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Old 11-15-2012, 18:25   #1
ctfireman
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S&W revolver issue

I'm having a strange problem with my 686 plus. For lack of a better term, is cylinder is kind of sticky. Not as if it's covered in pepsi but its kind of difficult to open. The cylinder release seams to slide forward enough when pressed. What do you guys think? I've never disassembled a revolver before but am comfortable doing so. Maybe i'll take it down a bit & see if something is gunked up. I do shoot it quite a bit.
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Old 11-15-2012, 18:50   #2
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Probably burned powder residue around the forcing cone area.
Clean it first, than check it again.
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Old 11-15-2012, 19:00   #3
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Don't take a Smith & Wesson revolver apart UNLESS you truly understand the mechanism. The problem you're having is a common one. Most of the time it's caused by simply not pushing the cylinder latch far enough forward with your thumb. Because this is a part that often has to wear-in I'd leave it alone for now. If the problem persists give Smith a call and seek their help. (If you bought the gun new, it might very well cost you nothing but time.)
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Old 11-15-2012, 19:17   #4
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I had the same thing happen on one of my Smiths......

Ejector rod backed out just slightly. It's left hand thread, so tighten it counter clockwise.

Problem solved.

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Old 11-15-2012, 19:25   #5
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Check to see that the ejector rod is not loose. Its a somewhat common problem, and if it is, it will eventually tie the gun up until its been addressed.

Regardless, I would still put about half a drop of LocTite on it, as its one of the few things that will tie a revolver up. Dont get crazy with it, or the LocTite itself will give you troubles.

Another spot to check is under the extractor star. If there is the least little bit of fouling under it, it too can give you troubles. It can make the cylinder difficult to open and close and also make it difficult to cycle. You'd be amazed at how little junk needs be under there for it to be a problem too. The main culprit here, is not reloading the gun, or dumping the empties properly. Revolvers should always have the empties dumped "muzzle up".
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Old 11-15-2012, 20:13   #6
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Possibly your extractor rod starting to unscrew itself. I've had this issue occur in a Dan Wesson revolver of mine. Couldn't figure out what was happening till it unscrewed far enough to seize up the action entirely.
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Old 11-15-2012, 20:16   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogship View Post
I had the same thing happen on one of my Smiths......

Ejector rod backed out just slightly. It's left hand thread, so tighten it counter clockwise.

Problem solved.

ooc

NOOOOO, the newer ones are right hand thread. DO NOT use any kind of thread locker. Use an extractor rod wrench ONLY to tighten or loosen an extractor rod on any revolver.

Check the face of the cylinder for a build up of lead. If the cylinder has been slapped shut such as seen on TV, damage to the frame is likely and can not be repaired.

Not advisable to take a S&W revolver apart beyond removing the crane and cylinder. These are not Glocks with drop in parts. Every part with the exception of the hammer block is hand fit.
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Old 11-15-2012, 20:25   #8
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If I may. Look at what others have said. make sure the ejector rod is tight. Clean behine the ejection star. Also make sure the cylinder lock pin and spring are moving freely. The is the rounded pin in the middle of the star. Open the cylinder and you should be able to push the pin in with your thumb until flush with the cylinder driver hub. In normal operation the release should push the pin in almost all the way. With the end of the pin rounded pushing the cylinder out should push it back the rest of the way.

To service and clean the cylinder and crane. Remove the screw above the trigger with the cylinder closed. Make sure you use a proper screw driver and be careful with the screw it has a spring and set point on it. Once that screw is out you open the cylinder, pull the crane out and it separates from the cylinder. This will allow you to clean up the cylinder and the crane. And allow easy inspection.
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Old 11-15-2012, 20:40   #9
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Quote:
DO NOT use any kind of thread locker.
Just out of curiosity, why?

Ive been putting blue LocTite on them for longer than I can remember, and have done it on every revolver Ive owned since the first one backed out and tied up the gun, and never had any issues doing so. Never had one that had LocTite on it ever back out again either.

Quote:
Remove the screw above the trigger with the cylinder closed.
This is another point that benefits from a dab of LocTite, especially with a heavy recoiling gun that gets shot a lot. I learned the hard way with my first Model 29 Smith during a reload. The cylinder just dropped off the gun when I went to put the rounds in. On inspection, the side plate screw that retained had worked loose and fallen out.
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Old 11-15-2012, 21:01   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdstrain49 View Post
NOOOOO, the newer ones are right hand thread.
OK.....thanks for the correction. All my smiths are older models.

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Old 11-15-2012, 21:19   #11
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Originally Posted by rdstrain49 View Post
NOOOOO, the newer ones are right hand thread. DO NOT use any kind of thread locker. Use an extractor rod wrench ONLY to tighten or loosen an extractor rod on any revolver.

Check the face of the cylinder for a build up of lead. If the cylinder has been slapped shut such as seen on TV, damage to the frame is likely and can not be repaired.

Not advisable to take a S&W revolver apart beyond removing the crane and cylinder. These are not Glocks with drop in parts. Every part with the exception of the hammer block is hand fit.
S&W revolvers have had LH threaded extractor rods since the late 1950's Prior to that they were RH threads.

OP, I would check mine out in the following order.

Check for a loose extractor rod. If loose tighten it counter clockwise. If the problem recurs I see no problem using a little blue loctite. I've used pliers well padded with rag to snug them up with no ill effect.

Look for dirt or unburnt powder under extractor star. Clean if needed. An air compressor is real handy if you have one.

Check the forcing cone for fowling and clean.

Open the cylinder and spin it, look to see if the extractor rod wobbles. If so it is bent, a cheap and easy part to replace.

Videos on youtube can show you how to disassemle.

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Not difficult at all if you can follow instructions and pay attention to detail. Do buy yourself a good set of hollow ground screw drivers before doing so. That way you won't bugger up your screws.
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Old 11-15-2012, 21:37   #12
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Don't you think that IF it were the extractor rod, he'd have noticed that the extractor, 'star' is loose?

NOTE: If you are overcome with a sudden desire to use Loctite on the ejector rod, at least, have the uncommon good sense to use, 'purple' Loctite #222. Me? I wouldn't do it.

Last edited by Arc Angel; 11-15-2012 at 21:42..
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Old 11-15-2012, 21:54   #13
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Originally Posted by Arc Angel View Post
Don't you think that IF it were the extractor rod, he'd have noticed that the extractor, 'star' is loose?

NOTE: If you are overcome with a sudden desire to use Loctite on the ejector rod, at least, have the uncommon good sense to use, 'purple' Loctite #222. Me? I wouldn't do it.
The whole assembly is threaded together and under spring tension. As the extractor rod loosens it lengthens the entire assembly causing difficulty in opening. If it backs out too far the cylinder won't open. Unless it is completely unscrewed the extractor won't come loose.

Again, I see no problem in using loctite on an extractor rod that won't stay tight. I would not use the red. This is not a part that needs disassembled for routine cleaning and maintenance.
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Old 11-15-2012, 21:59   #14
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I suspect that anybody who has been through the FBIs armorer school would not agree that working on S&W revolvers not difficult, to do right that is. Can you take apart, probably. Can you put it together, possibly. Can you do both without creating a problem and or doing damage, only you can answer. If you don't know factory specs., have the correct tools (not just screwdrivers) and have the training/skills, just leave it alone.
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Old 11-15-2012, 22:09   #15
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About (I don't know? 35 years ago) I had an ejector rod come loose. I remember that I spotted it right away. How I'm not exactly sure; I think I just pushed on it. Anyway, you know how people on here are always getting themselves in trouble with Dremel Tools? Well, not me. I'm fine with Dremel Tools; it's the damned Loctite that always screws me up.

I will agree, however, that this is a parts assembly that almost never has to come apart. I've got a number of 30 year old Smiths around here that haven't had their ejector rods ever taken out. Then again I've got one or two that have.

The last time I got in trouble with Loctite it cost me $90.00 to get the part machined loose. Like I said, I'm not a big fan of either, 'blue' #242, or, 'red' #277 Loctite. I try to avoid using the both of them whenever I can. (On Glock front sights, too.)
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Old 11-15-2012, 22:12   #16
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I use the blue on my ejector rods, it works fine. Good for sideplate screws too, esp on the airweights/ti-scandium guns.
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Old 11-15-2012, 22:19   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdstrain49 View Post
I suspect that anybody who has been through the FBIs armorer school would not agree that working on S&W revolvers not difficult, to do right that is. Can you take apart, probably. Can you put it together, possibly. Can you do both without creating a problem and or doing damage, only you can answer. If you don't know factory specs., have the correct tools (not just screwdrivers) and have the training/skills, just leave it alone.
I was a USAF equivalent to an armorer. I worked on S&W model 15's and other small arms for 9 years. And I can take them apart all day long with a screwdriver, padded pliers and a dental pick to help with the small springs if you take it down to nothing. You are not machining anything. All you're doing is taking it apart and putting it back together. If you have any mechanical aptitude at all and can follow directions it is not hard. Forbid the owner may learn something about his firearm.

On the otherhand. It is good that some people can identify and live within their own constraints.

Last edited by pennlineman; 11-15-2012 at 23:01..
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:45   #18
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Why not let a qualified gunsmith (or authorized warranty/service center) inspect the revolver? Beats the possibility of an untrained person mistakenly thinking the symptom is the actual underlying problem.

Other folks have listed some possible causes of a cylinder being difficult to open/close normally. Might be one of them, and/or something else.

The cylinder bolt (to which the cylinder latch is attached) is a fitted part, meaning it's filed (at the front) to the proper length to function in any particular S&W revolver. Might be burred, too.

The end of the latch screw might be burred (or damaged) and dragging against the frame.

The cylinder pin might have a problem regarding its proper length, as well (for that particular revolver), or how it fits (or aligns) against the plunger at the front.

The ejector rod might be slightly bent.

The yoke (what another company calls a crane) might require an adjustment for it to be correctly aligned. Not something for the budding, untrained "kitchen-table hobbyist gunsmith" to attempt. It requires the use of the proper tools (alignment pin, lead babbitt and maybe a wooden wedge) to adjust (bend) the yoke barrel.

No reason to ever use a thread locker on the ejector rod, either. Really.

BTW, over-tightening an ejector rod can ruin the ejector, and maybe the extractor. Since the extractors are cut for each revolver using a factory tool (cutting hand/arm, sold to armorers), and may still require some small fitting for one or more ratchets (a specific type of file is used). It's another repair that shouldn't be attempted by the untrained "hobbyist". (Yes, as a S&W revolver armorer I've had to use the factory-made tool to cut and fit a few new extractors.)

Might be congealed sludge from an over-exuberant (and improper) application of lubricant at some point in the gun's history. Maybe some contaminant worked its way inside, too.

Recently, someone brought in a NIB M617 which wasn't working properly. Cylinder carry up and hand movement was not normal. When we removed the side plate we found that the hand spring had somehow slipped from its correct position. One of the spring legs had become caught between the hammer, trigger & rebound slide, causing it to become bent, and one of the spring legs had been "cut" off. Probably happened when the action was being worked with the spring out of its intended position. Hadn't seen that happen before, myself. Weird. Production error? Dunno. Couldn't say. Installing a new spring of the correct type for that new style model (MIM hammer/trigger) corrected the problem.

No way to know what's happening with your revolver unless someone familiar with S&W revolvers inspects it, though. Can't really diagnose a problem online, let alone correct or repair it.

So, as I mentioned, why not have it inspected by someone familiar with S&W revolvers? Why risk creating another problem trying to "fix" a perceived problem, you know?

Sometimes a well-intentioned owner/revolver enthusiast might find themselves in the unenviable and frustrating situation of having tried to "fix" a revolver until it's really broken.

Just my thoughts.
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Last edited by fastbolt; 11-16-2012 at 13:01..
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:04   #19
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Checking to see if the ejector rod is loose is as easy as opening the cylinder, holding it so it doesnt turn, and lightly twisting the end of the rod to see if its loose. If it is, youll know it right then, and if you snug it back up, close the cylinder and the problem is gone, then you know that that was it. Not a big deal, and unless you have no common sense, pretty hard to screw up. Do what you want about the LocTite, but when used properly, its not a problem.

From the sounds of it, if you had a course on how to properly use and apply "lube" and LocTite, you'd probably be able to retire early.

If the cylinder is sluggish to close and/or open, or turn when you pull the trigger or back on the hammer, then I would first check under the star for crud, as this is the other "most likely" problem. A simple cleaning, even if it doesnt look like there is anythig there is simple and will give you instant feedback with no need for gunsmithing skills.

Unless its your first time shooting the gun and youre unaware of other issues, checking the face of the cylinder for fouling shouldnt really be needed if you clean and maintain your gun properly.
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Old 11-16-2012, 14:03   #20
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Nobody ever mentioned anything about filing, polishing, hammering or otherwise modifying the gun. The guy simply wants to troubleshoot his problems. Most posters suggested the simple problems that may exist and be fixed by him. Why not try before shipping the gun to S&W only to find out it's dirty.

He's says he's comfortable taking the revolver apart for cleaning. I say why not. No specialized tools are needed for this.
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