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S&W 329PD Cylinder center pin binding?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by danbrew, Mar 22, 2009.

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  1. danbrew

    danbrew member

    Mar 21, 2009
    Hi, new guy here. I'm on a revolver kick and recently picked up a Smith & Wesson model 329PD - the 26oz .44. When shooting it for the first time, on round number 4, I encountered what I thought was a "lock failure", which is documented here: http://michaelbane.blogspot.com/2007/08/s-revolver-safety-failure.html. I promptly went home and took apart this brand new gun and removed the lock. It was a pretty simply process. I was out shooting it today and on the 2nd round (240g full power loads), the gun seized up and I couldn't advance the cylinder, cock the gun, or release the cylinder. That's a little screwed, right? And of course I had another 4 rounds in the cylinder and I wasn't crazy about screwing around with it too much.

    But... 'ya gotta do what 'ya gotta do sometimes. I realized that the only way I could rotate the cylinder was by pulling the trigger gently. The hammer would just go back a fraction. I later learned that the hammer was hitting the cylinder bolt, which was preventing the hammer from going back all the way:


    (original size photo here: http://danbrew.smugmug.com/photos/496014884_7UwD3-O.jpg

    After screwing around with it at the range, I was finally able to safely get the gun unloaded. How? By taking the thing apart at the range. The range weenies were turning green and said "well, that's dangerous. you can't take that apart here." I said, "ok, I'll take it home." Then they say "Oh, wait, you can't leave the range with a loaded gun" and "You can't transport a loaded gun" (I'm stupid, I live in Illinois). It was a pretty interesting dialog and they finally figured out that they ought to let me take a whack at it as they couldn't figure out a way to get it open either. So... I take the thing apart and literally force the cylinder bolt forward and then swing the cylinder out and unload the thing.

    I get home and try to figure out what the heck is going on with it and I discover that the cylinder bolt is just a tad forward of where it should be and the hammer is hitting it and the cylinder bolt is preventing the hammer from completing its rearward rotation. Hmmm. How the hell is that happening, I wonder. Perhaps the bolt plunger or bolt plunger spring is missing/bent? Nope. Works just fine. I even put a little oil on it and on the bolt itself and there is no friction. The thumbpiece wasn't too tight and binding, btw.

    Hmmm. Once the cylinder is open, the bolt slides back and forth just like it should. Hmmm. Think about this a minute. The bolt must be pushed all the way to the rear when the cylinder is closed so that the hammer can do its thing. The bolt must be pushed all the way to the front to release the cylinder. It is really tough to push the bolt to the front. Hmmm. Maybe I should look at the center pin and the center pin spring on the cylinder. Uh huh. That's it. It's jammed up and pushing my thumb against the center pin on the cylinder does not result with an easy in and out motion the way it does with my other umpteen revolvers, including that new S&W500 I went out and shot today too (heh heh). It's like butter on every other revolver. It's like an old busted up crusty doorbell button that don't want to ring on this brand new $1000 gun. Ah ha. That makes sense. The center pin is spring loaded and is supposed to lock the cylinder bolt to the rear when the cylinder is closed and locked. The cylinder bolt is supposed to push the center pin (smooth as butter) to release the cylinder when loading/unloading.

    While I've taken apart just about everything else on a revolver, I can't say that I've ever taken apart the extractor rod. Anybody have any easy tips on how to do this? I suspect the center pin is either bent or there's some stuff gunked up in the extractor rod. I see from the schematics that there is an extractor rod collar. What's a good way to get this off without screwing things up?

    Also, I've half a mind (there's some truth to that...) to send the whole thing to Smith & Wesson and say "fix it or fork over a new gun". This is a brand new gun with maybe 75 rounds through it. It'll be obvious to Smith & Wesson that I've taken the gun apart as I scratched up the inside a tad prying the side plate off (I know...) and I did put a little scratch on one of the screws, yet I'm positive I've put it back together correctly (and I did put that stupid lock back in). And... it appears that the center pin is binding and there's nothing that pulling the guts out will do to the center pin - which is one reason I'm leaning towards not screwing with it and just sending it back to S&W. And will S&W deny warranty claims if they know somebody else has been inside the guts?

    The thing that's really interesting about all of this is that it seems that this manifested itself after shooting full power loads with heavy bullets. I've shot a box of .44 special with no worries. But that just doesn't make any sense, I know. Not if the problem really is a binding issue with the center pin.

    The reality? Smith & Wesson markets this as a gun to carry in the back county where you might encounter something that wants to eat you. I'd be pretty pissed if one round pisses the bear off and I can't shoot it (or myself) with the second round because of a problem with the bolt that prevents the revolver from cycling. Screw that.

    Anyone have similar experiences with a Smith & Wesson revolver? Or specific experiences with warranty work? Or dealing with Smith & Wesson in general? I'm very disappointed in this gun and can't imagine trusting my life with it in a hunting or carrying and my ass is on the line situation.

    The 500, btw? Pretty cool. I brought 5 different boxes of ammo to the range with me and went probably 20-30 rounds. The 500g Hornady round? Ouch. That hurt and I whimpered like a little girl. Some 275g rounds? No problem.


  2. Gordon

    Gordon Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    central Kali.
    Send it to S&W with a printed out copy of your post. They will get the picture from you really nice picture. Tell them you couldn't ship them a loaded gun!:cuss:
  3. twoclones

    twoclones Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Washington State
    I sent a revolver back earlier. S&W repaired it and had it back to me in a week :)
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