New to me 1971 S&W Model 10-6


March 12, 2012, 01:52 PM
Here is my new to me 1971 Model 10-6 that I picked up last Friday from a local pawn shop. I paid what seems to be a fair price at a little over $300. It has a fair amount of holster wear on the ends of the barrel, but very little rust. I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to get a medium frame revolver for my wife and kids to use for HD. The 12g pump I picked up for HD probably was not the best plan. While the shotgun is no problem for me, at 5'2" and 98lbs, it was not the best choice for my wife to try and handle. The new plan was to try and get a .357 and train with .38. I had decided that I did not want a snub or a 6 inch gun, so that pretty much left me looking for a 4" blued gun. I had a 6" 686 in the mid 80's that I had foolishly sold years ago. I paid $289 for that gun new. After getting tired of months of chasing online deals and auctions I came across this Model 10 and fell in love with the trigger. I almost bought a Taurus 66 last week, but the deal fell through at the last minute. I'm actually glad at this point as I really wanted a S&W but was having a hard time finding something for less that $500. I did take a long look at a Dan Wesson Model 15 with the 4" barrel, but it was priced too far over market for my taste. I actually made the smart move to take my youngest daughter (12) with me this time to buy the gun and they had a blued 4" Ruger Security Six in 357 that I had her try on for size. While weight was not a problem she could not reach the trigger completely. So that N frame I was looking at online was definitely out of the question :D While I hated to give up the extra oomph of the .357 I think the Model 10 was the right choice at this point.

I took it home and ran a couple of patches through the barrel and headed out to the range with the only .38 Academy had in stock. Lawman 158g +P. Not my first choice for plinking, but I really wanted to take the gun for spin. A box later and my elbow was stinging. Definitely need to look into softer grips and non +P before the wife shoots it. While the DA trigger was really nice at the shop, after only 20-30 rounds it started to get a bit sticky on a couple of chambers, but cleared right up as soon as I cleaned the gun again that night. After heading to the range the next day with a box of Winchester 130gr non +P ammo it started it again after about a half box. I finally realized that the barrel/cylinder gap is mighty tight and the cylinder starts to drag on the barrel after a few rounds. I guess the answer for now is to just clean the face of the cylinder when it starts to get sticky, but I would like to try and remedy that at some point. The SA trigger is REALLY light and the DA is very smooth with just a hint of a hitch at the end as the cylinder lock drops back in place letting me know that the trigger is about to release.

My only other issue with the gun seems to be the extractor rod will work loose. After the first trip to the range I gave the gun a good thorough cleaning and suddenly I could not open the cylinder. I thought it was the extractor hanging up on the frame, but it turned out to be the extractor rod had come unscrewed a couple of turns and was hanging up on the locking pin. Now I know why it looks like someone had use a pair of Vise-Grips on the extractor rod, because they probably had! I will be replacing the extractor rod in hopes that the issue is with the thread on the rod. That and a drop of Loctite :)

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March 12, 2012, 02:14 PM
Congrats on a fine older revolver at what seems like a decent enough price for down your way. In particular the 4 inch barrel is a great choice. Very nice balance with enough weight to aid in taming recoil.

And what you are saying is a lot of holster wear isn't a lot at all. That finish is actually darn good in my books. The nose of the barrel is always brushed back to bright with these carry guns. But in your case the rest of the blueing looks to be in great shape with very little scratching or wear.

I've only shot a few times with the Magna grips like on your gun and I never found that they fit my hands well at all. I'd suggest that you look at Hogue Monogrips or Pachmayer grips and see if you can find an option that works for both you and your wife size wise. Or look at some of the various wood grip options. The secret to easing the recoil seems to be more about spreading the pressure out to more of the hand more than the use of the rubber used by Hogue or Pachmayer. Find the right set of wood grips and shooting even stout loads is no trouble at all.

March 12, 2012, 03:13 PM
Beauty...I have a couple...great shooters!

March 12, 2012, 03:28 PM
I doubt there is a better built, more reliable or versatile handgun for the the money you paid. Congratulations. It's "keeper" in every way !

- regards

March 12, 2012, 04:37 PM
I agree with BC, that revolver looks very nice! The finish has honest wear and adds to the overall appearance of your gun. The b/c gap on that vintage should be around .004 which is optimal. You can check it with a feeler gauge on each charge hole.

Another area that can cause the gap to close up is "end shake" which isn't all that uncommon on S&W revolvers, and easy to fix yourself. The face of the cylinder may just have a lot of carbon build up and need a good scrubbing, same with the barrel shank.

Those model 10's are fine guns and once you get it squared away it will run a lifetime. Great purchase and quite versatile! Your wife should have a good time shooting wadcutters out of that one.

March 12, 2012, 08:55 PM
Very nice. I picked up a 10-5 3" version a LEO trade in from down under. I really like it. I kept the stocks and added a grip adapter. I have short fingers so rubber grips that cover the back strap do not work well for me.

March 12, 2012, 09:02 PM
I have a 10-6 ( just like that, and it is a favorite of mine.

Geezer Glide
March 13, 2012, 06:13 AM
Good looking M10. You'll really enjoy that one!

evan price
March 13, 2012, 09:58 AM
Got a 10-6 4" HB like that, it's a sweet shooter. Some may say the Bangor-Punta guns were not up to snuff but I disagree. A pre-82 pinned barrel looks nice and shoots good. The wear marks give it character. With proper care it will outlive you.

March 13, 2012, 12:43 PM
Thats a beauty. I have a 10-5 in a pencil barrel, but always loved the heavy's. Mine as well, gets sticky on double action on some chambers after about 30-40 rounds.

March 17, 2012, 10:36 AM
Thanks for the kinds words. It's growing on me more and more. I've had it out to the range a couple of more time now and I can finally hit something again. Between the copper fouling and me hardly shooting a centerfire hand gun in the past 20 years, I was having a hard time shooting anything better than a 6" group at 10 yds. Last trip out it was hitting clay pigeons at the backstop at 25yds more than missing. That tells me the gun can do it's job, Now I just need to do mine :)

BC - I've been looking around at grips and will most likely have to head down to my LGS, as much as I hate them, and try on a few. I just really have to watch getting something too big as the rest of the households hands are a good bit smaller than mine. Between my three daughters and wife (I've been trained now that the potty seat stays down at my house) We have a fair variety of hand sizes.

As far as the wear, it really is in good shape. For some reason that wear midway down on the left side of the barrel really bugs me, but at >$250 to refinish, I think she looks just fine as is :)

Remllez - I think your right on the cylinder end shake. After reading the Mod 10 sticky I was not quite sure what the spec was on that or how to measure, but reading the thread linked in the sticky detailed cylinder end shake repair. It looks like mine is coming in at ~.004.

I don't have feeler gauges small enough for this so I had to lock the gun in a padded vise and use a dial indicator to measure the end shake.I do still need to pick up a set of feeler gauges to be able to verify the gap though. I'm going to go ahead and order the cylinder bearings, new ejector rod and maybe the bushing as well. Using 2 of the .002 bearing should put me right close to zero end shake.

BTW: Does anybody feel a covered back strap helps with recoil?

April 28, 2012, 01:43 PM
Here it is after a little work. I've replace the original numbered Magnas for a set of target grips that I forgot I had from my 686 from the 80's. 1986 is on the inside of the grips. The Magnas are packed away for now as I really had a hard time getting a decent grip on them.

I also replaced the ejector rod and dropped in a single .002 cylinder shim to reduce the end shake. I tried .004, but the ejector star was dragging on the frame, so I went back to a single shim. I'm left with a hair less than .002 end shake and a minimum barrel to cylinder of .002. No more dragging after a few rounds.

After watching the Miculek video a dozen or so times I went ahead and did a light trigger job on the gun and went with a 14lb rebound and stock tension Wolff mainspring. I don't think the stoning had a great deal of effect as it already had a fair number of rounds through it, but the springs did seem to give a little lighter, but smoother pull. The stoning/polishing was very conservative. About the only thing I don't care for with the mainspring is the annoying ringing when dry fired.

I also picked up a 28-2 last week, but I can definitely see why the K-Frame is so loved. I do like the N-Frame but I still find hand drawn back to the M10

Old Fuff
April 28, 2012, 02:02 PM
The lack of a solid "thunk!" when the hammer falls suggests that the mainspring is too light, or more likely that the mainspring strain screw has backed out, or has been shortened. Correct with a new screw if necessary.

.004" of end-shake is not excessive. Smith & Wesson says that .010" is still in tolerance - a position I don't agree with. At .002" you may find that some case heads bind and the cylinder won't want to rotate, especially if some fouling or unburnt powder gets between the cylinder and inside face of the extractor star.

Concerning your wife & daughters: You can always switch stocks when they come into the picture - or buy your wife (to include the daughters) their own .38 Military & Police/Model 10. Set it up to fit they're needs.

April 28, 2012, 08:04 PM
1madss ya done good, it sure cleaned up well!! Those grips look great on there. Your wife and daughter may appreciate the magnas with light wadcutter loads for starters.

I've always been under the impression that B/C gaps of up to .010 was within tolerance, and endshake at or under .002 was limit. I may be happens every now and then....:)

April 28, 2012, 10:14 PM
The girls will likely find the target grips are a little fat for them. Hell, I take large or Xlarge gloves depending on the maker and I find them fat around the lower portion. In the end I found Hogue rubber or wood fit me well. But the finger grooves aren't always in just the right spot so I'm looking at finding a set of smooth Arends grips.... or since the retirement shop renos will be done soon I may simply wait and make my own. Been doing fine wood working as a hobby for years. Making grips isn't that big of a stretch. Grips for S&W guns need a bit more tooling up to make the interior recesses but once my shop is set up that'll be simple.

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