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I'm no big fan of recent production S&W revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by hAkron, Nov 27, 2012.

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  1. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The Old Fuff, who is now in his dotage and well over the hill, admits that when he was much younger he knew a lot more about handguns (revolvers in particular) then he does now – or at least it seemed to him to be that way at the time. :D

    Anyway, the current arguments over old vs. new seem a bit ridiculous to him because both sides can have it their way.

    He does occasionally point out that he has, over past decades, examined in great detail Smith & Wesson products made from the Civil War to present, and done so both inside and out. If someone has better credentials I invite them to step forward.

    As might be expected this experience has led to some opinions, and it is these opinions that tend to direct his personal preferences.

    However, nowhere is it written that others have to agree with him, and fortunately those folks are the ones who are keeping the company in business – and by any standard they are doing well. At the present time their stock value has doubled over the last 12 months. As I pointed out earlier, I am delighted that a large number of buyers are satisfied with the current guns because it keeps them away from what I am interested in. All this proves is that some buyers are perhaps deluded or lack more extensive experience. ;)
     
  2. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    If I had seen a pre-lock 686+ next to this 686+ with a lock, similarly priced, I would have most assuredly purchased the pre-lock. I probably won't carry this gun too often, and I probably won't shoot it as often as my range favorites (but who knows), so I'm sure any discrepancy in quality between, say my 686-4 and this 686-6 probably won't affect me, and hey, if it does I will take advantage of the lifetime S&W warranty (course, being the 2nd owner, maybe not). Either way, I got this fine gun at a fine price, mostly to convince MYSELF that the recent S&W's were still good guns.
     
  3. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    hAkron,

    While like you, I am going to buy the pre-cost cutting gun every time...at the right price, I would have bought it too.

    I truly do hope that you enjoy it and then make a profit.
     
  4. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Wow, you guys even poop in your own threads. You don't need our participation to argue about it. :neener:
     
  5. Thaddeus Jones

    Thaddeus Jones Member

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    Well said Craig C. I thought the same thing. :)

    OP, congrats on your new revolver. If you like it, that is all that matters. ;)
     
  6. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    I want to clarify my last statement, if they would have had 2 at the price I got this one for, one pre-lock, and one with the lock, I would have bought both. :)
     
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    You know, with a slightly bigger cylinder release, you could cover up that hillary hole. laughing-smiley-009.gif

    J/K

    Nice lookin' gun. Enjoy! :D
     
  8. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    To the OP, if you are happy with your new S&W more power too you. As for me I am afraid I have to side with Old Fluff. I too am over the hill, at least the broken parts are, and my experience leads me to only spend my limited resources on S&Ws made prior to about 2000. YMMV!

    Dave
     
  9. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    Perhaps.
    Maybe you can discourse on how they negatively affect performance. Perhaps Old Fuff can tell us how underpaid machinists using inferior materials produce better results than computer-aided machines.
    Heck, the 3 screw models were cheaper alternatives to the older 5 screw models. And we all know the pre-war long action is just a whole lot better than the post war short action. Those guys drooling over their 1970s guns are on to an inferior product. They really need the original 1899 M&P with its un-heat treated cylinder. Now there was a pistol!
     
  10. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Well Bubba,

    I am not the equal of the Old Fuff, but it doesn't take his equal to answer that one.

    Longevity for one thing- yes, there are advances in metallurgy and I'm not saying they are done. The MIM parts now prevalent in production revolvers are not advancements in the quality of the metal for purpose, but advancements in cutting production costs. Advacements realized in "sintering" metal parts that lead to current MIM production do not represent an advancement of this category over machining and fitting quality bar stock, but improvements over the early cost cutting methods. While MIM parts may perform well enough on newly produced arms, they have been in use for long enough to definitively prove they are not as break resistent or good candidates for long term (100 years?) productive service. Any opinion to the contrary is ill-informed.

    Precision- Yes, computers are superior to human frailty in some regards. That doesn't equate to this type production resulting in a superior (or even equal) product over the human driven craftsmanship of the past. The precision of current production levels is repeatable ad infintum, without costly human hand intervention to levels "acceptable" to a corporate board and a buying public with no readily available alternative. That is the standard of current production and is simply a completely different animal than the standards set by and achieved by premium producers of the past. The theoretical gains of computerization in the factory floor of a modern mass production facility are very noticably absent to those who experince AND highly regard the products of the "craftsman" era. To deny this is simply naive.

    A parting thought. A MIM revolver component, while having achieved a serviceable level of function, is still a hardened crust in a shape and specs decidied and executed by mass production machinery. Inside the crust is the "fiberboard" metal equivalent to the sawdust Guillermo alluded to. Break the crust trying to adapt the part to wear or specific fitting and it is scrap. Computers are CAPABLE of precision beyond human hands, assuming these production methods ATTAIN that is simply incorrect.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  11. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    So basically you cannot articulate why today's guns are inferior, but are merely guessing based on some past experience with some MIM part somewhere possibly produced 15 years ago.
    Do you think S&W has machine settings marked "Great", "Acceptable" etc?

    I'll add the antipathy to modern S&W stuff seems to stem from some romantic attachment to "old fashioned craftsmen dedicated to the highest artisanship." This is nothing if not naive.
     
  12. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    what kind of grades did you get in reading comprehension?

    P.S. Simply, they are not as good now, (not nearly as precise) and they will not last nearly as long.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  13. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Ah, youngster, I know it may be hard for you to believe, but there was once an America with "craftsmen dedicated to the highest artisanship".;)

    Don
     
  14. bikemutt
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    bikemutt Member

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    While I appreciate, and own many, old school Smiths, the main thing I dislike about today's variants is the integrated lock. I'll continue to buy the scandium and titanium guns as they come about despite the lock because there's no other choice. The carbon and stainless steel ones with locks, not so much.
     
  15. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    Very high road.

    I'm asking you to articulate (that means explain) precisely why "they are not as good now". And why you think they will not last nearly as long. The latter is entirely guessing on your part, of course, because there is no evidence of that.
     
  16. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    Old codger, of course there were. But they weren't unionized machinists working in factories turning out piece work.
     
  17. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Do your own homework and take a close look at yourself. We have expressed our experiences and thoughts and you have been given the same respect you have chosen to give others. If you need a change in this dynamic, it can only come from you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Sorry sir but I've handled, disassembled and used modern sixguns that were built as precisely as humanly possible. I've handled some of the finest custom sixguns available, expertly built by a long-experienced master craftsman. The facts as I know them and 'most' fellow shooters understand them are as follows:

    1. The best firearms in existence are not machined on CNC mills and then simply assembled by semi-skilled labor with MIM parts. They are hand-built of high quality forgings, some with cast frames and then hand-fitted with forged lockwork or that cut from steel billet.

    2. The best revolvers in existence are completely hand-finished. They are not polished on a buffing wheel or in a tumbler, as S&W's are.

    3. The best revolvers in existence do not contain any MIM parts.

    4. The best revolvers in existence do not have one-piece barrels.

    The bottom line is that the modern S&W has ZERO in common with the finest revolvers available. Nothing that has been changed about the design over the last two decades has been to make them better. They have simply been cost-cutting measures. This should be obvious to anyone who knows anything about revolvers. MIM parts are cheaper to manufacture but more importantly, they are easier to make more consistently and thus, require less hand-fitting by skilled laborers. Two piece barrels are easier and cheaper to manufacture.
     
  19. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Craig

    You are wasting your time.

    Expect an ad hominem response instead of conversation.

    The bottom line is that NO ONE thinks that MIM is an "advance"
    They know it is a "cost cutting measure"

    NO ONE thinks that 2 piece barrels are an "advance"
    They know it is a "cost cutting measure"

    NO ONE thinks that forged parts are "inferior"
    They are not used so as to "cut costs"

    Those are irrefutable facts and no one will discuss them as they try to say that "new S&W's are better than ever".

    Obfuscation and misdirection are what you can expect.
     
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Guys...

    Don't tear up Bubba613, 'cuz he's ask some good questions, and maybe made some points. However he hasn't come up with anything the Old Fuff can't rebut. It will take some time however.

    Incidentally, those "craftsmen" weren't underpaid, at least for the times; and during the Great Depression of the 1930's the company almost went bankrupt rather then lay off any of they're workforce. Smith & Wesson's owners and management (the company was privately held) knew that those craftsmen, as well as most other workers were a critical component in the process of turning out S&W handguns - and they were treated accordingly.

    The appreciation and loyalty of the workers is reflected in the high quality of the guns they made.
     
  21. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    High quality products can still be had in USA just look at made in Ohio Ithaca 37 shotgun. Smith & Wesson could still make best ever revolvers but they will not because you will not pay for the final product. This discussion is not very informative but is very entertaining please go on.
     
  22. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Bubba has said (on other threads) that the current S&W revolvers are better than ever and that he is one of the few intelligent enough to recognize that such is the case.

    In addition, that MIM is an "advancement in metallurgy"

    So now that everyone is up to speed, please discuss.
     
  23. skidder

    skidder Member

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    Not the most popular refute, but the day "Lock and Wesson" (Saf-T-Hammer) took over is when I stopped wishing for an S&W. I know they have had some distinguishable decades, but none so noticeable to me as the year "Saf-T-Hammer" took over.

    My drooling stopped as I browsed the display cases at the turn of the century. I'd be hell-bent to ever consider an S&W with a manufacture year that began with a 2.

    To the OP....
    Did you really think the way you arranged your title and first post that it would bring a peaceful discussion???
     
  24. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Bubba,

    You are talking to a man who owns and uses (for over 30 years) a Smith & Wesson Model of 1905 Target produced in 1910. Precision is at a premium, and the metallurgy was significantly inproved after heat treating the cylinders was adopted in the early 1930's. That's why I also own a S&W Mod 14-2 from 1963. Use it too, and for a long time.

    I also compare the 1892 Safety Hammerless that I own to revolvers from the '60's, '70's, '80's, and '90's.

    I bought and owned a "new production" 686+ for about 3 years. These are the things that upon which I base my opinions of current production Smith revolvers. I am assuming you have less experience and context.

    That could be wrong. If so correct me. Your argument will be put into best context by telling us where it comes from.

    P.S. that 100 years I previously referred to was up in 1992 for the Safety Hammerless, and 2010 for the M&P Target. Nothing made after 1998 by S&W compares at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  25. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    OK, so the argument is: S&W revolvers are worse now than they were in _______(fill in the blank) because I had some models from that time that were beautiful.

    That's pretty persuasive!
     
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