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Return of the Smith from Hell

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by El Tejon, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    Earlier I detailedl my trials and tribulations with a Smith M48, well, the problem child Smith 48 is at it again. This morning I went to the range after retrieving my weapon from the gunsmith. The birds were singing and the sun was shining as I loaded the revolver with 6 fresh .22 mags and knocked down 6 steel plates from 15 yards.

    I knocked out the empties and tried to put in 6 new ones. No dice. Even with the cartridges out the cylinder will not close.:banghead:

    I was overcome with frustration. I am off to see the gunsmith about the "fixing" he did to my revolver and I now have trading stock for the next gun show in Indianapolis.:banghead:
  2. dbublitz

    dbublitz Active Member

    Sounds like your finally ready for a reliable ruger ! :banghead:
  3. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    Ruger, Colt, FN, Smith, I've broken them all. I've got Rugers and I've broken a Ruger, but it was a .357, as well. Heck, if Man can make it, El Tejon can break it.:D

    Yeah, I have a nice quasi-kit gun collection growing and I was overjoyed to find this M48 at a show in Indy last year with my bro. He bought the M17 and I got the M48. And now I think I will trade it for something at the next show in Indy. Maybe another 17 (I need a 4th) or 18 or put it towards something else.

    Terrible. I really wanted to like this pistol. However, I cannot stand to have a weapon that does not function.:banghead:
  4. steveno

    steveno Well-Known Member

    so have you cleaned out from underneath the ejector star? I have two M-48's(1959 & 1965) and I have to keep that area really clean and they shoot just fine.
  5. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    steveno, when I received the weapon back from the gunsmith when it malfunctioned the last time, one could eat off the weapon. I fired a grand total of six (6) rounds through the gun. Definitely not a cleaning issue.:(
  6. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Well-Known Member


    Any S&W sixgun can/will choke if you eject the fired cartridges without the barrel pointing upwards so any bits of unburnt powder, or powder ash, will drop free of the gun along with the spent cases.
    If you eject with the pistol horizontal that ash will be deposited underneath the ejector star and will tie up the gun when the ejector cannot return fully forward into the cylinder.

    Comments deleted due to lack of civility.
  7. sfhogman

    sfhogman Well-Known Member

    El Tejon, how old are you anyhoo?
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    I would suggest that you have your gunsmith remove the ejector and lightly stone it on the underside of the star, and across the ratchet teeth to be sure that a little burr(s) isn't causing your problem. Also make sure something isn't causing the center rod to bind. And make sure the little pin(s) that keep the star aligned aren't slightly bent and keeping the star from fully seating. These points are often overlooked.

    At the front, be sure the front of the yoke isn't hitting the barrel as you close the cylinder. Look for burnish marks where the blue has been worn off by rubbing in places where it shouldn't rub.
  9. Mike Sr.

    Mike Sr. Well-Known Member

    I sent an email to your web page...I had the same problem with an early 629 only to find out the about the cylinder being loose and backing out under recoil. The ejector rod screws in if this is loose it'll be nearly impossible to get cylinder out...after firing...and when closing it'll be difficult.
  10. Powderman

    Powderman Well-Known Member

    El Tejon, sounds like you have a loose ejector rod. Check by simply turning with your fingers; the rod loosens CLOCKWISE, by the way.

    If this turns, then it is a simple fix to tighten it up correctly.

    If you have more than one S&W revolver, invest in a Wessinger tool; this is simply a knurled collar with a set screw to prevent you from marking the ejector rod.

    Clear the weapon; then remove the cylinder by first removing the screw near the front of the frame on the right side. Use a properly sized screwdriver; you don't want to booger up the screw head.

    Now, get a jeweler's screwdriver. At the front of the ejector rod shroud, under the barrel, you will see a spring loaded pin that goes into the front of the ejector rod. This is the forward lock; insert the tip of the jeweler's screwdriver, push the pin out of the way and the cylinder should open.

    With the cylinder opened and the front screw removed, hold the cylinder and slide the yoke out of the frame. Lift the cylinder free.

    Insert at least 3 fired cases in the cylinder to prevent breakage of the cylinder alignment pins. Now, apply the Wessinger tool--or a padded pair of pliers--and turn the ejector rod COUNTER CLOCKWISE to tighten. Get it nice and snug; reassemble the revolver.

    Test for function by pulling the trigger on a cylinder full of empty cases. Hopefully, this should fix the problem! Good luck!

    And, by the way, for this poster:

    Thanks! We are all so happy that you are such a master at the Smith and Wesson, and are willing to pass on your vast knowledge without criticism and personal attack. Your post is in the very best tradition of the High Road.

    Sarcasm off.
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Mr Terry, I find that the bottom half of your response is lacking not only in literary merit, but in civility and in common decency toward the forum's members in general, and toward El Tejon in particular. I think that if you search through some of his posts, that you'll find him not only knowledgeable about firearms in general, but also a very intelligent and talented writer. The staff and the membership consider him to be an asset to the forum. Your comments in the bottom half of your reply....the part that appears to be screaming...tread very close to a personal attack, and that's not permitted here on THR. I strongly suggest that you go and re-read the rules that you agreed to, and abide by them in the future.

    Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Now then...back to El T's issue.

    It may be unburned grains of powder under the star. I had an old M-57 Smith once that was bad for that when I used reloads charged with Hercules 2400
    powder and cast bullets...and it would do it with only two cylinders full. Any other powder...from Unique to Olin 296, and it worked slick as a button. 2400 and jacketed bullets...no problem. As long as I used a brush to get under the star on every other cylinder, it was good to go. Try another brand of ammo. Might work...

    Don't know what the headspace specs are for the .22 magnum. If anybody knows for sure, help him out here. Could be that the smith used an endshake washer that was too thick.
  13. Mike Sr.

    Mike Sr. Well-Known Member

    Powderman, WONDERFUL answer with tip's and precise info about tools required you tell us about the ""Wessinger tool"" and I want one ...BUT..you,you,you(sorry about the stam...stammmer) bu...bu..butt...butte-head :what: where do I get one....grrrrrrrrrrr.:banghead: :banghead:
  14. GeorgeR

    GeorgeR Well-Known Member

    I bet Mike Sr & Powderman are right with the loose ejector rod diagnosis. RE; the rod tool. Brownell's naturally. The large size fits everything except J frames. $20. Vise grips with a leather pad and blue lok tite have also been used sucessfully. Don't sell your gun!
  15. Vic

    Vic Well-Known Member

    2400 powder...

    Interesting! I've noticed that it burns dirty too. So much so, I prefer Unique because it takes less powder, and cleaning is a little easier. The 2400 is a no-no in semi-auto's for me. It causes extensive fouling inside the gun.:what:

    As far as his problem? The only S&W .22 mag I heard of that had a problem was a Titaium model that the cases swelled excessively and it was almost impossible to extract the cases. The gun was sent back to the MFGR by the dealer. I never did hear the verdict on that one. Glad I didn't buy one but it was a NICE looking gun (I almost did buy one). I guess the expanding case thing was a KNOWN problem by S&W but I didn't hear the fix.
  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    #2400 powder was originally intended to be used in shotguns. Elmer Keith discovered that it worked well in handgun cartridges, if (big "if") it was loaded to maximum levels. This powder is progressive burning, which means it only burns clean if the pressure reaches a certain point. Because it is slower burning, relative to pressure it can push a bullet in a large-bore revolver faster while staying within reasonable pressure limits. But if you underload it you will get unburnt powder around the cylinder.
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Extrapolating a bit on what Old Fuff noted...and veering just an inch or two off-topic...I didn't get nearly the volume of unburned powder with an identical charge behind a jacketed bullet of equal mass. The reason being that the jacket offers more frictional resistance to acceleration, and thus slightly elevated pressures over the cast bullets...and the powder has a tick more time to burn.

    Back on-topic...

    .22 WRM doubtless uses slower powders than the standard .22 rimfire stuff...which appears to be loaded with Bullseye, or something similar. A switch to a different brand may solve the problem...IF...unburned powder grains under the ejector are indeed causing it.

    If it's the ejector rod...which I have a little doubt about, since one trip around the wheel is unlikely to unscrew it that far unless it's bent...then a switch won't help at all. At any rate, check the rod first...then switch brands. If it's neither one of those, it's time to call on a smith to see where the bug is makin' its nest.
  18. sm

    sm member

    Adding to the great points made in regard to extractor, ejector rod - may I suggest Grant Cunningham perhaps as well could shed some light on the head space question and this problem as well.

    The more eyes that sees the same thing - the more things that are revealed.
  19. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    Wil, I guess age is relative, but I'm 37 and have been shooting for over 30 years. I must admit that even after a couple of revolver classes instructed by nationally known trainers this is the first I have heard that your suggested methodology as mandatory. However, be advised that your suggestion is how I clear empties and reload.:)

    Powder, Stu says he checked it. Man, if you want anything done right . . .:banghead: I simply must take some gunsmithing courses. I admit that I am a horrific gun mechanic and can screw up simple things. All the hours I have in gun skul but none include how to fix them. Have to remedy that!

    Tuner, I'll go over all of this with the smith.

    George, I know, I shouldn't sell it. I'm just frustrated.:eek:

    Thanks to all. I may be an ignorant, young squirt (ahhh, to be actually young again without a bum shoulder and a bad achilles!) but I really enjoy my Smith .22 collection and am frustrated by this one piece. I'll stick with it.:)
  20. steveno

    steveno Well-Known Member

    El Tejon

    just curious as to what year your M-48 was made? My M-48 made in 1959 has a rh ejector rod so I have to keep an eye on it from coming loose. My M-48 made in 1965 has the lh ejector rod and the ejector rod coming loose is not a problem

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