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Removing S&W Sideplate

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by FPrice, Feb 27, 2004.

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  1. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    How do you remove the sideplate on a S&W revolver?

    I know that I need to remember which screw goes in which hole for proper re-assembly, but HOW do you get that sideplate to come off? The one I tried fit so tightly that I couldn't get it to budge and I didn't want to pry it off the wrong way.

    Thanks.
     
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Sideplate

    Howdy!

    Don't pry it off! You'll spring it or bugger up the edges.

    Get the screws out, and hold the gun by the barrel with the right side facing up. Use a plastic or wood screwdriver handle to rap on the grip frame about mid-ways. The sideplate should pop right out with just a
    few raps.

    To get it back in, get the small tab at the front of the plate in, and put
    light pressure on the plate to roughly align it and get it barely started.
    Keep light pressure on it while you rap on the grip frame again, and the
    plate should reseat. Don't force it.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  3. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    1911tuner...

    I KNEW you'd be along sooner or later!

    Thanks, I'll try it tonight.
     
  4. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    re: Sideplate

    Mighty happy to be of help sir...Mind that little Whimmie-Diddle that
    falls outta the works when the sideplate pops out. It's the hammer block,
    and it just falls out. There's a slot in the sideplate that it rides in, and you'll
    have to make sure it's in the slot before you button it back up. When you lay it in place, you'll see where the little slotted hole in the end of the thing
    goes. It's a one-way only kinda thing, You'll figger it out...If ya get stuck, you can call me.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  5. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Three more cheers for Tuner! Relief that no ''prying'' took place! (shudder!)

    Just to add .. purely my personal fave but ... a few taps with a small animal hide mallet serves me well ... seem to get a better ''swing'' than with the screwdriver. Even a small hard rubber mallet too .. But hey .. probably just being pedantic!:p
     
  6. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I've been prying off Smith & Wesson side plates for years, and have never bent, distorted, or otherwise buggered one up. I use a piece of springy wood, not a screw driver. I always try tapping them off, and once in awhile, that works; nine times out of ten, however, I abandon the effort after a few whacks with a rubber mallet, and use the pry.
     
  7. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Sideplate

    Standin' Wolf said:

    I've been prying off Smith & Wesson side plates for years,

    :what: :uhoh:

    And:

    and have never bent, distorted, or otherwise buggered one up.

    :scrutiny:

    And:

    nine times out of ten, however, I abandon the effort after a few whacks with a rubber mallet,

    Rubber mallets don't work. The frame has to spring slightly, and the
    rubber absorbs the light shock necessary.

    Cheers!
    Tuner
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I just removed a tightly-fitted sideplate from a S&W .38 Safety Hammerless that's about 100 years old. The plate was not only tight, but glued in place by dried oil/varnish. It took awhile, but by using Tuner's method (which is the generally approved one) the sideplate eventually came off - without any damage to it or the revolver. Never pry, always use a (soft) hammer. The hammer causes vibrations that will lift the plate. Once started the plate will come off because the edges are fitted on a taper.
     
  9. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Given how tightly most S&W sideplates are fitted, it's pretty near impossible to pry off a sideplate without at least peening the edges of the seam.

    That's one of the first things I look for when I buy a used S&W revolver. It tells me whether someone's been inside or not, and by the severity of the peening, how often, how ham handed they were, and what I might expect in the way of "modifications and improvements." cough cough...

    My .32 Long Regulation Police, made just prior to WW I, has a seam that is so tightly fit that it is nearly invisible. I was probably the first person to ever take it apart, and it was a gold plated SOB because it was literally welded into place.

    I shudder to think what might have happened to the sideplate and that beautiful fit seam had I just stuck a screwdriver under the back edge of the plate at the grip and pried away.

    As others have said, a rubber mallet's not the best choice for removing the side plate. I like to use a piece of softwood, like pine, to strike across the grip flats. If that doesn't work, I'll go to a nylon headed hammer.

    If that doesn't work I'll use the 3 wood wedges technique described by Kuhnhausen in his book.

    I've only had to resort to that once, on a pre-Victory model .380/200 a friend bought.
     
  10. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I have pried side plates off and done so without visible damage, but I don't recommend it. I have had very few that won't come of by the method Tuner recommends.

    For reassembly, don't bother to even try to put the hammer block into the side plate first. Just lay it in with the top in front of the hammer and the hole at the bottom around the stud in the rebound slide.

    In reassembly, if the frame is "3 screw", you will have to make sure you hook the tab at the top of the sideplate in first. There are 3 screws, but one has a flat head and goes in the back under the grip. The front one is the critical one, since it holds in the crane, so it must be put back in the front. (On old S&W revolvers, the rear screw was dome headed, so the three screws were about identical and more care had to be taken not to mix them up.)

    The main concern is to make sure you have a good screwdriver and that it is not too sharp (avoids a deep scratch if you slip). I usually use a brass screwdriver for putting in the screw, then switch to a regular screwdriver for the final tightening.

    Jim
     
  11. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    Well guys, I tried your suggestion...

    And it WORKED!

    I removed my first S&W sideplate tonight, without any damage, and I seem to have gotten it back together again, in proper working order.

    Next step, learn to take all those little parts out, clean and polish them, and put THEM back in order.

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    You mean you're supposed to put all of those little parts back ????????

    Maybe that's why I so many of them scattered around .....
     
  13. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Off and On

    Excellent! Well done, lad. Drinks are on Fuff!
     
  14. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    followed by Frosty!:p

    Good result! Study the internals carefully .... and memorize positions etc ... they are not actually at all bad to disassemble. As ever ... be mindful of springs!:)
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Da .... Da ...... Drinks? ME? For everybody????

    Anybody like peppermint tea ......???
     
  16. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Peppermint Tea??

    Old Fuff asked:

    Anybody like peppermint tea ?

    Make mine coffee...S-T-R-O-N-G coffee. Anybody who visits me and asks
    for a cuppa Joe is duly warned. Not for the faint of heart or those accustomed to Latte' or Capuchino.

    I just call it...Turbocoffee.:D

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-cheeeers!

    T-t-tuner
     
  17. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Tuner .........

    I know ....... If I'd said strong, hot coffee I'd be swamped with requests.

    Don't think we have many peppermint tea drinkers here ..... at least I hope not.

    PS: The only thing I add to coffee is water - before, not after making it. Also gets lead out of the bore .......
     
  18. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Turbocoffee

    Fuff said:

    : The only thing I add to coffee is water - before, not after making it. Also gets lead out of the bore

    Oyeah! There ya go! Ladies and laddies, the man is a coffee drinker!

    I keep a pot goin' most of the day...which partly explains why my fingers
    get ahead of my agin' brain sometimes....:D
     
  19. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "Don't think we have many peppermint tea drinkers here ..... at least I hope not."

    I'm surprised that we'd have anyone who actually ADMITS to it! :what: :what: :what:

    :D
     
  20. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    Hey! HEY! HEY!

    You are hijacking my S&W sideplate thread to talk about drinking coffee???

    Well, I can go for a nice, hot, strong cup of coffee almost anytime.

    But, come up here and after the guns are put away and I'll break out the Willie Nelson small batch Bourbon for y'all.

    :what:
     
  21. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Sorry about that .... I thought you'd got the #$%%# sideplate off, already, .... yet .... or whatever.
     
  22. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    Old Fuff...

    "Sorry about that .... I thought you'd got the #$%%# sideplate off, already, .... yet .... or whatever."

    Of course I did. Why did you think I broke out the whiskey? :D
     
  23. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Good thinking .......

    See my post on another thread regarding your model 1917.
     
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Whiskey

    FPrice said:

    Of course I did. Why did you think I broke out the whiskey?

    Uh...Would that be...Tennessee Sour Mash Sippin' Whiskey?:p

    If sho...bring on another *hic* Shmith & Weshon...I'm game.
     
  25. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    You want GOOD coffee?

    I mean REALLY GOOD coffee?

    Try this place:

    www.bigvalleycoffee.com

    I order almost all of my coffee through them. They have two that are just fabulous:

    Big Valley Blend

    Death Valley Blend (VERY robust)

    I'm paying roughly $12 a pound to have this stuff shipped from Kentucky. That's how damned good it is.

    They're custom roasters, and only roast in batchs of 25 pounds or less. Mike, the one owner, is a frigging master.

    I've been critiqing (sp?) new blends and roasts for them for the past couple of months, and I've yet to find anything from them that's as bad as Starcrap's best sludge.

    If you order, tell Renee that I sent you. No, I don't get anything off my next order, but I wish that I did! :)
     
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