Is this a good ball detent?


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CleanHarry
April 21, 2014, 11:53 AM
Does this look right to Y'all?

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Drail
April 21, 2014, 12:31 PM
That's about average for the current S&W QC level. It's a mass produced gun. It's not going to be perfect. Nowdays you're lucky if you get a gun that actually works. Personally I wouldn't accept that. S&W doesn't care anymore. They're building guns as if they were building lawn mowers in Asia. There was a thread on this very thing on another forum and S&W's response was "we try to get them as close as we can". That ain't even close man.

Old Fuff
April 21, 2014, 12:32 PM
I would say, "No"

Unless (maybe) the cylinder isn't all of the way closed, as it appears they're is an excessive gap between the side of the yoke and frame. Also the barrel's lug is too far forward for the ball to engage it as it should.

At best, a ball lock offers frictional rather then positive mecanical retention. Consequently very carefull fitting is critical.

460Kodiak
April 21, 2014, 12:59 PM
Looks wrong to me. I wouldn't accept that.

25cschaefer
April 21, 2014, 01:06 PM
It looks like the wrong barrel was installed to me, that is totally unacceptable.

MrBorland
April 21, 2014, 01:08 PM
Consequently very carefull fitting is critical.

I agree, and I've only ever seen a single example done correctly: And in that case, the cylinder seemed locked in place noticeably tighter than normal.

Dframe
April 21, 2014, 02:21 PM
NO! is isn't a good ball detent. That one would go back if it were mine.

CleanHarry
April 21, 2014, 02:40 PM
I have a complaint registered, they are assigning a representative to my case. They emailed me back in a couple of hours, but said it would take up to 5 days to hear from the rep.

The drama unfolds...

LeonCarr
April 21, 2014, 03:03 PM
No

IME those are usually installed on the top of the crane instead of the front of the crane and are not visible when the cylinder is closed..

The pictured installation provides little or no extra support.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

rbernie
April 21, 2014, 03:09 PM
I've had reason to recently send a M60 back to S&W due to the forcing cone being mis-machined. S&W took their sweet time about fixing it, but they did replace the barrel without a bit of a quarrel. Of course, the new barrel's forcing cone isn't a model of perfection, either, but the gun shoots well enough at this point that I'm not gonna worry about it. I was expecting better out of their warranty shop, but I got 'just good enough' instead.

In the end, tho, I was pleased that they accepted their mistakes without debate.

CleanHarry
April 21, 2014, 08:02 PM
This is what Smith and Wesson said...
Dear Customer,

Our position is that it is exactly as designed. Yes, we are trying to explain that it is fine the way it is. Yes, we believe it works better than if the ball fit precisely into the seat. It is not fixable, because it is not broken. Yes, your Model 69 is correct, as well as others we produce.

I'm trying to use this opportunity to explain it to you. I agree that I am obligated to explain the engineering to you to protect our reputation.

Again, your Model 69 is correct. We do not pay FFL fees on newly purchased firearms. I hope you do post this letter on the gun forums to help clear up the perceived issue that does not exist.

Onto the explanation: this is not an issue. The ball detent is not supposed to be centered in the V. It is in fact supposed to be hitting on one side of the V in order to keep the yoke tight to the frame. This is how the detent works.

If the ball detent is not coming into contact with this V notch at all, then that would be an issue to send the gun in for.


If further assistance is required please reply accordingly.


Sincerely,

XXXXXXXXX

MrBorland
April 21, 2014, 08:25 PM
The ball detent is not supposed to be centered in the V. It is in fact supposed to be hitting on one side of the V in order to keep the yoke tight to the frame. This is how the detent works.


As I understand ball detents, the ball has to be under some tension to work, which is what the S&W rep seems to be reiterating.

Personally, I wouldn't sweat it, as long as they still use the front of the ejector rod to engage the tab in the underlug. In this case, the front of the cylinder would still be locking up. And who knows - the detent may actually be doing something beneficial. ;)

WestKentucky
April 21, 2014, 08:39 PM
Seems sloppy, but this is why I inspect everything before I sign the forms and let the shop even see my debit card.

Old Fuff
April 21, 2014, 09:23 PM
I enlarged your excellent photograph to 400x, and it clearly shows that the ball is stuck in it's staked hole, and doesn't advance far enough to enter the barrel lug at all. I am flabergasted at the general tone of the answer you received.

I would demand to talk to somebody's supervisor. :cuss: :banghead:

Wishoot
April 21, 2014, 09:47 PM
This is what Smith and Wesson said...
Dear Customer,

Our position is that it is exactly as designed. Yes, we are trying to explain that it is fine the way it is. Yes, we believe it works better than if the ball fit precisely into the seat. It is not fixable, because it is not broken. Yes, your Model 69 is correct, as well as others we produce.

I'm trying to use this opportunity to explain it to you. I agree that I am obligated to explain the engineering to you to protect our reputation.

Again, your Model 69 is correct. We do not pay FFL fees on newly purchased firearms. I hope you do post this letter on the gun forums to help clear up the perceived issue that does not exist.

Onto the explanation: this is not an issue. The ball detent is not supposed to be centered in the V. It is in fact supposed to be hitting on one side of the V in order to keep the yoke tight to the frame. This is how the detent works.

If the ball detent is not coming into contact with this V notch at all, then that would be an issue to send the gun in for.


If further assistance is required please reply accordingly.


Sincerely,

XXXXXXXXX
That is one of the most pisspoor letters I've ever seen from a customer service rep. I'm shocked something like this came out of S&W no less.

MartinS
April 21, 2014, 09:48 PM
Yes, move up the chain, get away from whoever wrote that odd and awkward letter. The ball ain't on no side of the V.

Drail
April 21, 2014, 10:48 PM
It apparently meets their specs. While I agree that the ball should be slightly off center so that it forces the crane into the frame - that is a pretty cheeseball way of doing it. I'll stick with the old S&W designs. Apparently CNC machining ain't what it's cracked up to be in Springfield.

horsemen61
April 22, 2014, 01:24 AM
Mine looked better than that

Salmoneye
April 22, 2014, 07:04 AM
That answer makes no sense...

It looks to me like the barrel is not clocked far enough...

Is the front sight at noon?

bannockburn
April 22, 2014, 10:20 AM
That has got to be one of the most strangest and convoluted customer service letters I have ever read.

I would definitely be contacting someone higher up at S&W in regards to both the gun and that really weird customer service letter.

460Kodiak
April 22, 2014, 11:27 AM
If this is what S&W's idea of a $800+ revolver should look like after assembly, I doubt I'll be buying any more of their new guns. Definately not without looking it over in person, or some REALLY good pics.

The crane and yoke don't look like they are fitted properly or sit flush to the frame. Poor showing S&W

So their answer is we designed it to look like crap, but work?

Ed Ames
April 22, 2014, 11:45 AM
There are two issues getting mixed up here.

1) In that picture, the general fit of the crane and the like isn't very good.

2) The ball is riding on an inclined plane giving continuous closing force, which actually a good design.

The original question, and the CS letter, address the second point. Many posters are caught on the first.

When you think about it, you only want closing force from the crane detent. There is never a point where the crane is closed enough and even though it could move further you don't want it to, there is just a point where the crane is fully closed. If there is an extra 0.0001" it could close, you want it to do so. That is different from many detents (e.g. the detents in an adjustable sight or rifle gas system) where you want to resist movement in either direction when the detent is engaged, and allow movement in either direction once the detent force is exceeded. S&W could and perhaps should have used a single inclined plane vs. the vee notch.

The problem in this case is that there is obviously a gap where the crane could close further. That may indicate some other issue e.g. an obstruction in the hinge, keeping the revolver from closing completely. You would want to look at the timing and general alignment of the bore and chambers.

Recap: The detent looks good. The CS letter is correct. The general fit of the revolver looks poor.

buck460XVR
April 22, 2014, 05:59 PM
There are two issues getting mixed up here.

1) In that picture, the general fit of the crane and the like isn't very good.

2) The ball is riding on an inclined plane giving continuous closing force, which actually a good design.

The original question, and the CS letter, address the second point. Many posters are caught on the first.

When you think about it, you only want closing force from the crane detent. There is never a point where the crane is closed enough and even though it could move further you don't want it to, there is just a point where the crane is fully closed. If there is an extra 0.0001" it could close, you want it to do so. That is different from many detents (e.g. the detents in an adjustable sight or rifle gas system) where you want to resist movement in either direction when the detent is engaged, and allow movement in either direction once the detent force is exceeded. S&W could and perhaps should have used a single inclined plane vs. the vee notch.

The problem in this case is that there is obviously a gap where the crane could close further. That may indicate some other issue e.g. an obstruction in the hinge, keeping the revolver from closing completely. You would want to look at the timing and general alignment of the bore and chambers.

Recap: The detent looks good. The CS letter is correct. The general fit of the revolver looks poor.

^^^^This. Showed the pic to my youngest, who is a engineering student. He too said that while the ball detent is doing it's job and working as intended, the profile of the detent makes it look to the casual observer, as if the crane should be closed farther. The reflection on the top of the ball in the pic also distorts this. He claims the design makes for as the parts wear from continuous opening and closing, the angle of the detent will make so the crane is always closed tightly. He also claims that by using the detent this way, instead of the ball completely within the detent, the cylinder is easier to open. He said the design also makes for a larger margin of error when assembling parts, as with the torquing of screw on barrels. I dunno....just hope I'm getting my monies worth outta his education........

Old Fuff
April 22, 2014, 10:58 PM
You and your boy would be right, except if you enlarge the picture it shows that the ball is apparently stuck in its hole in the crane, and not touching the barrel lug at all. :uhoh:

You have the revolver so examine it closely. If you believe the ball is indeed seated in the barrel lug then it probably meets current specifications. If it isn't then S&W should fix it.

Ed Ames
April 22, 2014, 11:18 PM
Always hard to judge from a photo, but I think what you are seeing is that the ball is pressed in, as it should be, by its contact with the inclined plane/vee notch. It could be stuck I suppose but it looks like it is in contact.

Salmoneye
April 23, 2014, 08:30 AM
OK

Someone explain to me the logic of spending money to design and manufacture that V/notch if all you need is an inclined plane to compress the ball...

The 'V' in my mind is a 'seat'...Why waste the time and money otherwise?

Willie Sutton
April 23, 2014, 09:03 AM
^^

Shape of tool needed to machine it, and the lack of a sharp corner where a stress riser would occur. The "working surface" is the inclined plane. The shape of the end of the machining cut is shaped for ease of manufacture, stress relief, and smooth transition to the next contour.

It's good production engineering.


Willie

.

Thaddeus Jones
April 23, 2014, 10:07 AM
That doesn't look right. However it does look like current production work from the current company calling itself S&W.

$800 for that revolver? Outrageous. I'd have bought a ni ce pre lock revolver and ammo instead.

I find the customer service letter to be a bit arrogant as well.

Arrogance, poor quality and high price for what you get. Yep, that sums up todays "S&W". :)

Jim K
April 23, 2014, 10:09 PM
Sorry, but there is something odd about this whole thread, and my ** detector is showing a high reading. I have had contact with S&W and never had anyone talk about "registering a complaint" or "assigning a representative." They usually issue a label to return the gun. Nor does the letter sound like anything any company would write to a customer. It sounds more like something someone who does not like the company thinks they would write. I do hope I am wrong, that the problem is genuine, and that the company will make it right.

Jim

Willie Sutton
April 24, 2014, 10:31 AM
^^^ This. I'm suspicious of the "reply" as well.

Willie

.

Jim Watson
April 24, 2014, 11:55 AM
Saw my first M69 today. It looks about the same.
I was more concerned with the VERY heavy DA pull.

Ed Ames
April 24, 2014, 08:17 PM
'm suspicious of the "reply" as well.

I actually don't see it as that unlikely. It looks exactly like what tech support people sometimes say when confronted by a pushy but wrong customer who is threatening retaliation ("I'm going to tell all my online friends how S&W can't even machine a ball detent unless you refund me my money including the fees I paid an FFL!"), often right before their employer sends them off to find a new job. :( Having worked closely with telephone tech support people for many years, I've seen a few of them snap and say things to customers in infelicitous ways. Far worse ways than the alleged S&W response in this thread.

Husker_Fan
April 24, 2014, 11:09 PM
The easiest way to make an angled cut is a spinning cone shaped bit. That will leave a V shape where the opposing, angled surface isn't really needed.

As for Old Fuff's response, I zoomed in on the image as well and I think it's the reflection on the ball that is making it look like it is not engaging, but I believe it is.

Jim K
April 24, 2014, 11:12 PM
Part of the problem is that I can't tell from the picture whether the barrel shroud is not fully turned in or whether the crane is being held open by something else. But there is no doubt that the detent ball is intended to fit into the notch in the shroud; S&W knows that and it is very unlikely they would say otherwise.

Unlike the traditional S&W front lock, that gun has a barrel shroud, somewhat like the Dan Wesson, though it is not intended to be removable. The front of the cylinder is kept in alignment with a spring loaded detent ball that fits into that notch in the shroud. (The ball is to align the crane and cylinder, and keep the crane closed, not to keep the shroud aligned - a crush fit does that.)

There are several better pictures of the correct setup; I can't reproduce them here because of copyright restrictions, but Googling "S&W Model 69" should find them.

Jim

Sol
April 24, 2014, 11:57 PM
"I hope you do post this letter on the gun forums to help clear up the perceived issue that does not exist."

This is what strikes me as odd. Funny... but odd.

pintler
April 25, 2014, 07:20 AM
I was more concerned with the VERY heavy DA pull.

Mine was the same way. I just bent the mainspring until the trigger pull was like my other S&W revolvers.

Salmoneye
April 25, 2014, 08:20 AM
There are several better pictures of the correct setup; I can't reproduce them here because of copyright restrictions, but Googling "S&W Model 69" should find them.


There is absolutely no copyright issue if you link to the pictures...

Your search parameters bring up lots of pics, but nothing with a clear pic of the detent...

ADDING:

Never mind...Found one:

http://s47.photobucket.com/user/Thunderball315/media/IMG_2460_zpsec2c086d.jpg.html

http://s47.photobucket.com/user/Thunderball315/media/IMG_2461_zpsba5518a1.jpg.html

And the (sort of) discussion surrounding those pics:

http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-revolvers-1980-present/353606-new-s-w-model-69-44-mag.html

buck460XVR
April 25, 2014, 09:13 AM
There is absolutely no copyright issue if you link to the pictures...

Your search parameters bring up lots of pics, but nothing with a clear pic of the detent...

ADDING:

Never mind...Found one:

http://s47.photobucket.com/user/Thunderball315/media/IMG_2460_zpsec2c086d.jpg.html

http://s47.photobucket.com/user/Thunderball315/media/IMG_2461_zpsba5518a1.jpg.html

And the (sort of) discussion surrounding those pics:

http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-revolvers-1980-present/353606-new-s-w-model-69-44-mag.html


Here is the response to Clean Harry's thread about his gun @ S&W forums.....

CleanHarry's letter and response (http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-revolvers-1980-present/373637-model-69-their-explanation.html)

MartinS
April 25, 2014, 09:39 AM
So if they had used a cutter going in at an angle so that the cut would have an inclined ramp on the outer side only, and not appear symmetrical, it would look just like it is supposed to work, form would follow function and the eye would instantly understand it.

Salmoneye
April 25, 2014, 11:04 AM
So if they had used a cutter going in at an angle so that the cut would have an inclined ramp on the outer side only, and not appear symmetrical, it would look just like it is supposed to work, form would follow function and the eye would instantly understand it.

Or a simple arc all way around the corner...

It would still have bearing surface in the same spot, and would remove the 'scallop' that they insist is not a 'seat'...

Drail
April 25, 2014, 02:13 PM
Or they could just go back to the locking ejector rod that has worked successfully for a hundred years and forget about trying to mass produce a ball detent locking system.

buck460XVR
April 25, 2014, 03:57 PM
Or they could just go back to the locking ejector rod that has worked successfully for a hundred years and forget about trying to mass produce a ball detent locking system.

The ball detent is not a new thing at S&W. I have a coupla P.C. guns with shrouded barrels that have them. One is an almost ten year old X-Frame with a frame mounted ball and a crane detent. The other is a 6 year old Lew Horton 629 Magnum Hunter that has a system similar to the OPs, with a crane mounted ball that wedges into a frame angled detent. Difference is, is that one cannot see the ball from the outside when the cylinder is closed. Probably due to the shroud being deeper on the 629. Both were touted at the time to create a stronger lock up than the ball at the end of the ejector rod because of the closer proximity of the locking point to the front of the cylinder. As with most modern firearms, I assume the real test is how the system works, not how it looks to folks that don't know how the design is supposed to work. The sytem works well on the two guns I have that have it, and if you read the OPs thread in the link from the S&W forums, you'll see he too is happy with the way the gun shoots. I've always enjoyed the view from behind the sights much more than starin' at the bottom of the gun.....but to each their own. Funny......Folks doing the biggest whinin' here in this thread are folks that wouldn't buy a new S&W anyway, even if the ball detent was exactly how they imagined it should be or if the guns still used the ejector rod for lock-up. Also funny is how folks with engineering background all say it's proper, while those that are the regular Smith bashers are the ones claimin' it's just wrong. I'm thinkin' just another case of same ol' crap, just a different day.

Jim K
April 25, 2014, 09:37 PM
These are two I found; they sure seem to show the detent ball fully seated, and the crane closed. A system that leaves a big gap and a detent sitting on the edge of the notch doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

http://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae42/axelwik/fa8c5414a8567f0fa1aee0cb3c40e54e_zps91b7a553.jpg

http://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae42/axelwik/c35eeab82de02d8420b0bdc5bd84925a_zpsd2d55960.jpg

Jim

Driftwood Johnson
April 25, 2014, 09:49 PM
Howdy

Good grief, is that what Smith is doing these days? Whatever was wrong with the traditional spring plunger at the end of the extractor rod? Worked fine. Yes, I do realize that plopping a ball plunger into the frame, or where ever they are plopping it, is much cheaper than the old spring plunger at the end of the rod. The old system had far more parts, and the springs were designed to work against each other.

If they want to lock up the cylinder at the frame, this is the way to do it. But of course this would be hideously expensive today.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/Triple%20Lock/triplelockextractorrodplunger_zps8c3c7e77.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/Triple%20Lock/triplelockcrane_zpsbbcf8c9e.jpg

Just one more reason that I never even look at what Smith is building today. What a shame.

Ed Ames
April 26, 2014, 12:16 AM
These are two I found; they sure seem to show the detent ball fully seated,

If you can see the exact position of the ball in those pictures, all I can say is that I can't.

I have access to a new production S&W revolver that has a visible ball latch. The notch is offset/the ball is on the inclined plane exerting continuous closing force. The crane also looks like it is closed far more tightly and it looks like the fit in general is much better than the revolver in the original post.

Poor photo:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=197743&stc=1&d=1398485764

Note that the crane is on the bottom in this photo, so the ball only contacts the bottom (image relative) side of the notch. As you can see, the ball is only contacting one side, meaning that it is trying to roll further closed due to spring tension. The crane is tightly closed. It works well.

CleanHarry
April 26, 2014, 02:12 PM
Since I kicked the hornets' nest, I have read the thousands of words on this subject. Thank you for the discourse.

First, let me admit that my lack of knowledge about "partially-engaged" detents - compounded by other forum posts taking the position that it's wrong - led me to jump on the wagon.

I wanted to love this gun, heck, I bought one!

Now, after all this talk, after all this reduction of post-purchase dissonance... I am sorry that I criticized with limited research.

The model 69 functions great, is fun to shoot, accurate, feels great in my hand and is the best looking revolver profile I have ever seen. I can't wait to shoot it again.

Old Fuff
April 26, 2014, 07:19 PM
Ya' sort of miss the point... but just maybe. :confused:

The revolver is working fine and you love it. That's fine. But it doesn't answer the question about the ball lock. It may be O.K., or it may also be that it isn't, but for at least the time being the gun is working to your satisfaction. I hope things stay that way.

benzy2
April 27, 2014, 12:42 AM
Didn't you have the chance to inspect the firearm before accepting it?

Maybe S&W was a bit impolite with their response but you were horrendous with your terrorist letter to start. That's the type of customer I send to the competition with a grin on my face. I hope you don't shop with me any time soon.

CleanHarry
April 27, 2014, 12:19 PM
@Benzy... I never, on any forum, said that Smith and Wesson's response was bad. Don't imply that I did. As a matter of fact, I admire that they defended their design.

I won't be be shopping with you... You just called me a terrorist and horrendous! Hahahahaha.

CleanHarry
May 4, 2014, 10:47 AM
The ball is touching in the v... In fact, it makes the little "snick" sound when it engages.

MrBorland
May 4, 2014, 02:34 PM
A few days ago, I had a chance to check out one of the new M69s and M66s that have this ball detent. They looked just like the OP's, and the lockup was good. I was surprised that it took the nudge it did to get the cylinder open.

Master Blaster
May 4, 2014, 04:11 PM
Here is a pic of my 627PC. AN AWESOME SHOOTING REVOLVER. No its not centered and is not supposed to be. Better questions for the OP, does the crane latch tightly closed and stay closed on firing, How does the gun shoot?

BigG
May 4, 2014, 08:25 PM
Nope.

ApacheCoTodd
May 4, 2014, 10:48 PM
Absolutely not and a manufacturer defending it as being within their standards demonstrates standards not worthy of your money.

buck460XVR
May 8, 2014, 02:47 PM
Here is a tech drawing supposedly posted by a S&W engineer on the S&W forums about the ball detent and how it is supposed to look/work.' Looks vaguely familiar, eh?http://smith-wessonforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=152390&d=1399319368http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=197549&d=1398095574

45_auto
May 8, 2014, 08:55 PM
As a mechanical design engineer for over 30 years, I'm really surprised how many people on this forum don't realize how a simple inclined plane works.

The picture above (just like the OP's revolver) shows a perfectly machined locking angle and plunger ball.

The force from the plunger spring pushing the ball against the OUTSIDE angle (right side as shown) provides an INWARD force pushing the crane closed, which is the WHOLE PURPOSE of the forward lock.

If the ball was centered in the notch, there would be ZERO force pushing the crane closed.

If the ball was slightly to the LEFT of center in the notch, the ball would push the crane OPEN until the ball centered in the notch.

Smith and Wessons note that the notch and ball are perfectly machined is correct.

ApacheCoTodd
May 11, 2014, 12:57 PM
I realize upon reviewing the OP photo that - on quickly glancing - I was taking the reflected light for the ball.

Seeing the actual ball deeper in - that firearm is just fine.

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