S&W 500 Strange Damage?


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357mag357
February 16, 2014, 07:47 AM
I am hoping someone can give me some insight to what is happening to my gun. I noticed the problem when I was cleaning it. The only way I can describe the problem is a chip to the frame right above the side plate cover. At first I thought it was just some carbon but as I ran my fingernail over it there was a noticeable depression.I was going to remove the side plate to get a better look at it but decided not to. I don't want S&W to blame me for doing it. I have included some pictures. Just a side note, the gun is about 3 years old with about 500 rounds of manufactured magnum ammo. I also have a S&W 629 with over 10K rounds through it and it does not have that strange mark on it. Any thoughts before I send it to S&W? Thanks.

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eldon519
February 16, 2014, 07:57 AM
Are you sure it hasn't always been there? Doesn't seem like anything to worry about.

stringnut
February 16, 2014, 08:03 AM
Do not fire this revolver! It appears to be a crack with a flake that has come out at the end. Cannot tell for sure just from pictures,but, if you cannot tell better safe than sorry. As a heavy truck mechanic for more than 30 years I have seen many types of stress fractures and that is what they look like.

eldon519
February 16, 2014, 08:12 AM
I think that is just the side plate edge rather than a crack. I could be wrong.

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 08:12 AM
I don't think it was there when I bought the gun.

Grumulkin
February 16, 2014, 08:25 AM
Do not fire this revolver! It appears to be a crack with a flake that has come out at the end. Cannot tell for sure just from pictures,but, if you cannot tell better safe than sorry. As a heavy truck mechanic for more than 30 years I have seen many types of stress fractures and that is what they look like.
I concur.

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 08:28 AM
I won't be shooting this gun until S&W looks at it. If it is a stress fracture, how do you think Smith will handle it? Replace the gun, give me a credit or kick me to the curb?

mnrivrat
February 16, 2014, 08:30 AM
A slight seperation of the side plate to frame fit at that spot.

I also don't think there is much to worry about, but ---- If it has enlarged since you received the gun I suspect the side plate screws loosened up from recoil and caused that area to clash together at some point during shooting. . ( that's just a guess, but they do have strong recoil)

I would make sure you check all the screws on these revolvers from shooting session to shooting sesson to make shure they are tight.

stringnut
February 16, 2014, 10:23 AM
After blowing up the pictures on the wifes photography computer I still do not like the look of the failure. Metal is very difiicult to flake and so implies a significant amount of movement or stress in that area. Just cannot see a loose side plate causing it. Is there a local gunsmith that could look at it?

Jim Watson
February 16, 2014, 10:42 AM
I am not a mechanical engineer, but I know some.
I think that 500 rounds of monster magnums have flexed the gun enough that the sideplate has gone tap, tap, tap x 500 against the edge of the frame cut and eventually knocked off a chip. Either loose screws per mnriverrat or just not quite the hairline fit of a bygone day has allowed a slight impact there.

buck460XVR
February 16, 2014, 11:08 AM
Do not fire this revolver! It appears to be a crack with a flake that has come out at the end. Cannot tell for sure just from pictures,but, if you cannot tell better safe than sorry. As a heavy truck mechanic for more than 30 years I have seen many types of stress fractures and that is what they look like.

It is not a crack. It is the seam where the side plate meets the frame. :rolleyes: While there is a flake or small flaw, it could be where someone tried to pry the side plate off or where they dinged it puttin' the side plate back on. It could also be from, like others have said, from a loose sideplate moving under heavy recoil. Mine loosens up on my X-Frame from time to time.

Bexar
February 16, 2014, 11:47 AM
Can you tell if the defect looks grainy or smooth? Grainy would definitely indicate a metallurgical issue while smooth is a toss up. Under magnification it does appear that both the side plate and frame are damaged. All things considered...send it back to S&W. For the cost of postage you'll get their professional and experienced evaluation. On what S&W will do...??? Let us know and good luck.

BSA1
February 16, 2014, 12:11 PM
Curious as to why no one has not advised the O.P. to remove the side plate for a better look.

Bexar
February 16, 2014, 12:21 PM
He mentioned he didn't want to for warranty type issues.

rcmodel
February 16, 2014, 12:29 PM
Looks like a chip or ding in the edge of the side plate recess in the frame from side plate assembly to me.
There isn't any real stress there to cause a crack to form there.

I would bet it's always been there and you just noticed it.

At any rate, it isn't a crack, and it isn't isn't going to harm the gun.
It is just a cosmetic flaw.

If you send it to S&W they will just buff it out and send it back to you.
Maybe, if they consider it a bad enough cosmetic flaw to warrantee.

rc

Carl N. Brown
February 16, 2014, 12:58 PM
Looking at my ***** (copy of the S&W), there are slight irregularities where the sideplate joins the frame at that point. (The sideplate folks is a seperate piece from the frame and that is not a crack in the frame: that is where the two pieces join.) At that point on the frame, the frame cut for the sideplate has a very sharp edge and appears to me to be prone to denting or burring in assembly/disassembly.

.500 S&W? I fired one three times at basketball sized rock on the upper range and quit because I knew my nerves were shot and a fourth try would be a complete miss. I would not be surpised if someone told me the frame flexes under recoil. .500 S&W unforgettable.

slrichert
February 16, 2014, 01:01 PM
Absolutely--DO NOT FIRE!!! Send back to S&W for replacement.

Bexar
February 16, 2014, 02:09 PM
Carl...I stood by a guy who was firing one at an outdoor pistol range and watched him shoot. He originally drew my attention because the plywood stall separator between the stalls prevented me from seeing what he was shooting and I asked myself why was some guy shooting a rifle on the pistol range. I looked just as he fired again without the benefit of the plywood separator and felt a concussive force not unlike a small explosion from the muzzle blast. I know the muzzle break had something to do with it but I've been around plenty of muzzle braked guns from pistols to rifles and shotguns but never felt anything like that. Wooof! Too much boom for this bexar! :cool: I guess if a person is really mad at an M1Abrams he might need it but c'mon! :eek:

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 02:35 PM
Thanks for all the replies, I just got in from shoveling more snow. I will upload some more pictures.

ATCDoktor
February 16, 2014, 03:00 PM
I have two Smith & Wesson M500's(a 4" and an 8") and my 8" has the same defect/flaw (if you want to call it that).

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c307/ATCDoctor/2014-02-16/003_zps047e3b74.jpg (http://s30.photobucket.com/user/ATCDoctor/media/2014-02-16/003_zps047e3b74.jpg.html)

In my opinion, the anomaly/flaw/defect is (as Jim Watson has posted above) is a condition of the sideplate screw becoming loose and the frame and sideplate vibrating/knocking together under recoil.

My 8" version dates from 2003 and has several thousand rounds of heavy handloads through it.

In fact, it went back to Smith & Wesson in 2008 because it had developed a "Push Off" condition and I had the cylinder replaced with a Non Fluted one at that time.

The defect was present at the time I returned it for repair and (for the record) I have never removed the sideplate from either of these guns.

Although the OP's condition is a little worse than mine, I'm not the slightest bit worried about firing it.


http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c307/ATCDoctor/2014-02-16/002_zps7fc7f195.jpg (http://s30.photobucket.com/user/ATCDoctor/media/2014-02-16/002_zps7fc7f195.jpg.html)

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 03:04 PM
I have never removed the side plate and don't want to. In one of the picture it does look like tool marks right before the plate. Not really sure why they are there. I did send the gun to S&W about 2 years ago because I was having a problem with the firing pin bushing. They told me they just replaced it at no charge. Very quick turnaround. I don't think they would need to remove the side plate cover for that, but I am not sure. Here are some more pictures.

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 03:05 PM
Two more pictures.

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 03:12 PM
ATC,
The blued one looks really mean in a good way. I love the unfluted cylinder in the stainless one. I did the same thing with my 629. I didn't think Smith made an unfluted one. Thanks again, I feel a little better, but will still call S&W on Tuesday.

ATCDoktor
February 16, 2014, 03:24 PM
The blued one looks really mean in a good way.

Thanks for the compliment, I was going for something a little different when I had it done.

With respect to your M500, how old is it and approximately how many rounds do you have through it?

As my picture shows, my condition isn't near as bad as yours but it's getting there.

That feathered edge between the cylinder and sideplate is quite fragile and any flexing/vibrating between the two is certainly going to cause some wear.

Bexar
February 16, 2014, 03:24 PM
A footnote to all of this is that it never ceases to amaze me what caring individuals can produce by digging up raw materials...essentially dirt...and turn it into. That blued revolver in the picture is as much art as it is function.

Jim K
February 16, 2014, 03:42 PM
No, it is not a stress fracture and the gun is not going to blow up and wipe out three states.

It is the result of releasing the hammer with the sideplate off, allowing the hammer to move slightly sideways and nick the frame. Most owners of such guns will deny having had the sideplate off (I would too) but I have never seen or known of any other cause.

Jim

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 04:01 PM
I think its about 3 years old but not sure. I tried to find the paper work but can't find that either. Any chance someone can tell by the serial number? CRN00XX. I think about 500 rounds but that might be high.

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 04:03 PM
Sorry Jim, that might be a cause of some guns, but not mine. I have never taken the side plate off.

Jim K
February 16, 2014, 04:12 PM
I bet someone did.

Jim

rcmodel
February 16, 2014, 04:25 PM
I bet the guy at S&W did when he put it together.

I still think it has always been that way and you just noticed it.

rc

BSA1
February 16, 2014, 09:38 PM
"Curious as to why no one has not advised the O.P. to remove the side plate for a better look.

He mentioned he didn't want to for warranty type issues."


I realize he made that comment but I hardly see how taking the sideplate off will void the warranty IF it is taken off and put back on properly. In fact it will be impossible to detect. But I see where the O.P. lacks the knowledge on how to properly remove and replace the sideplate. Frankly I don't see anything in the pictures to worry about but I would have already taken the sideplate for a closer look.

O.P. I would encourage you to learn how to remove and replace the sideplate properly. It is not difficult and really necessary to know to properly clean and maintain your gun.

357mag357
February 16, 2014, 10:29 PM
BSA, just curious why you don't think I have the knowledge to remove the side plate, just because I don't want to.

5-SHOTS
February 17, 2014, 06:49 AM
I am not a mechanical engineer, but I know some.
I think that 500 rounds of monster magnums have flexed the gun enough that the sideplate has gone tap, tap, tap x 500 against the edge of the frame cut and eventually knocked off a chip. Either loose screws per mnriverrat or just not quite the hairline fit of a bygone day has allowed a slight impact there.
I'm a mechanical engineer and I agree 100%.

Bexar
February 17, 2014, 12:23 PM
357...So what have you decided to do? Let us know and good luck.

buck460XVR
February 17, 2014, 01:07 PM
This is like saying a buggered up head on a screw will make a firearm unsafe to shoot. If the OP is really concerned, he should e-mail a copy of the pics to S&W, or take it to a legitimate gunsmith for an opinion and not rely on folks that don't know the difference between a seam and a stress crack to tell him if his gun is safe to shoot or not.

Bexar
February 17, 2014, 02:30 PM
What we have here folks is a plethora of possibilities. At this point it needs to be looked at by the people that conceived...designed...built and tested the revolver. Any capable investigator or auditor that looks at an event knows you don't reach a conclusion at the beginning or by opinions. If the guy is still concerned he should send the firearm or at least, as mentioned, send the pictures to S&W. This may be a common as fleas on a possum to S&W or it might be a head scratcher to them. Hopefully he or his survivors (:p) will let us know the ultimate outcome.

buck460XVR
February 17, 2014, 03:03 PM
For the same amount of time and effort that it takes a poster to start a thread with pics and concerns over a firearm, they can e-mail the same pics and concerns to S&W and get a knowledgeable opinion. If there really is a problem with the gun, the owner will have to do this anyway. S&W has great CS and turnaround time on warranty guns is relatively fast. They also pay for shipping both ways. There really is no need to come here or any other online forum first if one is really concerned.

357mag357
February 18, 2014, 06:58 AM
Calling S&W today to get their advice. I am sure they will tell me just to send it to them so they can check it out. Will keep you posted. Thanks again.

357mag357
February 21, 2014, 08:05 PM
So I called S&W and described the problem to them. The lady I spoke put me on hold while she consulted a gunsmith. Without even looking at a picture of the problem she said it was cosmetic and I could shoot the gun. She said I could send the gun to them if I want but to but it is not necessary. I asked her if I could send her a picture of the problem, which I did. She said if there was any concerns she would call me. I never heard back from her so I guess it was cosmetic after all. Maybe its time to remove the side plate now to get a better look?

rcmodel
February 21, 2014, 08:14 PM
Well imagine that!

See posts #15 & #26, and several others.

That's what we have been trying to tell you all along.

rc

bluetopper
February 22, 2014, 12:42 AM
We are always right, here at THR forum.;):uhoh:

357mag357
February 22, 2014, 07:16 AM
Anyone what to buy a slightly used S&W 500 Mag, in great working order, with minor cosmetic blemishes? Just kidding, I will continue to let my friends shoot this gun while I stand far far away. All joking aside, thanks for all of the advice. This is a great forum.

Bexar
February 27, 2014, 05:49 PM
Go to Youtube and look for Jerry Miculek shooting the S&W 500 magnum. At the end of the video he mentions the hammer reciprocating in the frame after each shot. I'd post it but I don't know what forum rules are for posting videos. I've already stepped on a moderator's toes posting a video once and I definitely don't wanna get the sheriff made at me again. I likes this place too much. :cool:

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