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S&W 342 question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by buddah, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. buddah

    buddah Well-Known Member

    My buddy owns a S&W 342 centennial .38 Spec. +p and it broke today. He has well over 1,500rds in this lightweight pocket rocket. It is well maintained and cleaned. Today he fired a couple of cylinders of factory +P rounds and when he went to reload 3 of the 5 chambers would not allow the rounds to seat all the way in. We thought it was dirty so he cleaned it and still no dice. Do you think the titanium cylinder is "Bulged"? Anyone have any ideas?
  2. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    He's not using aluminum cased ammo, is he? My Scandium guns did not like aluminum cases.

    I sold them recently (the Scandium guns and the aluminum cased ammo).
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    We can do a lot of speculating, but not arrive at a firm conclusion without examining the revolver. The problem could be caused by ammunition or gun issues - or both. I suggest that your friend return the gun to Smith & Wesson - and he can do so on their dime - and see what they say. If corrections to the gun are necessary they'll likely do it for free.
  4. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    Slight correction ... :)

    1. The 342 is not a Scandium gun. The 340 is. The 342 is regular alloy.

    2. The problem is not the Scandium frame but the titanium cylinger -- which the 342 DOES have.
  5. buddah

    buddah Well-Known Member

    No aluminum casing ammo. The gun is not scandium. The cylinder is titanium.Any more advice??
  6. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member

    Call S&W and send it in (free). It's possible to damage the cylinder by aggressively cleaning the charging holes.
  7. buddah

    buddah Well-Known Member

    The gun is packed up in a box and waiting for UPS to send back to S&W. My friend is really pissed off. He bought this gun "New" about a year ago. It was New old stock. This will be it's third trip back to S&W factory. First time, the forcing cone was damaged out of the box. Second trip the barrel shot loose using factory +P ammo. And now the rounds won't seat properly in the chambers. I looked at it today and it appears that there are steel liners in the chamber and 3 of the liners seem to have come loose. S&W will probably change the cylinder out. My buddy will be selling this gun as soon as it gets repaired. For the amount of $$ this gun shouldn't have all these problems. It goes to show you that you shouldn't buy a gun based on brand names only. Quality @ S&W has really gone down. Where's the pride in a USA made product?? My buddy is considering a Glock 27 to replace the S&W. He already owns a S&W 36 made in early 1980's and it was handed down to him from a LEO friend. God knows how many rounds have been through this gun, but after all these years it keeps working malfunction free. The S&W 36 has to have 4,000rds through it and other than cosmetic issues it works great. I own a lock model S&W 642 and a pre-lock S&W 686 and you could tell the difference in quality right away.
  8. nyresq

    nyresq Well-Known Member

    I own a 342PD, same gun with a black finish on the frame and an orange blade front sight...

    I bought this direct from S&W about 8 years ago when they first came out with the titanium cylinder (mine is serial #40). At the time I carried it as a backup, but still had to shoot the full 60 round qual course 4 times a year. At this point is has between 1,000 and 1,200 down the barrel.
    All 1,200 rounds have been the restricted "FBI" or "Treasury" Load or what ever you want to call it. Its all +P++ rated ammo and hot as hell in a snubby. Aside from ferocious recoil I have never had a problem with it.

    And looking at it as it sits infront of me I can't see any steel liners in the cylinder. As it states in the specs, the barrel is a stainless sleeve, the cylinder is titanium (not scandium) and the frame is alloy.

    if the cylinder is sleeved, it was done aftermarket... if its a stock gun, then S&W will make good on it, either fix it or just replace it.. I don't think your friend has anything to worry about.
  9. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    Agreed. There are no steel liners in a stock 342 cylinder. Either they were done aftermarket (can't imagine why?) or there's something seriously wrong with that revolver.

    Please keep us posted as this is the first I've heard of something like this happening with a titanium-cylindered Smith .38.

  10. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member

    Agreed. I've been reading boards like this since before the 342 was introduced and they are like Timexes (take a lickin', keep on tickin'). The same has not been true of the 329 and some of the 357 Mag Sc/Ti revolvers.
  11. DF357

    DF357 Well-Known Member

    I have a SW332 (.32mag) Scandium with Titanium cyl with several hundred rnds thru it with no problems. No liner in the cylinder here either.
  12. buddah

    buddah Well-Known Member

    I'm telling you guys that there must be some type of liner in the chamber. I had a couple of guys look at it and the 3 chambers that don't allow the rounds to seat properly have some type of liner. You can clearly see a seam protruding from side of chambers preventing the round from going all the way in. I don't have a camera, but will keep you guys updated when S&W repair shop calls my buddy back.
  13. mtncat

    mtncat Member

    Just a quick thought. Have him check all the brass from the rounds he was shooting and see if they are all the same length?? Sounds to me like the ends of a couple of pieces peeled off and stuck in the chambers!
  14. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member

    The only thing I've ever encountered like what you're describing is the spring steel chamber (charging hole) inserts for Simunition rounds. These go into the chamber and ya know what they do? :confused: They effectively shorten the chamber so you can't chamber a normal length round. :what: It's to reduce the chances of fatal training errors. Maybe that's what's in your friend's gun. The cylinder was total titanium when it left Springfield - there were no chamber inserts or liners from the factory.
  15. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    Hey, when he gets it back, I'd be interested in buying it if it is a no-lock 342.

    I have never seen a 3-series S&W that is not Sc/Ti and believe that the 3-designator is indicative of an Sc/Ti gun by definition.. The Sc/Ti's come in both black frame/grey cylinder and silverish frame/gray cylinder.

    I have owned a 360, two 340s, a 396 and a 325. All were AirLites (Sc/Ti) as opposed to AirWeights which are alloy frame/steel cylinder. And I sold them all because they were great to carry but miserable to shoot. Yes, I guess I'm a slow learner, because I am looking to buy another one...

    Am I missing something?
  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    You sure are... :scrutiny:

    For some reason folks are bound and determined to get the lightest possible revolver, and then fill the chambers with the hottest, baddest cartridge/load they can find. This combination is obviously going to translate in to maximum recoil and punishment. Since a fast miss and/or slow repeat shots is going to be something that's very serious if you get into trouble, I suggest that you go to a moderate chambering like .32 H&R Magnum, or a .38 Special using a standard instead of a barnburner load. This will be much easier on both the shooter and the gun, and you might even be able to place your shots. If you find that lighter loads in the lightest guns isn't an answer I'd go back to the all-steel kind. I see little logic in buying more of something that hasn't worked... ;)
  17. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    Actually, my question was in reference to the "is it Scandium or is it not"?...

    Yes, I am aware of the reason I sold the others. As I said, great to carry, no fun to shoot.

    However, the same weight snub that was miserable with a 357 should be do-able with a 38 Spl, and still a joy to carry. With the 342 I will not have the option of stuffing 357s in it and making myself miserable.

    FWIW, I have also had an all steel snub M-49 (too dang heavy for pocket carry, which IMHO is the best use of a j-frame) and a 36 (light enough, but the exposed hammer was always in the back of my mind--will it smag?)
  18. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    The 342 (in .38special and +P rated) and the 332 (in .32mag) have a Ti cylinder and an alloy frame. They were introduced before S&W started using Sc in their Airlites. The addition of Sc made the frames strong enough to handle .357magnums -- which is why the 342 was dropped. Why the 332 was dropped is a mystery to me.

    I have both and I shoot non +P's in my 342. Not because the gun can't handle it but because with +P's, the gun kicks more than my P229 with hot loads
  19. JNewell

    JNewell Well-Known Member

    That's wrong. There were quite a few models that had 3xx models. They are all "Airlites" but that's all they have in common. For example:

    The 317, which was the original Airlite, has an aluminum frame and cylinder.

    The 342, 336 and some kit gun variants of the 336 all had aluminum frames but titanium cylinders. These were .357 Magnums. There were similarly-configured al/ti revolvers made in .32 H&R Magnum. In .44 Special, the 396 also had an aluminum frame and titanium cylinder.

    Some guns had titanium cylinders but had 2xx model numbers, such as the 296 and a similar .357 Mag (I am forgetting the number and the old catalogs are downstairs).

    So, it's unsafe to generalize about the Ti guns - but 3xx doesn't mean a Scandium frame.
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    I agree with your observation concerning J-frame Smith & Wesson's, but I have no problem pocket-carrying the steel frame models. Also my Taurus CIA is all steel. My old model 60 (no dash, bought new) has a bobbed hammer and has never snagged. I don't notice the weight, and when it comes to accurate shooting and faster recovery from recoil that extra heft is a positive plus.

    A good pocket holster makes all the difference.

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