Are the new Smith Classics better made?


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Super Sneaky Steve
September 1, 2011, 05:12 PM
Lets ignore the internal lock for a moment and just look at the metal quality and manufacturing process.

Can anyone say from experiance that the new classics offered by Smith are better or at least more duarble than ones in the past?

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Canuck-IL
September 1, 2011, 05:14 PM
No!
/Bryan

Smith357
September 1, 2011, 05:24 PM
Generally speaking the modern steels are superior to the the steels of just 50 years ago. While I believe the raw materials are better the craftsmanship and attention to detail is not what it once was. The high polish deep blue finishes are gone and due to EPA regulations they will never return. Many of the "new" features have been implemented to cut manufacturing cost not so much to improve the product.

hawkeye10
September 1, 2011, 05:35 PM
:) I think the new S&W revolvers are of good quality and will last a several life times. We already know the quality of the older Smiths, they have stood the test of time. I think the bluing is better looking on the older Smiths. They had to change the chemicals used because of environmental reasons. Don

M3stuart
September 1, 2011, 05:49 PM
IMHO; I would say that the new S&Ws are, along with Rugers, the best made revolvers in the world.

Again, IMHO, I think that a new S&W is not nearly as good of a deal as a used S&W, even one 50 years old, which normally sell for half the price. The old ones lock up tighter than new ones made by the 'other' companies.

So I would say "no"; the new S&Ws are NO BETTER than the older S&Ws, certainly no more durable (hammer forged metal ages on a geological scale), and are also not manufactured with the same level of quality and QA as the older ones.

Ignore the lock discussion; just look at what you're getting.

Also, FWIW; if you want to get into used S&Ws - check out the S&W forum and avoid the online sites where the prices are just nuts.

BYJO4
September 1, 2011, 06:00 PM
In my opinion, the durability and quality of metal are the same. The old models and the new ones are built to last. I think the fit and finish of the older guns are better but all will shoot extremely well.

valnar
September 1, 2011, 06:20 PM
If a particular older specimen that you like is available, looks and functions fine, I would buy it used over a new Smith. If I had to rely on a new Smith to work, I'm sure it would, but the older one is still usually better.

Old good Smith < $$ than new equivalent Smith = buy old one
Old good Smith = $$ to new equivalent Smith = buy old one
Old good (rare?) smith > $$ to new Smith = tough call

I have only bought two new S&W revolvers because older equivalents did not exist. A 625-8 Performance Center and 686 Mountain Gun in .357. Neither were cheap, but their quality was nearly as good as a classic Smith just because of their "one-off" nature and attention to detail.

EmGeeGeorge
September 1, 2011, 06:27 PM
NOT FOR WHAT THEY WANT FOR EM... oops. caps off.

SlamFire1
September 1, 2011, 07:33 PM
If you are talking about this pre WWII S&W, well yes today's revolvers are made of better materials with better heat treatments. This one has a heat treated cylinder, according to web sources earlier serial numbers did not.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Pistols/ReducedM31serialnumber403754rightsi.jpg


When you are talking about 80's vintage S&W's, that is a more difficult assessment.

You could say that the machining , steels, and heat treatment of post millennium pistols are “better”, in the sense that the semiconductor revolution has improved the consistency of process controls and process technology. But these vintage pistols are not awful in any way.

Mine shoot quite well.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Pistols/ReducedM24rightsideDSCN5073.jpg

I don't have any 50's or 60's S&W's, so I really cannot comment on them.

sugarmaker
September 1, 2011, 07:50 PM
I used to be an S&W snob, but multiple really bad experiences with new smiths from 1984 to about 1995 made me say "never again". I guess they are better now - maybe I'll check one out.

orionengnr
September 1, 2011, 11:18 PM
I only one one S&W revolver made after 1978. I got a really good price on it and the prior owner had already removed the ILS...so I took it.

IMHO, my older ones have nicer bluing, smoother actions and overall greater desirability.

I can carry the new one, put some finish wear on it...and spare my older beauties the wear and abuse. We're all happy.

Dave T
September 1, 2011, 11:31 PM
Generally speaking the modern steels are superior to the the steels of just 50 years ago.

I keep hearing this over and over. I wonder where it comes from? It sure isn't true. Alloys like 4130 & 4140 used in the 1950s, 1960s and probably beyond were the finest "ordnance steels" available then and still are today. If Smith has changed the steel they use for blued guns it is probably an alloy that is easier for their high tech machines to mill. The stainless they use was also chosen for its ease of machining, over its properties as a gun making material.

Dave

skidder
September 1, 2011, 11:31 PM
I could not ignore that hole if I tried.

JohnhenrySTL
September 1, 2011, 11:52 PM
I keep asking this question hoping for a response, I am new to this and do not yet know how to start my own thread. I recently bought a .38 S&W model 442. It is very fun a to shoot and unlike my other modern sidearms; it creates a fun challenge. It is a light weight 15 ounce snub nose revolver. The frame is made out of aluminum. Will I wear it out if I shoot as often as I shoot my sigp229 or my other pistols?

skidder
September 2, 2011, 01:04 AM
johnhenry-- There is a big blue button in each category that reads "New Thread".

The cylinder on your gun is carbon steel, and I would assume the barrel or sleeve in the barrel is steel. The only place I would worry about wear is the frame above the barrel cylinder gap ("flame cutting", but not likely). While your cleaning, inspect your gun for any abnormal wear this should be common practice for any responsible gun owner. If you stick to shooting the recommended loads that gun should give you years of enjoyment.:)

JohnhenrySTL
September 2, 2011, 01:12 AM
Thank you for both responses. I do clean the firearm every time I shoot it. I have not noticed any wear, I would just assume that because it is lighter and built for the purpose of ccw, it would hold to thousands and thousands of rounds. However, I am wrong. Thnaks.

Smith357
September 2, 2011, 06:32 AM
I keep hearing this over and over. I wonder where it comes from?

It comes from the new technologies involved in furnace control, with the disappearance of basic open hearth processing, and a near complete shift to the electric arc furnace. Also the technologies to reduce impurities and ways to assess grain structures quickly and cheaply.

oldfool
September 2, 2011, 06:47 AM
I took the question a bit differently than some here apparently have
OP referred specifically to the new CLASSIC line, not all 'new' S&W revolvers in general

better than the old classic K/L/N-frames, no, not a chance IMO

For me the question is not are they better, but aside from the same old, same old hole and MIM and price rants, how good is the 'New Classic' line (or not) ?
Posts by folks who have one seem about as rare as hen's teeth, but somebody must be buying them, because they keep expanding the line.

The fit & finish looks good under glass, but is it ?
How accurate are they ?
How good is the DA trigger ?
How good is the SA trigger ?

all the yada yada aside, a gun is as good as it shoots and holds up to round count
I am not going to be the 1st kid on my block to own one
so... who does ?
tell us about it !

madcratebuilder
September 2, 2011, 07:12 AM
From what I have seen at the LGS the "classic" line of S&W is no better or worse than the regular S&W. I think we all agree the older revolvers had more of a human touch, better fit and finish.

Well the new models last like the older ones? I'm sure they well, don't think I'll find out.

My current favorite S&W. Born in 1917 this .32 hand ejector 5th change is like new mechanically, a few age wrinkles, like me.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/SW/5thchange02.jpg

Thaddeus Jones
September 2, 2011, 09:37 AM
No, not better made. If you would like a second opinion, they are ugly too........AND overpriced! :)

Guillermo
September 2, 2011, 10:04 AM
The "classic" smiths are just like the rest of the revolver line.

MIM parts, crush-fit two-piece barrel.

The standard smiths are overpriced...the "classics" are WAY overpriced.

Better?...not in any way shape or form

pendennis
September 2, 2011, 10:10 AM
S&W, quality-wise, was probably at it's nadir during the Bangor Punta Days (60's-70's). Bangor Punta concentrated on growth and not quality. That maybe heretical to the "pinned and recessed" aficionados, but it's true. Pinned barrels were no longer necessary after about 1955. S&W kept it up until ca. 1982. Recessed magnum cylinders were also a moot point with modern-made brass cases. Relative costs have come down.

Materials are much better, and we probably hear more about quality problems today, than ever. It's called the world wide web. Problems can't remain hidden for long, so management tends to be more proactive. That spells better quality, or in the least, catching problems earlier.

Modern machining holds toleranaces better than ever. That +/- .001" has now come down to +/- .0001". Tighter fitting usually means longer lasting.

On the whole, quality is better.

SlamFire1
September 2, 2011, 11:08 AM
keep hearing this over and over. I wonder where it comes from? It sure isn't true. Alloys like 4130 & 4140 used in the 1950s, 1960s and probably beyond were the finest "ordnance steels" available then and still are today. If Smith has changed the steel they use for blued guns it is probably an alloy that is easier for their high tech machines to mill. The stainless they use was also chosen for its ease of machining, over its properties as a gun making material.

Steel alloy composition and heat treatments were mature by the time you get into the 40's.

However today's process controls have improved the end product.

As an example, stainless steel knife blades. The stainless steels used in todays' knives take and keep an edge far better than the same steels from the 60's.

CraigC
September 2, 2011, 11:56 AM
I keep hearing this over and over. I wonder where it comes from? It sure isn't true. Alloys like 4130 & 4140 used in the 1950s, 1960s and probably beyond were the finest "ordnance steels" available then and still are today. If Smith has changed the steel they use for blued guns it is probably an alloy that is easier for their high tech machines to mill.
Dave brings up an excellent point. I think folks automatically assume that the "modern steel" is better. With zero details or knowledge on the alloys in question.


The stainless they use was also chosen for its ease of machining, over its properties as a gun making material.
If they really wanted to use the best materials for the job they would use something besides 400 series stainless and switch to the 17-4 alloy that Freedom Arms uses. But they won't, because it's harder on cutters.


The "classic" smiths are just like the rest of the revolver line.

MIM parts, crush-fit two-piece barrel.

The standard smiths are overpriced...the "classics" are WAY overpriced.

Better?...not in any way shape or form
Yep!!!


The high polish deep blue finishes are gone and due to EPA regulations they will never return.
This is gets repeated all the time but is completely untrue. It has nothing to do with the bluing chemicals and everything to do with metal prep. Metal polishing, to get the results 'we' are discussing, must involve a lot of handwork and S&W wants to do everything in a tumbler.

Here's what a proper polish job and subsequent bluing looks like when done right, on a two year old USFA:
http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/sixgunsiii/large/IMG_1138c.jpg

sidheshooter
September 2, 2011, 11:56 AM
Q: How many S&W revolver shooters/collectors does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to talk about how well-made the old one was...

;)

Super Sneaky Steve
September 2, 2011, 04:13 PM
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_764585_-1_757779_757751_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y

Has anyone seen the new "Mag Bright Blue" finish? Sure looks good on the website.

Smith357
September 2, 2011, 07:03 PM
This is gets repeated all the time but is completely untrue. It has nothing to do with the bluing chemicals and everything to do with metal prep. Metal polishing, to get the results 'we' are discussing, must involve a lot of handwork and S&W wants to do everything in a tumbler.

Yes, a lot has to do with the degree of the polish more than the style of blueing that gives the final result. S&W used to use a hot dry process called Carbonia bluing up until 1978, a "charcoal style" process that they used since the 1850's The guns were put in a gas furnace that was heated and had the chemicals put in. The process was part of the heat treatment. Then due to EPA regulations on the toxic gasses released by this process costs went way up, therefore they went to a less expensive hot chemical bath process after 78. While the new style can come close to the old way the color is more black than deep blue. Carbonia bluing is extremely durable and long lasting, not at all like hot dip bluing which is only a thin color on the surface. Carbonia bluing is very expensive and today is only used by the finest gunsmiths.

Guillermo
September 2, 2011, 07:13 PM
they went to a less expensive hot chemical bath process after 78

They did a LOT of cost cutting since then.

Not one change has been made to improve quality. Smith & Taurus revolvers are on par these days.

Fishslayer
September 2, 2011, 10:31 PM
Personal experience? No. Because I've never bought a brand new S&W & really have no plans to.

However, my 80's vintage 686 no dash is an absolutely wonderful weapon. IMO every bit equal in function to earlier models.

I wouldn't touch one of the new "Classics." Get the real deal. They cost less and are, well... "The real deal." :D

Maple_City_Woodsman
September 2, 2011, 10:53 PM
Many purists will never be happy with anything S&W does. Ever.

If S&W tossed the lock tomorrow, and started offering a line of hand fitted revolvers, they would STILL complain that they are not as good as their worn out 1950s model, AND they would complain about the prices even more than they already do.

Posts by folks who have one seem about as rare as hen's teeth...

The fit & finish looks good under glass, but is it ?
How accurate are they ?
How good is the DA trigger ?
How good is the SA trigger ?

I just purchased a 'new classic' model 25 last week.
* Finish looks great. Maybe not old time bluing, but better than most blued guns these days
* Fit of parts is very good. no gap or overrun between the grips and tang, and the crane seam and side plate seam are barely visible.
* Lockup is tight - no front to back movement at all, and only the slightest of side to side movement when significant pressure is applied. No 'slop' or 'wiggle' at all.
* some parts like the cylinder latch and locking bolt are exceptionally tight.
* DA trigger quite heavy, but very smooth and predictable
* SA trigger is a a dream. There is absolutely no play, creep, grit, or 'spongy' to be found. The definition of 'glass rod'.
* Accuracy is on par with my recent 629, and as good as my 19-5.

You can play 'used-to-was' or 'could have been' all day long, but when you look at the gun objectively, it is an excellent revolver.

Guillermo
September 2, 2011, 11:05 PM
Many purists will never be happy with anything S&W does. Ever.

that may or may not be true.

Since S&W makes crappy revolvers filled with MIM parts, 2 piece barrels that are crush fit...and people like you give them 800 bucks for them we will never know if the current company can build a high quality revolver.

Maple_City_Woodsman
September 2, 2011, 11:14 PM
Hostile and uncalled for.

I disagree with your assessment. I also disagree with the policy of starving the company into default.

Guillermo
September 2, 2011, 11:23 PM
was not my intention to come off as hostile.

just stating the facts.

as long as people pay huge bucks for their revolvers they have no incentive to improve their product.

huntsman
September 2, 2011, 11:26 PM
WOW MIM didn't show up till #21 is this a signal of mass acceptance? I’d vote no and I vote with my wallet.

230therapy
September 2, 2011, 11:28 PM
If you want to remove the storage lock, you can buy a plug for the hole. The plug keeps the gunk out.

http://smith-wessonforum.com/accessories-misc-sale-trade/143299-fs-plug.html

He has a movie on how to install it.

I buy new S&W's and generally don't worry about the lock unless I am shooting a lighter gun with heavy loads. Then I keep the key in my gun bag. A locked up gun, sitting on the table, attracts RO's :(

One day I'll buy one of these and install it.

Maple_City_Woodsman
September 3, 2011, 12:43 AM
just stating the facts.

You are stating your entitled opinion Sir, which I fully respect, but I see no facts.

In my reckoning a revolver that looks nice, shoots well, and operates reliably is a good revolver. If said revolver is fitted tightly and handles well on top of that, then it's a great revolver.

What OTHER revolvers are, or what past revolver WERE is immaterial to that.

Guillermo
September 3, 2011, 12:55 AM
In my reckoning a revolver that looks nice, shoots well, and operates reliably is a good revolver

with the exception of finish...please tell me why a Smith is better than a Taurus?

I see no facts

MIM parts, 2 pc barrels that are crush fit are facts. They were adopted for cost cutting.

Fishslayer
September 3, 2011, 04:39 AM
with the exception of finish...please tell me why a Smith is better than a Taurus?


I only own one Taurus, an '82 vintage 669. Wonderful revolver. The finish is actually quite good. The trigger, DA & SA are good. Accuracy is good.

It's not quite as tight as a Smith, not quite as accurate as a Smith, the trigger's not quite as crisp.

I'm aware mine is just one example & I may have gotten lucky. I'm very happy with it. As good as a Smith? No. Is it junk? Absolutely not.

357 Terms
September 3, 2011, 06:57 AM
Lol! if you don't like MIM, the lock, the new finishes, or anything else about the newer Smiths than by all means go buy A Taurus! Than we at least get to hear ya all complain about something else!

Guillermo
September 3, 2011, 09:50 AM
Than we at least get to hear ya all complain about something else

LOL!

You may be right.

I have owned 3 Tauri over the years. One was POS, two very good.

The last 3 new Smith revolvers that I picked up had defects. (poorly fitted yoke, two w barrel issues)

Since then I have started purchasing old revolvers. I can tell you with confidence that the current line of Smith revolvers do not contain anything as nice as my 1953 K22. Outstanding fit, great trigger and laser accurate.

Quick story. I was at the range teaching a couple of high school kids to shoot. While there a guy noticed the old K22 and borrowed it for a few cylinders. I was busy with the girls but he came back and returned it. As he handed it back he said "I thought mine was accurate". He had a "classic" model 17.

MagnumDweeb
September 3, 2011, 09:57 AM
My only real interest in the Classic line is the Model 22 of 1917. But for the $800 or so it can be found I think I'll sooner go for a 25 or 625 with a 5.5" or 6.5". May be even a 4". I really just want the gun for plinking and HD as it would be a tad troublesome to Conceal Carry (I wish Florida was open carry).

My main concern with the old 1917s is they say you can't regularly feed them much of the more modern ammo, especially the SD/HD stuff. If that's the case the newer one with the heat treatments and better metallurgy I think would stand up better to modern ammo(I would at least hope so).

There is the 29-5 Classic Line I read about that isn't especially more expensive than other NIB offered 629s. So if it felt better in the hand and was essentially the same price and could stand up to regular loads meant to push 240 grain SWC at 1400 fps out of a 7.5" barrel than I'd get the Classic Line.

Fishslayer
September 3, 2011, 11:10 AM
Lol! if you don't like MIM, the lock, the new finishes, or anything else about the newer Smiths than by all means go buy A Taurus!

Not gonna happen. :D

FWIW S&W IS phasing out the Hilary Hole. Good move IMO.

Where's everybody finding these new Classics at $800? They're all $1K+ when I see 'em.:confused:

AHHH! I know. Online. Since nobody ships to The People's Republik the competiton's not there.

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 11:56 AM
"please tell me why a Smith is better than a Taurus?"

not here, but I think you ought start a new thread on that one, friend G
but in opposite hand mode, you know... as in..
"Why a Taurus is better than (or at least as good) a S&W", current manufacture only considered.

You already have a freebie one-point lead, re: S&W ILS vs Taurus ILS, I say go for it

Both of us own older model Taurus guns we like a lot, me one autoloader and two revolvers, and there is at least one Taurus model DA revolver currently made I don't actually own, that I would rate high on my short list.

I don't own any of the new S&Ws, and I don't think you do, either. But there is at least one new S&W that I would rate high on my short list, likewise.
(not the Classic series on topic, but I would consider those, other than that I already have those models in the old versions, so it's mighty unlikely for me)

I don't like where S&W has been going in the last couple of decades, but there is zero doubt in my mind why they are in that mode. Short of buying cheap Mexican/Chinese/Brazilian labor, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place,,, cheap sells volume, high quality craftsmanship does not sell volume. Ask Wallyworld.

Ruger is their quality competition (and offers nowhere near the variety in their DA revolver lineup), Taurus is their low cost competition. I call that stuck between a rock and a hard place.

like you, G, I have stuck with the good old stuff.. but never say never
Colt and Dan Wesson ain't in the game anymore, and that has had a huge impact on the competition for high quality mass produced DA revolvers, and is a huge factor in why S&W does what it does these days. That is where the quality competition used to be. We don't have to like it, but it is what is is.

oldfool
September 3, 2011, 12:05 PM
Maple City W
I do appreciate the 1st person shooter feedback, thanks

I confess to being an old model woobie guy, but I am honestly interested in such feedback. Me, new will never replace my oldies but goodies, but that aside, as I have said
all the yada yada aside, a gun is as good as it shoots and holds up to round count

CraigC
September 3, 2011, 03:49 PM
Yes, a lot has to do with the degree of the polish more than the style of blueing that gives the final result. S&W used to use a hot dry process called Carbonia bluing up until 1978, a "charcoal style" process that they used since the 1850's The guns were put in a gas furnace that was heated and had the chemicals put in. The process was part of the heat treatment. Then due to EPA regulations on the toxic gasses released by this process costs went way up, therefore they went to a less expensive hot chemical bath process after 78. While the new style can come close to the old way the color is more black than deep blue. Carbonia bluing is extremely durable and long lasting, not at all like hot dip bluing which is only a thin color on the surface. Carbonia bluing is very expensive and today is only used by the finest gunsmiths.
Neither S&W nor Colt have used the carbona blue finish since WWII. It's not that it's 'that' expensive but that it is very labor intensive and most people today want dishwasher safe stainless steel and are completely unwilling to pay for better finishes. So modern manufacturing is situated to be most efficient at what generates the most revenue.

The above-pictured USFA is hot salt blued and was $676 two years ago. Or about $300 less than a current S&W "Classic". S&W could and would offer such a finish if there were a market for it. Unfortunately, those of us who care about such things are in the minority.


Many purists will never be happy with anything S&W does. Ever.
I'm no purist, period. The new S&W's hold zero appeal for me but if they DID start doing things right, I would get right in line for several models in the "Classic" line. Let's get one thing straight, I WANT to like the new S&W's. They just crossed the line with more drawbacks than I can overlook.


...AND they would complain about the prices even more than they already do.
Problem with their prices is that they have gone through so many changes to make production cheaper, which has cheapened the final product, yet the prices continue to climb. For what you get, they are simply a poor value. They no longer hold the edge over Ruger that they once enjoyed. No longer are they the thoroughbred to Ruger's pack mule. No longer are they more elegant and a more refined design. Now they're both pack mules but Ruger makes a better pack mule at a lower price.

dprice3844444
September 3, 2011, 03:59 PM
i buy stainless,no bluing probs

Guillermo
September 3, 2011, 04:27 PM
that has had a huge impact on the competition for high quality mass produced DA revolvers

Yep...you are right.
If S&W had competition the good ol days would be right now

sw282
September 3, 2011, 05:17 PM
l can speak first hand. l own 2 newer guns. A 629 Mountain gun. Heavy as a brick. Twice as ugly. Kicked hard and was not fun to shoot. Second is a 3'' square butt M 24-4. 0ne of Lew Hortons' overpriced models. A different matter. Points good. Shoots well. Quality? Not so good. Being "1 of 250" it should have been PERFECT. Not so. Top side plate screw is missing. Came from the factory that way. How could a limited edition get by with a defect like that???

How do they compare to a 4'' 25-5 4'' 28-2 3 1/2'' 27-2 ??


There is NO comparison. The 629 & 24 stay home. lN fact the cheap 28-2 shoots and handles BEST

Smith357
September 3, 2011, 05:29 PM
Neither S&W nor Colt have used the carbona blue finish since WWII.

Don't tell that to Roy Jinks.


Roy Jinks
The S&W bluing process up to 1978 was a hot dry blue process called Carbonia. It was a charcoal style of process and S&W started using in in the 1850s. It provided a beautiful color but to keep everything a matching color all parts needed to be done together. S&W did this until 1958. After that they started bluing barrels in one batch, cylinders in another and the frames separate. This lead to slightly different colors in the blue finishes.

Bluing Methods, Definitions and Processes
by Bill Adair

CARBONIA Heat/Chemical
Now here's one of the most mis-used, least-understood words in the entire bluing lexicon. 'Carbonia' Blue was a S&W proprietary method used in the period from before WWI thru the 1960's. It was also known as 'Smith & Wesson blue'. It was ONLY done by Smith. Never by Colt or any other manufacturer. Carbonia bluing resulted in that deep-black/glossy high-polish finish that Smith was noted for during the years they used it.

JohnBT
September 3, 2011, 07:53 PM
"The Carbonia oil (a product of American Gas Furnace Co.) was used by many gun manufacturers in their own versions of 'DuLite' bluing, but the use of Carbonia oil does not make it 'Carbonia Blue' as only S&W did it."

- Bill Adair, Firearms Restoration

Jesse Heywood
September 3, 2011, 08:59 PM
I bought a Classic model 25 in 45 Colt as soon as they were available. I had wanted one for 25 years and never had the money to buy one. They rarely show up at shows around here, and the ones that do are used up. I ignore Hilary's hole. Manufacturing quality is good, far better than the Bangor days. Finish is a solid blue. Not bright & shiny, but better than most of the newer guns on the market. And the trigger feels like it has been through the performance center, far better than my 686 was out of the box. Lockup is tight and solid. My only complaint was the grip shape and sharp checkering, fixed by Pachmyar. The price was high, but the value is good. I paid about $700 shipped to my ffl. I would like to have been able to buy a mate in nickel finish, but live on a fixed income.

HankB
September 3, 2011, 09:40 PM
I've been looking for a good .22 Combat Masterpiece for a while, and when I saw S&W had re-introduced it as one of their "Classics" - with a Patridge sight! :) - I just had to go on down to the local dealer to check it out.

The blue wasn't up to par, and when taking a close look at the front sight, a very noticeable gap was seen between the bottom of the Patridge blade (both fore and aft) and the top of the barrel rib.

That doesn't signify good workmanship or quality control to me - not for nearly $800.

Taffnevy
September 3, 2011, 10:59 PM
I picked up a model 17 Masterpiece. Looks as good as any, perhaps better, save the internal lock.

Very nice trigger too.

CraigC
September 3, 2011, 11:44 PM
Newsflash, Colt used carbona bluing on all SAA's until WWII. Unless I'm mistaken, it was also present on all blued double actions. It was never exclusive to S&W. I have never seen a post-war S&W with carbona bluing. USFA is the only source of new revolvers with a carbona blue finish.

Old Fuff
September 4, 2011, 01:02 PM
Newsflash, Colt used carbona bluing on all SAA's until WWII. Unless I'm mistaken, it was also present on all blued double actions. It was never exclusive to S&W.

Nope, not so. :eek:

During it's entire history, Colt used several different methods of bluing, but at any given time all models were blued using the method that was current for the time period, although some were more highly polished then others, and the degree of polish determined what the color would look like.

The earlist method was called Charcoal Blue, which dated from the early precussion period to about 1919. Carbona Blue was a similar process used by Smith & Wesson, as well as others, up through about 1940 or '41. Collt also used an alternative process called Fire Blue to blue small parts, such as hammers, triggers, pins, screws, etc.

In or about 1919, Colt changed to a new finish, which was called Gas Oven Blue, that continued until about 1941 when the factory was referbished for expected war production.

During the war, Colt switched to a bluing system that was, and still is, sold by the DuLite company. I believe they still use it today, although it may have been discontinued due to environmental issues. Colt's so called "Royal Blue" is based on this system. Post-World War Two SAA revolvers had (and I presume still do) have barrels, cylinders, back straps, trigger guards, and other small parts blued using the DuLite process.

Most of the pre-war Single Action's made between 1920 and 1941 (and a handful thereafter) had Charcoal Blued or Fire Blued parts made during earlier years, because by 1920 the demand for this model had substantually decreased.

CraigC
September 4, 2011, 03:00 PM
Seems we have some common names and proper names doing a little mingling. I use "carbona" as Turnbull and Bowen do, as a generic term for charcoal bluing. Whereas Carbonia is S&W's proprietary name for what is basically the same process. The fact remains that charcoal, carbona and Carbonia bluing are one and the same. Perhaps with minor variations between manufacturers but both manufacturers used the process, among others. Winchester also used it up until the WWII era. Carbonia being S&W's proprietary finish, yet the process is for all intents and purposes, the same as Colt's charcoal bluing, whether done in a coal or gas furnace. Close enough to get lumped together. The source of the heat is irrelevant.

So yes, Colt used charcoal bluing until the time of WWII.

I would love to see some documentation that S&W actually used Carbonia bluing, rather than hot salt-bluing like DuLite, up through the Bangor-Punta era.

The fact also remains that we can't blame the EPA for S&W's current finishes because obviously, other manufacturers are doing what they do not. The blame lies with all those shooters who'd rather have stainless steel and rubber grips, who simply don't understand or appreciate the difference.

buck460XVR
September 4, 2011, 04:08 PM
The blame lies with all those shooters who'd rather have stainless steel and rubber grips, who simply don't understand or appreciate the difference.


...........oh, so now it's MY fault? That's funny.:D

Yep, I prefer stainless and synthetic to blue and wood, and for good reason. Stainless is much more maintenance free, and corrosion resistant, thus it works better in the harsh conditions I hunt in. Same goes for synthetic/rubber stocks/grips as compared to organics. No swelling or shrinking due to temps and humidity that affect accuracy, no cracking and splitting, and again, basically maintenance free. But that don't mean I don't understand the difference, it means just the opposite, because I understand the differences, I prefer what I do. I use my guns and they sometimes spends days on end in the rain/ice/snow. Blued guns and fragile wood stocks don't like this. Maybe it's you that doesn't understand this. I do appreciate deeply blued guns and beautiful wood, but it doesn't work for me. Again, I believe it is you that doesn't understand or maybe appreciate that different folks have different needs. If companies do not do the bluing process to your satisfaction because of the intensive labor and the high cost associated with them and/or because the chemicals used in the good old days were killing people and polluting our ground water, you may need to understand and appreciate that fact....not blame others that prefer something different.

CraigC
September 4, 2011, 04:29 PM
Technically, yes, it is your fault. It's purely market-driven. No right or wrong, it is what it is. What you also have to keep in mind is that not everybody who prefers stainless steel does so because they hunt in the snow and rain. Look at the hunting vs. shooting thread. Apparently, most shooters don't even hunt so fewer still care about the weatherproof qualities of stainless steel. They've just heard that blued finishes are fragile, will rust overnight without prayers spoken and some pixie dust sprinkled on them and if they get wet, they turn into gremlins. Not unlike all the weird notions folks get about cast bullets.

Same thing can be said for anything else. Most people want what they want and they want it now but they don't want to pay too much for it and they don't want to pay more for better because cheap and "good enough" is well, good enough.


I believe it is you that doesn't understand or maybe appreciate that different folks have different needs. If companies do not do the bluing process to your satisfaction because of the intensive labor and the high cost associated with them and/or because the chemicals used in the good old days were killing people and polluting our ground water, you may need to understand and appreciate that fact....not blame others that prefer something different.
I understand all that and accept that reality. If you want things the way they used to be, I understand that I have to pay for it and I am fully willing to. I'm just not willing to pay S&W's asking price for new junk masquerading as "Classics". Although I disagree on some of it, as I've said in this thread, it has more to do with labor costs than anything to do with the chemicals.

Old Fuff
September 4, 2011, 05:34 PM
So yes, Colt used charcoal bluing until the time of WWII.

Again you're wrong.

When the piece is highly polished, and you wouldn't believe the number of steps that Colt went through when they used the Charcoal Blue process, results are a very deep blue/black color, which was once described as looking into a deep pool of India ink.

Gas Oven Blue was an entirely different process, and as far as I can determine was unique to Colt between about 1920 to 1940. It resulted a satin (not highly polished) blue that was almost turquoise in color.

Knowing the difference in these colors and processes is critical when you make appraisals of some very expensive pieces, and have to be able to detect between original and refinishes - both aftermarket and by the original manufacturer.

As an aside: One time I returned a revolver to its manufacturer to have the barrel cut and front sight relocated. The barrel was removed, cut, resighted and refinished before being reinstalled. There was a very marked difference between the blue on the barrel, and that which was original on the rest of the gun. Clearly sometime within a 10 year period they'd made a substantial change in they're bluing procedures.

Last but not least, the exact color of the blue - regardless of the process used - is largely determined by how the parts were polished. The only difference between Colt's post war "standard blue," v. "royal blue" was the way the parts were polished, and they were sometimes blued at the same time in the same tanks, using the same chemicals - but if you look at the results you will see a clear difference.

CraigC
September 4, 2011, 06:09 PM
Then explain in technical detail the difference between charcoal bluing and the gas oven process. I'm dying to hear it.

Guillermo
September 4, 2011, 06:12 PM
If you want things the way they used to be, I understand that I have to pay for it and I am fully willing to.
applauding



I'm just not willing to pay S&W's asking price for new junk masquerading as "Classics".
Standing ovation



it has more to do with labor costs than anything to do with the chemicals.
CRAIG C FOR SMITH & WESSON PRESIDENT!!!!

Old Fuff
September 4, 2011, 07:11 PM
Then explain in technical detail the difference between charcoal bluing and the gas oven process. I'm dying to hear it.

I can, and have done so in the past, but its long and laborious task, and I got paid for doing it. :uhoh:

I suggest that you need to get a life. :D

This winter when the weather in January or February is ugly where you live, fly out to Las Vegas and attend one of Wallace Beinfeld's, Winter Antique & Classic Gun Show's. This you understand in not an ordinary show, but one where the big boys play, and where one table can easily hold over a million dollars worth of pieces.

What would (I hope) make this three-day affair interesting for you is the opportunity to examine literally hundreds of 18th, 19th, and early 20th century guns that are still in like new condition, or close to it. Maybe without too much time passing, you’re eyeballs should be able to detect the difference between various finishes done at different times, and by different companies, using different methods. While you were at it you might learn a whole lot more. They don’t let just anyone through the door, as most attendees are invited. But if you behave I think you might get in.

Besides the obvious attractions, the gentlemen behind those tables are usually world-class authorities on the particular subject their exhibits represent. If not otherwise occupied, they will usually answer intelligent questions, and sometimes even allow very careful handling of pieces they are showing.

If you are under the impression that these different finishing procedures resulted in anything close to identical appearance, you will soon find out otherwise.

Face it, the best cure for ignorance is a good education.

CraigC
September 4, 2011, 11:47 PM
I can, and have done so in the past, but its long and laborious task, and I got paid for doing it.
That's about what I expected. I love the internet. Only here can folks simply halt a discussion with "you're wrong" without ever having to prove it.


I suggest that you need to get a life.
Thank you very much for the suggestion but I am doing quite well.


If you are under the impression that these different finishing procedures resulted in anything close to identical appearance, you will soon find out otherwise.
You must think I just fell off the turnip truck???


Face it, the best cure for ignorance is a good education.
Condescension and elitist attitude duly noted, also what I expected, Ole Fluff. :rolleyes:

Old Fuff
September 5, 2011, 12:42 AM
That's about what I expected. I love the internet. Only here can folks simply halt a discussion with "you're wrong" without ever having to prove it.

Well that's a two-way street. I did go to some lengths to describe the differences. Now you have the option to go out and do some research, and afterwards prove I'm wrong.

If you can.

Thank you very much for the suggestion but I am doing quite well.

You're welcome, and I truly believe you would find the suggested trip to be enjoyable and enlightning. Actually handling and examining is probably the best way to learn more about these early firearms.

You must think I just fell off the turnip truck???

Ah.... Well you said it, I didn't.

Condescension and elitist attitude duly noted, also what I expected, Ole Fluff.

Well again, I was trying to offer a constructive suggestion. Some of your comments led me to believe that some additional research on your part might lead to a better understanding of the issues. I am not obligated to take my time to write a long report simply to satisfy what you seem to be unwilling to go out and do for yourself.

iflyem1
September 5, 2011, 02:07 AM
"The Carbonia oil (a product of American Gas Furnace Co.) was used by many gun manufacturers in their own versions of 'DuLite' bluing, but the use of Carbonia oil does not make it 'Carbonia Blue' as only S&W did it."

- Bill Adair, Firearms Restoration


Does anybody else miss Bill besides me!!!!!

357 Terms
September 5, 2011, 08:54 AM
Guillermo? you gotta be a Taurus rep....am I right?
Why do these threads about new Smiths always go down the same road, with the same members?
We get it!..Ya'll hate em
Hillary hole, MIM, quality sucks, they are profit driven, crush fit barrels, and now there is an argument about Colt's blueing before WW2.
If you dont like Smiths then go buy A Taurus!

valnar
September 5, 2011, 09:25 AM
People always get upset when something they consider the "best" gets worse. Its because you have no other refuge. If there were 10 different revolver companies and all were similar quality - then one made their product cheaper - you'd still have 9 left to choose from. But if you consider S&W the best (as some do) and THEY build their product cheaper, its like a stab in the heart. Where else do you go except hunting for older versions "when they made them better"?

357 Terms
September 5, 2011, 10:22 AM
Right valnar; but its not necessarily poorer quality,its change. Smith has to cut costs to stay afloat. Better to trim costs than go under. Same old-same old "I remember when"

Well I remember when m19's went outa time on a constant basis, cracked forcing cones! All the old timers then all said "those junk k frames; get a mod 27/28 a real gun!"
The more things change the more they stay the same.

LOL! and does anybody remember all the bitchin when Bangor Punta bought Smith? For years afterward they were "junk,junk,junk".

Guillermo
September 5, 2011, 10:33 AM
If you dont like Smiths then go buy A Taurus!

Not in the market for a new revolver...but thank you.

I am appreciative of the people that plop down their hard earned money for the garbage that Smith produces. This keeps them out of the used gun market,

357 Terms
September 5, 2011, 10:50 AM
Guillermo; whats Taurus's 401k like? do they match/contribute?..dental?

Guillermo
September 5, 2011, 11:07 AM
whats Taurus's 401k like? do they match/contribute?..dental?

I have no idea. I haven't worked for anyone else in many years.

Nor do not own a Taurus. Have no plans to.

But were I in the market for a new revolver I am not idiotic enough to buy a Taurus-quality revolver at Smith prices.

I am glad that some people do. As mentioned before, it keeps them out of the used revolver market. Besides, I don't think that anyone that would even consider a new Smith is worthy of owning a high quality gun like my K22 from 1953. That would be like casting pearls before the swine.

valnar
September 5, 2011, 11:12 AM
Unless you want to buy 100 Smiths or plan on outfitting a police department, I say there is no reason to worry about the new ones. The old ones, in whatever flavor you like, are very prolific.

I have a small collection of about 10 older Smiths - the exact ones I want. I may want a couple more and that's it. After that, I don't care what S&W makes. Some people may want a larger collection though, and if you visit some of the S&W forums, they certainly do!

Old Fuff
September 5, 2011, 11:17 AM
… and now there is an argument about Colt's blueing before WW2.

Yup, and for that bit of thread drift I apologize. :o

Back to the original topic. Smith & Wesson created the Classic Series, hoping it would appeal to those that preferred what I will call “old school models,” which in some cases had attained cult status. They also offered some features that some might consider advantageous, such as barrels that didn’t have heavy, full-length underlugs, and blued finish in place of stainless. Basically, a classic is something made using the company’s current platform, but camouflaged to look like something they made during earlier years.

For those that have no objection to recent changes in the basic platform, but like the “old school look,” they have had a mixed reception. Those that were made on the N-frame and chambered in .44 and .45, as well as some J-frame snubbies have proved to be relatively popular, where those made on the K-frame have generally done less well. All have faced a stumbling block in that as limited runs the MSRP is often at or above what one of the earlier original guns might cost on the used market. The other is that many of those that hanker for the older revolvers do so because they dislike the so-called improvements the current platform offers, and in particular the internal lock. This has tended to reduce sales in what was a limited market in the first place.

So are they indeed worth the high price they command? It depends on how you feel about it. In some ways current CNC machining has tightened some tolerances, but on the other hand past craftsmanship and selective fitting of various parts made up for what might be considered looser tolerances. Without question, side plates generally fit better in the old days, and some small perks that were offered then have now disappeared.

As the value of older production guns continues to go up (especially certain models) the price disadvantage between original and classic versions will narrow, but by the same token, the ever increasing value of the older revolvers tends to make them a better investment if, or when an owner decides to sell or trade.

Put simply, in the end it becomes a case of buying what you like best. Regardless of one’s point of view, we are fortunate that ultimately there is a choice.

357 Terms
September 5, 2011, 11:25 AM
Posted by GuillermoI am appreciative of the people that plop down their hard earned money for the garbage that Smith produces.

Smith and wesson garbage? How do I use that ignore button I've heard about on this forum?

Guillermo
September 5, 2011, 11:38 AM
Smith and wesson garbage? How do I use that ignore button I've heard about on this forum?

There are a lot of people you will have to block if you are offended by this truth.

One who is offended by a differing opinion must lack confidence.

Not sure that a discussion forum is the place for such a person.

Guillermo
September 5, 2011, 11:40 AM
FYI, go to the user control panel and on the left side you can edit your "ignore" list

Good luck

JohnBT
September 5, 2011, 12:55 PM
"The fact remains that charcoal, carbona and Carbonia bluing are one and the same. Perhaps with minor variations between manufacturers but both manufacturers"

And with some major variations, like S&W's process. You say "one and the same", the evidence says otherwise.

Heck, you can get different finishes from one oven by using different kinds of charcoal. I hope nobody is thinking guns are blued with Kingsford. ;)

John

CraigC
September 5, 2011, 01:50 PM
What evidence? Obviously, there will always be variations but the processes are easily grouped. The fact that Colt has a special name for their "Royal Blue" does not change the fact that it is a hot salt process. The fact that Colt and S&W used different ingredients and levels of polish does not change the fact that the two processes fall under "charcoal blue". Or what is also referred to by current professionals Doug Turnbull and Hamilton Bowen as "carbona". What USFA refers to as "Armory blue". The fact that Turnbull's and Colt's color case hardening differ from each other in end result does not change the fact that they are still variations of the same process. Same for cyanide case coloring. I have never argued that the results of any of these processes was the same, that the color was the same or that the level of polish was the same, only that the processes themselves were similar enough to be grouped together by anybody you ask. Unless you consider Bowen and Turnbull to be morons. Now if what Turnbull and Bowen refer to as charcoal/carbona blue is different from what Colt used to do, that is not my problem. Since Ole Fluffer has decided to either keep the information to himself or simply does not possess the information and since the information is apparently readily available, I invite anyone to offer up "evidence".

All of which is completely tangent to the discussion. The fact remains that there is no reason why S&W can't offer a finish like the above-pictured USFA, which is superior in every way to any of my alleged "Carbonia"-finished S&W's. Charcoal blue, antique or modern, is a different animal entirely. However, I would also like to point out that in Turnbull's fee schedule, there is only a $100 increase for charcoal over hot salt blue.

Guillermo
September 5, 2011, 02:30 PM
I am learning from this discussion about blueing processes.

Old Fuff...come back and join this discussion. If you do I might let you Fitz one of my Diamondbacks. :what:

SlamFire1
September 5, 2011, 07:19 PM
I think the classic pistol is a great idea. A fixed sight big bore revolver is an excellent self defense weapon. Yes, you only have six shots, but those are big bullets and the platform is hard to put out of order.

I think Clint Smith had a part in the issuing of the Classic series, and I think S&W and Clint hit a home run bringing the concept back.

Local gunstore had a great sale on S&W's, I could have purchased one of the fixed sight 44 Specials, but I always wanted a 4" 45 LC. So I purchased this M625.

It is a fine pistol. I prefer the hammer mounted firing pin for ignition reliability, but otherwise it is just fine.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Smith%20and%20Wesson%20Pistols/M62545LCReduced.jpg

Smith357
September 5, 2011, 07:56 PM
The fact also remains that we can't blame the EPA for S&W's current finishes

So then who was it that forced heavy industry in this country to install scrubbers on their stacks, regulated how and where to dispose of waste, and all those many other pesky little government regulations that has driven the cost of doing business in this country since the 60s?

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