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Pre-Lock S&W Revolver question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by g17, Dec 31, 2006.

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  1. g17

    g17 Member

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    Since the mid 80's I've bought primarily automatics but have had a bug recently to buy revolvers again. Do Smith & Wesson revolver models just prior to the lock (keyhole next to the latch) have the firing pin on the hammer or are they like the lock models, specifically a 686? I was looking at a fairly new pre-lock 629 recently and although it does not have the lock, the firing pin is not on the hammer (where it belongs IMO) like on my early 90's and prior S&W revolvers. Anyway, thanks for the info.
     
  2. SnWnMe

    SnWnMe Member

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    MIM preceded the lock by a little bit.
     
  3. carl418

    carl418 Member

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    To still have a hammer-mounted firing pin, you will need to stay earlier than the mid-90's. I don't think you can go by this on all models, but my 629-4 Classic and 586-4 still have the firing pin on the hammer. I'm pretty sure both models went to frame-mounted in the next dash model.

    By the way, I agree with you about this feature. Those two guns are the newest Smith's I own, and I have 13 Smith revolvers. No plans to buy newer... JMHO.
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    When S&W changed to frame-mounted firing pins on center-fire revolvers they also changed to MIM hammers, although the continued to use steel triggers in some models for a short time. Then they switched to MIM triggers and a substatial redesign of the action to allow less handwork and more straightforward assembly of components. Last, they incorporated the lock. Because they used up old lockwork over a period of time you will find exceptions to the above.
     
  5. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Yeah, the key lock was the last change. They've been going steadily down hill since the early 80s, but the guns made thereafter, until fairly recently, could be worked on by a 'smith to bring them up to the old standards. Not true anymore.
     
  6. SnWnMe

    SnWnMe Member

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    Actually, Tomkins, aka the Brits turned Smith around from the dregs of Bangor Punta (60s,70s) and Lear Ziegler (early to mid 80s). They got Smith to ISO standards, redesigned the N frames to (slightly) better withstand full power 44 Mag loads, introduced CNC and most importantly, offered the Lifetime Warranty for guns purchased beginning in 89 IIRC.

    Of course, Tomkins also jumped in bed with the Antis but that doesn't have anything to do with quality control.
     
  7. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    I'm thinking the MIM got phased in gradually.

    I've got a no-dash 696, with hammer on the firing pin, no lock, but an MIM cylinder catch. The hammer and trigger look to be real metal, with some sort of color case-hardening. They could be MIM with a colorful external heat treat, though.
     
  8. SnWnMe

    SnWnMe Member

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    Like any manufacturer, S&W doesn't throw away perfectly good old parts the night before to instantly transition to new spec parts the next day. So yes, MIM and just about any major change in their guns are brought online right alongside the superseded part or design until the old stocks are used up.
     
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