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Is this a good ball detent?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by CleanHarry, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  4. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    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.



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

    Ed Ames Well-Known Member

    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:


    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.
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  6. CleanHarry

    CleanHarry Well-Known Member

    Thank you

    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.
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. benzy2

    benzy2 Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. CleanHarry

    CleanHarry Well-Known Member

    Harry Bin Laden?

    @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.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  10. CleanHarry

    CleanHarry Well-Known Member

    The ball is touching in the v... In fact, it makes the little "snick" sound when it engages.
  11. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    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.
  12. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Well-Known Member

    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?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  13. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

  14. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    Absolutely not and a manufacturer defending it as being within their standards demonstrates standards not worthy of your money.
  15. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    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?[​IMG][​IMG]
  16. 45_auto

    45_auto Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    Change of mind!

    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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