon has been back from Smith, I've had zero problems. Shooting over 100 rounds a range session with no trouble. However, I've cleaned the heck out of the 48. Spent an entire episode of The Simpsons Sunday night cleaning it.

The Mauser that I purchased is out in Arizona getting it reconfigured (how I think a rifle should be) by Robbie and the boys at Robar.:) Krazee Suid Afrikaaners.:D Should be ready in May.

March 27, 2007, 06:47 PM
El Tejon
I'm sure you will find a way to break it again. I was going to tell you what I got myself for my birthday but I'm afraid to. I will say with some reservation that it is a S & W though

El Tejon
April 1, 2007, 04:34 PM
The problem is back. It did it again today at the range.:banghead: :(

I can't take this any longer.:o

April 1, 2007, 05:36 PM
I guess the word "JINX" really fits

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