New 629 - 2 charge holes out of time - best thing to do?


April 26, 2009, 12:23 PM
Original title:
New 629 - 2 charge holes out of time - best thing to do?

The gun works, but 4 of the charge holes rotate and lock up perfectly in DA mode (pull trigger until cylinder locks, pause, then pull trigger a bit more to fire). The pull on the other two is initially really stiff and don't rotate all the way to the lock until you squeeze hard enough to drop the hammer.

What would you do?

Send it back to S&W for warranty service?

Have it tuned by S&W or by someone else?

Just take it to a local smith and have him fix the specific problem?

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April 26, 2009, 12:30 PM
No option to me, send to back to S&W, that's why we get warranties.

fearless leader
April 26, 2009, 12:36 PM
I had a similar problem with a 629 Snubbie. I sent it back to the maker, and it still didn't work right, as with the case of nearly ANYTHING I send back to a gun manufacturer (don't get me started on COLT) and it still failed to work correctly. I traded it for a Model 70 Winchester and couldn't have been happier. I put the letter of factory repair in the box.

April 26, 2009, 12:44 PM
I sent it back to the maker, and it still didn't work right, as with the case of nearly ANYTHING I send back to a gun manufacturer (don't get me started on COLT) and it still failed to work correctly.

I've had that experience, myself (not with Smith).

I still have (and like) the gun (which went back to the factory TWICE and came back the same as it left). I finally took it apart myself and fixed the problem in 20 seconds with a pair of needlenose pliers.

That's why I asked. I'd rather just give it to a local tuner and get the gun back better-than-factory in a more reasonable amount of time, probably for less money.:) I have never timed a revolver, though, and I don't want to learn on this gun.

If I really want Smith to work it over, maybe the PC would make more sense -- but if the other 2 cylinders felt like the 4 that work right, I'd be more than satisfied with the gun as-is, maybe replace the mainspring with a lighter one myself if I feel like it.

I'm not sure what standards S&W considers "okay" for a stock gun these days. It does fire, and it does rotate and lock on all six cylinders. I just expect better, and if I ever have to use it for animal defense, I don't want that sucker to feel sticky.

Steve C
April 26, 2009, 12:48 PM
I've read that S&W says that you shouldn't stage the trigger on their DA revolvers. DA firing should be a single complete movement of the trigger for proper function of the action. Could the be reason for your "problem". Staging the trigger is common with Colts.

April 26, 2009, 12:51 PM

The 2 chambers in question are stiff when cocking the gun for SA fire, whereas the others are smooth. In DA or SA mode, those two cylinders take a good few extra pounds of pressure on the trigger, or the hammer, to rotate.

The timing is quite obviously different (turn-lock-fire for the good ones, bind-turn reluctantly-lock and fire at the same time for the bad ones).

I don't have to stage the trigger to notice, believe me.:) I was just giving it a very slow squeeze to test the gun with snap caps, after I initially felt it bind on two cylinders.

I am concerned, though, that I'd just get a note back from the factory that said, "Works fine. Don't stage trigger." after they'd done nothing to it and kept it for a month or three.

Anyone had experience with Smith's warranty service? Am I more likely to get a BS response from them, or are they likely to want to make sure the gun is 100% before returning it?

April 26, 2009, 01:05 PM
I just had the same issue with my used S&W model 27-2 circa 1975. Just bought it a few weeks before and hadn't noticed the stiffness in 2-3 of cylinder go-rounds in DA. Took it to Big Sky Firearms in Quakertown, PA. Two weeks later came back fixed. Crane was slightly bent somehow. Costs me $42 total. Might want to consider a local gunsmith when you factor in shipping using an FFL and all, then to receive for you. JMO, YMMV.

Old Fuff
April 26, 2009, 01:11 PM
I would send it back to S&W. While the problem can be caused by several things, the most common reasons are mis-fitted teeth on the ratchet, or a bent yoke barrel. Both conditions are best addressed by the factory. Also if I have made a mistake in my diagnoses, they won't.

If you contact Smith & Wesson's customer service department they will provide you with a shipping label. Thereafter the revolver will go back and forth on their dime.

April 26, 2009, 02:27 PM
Call 1-800-331-0852 Monday AM - they'll send you a letter with a free pick-up label - and deliver it back to your door, if they don't have to replace it. In that case, it would have to go to an ffl. You must have a physical address, too - no PO box. You cannot beat their service.


April 26, 2009, 04:29 PM
I agree with Old Fuff.

If it's new why not call and ask to have it inspected under their warranty? No cost to you other than driving to the shipping point.

You can't 'diagnose' a revolver problem online, much as we might wish it could be done. The gun needs to be examined in order to properly determine the cause and required correction.

BTW, if it's a new-style revolver the carry up is checked when there are dummy rounds in the cylinder charge holes. Not with empty charge holes.

The reason is that the new-style extractors are not pinned in place like the old-style extractors. The new-style extractors are partially supported (and the cylinder ratchets held in proper position relative to the hand) when there are cases in the cylinder's charge holes.

When 'timing' (carry-up) is checked it's recommended to use dummy rounds in the cylinder to simulate how the cylinder is going to function when live ammunition is loaded in the charge holes and are supporting the extractor, holding it (and the ratchets) stable. When armorers are taught to cut new extractors they are told to fill the charge holes with dummy rounds so the extractor is fully supported when the cutting arm/hand is used to cut the ratchets.

Also, the DA carry up is checked when the trigger is slowly pulled to the rear until the ball of the cylinder stop engages the stop notch on the cylinder. The cylinder stop should engage the cylinder stop notch before the hammer falls. However, slowly pulling the trigger to the rear doesn't mean doing it s-l-o-o-o-w-w-w-l-l-y.

I'd let S&W examine the gun and check it out. Might be cylinder cramp (rough or inconsistent cylinder rotation on one or more holes). Might be a yoke which isn't properly aligned. Might be the cylinder stop. Might be the extractor. If the trigger 'stacks' in the DA stroke on a charge hole and is slow to reset it can indicate a long ratchet. Might be a couple of things. Let them examine it and figure it out.

FWIW, when folks start using the generic term 'timing' you'll sometimes hear folks recommend installing an over-size hand. (There's more than one over-size hand for each revolver frame size, BTW.) Yes, this can be a way to correct a doesn't carry up issue, but it can also sometimes create a long-ratchet condition ... another problem ... which will have to be repaired. In the long run a new extractor might have to be cut for use with the factory standard hand, anyway.

Let the folks at the factory look at the gun under their warranty.

Just my thoughts.

April 26, 2009, 06:48 PM
Oh, NOW I feel dumb.

I took it back to the shop and it was a couple of out-of-spec snap caps I was using to test it.

My gun is fine.

Live and learn -- and this is the best possible outcome anyway.:)

April 26, 2009, 07:51 PM
Oh, NOW I feel dumb.

Well, you got an education and fastbolt has posted a very clear and excellent description of cylinder rotational issues, so that's a positive!

My method of welcoming a new (used) S&W into the house is to take it through a check out and dry-firing with empty cylinders. Regardless of how it performs, it still gets detailed stripped and all internal parts degreased, and then reassembled with proper, modest lubrication. The main spring screw and rebound spring checked they are factory length, and the rebound slide polished a bit. Then retest dry-firing empty, then a few cylinders of factory or my own relaods. Anyone can do this easily with the proper instructions. Over the last few years, I have had four that had cylinder rotation issues, and three times out of four this solved it (one gummed up from dried WD-40, one gummed up with grease, another a crooked cylinder bolt spring). The fourth was a horribly cut forcing cone at the factory that needed to be re-cut. The one packed with grease was particularly hilarious. It literally was internally "loaded" like a wheel bearing with grease (I took some pictures of that!). On the upside, the internals looked like the day it left the factory in 1942 and it shoots amazingly. It printed a 1/2" group at 30' off-hand (and I am not THAT good a shooter by any stretch).

This system would definitely have caught/cured your suspected problem. I took a bunch of photos of it step-by step on the most recent one (that early Victory I mentioned), and I've been meaning to make a thorough post to illustrate how to go about it, sort of a "mini" tutorial to condense down the really good diagnostic/rebuild post that Sylvan_Forge made and is stickied.

April 26, 2009, 08:47 PM
Don't feel dumb. Seriously.

Don't think you've discovered something new, either. ;)

This is how we learn.

I included the subtle hint about using dummy rounds to check carry up because it's not uncommon for folks to realize the new-style revolver extractors are not supported by pins.

"Dumb" would've been taking the whole thing apart and performing wholesale slaughter with a Dremel set on Warp 9, madly polishing everything so it could reflect light well enough to be seen from orbit even on the daylight side ...

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