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Durability of S&W Aluminum Cylinder Revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by .455_Hunter, Sep 15, 2008.

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  1. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

    May 25, 2005
    Colorado Front Range

    Does anybody have experience the aluminum cylinder 317 (.22 LR) and 351PD (.22 Mag) j-frames?

    I am concerned about long-term durability and life expectancy of the cylinders, especially where they interface with steel parts, such as the cylinder stop.

  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    I have had a 317 since they came out about 10 years ago. I paid $327.75 bucks including tax, if that gives you any indication.

    The clearcoat finish quickly wears off the recoil shield where the locking pin rubs on it.
    Keeping it greased helps.

    Other then that, I doubt if I will live long enough to wear out the cylinder, or the frame.

    I don't think the alloy cylinders get the beating a steel cylinder would. They weight next to nothing, so there is no momentum beating the lock cuts getting them stopped turning.

  3. Shrinkmd

    Shrinkmd Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Same question. Anyone have more info on round counts and durability?
  4. popeye
    • Contributing Member

    popeye Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    N.W. Indiana
    The money they want for them scares me more than the cyl composition. I've had S&W's 17-8, and 617 both with alum cyls and both .22 LR. Neither had any apparent damage where hand or bolt met cyl after 1000's of shots.
  5. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

    Jun 3, 2008
    I've had one since January of 1999, and it's seen alot of shooting since I'm a dedicated rimfire shooter.

    My rough guess is that I've put at least several thousand rounds through it, and its still going like the energizer bunny. I retired in 2001, so I have alot of range time on my hands. I go shooting at least once, more often twice a week. I burn up about a bulk box of Federals from Walmart a week. About 2/3ds of my shooting is done with my 4 inch 617, with the 317 used for about the last 50 to100 rounds of the day. I practice with it regularly because it gets carried as a hiking and canoeing gun concealed. It's so light weight, its very comfortable to carry in a coat pocket. It's the 3 inch version, and its as accurite as a 4 inch model 63 kit gun.

    So far, there has been zero issues. I was a little leary of it because it seemed so light, but with the lifetime warrentee, I figure if anything does happen Smith will fix it on thier dime.
  6. reign16

    reign16 Member

    Jan 15, 2009
    I'm curious for that aluminum cylinder? is that possible?

    blanchard grinding
  7. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Delaware home of tax free shopping
    I have a 1973 Vintage model 43 (j frame airweight version of 34) It has an aluminum cylinder and frame, and after 34 years and many thousands of rounds it still locks up tight. The Aluminum Cylinder is lighter than the steel one and puts less wear on the hand and the bolt stop notches, and stop because of that fact.
  8. drewball

    drewball Member

    Oct 14, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    I have owned a 6" model 17-8 with the 10 shot aluminum cylinder for many years. It is a near constant companion when in the woods. Out of many handguns it is the one I shoot the most either in the field or at the range. It has seen untold thousands of rounds and is still just as tight and accurate today as the day I brought it home. The only real negative, if you could call it that, is that it does wear different than the blued steel. After much use, and many times in and out of a holster, it is easier to tell that it was made with two different materials, leading to a bit of a two-tone look, than when it was new.
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