New S&W "problems" overstated?


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gorenut
December 13, 2010, 09:24 PM
Just curious on this issue. Across several boards, I notice people swearing off current S&Ws like they're cursed monkey paws. I know most if not all people are not fans of the internal locks.. but aside from that.. are things REALLY that bad.. or is this just another case of gunowners following the trends of "it was better way back when..." (notice the same with guns of all makes, Sigs, etc... though I think Glock and H&K lovers tend to love everything new that comes out)?

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bunker
December 13, 2010, 09:38 PM
i have had no problems with my recent purchases of smith 642 and 442 during the past year. Flawless to date... then again, i am in love with my Taurus which is just as good IMHO. Bunker

Sam1911
December 13, 2010, 09:44 PM
I love my 4" 629 -- purchased new a couple of years ago. It has the lock (disabled now) and probably a few MIM parts, but I've shot the hooooey out of it (10,000+ rds) in competition and it runs beautifully for me.

The trigger slicked up so much I went back to the factory trigger spring, but no one seems to believe it is if they try it.

I did find that the chamber throats were a little tight for cast bullets, but that was a cheap fix.

MIL-DOT
December 13, 2010, 09:54 PM
I got one of those $349 Model 642 Airweights that CDNN had a month or so ago, and I love it. But I'm still waiting on that rebate check !!! :scrutiny:

MrBorland
December 13, 2010, 10:28 PM
I have a 5-screw K-22 and it's sibling, a 5-screw K-38, but my most-shot guns are a lock- and MIM-infested 4" 686 and a 4" 617, which get the batsnot shot out of them...and they're every bit as accurate (more, even) than their 5-screw counterparts.

The newer stuff may not have the fit and finish of the older guns. And many hate The Lock and MIM parts. Many hate what The Lock and MIM represent to them. Many hate that S&W has "cheapened" their guns by introducing modern CNC production. Funny, then, that they shoot as good as the older ones.

Jesse Heywood
December 14, 2010, 12:11 AM
I bought a model 25-15 Classic in 45 Colt last year. If there are any quality issues or problems with MIM I haven't found them It is well broken in with loads from light to heavy. My only complaint was with the grips, which I solved with some Pachmayrs.

And it does have the Hole, but no barbed wire around it.

CajunBass
December 14, 2010, 01:24 AM
The only reason I won't buy a "new" Smith & Wesson is I just like looking for the older ones. The lock and such have nothing to do with it.

DNS
December 14, 2010, 02:15 AM
Too many issues with the new revolvers for me to spend hard earned money on them when there are so many used, older models available.

Smiths new autos on the other hand are really something to own. ;)

mstrat
December 14, 2010, 02:42 AM
I got one of those $349 Model 642 Airweights that CDNN had a month or so ago, and I love it. But I'm still waiting on that rebate check !!! :scrutiny:
MIL-DOT: Got my check just the other day (sent in for it a month or two ago)... so don't worry, I'm sure yours is on the way too :)

To the OP: I have a new 642 without the lock, and have zero complaints about it. It's a great lightweight j-frame.

Stainz
December 14, 2010, 06:19 AM
The vast majority of my S&W's have the IL & MIM parts. I have had zero problems - and most of my S&W's have been on 'accelerated wear tests'. Most people who berate current production have never held one, much less shot them.

Stainz

motorcycle-charlie
December 14, 2010, 08:09 AM
companies have to invest in new technology to reduce production costs in order to compete i a very tight industry. if you dont move foreward, you get left behind. this is true in most manufacturing plants. if everything was hand built the way it was years ago, the cost for the consumer would be astronomical. very few of us would be able to afford anything, causing that particular company to close its doors. how many Blacksmiths are still in operation? this is true with Harley Davidson also. many people swear they will not buy a new bike because of all the crap and computers ect.. instead they run old shovelheads, pans, ect.. there is a definitly a cool factor to the old bikes but the new ones have the modern technology BUT also have all the GOVERNMENT mandated junk like emissions controlls..(sound familiar.. IL) there are pros and cons to both old and new.. buy what you like and what you can afford..and try to buy American as much as possible.

PabloJ
December 14, 2010, 09:20 AM
Just curious on this issue. Across several boards, I notice people swearing off current S&Ws like they're cursed monkey paws. I know most if not all people are not fans of the internal locks.. but aside from that.. are things REALLY that bad.. or is this just another case of gunowners following the trends of "it was better way back when..." (notice the same with guns of all makes, Sigs, etc... though I think Glock and H&K lovers tend to love everything new that comes out)?
There is no problem other then stupid people wanting USA-made quality that would take $1500+/-100 price tag to realize for half or less.

rayman
December 14, 2010, 09:50 AM
I don't own any myself yet & have stayed away from them because of the stories (there has to be some truth in those stories) but in my area there aren't that many older no-lock revolvers around to buy. Now I'm considering a 627-5 non PC w/cuff key hole. I hope when I get one I wont be disappointed.

tinygnat219
December 14, 2010, 10:14 AM
I think Motorcycle Charlie nailed it:
companies have to invest in new technology to reduce production costs in order to compete i a very tight industry. if you dont move foreward, you get left behind. this is true in most manufacturing plants. if everything was hand built the way it was years ago, the cost for the consumer would be astronomical.
This is what helped kill Colt. They didn't modernize and were stuck with expensive unionized labor.
S&W did the smart thing, they have modernized where possible and have machines doing their CNC thing to bring out guns that don't need such expensive manual hand-fitting labor. If one tries the old methods, the guns are quickly unaffordable and you'll have consumers complaining about the cost of the gun.

motorcycle-charlie
December 14, 2010, 10:26 AM
I don't own any myself yet & have stayed away from them because of the stories (there has to be some truth in those stories) but in my area there aren't that many older no-lock revolvers around to buy. Now I'm considering a 627-5 non PC w/cuff key hole. I hope when I get one I wont be disappointed.
rayman.. go ahead and buy it, thats a really nice gun. i would not worry about the stories. i have read the negative comments online about many world class manufactures. Ford, Chevy, Ruger, S&W, Kahr Arms..guns, cars, trucks, and the list goes on. usually the experiences you read on the internet, though they may be real, are the extreme cases. most people are quick to report bad happenings rather than great ones. after a bad experience people may never buy that brand again, and i cant blame them. my dad bought a brand new Ford LTD in 1979 and it was a lemon. nothing but problems. he swears he will never buy a ford again or even a brand new car of any make for that matter. 32 years later he is still stickin with it. the chance of getting a bad one from Smith is possible but highly unlikely and their customer service is good just incase. go for it and good luck to you.

Olympus
December 14, 2010, 10:33 AM
As for as S&W's "problems" as the OP puts it, I believe that those are overstated. Has the lock failed? Yes. Is it common? No. Is the probability of the lock failing enough to sway me away from a S&W? No.

But I don't personally agree with the need for lock in the first place. Whether or not it's functional or is a liability isn't even a question for me. It's there, I don't agree with it, and there are plenty of other affordable S&Ws without one that I can purchase. So I just choose not to buy one. To me, it's a matter of personal preference and everybody has their own. Doesn't make one side any better than the other.

My thinking is that in another 30 years people are going to be paying premiums for the S&Ws with MIM parts because the MIM parts or going to be better quality than whatever S&W uses 30 years from now to keep costs down.

Thaddeus Jones
December 14, 2010, 11:30 AM
No, I don't think the problems with S&W are overstated.

I think the asking prices for current production S&W handguns are overstated. Especially considering the junk you recieve for your hard earned money. :)

roaddog28
December 14, 2010, 11:37 AM
Hi,
I have one new generation S&W. Its a model 10-14 4 inch which I bought about two years ago. I paid around $320 with fees. The revolver was unfired and the gun shop was going out of business. After many rounds fired, I have had no problems. I don't like the internal lock and hole on the side of the revolver but other than that I have no complaints.
The only reason I bought this revolver is because it was cheap. Now a days a new S&W is pricey for what a person gets. The price on the 10-14 would of been over $600 had not for the fact the shop was going out of business.
Today, I would not buy a new S&W revolver. Whether it has mim parts or internal locks I believe S&W is pricing themselfs out of the revolver market.
For example, I can buy a new Ruger GP100 4 inch Stainless Steel for $559.
The S&W 686P 4 inch is going for $750. Other than the one extra round I don't see paying that much more for a S&W than the Ruger. The Ruger triggers are much better now and are the equal to the S&W.

Thats the reason I won't buy new S&Ws anyone.
Howard

gorenut
December 14, 2010, 01:33 PM
Glad to hear some voices of reason. I just scored a 627 PC 5" for $750. Before this, I've pretty much just shot Rugers.. but after testing some S&Ws out.. I was completely sold on the trigger.

Water-Man
December 14, 2010, 01:56 PM
The only S&W worth the money might be their M&P semiautos.

Motorcycle Charlie, thanks for the laugh about Ford, Chevy etc. being in the 'worldclass mfg.' category.

motorcycle-charlie
December 14, 2010, 02:05 PM
you are right. i would like to change my statement to "Global Compettitors." well played Water-Man, well played..

fastbolt
December 14, 2010, 02:12 PM
Yes, I think the internet has overstated things quite a bit, especially when it comes to "the problems" ...

I had more trouble and issues which required repair and correction with S&W revolvers produced from the 70's through the 90's.

Of course, I also had problems which required repair & correction with quite a number of Ruger revolvers & pistols produced during the same time period. (I'm a long time Ruger owner & enthusiast, too.)

Big_John1961
December 14, 2010, 03:34 PM
I got one of those $349 Model 642 Airweights that CDNN had a month or so ago, and I love it. But I'm still waiting on that rebate check !!!

Haha. Me too.

Big_John1961
December 14, 2010, 03:39 PM
All I know is that the two Smiths I have work flawlessly. One is a 15 year old 686 that is as smooth as silk and a joy to shoot, and the other is a 442 I bought about a month ago. I have not noticed any of the issues mentioned in the other thread. It has very good fit and finish and the trigger pull is good, albeit quite a bit heavier than the 686.

It's not as smooth as the bigger revolver, but I guess I wouldn't expect it to be. It seems to me to be a solid little revolver. Not much to draw on, but that's my experience.

Big_John1961
December 14, 2010, 03:45 PM
No, I don't think the problems with S&W are overstated.

I think the asking prices for current production S&W handguns are overstated. Especially considering the junk you recieve for your hard earned money.

That's just way over the top. To call a new Smith & Wesson firearm junk is to strip yourself of any credibility. Say you don't like them or they are overpriced, fine, but junk? No way.

Waywatcher
December 14, 2010, 03:53 PM
I highly doubt there is a vast conspiracy against S&W.

FWIW they are kind in getting shipping labels out quick and free when their guns go bad. Unfortunately this is often.

Of the S&Ws I have owned, almost all needed to go back to the factory, a couple multiple times.

motorcycle-charlie
December 14, 2010, 03:54 PM
got my rebate check yesterday. took about 2 months to get. maybee a little less. yours should be along shortly.

Thaddeus Jones
December 14, 2010, 03:55 PM
"..almost all needed to go back to the factory, a couple multiple times."

How do you think S&W's customer service got so good? :)

wrs840
December 14, 2010, 04:14 PM
In revolvers, S&W charges a comparatively premium price for a comparatively premium product. There's a sour grapes component from those who don't have the budget for it, not to mention the internet parroting-effect.

Les

Marshall
December 14, 2010, 06:55 PM
Take it all with a grain of salt.

You have your S&W bashers that come along in most S&W threads. You find out pretty quickly who to mostly ignore when reading their posts. Their replies end up discounted, IMO. But I'm sure they probably sway some folks.

I've owned many S&W products and haven't had a problem with any of them, never even needed customer service. Never needed Ruger customer service either. Both make good guns. Take it for what it's worth.

Deanimator
December 14, 2010, 08:38 PM
I'd buy an S&W with a lock.

I'll NEVER buy an S&W with THAT lock.

Other than a bullseye .22 or my Giles .38 Special M1911, EVERY handgun I have has at least a secondary self-defense role. I'm NEVER going to trust MY life to a gun with the current ILS.

That means that for the foreseeable future, I'll never own a new S&W revolver. I've got a safe full of great pre-lock S&W revolvers. There's no reason in the world for me to spend a dime for something that I don't want, from people who don't want me as a customer.

Waywatcher
December 14, 2010, 09:57 PM
Deanimator,

If that is the only thing holding you back, I have good news.

A guy on the Smith-Wesson forums makes "plugs" that replace and erase the ILS.

http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-revolvers-1980-present/102217-plug-s-w-j-frame-2.html

There is a detailed how-to, and they don't cost much. :)

fastbolt
December 14, 2010, 10:21 PM
You know folks, while this sort of anti-S&W subject is a perennial one among internet forums, it also comes up occasionally in conversations among firearms enthusiasts and gun carriers/users in normal situations when the talk turns to firearms makes/models.

Over the years I've found that I simply refrain from becoming embroiled in such conversations. Since many of my friends and acquaintances know that I finally added a S&W revolver armorer class to my list of firearm armorer certifications, they sometimes expect me to "take sides" in such discussions.

While I'll sometimes offer my experiences, observations and opinions about such subjects, I never expect someone to change their mind because of something I may say or relate.
\
Nor do I really care one way or the other.

Lots of folks that own, use and enjoy firearms have very strong opinions, and that's there prerogative.

I don't shill guns.

dashootist
December 14, 2010, 10:30 PM
A guy on the Smith-Wesson forums makes "plugs" that replace and erase the ILS.
http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-rev...j-frame-2.html
There is a detailed how-to, and they don't cost much.

I'd trust this "plug" less than the IL. The plug and the clip would fall into the action and turn the revolver into nothing more than a club. The "plug" solution also doesn't address the huge gap next to the hammer. The gap allows crap like lint to fall into the action. In my opinion, having the gap and the "plug" is worse than having the lock.

Ala Dan
December 15, 2010, 09:19 AM
One problem (with ONE gun), that I personally know of~! A NIB S&W 642
had a slightly twisted barrel; that is not in align with the rear sight notch.
Everything else, has been flawless~! ;) :D

JohnBT
December 15, 2010, 10:27 AM
Nearly ten years ago a local gun store had a S&W weekend. As part of the promotion they had a S&W gunsmith (Vito iirc) there and you could bring in one gun to have it checked out and fixed if he could do it with hand tools. Boy, was he good, I stood and watched him work, and talk, for a couple of hours.

Anyway, the guy in front of me had a big stainless .44 magnum that he said was spitting lead to the side.

The gunsmith took one look at it and said, "Send it back, there's no forcing cone at all."

All the makers make duds from time to time.

Guillermo
December 15, 2010, 11:09 AM
i a very tight industry

the revolver market is tight?

what competition does S&W have? Taurus? Charter?

Looks to me like they are building Taurus quality products at Smith prices.

Thomas Tusser was right on

MrBorland
December 15, 2010, 11:35 AM
the revolver market is tight?

what competition does S&W have? Taurus? Charter?

Profit margins are tight. S&W's is hovering around 6%. Seems to me that in order to survive, any such business must be at least as concerned about balancing costs, price and product quality as they are about any outside competition.

And keep in mind, S&W makes more than just revolvers, and there's a lot of competition in that sandbox, which makes the management of a tight margin even harder.

skoro
December 15, 2010, 01:54 PM
I'm not sure if my most recent S&Ws qualify as "new" or not - they're from 2008. One is a 642 revolver and the other is a 908s 9mm auto. But both have been flawless.

batmann
December 15, 2010, 02:12 PM
Overstated, yes. Perfect no. I have a 629 MG that I bought in 2005 and it has been an excellent firearm. I have talked to many S&W owners and none of them have had IL related problems. The biggest complaint I have heard is from J frame owners and the bore being rough.
I have learned long ago to judge a product in person and not by other peoples opinon especially on a topic that will bring out both haters and lovers.

Snakum
December 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
Guys, let's face it ... almost nothing is made as well as it was 20 years ago. Prices on raw materials and labor have soared, while cheap off-shore competition is eating into everyone's margins, and companies do what they must to survive.

Does CNC make an inferior product? Not at all. Generally CNC machining centers IMPROVE product QA as long as SPC/SQC and manual testing stays top notch. But it hasn't. Production rates among mfrs have been pushed to the edge to meet demand and improve thru-put. We know that. And QA/QC and testing is usually the first thing to suffer.

So, does S&W make the same kind of product I bought so many of in my twenties? No. And neither does anyone else in the US. Look at US Sig. Sig Sauer built virtually indestructible uber accurate pistols for years. When I was a kid owning a Sig was a HUGE deal and you could shut down a range when shooting one as everyone wanted to come and see it and maybe even timidly ask to shoot just one round thru it. But what we see from US manufacturing is not quite comparable (sorry Sig lovers). If we want the kind of quality S&W, Ruger, and Dan Wesson used to produce we'd be looking at far higher prices than we currently see. So we pay what we pay and we get what we get. Wanna blame someone? Take a look in the mirror. Our birthright as Americans has been sold to the lowest global bidder and we allowed it to happen.

Have fun shopping Walmart for all those neat Chinese products this holiday season. :)

(All this "Buy American" crap from a guy with a closet full of Austrian pistols :D )

Dogguy
December 15, 2010, 04:17 PM
Other than the IL, what are the issues?

Does an occasional gun get out of the plant with problems? Sure. It happens across every brand in existence. Is it endemic? Of course not.

I bought a new Chevy once with a defective carburetor (back when they made carburetors). Did all Chevys come with that defect? Did it cause the entire vehicle to become a piece of junk? No, once the problem was fixed the car ran for 10 years very reliably until I traded it for something else.

And, yes, I've had S&W handguns with issues when new. S&W fixed them and the guns worked perfectly forevermore.

One important thing I have discovered about the Internet and online forums--there is an inherent background whine present everywhere. The Internet is a great place for people to moan and groan and pitch fits over anything and everything.

Deanimator
December 15, 2010, 06:46 PM
I'd trust this "plug" less than the IL. The plug and the clip would fall into the action and turn the revolver into nothing more than a club. The "plug" solution also doesn't address the huge gap next to the hammer. The gap allows crap like lint to fall into the action. In my opinion, having the gap and the "plug" is worse than having the lock.
What he said.

When I bought a Browning Hi Power, something like twenty years ago, the first thing I did was have the magazine safety removed. That's a preference rather than a necessity. I consider removing the ILS from a self-defense firearm an ABSOLUTE necessity. I can probably get an appropriate used S&W revolver for less money than a new one that I'll HAVE to monkey with before its usable for its intended purpose.

Regarding the plugs, they get good reviews on the S&W Forums where I'm a member. The frame gap issue has been mentioned. Either the guy making the plugs or somebody else has talked about a fix for the gap, but there's nothing tangible so far, that I know of.

mr.trooper
December 15, 2010, 11:50 PM
Got a 629 last year... and a 310 a few months ago.

Fit on all parts is great.

The 310 had an issue with reliable ignition at first - apparently they started using shorter firing pins on N-frames, and guns with moon clips don't like that. S&W fixed it under warranty, paid shipping BOTH ways, and had my gun back in my hands by the end of the week. It took 6 days TOTAL, and the problem with light strikes is completely fixed. The 310 is now one of my favorite guns.


Now, do I think S&W is TWICE as durable or reliable as all the other revolvers out there? No, I don't... but I think the Ruger cyl. latch is stupid, not to mention their uninspired design. Colts are JUST as expensive, and the 'affordable' used ones are usually beat to hell... Taurus is a non-start.

To get a gun that handles like a 629, you have to spend $900 on a S&W 629... If you want a 10mm alloy frame revolver, you have to fork over $900 for a S&W 310.

You have to pay to play the game, because many of S&Ws models are unique.

Hondo 60
December 16, 2010, 12:03 AM
I have 4 S&Ws, 3 are K-frames & 1 is a J-frame.
All are 1982 & older.
I've looked at the new S&Ws & just don't like what I'm seeing.
I don't have any hard evidence, infact I don't even have any
anecdotal evidence that the new ones are somehow worse.

I just don't like the looks, shape & feel of them.

If the new ones work for you - great go for it.

As for me? I'll stick with my 1966/67 Model 10.

DC3-CVN-72
December 16, 2010, 02:31 AM
I have a S&W 686-5 power port, with a 6in. bbl. It has all the MIM. parts & the FP. in the frame, not on the hammer. It dose not have the Lock. What a wonderfull revolver! I have no problem with MIM. parts. any part can break. I don't like the way the lock looks or what it stands for, plus it's one more part that can break that dose'ent need too be there at all. So I opt out. :)

doc2rn
December 16, 2010, 03:49 AM
I bought one of the $1200 professional grade 686s last year and I gotta say I could shoot circles around it with my model 10-4 that is devoid of any bluing left that I bought at a pawn shop for $125. New doesnt always mean better.

Onmilo
December 16, 2010, 10:32 AM
You can't do any kind of real action job on MiM parts as the surface is too thin and the internal metallurgy is too soft.

Can anybody document a case where an internal lock saved anybodies life?
Can anybody document a case where the lock cost someone their life?

S&W has been putting guns on the market for too long that have not been fully tested and they use their customers as the guinea pigs.
When enough of something goes wrong or a major problem shows up, it's recall time.
Seems to me like they have an awful lot of recall time guns hitting the market and that is enough to turn me away from their products.

Anybody bought a Remington Model 700 lately??

minutemen1776
December 16, 2010, 11:42 AM
If one tries the old methods, the guns are quickly unaffordable and you'll have consumers complaining about the cost of the gun.

That's a good point. Unfortunately, customers are still complaining about the cost of new S&W revolvers. It seems to me that you're only shrinking your market if you simultaneously reduce quality and raise prices. Personally, I really like S&W revolvers, but I still cringe when I see the price tags on new ones in the case.

fastbolt
December 16, 2010, 12:46 PM
You can't do any kind of real action job on MiM parts as the surface is too thin and the internal metallurgy is too soft.

Not sure I'd make such blanket statements about current MIM parts as being made and used in S&W guns.

There might be some contrary experiences among gunsmiths & the factory folks who work on them.

One aftermarket company that is currently modifying M&P pistol sear housings (drilling/enlarging a sear plunger hole in the block) has said in another forum that they're only able to drill the housings on 5-6 guns before wearing out their expensive carbide cutters.

Guillermo
December 16, 2010, 01:44 PM
MiM parts as the surface is too thin and the internal metallurgy is too soft

While non an MIM fan, I think that you misunderstand MIM engineering. While they CAN be made soft, that is not what gun engineers want. They want them very hard.

MIM parts are expensive to make but they save money by requiring no secondary finishing. Most MIM parts are produced to be very hard so as to make for a slick surface. The problem is that they are that same hardness all the way through, thus making them brittle.

They COULD put a very hard MIM layer over a softer, more flexible metal (that metal could be of any method of production, forged, cast or MIM) but then the main advantage of the MIM process, using the part "as made" (no secondary finishing) would be lost, thus eliminating the economic advantage to the process.

In addition, the high level of hardness that the gun manufacturers generally require make them virtually impossible to polish. This is why many gunsmiths will not do action jobs on them. They are susceptible to "burnishing" so rubbing them against one another, in the case of handguns, by dry firing will help smooth an action.

Hope this clears up any misconceptions about MIM parts.

Grey Morel
December 16, 2010, 01:59 PM
Hope this clears up any misconceptions about MIM parts.

As much as i would HOPE it does, I seriously doubt it.

If there is one thing the gun community does well, its obsess over some inane detail and then harp on it forever - whether its factually accurate or not.

Guns&Religion
December 16, 2010, 02:24 PM
I bought a S&W model 638 new in 2008, and an M&P40c in 2010. I'm very happy with both. They are lightweight and feel good in the hand. No accuracy problems either, (though it did take about 300 rounds to break in the M&P).

buck460XVR
December 16, 2010, 02:37 PM
New S&W "problems" overstated?


yes.....Dogguy pretty much sums it up.



One important thing I have discovered about the Internet and online forums--there is an inherent background whine present everywhere. The Internet is a great place for people to moan and groan and pitch fits over anything and everything.


On any of the gun forums I am on, it's the same half a dozen folks that make 99% of the "noise" about the Smith locks, the Ruger billboards or the absence of QC from the new Colts. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but those that feel the need to trash other folks' opinions to justify their own, need to get a life outside of Al Gore's internet.

gorenut
December 16, 2010, 02:48 PM
Guillermo: Hah, wow, thanks for the very informative post. Much appreciated.

Guillermo
December 16, 2010, 03:27 PM
no problem, glad to help.

Being MIM in and of itself is not a problem per se. The issue is the molding process as they have to make them bigger than required.

While they are improving, they are simply not as precise as cast or forged parts. (they ARE improving all the time). Also the edges tend to be sharp and brittle. I do not know why that cannot be address in the manufacture of the mold.

Perhaps someone more knowledgable can answer that.

For some applications I think that MIM parts are great. I do not, at this time, like them in a gun.

Technology is advancing all the time so I reserve the right to change my mind. :D

Taroman
December 16, 2010, 03:45 PM
I will add this. Just received a new 21-4. I have no problem with MIM, or even the lock, not that I like it, however.

What I DO have a problem with is the apparent lack of quality control/final inspection. As received, this one had a front sight blade that was so loose that it flopped side to side and a B/C gap that was uneven, .013 on one side and .014 on the other. This was in addition to a divot carved out of the forcing cone. Of course, it went back to S&W on their dime. Still waiting to see what they choose to do with it.

As many other companies now seem to do, it appears that S&W have chosen to use their customers as final inspectors and just fix the bad stuff.

MrBorland
December 16, 2010, 03:58 PM
Some of the best wheelgunners there are hang out on the BrianEnos revolver subforum, and they simply don't obsess over new/old, lock/no lock, etc. They just shoot. It should tell you something.

Check out this brand-new and somewhat relevant thread on that forum (http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=119264). The guy (gal?) asks whether LNIB is more important than box & papers. I admit to chuckling, because I knew these guys could care less. Predictably, the first reply was:
I'd look for a gun that I planned to wear out and buy it instead.


I suspect the rest of the replies will be similar, and it'll be a short thread.

youngda9
December 16, 2010, 06:19 PM
I dispise the lock. I hate the removal of the hammer mounted firing pin. I don't like the MIM parts. I wish they kept the flash chroming of the hammer and trigger and never went to the dirty case hardening look.

I missed out on purchasing a 686-4 that had flash chromed hammer and trigger...met all of my specificatins...man if I could just get my hands on one of those. But they're rare.

JoelSteinbach
December 16, 2010, 07:12 PM
I think the new Smiths are great, I have owned S&W guns for over 40 years, I still purchase and shoot my share of new guns each year. Recently purchased the new 38spl bodygard, this weapon is a delight to shoot and carry, and is not very expensive with a lazer buit onto it. I still love my 15-3, but the 1911PD was also a very suprisingly good shooter for the price. I would never give up my 10mm 1006, or the original610.

Deanimator
December 16, 2010, 08:22 PM
Some of the best wheelgunners there are hang out on the BrianEnos revolver subforum, and they simply don't obsess over new/old, lock/no lock, etc. They just shoot. It should tell you something.
What it tells me is that if their revolvers seize up due to the lock, nobody DIES.

joed
December 16, 2010, 08:26 PM
I've owned more then a few of the newer revolvers. Never a problem and no regrets. Most shoot as good or better then the older guns I own.

I'm one who could care less about the lock or the MIM parts.

I've always wondered about the people that say they won't own a newer revolver. I'd like to know what they have in guns.

Also had some lemons on the older guns. One was so horrible I never owned another S&W for 20 years.

Guillermo
December 16, 2010, 10:41 PM
What I DO have a problem with is the apparent lack of quality control/final inspection.

As near as I can tell there is no QC or final inspection whatsoever.

While Smith & Clinton Revolvers may not be any worse than they ever were, since they ship every one of them, all of their issues become the buyers. That is the problem.

fastbolt
December 17, 2010, 03:26 PM
Here's an older post copied from another forum from Mr. Herb Belin of S&W about the MIM process and their use of MIM parts.
-----------------------
"I have read with much interest the many comments in this forum pertaining to MIM, MIM Parts and the use of same in a S&W product. So far I have come away with several impressions and they are "people in general don't like/trust MIM parts" and "no one has said why" I will take a stab at this issue and see where it goes.

As background to our decision to use MIM in some areas of our Mfg Process we took a long hard look at our "Life Time Service
Policy". It was clear to us that any change in any of our products such as the use of MIM components had to show equivalent or better performance and durability to those components that were being replaced or the "Lifetime Service" would haunt us forever. The second consideration was to determine if the change was too radical a departure from S&W mainstream design.

For the performance and durability issues we decided that if MIM could be used for the fabrication of revolver hammers and triggers successfully this would truly be an "Acid Test". There is nothing more important to a revolvers feel than the all-important Single Action Sear that is established between the hammer and the trigger. Mechanically few places in a revolver work harder than at the point where the hammer and trigger bear against each other. If these surfaces wear or loose there "edge" the "feel" is lost. Initial testing was on these two critical parts. Over time we arrived at a point where our best shooters could not tell the difference between a revolver with the old style hammer and trigger and the new MIM components. Special attention was given to their endurance when used in our very light Magnum J frames such as the early prototype 340 & 360 Sc's. None of our revolvers work their components harder than these small magnum revolvers. Throughout this testing MIM held strong and finally we determined that this change judged on the basis of durability and feel was a good one.

The second area of concern to S&W was our customer’s reaction to this departure from the traditional. Many heated, intense discussions resulted but in the end the decision was made to move ahead with MIM.
The issue of cost was only one of the considerations in making this decision. Equally as important was the issue of part-to-part uniformity and the result of this of course is Revolver-to-Revolver consistency. We found that revolvers that used MIM hammers and triggers required almost no Fitter intervention in those areas during final assembly and final inspection and Trigger Pull Monitor rejection rates dropped markedly on finished guns. From an internal process point of view it appeared a "Winner".

Lets shift gears for a moment and talk about the MIM process. It is unclear to me as to the reason for many of the negative feelings on the forum concerning MIM. Typically when people complain and aren't specific in the reason why, the problem is often created by a departure from the "Traditional". Perhaps that is indeed what is bothering some people when they view MIM.

The term MIM stands for Metal Injection Molding. It holds some similarities to Plastic Injection Molding and many differences as well. To start we would take a finally divided metal powder. This could be stainless or carbon steel. Today even Titanium is being used in some MIM fabrications. We would mix the metal powder and a thermoplastic binder (generally a Wax) forming slurry of sorts when heated and inject this mix into a precision mold and finally form what is known as a “Green Part". This part is roughly 30% larger than the finished part it will become at the end of the process. Interestingly enough the Green Part at this stage can be snapped in two with simple finger pressure. The Green Parts are then placed in a Sintering furnace filled with dry Hydrogen gas and the temperature is brought almost to the melting point of the metal being used. Over time the "Wax" in the Green Part is evaporated, the metal fuses and the part shrinks 30% to it's final correct dimensions. At this stage of the process the MIM part has developed 98 to 99%of the density of the older wrought materials and a metallurgy that is almost identical. Dimensionally it is finished and no machining is required. However the job is not yet done and the MIM parts are brought to our Heat Treat facility for hardening and in the case of Hammers and Triggers, Case Hardening. Depending on the particular metal alloy that was used at the start of the process we apply a heat treat process that is the same as would be used if the material were the older wrought style. Final hardness, Case thickness and core hardness are for the most part identical to parts manufactured the older way.

Lets look for a moment at how we achieve dimensional precision when comparing these 2 processes. The old parts were each machined from either bar stock or a forging. Each cut and every resulting dimension was subject to machine variations, Cutter wear, operator variations etc. If every operation was done exactly right each and every time and the cutter didn't let you down you would have produced a good part but sometimes this didn’t happen resulting in a rejected gun and rework or in the worst case an unhappy customer. With MIM parts you must still machine to very high tolerances and your cutters have to be perfect and your machinist has to be highly qualified but all of this only has to come together one time. That time is when the injection mold is made. Typically a mold for this process costs S&W between 30,000 and 50,000 dollars. Once it is perfect every part it makes mirrors this perfection and you have in my view a wonderful manufacturing process.

Hopefully this description will help us all better understand the MIM process.
Please forgive the spelling errors and misplaced punctuation. I have no spell checker on this and the phone continues to ring!

Have a Great Weekend,
Herb

Additional Point.
Currently S&W is paying about $1.20/Lb for stainless steel bar stock. Raw MIM stainless steel inject able material costs $10.00/Lb."

BossHogg
December 17, 2010, 03:56 PM
S & W are still great products IMO . Hole or no hole if it serves my needs I like it. I think the loudest against the hole and mim parts are the ones trying to sell their used guns. You know not the junk made today. Buy my no hole for even more $ than this new junk.

fastbolt
December 17, 2010, 05:00 PM
While I've had my fair share of problems with older S&W revolvers made before the introduction of MIM and CNC production, I've seen an occasional QC issue slip out in a new model revolver.

My M&P 340 had a nicely gouged divot around the yoke screw which had apparently been covered over with a black/purple color of some sort. The first time I cleaned the gun the substance used to color that spot came off and revealed the shiny alloy frame where a bit of metal had been gouged away. :scrutiny:

Also, the carry up wasn't quite what I desired on at least one charge hole (although I was told it was actually within spec when I showed it to someone from the company, and it fired and functioned normally) and close inspection of the parts revealed a couple of burred parts, one of which was burring/marking yet another part.

I resolved the carry up and burred parts myself (as an armorer), although I was told the company would gladly do it for me under warranty if I wanted to return it. Once I was done the gun had excellent carry up and has been an outstanding little revolver which has seen a lot of use.

FWIW, since I bought the gun to serve as a "working gun" I expected it to acquire some nicks, marks, dings and whatnot (and it certainly has) ... so I ignored the light gouge around the yoke screw. Obviously, someone else might have felt totally different about this cosmetic issue and might have returned the gun to have the issue resolved in a manner considered acceptable by the company and the owner. I can't presume to speak to that issue for someone else.

As I think I may have mentioned earlier, I've also had my fair share of issues that had to be resolved with a number of new Ruger handguns, including revolvers, too. One Redhawk I own had the cylinder, hammer and trigger replaced when I returned it for a functioning issue.

I just received a fairly new production 442-2 from a fellow who wanted it inspected now that he's fired it for a while. Although I haven't had time to remove the sideplate and look inside, I noticed the carry up was excellent, the trigger recovery was brisk and smooth and the fit/finish of the solid barrel to the frame was as nicely done as someone could desire. So far, it seems as nicely produced, at initial glance and manipulation, as the last 642-1 & 642-2 guns I inspected for a couple of other guys.

Doesn't it just figure my M&P 340 had to be the exception? :D

I've thought about buying yet another J-frame to add to my collection of them. Maybe another M&P 340, this time the new one made without the ILS (lock), or maybe a M40 or M42. I like J-frames. ;)

Guillermo
December 17, 2010, 09:25 PM
interesting read

He did make an error, most probably because he was rushed when he wrote the email.

Final hardness, Case thickness and core hardness are for the most part identical to parts manufactured the older way.

While this COULD be true, the engineers are calling for a MUCH harder part with the MIM process for every moving part. The manufacturing folk oblige.

The reason for this is because the harder the MIM part, the slicker it feels in, say a trigger mechanism. Remember, when the MIM part comes out of the mold, it is a finished product.

In the case of the forged part, they would make it with more flexibility. This made it easier to polish, cut, form, etc.

There are at least two differences, flexibility and the smoothness.

Most larger MIM parts are more than strong enough. It is the thin ones that are stress that are an issue.

It is also important to mention that MIM parts do not take plating very well. The Jerry Miculek 625 has an MIM hammer has a chrome treatment to try to slick it up. I have read that many are starting to flake off, thus making the action really rough.

What this tells us is that the MIM part was not smooth enough to satisfy either Jerry or the potential customer for this gun (maybe both).

fastbolt
December 17, 2010, 09:39 PM
He did make an error, most probably because he was rushed when he wrote the email. ... While this COULD be true, the engineers are calling for a MUCH harder part with the MIM process for every moving part. The manufacturing folk oblige.

Or, they continued to make changes as manufacturing continued after he wrote that response ..

Or, you're making a rather sweeping generalized statement that might not be as applicable as may be thought or desired.

The Jerry Miculek 625 has an MIM hammer has a chrome treatment to try to slick it up. I have read that many are starting to flake off, thus making the action really rough.

What this tells us is that the MIM part was not smooth enough to satisfy either Jerry or the potential customer for this gun (maybe both).

Or, for whatever reason (meaning maybe marketing or simply a preference by Jerry), they decided to market the revolver with a hammer finish that more closely approximated the older flash-chromed hammers ... and it may not have turned out to have been a good idea.

I've learned over the years of discussing things with various folks at various firearm manufacturers (as an armorer with questions) that sometimes they've done things for the weirdest reasons, and for those reasons that many folks might expect.

Having talked to a few older employees upon occasion who are familiar with the old style revolvers and forged/machined parts, it seems the "good old days" of flash-chromed hammers & triggers and forged parts are necessarily always better than what they're seeing with the new model revolvers and MIM parts. There are some differences to consider when polishing/removing rough edges or spots in MIM parts, but overall the tolerances are better with much less work ... as long as the QC of both the main manufacturer (S&W) and the various vendor manufacturers remains good.

I've seen my fair share of older forged/machined revolver parts that either weren't made to proper spec or weren't fitted right, or broke. ;) So far, I've had fewer problems with MIM parts in the new style revolvers I've either owned or supported.

Guillermo
December 17, 2010, 09:54 PM
it may not have turned out to have been a good idea

I think, but am not positive, that they chromed that part because the MIM did not play nice with a forged part that Jerry wanted. As it turned out it was not a good idea.

With technology advancing I would expect that they will find a way to add something like teflon into the MIM part and at that part we will be clambering for the new technology.

Please also note that you could absolutely be correct as to other potential reasons for the "error." Besides, that fellow has probably forgotten more than I will know about the MIM process and Smith's manufacturing processes.

Deanimator
December 17, 2010, 10:25 PM
I've always wondered about the people that say they won't own a newer revolver. I'd like to know what they have in guns.

4" M&P
6" Model 14
6" Model 17
6" Model 25-2
3 1/2" Model 27-2
6" Model 27-2
4" Model 29-2
6" Model 29-2
2" Model 36
3" Model 65

And that's just the S&W revolvers. Not ONE of them has the lock. Not ONE I own ever WILL.

fastbolt
December 17, 2010, 11:26 PM
Besides, that fellow has probably forgotten more than I will know about the MIM process and Smith's manufacturing processes.

Well, I can state for a fact that when it comes to cumulative and detailed knowledge that I'm at the bottom of the totem pole, myself.

I can listen and remember something now and again, though.

Sometimes ...

Guillermo
December 17, 2010, 11:54 PM
I can listen and remember something now and again

you aren't fooling us...we know you are a smart guy

ironvic
December 18, 2010, 10:14 PM
I've had bad old S&Ws and bad new ones, too. A coupla years ago I bought a new IL Smith 2 1/2" Model 686 Plus-great gun! A Compact 9mm M&P was next; that just did not shoot well and the little plastic pick thing used to flip the mag well lever bent right away-cheap plastic! A 2009 made 642 that had a mis-aligned cylinder-looking down the bore showed a distinct 1/4 moon hole rather than a nice round one. I noticed it on 1st cleaning when I got it home-if I had shot it--I would have probably had a hand grenade instead of a revolver. S&W fixed and returned lickety split, replaced the cylinder and crane. I will say I noticed later that one of the counter jockeys at the gun shop had a bad habit of flipping revolver cylinders open and closed, so he may have been the culprit-what a dummy... And I just bought a 3" adjustable sighted Model-60 that's slick as snot and very nicely made. A real keeper.

That said, those old Smiths everyone crows about: Had a Bangor-Punta era Model-18 that never closed up as slick as it should have and was a bear to open after unlatching the cylinder-never could get any gunsmith to fix it right. It shaved lead too, but was pretty accurate. Then there was the 1980's era Model-28 6" that was always binding, shaving lead and jamming up. Smith fixed it Ok, and boy, it turned out to be a real shooter, too.

I wanted to buy a 1990s era brand new S&W .45 caliber semi-auto back in 1995, can't remember the model number, but the out of the box trigger felt like they poured sand into the works. Then last year, I tried one of the new "lemon squeezer" .38s and was not impressed. It was rough, (tool marks on a S&W?!--Aw! C'mon, man!!!) and it cost waaay too much and the trigger felt gritty.

So, it all comes down to craftsmanship and that transcends the ages.

Guillermo
December 18, 2010, 11:17 PM
Just look at the sticky on the top of the revolver thread "S&W model 10 disassembly". The tool marks are pretty nauseating.

robctwo
December 19, 2010, 02:32 AM
I bought a 25 Classic Nickel in February and love it. Very accurate gun. I've put a Wolff spring kit in it and some Ahrends retro combat stocks on it and have shot the heck out of it this year. For the .45 colt I was concerned about the accuracy of the older guns. Problems with out of spec throats in the chambers.

I do not consider this gun junk. I'll continue shooting it and we'll see how it holds up with 10-20,000 rounds through it.

I have also bought some older guns, and enjoy them as well.

Sniderman
December 19, 2010, 08:28 AM
Hi,
Thought I'd weigh in on this Quality issue, I've got a 442 that always comes to the range (and everywhere) with me, When I bought it, my friend and range psartner decided to save a little money and went with the Charter Arms DAO, We've shot them both side by side and both agree that the Smith is precise, smooth, and reliable compared to the Charter. He kicks himself regularly for going with the $75.00 savings instead of the higher quality of the Smith.
Is it Perfect? NO, will anything ever be Perfect? Not likely.:banghead:

_________________________________

Welcome to Vermont, Get off my Lawn!:evil:

Grey Morel
December 19, 2010, 06:06 PM
The S&W lock must be as big of a problem as Grizzly Bears... Lots of internet people seem worried about them.

Deanimator
December 19, 2010, 06:18 PM
The S&W lock must be as big of a problem as Grizzly Bears... Lots of internet people seem worried about them.
My solution is to never own either.

Grey Morel
December 19, 2010, 06:20 PM
Way to be rational.

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