S&W "Hillary Holes" and MIM parts...


PDA






BCRider
November 30, 2010, 10:06 PM
For all that I've seen posts here and elsewhere that hate the lock and bemoaning that "it'll make the gun stop working when you most need it" I have yet to read of a case of the lock suddenly locking itself or causing any other sort of internal lockup from a mechanical failure.

Similarly I see lots of hate threads about the newer MIM parts. And while again no one likes them I have yet to see a post saying that an MIM part crumbled to dust and rendered a gun unuseable.

So is this just a case of us, the great unwashed masses, complaining because of perceived violations of our rights and transitioning away from old world techniques? Or have there been a SIGNIFICANT number of reported cases of failures due to either the internal locks or failures of MIM parts?

I'm curious because yet again it has come up in a current thread about which model of a particular S&W to buy to avoid early issues and later models to avoid the "Hillary hole".

If you enjoyed reading about "S&W "Hillary Holes" and MIM parts..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
orionengnr
November 30, 2010, 11:56 PM
On the S&W Forum (before it was taken over by new management) there was an S&W lock thread that documented a number of actual (auto-lock) incidents.

It disappeared shortly after the new owner took over. That said, there are a number of threads around the net by people who have had it happen.

Most (not all) were in lightweight (alloy or Scandium frames) and most (not all) were in Magnum calibers. It happened to an acquaintance of mine while dry firing. He was a member here some time ago, haven't seen him around lately, but I can probably find his username or email if you really want to read his story.

He took his M360 to his 'smith, had him remove the offending parts, and continues to carry it. This was five-ish years ago, and precipitated the sale of all of my (six at the time) ILS S&W revolvers. I recently bought an M25-13, and it arrived with the ILS parts in a bag. That is the only reason I bought it...okay, the price was right and I like .45 LC :)

As far as MIM goes...I have read some opinions, but I have no first-hand (or second-hand) evidence of any failures. I prefer bar stock or forged parts, and I prefer hammer-mounted firing pins, and I prefer real blueing...which is why I own mostly older S&W revolvers. :)

Resto Guy
November 30, 2010, 11:56 PM
I've read of a few early problems with the scandium (.357) models. I can vouch for my 642-2 not failing with well over 500 rounds through it.

I guess my signature explains my feelings on the subject.

TexasBill
December 1, 2010, 12:23 AM
My Model 637 is well past 1,500 rounds and my Model 60 is closing on a thousand. No issues with lock or MIM parts. Use both for EDC.

Old krow
December 1, 2010, 12:30 AM
I've heard of it, (the cylinder freezing) but I have never seen it first hand nor known anyone that is has happened to. I've probably put a couple thousand .38 SPL and another 500 or so .357 through my 620 and it has worked just fine.
I don't pay that much attention to the "Hillary Hole." I don't necessarily like it, but I don't always notice it unless someone else mentions it.

I've never seen or read about a failure due to MIM. So many guns are using that technique that I'd think that we'd be hearing a lot more if it were all that bad.

wep45
December 1, 2010, 12:36 AM
the average joe will believe anything that is told to him/her by any source.:uhoh:

if you find a S&W (new or old) that you like at the right price.............buy it.:D

S&W....they are all good.:cool:

tasco 74
December 1, 2010, 12:44 AM
i love s&w guns but that keyhole in the side of a perfectly safe weapon without it really turns me off............. just another sign of big brother bunch of BS.............

yeti
December 1, 2010, 12:49 AM
I have enough older S&W revolvers I need one with a buggered up hole in its side like I need another hole in my head.

Tachardiapsyche
December 1, 2010, 12:50 AM
There are cases of lock up in those guns that are well documented and remain un-published. Some people believe gun magazines, some people believe gun store employee's - I believe that when facts present themselves they ought to be considered.

Gun magazines have to sell ads. Gun stores sell what they have in stock.

If you want to buy a gun with an internal lock - like a s&w, ruger, taurus, rossi, or chiappa - it's your business. Personally I don't carry a gun without a holster and a good belt, I don't use paddle holsters, I refuse to shop at walmart or buy anything that's stamped "made in China" and I don't spend my money on otherwise crappy products.

That's a decision I made on where I want my dollars to go. If you want to support a company that doesn't support your rights - like wal-mart or s&w it's your business - why should the decision I made effect your opinion.

W.E.G.
December 1, 2010, 12:55 AM
I refuse to shop at walmart or buy anything that's stamped "made in China"

Well, you don't have to worry about missing any deals on Smith and Wesson revolvers by that criteria. But what do you do for shoes and underwear???

788Ham
December 1, 2010, 01:29 AM
If I might jump in here a second...... what are MIM parts? Have seen this many times on different threads her, am just wondering! Thanks

bdb benzino
December 1, 2010, 01:46 AM
While I dont like the lock and probably will not look to buy another unless its a steal, my newer 638 has had the lock removed and is a sweet revolver!

dashootist
December 1, 2010, 01:51 AM
What I don't understand is why hasn't S&W removed the locks from production. Guns with locks cost more to manufacture, and customers are unhappy. S&W must be run by incompetents.

evan price
December 1, 2010, 02:13 AM
MIM= "Metal Injection Moulding"

Basically, they take a fine-grained powdered metal with a binding agent and put it into a mould then use heat and pressure to form it into the final shape. Then it's baked in a furnace to harden it. The finished part can have amazingly fine surface finish and dimensional accuracy without the need for machining, it just depends on the construction of the mould.

Properly engineered MIM parts put in applications where they don't require specific structural strengths work just fine and are cheaper and faster to make than forgings or castings. A MIM trigger or magazine catch would be OK.

However in applications where a specific sort of strain is applied they will fail... For example nobody would want a MIM trailer hitch ball or MIM sledge hammer or a MIM firing pin.

And you really can't stone them like bar stock parts to slick up the action.

Improperly engineered MIM parts, or MIM parts in the wrong sort of application, won't last.

788Ham
December 1, 2010, 02:17 AM
Thanks evan, I do appreciate the explanation. Your taking the time, this is what I like about the folks here on THR, truly appreciate it.

rich642z
December 1, 2010, 02:20 AM
I have about 4 Smith and Wessons revolvers with out the hole are 3S&W m10s,one M65 in a 4inch barrel,but,one has the hole and that is my 625-8 in .45acp 5 inch barrel

wideym
December 1, 2010, 03:43 AM
I frequent many gunshops and ranges, yet I have never met anyone that had a S&W lock failure or knows of anyone who has, other than the "I was told from a freind of a friend, who's cousin knows a guy who....".

I don't have any S&W pistols with the locks, mainly because I already have a dozen of their older pistols which were cheaper than the new locking ones at the time. If I find a good deal on one of their pistols I like, I'll buy it-expecially now that all those PD trade-ins are long gone.

captain awesome
December 1, 2010, 07:23 AM
I don't know if you would call this a failure or not but I certainly do.....
I had a mim model 29 that at 20 yards had 4 chambers that shot close to center, one 3feet left and a foot low, an one 3 feet right and a foot high. I know there is no accuracy guarantee , but that far off seems ridiculous to me. And good ol Smith and Wesson offered to have a look at it and replace the cylinder for the low price of; " it will cost a little over 200 dollars, $135 for the cylinder and about $80 for the work."-Smith and Wesson customer service rep(shipping to them would also be my own cost). Two failures in my book. One; to provide me with an accurate firearm, and two; failure to rectify the situation properly. I don't know if it was due to MIM parts, but it Kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

As far as the lock goes, I don't think its so much the failures(yes it HAS happened and IS documented though not nearly as common as some would have you believe) I believe its more about what it represents; One of our oldest trusted and respected gun co's caving to the threats of a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats over some perceived safety problem that never was a real problem, and expecting their loyal customers to accept it and pay for it. They do all this refusing to acknowledge the fact that their revolvers are now less reliable.

Now if you look at that and think about who the majority of gun owners are; My perception is we are mostly freedom loving people who do NOT appreciate our rights being trampled upon, will fight it tooth and nail, and probably die before being disarmed. Gun bans, activists and politicians be da*#ed, we will never submit to their anti-American agendas. When our beloved S&W does exactly what we despise and bends to the will of these gun hating liberals who we view as our enemies, well is it any surprise that much of their clientele were upset? My answer to the ops question, the reasons are everything you mentioned, however the refusal to give up the old ways is not such a bad thing. Old methods and ideals have value in more ways than one. I only wish there were more of us with those views.

harmon rabb
December 1, 2010, 07:37 AM
Just remove the lock if you don't like it. It's purportedly very easy to do.

Or, if you don't want MIM parts and a lock on your revolver, just buy a Ruger :rolleyes: They may lawyer up their auto's, but they have left the revolvers alone thankfully. Given how expensive S&W revolvers have become, I can't see any reason to buy one over a Ruger these days.

Olympus
December 1, 2010, 11:28 AM
Given the choice the between a pre-lock Smith and a locked Smith, I'll choose pre-lock every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It has nothing to do with being worried about the lock seizing up or anything. Just a matter of principle for me. But if the supply of pre-lock Smiths dries up or they become ridiculously high priced, then I might be swayed to buy a Smith with a lock because, hey, Smiths are great guns! Maybe better to have a lockable Smith than no Smith at all...

Thaddeus Jones
December 1, 2010, 12:16 PM
S&W's corporate greed has evidently surpassed its corporate arrogance.

NEW lock free J-frames are being produced and marketed. Soon, lock free L-frames will appear. Despite the vociferous chanting of the fanboys - the lock is NOT here to stay. :neener:

This turn of events makes those lock equipped revolvers even more worthless. Glad I didn't buy any. For those who did buy them.........well.......you were part of the problem, not part of the solution. Enjoy your wind up gun - your stuck with it. :)

jon86
December 1, 2010, 12:33 PM
I've had two j frames with locks... No problems here with thousands of rounds between the two of them. And lots of dry fires.

Old Fuff
December 1, 2010, 01:08 PM
The lock:

Has the lock ever failed? Yes it has. Very often? No. The problem is that if or when a handgun is, or might be used as a defensive weapon you want to keep it as simple as possible. Adding things that aren't necessary adds to the possibility (if not a probability) of failure, and it is foolish to add any additional risk if it's not necessary.

The lock is not a safety in the conventional sense, but rather a way to secure the gun from unauthorized use when it's not being used. In other words, it's one of many options for safe storage. For some this may be important, but from Smith & Wesson's point of view it helps prevent lawsuits against them for not doing anything if a child (or whoever) finds an unsecured gun that's loaded and then injures themselves or someone else. Smith & Wesson, and other makers that have internal locks in their products, can point out that they did do something, and if the gun owner didn't use the provided feature then it isn't the company's fault.

From my own perspective I'd rather have guns without internal locks, and address the issue of safe storage from another direction. Others of course may feel differently.

MIM lockwork parts:

MIM lockwork is functional, but the parts look and feel cheap, and in my view out of place in a quality product. This is something potential buyers won’t notice unless they are familiar with revolvers made before the MIM era. Since these parts are molded from a matrix made up of metal particles held together by a binder (think like gravel in concrete) I worry that in the future some critical sharp edges might crumble. The pre-MIM parts have a history going back many decades, where the newer ones do not. I’d rather let someone else do the beta testing.

Today’s firearms, like many other things manufactured in the United States have compromises that are necessary in our manufacturing economy that inflicts high costs demanded by taxes and government regulations, combined with ever increasing labor costs. To remain viable (and make a profit) manufacturers have turned to technology to help them lower costs, especially those associated with labor. The resulting products are usually as functional as similar older ones, but some prefer something more then simply functional. However that’s a judgment each individual must make.

earplug
December 1, 2010, 03:55 PM
I have modified three of my S&W 625's for lighter DA trigger pulls and faster lock time.
I shoot Bullseye, USPSA and ICORE.
I have cut out the inside area of my MIM hammers to lighten them. Due to the cuts made the lock is nonfunctional and I have removed them.
It takes a good quality carbide burr or stone to cut that MIM stuff. I have had no failures with my MIM parts except for having to replace a ejector that was out of time on one cylinder. This gun was used for several seasons of DA use only. The triggers are holding up fine.
In my opinion the finish on the MIM parts are better then my older -3 revolvers.
I have no failures with stock firing pins except for aftermarket pins breaking when dryfired.

BCRider
December 1, 2010, 06:25 PM
The lock is not a safety in the conventional sense, but rather a way to secure the gun from unauthorized use when it's not being used. In other words, it's one of many options for safe storage. For some this may be important, but from Smith & Wesson's point of view it helps prevent lawsuits against them for not doing anything if a child (or whoever) finds an unsecured gun that's loaded and then injures themselves or someone else. Smith & Wesson, and other makers that have internal locks in their products, can point out that they did do something, and if the gun owner didn't use the provided feature then it isn't the company's fault.



You raise a good point here. If the goal was to include a safety locking device I would think that S&W would have been just as far ahead to inlcude a nice S&W logo trigger lock that had the soft plastic'y rubber "soles" custom molded to the gun in question so that it was easy to use the special S&W trigger lock to secure the gun. It would certainly not have cost any more to include such a thing than it does to machine the parts and assemble them for the built in action lock. And S&W could have shown the gub'mint that it was taking safety seriously all while not alienating the buying public.

In any event the answers so far seem to be supporting the idea that neither the Hillary Hole or MIM is truly the end of the world FROM A FUNCTIONAL STANDPOINT other than the odd lockup that may or may not be due to the failure of the HH lock. Like you guys I'll happily buy guns that don't have that lock by preference unless I find a really good deal. And if the lock should happen to cause a lockup for myself it's not a big deal since at most it'll make me place lower in some competition match and not lose me my life.

John Wayne
December 1, 2010, 06:34 PM
That ugly hole in the side of my revolver does nothing to add safety. If you want to properly secure a gun, do it with a cable lock through the cylinder or barrel, not with a dinky little key and lock held in place by a spring detent.

I have owned 6 S&W revolvers, only 1 of which had a lock. I've had my eye on a model 60 Pro, 686, and 340. The MIM parts don't bother me, but I cannot bring myself for shell out that kind of money for something with that hideous lock. I like my revolvers to be functional as well as good looking. I could get over a keyhole lock on a Glock, but not on a S&W. That's why all the guns I've bought are lock-free. Until S&W figures that out, they won't be making any money off of me.

I thought we were making some headway with the lock-less 442s, but I haven't seen that being implemented in other models.

Old Fuff
December 1, 2010, 06:46 PM
Today's Smith & Wesson revolvers come with:

1. A plastic case, that is designed so that it can be secured with an ordinary padlock.

2. An external lock that when applied prevents the trigger from being pulled.

3. An internal lock that blocks the hammer from rotating.

If this isn't enough security there is always a gun safe.

Needless to say, this wasn't something that the gun buying market demanded.

But of course Ms. Brady and Mayor Bloom-brain would approve. :rolleyes:

PRM
December 1, 2010, 07:15 PM
Similarly I see lots of hate threads about the newer MIM parts. And while again no one likes them I have yet to see a post saying that an MIM part crumbled to dust and rendered a gun unuseable. ~ BCRider

I posted several threads on this both here, and the S&W Forums.

My Model 60-9 broke two of the MIM hammer blocks. Snapped at the weakest point. S&W used to answer this problem by mailing the customer new drop in hammer blocks. The only problem was they were also MIM. Although this is a part that should not bind or break ~ trust me they do, and yes they will affect the function. I did a search of the internet and found this to be a fairly common problem. Enough so, that about two months ago, I was told by S&W Customer Service this part is no longer MIM, but the old style stamped metal. They sent me one and I have had no further problems.

If you are a fan of MIM ~ go for it, I will take the old style dependability any day.

Lucky Derby
December 1, 2010, 08:54 PM
The above post by PRM is the first one of have seen about an actual problem with the MIM. Is MIM as nice as the older forged parts? No, it is simply a cheaper way to produce a firearm. I prefer the old forged parts, but would not have a problem trusting a MIM gun. In fact I do regularly trust a MIM gun, but it is a Colt.
I have witnessed a lock engaging under recoil. Yes it was a lightweight J frame firing full house .357s. That alone is something I would never do, however the gun is suposed to be able to do it. I would NEVER EVER trust a gun with a lock.

contender
December 1, 2010, 09:10 PM
If a Smith and Wesson top company man revolver shooter such as Jerry Miculek will not take a chance on keeping the lock for a match .........why should i take a chance on saving my life with the lock?

you can talk about "game" guns all you wnat as far as what Jerry uses, but the quote from Grant Cunningham on page 2 of this thread purty well sums it up.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=533044

Old krow
December 1, 2010, 09:22 PM
the lock is NOT here to stay

I'm actually a little surprised that they have lasted this long. Once Saf-T-Hammer bought them out, they renounced the agreement made with the prior owners had made with the Clinton Regime. I think that if enough people spoke up about it (as in contacted them) they might just get rid of it altogether.

Thanks for posting that PRM.

orionengnr
December 1, 2010, 09:59 PM
What I don't understand is why hasn't S&W removed the locks from production. Guns with locks cost more to manufacture, and customers are unhappy. S&W must be run by incompetents.
Well...maybe yes and maybe no. From a manufacturing standpoint, it is nearly always more expensive to make a change than it is to continue as-is.

Yes, the ILS parts cost money, but in actuality, probably only a few cents per revolver. Whether the frame is cast with a hole and then finished, or whether the hole is drilled after casting...to change either one requires re-programming of the existing automated process. Re-programming requires human labor costs, and very likely costs more than leaving things as they are. Of equal importance (as of yet) they have no incentive to do so.

When and if S&W sees dramatically decreased sales directly attributable to the ILS, the status quo will change.

A bunch of us old grumps P&M'ing does not sufficiently impact their bottom line, and (apparently) the vast majority of new buyers have no awareness or concerns about the ILS.

For my part, six or seven years ago I was buying ILS S&W revolvers and knew absolutely nothing about the lock. It was only after "IT" happened to someone I know that I started reading and paying attention.

Old Fuff
December 2, 2010, 12:39 AM
A bunch of us old grumps P&M'ing does not sufficiently impact their bottom line, and (apparently) the vast majority of new buyers have no awareness or concerns about the ILS.

This "old grump" doesn't wish S&W any bad luck, it just that some of us with experience going well back before the current methods of construction prefer the way they formally made revolvers. By all means those that find the current guns to be superior to the older ones should buy them, and let the old grumps go out and get what whatever they like. ;)

Prosser
December 3, 2010, 02:18 AM
Hi Orionengnr:
Yes, I'm the one that had his 360PD lock up, dry firing, to try and smooth out the 16 pound, smooth as 40 grit sand paper trigger.

Now, without the lock, it has a weird trigger take up, but, at least it goes bang everytime I shoot it. My gunsmith had not had one lock up, either. So nice to be first,...:banghead::cuss::fire:

While not smooth like a Colt, or non-MIM trigger parts gun, it's now at a nearly liveable 10 pounds, and, MUCH smoother then when it started.

The combination of a 12 oz gun, and .357 magnum/hand grenade/flame thrower/gun is too impressive to completely dismiss, for a SD weapon.

"Yes, officer. I can identify him. He's the one running down the street, with his hair on fire, blind and deaf. No, I don't think I hit him with the bullet."
;)

That said, there are better GUNS for self-defense. But, none so light, with the potential to pack such a punch.

Kernel
December 3, 2010, 03:32 AM
The lock is ugly, and I don't buy ugly.

If S&W had an unobtrusive lock, like the Tuarus lock on the hammer, or Ruger's which is hidden under the grips, then I would consider buying another new S&W. As is, I haven't aquired a factory new Smith since my 3" 686+ that I bought in 1999.

The day Smith makes their new 2.5" 638 without a lock, I'd buy one.

hemiram
December 3, 2010, 06:49 AM
If S&W wants to ever sell me a new 686 or 629, the only two revolvers I'm interested in buying, the lock needs to go. Period. As far as MIM goes, I really don't care all that much about it.

Stainz
December 3, 2010, 06:49 AM
A few facts:

1. American owned Saf-T-Hammer bought S&W in 2001 - and introduced the IL. GW Bush took office in 2000 - why is it a 'Hillary hole'?
2. MIM parts, like the hammer, trigger, and rebound slide, are highly uniform and require no fitting. I know of no failures of such parts.
3. The short lived cast steel hammer block, like it's similarly constructed Ruger counterpart, does fail - and they are back to bent sheet metal there.
4. If the IL is so undependable, why has S&W yet to spend the first dime defending themselves over it's use in court? It's been around most of ten years.

I started receiving SS retirement earlier this year, so I have seen a few laps around the fiery orb. I just knew the new-fangled, and then more expensive, SS Model 60 in .38 Special was the wave of the future. That was heresy then. Little matter, I was in school anyway. Soon, our thoughtful Uncle would provide me with the firearms I 'needed'. Raising a family and working left little time or money for firearms. Local shops poo-ed Brit-owned S&W for cowering to the 'Clinton' regime, when I could become firearm-interested, so I went the Ruger way - until a S&W gifted from my wife 9/02. Within weeks - an IL-equipped S&W - the first of many. Never a problem.

Sure, the IL is ugly - as are the MIM parts. You know what pegs the ugo-meter to me? Rubber grips! I can change that. I suspect, when I finally get tired of the IL's looks, I'll get some plugs for them... hope they have a quantity discount!

Stainz

PS If I said 'no' to the IL-equipped S&W's, I wouldn't have acquired a new 3" 63 - or 2 5/8" PC627 UDR this year - that would be sad, indeed!

Deanimator
December 3, 2010, 10:47 AM
The lock failures have been documented extensively, including by Massad Ayoob.

I don't absolutely object to a gun with a lock. I ABSOLUTELY object to a gun with THAT lock. It's a shamefully incompetent design... not to mention seemingly placed to be a finger in the eye to the owner.

I've got a safe full of S&W revolvers. I carry a Model 36 almost every day. I've never owned a S&W revolver with THAT lock and never will.

There's a guy on the S&W Forums who sells a plug for the hole once you remove the lock parts.

Nomad, 2nd
December 3, 2010, 11:18 AM
2. MIM parts, like the hammer, trigger, and rebound slide, are highly uniform and require no fitting. I know of no failures of such parts.

Ya can't work on em...

earplug
December 3, 2010, 12:16 PM
mim parts are better to modify then the old case hardened parts. The old stuff was very soft under the hard surface.
The MIM parts are very uniform and you don't worry about getting a uniform outside finish if you do something like polish and radius the trigger or cut down the hammer.
The SA hammer notch is easier to polish on the MIM part. Better surface.

Guillermo
December 3, 2010, 01:14 PM
The SA hammer notch is easier to polish on the MIM part

actually the MIM parts do not polish well at all. Many gunsmiths will not do an action job on an MIM gun because they cannot make enough of a difference to assure a happy customer.

MIM parts can be burnished. If you have an MIM gun you should dry fire the heck out of it and it can become smoother.

As to the lock, it is not a problem because it is there. It is the design. Only a flaming idiot would design a lock that works on the same rotational axis as the recoil of the gun. Only a moron of world champion proportions would design a lock that rotated opposite the recoil (on the same axis).

It is simply the dumbest design since the nuclear rifle that did not shoot beyond the blast range of the projectile.

If they had made it where it rotated on a different plane such as the Taurus lock very few would care.

Black Butte
December 3, 2010, 01:40 PM
That ugly hole drilled in the frame is a slap in the face. S&W will not get my business as long as it's there.

roaddog28
December 3, 2010, 02:05 PM
I have only one S&W with the internal lock. Its a model 10-14. I have not had one failure and the revolver has performed well. The only reason I bought it because of the price. I paid $275 unfired with the box, trigger lock etc.. Do I like the hole? Nope. This is the only new revolver I have ever bought. The rest of my S&W revolvers are pre-locks and several are pinned and recessed. I have two Rugers DA. A Police Service Service and a GP100.
I like others here don't want to pay $200 higher for a new revolver and have too look at the hole in the side of the revolver. I recently, wanted to buy a S&W 686 4 inch to replace the one I sold. I looked at new S&W ones for $750. The trigger pull was not any better than a new Ruger GP100. The GP100 new is $559.
I did not want to buy the GP100 because I have one. But I keep looking and found a used 686-2 4 inch for $400. This is in California. The moral of this post is, why overpay for a revolver with a hole in the side of it when a person can find quality used revolvers that are made right for less.

Thats all I got to say.
Howard

Jim K
December 3, 2010, 03:06 PM
I have never believed that those locks are totally foolproof, but the "anti-lock" folks are just not credible.

I once challenged a poster about a claimed lock failure. He promptly called me names, ranted about the government, the Commies, the black helicopters and how he lived only to destroy S&W for knuckling under to the Clintonists. Rant, rage and insanity, and the way he claimed the lock failed is simply impossible. (He said it fell down in front of the hammer and prevented the gun from firing, and that the failure had been checked by a "prominent" [but unnamed] firearms "expert" who advised against buying any S&W ever again, even pre-lock guns "because they all blow up.")

Sad that fantasies can drive people to that level of lunacy.

Jim

Deanimator
December 3, 2010, 04:06 PM
I have never believed that those locks are totally foolproof, but the "anti-lock" folks are just not credible.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Massad Ayoob has more credibility than you. He certainly does with me.

dewalt-2
December 3, 2010, 08:50 PM
I love my 686-6. When I did the initial detail strip and fluff and buff, I removed the lock. Trigger pull after polishing in DA is very smooth and SA is light as a feather.
http://i999.photobucket.com/albums/af120/Radar-1/003-11.jpg
The new Smith's are what they are, I think they're fine. This debate will go on forever...

Old Fuff
December 3, 2010, 09:23 PM
Jim Keenan has plenty of creditability so far as I’m concerned. He has been both an experienced professional gunsmith as well as a stint as a law enforcement officer. He knows far more about the innards of Smith & Wesson (as well as other) double-action revolvers then most folks you’ll meet on any Internet forum.

I think his remarks were directed toward the more rabid and over-the-hill commentators who are long on opinion and short on real firearms experience.

In my view, getting emotionally upset over the S&W internal lock is foolish because (1.) it is easily done away with, and (2.) there are a lot of older no-lock Smith & Wesson’s – as well as other makes – that can keep at least one or two generations supplied with very fine wheelguns.

I have no love for the lock either, but given the other options that are available I don’t loose any sleep over it.

Nomad, 2nd
December 3, 2010, 09:52 PM
mim "Ya can't work on em..." UNTRUE!
mim parts are better to modify then the old case hardened parts. The old stuff was very soft under the hard surface.
The MIM parts are very uniform and you don't worry about getting a uniform outside finish if you do something like polish and radius the trigger or cut down the hammer.
The SA hammer notch is easier to polish on the MIM part. Better surface.

Tell that to THIS GUY:
http://www.clementscustomguns.com/smithwessonrevolvers.html
I cannot do action work on newer guns with MIM parts. If the back of the trigger has cavities cast in it, then the gun is a MIM gun and not suitable.
I think if you'll check his background... you'll find out he's 'slightly credable'


I have never believed that those locks are totally foolproof, but the "anti-lock" folks are just not credible.

I know a retired State Police Firearms instructor who has stated to me that he has had it happen to him.

Also, there was a LONG thread of posts of them happening on the S&W forums...

EmGeeGeorge
December 3, 2010, 09:52 PM
Just buy a Nagant revolver... virtually indestructable, guaranteed to go bang, as long as you can pull the trigger.

And no pesky lock.

RevGuy
December 3, 2010, 10:26 PM
My dealer told me today that he could order a J frame for me without the IL. However, after checking, he learned only the light weight J's are available without the IL. If you want 642, no problem. But a 36 or 60, no soap.

oldfool
December 4, 2010, 09:35 AM
I vote w/ Fuff and Keenan
(Ayoob makes a honest buck selling tactical to the tactical crowd; what else would you really expect him to say ??)

but I mostly think all the wailing and gnashing of teeth is simply ludicrous
99% political
if you carry for SD, take the ILS out, it's braindead easy
if you can't sleep at night because of MIM, mortgage the house and buy a Korth

but I do not understand the suits at S&W, I don't
NOBODY actually likes the ILS, just what part of "no" do they not understand ???
it's just not that hard to design a reliable out-of-service lock for a handgun, if they truly believe it serves their litigation phobia to do so

"It is simply the dumbest design since the nuclear rifle that did not shoot beyond the blast range of the projectile."
undisputed

Guillermo
December 4, 2010, 10:30 AM
I have no love for the lock either, but given the other options that are available I don’t loose any sleep over it.

99% political

The first quote, that of Old Fuff reflects my opinion too.

For me, Old Fool's assertion that the lock hatred is 99% political is not accurate. It is probably 25%

The fact that S&W dropped to their knees for the Clintons is nauseating. That the lock is designed so stupidly and they stick with it even though their customers hate it is part of it too.

Why? The incredible arrogance and the poor decision making.

They are such pompous asses that they do not care what their customers think.

Since they stick with something so moronically designed, what standards do they have?

Judging from their QC, I would say that they do not actually have standards.

Old Fuff
December 4, 2010, 11:10 AM
Why? The incredible arrogance and the poor decision making.

Not entirely, but they do have reasons from their own point of view.

First, it should be noted that other companies – including Ruger and Taurus – have internal locks and more are introducing them as designed-from-scratch models come on line. But both of the above named makers have gone to some length to insure the lock isn’t such a “in your face” sort of thing, and so far neither have had any problem with reports of failures.

What is behind all of this is not consumer demand but rather self-protection. The manufacturer’s lawyers have pointed out to their clients, that in some states an individual that leaves a handgun unsecured and it is used by someone else – especially a child – to inflict damage, injury or death, both criminal and civil actions can be expected. In addition most attorneys involved in civil litigation would also make the gun manufacturer a party for failing to incorporate some devise in their product to prevent such an occurrence. Why sue the gunmaker? Sometimes there is anti-gun politics in the background, but usually it’s because the gun company – or they’re liability insurance underwriter – have deep pockets.

Now this may seem far fetched to some, but if the suit is brought in a deep blue/ultra-liberal city or state the chances of the petitioner succeeding and being upheld is very good, and defending the case (not to mention potential judgments) can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars or much more, even if the manufacturer prevails.

So like it or not, we are going to see more guns with internal locks, even though surveys show that only a small percentage of handgun owners use them. But unquestionably Smith & Wesson could cool much of the controversy by taking steps to make the feature less obvious. Both Ruger and Taurus have seen the light that S&W hasn’t.

Guillermo
December 4, 2010, 12:23 PM
Both Ruger and Taurus have seen the light that S&W hasn’t

because Smith does not care what we think.

That arrogance pisses me off.

Ruger HIDES their lock and unlike the Smith lock, it is as close to impossible to accidentally engage as statistics will allow.

Deanimator
December 4, 2010, 12:51 PM
because Smith does not care what we think.
They're like TSA and the groping.

The more complaints both get, the more in your face they get about it.

In both cases, it's ceased to be about security or safety. It's now a matter of dominance behavior. "We not only can MAKE you do this, we're going to make you LIKE it!"

One interesting thing I've noted however, is that a LOT of promotional photos of S&W revolvers ONLY show the right side.

Old Fuff
December 4, 2010, 01:05 PM
Oh I think they care, but the bean-counters are looking at the cost of a re-design and production tooling vs. sales lost because of a relative few malcontents (like the OLD Fuff, etc.) Frankly most of today's buyers don't have much - or any - experience or knowledge concerning the older guns, and some that do don't give a hoot about the recent changes. If they are satisfied then I'm delighted. It takes some price pressure off of what I'm looking for.

That said, recent, sometimes substantial, price increases in relatively common older Smith & Wesson's show that somebody other then the Old Fuff is interested in them. With some exceptions, used with-lock/MIM revolvers aren't showing this kind of increased value the old ones are.

I sure wish that you guys would stop complaining and go out and buy more new guns... :evil:

Guillermo
December 4, 2010, 04:16 PM
I sure wish that you guys would stop complaining and go out and buy more new guns

LOL
:p

well said Fuffster

Hawk
December 4, 2010, 06:04 PM
but I do not understand the suits at S&W, I don't
NOBODY actually likes the ILS, just what part of "no" do they not understand ???

Where are they hearing "no"?

I'd guess they're hearing "no" from internet fora. However, internet fora don't buy new guns so why should they care? In modern revolvers the disconnect between what people say they want vs. what they buy has been immense.

It's been a while since I've posted so I'll offer the following refresher:
Sales per AFMER, S&W revolvers:
2003: 120,398
2004: 146,089
2005: 158,146
2006: 185,078
2007: 196,255
2008: 215,955

In the same amount of time Ruger (including both DA and SA) went from 110,894 to 96,736.

A disinterested third party reading this thread would think the situation should be reversed. After all, isn't everyone staying away from new S&W and rewarding Ruger for not allowing anything so diabolical to infest their product?

It would seem not. It would seem whatever S&W is doing is being rewarded by the market while Ruger could stand a little help here - where are all those buyers voting in the "new S&W vs Ruger" poll? A little broke from Christmas shopping or simply insufficient numbers to be a blip on the radar?

I don't have any special knowledge but I'd bet a donut S&W knows there's no point in wooing the old timers - If they dropped the lock, people would whine about the MIM rather than pay for the forged part models, if everything went forged, they'd crab about the EDM barrels. Or, not to put too fine a point on it, there's a crowd that's better off with older stuff and some marketing dweebs are likely in full agreement that the gain to recover them isn't worth the pain. And, infinitely more importantly, they are NOT being punished by the market.

I'm not saying that those swearing off new S&W don't have valid points - in fact, I'm more or less one of them (I only stray on rare occasion).

But, realistically, we represent a market force of squat-all. This thread is an excellent example - same names, same theme, repeated across multiple forums generally bi-monthly. Add all the UNIQUE names together and we get maybe a couple hundred potential buyers.

The lock never was and never will be the "agreement". The "agreement" resulted in a boycott by dealers and distributors that darn near brought the tent down and at least forced a change of ownership. The lock, not so much. It's caused a couple hundred folks that vary from simply preferring older stuff to conspiracy theorists to swear off the brand with vastly varying degrees of vehemence.

What's unfortunate is that some few (not necessarily even anyone in this thread) have confused the uprising against the agreement to be duplicable against the lock. Ain't gonna happen. Hasn't happened. Didn't happen.



On a related but tangential note, domestic revolver production took off in 2009 from 431K to 547K. The breakdown figures won't be out of embargo until January 2011. Should be enlightening.

420Stainless
December 4, 2010, 06:43 PM
I am not aware of any issues with either of those features beyond what has already been presented, only that I don't like them. The hole is ugly and useless. The MIM don't bother me so much, but I do prefer the old way better. Neither feature improves the functionality in any way and harm the aesthetics. The only improvement they may offer is a reduction in costs associated with manufacturing and liabilities. This can be an important factor for consumers weighing quality vs. affordability. China has taken over manufactured commodities because consumers will make that trade-off most of the time and S&W and other gun manufacturers' markets aren't much different.

I own a 25-13 because it has features that drew me past the objectionable ones. But I am not attracted to, or wish to buy any more with the hole. Too many other options are more appealing.

dashootist
December 4, 2010, 07:10 PM
Is it true that newer Rugers have MIM parts in them?

Guillermo
December 4, 2010, 07:25 PM
Hawk

you make a good point that their numbers are good. One wonders how good they would be if they gave a damn what serious gun people thought.

I would have bought at least one gun from them. (not a revolver...but I did not bother to consider an M&P when I wanted a polymer 45. Springfield got my money)

Hawk
December 4, 2010, 07:33 PM
I expect we'll never know.

Even if everyone that swore them off bought six to ten a year if they totally reformed I'm not sure it would make a dent.

It sounds like there's more of us than there is through what I believe is called "internet echo effect" but it's you, me, Old Fuff and the usual crowd in here - I don't see thousands per year in lost sales. Maybe thousands since 2003.

'Course this is conjecture. One could just as well speculate that their sales would be up significantly if they hadn't strayed.

Old Fuff
December 4, 2010, 08:07 PM
Is it true that newer Rugers have MIM parts in them?

I'm not sure about the most recent LCR revolvers, but other Rugers are made using investment castings, with a few punch press stampings (such as the hammer strut.) I have no reason to think they are going to change.

Balrog
December 4, 2010, 08:19 PM
I was just checking the S&W website, and find it kind of funny that all their semi autos are shown with the barrel pointing to the left, but all their revolvers are shown with the barrels pointing to the right. With the barrels to the right, the Hillary Hole is hidden on the opposite side of the gun. I do not think this is coincidental. I think S&W wishes everyone would just forget about the lock.

Old Fuff
December 4, 2010, 08:20 PM
Well Hawk...

It's almost worth getting involved in another internal lock thread just to get you back. I think you are correct in that many if not most of the objectors are on the older side, and their numbers (including me) aren't doing serious damage to Smith & Wesson's bottom line.

But I don't want to hurt the company anyway, it's just that I buy what my experience tells me is best, especially when the prices are attractive. Clearly the greater numbers don't agree with me, and for that I am absolutely delighted. :evil: :D

Besides I'm depressed. I was watching an auction this morning and noticed a "gun of interest," but the opening bid was $100,000. :what:

And I am absolutely sure that it didn't have an internal lock or MIM parts! :D

oldfool
December 4, 2010, 08:53 PM
"assertion that the lock hatred is 99% political is not accurate. It is probably 25%...
The fact that S&W dropped to their knees for the Clintons is nauseating"

dog gone it, you got me there, G...clearly 75% non-political ;)

"because Smith does not care what we think."
no they do not, nor did Colt, nor does Taurus, nor does Glock or HK, obviously :(

The lock never was and never will be the "agreement".
fact
the only thing the MBAs-R-Us were looking to "lock" was to lock out competition... BAD move.. bankrupted the company, auctioned off for 10 cents on the dollar

Where are they hearing "no"?
from G and Fuff and Ayoob and every revolver forum in cyberspace for 10 straight years

"S&W knows there's no point in wooing the old timers"
right... that's why they introduced and keep expanding the so called 'classic' line, at extra high markup prices... cause they don't think anybody still alive actually remembers or wants the good stuff

tooling up cost too high to make revolvers w/o ILS... vs. tooling to build the current 'classic' line w/ ILS... hmmm

2003 thru 2008
Ruger plus S&W combined went from 231,000 to 313,000 revolvers
wow
whilst injection molded black plastics with crappy mushy DAO triggers went....
and 'Dan Wesson' sold only autoloaders...
(pert near makes an old fool want to sit right down and cry)

reality check -
"the company formerly known as S&W" MBAs-R-Us screwed up HUGE and lost the company (because of NOT hearing their customers)
bought for 10 cents on the dollar by... Safe-t-Hammer
somebody's daddy owns the patent on that pitiful excuse for an out-of-service handgun lock
somebody's child gets a royalty on every one of those (over a million) S&W revolvers sold 2003 thru 2008 (quite likely plus a VIP fat salary and bonus stock options whether they show up for work or not, golden umbrella guaranteed)
and somebody's child is going to vote at the board meeting to expand the 'classic line'.. with ILS of course

who ever woulda' thunk it ???


PS
whatever else I am wrong about... hey, NOBODY actually likes that lock, whether they lose sleep over it or not
(except maybe somebody's child ?)

Guillermo
December 4, 2010, 08:58 PM
from G and Fuff and Ayoob and every revolver forum in cyberspace for 10 straight year

I am honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys, but I recognize that I am not worthy to carry Old Fuff's range bag...although he would let me if I walked 3 paces arrear.

Thaddeus Jones
December 4, 2010, 10:46 PM
Yes, things are going so well for S&W that they are making lock free revolvers again. The apologists here have assured me for years that this would never happen. :)

S&W's stock is tanked - not Rugers.

Oh, and S&W is dropping the prices on all its handguns. Check their website. Sales must be rosy indeed. :)

Marvin KNox
December 5, 2010, 07:29 PM
When I decided to carry, I wanted to carry two Smith and Wesson J frames.

I couldn't find what I wanted without the lock. So I got guns with the lock. When I had the guns worked on for their triggers I had the locks disabled. I wasn't THAT worried about them. But since there was no charge to do it I figured why not.

I wish they didn't have the hole in the side. But they do. If I had my choice the holes would disappear. But it's not an option.

I love the guns and won't be trading them off for anything. They have great triggers and they can't lock up now even if that was a worry at one time - which it wasn't.

I don't carry for looks. No one sees them usually. Why shouldn't I be happy with them. They do the job very well indeed.

Thank you - to the guys who bitched and moaned until Smith and Wesson began to see the light. The gun owning public owes you a great big thank you. Consider it done.

I'm just a guy who carries two guns that will do the job for me and mine.

BUT I WAS NOT PART OF ANY PROBLEM. Smith and Wesson's political correctness was the only problem in the equation.

The rest of us are heros - whether we happen to have ugly holes in the sides of our guns or not. How bout a little respect here? :)

dashootist
December 5, 2010, 07:41 PM
Do people at S&W even know we don't like internal locks? I find only mild dislike for the locks when I talk to real people who owns S&W. They don't like it, but not enough to complain about it to S&W. I only find deep hatred on internet forums. I don't think that many people actually reads internet forums. So we can complain all we want on the internet, but I don't think S&W is getting the message. Maybe one of those big gun magazine would do a critical article about it.

Old Fuff
December 5, 2010, 07:42 PM
Gee Marvin,

You don't have to put up with the ugly holes. Someone makes an aftermarket plug to fit in it. Easy do-it-yourself sort of thing. ;)

Old Fuff
December 5, 2010, 07:49 PM
Smith & Wesson's management does not live in a cave, and yes they are very aware about the very vocal objections to the lock. But as long as it offers them some protection against lawsuits, and doesn't seriously impact their bottom line the lock will stay on most models.

Now the Old Fuff will go out and spit into the wind while he pets one of his pre-lock revolvers... :D

340PD
December 5, 2010, 08:23 PM
Every S&W I currently own has "the Lock" Every one of them has at least several thousand rounds through them. I feel secure carrying any of these revolvers. Anyone, please feel free to send me any of guns with locks that you are concerned about. I will give them a good home.

Nomad, 2nd
December 5, 2010, 08:29 PM
Do people at S&W even know we don't like internal locks? I find only mild dislike for the locks when I talk to real people who owns S&W. They don't like it, but not enough to complain about it to S&W. I only find deep hatred on internet forums. I don't think that many people actually reads internet forums. So we can complain all we want on the internet, but I don't think S&W is getting the message. Maybe one of those big gun magazine would do a critical article about it.

Oh, Gun companies READ the postings...

Seen proof many times.

dashootist
December 5, 2010, 08:31 PM
340PD, do you ever use the internal lock?

Does anyone?

Messenger Guard
December 5, 2010, 09:02 PM
The lock to many old schoolers is like Winchesters made after 1963. The lock and MIM parts represent the passing of a generation of guns which are too expensive to make and remain profitable. Do the new Smiths not shoot as good? I prefer the old firing pin on the hammer/ forged parts/ hand fitted guns but....Today's computer assisted drafting guns are held to tighter tolerances across the line than Bangor Punta/ Lear Siegler guns ever were. I'm not so much against the lock politically as I am aesthetically and I feel adding unnecessary garbage hinders the purity of the function. While I would prefer Smith would offer the non locking guns as an option, I still think they build the best revolvers across the board. The deal with Clinton is history and it was no less obnoxious than Bill Ruger's pandering. We essentially killed the S&W that made the "deal". Tompkins LLC was forced to sell S&W for pennies on the dollar because we gunowners refused to buy S&W's.

evan price
December 6, 2010, 12:54 AM
@TJ: "Oh, and S&W is dropping the prices on all its handguns. Check their website. Sales must be rosy indeed."

No, maybe S&W realized people weren't interested in paying $600 for a new J-frame with a hole in the side and lousy finish.

I mean ,seriously- when I go to my local gun shop and browse, I am struck by
A: How expensive the S&W's are compared to the Rugers, Tauri, etc.
B: How crappy the surface finish looks compared to what they used to be
C: How many different variants/models/styles/grips are available as options.

Prosser
December 6, 2010, 02:56 AM
I thought the Clinton's used the office to threaten gunmakers to make changes that made
it appear they actually did something, hence the Hillary hole? Just an insult from 2A advocates against the Clintons, and the dems?

Also, wasn't the company that put the locks on at the time, as someone mentioned, the owner of the patent on the stupid lock design? Hence, when they sell the company, they continue to earn profit on every gun sold with their stupid, patented lock?

Retooling might be cost ineffective, at least at this point?

S&W wasn't shy about raising prices, and, when I can buy a used Freedom Arms
for the cost of one of their new revolvers, well, it's not really even a choice.

Nomad, 2nd
December 6, 2010, 03:09 AM
I thought the Clinton's used the office to threaten gunmakers to make changes that made
it appear they actually did something, hence the Hillary hole? Just an insult from 2A advocates against the Clintons, and the dems?


Yea, there was some 'buffer from lawsuits' or some such.

It was Bill incharge, but he was interested in other orafaces, and ******* was jokingly referenced as running things...

5-SHOTS
December 6, 2010, 11:34 AM
After my pre-lock, pre-MIM S&W 649-1 Bodyguard had a broken hammer stud on November 26 (only 800 rounds fired and less than 2000 dryfires) I have no more prejudices about lock-MIM guns…

Anyway the S&W internal lock is sure badly designed: the weak point is the little little little spring that holds down the “flag” with the written “locked”. If the spring is not placed well or the friction between the flag and the hammer is stronger than the spring, the hammer can drag the flag up freezing the action. Not to mention that sometimes recoil force had won the spring’s force with the same result…
Another observation: I don’t understand the lock in the Centennial and Bodyguard design because you actually can’t see if your gun is locked or not (the flag is hidden).

Solutions?
1) remove the flag and its spring (if you want);
2) cut the little tooth on the flag that freeze the hammer and leave the flag (and its spring) where it is (again if you want).
3) buy a pre-lock or a pre-MIM or a pre-both S&W and then pray to not have a broken hammer stud :neener:… It’s a pain in the @, I can guarantee.

Best regards, 5-SHOTS.

Hawk
December 6, 2010, 02:52 PM
Well Hawk...

It's almost worth getting involved in another internal lock thread just to get you back. I think you are correct in that many if not most of the objectors are on the older side, and their numbers (including me) aren't doing serious damage to Smith & Wesson's bottom line.

But I don't want to hurt the company anyway, it's just that I buy what my experience tells me is best, especially when the prices are attractive. Clearly the greater numbers don't agree with me, and for that I am absolutely delighted.

Besides I'm depressed. I was watching an auction this morning and noticed a "gun of interest," but the opening bid was $100,000.

And I am absolutely sure that it didn't have an internal lock or MIM parts!

Always a pleasure, Old Fuff.

I've been addressing a few other hobbies but I can't stay away too long.

The ATF interim 2009 report grabbed my interest as it shows a 26% bump in revolver numbers vs. 16% in pistols. Of course, that's domestic production so if Glock benefited from the 2009 buying frenzy it, and similar imports, wouldn't show up.

We probably can't learn anything definitive from the '09 feeding frenzy but it should still be interesting to see who cashed in and by how much.

If you enjoyed reading about "S&W "Hillary Holes" and MIM parts..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!