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Any revolvers not 100% reliable?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by svetlio, Oct 28, 2004.

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  1. svetlio

    svetlio Member

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    From all the wheelguns that you have, is there anyone that has not been always 100% reliable (I mean gun-related problems, not ammo-related problems). If yes, what exactly happened?

    Thanks,
    Svetlio.
     
  2. Maxinquaye

    Maxinquaye Member

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    Springs could go bad, resulting in light strikes. Timing can go bad, resulting in (among other things) the cylinder not turning properly.
     
  3. Majic

    Majic Member

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    Being mechanical and made by man, no revolver is 100% reliable. Moving parts wear and subject to breakage. Fouling can tie up an action. Screws can work loose.
    100% means every time, all the time. The revolver does have a lifespan.
     
  4. Fiero

    Fiero Member

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    I've had my cylinder stick when a fired cartridge is forced against the backing plate. I was advised to make sure the chambers are bone dry of lube before loading. Since I've heeded this, no more malfunctions. I hope this was my problem all along. But since it was always sporadic anyway, i'll have to shoot a lot more rounds to be certain.
     
  5. albanian

    albanian member

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    Most of the problems I have had were due to reloaded ammo. Primers sticking out too far and binding the cylinder, squibs, non-sized cases, ect.

    I have had a few revolvers that were not reliable due to mechanical problems. If in working order and fed good quality factory ammo, revolvers are far more reliable than autos. There is just so much more that can go wrong in a semi-auto that can cause a malfunction. A revolver doesn't really care how much recoil it has but an auto can't have too little (won't operate slide) or too much (jams due to double feeding or not being able to pick up the next round).
     
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I've had the main spring on Colt SAA clones break a few times, but modern coil springs don't suffer from this problem.
     
  7. 1858remington

    1858remington Member

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    Revolvers tend to be more reliable than semiauto pistols, mainly due to their simplicity.

    They can be left loaded with no worry of spring relaxation problems.

    A missfire need not be cleared before firing the next shot.

    They don't stove pipe.

    But, where I personnally have had a problem is when they become dirty from extensive firing.

    I had a colt lock up, but that was because it had very tight tollerances and the dirty solo powder residue made tollerances even tighter. Cleaning solved that.

    I have a colt made in 1860 and it still works fine, so I'd say revolvers are pretty reliable.
     
  8. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    Of the many unreliable revolvers I've seen, they run in the following categories (In no special order):

    Defective ammo.
    Worn or otherwise defective revolvers.
    Altered (usually home gunsmith) revolvers.
    CHEAP revolvers, especially foreign made revolvers.

    Of the good quality American made revolvers that were NOT defective for some reason, I've never seen one that didn't work.

    We invented the revolver and we've been making them for a LONG time.
    Any bugs have been eliminated, and these are as fool proof as any firearm ever made.

    Unless there's something WRONG with a good quality American gun or ammo, they always fire.
     
  9. Nick96

    Nick96 Member

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    I personally have never had a revolver fail (cheap / expensive - big / small - large bore / small bore). Hit a bad primer a few times, but never a gun related problem. Some got really hot, dirty and sluggish after a lot of use - but kept working anyway (even if not silky smooth). Personally I've only seen one revolver fail. A guy at the range said his S&W .357 quit working - I didn't investigate further about exactly what happened - I just took his word for it.

    On the other hand, I've never had an auto that DIDN'T fail at some time. Ammo related or not - the fact was they wouldn't shoot again with just a trigger pull like a revolver.

    Now I can trust what I read - or trust what I've actually seen & experienced. My experience tells me that when you REALLY need a handgun to work - you're better off with a revolver.
     
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Except for ejector rods unscrewing on Smith & Wesson revolvers, I'd have to say the same thing.
     
  11. Boats

    Boats member

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    Screws?

    What are screws doing in a reliable revolver?;)
     
  12. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    On a S&W revolver, the cylinder would not pop out of the frame. The officer had to tap it against his heel to open it. After the range session, I tightened down his ejector rod. You might ask why I didn't tight it down when I first discovered the problem? Well, it was an opportunity for him to shoot under stress and to learn how to open the cylinder if that problem should ever happen again. He qualified despite his handicap.
     
  13. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Member

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    For what it's worth, I can honestly say that every revolver I've ever shot has worked 100% reliably. Not a single problem. I cannot say the same of the semis I've shot.
     
  14. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    S&W 586 4". During a qualification shoot, the S&B 158g rounds I had (previously not fired them in this gun..... the shop was out of Winchester and had no Remington!). The brass expanded and stuck in the cylinder, making firing any more than six shots a major problem I got them out, but it took a bit. Check your ammo before you use it!


    S&W Model 10 Military & Police heavy barrel 4". During a PPC match a screw backed out and locked the cylinder in place. Figured out what happened and fixed it (and Loctited it shut), but in a gunfight, that would have killed me.
     
  15. svetlio

    svetlio Member

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    thanks

    Friends,

    thanks a lot for all your inputs. From what I read it seems to me that revolvers are also not 100% reliable (like autos), even if fed with good ammo and kept clean. Some guys say autos are more reliable than revolvers, some say the opposite. I personally believe that a handgun should be thoroughly tested at the range before taken out for CCW, regardless of the fact if it is a wheelgun or an auto. I also think that wheelguns, even though not 100% reliable, are generally slightly more reliable than autos are.

    From now on please write down only gun related problems, not failures due to negligence or bad ammo or dirt.

    Thanks,

    Svetlio
     
  16. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    I think the thing that really differentiates wheelguns and autos when it comes to failures is this. Revolvers are FAR less prone to failure than autos but, when they do fail its usually pretty catastrophic (taking a lot more that a racking of the slide to fix). The only two problems i have had with revolvers were on one i got a an empty casing stuck under the star, this was human error and has since been rectified with some training, and on one S&W I had an ejector rod mysteriously unscrew itself rendering my weapon completely worthless untill i could fix it.
     
  17. tbeb

    tbeb Member

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    A long time ago a Dan Wesson .357 magnum locked up on me, and a Taurus 85's firing pin only hit the primer hard enough to fire 2 of 5 rounds. Recently I bought an old model Charter Arms Undercover .38 whose firing pin only hit the primer hard enough to fire 2 of 5 rounds. I've never had a problem with a S&W, Ruger, or Colt.

    The Dan Wesson problem never repeated. The early model Taurus 85 could not be fixed, so Taurus refunded my money. The Charter Arms was fixed by installing a heavy hammer spring.
     
  18. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Revolver reliability

    I've had quite a number of ammo related malfunctions. Not the fault of the revolver, but in a sticky situation it doesn't matter. Of course I've had ammo caused problems with self loaders as well.

    For revolver caused malfunctions, I've had the ejector unscrew on a Taurus.

    I have an old Colt New Service that's occasionally a bit iffy about the trigger return.

    I have a Ruger Old Army that had frequent misfires. After some sorting out it proved to be a weak main spring. I bought it used so I couldn't swear it had the original spring in it.

    As far as testing a piece before carrying it, that's a must do, but people tend to overlook ammo caused malfunctions. You need to give the ammo a good inspection before carrying it. In my little museum of horrible examples I have a 10 mm and a 32 Special factory load, neither of which can be chambered with out the use of a mallet. I have a 25 ACP with the primer loaded sideways. An acquaintance has a box of 458 Winchester hard ball with no lead inside the jackets. You get the picture.
     
  19. popbang

    popbang Member

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    I have a Vaquero that the firing puin peened from the tranfer bar after about 7,000 rounds and a few more dry firings. It could still be fired by jerking the trigger fully to the rear raising the transfer bar a little more than where the trigger breaks.
     
  20. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    Broke firing pin spring.

    Yoke screw backing out, and me not noticing until the whole thing comes off in my hand. "Ohh, that's interesting."

    Powder fowling causing the cylinder to seize up.

    Yeah, they break.
     
  21. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    Ejector rod on my S&W M28 came unscrewed once. That's about it. Seems to be a common problem with Smiths. Why?
     
  22. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I had a Taurus .22 (Mod 94? 92?, I don't remember) that would give light primer strikes. I got rid of it quickly.

    Other than that, I have never owned a revolver that was 100%, but I have seen a couple of el cheapos (RG) owned by others that were a disaster.
     
  23. gvass

    gvass Member

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    hi,
    last week a Ruger Speed-Six's ejector rod unscrewed after exstensive use. But it is not a reliability issue as not stopped the firing JUST the reloading. (After 6x357 Mag JHP, who needs reload:))

    Except this phenomenon, the only - NOT ammo-related - problem is the timing error (off center firing pin hits), what is occured only with well abused or very old guns.

    OK, maybe sometimes the firing pin could break (old SW hammer-style).

    I LOVE revolvers, now I carry two:))
     
  24. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

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    The *norm* is 100% reliable with a good S&W or Ruger DA . (I do not include Colts because for all practical purposes they are nonplayers these days.)

    In a prior existence I was instructor/rangemaster for 50 plus officers. With rare lapses, it was a wheelgun world and the issue guns were Ruger Speed Sixes, with about a 15% mix of K frame Smiths. The standard course of fire was 60 rounds and we usually fired about 60 more rounds above that doing additional work. The qual course and half of the extra rounds were full power .357s.

    Early on I made it a point to blue loc-tite all the extractor rods to prevent their unscrewing. I also hammered home the idea of keeping the star and its seating area as clean and dry as possible to allow full seating at all times. We also adopted the vertical pop style of ejecting so all the junk from firing tended to fall free of the gun. The very few cases we ever had of cylinder lockup prior to that time never occurred again.

    S&W adjustable sights would depart the gun if the very small mounting screw became loose. Solution, loc-tite and occasionally check it. (Still doesn't prevent using the gun!)

    Had one thumb-piece pivot screw back out on a Ruger which was a first (and last). Had one private-purchase Service Six with action problems I could not fully diagnose and fix with my Ruger Armorer's sheepskin, so sent it into the factory to let them worry about it. Considering I paid $89 for a beater gun it was understandable.

    As a counterpoint to this as we began to utilize semiautos (Glock 17/19, SIG 220s) there was always a random failure to feed sooner or later. No matter how much we analyzed it the cause for the failure was maddeningly vague. This after considerable transition training and the exclusive use of fresh factory ammo.

    I cut my teeth on DCM 1911s in the 60s and do not remember much if any trouble with either hardball or my handloads. Went through Gunsite's 250 class with one which chugged right through with my oldest, rattiest magazines. Carried a LW Commander for years and it perked fine. When the frame finally cracked I had one of the best smiths in the business rebuilt the gun, no expense spared. It was never reliable thereafter and I finally dumped it. Replaced it with a SIG 220 which is not 100% thus far.

    Some years ago there was an incident in the SF area in which an 80-ssome year old man had to use an almost equally old M10 S&W in the middle of the night. He had last fired it sometime in the 1950s, loaded it up with whatever was on hand, and used automatic transmission fluid for lubrication (not a bad choice, actually.) The gun worked just fine and the BG was carried out feet first. Elderly, virtually untrained user, elderly generic gun, elderly unknown ammo, and high stress: operation a complete success. THAT, to me, tells it all.
    With QC the way it is these days I do not say that all wheelguns will be infallible today either. But my experience has proven--to me at least--that if it really, really has to go bang, make it a S&W or Ruger revolver.

    And, no, I don't think high capacity and "firepower" mean much this side of Baghdad.
     
  25. obiwan1

    obiwan1 Member

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    Beware of accumulated crud under the ejector star. Also one of my Charter .44s initially had occasionally produced lite strikes on the primer while shooting DA. I'm not sure if it was because of burrs in the mechanism, or something else but since the gun was new a quick trip to the factory helped. I don't us it much, but if were to become my main defense gun (VERY unlikely) I would work with it as to be sure of its reliability.
     
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