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S&W 640 Centenial Cylinder

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Mikey5oh, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    Hey guys,

    This past April I sent my 642 airweight to S&W to get looked at because the cylinder was locking up.
    I also decided to send in my Smith and Wesson 640 centennial that I bought brand new back in 1991.
    I wasn’t having any problems with the 640 but figured I would let them give it a once over.

    I received an email stating that the cylinder on the 640 needed to be replaced do to expanded chambers. After I agreed to have the work done, I receive another email stating the following -

    “Thank you for the response and I apologize for the inconvenience. Unfortunately we do not carry a cylinder than can repair this firearm so it is currently in the process of being returned to you”.

    So basically this firearm is going to be a paperweight. Any recommendations of where I might be able to have the gun repaired?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  2. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    How can a S&W have an expanded chamber? Was the chamber length extended somehow? Did the cylinder metal somehow expand? If the latter, they should replace the entire revolver.
     
  3. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    A chamber can expand due to a few reasons.. one being high pressured ammo.
     
  4. Ohen Cepel
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    Ohen Cepel Contributing Member

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    History on the revolver in question? Estimated rounds fired? Hot loads? May be able to get a spare cylinder somewhere else, odd that S&W can't fix a rather current product.
     
  5. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    S&W has gone in the toilet when it comes to most repairs. Most, if not all, of their good employees seem to have jumped ship. Before I did anything to that 640 I would measure the chambers to verify what S&W said. There are any number of decent smiths who can work on S&W revos and Gun Broker has lots of "parts kits" from guns destroyed by court order. Give a general idea of your location/whether or not you are willing to ship and maybe we can recommend a smith.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  6. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    Thank you for the reply. I purchased the gun in 1991 while in the NYPD. I’ve shot at least 100 rounds a year since. The NYPD started issuing +P ammunition in the mid 90’s. Smith & Wesson states that they don’t recommend using +P ammo in any of their guns made prior to 1997. That’s the only thing I can think of. Again, if it wasn’t for me sending in the gun, I would’ve never known that there was an issue.
     
  7. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    I would gladly ship the gun for a legitimate repair.
    I live in Florida.
     
  8. Ohen Cepel
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    Ohen Cepel Contributing Member

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    Does it eject the spent cases without issue?

    As BBill suggests above, I think I would get a 2nd opinion especially as it doesn't seem to be having issues.
     
  9. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    65A0E16C-673B-4DCC-A65E-0361F3FB20A9.jpeg
    I have no problem ejecting spent rounds from the gun. I did speak to a local gunsmith and he said that if the chambers are expanded, there wouldn’t be an issue with ejecting spent rounds being that the chambers are enlarged. He also said that he doesn’t recommend shooting the gun because it can be dangerous and that he didn’t have a replacement cylinder to give me. He further mentioned that if S&W is unable to get me a replacement cylinder, he doubts that a gunsmith could get one. I find it extremely hard to believe that Smith & Wesson can’t get a replacement let alone a gunsmith. That’s why I felt the need to post this.
    Extremely frustrated. 65A0E16C-673B-4DCC-A65E-0361F3FB20A9.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  10. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Model 60 uses the same cylinder and most of the other small parts. https://www.gunbroker.com/item/878325394

    There are some good smiths in Florida. Dave Smith is the head gunsmith at Gun Craft in Ruskin south of Tampa going towards Bradenton. I would trust him with my guns if I needed something done that I can't do.
     
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  11. Ohen Cepel
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    Ohen Cepel Contributing Member

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    I am not swearing that this is the right one but if its not I would think that Numrich may have them;
    https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/533050

    Good on ya for using one so much that it legitimately needs a cylinder replacement!

    Disappointed that S&W didn't make it right, especially (if they knew) given your LEO background. It was not like you were shooting crazy reloads in it for giggles to see if you could damage it. Also, I just can't believe that they don't have J-Frame cylinders around.
     
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  12. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    Thank you for the suggestion. I am going to give them a call. Yes, I definitely did not abuse the fireman. As I mentioned, I did shoot a lot of +P thru it (mostly Speer Gold Dots for short barrels) but I wouldn’t think that would hurt the gun.
     
  13. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    Maybe I'm coffee deprived but... you sent in two guns. One, the 640 had no issues, but you wanted it looked at just as a check up. They said the functioning, no issue revolver needed a new cylinder, which is unavailable. What am I missing? Was that a typo on your part, or is Smith trying to get out of fixing what ain't broken?
     
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Now that S&W has you scared, get a real gunsmith to check out your 640. If necessary, a cylinder can be found.
     
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  15. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    They didn’t get me scared, they actually got me disgusted. A reputable company getting back to me 7 months later after me having to call them numerous times only to find out that they can’t get a part for a gun that they produce.
     
  16. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    Yes you understood me correctly. I sent them 2 guns.

    A 642 airweight which needed repair due to the cylinder locking up on a few occasions. It was coming into contact with the frame. I have no idea what caused that issue.

    They didn’t swap out the cylinder on that gun.. I’m assuming they made some adjustments and charged me $135. They don’t get back to you with any detailed information which I find very odd.

    I also decided to send in another gun, a 640 Centennial that I bought back in 1991. I had absolutely no issues with that gun whatsoever but figured I’d send it in along with the 642 just to have them give it a once over. They got back to me telling me that the cylinder needed to be swapped out because of expanded chambers. After I agreed to pay the $240 that they asked for, I didn’t hear back from them for another month. I called them back only to hear that they can’t get a replacement cylinder.
     
  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    This is very common in the "good customer service" game. You hardly ever learn what was really wrong and what was really done to (perhaps) fix it. Probably you would be angry to learn how little was done.
     
  18. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    That’s exactly what I’m going to do. Once I receive the gun back, I’m going to bring it to a local gunsmith and see if in fact the gun really does have a problem. If so I’ll take it from there.
     
  19. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Be very careful who you take it to. Many local smiths are just guys who think they know something about guns. Unfortunately the customer gets to learn just how little they know. Stick to someone vetted by others. Get more recommendations from folks who have had similar work done by a particular smith.
     
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  20. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    Thank you
     
  21. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    There is a tool, or set of tools, called "small hole gauges". Basically they're a set of expanding semicircles that are inserted into a hole, then withdrawn and measured. While you do need a micrometer to get the "exact" diameter, without a micrometer, you can use the small hole gauges as a comparison tool by carefully measuring the drag of the gauge at different points in the (very clean, please) chamber. You can even compare chamber to chamber to see if there's anything obvious going on. Small hole gauges run from about $20 for a Chinese set, up to about $100 for big name USA made sets. There's no actual measurement taking place, they just transfer what you get by "feel/drag" in a hole and allow you to measure the result, therefore, a lower priced set is completely ok for this purpose.

    Maybe invest $20-$30 into a set (Amazon has 'em), before you go seek a Smithy. As you said, there was no real issue with the 640. I think S&W might be blowin' smoke.

    And, you said you paid them before the work was done? Did you get a refund? My experience for S&W has been.... lackluster to say the best, and downright awful at worst. Have not dealt with them for a while, and glad not to have cause to.
     
  22. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

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    Thank you for the info. Yes I agree, something tells me that there is nothing wrong with the gun. Also the fact that they don’t have access to a cylinder for that revolver makes no sense to me. As far as payment goes, they look at the gun, determine whether there’s work to be done and if so, they mail you a sales quote. Once you agree to the sales quote they ask for a credit card then perform the repair. In this situation, they told me that they did not have a cylinder to repair the gun with and said they are sending it back of course with no charge.. 8 months later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  23. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    The first run of 640's had "Tested +P+) on the frame. S & W .38 cylinders have been a little oversized ever since I can remember.. I would have a real smith check it out just to be safe. FYI back in the day there were smith's that would chamber the new model 60 for .357 mag. with 110 gr. bullets after receiving confirmation from S & W that they proofed their model 60's to 60K psi. I, in now way condone this practice and a prudent smith would never attempt this today.
     
  24. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Two styles, full ball and half ball. You insert, expand until it contacts the walls, remove carefully, and measure across the ball with a micrometer. An accurate dial caliper will do in a pinch.

    Couple examples out of many for sale on ebay - https://www.ebay.com/itm/HFS-R-4-Pc...e-Hole-Precision-Gage-Gauge-Set/292166390630?

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/SHARS-4-SM...431931?hash=item45edaf4c3b:g:hpgAAOSw-31agy73
     
  25. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    In his case, cylinders would not "expand" uniformly. He can most likely not use the caliper - instead he can "feel" the tight/loose spots on the gauge, both axially, and concentrically. He is looking for bulges rather than exact diameters.
     
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