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Cylinder On S&W 36 Not Turning Freely

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mr. D, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Mr. D

    Mr. D Well-Known Member

    Hello folks!

    I need some helps. The cylinder on my 36 is not turning as freely as it should it still turns, but with a bit of effort. I think it is also causing the trigger to be heavier. The first thing I was going to try was taking the cylinder off the crane, cleaning out the center hole, and lubing it a bit. However, I don't know how to do this! Can anyone tell me? Should I check for anything else?

  2. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Do you feel resistance only when the gun is loaded? If so, check for crud around and under the ejector star. May be that the rounds aren't seating completely.

    If the resistance occurs whether the gun's loaded or not, I'd check for buildup on the front of the cylinder. Without removing it, I'd try to give the front of the cylinder a good wiping with some solvent first.

    If you still suspect the cylinder/crane surface needs lube, I'd add a few drops right where the front of the cylinder meets the crane, then give it a quick spin to work the lube in.

    I'd stay away from removing the cylinder entirely until you've ruled out other possibilities.

    edit: Also check to see if there's a lot of crud built up inside the cylinder chambers. Could also be a reason the rounds aren't seating completely.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  3. Photoman

    Photoman Well-Known Member

    It's not hard at all to remove the cylinder so long as you have just a bit of mechanical apptitude.

    Use the correct size screwdriver and remove the screw just above the trigger on the right side of the gun. Open up the cylinder and the remove the cylinder and crane by moving them both forward. Make sure the cylinder/crane is fully open. It will all slide forward.

    A good cleaning and lube with some RemOil (or similar) will more than likely solve your problem.

    Be sure to use the correct size screwdriver or you will mess up the yoke screw. When you re-install the yoke screw, don't overtighten.
  4. Mr. D

    Mr. D Well-Known Member


    The inside of the chambers are very clean. I clean my guns often. The resistance is there even when rotating the cylinder while open for loading, so it's not a round-seating problem.


    Thanks, but how will that allow me to remove the cylinder from the crane?


  5. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Once you remove the cylinder/crane from the frame, the cylinder (with ejector still screwed in) just slides away from the crane. Be careful handling the cylinder/crane when it's freed from the frame, since the cylinder can fall free.

    Good advice about getting the right screwdriver to remove the crane screw. The possibility of buggering the screw is high.
  6. Photoman

    Photoman Well-Known Member

    MrBorland is correct. It all slides apart so be prepared when you remove the cylinder/crane from the gun.
  7. Mr. D

    Mr. D Well-Known Member

    Ok, that makes sense.

    Thanks, guys!

  8. Tpr0811

    Tpr0811 Member

    Just to be on the safe side, why don't you take it to a Qualified Gunsmith or call S & W directly. Their customer support staff has been very helpful!
  9. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Once you get the cylinder separated from the crane, you'll see that you still don't have open access to that center hole. You'll have to remove the ejector for that. That's tricky, too:

    You'll have to unscrew the ejector rod. Starting in the early 60's (approx serial # 295,000), they are left-handed threads, IIRC. It's unlikely you'll be able to do it with your fingers, so protect the knurling on the end of the rod if you use a tool. Buggered up ejector rod knurling and crane screw are sure signs of botched home gunsmithing.

    The ejector rod/ejector star is spring-loaded. Once you unscrew the rod, hold it so stuff doesn't go flying.

    When you reassemble, you'll need to clean the threads free of oil, then add some non-locking (blue) locktite to them. Otherwise, the ejector rod will begin to unscrew while you're shooting. In short order, the effective length of the ejector rod will increase to the point you won't be able to open the cylinder. The 36s have an unshrouded barrel, so if it happens at the range, it's an easy fix, but it's avoidable, a PITA and obviously not something you what to happen in a defense gun.
  10. Mr. D

    Mr. D Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm.... Well, I'll try the first suggestion of wiping down the front of the cylinder etc. If that doesn't do anything, I'll just take it to a smith. If I had someone here to SHOW me how to do it, I might try, but I'm just too afraid of messing something up.

  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I would not recommend you attempt to take the extector rod assembly apart.

    Once you get the cylinder & crane out of the gun, and the cylinder assembly out of the crane, get a can or Gun-Scrubber ($8.00) or Auto Brake Cleaner ($1.99) and hose it out good while working the ejector rod in & out.

    Then blow it out with compressed air, and re-lube it with any good light gun oil.

    Odd's are good that will fix it.


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