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Is this possible with a S&W revolver? (Timing Issue)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by lucretia, Jan 13, 2008.

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  1. lucretia

    lucretia Member

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    Is it possible to cock a standard double action S&W revolver so slowly that the cylinder stop will fail to engage before the hammer is locked back? Or is any failure for the stop to lock the cylinder into place indicitive of the revolver being out of time?

    If I sit here and manually cock my revolver as slowly as I can, I find that the cylinder stop won't engage maybe once in ten times.

    Isn't it amazing the things that people are compelled to do when they haven't anything else to keep them occupied?
     
  2. Redhawk1

    Redhawk1 Member

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    Never been that bored. :)
     
  3. Neophyte1

    Neophyte1 Member

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    Smile

    lucretia: Sir;:):eek::):rolleyes::D;) and what will you be having for Breakfast?
     
  4. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    While you may have a bit too much time on your hands ;), is this not a legitimate functional test for lockup, indexing and timing on the S&W revolver? The cylinder should always fully lock up when the hammer comes completely back all the way into the full cock notch, and the cylinder stop or bolt should drop in slightly before full cock. (Colts work differently.)

    Sometimes they can do it on say, one or two chambers but not others. With all this time on your hands anyway, you might devise some method of marking the chambers for indentification and see if this happens consistently on a particular chamber(s). It could be in the early stages of a problem. You didn't mention the model, but if it is for a magnum cartridge and fired a lot with magnums, it is possible that you might have some wear on the mechanism.
     
  5. pwrtool45

    pwrtool45 Member

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    After being shot a lot the hand will wear. Wear, in this case, means "have less metal than it used to." Same for the lugs on the extractor. As this happens, movement of the trigger (to which the hand is attached) or the hammer (which moves the trigger) subsequently fails to move the cylinder as much as it should (measured arc length is too short).

    As this happens, the first thing you'll notice is the firing pin indentations on your fired brass getting more and more off center. (This is indicative of the cylinder stop not engaging the notches.) As you continue to ignore these warning signs which are the equivalent of the revolver screaming "I need preventative maintenance! Help me!" you may eventually notice a louder boom than normal. (It should be said at this point that your noticing said boom is not a prerequisite for its occurrence. You may only learn about it later as you are recuperating in the hospital. In the worst case, you may not learn about it at all.) This is the equivalent of the revolver saying "I bloody told you, I need maintenance!"

    You see, with a revolver, bullets are very particular about where they enter the barrel. The center is nice. The sides? Not so much. The consequences of such can range from annoying (shaving lead) to potentially catastrophic (meplat of the bullet hitting the edge of the barrel).

    Slowly cocking the revolver, as you say you're doing, will exaggerate these symptoms. Since the cylinder's being moved more slowly, there's less angular momentum to keep the it going once the hand has finished moving. This incidental movement will often/frequently/sometimes/maybe be enough to rotate the cylinder far enough to engage the stop. In turn, it will mask wear on the hand; which is why many timing tests are performed slowly. In any case, your revolver should lock up (cylinder stop engages notch) when the hammer is at full cock (single action) or before the hammer falls (double action). Your revolver is demonstrating signs that it will soon need attention. Either purchase the Kuhnhausen manual and the parts or send it off to a qualified 'smith.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2008
  6. Boulder

    Boulder Member

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    pwrtool45, great informative post. Thank you.
     
  7. HammerBite

    HammerBite Member

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    Do you cock as slowly as you can when shooting?
     
  8. JB696

    JB696 Member

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    Some think that as long as the momentum of the turning cylinder moves it into the locked position, that's OK. Sorry, failure to lock up before the hammer locks into position is a mechanical defect, even when slowly cocked. A competent gunsmith can repair this if they have the parts, or if you send it back to S&W they will repair it. It usually involves the fitting of an oversized hand.
     
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    While that can be done with a lot of revolvers when "playing", it is nearly impossible to do in normal operation. Yes, if it gets too bad, it can be corrected, at some expense, but what you describe should be no problem in the "real world."

    Some perfectionists insist that any such situation is an abomination that must be corrected immediately, and that they could never stay under the same roof as a revolver that was out of time, but most of us would never notice the "problem."

    Jim
     
  10. DPris

    DPris Member

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    It very much is an indicator of a timing problem, and it's one of the legitimate tests to do before buying a Smith revolver. It can even occur with a new one.
    Especially in checking out any used S&W revolver, I cock it very slowly, and if it's correctly timed the cylinder will lock up before the hammer reaches full cock. This is how it should be set up, and if it's not, I either don't buy it or buy it knowing it'll be going in for corrections as soon as possible.

    It's not a matter of being a perfectionist, or of being unable to sleep under the same roof with an out-of-time gun, it's a matter of recognising that there's wear that has progressed to a noticeable point, it's going to continue, I don't know what else may be wrong, the action could have been messed with along the way, or it could have been improperly set up at the factory (which does happen). :)

    Yes, you can rely on inertia to "throw" the cylinder into lockup, but if it won't lock before the hammer reaches full cock when done slowly, there IS something wrong (most likely hand or ratchet wear, as noted above), and I prefer not to own or shoot a gun in such a condition.

    "Most of us" would never notice a number of things that might be problematical, until a major event occurs to draw it to our attention. :)

    Denis
     
  11. Seiko

    Seiko Member

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    Most of the time when I have seen this it has been due to a worn hand, or the part on the ejector where the hand rotates the cylinder.

    In fact I have a 657 that I am sending back to smith because of the ejector being worn causing it to not lock up if shooting single action.
     
  12. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    If you ask S&W, they'll remind you that newer S&W revolvers built without the old-style extractors & extractor pins should be checked with EMPTY, properly sized cases in the charge holes. The extractors are cut differently on new model revolvers, and the cases are important to 'fix' the extractors in position (whereas the older pins used to serve that function). Live cartridge cases serve this function during normal shooting.
     
  13. DPris

    DPris Member

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    First I've heard of that one.
    Carryup is carryup, and I've never heard of any requirement that the chambers not be empty when checking it. The extractor stars are cut to index themselves, even without the older pins.
    The only time empty cases were recommended (in my experience) is when backing out or tightening the ejector rod. :)
    Denis
     
  14. 2ndamd

    2ndamd Member

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    +1

    I cock the hammer back slowly when function testing a used revolver as well. Nothing in the chambers when doing this either. I have not heard of this before?

    I do use a peice of unprimed virgin brass to check for head spacing.
     
  15. Pistol Toter

    Pistol Toter Member

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    The condition you describe is indictative or a timing problem in the very earlest of stages; it will with time and higher pressure loads, get progressively worse. It is not a difficult or expensive repair. As ohte have commented as you increase to momentum the cylinder completes its travel a bit quicker. If it get to the stage where it is not locking up before the hammer fails, as in staging the trigger, it can become a dangerious problem.
     
  16. JB696

    JB696 Member

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    When a S&W revolver fails to lock up when "playing" with it, it's just a matter of time until it fails to lock up when firing. In the "real world" it is a defect. On my guns it started with one chamber and got progressively worse, usually in a few hundred rounds. "FCU" or failure to carry up, as S&W calls it, is a warrantee repair. It's the most common repair work they do on revolvers. Just send it in.
     
  17. pwrtool45

    pwrtool45 Member

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    AFAIK, Fastbolt is correct. I don't have my ("round") pinned extractor models (up to dash 3 in the 686, IIRC) handy, but my current SSR blaster, a 686-5 ("square" extractor) seems to have more rotational play than the pinned models do. It makes sense, as 6 flat extractor surfaces would have to mate perfectly with the cylinder in order to have zero rotational play as opposed to two circular surfaces (extractor pins) in the older "round" extractor models. Add cases to the equation and the issue would be moot. Also, IIRC, those pins were quite expensive (relatively) compared to the rest of the revolver. Kinda explains why they were deleted.

    WRT the other comments/complaints, I guess I'm on their ignore list? :scrutiny: Because it seems I addressed each of these issues in my original post.
     
  18. lucretia

    lucretia Member

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    Despite various editorial comments about the amount of time I have to spare, I am really, really pleased with the comments everyone posted to my question. :) Thanks! Obviously this timing problem is only going to get worse and it won't be long before my revolver is in really dire straights. I guess I'll call the good folks at Smith and Wesson tomorrow and see what this little endeavor is going to cost me.
     
  19. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Exactly my response when I first learned about it regarding the newer production S&W revolvers. ;)

    'Does Not Carry Up' is a pretty simple repair for the factory, though. Why not call them? Let them figure out if it's a problem in your gun, and if so, whether the next size up (oversize) hand is necessary, or whether they want to install a new extractor because one spot on the ratchets was cut too generously.
     
  20. PAAiredale

    PAAiredale Member

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    Out of the Box Timing Problems?

    I recently purchased a S&W 686 Plus 357 Magnum with 4" barrel. Series number is 686-6. After only about 400 rounds of 38 Special and about 75 rounds of 357 Magnum, I noticed that the timing was off while cleaning the gun. I suspect that this is an out of the box problem. This is a 7 chamber cylinder; 3 adjacent chambers consistantly did not lock into place before the hammer fully locked and then dropped. Didn't even lock after the hammer dropped during dry firing (I don't know about live fire). Happened in both SA and DA with chambers unloaded. Only by snapping the trigger very rapidly in DA did the 3 "bad" positions properly lock into place, but not consistantly.

    I took the gun back to the dealer where the gunsmith inspected it (with empty chambers), confirmed the timing problem, and told me it needed to go back to S&W for repair. I asked if he'd ever seen this before on a S&W and he replied, "only once, and only on one chamber...never 3."

    Still waiting to get my gun back, and hoping I can get tighter groups after the repair. I was much better with an identical rental gun with proper timing!
     
  21. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    Waste your money on unnecessary repairs if you like.

    There's nothing wrong with your gun.

    You are using it in a fashion not intended by the designer when you cock the hammer as slowly as possible.

    I bet 9 out of ten perfectly fine revolvers could be made to what you describe by doing what you describe.

    Sheesh. Why do some people go out of their way to look for problems?
     
  22. Boulder

    Boulder Member

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    I recently purchased a Model 21 and one of the six chambers fails to carry up during slow single-action cocking of the hammer. It is always the same chamber and all of the cylinder stop notches look normal. This happens even if I use spent brass or snap caps while testing. However, this does not occur when firing in double-action mode or cocking the hammer back with some gusto.
     
  23. Hawk

    Hawk Member

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    Good luck with that one, lucretia.

    Timing is taking on the aspect of "rifle barrel break-in" where knowledgeable people routinely disagree and the rest of us are left wondering what's up.

    First, a digression: if'n it was a Colt, I'd bet on out-of-time and "needs fixed". This is based on this Grant Cunningham entry.

    As to how much, if any, this applies to S&W is anybody's guess. I had one that was timing challenged on all six chambers that I got fixed. I found a local guy that fixed it although it's my understanding S&W will also take care of it for a reasonable fee.

    The frustrating part is that, if you follow the link, you'll find Grant Cunningham saying one thing (in re: Colts) while two others are saying the exact opposite - the problem here is that the two others have both forgotten more about revolvers than I'll likely ever know. Hence, you've got diametrically opposed authoritative answers (I hate it when that happens.)

    Cunningham's remarks on Colt's are not totally dissimilar from Jerry Miculek's remarks on checking time on a S&W which he did by sorta-slow-cocking in double action on the "trigger job" DVD. My impression was that if the cylinder was locked "right at" the DA break he'll proceed, if it isn't, the timing is to be repaired. Perhaps snag yourself a copy of the DVD and/or contact S&W.

    My money's on Miculek which would lead me to believe that yours, if not immediately, will soon be looking to be repaired.

    If Fuff chimes in, I'll jump on whatever band wagon he's on.

    However,
    That just ain't right. Warrantee time unless I am very much mistaken.
     
  24. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    I'm sorry but I do not think the definition of the performance described falls under the heading of "opinions". This revolver IS, not is going to be, out of time. In any number of situations something can create a drag on the cylinder and then it is surely not going to be in time when it discharges. The poster will be doing himself a good turn by having this repaired.
    The reason there are not a lot of "old wives" tales about stuff that never really hurt anybody is because the perpetrators are either dead, or too embarrassed to shoot their mouths off.
    With many Colts (I have not shot or studied any where near all of them) it is possible for the cylinder to stop before locking in slow single action cocking, BUT if it does move into lock before discharging as the trigger is pulled, it is okay.
     
  25. keyboard commando

    keyboard commando Member

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    Gummed Up?

    lucretia ; Spray your revolver full of brake parts cleaner,blow it out,lightlly oil it,see what happens, and let us know. Symptoms are typical of old varnished oil.:scrutiny:
     
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