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MAJOR top strap Erosion after only 40rds?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jcs271, Apr 25, 2009.

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  1. jcs271

    jcs271 Member

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    Well I have been extremely happy with my recently purchased S&W 327 (8rds .357, scandium frame, titanium cylinder, 23ozs). For my situation it is the perfect combination of light weight/major horsepower for close up defense. I fired about 20 magnum rounds to check for function and point of aim. I cleaned it and have been carrying it a bit. Tonight I shot about 20 more mag rounds and while cleaning I noticed what appears to be Deep (1/16"+) erosion in the top strap directly above the B/C gap. There was also some stange looking "white dust" around the edge of the frame where the barrel meets the cylinder. I don't recall seeing this erosion earlier but since I have to wear reading glasses I may not have seen it during the last cleaning.
    Needless to say I am EXTREMELY disappointed in the performance of this high tech $1000.00 gun.
    Has anybody experienced anything like this, looks like it will be heading back to S&W for a new frame or a refund.
    I have a lot of revolvers and never seen anything like this!
     
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    The 327 is supposed to have a steel shield installed above the cylinder gap to prevent this.

    If you look closely at this image you can see it.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. W Turner

    W Turner Member

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    Could it be that the 1/16" groove you're seeing is the groove where the little shield is supposed to be?

    Even without the shield in place, 40 rounds should not erode the top strap that much.
    I am not as familiar with the scandium models so I could be wrong about the erosion part.

    W
     
  4. jcs271

    jcs271 Member

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    There is NO metal shield above the b/c gap in my pistol. I don't recall ever seeing one either. This gun was purchased brand new and I was the first person to hold it when the box was opened. So much for the "Performance Center" quality control.
     
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Exactly what .357 Magnum ammunition were you using? Some 125-grain loads have a well-deserved reputation for eroding steel topstraps, so I expect they could really do a number on aluminum.

    Since you can return it to S&W on their dime, I would do so. In the process they will check out everything.

    As an aside: It’s a good idea to start a thread asking for member’s experiences before you buy one of the exotic guns made from space-age materials. ;)
     
  6. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    sounds like you're missing the steel shield. the "erosion" is probably just where the shield is supposed to be seated. Quality control problems aside, it should be a pretty simple fix (install the proper shield).
     
  7. jcs271

    jcs271 Member

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    Calling S&W monday am,,thanks johnksa and w turner. Good obs on the steel shield.
     
  8. krs

    krs Member

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    Is this shield something that's supposed to be removable by the owner/user for any reason like cleaning or replacement?

    could it fall out? I don't mean to suggest that the OP missed anything, I'm just curious about the technology of the device.
     
  9. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    I have found that sometimes what looks like flame cutting is really just a build up of powder and carbon residue. A tooth brush and bore cleaner with a little scrubbing removes it.
     
  10. Thaddeus Jones

    Thaddeus Jones Member

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    That "shield" is supposed to protect the topstrap. The shield also needs to be replaced, at the factory, after so many rounds. There were threads over on the S&W forum showing the shield cracked in half and fallen off the revolver after the flame cutting ate through it. They apparently were also "lost" by the new pro company owner.

    I'd send that back to smith and have them repair it. A revolver that needs to be protected from destroying itself :scrutiny:. Now that is innovative. :confused:
     
  11. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    My 296 came w/o such a shield. The earlier 396's didn't have one, either. From my observation, after 2,200+ mainly 200gr Gold Dots (Blazers, GA Arms, and my homebrews) any and all erosion on my 296 stopped a long time ago, the carbon deposits in said spot seemingly insulating it from further damage. Now, a hot lite-weight .357M will produce more erosion.

    The value of others' experiences related here and elsewhere is great, indeed. I was in a store yesterday looking at the 327NG and PC327 snubbies. For $840-$950, one shouldn't have to worry about topstrap longevity vs designed ammo use.

    I love my 627 Pro. Perhaps another one - and a shorter barrel installed - would be a better answer for me - sort of an affordable 'Bloodwork' gun.

    Stainz
     
  12. krs

    krs Member

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    I have an M1917 that's almost half eroded through the strap. It makes me wonder what stories it could tell. I wouldn't be interested in a new gun in the same condition.

    All for the sake of lightness - it's a market/buyer fault, really, that brings S&W to devise such a thing.
     
  13. jcs271

    jcs271 Member

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    I sent the gun back to Smith (customer service sent me a UPS prepaid label), they took about 3 weeks then contacted me and said that they were going to scrap the frame as defective and would be sending me a replacement the next day. I had the gun back with new frame about 20hrs later since they shipped it overnight express. Looks and shoots great, steel blast shield above the B/C gap is in place. Overall a great customer service experience.
     
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Thanks for the follow-up post on this.

    All's well that ends well!
    And I'm glad to hear it did!

    rc
     
  15. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    did they match the serial number or give you a new one?
     
  16. JWF III

    JWF III Member

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    Wondering the same thing here.

    I'm assuming they matched it since you said nothing about a dealer. As I understand it, a new SN requires a new yellow sheet and new NICS check. But I could be wrong.

    BTW, glad to hear everything went good. Quality company, with quality products and customer service.

    Wyman
     
  17. Bill B.

    Bill B. Member

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    It apparently doesn't require a new yellow sheet as they replaced a S&W M12 for me with a new S&W M36. They just wished to know if I would accept something other than a S&W M12 since it was no longer made. I agreed to the S&W M36 and they sent it UPS to my home. Those serial #'s sure did not match but that has been about 10 years ago so policy may have changed since.
     
  18. jcs271

    jcs271 Member

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    All new serial number on the new frame (apparently assembled with my old internal parts). They shipped it straight to me with no paper needed. If I recall previous discussions on that issue, a manufacturer can change the # and replace it for you with no "government intervention".
     
  19. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    If I recall previous discussions on that issue, a manufacturer can change the # and replace it for you with no "government intervention".

    True, but if your state/city has gun registration, it will be up to you to initiate a change in their records.

    FWIW, S&W used to mill out an oval above the gap (collectors call it "the thumbnail") to prevent erosion, but eventually decided that the erosion went to a certain point and stopped, so they dropped the "thumbnail".

    Jim
     
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