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S&W "Hillary Holes" and MIM parts...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BCRider, Nov 30, 2010.

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  1. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    For all that I've seen posts here and elsewhere that hate the lock and bemoaning that "it'll make the gun stop working when you most need it" I have yet to read of a case of the lock suddenly locking itself or causing any other sort of internal lockup from a mechanical failure.

    Similarly I see lots of hate threads about the newer MIM parts. And while again no one likes them I have yet to see a post saying that an MIM part crumbled to dust and rendered a gun unuseable.

    So is this just a case of us, the great unwashed masses, complaining because of perceived violations of our rights and transitioning away from old world techniques? Or have there been a SIGNIFICANT number of reported cases of failures due to either the internal locks or failures of MIM parts?

    I'm curious because yet again it has come up in a current thread about which model of a particular S&W to buy to avoid early issues and later models to avoid the "Hillary hole".
     
  2. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    On the S&W Forum (before it was taken over by new management) there was an S&W lock thread that documented a number of actual (auto-lock) incidents.

    It disappeared shortly after the new owner took over. That said, there are a number of threads around the net by people who have had it happen.

    Most (not all) were in lightweight (alloy or Scandium frames) and most (not all) were in Magnum calibers. It happened to an acquaintance of mine while dry firing. He was a member here some time ago, haven't seen him around lately, but I can probably find his username or email if you really want to read his story.

    He took his M360 to his 'smith, had him remove the offending parts, and continues to carry it. This was five-ish years ago, and precipitated the sale of all of my (six at the time) ILS S&W revolvers. I recently bought an M25-13, and it arrived with the ILS parts in a bag. That is the only reason I bought it...okay, the price was right and I like .45 LC :)

    As far as MIM goes...I have read some opinions, but I have no first-hand (or second-hand) evidence of any failures. I prefer bar stock or forged parts, and I prefer hammer-mounted firing pins, and I prefer real blueing...which is why I own mostly older S&W revolvers. :)
     
  3. Resto Guy

    Resto Guy Member

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    I've read of a few early problems with the scandium (.357) models. I can vouch for my 642-2 not failing with well over 500 rounds through it.

    I guess my signature explains my feelings on the subject.
     
  4. TexasBill

    TexasBill Member

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    My Model 637 is well past 1,500 rounds and my Model 60 is closing on a thousand. No issues with lock or MIM parts. Use both for EDC.
     
  5. Old krow

    Old krow Member

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    I've heard of it, (the cylinder freezing) but I have never seen it first hand nor known anyone that is has happened to. I've probably put a couple thousand .38 SPL and another 500 or so .357 through my 620 and it has worked just fine.
    I don't pay that much attention to the "Hillary Hole." I don't necessarily like it, but I don't always notice it unless someone else mentions it.

    I've never seen or read about a failure due to MIM. So many guns are using that technique that I'd think that we'd be hearing a lot more if it were all that bad.
     
  6. wep45

    wep45 Member

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    the average joe will believe anything that is told to him/her by any source.:uhoh:

    if you find a S&W (new or old) that you like at the right price.............buy it.:D

    S&W....they are all good.:cool:
     
  7. tasco 74

    tasco 74 Member

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    i love s&w guns but that keyhole in the side of a perfectly safe weapon without it really turns me off............. just another sign of big brother bunch of BS.............
     
  8. yeti

    yeti Member

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    I have enough older S&W revolvers I need one with a buggered up hole in its side like I need another hole in my head.
     
  9. Tachardiapsyche

    Tachardiapsyche Member

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    There are cases of lock up in those guns that are well documented and remain un-published. Some people believe gun magazines, some people believe gun store employee's - I believe that when facts present themselves they ought to be considered.

    Gun magazines have to sell ads. Gun stores sell what they have in stock.

    If you want to buy a gun with an internal lock - like a s&w, ruger, taurus, rossi, or chiappa - it's your business. Personally I don't carry a gun without a holster and a good belt, I don't use paddle holsters, I refuse to shop at walmart or buy anything that's stamped "made in China" and I don't spend my money on otherwise crappy products.

    That's a decision I made on where I want my dollars to go. If you want to support a company that doesn't support your rights - like wal-mart or s&w it's your business - why should the decision I made effect your opinion.
     
  10. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Well, you don't have to worry about missing any deals on Smith and Wesson revolvers by that criteria. But what do you do for shoes and underwear???
     
  11. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    If I might jump in here a second...... what are MIM parts? Have seen this many times on different threads her, am just wondering! Thanks
     
  12. bdb benzino

    bdb benzino Member

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    While I dont like the lock and probably will not look to buy another unless its a steal, my newer 638 has had the lock removed and is a sweet revolver!
     
  13. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    What I don't understand is why hasn't S&W removed the locks from production. Guns with locks cost more to manufacture, and customers are unhappy. S&W must be run by incompetents.
     
  14. evan price

    evan price Member

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    MIM= "Metal Injection Moulding"

    Basically, they take a fine-grained powdered metal with a binding agent and put it into a mould then use heat and pressure to form it into the final shape. Then it's baked in a furnace to harden it. The finished part can have amazingly fine surface finish and dimensional accuracy without the need for machining, it just depends on the construction of the mould.

    Properly engineered MIM parts put in applications where they don't require specific structural strengths work just fine and are cheaper and faster to make than forgings or castings. A MIM trigger or magazine catch would be OK.

    However in applications where a specific sort of strain is applied they will fail... For example nobody would want a MIM trailer hitch ball or MIM sledge hammer or a MIM firing pin.

    And you really can't stone them like bar stock parts to slick up the action.

    Improperly engineered MIM parts, or MIM parts in the wrong sort of application, won't last.
     
  15. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    Thanks evan, I do appreciate the explanation. Your taking the time, this is what I like about the folks here on THR, truly appreciate it.
     
  16. rich642z

    rich642z Member

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    I have about 4 Smith and Wessons revolvers with out the hole are 3S&W m10s,one M65 in a 4inch barrel,but,one has the hole and that is my 625-8 in .45acp 5 inch barrel
     
  17. wideym

    wideym Member

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    I frequent many gunshops and ranges, yet I have never met anyone that had a S&W lock failure or knows of anyone who has, other than the "I was told from a freind of a friend, who's cousin knows a guy who....".

    I don't have any S&W pistols with the locks, mainly because I already have a dozen of their older pistols which were cheaper than the new locking ones at the time. If I find a good deal on one of their pistols I like, I'll buy it-expecially now that all those PD trade-ins are long gone.
     
  18. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    I don't know if you would call this a failure or not but I certainly do.....
    I had a mim model 29 that at 20 yards had 4 chambers that shot close to center, one 3feet left and a foot low, an one 3 feet right and a foot high. I know there is no accuracy guarantee , but that far off seems ridiculous to me. And good ol Smith and Wesson offered to have a look at it and replace the cylinder for the low price of; " it will cost a little over 200 dollars, $135 for the cylinder and about $80 for the work."-Smith and Wesson customer service rep(shipping to them would also be my own cost). Two failures in my book. One; to provide me with an accurate firearm, and two; failure to rectify the situation properly. I don't know if it was due to MIM parts, but it Kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

    As far as the lock goes, I don't think its so much the failures(yes it HAS happened and IS documented though not nearly as common as some would have you believe) I believe its more about what it represents; One of our oldest trusted and respected gun co's caving to the threats of a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats over some perceived safety problem that never was a real problem, and expecting their loyal customers to accept it and pay for it. They do all this refusing to acknowledge the fact that their revolvers are now less reliable.

    Now if you look at that and think about who the majority of gun owners are; My perception is we are mostly freedom loving people who do NOT appreciate our rights being trampled upon, will fight it tooth and nail, and probably die before being disarmed. Gun bans, activists and politicians be da*#ed, we will never submit to their anti-American agendas. When our beloved S&W does exactly what we despise and bends to the will of these gun hating liberals who we view as our enemies, well is it any surprise that much of their clientele were upset? My answer to the ops question, the reasons are everything you mentioned, however the refusal to give up the old ways is not such a bad thing. Old methods and ideals have value in more ways than one. I only wish there were more of us with those views.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  19. harmon rabb

    harmon rabb Member

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    Just remove the lock if you don't like it. It's purportedly very easy to do.

    Or, if you don't want MIM parts and a lock on your revolver, just buy a Ruger :rolleyes: They may lawyer up their auto's, but they have left the revolvers alone thankfully. Given how expensive S&W revolvers have become, I can't see any reason to buy one over a Ruger these days.
     
  20. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Given the choice the between a pre-lock Smith and a locked Smith, I'll choose pre-lock every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It has nothing to do with being worried about the lock seizing up or anything. Just a matter of principle for me. But if the supply of pre-lock Smiths dries up or they become ridiculously high priced, then I might be swayed to buy a Smith with a lock because, hey, Smiths are great guns! Maybe better to have a lockable Smith than no Smith at all...
     
  21. Thaddeus Jones

    Thaddeus Jones Member

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    S&W's corporate greed has evidently surpassed its corporate arrogance.

    NEW lock free J-frames are being produced and marketed. Soon, lock free L-frames will appear. Despite the vociferous chanting of the fanboys - the lock is NOT here to stay. :neener:

    This turn of events makes those lock equipped revolvers even more worthless. Glad I didn't buy any. For those who did buy them.........well.......you were part of the problem, not part of the solution. Enjoy your wind up gun - your stuck with it. :)
     
  22. jon86

    jon86 Member

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    I've had two j frames with locks... No problems here with thousands of rounds between the two of them. And lots of dry fires.
     
  23. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The lock:

    Has the lock ever failed? Yes it has. Very often? No. The problem is that if or when a handgun is, or might be used as a defensive weapon you want to keep it as simple as possible. Adding things that aren't necessary adds to the possibility (if not a probability) of failure, and it is foolish to add any additional risk if it's not necessary.

    The lock is not a safety in the conventional sense, but rather a way to secure the gun from unauthorized use when it's not being used. In other words, it's one of many options for safe storage. For some this may be important, but from Smith & Wesson's point of view it helps prevent lawsuits against them for not doing anything if a child (or whoever) finds an unsecured gun that's loaded and then injures themselves or someone else. Smith & Wesson, and other makers that have internal locks in their products, can point out that they did do something, and if the gun owner didn't use the provided feature then it isn't the company's fault.

    From my own perspective I'd rather have guns without internal locks, and address the issue of safe storage from another direction. Others of course may feel differently.

    MIM lockwork parts:

    MIM lockwork is functional, but the parts look and feel cheap, and in my view out of place in a quality product. This is something potential buyers won’t notice unless they are familiar with revolvers made before the MIM era. Since these parts are molded from a matrix made up of metal particles held together by a binder (think like gravel in concrete) I worry that in the future some critical sharp edges might crumble. The pre-MIM parts have a history going back many decades, where the newer ones do not. I’d rather let someone else do the beta testing.

    Today’s firearms, like many other things manufactured in the United States have compromises that are necessary in our manufacturing economy that inflicts high costs demanded by taxes and government regulations, combined with ever increasing labor costs. To remain viable (and make a profit) manufacturers have turned to technology to help them lower costs, especially those associated with labor. The resulting products are usually as functional as similar older ones, but some prefer something more then simply functional. However that’s a judgment each individual must make.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  24. earplug

    earplug Member

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    My MIM experience

    I have modified three of my S&W 625's for lighter DA trigger pulls and faster lock time.
    I shoot Bullseye, USPSA and ICORE.
    I have cut out the inside area of my MIM hammers to lighten them. Due to the cuts made the lock is nonfunctional and I have removed them.
    It takes a good quality carbide burr or stone to cut that MIM stuff. I have had no failures with my MIM parts except for having to replace a ejector that was out of time on one cylinder. This gun was used for several seasons of DA use only. The triggers are holding up fine.
    In my opinion the finish on the MIM parts are better then my older -3 revolvers.
    I have no failures with stock firing pins except for aftermarket pins breaking when dryfired.
     
  25. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    You raise a good point here. If the goal was to include a safety locking device I would think that S&W would have been just as far ahead to inlcude a nice S&W logo trigger lock that had the soft plastic'y rubber "soles" custom molded to the gun in question so that it was easy to use the special S&W trigger lock to secure the gun. It would certainly not have cost any more to include such a thing than it does to machine the parts and assemble them for the built in action lock. And S&W could have shown the gub'mint that it was taking safety seriously all while not alienating the buying public.

    In any event the answers so far seem to be supporting the idea that neither the Hillary Hole or MIM is truly the end of the world FROM A FUNCTIONAL STANDPOINT other than the odd lockup that may or may not be due to the failure of the HH lock. Like you guys I'll happily buy guns that don't have that lock by preference unless I find a really good deal. And if the lock should happen to cause a lockup for myself it's not a big deal since at most it'll make me place lower in some competition match and not lose me my life.
     
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