When life gives you lemons...


September 21, 2012, 12:42 PM
I've oft sung the praises of the S&W 640 pro that I acquired less than a year ago. However, it seem i've acquired a lemon. First, it had a FTF, made a trip to the factory, and was returned. Then, it locked up for some reason or other, made a trip to the factory, and was returned with frame repaired. Now, about a month after oiling and waxing and carrying it, it has the unhappy fate of acquiring surface rust on the cylinder star. What gives? My steel gp100 has no rust and has been carried in rain and shine and environments more rugged and wild than my relatively pampered 640.

This is strike three, and there comes a point when you just have to let it go. So, although I admire the 640 in theory, it has not proven itself to be a carry piece that meets my need. For that, today, I go back to my proven S&W 442.

I invite you all to share stories of other lemons that may have come your way, and your response to them. Trade it? Pawn it? Bury it in the yard? Make lemon juice? Whats your story??

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September 21, 2012, 01:04 PM
Sorry to hear that, I love my 640-1 so far but I'll sure be keeping an eye for the rust you mentioned.

When I end up with a lemon gun, and I've had a few, I prefer to trade them off. I already know I'm losing money in a dealer trade anyway, may as well make it a royal flush.

September 21, 2012, 04:24 PM
I had a lemon Para Ordnance. After Three trips to the factory it was replaced. Upon receiving my New Para I sold it un-fired new in the box. I was not about to go trough the time and money breaking in another 45 Auto. I carry Two Ruger 357s every day all day and they are sweet shooters on the Range.:D

Old Fuff
September 21, 2012, 06:18 PM
I'm not sure if it's really a lemon.

The stainless steel alloys used in revolvers is relatively soft, so they may make the star on the extractor (which has the ratchet that turns the cylinder) out of easier-to-rust high-carbon steel that's hardened.

Anyway, stainless means "rust resistant," not rust proof. If it were mine, and the mechanical issues had been resolved, I'd have the extractor (and maybe the whole gun) electroless chrome plated for both wear and corrosion protection.

September 21, 2012, 07:00 PM
What the Fuff said. Or, maybe, have it hard chromed.

September 21, 2012, 07:15 PM
Maybe getting the extractor chromed would pan out. To do the entire gun would turn an already expensive revolver into a outrageously expensive revolver.

September 22, 2012, 02:05 AM
I removed the rust with a toothpick and a knife, then put some mineral oil on the star until I can re-apply gunoil or paste wax. One of the bullet casings had rusted near the primer both red and black rust. This is my first experience with rust on a firearm. Will report back on what I decide to do. In the meantime continue to share your stories.

September 22, 2012, 06:57 AM
Tony the tiger

I have found Flitz to be an excellent polish to use on removing rust. According to their literature it supposedly also leaves behind a coating that inhibits future tarnish, rust, etc. from occuring. Might want to give it a try.

Old Fuff
September 22, 2012, 10:16 AM
.38 Special "bullet casings" don't rust, because they are made of brass (any corrosion is usually green) or occasionally aluminum. Something more is going on then what meets the eye.

Mineral oil won't provide much corrosion protection. Get something better as soon as possible.

It might seem foolish to have a stainless handgun electroless chrome plated. The process is sometimes called "hard chrome." Besides adding to the stainless alloy's rust resistance it is considerably harder then the base metal underneith and eleminates a lot of surface wear. Expensive? Yes, but in time and under some circumstances it will pay for itself.

September 22, 2012, 11:40 AM
Rust on the star? Heavens! Upon firing, the oil there is essentially obliterated/made gone. You must have not oiled the star after firing with a good oil.
Oil/clean the whole star assembly, with a slightly oil dampened patch, then dry under the star as well as you can with clean cotton patches and then lightly re-lube the face of the star in the same way.
You want the area under the star dry so crud/unburned powder won't stick there on dumping/reloading, tying up the revolver. You also want to do a vertical dump to a), get them out of there, and b), avoid crud/unburned powder getting underneath the star.

September 22, 2012, 01:01 PM
My 4" 586 was a lemon as far as accuracy. Least accurate 357 I'd ever shot. Tried to help it with a new front sight, an action job, having the muzzle recut, and custom reloads. Nothing helped.

It's second trip back to S&W did the trick. New hand, new cylinder lock, new cylinder spindle pin (?) and she's a shooter. Took over 15 years to reach this point. Thought of swapping it off, but didn't want to saddle someone with an inaccurate POS.

September 22, 2012, 01:45 PM
.38 Special "bullet casings" don't rust, because they are made of brass (any corrosion is usually green) or occasionally aluminum.

Perhaps it was some of the steel cased Russian stuff like Wolf?

September 22, 2012, 02:25 PM
I invite you all to share stories of other lemons that may have come your way, and your response to them. Trade it? Pawn it? Bury it in the yard? Make lemon juice? Whats your story??I've had two real lemons:

1. Colt Government Model Jammamatic. Couldn't be depended on to get through a mag of hardball without a jam. Went back to Colt's for their so-called "warranty" service . . . HA! Their way of dealing with it was to hold on to the gun, do nothing, and return it. Repeat until customer tires of the game. I vowed to never buy another Colt . . . and I haven't. Traded it to a local dealer for a .357 . . .

2. Kahr P9. Numerous problems, went back to factory several times. Eventually they gave up on fixing this little stinker and replaced it; I traded the brand new replacement - unfired - for a Glock 26 which isn't as neat a package, but has the virtue of actually working.

September 22, 2012, 05:03 PM
Thank you for the advice and input.

Took the 640 to the range today to confirm mechanical integrity. All is fine there except for my sub-par accuracy today... which is likely due to using .357 rounds in a snub and anticipating the blast, but thats neither here nor there. It works fine. Nice to see centered, firm primer indentations.

I guess rust is just one of those things you have to deal with from time to time in Florida. I took all my firearms out and gave them a bath in some breakfree CLP then propped them up to drain for a few hours. Later, i'll spray with compressed air and lube the stars and internals with gun oil and apply paste wax to the exteriors. I'm aware breakfree isn't the best rust-protectant, which is why I intend to give them more work once it cures and drains.

As far as the case rusting, it may just be residue from its resting place in the cylinder. The only part of the brass with red rust on it is the part that was in contact with the steel of the cylinder star, although there are black stains around the rest ruse areas as well. Strange but true. I've shelved the bullet. It was top brass loaded by buffalo bore.

I don't intend to hard-chrome right now due to the expense, but it may be an option for the future. Definitely filing that suggesting away for when the time comes.

I suppose since the mechanical issues are worked out, as Fuff mentioned, it is probably not a lemon... just strange it took me 3 years of ccw to see any rust on a firearm even in this humid climate. That is why all of them are getting cleaned and lubed again today. Will sit on this a bit before making any further decisions.


Even magnum revolvers need some tender love and care.

Old Fuff
September 22, 2012, 06:24 PM
I guess rust is just one of those things you have to deal with from time to time in Florida.

Could salt spray from the ocean be part of the picture?

September 22, 2012, 08:11 PM
Could be, but more likely a drop of rain in the pocket. We do visit the ocean from time to time but there is little room to conceal in my bathing suit! Can't rule it out, however. I wonder if rain on the coast is saltier.

It was a small amount of rust, all said and done, just glad I caught it early.

All clean now... hopefully the guns can withstand the elements and my liver can withstand all the hoppes, clp, oil, wax, and other petroleum based products :eek:

Put the gloves on, went outside, physically removed any visible rust spots with a toothpick, test fired at the range, soaked outside and inside with breakfree, sat for 3 hours, drained and pushed out the clp with compressed air, wiped down, dry fired, wiped down, ran a brass bore brush through the barrel and cylinder holes, oiled the star with hoppes elite gun oil and put a few more drops of oil into the internals through the grip frame, ran a cloth through barrel and cylinder holes, wiped down, dry fired, wiped down, coated with Johnson's paste wax, wiped down, put the grips back on, put away. Hope I don't have to do this again for awhile.


Gp100 is looking awfully lonely among the smith snubs.

Thanks again for your suggestions and support.

September 22, 2012, 09:51 PM
Nice collection Tony, don't take that 640 salt water scuba diving anymore :)

September 22, 2012, 11:42 PM
LOL bikemutt, noted. Now, after all these threads that you and I have interacted, its time to bring your 640-1 out of hiding :D

Old Fuff
September 23, 2012, 10:22 AM
Johnson's Paste Wax is a very good idea, but putting it on over a coat of CLP may not be, because the wax may not adhere, as it should. Reason is the CLP leaves a thin coat that acts as a barrier to the wax.

Go to a hardware store and buy a couple of large carbon-steel bolts. Degrease them, and then coat one with CLP and one with wax. Then daily dip both in a bath of salt water, leave them outside in the elements, and see what happens. Duplicate the experiment on anything else you want to check out.

September 23, 2012, 02:08 PM
That's true, Fuff. Breakfree does tend to leave a thin coat. I use it very rarely. When I do, it is mainly because of its virtue of having a nozzle which tends to spray out some of the debris. Compressed air can help it migrate out as well. I also like that the clp can saturate the internals in places where oil might not reach without over-oiling or removing the sideplate, which I do not intend to do. Even with just two to three drops of oil in the internals, it tends to exit out the trigger guard for a few days.

Typically, I'll reapply wax after the coat wears off from entering and exiting holsters and from wiping it down. My mistake in the past, apparently, has been not re-applying lubricant to the cylinder star. Never was a problem before, which may be attributable to the composition of the steel or perhaps just bad luck.

Do you have any recommendations for gunsmiths that can do the hard chrome well? Marc Morganti of Gemini comes to mind, but I wonder who else out there is doing top notch work?

September 23, 2012, 05:11 PM
I've used these guys: http://www.mahovskysmetalife.com/

The only thing I'd recommend is making real sure both parties have a clear idea about the outcome. I didn't, the outcome was about as far from what I had in mind as possible. My fault, I hired a metal plater, not a mind reader.

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