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The UN-Shrouded Ejector Rod

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Fleetwood_Captain, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Fleetwood_Captain

    Fleetwood_Captain Well-Known Member

    One thing I've noticed about a lot of older hand-ejector revolvers is the lack of a shrouded ejector rod.

    Considering that people back then tended to be more utilitarian when it came to purchasing a firearm, the lack of a shroud to protect the ejector seems a little counter-productive.

    Are there any advantages to having an unshrouded ejector on a revolver?
  2. scratcherky

    scratcherky Well-Known Member

    Less weight.
  3. sheephearder

    sheephearder Well-Known Member

    I have read that S&W's sale to England in WWI the British required the shroud be dropped for fear that the mud in the trenches would be a problem. Also the cost of making the gun with out the shroud would be a little less.
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    It's rather hard to bend an un-shrouded S&W ejector rod because it's latched at the front. Colt rods weren't but it hard to strike the rod because the barrel's larger diameter tends to protect it. Smith & Wesson introduced the shroud on their first .44 Special Military model (also known as the "triple lock") because some of the third lock's parts were in the shroud and not because it was necessary to protect the rod. Later it became a style feature on target model N-frame revolvers and Magnums although the third lock had been discontinued.
  5. Hardballing

    Hardballing Active Member

    What Old Fluff said.
  6. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Well-Known Member

    With an unshrouded ejector rod, if your cylinder release falls/breaks off, you can pull the ejector rod forward to release the cylinder for reloading.
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    The main criticism of the shrouded ejector rod was dirt & mud getting in it and preventing closing.

    On the other hand, cops back in the day were known to use their revolvers to whack people over the head with, so the shroud protected it from getting bent when used as a club.

    Off all the things that can go wrong with S&W revolvers, an inoperative cylinder release is about at the bottom of the list.
    You can still open the cylinder if the thumb piece is lost because the screw stud is still there. The release itself hardly ever never fails.

  8. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    What I have heard is that the Brits hated the shroud (and extra cost of Triple Lock feature) so the 2nd Model was made without the shroud or extra lock.

    Cops like the shroud (good for banging heads, I guess) and the 1926 44 Special brought back this feature. It continued on the 38/44 Heavy Duty and Outdoorsman.

    In 1935 the 357 Magnum was introduced and the shroud was touted as a deluxe feature. No mention of real usefulness, just deluxe. While many N frames have the shroud, off the top of my head only the 19 (66) and 53 come to mind as K frames that have shrouded rods before the 1980s.

    Oh, just remembered the Model 68, a stainless K frame 38 with a 6" barrel and a shrouded ejector. Special order item for the CHP with around 6,000 made.

    Many have speculated that the free-standing rods on early Colts were vulnerable to bending but nobody seems to have actually experienced this.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  9. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Well-Known Member

    True, but not everyone has a fancy shmancy S&W to work with!

    In this pic you see my "replacement" cylinder release I put on the gun after I got it,

    And in this one its missing, having jumped ship while I was shooting the gun in the woods recently.

    Im sure glad my RG has an unshrouded rod or else id be poking a screwdriver in through the frame to reload!
  10. Oro

    Oro Well-Known Member

    You know, I've read that for years. And it just smacks of an excuse repeated until it has the ring of authenticity. I've got several shrouded N frames, and I've also got an unshrouded .455 Hand Ejector (aka, "2nd Model") from WWI. The "reliability" aspect just doesn't pass the smell test once you've used these enough and in the woods and regular use. The shroud affecting reliability is just a non-starter in my book.

    I suspect the real reason was what you said next, that it was purely a cost-saving manuever and the "reliability" angle was just a face-saving statement. Remember, during WWI, armaments were a strictly cash-and-carry proposition. There were no US subsidies, lend-lease program, etc. That was the the reason for the onerous reparations clauses the British and French forced on the Jerries at Versaille. And we all know what that led to... :eek:
  11. lawandorder

    lawandorder Active Member

    Like Doc P. said it was a cost saving move. Supposedly S&W saved $2.00 a unit by dropping the enclosed ejector rod when they moved from the first model HE to the second model HE.

    Public desire, led by a gun shop who was willing to put their $ up front brought the enclosed ejector rod back on the third model HE, also know as the "Wolf & Klar" model in honor of the Fort Worth, Texas gun shop who placed a pre production order for a substantial quantity of the the third models.
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    In 1914 the British entered what became World War One, and quickly contacted Smith & Wesson to see if they could provide then with revolvers chambered to use the .455 Mark II cartridge. The company responded that they could, based on the current .44 Hand Ejector, 1st. Model (popularly known as the triple-lock). With their reply they submitted a sample. The British military said that (1) the supplied sample was too heavy, and (2) they were afraid mud or other fouling might cause the ejector rod and/or mechanism in the heavy underlug to jam.

    Smith & Wesson engineers solved both issues (or potential issues) by going to the barrel style used on the Military & Police model, but pointed out there would be a delay in shipments because of the time required to tool up and make new barrels. As the embattled Brits. needed revolvers quickly it was agreed they’d take guns made like the original sample until the newer design could be produced. Deliveries of the “improved” revolver started in June 1915.

    (According to Roy Jinks).
  13. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Well-Known Member

    Whether or not the ejector rod is shrouded or unshrouded, it's next to impossible to bend it while the cylinder is closed. The barrel itself acts as quite an effective guard, and steel of the ejector rod has enough spring in it that when the cylinder is closed, you really can't bend it far enough to induce a permanent bend, because it will hit the barrel before it's bent beyond the point where it would take on a permanent bend. Remember, Colt made unshrouded efector rods from the 1890s to the 1950s, and if this sort of thing had been a problem they would have corrected it long before then.

    According to premier revolver smith Grant Cunningham, however, you do manage to bend it far enough while the cylinder is open (which again would probably happen with the cylinder open), you are actually more likely to get functioning problems with the S&W, because the front end bears against the pin that locks to the cylinder at the front. If the rod is bent out of position too far, there can be enough friction to prevent the cylinder turning freely. A Colt's rod, with the forward end floating free as it does, has to bend a lot further before it ties up the rotation of the cylinder.
  14. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    We had this discussion a while back and some knowledgeable folks like the Fuffster and possibly Saxon, Oro and others were bantering about.

    They explained a lot about how the exposed ejector is not a problem. After a lot of discussion they changed my mind. I now agree with them and believe that unless you like the extra muzzle weight of the shroud, let your rod be naked.
  15. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    RevolvingGarbage: "With an unshrouded ejector rod, if your cylinder release falls/breaks off, you can pull the ejector rod forward to release the cylinder for reloading."

    This is true of some revolvers, but not all, and not the S&W.
  16. tipoc

    tipoc Well-Known Member

    During the decades that Colt and S&W battled it out for dominance of the revolver market both companies used a good bit of "negative advertising" against the other. One of S&W's knocks against Colt was that the ejector rods on their guns were more prone to damage than S&W's because they had no front locking lug or were un-shrouded. Colt pointed out that on their snubbies the naked ejector rod had a longer stroke allowing for more positive ejection.

    A bent ejector rod (not too common a problem but if the gun is dropped, stepped on, banged, etc.) can tie up a S&W more readily than it will tie up a Colt.

    Well known British author Geoffrey Boothroyd in his book "The Handgun" mentions that the British in WWI and WWII preferred the Colt New Service over the S&W N frames. This opinion covered both the shrouded S&W Triple Lock and the unshrouded 1917. The S&Ws were considered too light weight and prone to being put out of action in the mud of the trenches. The heavier New Service was favored. The shroud would become a collecting point for dirt and mud. The M1917 had no shroud but was still lighter in weight and more delicate a gun than the New Service.

    Mostly I think the shroud provides a bit more weight up front and it looks good. The M1917, the M10, the M13 and many other service sidearms had no shroud. At the same time the M28, M19 and many others did have a shroud. So, I submit the presence or absence of the shroud has not so much to do with utility in police work than it does looks. For the military the exposed rod seems to have been preferred.

  17. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Well-Known Member

    Ah, so I guess I dont know everything then...;)

    Does anyone happen to know what, if any other revolvers this does work with?
  18. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    these guys have shown me the same thing on more than one occasion

  19. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Charter Arms (that don't have the ejector rod shrouded) and Hi-Standard to name two...
  20. unspellable

    unspellable Well-Known Member

    Re mud in the shroud

    In regard to the mud in the shroud thing, remember that we are talking about the Triple Lock. It wasn't just simply mud in the shroud as it would be with latter day S&Ws, but mud in the little bits that went into the third latch.

    For a long time I had never seen a Triple Lock in the flesh or an illustration of the third latch itself. In more recent times I've had the chance to see a Triple Lock in the flesh. The third latch is quite intricate, there are more modern designs for latching at the crane that are much simpler to produce and probably less likely to jam do to fouling with what ever crud comes to hand.

    I have a late production S&W M29 with a ball and detent as a third latch. It locates the crane quite nicely and is far simpler to produce.

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