Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Matt King, May 9, 2008.
That's incorrect. It was the early 80's, 82 i believe to be exact.
As far as higher quality parts, that depends. Although we have seen the introduction of mim parts and the internal lock, CNC machining has brought quality up quite a bit.
I never have bothered to do much research on revolvers, and I've been slowly selling all mine off.
The .22 rimfires got it too.
The quick answer is "just different" and the modern one is stronger and more durable. The sights are likely better as well.
The difference is in the attention to detail and the human labor involved. A gun made by SW or Colt from any number of decades back show an attention to detail that current revolvers lack. The trigger pull is superior, usually. The guns often come without burrs, unlike modern revolvers which often come from the factory needing to be deburred. The blueing was deep, the polishing much better than current wheelguns, etc.
The difference is also a matter of taste. Often modern guns look like they were stamped out of a machine, and sometimes are. Your pre war 38 shows the work of human hands in it's smooth and graceful lines. Some folks lust for a Hummer some look to a 63' Mustang or a 48 Packard. Which one is "better" depends on what your aim in having it is.
Being a Mustang aficionado, first year Mustang was '64 1/2, but who's counting? Oh, me I guess.
Look at a S&W revolver in excellent original condition from the 1950s and compare the blue to a gun made in the last 20 years. Case closed.
Specifically on the P&R issue, the recessed chambers came out on center fire caliber revolvers with the introduction of the 357 Magnum in 1935 as an added deluxe feature. It was continued on the 44 Magnum and 41 Magnum. This feature isn't necessary for good function and Colt and Ruger never used it (except on the rim fire calibers). It's loss on the Smiths is seen as a degradation in quality, not real mechanical performance.
Only S&W used the pin barrel, too, but there are some advantages to using the pin. But they stopped to save money. See above comment about loss of quality.
What exactly are the advantages?
Bangor Punta Corp., who held it until 1984. In January of 1984, Lear Siegler Corp. of Santa Monica, California, purchased Bangor Punta Corp. and consequently, acquired Smith & Wesson. In December of 1986, Lear Siegler was purchased by Forstmann Little & Co. Forstmann Little, however, had no interest in Smith & Wesson and sold it to help finance the acquisition. Smith & Wesson was sold to Tompkins p.l.c. of London, England.
It's during this period that quality started to decline, accelerating in the early 1980's to truly inferior levels on some examples. I remember a couple of my own purchases in this time frame - one had just abominable timing causing the gun to misfire regularly, the other was a 8-3/8" barrel threaded at a significant side angle to the frame. That one spit quite a lot of lead, as you can imagine.
Thank goodness that phase of the S&W evolution is in the past - hopefully to never return. Current manufacture can't exhibit the same level of hand craftsmanship as in the "old days", but modern methods deliver consistently solid and reliable hardware. They're a better basis for customizing than most manufactured during the period mentioned above.
In and of itself the pinned barrel is not needed but it is a sign of the quality of work that went into the guns. Once the pin was in place the barrel could not be tweaked left or right so they made sure, prior to pinning, that it was right.
Back in the day there was more handfitting. There needed to be as tolerances were looser due to the manual machining involved. With CNC machining tolerances can be tighter. Combined with stronger metals the guns tend to be more durable today. The downside is that there is often less inspection of parts and fit, less deburring so that trigger pull seems rougher on new guns.
In the early 80s I had a 66 with a canted barrel. That's when I found the barrel could be rotated on that one, despite it being pinned.
How much do you want for the M&P?
I'll keep that in mind. Bangor Punta years.
is the correct year, when S&W stopped production of "pinned & recessed"
I don't think I've seen or heard of a gun with a pinned barrel and an unrecessed cylinder (I think they ran out of barrels, first) although anything is possible.
I've discovered that the same model of older S&Ws are more different than alike. Part of this may have something to do with manufacturing variances and some due to various qualities of previous ownership and some to a factor I've yet to discover.
Anyhow, I wound up with three near identical model 57s. The P&R 'Nam era Bangor Punta one had major timing issues and, compared to the others, had a sorry polish - appeared very dull compared to the other two although this wasn't obvious unless cheek-to-jowl with its siblings. It also had the worst trigger. None of the 57s appeared to have seen much use before I got them.
Out of a similar group of 686s, the one that came in the Lear Siegler box with minimal apparent use has a far smoother action than the other two which really aren't much like each other to start with. Regrettably, the really nice one is a "no dash" with "no 'M'" but is so nice I'm afraid to send it in for fear somebody will "fix" it.
Granted, 3 of anything isn't much and I'll defer to those that have been at it longer but I'm sure not comfortable saying that "pinned and recessed" conveys anything about quality - some are nice; some are not so nice.
I can understand why "pinned" is a good thing but I'm not clear on "recessed". It doesn't appear to have a point other than allowing crud to build up in case rim recess. Perhaps it was to contain dubious brass in the olden days? Whatever it was for, its omission on the Python from 1958 seems not to trouble Colt fans in the slightest.
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