S&W Model 49 stuck side plate screw


July 3, 2013, 07:41 AM
I have a recently aquired s&W model 49. The S&W standard catalog says it was made between 1975-1976 based on the SN. I wanted to break it down to inspect the internals, but the 3rd side plate screw (the one under the grip panel) is locked in tight. The slot is some what bunged up as well from some previous owners attempt. I'm using proper (albeit cheap) gun smithing screw bits of the correct size, but using normal force it won't budge. What are my options? Soak it in penetrating oil? Heat? If I use heat, would a heat gun be too hot?

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Sav .250
July 3, 2013, 08:12 AM
If you want ,you can try a sodering iron for heat. Just put the tip on the screw head.
With a buggered up screw head you might be in for a tough battle.

If you know how , try and re-establish the grove in the screw head.

Think everything through before you act.

July 3, 2013, 08:23 AM
Apply Torque to the Screwdriver while tapping the top of the screwdrive with a plastic mallet. This sets up a vibration to loosen the screw. A third hand helps.

July 3, 2013, 08:44 AM
Sounds like you have fairly little experience with removing frozen screws.

I work on a fair number of older guns that need to be disassembled and cleaned before they are used and encountering stuck screws that may not have been turned in a hundred years is common. I prefer the lowtech way of doing the job. Give the screwhead a quick spray every day with a penetrating oil. WD-40 will work. After a few days put normal pressure on the screw. If normal pressure doesn't work, keep spraying it every day. I've had screws that took 2 months to move. If soaking the screw doesn't work, you're going to have to take it to a gunsmith. If you do take it to a gunsmith, make sure he has experience with removing stuck screws. Heat is risky. Avoid using heat if you can.

July 3, 2013, 09:36 AM
Sounds like you have fairly little experience with removing frozen screws.Without a doubt! That's why I asked here first before I made it any worse :)

The screw head isn't shot, but its obvious whoever attempted it last had some issues with it. I will try the WD-40 route, and if that doesn't work, I will move to a soldering iron. It's not unthinkable that some fool might have put loctite on the screws.

July 3, 2013, 11:28 AM
Heat from a soldering iron applied directly to the screw to break down any Loctite that may have been used. A screw jack is another approach. Whatever you do, have the frame well supported to minimize the risk of it slipping when you are torqueing on the screw. As someone else mentioned, shocking the screw while it is under tension often helps.

July 3, 2013, 11:29 AM
Find a screwdriver bit that fits the slot perfectly.

Then insert the bit in the slot and smack the bit with a small hammer a few times.

That will usually jar or stretch the threads enough to loosen it easily.


July 3, 2013, 02:51 PM
Two (2) month to remove a screw? http://castboolits.gunloads.com/images/smilies/lol.gif I hope you dont charge by the hour. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/images/smilies/smiley7.gif

July 3, 2013, 03:45 PM
On further inspection I doubt it's loctited, the other two screws back out easily. I think what might be going on is somebody used too big of a screw driver and dug the screw slot into the side plate sort of staking them together. I'm going to try RC Model's suggestion and go from there.

July 3, 2013, 04:20 PM
Use a small impact driver. H.F. $5-$6
Reshape the blade to fit closely. a little penetrating oil , and a firm hit will break it loose with no damage. Just make sure it's squarely and fimly in the screw.
God's gift to old motorcyles and guns.

July 3, 2013, 04:48 PM
There's nothing wrong internally, I just wanted to detail strip and do a proper checkout, but I think at this point I would probably end up doing more harm than good trying to open it up. If there is a problem down the road that requires the side plate to come off, maybe I'll decide to seek professional help.

July 5, 2013, 12:44 PM
plus 1, 1SOW on impact driver-get one that you can use Brownell magna tip bits
Kroil, kerosene - both good penetrating oils

Jim K
July 5, 2013, 11:09 PM
Before you damage the screw head any more, try this.

If you have or can obtain use of a drill press, get stub screwdriver bit. Put the gun (less grips) on a pad on the drill press table where you (or a helper) can hold it tightly. Lock the bit into the chuck. Bring the drill press down and turn the chuck by hand to line up the bit with the screw slot. DO NOT TURN ON THE POWER.

Hold the chuck down with the press handle, and move the chuck back and forth by hand. By keeping the bit from jumping out of the slot, this will break loose all but the most stubborn screws.


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