Sprayed in the cheek


June 20, 2010, 09:51 PM
Is it normal to occassional get sprayed in the cheek by tiny fragments? I have two revolvers, and they both do this. This would be bad as a defense gun because you don't always have time to put on your safety goggles before fighting evil doers.

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June 20, 2010, 09:55 PM
No. There is a problem with the alignment of the barrel and cylinder. It should be repaired. (could be an expensive repair) Do not shoot it without proper protection and do not let anyone stand to the side while shooting it. I would either fix it or get rid of it. It's not going to be accurate with this problem.

June 20, 2010, 10:00 PM
It's a brand new gun! SW 686.

June 20, 2010, 10:12 PM
I think the first response overstated things. It's not likely to be as serious as that, assuming we're talking about the very very tiny bits of debris that will sometimes flek you--rather than whole pieces of jacket. Revolvers will frequently hit you with microscopic shrapnel when shooting particular bullets. Just about every one I've ever owned will do it with one type of bullet or another. It's the result of minor variations between bullet types and their little disagreements with the forcing cone. There is also a possibility that the revolver is out of time, but that's not common with brand new revolvers. Not common AT ALL. And the fact that it's happening to both tells me you're just feeding them the same culpable bullets. Are you by chance shooting the light weight, high velocity jacketed rounds? Those frequently spit at me, which is one reason I prefer 158 or 180 grain rounds that don't do it.

Also, with a brand new piece it may need to smooth out some chaffing points.

June 20, 2010, 10:12 PM
Some ammo throws bits of powder residue out "the gap" !! Check the cyl. gap , I prefer
.006 if more than .008 it needs attention. & check on both sides!

Changeing brands or if ya reload change to a double based powder will help .

June 20, 2010, 10:17 PM
I have had 3 NIB Rugers spray me like that. GP100 4", GP100 6" and a 3" SP101. The GP100's went back to Ruger and the problem was gone, also had much smoother triggers when they returned. My SP101 is only a month old and I will probably send it back for the face spray and free trigger job.
Never had a 686 do that to me, but I've only had a couple and only one was new. Send it back.......S&W is tops in my book for customer service.

June 20, 2010, 10:22 PM
I had a Taurus Tracker in .357 that did this. I asked the range attendant about it, and he said it was normal for those to have "tight forcing cones" and that his did the same thing until he had about 1000 rounds through it (and it presumably stopped thereafter). Also said that the lanes (basically indoor range stalls) cause it to bounce back and hit you and that he never had the issue outdoors (as I never did either). I traded it on another gun before I put 1000 rounds through it, so I couldn't test his story.

June 20, 2010, 10:24 PM
Revolver 1: 38 Spl, 148 gr DEWC, 3.5 gr Unique
Revolver 2: 22 LR Winchester 500 pack

Revolver 3: 45 Colt, 250 RFNL, 9 gr Unique

R1 occassionally spits at me; this is a new gun.
R2 spits at me alot; and the Winchester ammo is really dirty.
R3 never spits at me.

Gap clearance is about 0.007 for R1.

June 20, 2010, 10:31 PM
None of my numerous revolvers (Colt, Ruger, Smith, DW) do that, except for my NAA .22 Mag, which spits stuff everywhere.

There will always be some amount of crap coming out sideways at the cylinder gap, but if it is coming back in your face, something is wrong.

Naturally, clean burning loads have less crap to get loose sideways through the gap.

June 20, 2010, 10:39 PM
With R1 you may just need to break it in. Shoot different types of ammo, as well.

With R2 it try different ammo. I'd only worry if it's doing it with everything, all the time.

June 21, 2010, 12:35 AM
I get that with my Ruger GP100 only when I shoot PMC brand. I also get it when I shoot my Heritage Rough Rider.

June 21, 2010, 03:44 AM
Try switching the ammo first, that will be the cheapest solution if it works. My S&W sprays Magtech 158 grain semi jacketed magnums to the left every time but has no problems with any other ammo.

June 21, 2010, 04:06 AM
I have never experienced this...

I would look carefully at how well the Cylinder Bores are aligning with the Forcing Cone and Barrel Bore when in Lock-up...while also looking carefully at the Ammunition.

If it is Powder debris, or, metallic debris...you could take some Cardboard or Pasteboard, fold it into a rounded 'U' shape whose gap inside is maybe a foot, and, have it set up so you fire the Revolver in and through it...so it is centered on the Cylinder to Forcing Cone gap...and then see what sort of 'spray' characteristics you find, or things embedded into the Cardboard.

Dave Markowitz
June 21, 2010, 08:42 AM
I was shooting my S&W Model 28-2 the other day. With W-W .38 Special 148 grain wadcutters or 125 grain .38 +P JHPs I had no spitting. With Remington 130 grain .38 Special Ball it did spit a little.

Aunt Bee
June 21, 2010, 09:23 AM
Oooh- THAT cheek!

June 21, 2010, 09:47 AM
My S&W 686+ does this only with double-ended wad-cutters. It was a surprise for sure. No other FMJ, lead or plated bullets do it.


June 21, 2010, 04:05 PM
If holding the Revolver next to one's cheek while firing, doesn't one's arm feel cramped?

( Sorry, couldn't resist...)

Seriously though...any debris from or behind the Bullet that can exit through the Cylinder to Forcing Cone gap, I am sure will do so...Lube, Unburned Powder, primer by-products.

The bigger the Gap, the more room these things have to exit. Tighter and harder the Bullet meeting the Forcing Cone, the more time they have to exit also I would guess.

Different Powder types, different Lube types, different loadings, different Bullet kinds, could make a difference.

Smaller the Gap, the less difference those differences could make.

June 22, 2010, 03:53 PM
I get the feeling that too much is being made over this issue. If the B/C gap is within specs, I'd be more apt to blame the ammo or the direction the fan is blowing at the range.

Everyone gets a little grit every now and then, but if it's a consistent problem, checking the timing would certainly be in order. It's a bit disconcerting that so many are reporting the problem, especially with Rugers.

June 23, 2010, 09:51 AM
I have handled NEW S&W revolvers that had timing issues. The sticky post at the top of this forum tells how to check out revolvers. S&W does have good Customer Service; too bad their QC is so lacking.

June 23, 2010, 10:29 AM
Every thread is an opportunity to flame whatever brand you have an issue with. I have been shooting revolvers for 40 years and I would definitely pay attention to being "sprayed" in the cheek with whatever debris from ignition, lead powder residue etc.

To me it means a problem. There is always blast from the cylinder gap of even a correctly functioning revolver, but proper grip technique keeps you out of it's way. Having it end up on your cheek (apparently with some velocity) could I suppose be ammunition related but it would dang sure be the last of that ammunition I used.

Having experience with many types of ammunition good and bad, and seeing from my experience debris hitting cheek as EXTREMELY unusual (hand maybe, but cheek? No way that's normal). I wouldn't be content until I found out why be it the gun or the ammo and corrected ASAP.

You certainly SHOULD question the proper functioning of your gun AND become highly suspicious of the ammo if the gun checks out. Even with proper eye protection I would not trust this situation as safe at all. Wearing eye protection is insurance against unplanned events and finding it necessary consistently under "normal" operation is a problem.

Did you simply notice your face was dirty after session (maybe direction of ventilation fan) or did you feel the sting of impact (under pressure of ignition)?

June 23, 2010, 10:29 PM
I feel a sting of tiny metal fragments in my lower left cheek. It's always lower left. I need to do more testing to narrow down which type of bullet is spraying. I've fired commerical 158 gr round nose as well as my own reload of 158 gr LSWC and 148 gr DEWC. This is my first S&W, and I was not expecting this many issues (other problem is occasional light strike) with a brand new gun.

Did you simply notice your face was dirty after session (maybe direction of ventilation fan) or did you feel the sting of impact (under pressure of ignition)?

June 24, 2010, 12:24 AM
A properly timed and adjusted revolver should not be "spitting" lead.

Yours is new, contact Smith to have it sent back and adjusted. Period.

June 24, 2010, 12:53 AM
Are you sure its metal? It could just be hot powder hitting you.

Wolf Lies Down
June 24, 2010, 05:12 PM
FIRST, I don't know how much experience you have. I also don't need to know, so don't be offended if you are a long-time shooter and know all this stuff. And, in not knowing, I feel compelled to tell you this: NEVER, EVER put your fingers close to the juncture of the front of the cylinder and the forcing cone (rear of the barrel) where the cylinder and the barrel meet. There is always some blowby there and you can injure yourself if you get your hands up there when firing the gun.

However, there is no reason why you should be getting lead or jacket fragments in your face when you fire the gun. I've been shooting all my life and I've never had ANY of my revolvers do that! And, I've got a few of them, too.

I'll also qualify the above statement by saying that I have always inspected my weapons exceptionally closely before I bought them and I stay away from junk, which category, unfortunately, S&W is starting to slide toward, in my opinion. If you are going to buy S&W, I recommend you buy an old, 1970's or earlier revolver in good to excellent condition and not the newer ones. Right out of the box at the gun shop you can see defects in them. There's too many good used ones out there to have to settle for a new S&W with the quality problems they are having. It's really sad.

I would personally contact S&W, (don't be meek or they'll blow you off), complain loudly and demand they take the gun and fix it so that the problem you are experiencing does not happen. Demand they test fire the gun numerous times before they return it to you. You can simply package the gun well, insure it fully and send it to them via UPS; it is legal. ASK THEM TO send you a UPS call tag so they pick up the cost. They may or may not. ALSO, don't even BEGIN to suggest what you think might be wrong with the gun; just give them a full description of the symptoms.

June 24, 2010, 07:21 PM
Send it back. It's defective. It happens. I don't own a revolver that spits lead or powder like this. I'd get it fixed if I did, or in the case of the only one I ever owned that did this, a RG, I'd just throw it away. :D. A 686, I'd send back to the factory. You spent a lot of money for a defective revolver, but they'll make it right....I hope.

June 24, 2010, 09:00 PM
I've shot a lot revolvers over the years, and I've never had one pepper my cheek with shrapnel.

If I were you I would send it back to S&W before the problem becomes more serious.

Why take the chance?

June 24, 2010, 09:52 PM
Personally, the only times my cheeks have been stung is due to a defect in the gun (specifically an out-of-time Taurus 94), or when shooting steel targets and getting s touch of lead spatter back at me.

I feel a sting of tiny metal fragments in my lower left cheek. It's always lower left.

That does make it sound like a bit of a timing issue, or a problem with the forcing cone that is causing lead to spit out and back on the left side of the gun. As others mentioned by others, I'd run the procedures in the revolver checkout sticky to check for barrel/forcing cone gap and timing. Or have a local gunsmith check it out. If something appears amiss, contact S&W and they'll provide a shipping label to get it back for a tune up.

August 31, 2010, 10:22 PM
Well, I've put almost 2000 rounds thru this revolver. So it should be broken in by now. It still spits out lead every now and then. Today, I got hit by a pretty big chunk. I'm tried DEWC, SWC, round-nose, and 230-grain pin buster WC. Some are target loads; some are full power loads. They all spit lead onto my left cheek. Always left cheek. I guess I'll let a gunsmith look at it before sending it to S&W.

September 1, 2010, 08:02 AM
A few years ago I was standing in line at the local gun store to have a S&W gunsmith (Vito iirc) look at one of my guns. The gun store has a S&W Days weekend and S&W sends a gunsmith to look at guns and make adjustments that don't require power tools. One gun per customer please.

Anyway, the good old boy in front of me has this big honking stainless steel .44 Magnum that has been spitting lead for 7 YEARS according to him.

The gunsmith popped the cylinder open and said, "Uh, there isn't any forcing cone. Send it back."

Revolver Ocelot
September 1, 2010, 09:34 PM
my dad tried shooting my gp100 from the hip once, his immediate complaint was hot gas and powder going up his nose. point being its normal for hot gas and powder to escape from the gap between the cylinder and the barrel though I have never had any issue with this.

September 1, 2010, 09:43 PM
I explained the problem to the S&W service guy over the phone, and he said send it in for service. Hopefully, this won't cost me anything.

I was talking to a fellow shooter, and he suggest that the stuff hitting my cheek might actually be unburnt powder. I do get a lot of unburnt powder on my arms, but I never felt any spray on my arms.

September 2, 2010, 02:48 AM
Glad you are finally gonna send that defective revolver in to get it fixed.
S&W will fix it free, and will be glad you shipped it back so they could make it right.

The Bushmaster
September 2, 2010, 09:45 AM
All my revolvers (7 of them) do not pepper my cheek with powder residue, but they do get my neighbor.:D

I was taught (from a very young age) not to stand next to (either side) of a person shooting a revolver. From time emortal revolvers have always spit high pressure gas and powder particals out the side of the cylinder/barrel gap. It's like that ring that forms on the cylinder that tells you that the gun has been turned that everyone of the "experts" say shows that the gun needs repaired. Right....:rolleyes:

Now if it is shaving lead or copper out one side or the other (hold a piece of cardboard up to the side of the revolver when fired) then you may have a problem.:uhoh:

September 28, 2010, 07:26 PM
Looks like S&W fixed the problem of lead spitting. They said they cut the forcing cone.

September 28, 2010, 07:31 PM
I have a beautiful 1959 colt 357 6" that sprays me from time to time. She locks up great, and I wont be trying to "fix" her anytime soon :D

September 28, 2010, 10:26 PM
Ah, not enough cut on the forcing cone from the factory. It's not uncommon now days.

September 29, 2010, 09:18 PM
I am SO glad you finally sent it in before getting an eye ruined for life and/or a very expensive eye procedure be needed!!!

I was worried for you, but also very glad the gun is fixed so you can shoot it safely as the gun was intended to be.


September 29, 2010, 11:10 PM
Hey S&WFan,
I just got a brand new Model 14 for PPC matches. I only put about 100 rounds thru it. But this one spit lead twice onto my left arm, but nothing to my face yet. I was using 38spl HBWC swaged bullets. Should I send this one to S&W also?

October 8, 2010, 07:02 PM
Looks like I spoke too soon. The gun that came back from S&W repair still spits lead!

October 8, 2010, 07:38 PM
The fragments that are hittin ya cheek , can ya just feel it hit to the point of stinging or does it actually cut & bleed ?????

Powder residue stings , lead or jacket spittin out will cut ya ,I promise !!!

I experinced lead spittin by shootin some low pressure loads to warm up with then switched to hi pressure loads & the first shot spit summtin aweful , did`nt realize i was cut until the third cyl full & it dripped on my tee shirt !!!:what:

Build up on the forceing cone fur shore cause i shot some more low pressure rounds & the boolit must be a tad too hard they lead the forceing cone & `bout 1/2" up the tube.

October 8, 2010, 09:10 PM
No, there's no blood. The fragment is tiny. It just hit my upper check bone. An inch higher would hit my eye.

Was shooting 148gr wadcutter, 3.7gr Unique, 50 rounds, 1 round spit.

October 8, 2010, 10:10 PM
Tain't right. Send it back again or get rid of it. NONE of my revolvers pepper me with any sort of residue and none should. :rolleyes: I own Smith and Wesson, Taurus, Rossi, NAA, Pietta, ASM, and Ruger revolvers and all work as they should.

October 9, 2010, 09:46 PM
Here is another thing that compounds the issue of a misaligned cylinder or too-wide cylinder gap: reloaded or handloaded ammo that has had a little sliver of lead "shaved" from the base when being seated in the case during loading. I have noticed that the slight flare at the mouth of the case varies if overall length varies with case to case, and sometimes a case mouth not expanded enough will catch the lead bullet base off center and chip off a piece of lead that later gets pushed around the bullet and ends up being a loose particle somewhere around the case mouth, and free to fly upon firing, often getting blown out the cylinder gap. In other words, try jacketed ammo, or a different brand of reloads, or more care if loading one's own.

October 10, 2010, 01:57 AM
When I shoot ammo made with 2400 in my M686 I get sprayed. When I use W231 or W296 nothing comes back at me.

Geezer Glide
October 10, 2010, 08:23 AM
Wonder why all the Taurus bashers are so quiet?

Since you have tried different kinds of ammo and still have the problem, I would contact S&W again and arrange to send it back. They will not want the liability of an out of spec revolver causing you injury.

October 10, 2010, 08:53 AM
As others have indicated, I would do some experimenting with different ammunition before getting too bothered again. You will occasionally get fragments hit you with many revolvers, but it should not be the norm with every shot.

My main experience with this issue was with an old (it was new then) H&R Model 999 Sportsman (22 LR) revolver that just plastered me with both hot lead and powder fragments. At first I thought it "normal" as I was new to handguns and revolvers. Then, I knew better after shooting Smiths and Colts. I grew tired of it and eventually just sold the gun. It was a timing and cylinder gap issue and it was a borderline disposable handgun. So I opted to just sell it and get it out of my sight. I feel sure the problem could be repaired, but I wasn't going to spend much money on a $100 revolver.

October 10, 2010, 09:32 AM
An inch higher would hit my eye.

...that's why we wear shooting glasses at the range.

I get the occasional powder residue blown back in my face, and it can feel like something more. Kinda like how raindrops feel like stones on a bike @ 60 miles an hour. Shooting into a breeze contributes and so does shooting off bags as this redirects the blast from the cylinder gap. Light loads of Unique altho fun to shoot, sometimes leaves a significant amount of unburned powder and many times, for me anyways, is the culprit.

Ole Coot
October 10, 2010, 10:05 AM
My opinion only, I have never had a revolver shave a slug unless a problem existed. The only thing would be the revolver or ammo. If you're brave enough try with different ammo and where are you holding the revolver? If it hits you in the face, what is it? lead or something else? Does it happen on every cylinder?

October 10, 2010, 10:49 AM
Even if everything is "in spec" with a revolver, when shooting FULL house mags, is it normal to see some black unburnt powder escaping from the gap on a snub nose?

I was shooting my 357 mag LCR with full power Remmy 125 half jacketed HP's and my support hand thumb was getting destroyed. It hurt like hell as my thumb as getting small pieces of black fleck into my skin. Not to mention the recoil was just stupid.

My thumb was held in the "thumbs up" position and not infront of the gap.

Normal or not? I have never had this problem with any .38's and or mid range 357's like Golden Sabers and Corbon DPX.

What do you think?


October 11, 2010, 02:25 AM
When shooting a revolver you shouldn't have your thumbs anywhere near the cylinder gap. The grip for a revolver and a semi-auto is different and for good reasons.

October 11, 2010, 06:34 AM
Agreed on the thumb position. I have my support hand (left hand) thumb perpendicular to the ground plane, up, not forward to avoid the gap. Hopefully I didnt confuse anyone. I wish my umpa-loompa like hands were large enough to get my thumb wrapped around the back of my strong hand ;)


Colt Smith
October 12, 2010, 01:51 AM
Maybe get the forcing cone chamfered?

harmon rabb
October 12, 2010, 06:26 AM
I'd send that back, especially given that it's a Smith (meaning they'll take it back without complaint or cost to you, and will fix it). My revolvers don't do that.

harmon rabb
October 12, 2010, 06:28 AM
Oh hell no. They sent it back with the same issue? I'd call them and get angry about that.

October 12, 2010, 07:54 PM
Neither of my revolvers spit at me or people nearby.

October 13, 2010, 12:19 AM
The gun in question is a S&W M13 I used to carry in the Border Patrol. The short version is I stretched the top strap and there's too much cylinder gap.

The gun started by 'spitting' sideways. Guys wouldn't shoot next to me on the range after while. However, that extra cylinder gap sure made the revolver shoot accurately. As the problem continued, I was getting 'back bounce' debris as the burning powder was hitting the face of the barrel around the forcing cone and deflecting back at me.

That revolver is retired now. I shot a lot of ammo through it, including a fair amount of .357 Magnum ammo for various purposes - practice, qualification, ammo testing, and just plinking.

However, that revolver had 'issues'. Revolvers in proper operating condition should not do that to any great degree.

November 14, 2010, 01:02 AM
My Python used to do this. But luckily it was still under warranty, but under non-warrantied circumstances a cylinder realignment could cost a grand or more!

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