Just traded for a used S&W Model 28....got a couple questions.


December 13, 2010, 07:51 PM
I just traded a work buddy an old S&W Military & Police Model of 1905,4th change, that has been re-finished, and that I bought about 10 years ago for only $165. I got in trade his car-carry pistol,a S&W Model 28-2 "Highway Patrolman" .357 that he says he bought from a retired cop years ago.( He also bought it cheap, and wanted something to belt-carry that wasn't a boat anchor).
The model 28 has pretty good cylinder lock-up,( about the same as my other Smiths, but not like my GP100), a crisp and clean bore, and pristine crown. The few screws visible, don't look to have ever been touched.
Unfortunately, no wood grips, only Pachmayr presentation grips. The finish is pretty good, but for discolorations in the blueing all over the cylinder (but no pitting, or other defects). I gave the pistol a once-over,but could have been more thorough, and now find that the cylinder can be fairly difficult to pop open, but only on a couple of the chambers.
First, of course, I'm wondering how serious this cylinder-release issue might be? Also, my local smith says he'll re-blue the whole thing for $155, I'm wondering if that's decent, or should I shop around ( I've known and used the guy sporadically for several years).
Any insight much appreciated.......

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December 13, 2010, 07:57 PM
First, congrats! I'm on the hunt for a Highway Patrolman myself (or possibly anything in a 4" N-frame, we'll see...).

Second, the sticky cylinder latch/release could be a couple of thems. Check under the extractor star and make sure it's clean. Gunk buildup could cause it to ride high and bind going in and out of the frame window. If that is clean, I would check to make sure the ejector rod screw is tight. Place fired cases in all of the chambers and carefully tighten the ejector rod. Failing either of those tests, I'm at a loss.

Lastly, unless the finish is really, really atrocious, I'd vote to sink the $155 into a nice piece of leather and ammo and just shoot it. That's just me though, and while I don't like the looks of true beaters, pistols with wear are more interesting than cherry safe-queens.

December 13, 2010, 08:08 PM
Hey,wanderinwalker, many thanks for the very speedy and highly useful response !!! :)

P.S. It doesn't seem to be an issue with the latch/release, but more internal. Something to do with the ejector star was my assumption all along.And, how do I check, and then tighten the ejector rod? Forgive my ignorance, I'm sure this is pretty basic.

December 13, 2010, 08:23 PM
You can tighten it by simply turning it to the right while not allowing the cylinder to turn. The trick is to find a pair of flat pliers to grab it with and not mare the finish. I personally don;t have the tools for that so I would bring coffee and doughnuts to the local smith and be polite.

December 13, 2010, 08:24 PM
Put fired cases in each of the holes, and try to unscrew the ejector rod with fingertip pressure. If it's loose, you'll know it.

A little penetrating oil might do the trick, too - I used WD40 on one smith, before I knew better, and eventually gummed up the ejector pretty good. Once the gunk was dissolved the problem went away.

Jesse Heywood
December 13, 2010, 11:28 PM
Start with a thorough cleaning. Remove the grips and flush the action and cylinder with a spray cleaner. Then oil all the blue surfaces immediately followed by lube on the moving parts. Then you can check the latch again. The problem could be due to old lube, powder under the ejector or the ejector worn or crane bent or the rod being loose. Rule out the simple stuff first. If the ejector rod is loose tighten it with your fingers and check it again. Then go see the smith and let him tighten it properly.

You can remove surface rust with light oil and the edge of a copper penny. Then keep the gun oiled and spend your money on ammo.

December 14, 2010, 12:16 AM
Nothing to add on the stickiness that hasn't been said already. Other than I'll just stress that most tight cylinder issues are from the ejector rod not being tight or from gun under the star as mentioned. It's not hard to strip all that out and clean it as separate parts and you may dislodge something that you would not get if you try to clean and oil it as a single unit.

I find the Pachmayer grips to be too thin. I recently put a set of Hogue rubber grips on my own 28 and found it to be far, far better. Now I'm keen on a set of wood Hogues to dress the gun up somewhat while retaining the nice hand filling grip shape.

The only trouble with the 28 is that shooting the softer .38Spl loads is almost like shooting a .22 :D But fill it with +P or .357Mags and it really comes to life.

December 14, 2010, 01:41 AM
fwiw, you may want to spend the $155 with your gunsmith and have him clean the gun up and check out your problems. i bought my 28-2 brand new in 1978. no regrets. best durn handgun out there.

December 14, 2010, 09:29 AM
MIL DOT, Congrats ! Thats what I call a gun. They dont make them like that anymore. Thats a real S&W.

December 14, 2010, 10:37 AM
and now find that the cylinder can be fairly difficult to pop open, but only on a couple of the chambers.

As mentioned, a loose ejector rod is the most common reason, but "only on a couple of the chambers" makes me wonder if the ejector rod may be bent a bit. Does the action feel different on these chambers as well? Open the cylinder, spin it, and watch the end of the ejector rod.

Look as the end of the ejector rod as well. The face of the outer housing and inner pin should be nice and flat, and when the back of the inner pin is pushed flat against the ejector star, the other end should be flush with the outer housing.

December 14, 2010, 10:38 AM
Thanks again,guys. The ejector rod doesn't move at all,( other than normal shell ejecting) and I've tried pretty hard, and am at the point that I should step away and take it to the professional.
Other than this issue,( and the crappy finish on the cylinder) the gun appears very good. Bore and crown are nice,the crane mates perfectly into the frame, so I don't think that's bent. The ejector rod appears un-bent. Both SA and DA trigger pulls are fine. Cylinder holes appear clean and uniform. I removed the Pachmayrs a few minutes ago, and everything is clean under there.
So, unless my smith looks at it and busts out laughing, I'm still pretty happy with the trade !!

Sniper X
December 14, 2010, 12:00 PM
Cool, I still want a model 28. I second the though on taking it to the smith and get him to do a complete once over and even time it if he is good enough to do so. BTW are you or were you ever a military sniper?

December 14, 2010, 12:10 PM
Thanks sniperX, I'd hoped to take it to my smith before work, but I've goofed off for too long this a.m. :D
And nope, never been a sniper, just came up the handle on a whim back when I joined the forum years ago. At the time,I was into playing with a Rem. 700 PSS with a Leupold MKIV mil-dot scope,and the MIL-DOT master and all that, and figured it was as good a handle as anything.

Sniper X
December 14, 2010, 03:31 PM
It is a cool handle. I was a US Army sniper for about 8 years hence my handle. and an 18B/18E.

David E
December 14, 2010, 04:20 PM
It may be moot now, as it should've already revealed itself, but the ejector rod has LEFT HAND threads.

The extractor star on the BOTTOM side must be clean of unburnt powder residu, as must the cylinder seating surface for same.

If the ejector rod is tight and the extractor star area are good to go, then maybe there is something keeping the cylinder release latch from fully going forward. This would cause the front cylinder latch from totally disengaging.

Push the release latch and see if the internal ejector rod is coming forward enough to push the spring loaded latch fully forward. If not, find out why. If so, then it's something else.

Hold the gun up to a light and cycle the cylinder around 6 times. Did the flash gap stay consistent? Or did it disappear?

December 14, 2010, 04:30 PM
I advise against ANY refinishing. You will spend money to lower the value of the gun. You wanted a shooter and you have one.

Thorough cleaning, light oil, then see if it works OK.

Clean the ejector rod and the area where it passes through the crane. This can get gummed up.

December 14, 2010, 04:38 PM
Might want to try cleaning the crap out of the chambers.

It is very likely the other guy shot .38 Spl ammo in it, and never ever cleaned the chambers real good afterward.

That leaves a hard carbon ring in the front of each chamber that interfers with the longer .357 Mag case. It can also raise pressure because the case crimp has no place to open up to release the bullet.

That makes for hard extraction if the .357 case is wedged in the .38 Spl carbon rings.

Use a bronze .40 cal bore brush in a cordless drill with solvent, and really give them a real good scrubbing.


December 14, 2010, 05:19 PM
I'm all for refinishing if the original finish is bad. If it isn't bad leave it alone. For a refinish find someone good or send it back to S&W.

If you go with someone local ask to see some of his work. If he's any good he won't mind showing you what he's done.

Some are against refinishing, I'm not. Guns that I've had refinished that I have sold have never lost me any money.

December 14, 2010, 08:36 PM
I advise against ANY refinishing. You will spend money to lower the value of the gun. You wanted a shooter and you have one.

I agree as well. Model 28s are down to business, working guns; they are supposed to be kinda rough/tough looking. My Model 28 is in pretty pristine condition, though it may not stay that way forever as I've been carrying it quite a bit lately. You'd be surprised how well one of these carries with a good holster and belt, even IWB.

Mine came with the rubber Pachmayrs, but I replaced them with Eagle Rosewood Classics.


December 14, 2010, 08:50 PM
Many thanks,again,guys. And thanks to David E for the suggestion of cycling the action while checking the flash gap. But, for better or for worse,there was no change in any position.
As for re-finishing, I'm still up in the air on this. The finish really isn't at all what I'd call "atrocious". Mostly just the discolorations all over the cylinder, but now I notice the whole underside of the trigger guard/frame has worn to a different color and texture ( more grey, lighter and less glossy than the rest, much like a worn,faded, WWII-era parkerizing), but still,nothing close to rust or pitting.
And the sides of the frame and barrel still look quite decent.
I spoke on the phone with my smith again today, and he said the sticking cylinder was an easy fix, but he's also likely hoping to get me in for the $155 re-blueing job!! But right now, I'm mostly interested in just making sure it's mechanically sound.
Oh,almost forgot, a good buddy of mine says he has a freind that may still have an old set of wooden factory grips lying around that he says he could get me for nothing !! How cool would that be ??
Anyway, we'll see. Thanks again to all for taking the time to chime in.......M

Blue Brick
December 14, 2010, 09:27 PM
Send it to S&W for a rebluing, if you want to reblue it.

December 14, 2010, 09:36 PM
Don't reblue it. The 28 had a flat-finish that was utilitarian. Akin to a parkerized finish.

Next, I had the same cylinder latch issues on one of my Smiths, can't remember if it was a 27 or 66. However, when you push the latch release forward, look at the front of the rod to see if the inner rod is actually going forward enough to push the spring-powered front catch out of the way.

If it is not, and you checked to see if the outer rod was screwed in all the way, and there was nothing hanging up under the star, then you can take a needle file and file where the outer rod is higher on one side than the other (from your description of it).

The Doc is out now. :cool:

Sniper X
December 15, 2010, 10:47 AM
I will go opp of what pureists say and say high polish blue it! It is not a collector piece like say a 1958 Python so there is no reason to not finish it in the manner that makes YOU happy! I have an old S&W 10-8 and as soon as the finish gets any worse, maybe next year, this thing will get the highest luster blue job available, same with my old DW model 14 service. I can also say, that to ANYONE but a collector, that gun will be worth at least as mush more if you ever sell it than it cost you to get refinished. I always wonder why people say to not refinish a gun if it isn't a collectors item, it does NOT decrease the value of a non collector gun to refinish it!

December 15, 2010, 06:45 PM
hey, mil-dot. that parkerized look you have on the bottom of the frame should also be on the front of the frame, along the barrel rib and rear sight, down the back of the frame and around the grip portion of the frame. the only "shine" to the gun will be on the side of the frame and the barrel. this is how it came from the factory. if you want it all shiney, you will have to save for a model 27. i'm looking at my model 28-2 as i type this.


Messenger Guard
December 15, 2010, 07:07 PM
I have a Model 28 dash nothing. The dull blue finish and lack of the 27's checkering is what makes the gun. While a direct descendant of the Registered Magnum (Angels serenade), it lacked all the whistles and buzzers but not the essential core of a killing/shooting machine. My guess is the model 28 "Highway Patrolman" is the weapon which established the 357 magnum at the top of the heap among documented man stoppers. It is one of my favorites. You made a good trade sir.

December 17, 2010, 01:54 PM
My guess is the model 28 "Highway Patrolman" is the weapon which established the 357 magnum at the top of the heap among documented man stoppers.Very likely the Model 19/66 Combat Magnum was in way more police holsters when the 125 grain JHP ammo gained the reputation as THE man stopper.

Not nearly as many cops carried the heavy Highway Patrolman as the lighter Combat Magnum.


December 17, 2010, 10:39 PM
You got a screaming deal on that M28 once you get those simple mechanical questions sorted out.

They are heavy and utilitarian and a lot of folks truly love the M28s. Fabulous revolvers, and a lot more valuable than the Model 1905/M&P/Model 10 K-framed .38 Specials.

IMHO, leave the finish alone. If the cylinder is really bad looking you can find a decent used one if you look around some on the S&W forums . . . then get it fitted to your M28. HOWEVER . . . there's nothing at all wrong with some good, honest wear on an M28 "shooter."

Enjoy a fabulous N frame!!!

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