Is this gun safe to shoot?


January 26, 2012, 08:06 PM
I recently was given this Smith and Wesson. It had been left in a safe that had water in it due to a flood. It was in a leather holster and there was the resulting rust. The internal part of the cylinder and the bore seem to be in good condition.

Can I shoot this? A friend wants to use it but I am not terribly anxious for it to explode or something.

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January 26, 2012, 09:23 PM
There is but one way to find out. I would NOT advise anyone to hold it in their hand. Put the gun in a vise, tie a line to the trigger, load it up and get to a safe distance....preferably behind cover. Give it a whirl.

If the gun survives, great, but I still wouldn't advise anyone to hold it in their hand and fire it.

Ohio Gun Guy
January 26, 2012, 09:29 PM
I wouldnt. They make more, but you only get so many fingers and eyes.

January 26, 2012, 10:13 PM
Given the exterior condition of the firearm, it needs to be examined by a reputable smith before firing.

Many things can go wrong in the firing process.... a bbl unobstructed to the naked eye is but one of many concerns....granted, many that are overlooked with the exception of firearms in this condition.

Save a hand, rent a smith.

January 27, 2012, 12:36 PM
Yeah, having it checked out is probably the best option if I am going to shoot it. I really don't want to spend a bunch just to have a paperweight though.

January 27, 2012, 02:28 PM
Of course you need to get it checked out.

However, just from what I can see I would not think there would be any structural concerns to worry about.

If it was mine I would open it up and clean and lube everything in there and then clean and lube the barrel and cylinders and go at it.

Thats just me though. Im willing to bet nothing serious is wrong with it.

January 27, 2012, 11:57 PM
i cant imagine any gunsmith would sign off on shooting that thing. If you had flood insurance they should pay for a new gun.

35 Whelen
January 28, 2012, 02:14 AM
I'd make sure the barrel were clear and shoot it. What could possibly go wrong? If you're worried about the strength of the cylinder, I'd point out to you that the cuts in the cylinder for the cylinder stop are much deeper than the pits caused by the rust.
Buy a good rust remover like Jasco Prep and Primer to get the rust off, then have someone Parkerize it which will entail bead-blasting the pistol. The blasting will somewhat reduce the horrible looking pitting.


January 29, 2012, 02:57 PM
Personally, I would turn it into a paper weight. But if you absolutly positivily got to know if it will still fire:

1. Take it to a reputable gunsmith
2. Do not hold it in you hand, put it in a gun vise
3. Attach a LONG string to the trigger
4. After making sure nobody else was on the range, and from behind some shelter, let er rip.

Just as another poster put it, they make more of them, you only get one body, try to check out of this world with all the parts you came into it with.

January 29, 2012, 03:18 PM
If the worst happens ( no longer usable ) turn it into your local police station, GET PAPERWORK ! ! !, then see you insurance rep. always keep a copy of the paperwork.

January 29, 2012, 03:21 PM
After it's bead blasted you can measure the cylinder wall, bbl, and top strap thickness etc. A smith may tell you it's not worth the trouble. I wouldn't fire it from a vice. Without a blast shield you could catch a frag. Just because it survives one round it might come apart on round 3,7, 11, etc. It's not worth it IMO. You have nothing to lose by showing it to a smith and a lot to lose by testing it.

35 Whelen
January 29, 2012, 03:34 PM
Hey, if it's not worth anything, I'll give you $25 for it!


January 30, 2012, 04:19 PM
I have seen worse. If the chambers and barrel are free of rust and the action works perfectly I see no reason why it should not be shot.

Much of the rust can be sanded off. As 35 Whelen says the pits don't look very deep and a bead blast will remove all of the rust.

incidently if the revolver blows up it will not injure your hand. The blast will blow the upper part of the cylinder through the top strap and away from the shooter.

Jim K
January 30, 2012, 11:21 PM
I have fired a lot worse than that with no problems. It appears to be .38 Special and should be OK with standard ammo or even +P if there is a model number under the crane.

Of course, make sure the barrel is not obstructed before firing ANY gun.


January 31, 2012, 04:56 AM
Hey, take it over to those good fellows at American Guns, I am sure that the master gunsmith there will tell you one way or another, but more than likely he will try to sell you one of their custom jobs, made right there in the basement. And if your lucky you will get to go shooting with them and he will have rigged some BULLS&^T target that wil explode. and you will get to hear his fake laugh in your ear. HAAAAAAH HAAAAAAH OH MAN DID YOU SEE THAT! WOW

The Lone Haranguer
February 1, 2012, 12:38 PM
Lying in standing water, it probably penetrated the frame, inside of which are action parts. Are they rusted together? The second photo, which shows the hammer down but the trigger to the rear, suggests this.

February 1, 2012, 01:03 PM
Lay it on top of your bills, so when the A/C turns on, the bills don't blow away!

There gazillions of other revolvers out there to be had, DON'T TRUST IT !!!

February 4, 2012, 05:44 PM
The top strap doesn't always blow off, and even when it does, the shrapnel from the cylinder is enough to put you through months of surgery and rehabilitation, if your lucky enough to keep the hand(s). Take it to a smith, who will most likely tell you if its important to you to have it rebarreled, and the cylinder replaced. If the internals are sluggish and worn, rusty or damaged, I would tell you to just buy a new one. But if you want THAT one, it is doable. Just probably not worth it.

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