Author Topic: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?  (Read 1118 times)

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Offline SI VIS PACEM PARRABELLUM

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2017, 02:00:11 PM »
^^^^My 640 Pro Series went back 3 times last year before S&W FINALLY got it right. Initially the barrel/cylinder gap was far to large at .014 and the crane did not mate to the frame properly at the pivot point. The gun came back with the bc gap down to .008 and the barrel screwed on canted off center and nothing was done to address the crane issue. I sent it back for the now crooked barrel and the crane issue and 4 weeks later it came back with the barrel canted the other direction and no change with the crane issue. Back for a 3rd inning and this time supposedly the custom shop worked on the gun and straightened out the barrel,the bc gap is now down to .005 which is perfect and they fixed the crane issue.
No they are not what they used to be. I have many S&W's from the 60,s 70,s and 80,s and they are all solid quality performers but the new stuff. Never again.

Offline aguila9

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2017, 02:57:33 PM »
After reading some of the above post one thing I have noticed in the new Smiths has been hard extraction of fired cases is more common in the newer revolvers.

As my departments lead firearms instructor I have seen a lot of off duty weapons come across my range and whenever someone gets a new Smith its rare that there isn't an issue with it. Usually minor but more often than not needing to be sent back to S&W for repair.

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« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 02:59:08 PM by aguila9 »

Offline Sainte

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2017, 03:16:56 PM »
I have a 4" 686 no dash and absolutely love it.

I shoot this over my Colt On a regular basis.

I also have a 640 no dash and a newer 642 with the internal lock. I am seriously considering disabli the internal lock on the pistol as I will never use it.

I normally edc a glock 19 but, if I am going somewhere that requires a bit more discretion, I will load up the 642. I love the weight and size of the thing, just do not like the 5 shots.

Offline afultz075

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2017, 11:21:39 AM »
I used to be hardcore into S&W revolvers and at one point had somewhere around 15 or more of them (had a few M&P autos and a model 41 as well). Every single S&W item in my collection got purged about 4 years ago, and I bought a pile of CZs with the proceeds and Glocks to replace the M&Ps - I will never own a S&W product again.

It simply got just exhausting and frustrating trying to buy S&W products without quality issues that it was no longer enjoyable to collect them. The older revolvers were a lot nicer but even then it was risky buying them online without being able to tell first-hand if the timing was off, endshake, etc before purchase. Revolvers with problems are costly to fix as well.

Just about every single post-lock revolver I bought had to go back for something, and it would take months to get back. Messed up timing, chatter marks in the barrel, cylinder gaps >0.010 on brand new guns, off-center barrel crowns were a huge issue too. Once they were fixed they were fine but it was super frustrating. The straw that broke the camels back was a 10-shot model 617 I purchased that had a ton of tool marks in the bore. I sent it back for a new barrel to be installed under warranty, and it came back 2 months later with a cracked frame from over torquing the new barrel. They replaced the entire gun (and it took them another 2 months to issue a new gun) which I promptly sold along with every other S&W I owned at the time.

Offline SI VIS PACEM PARRABELLUM

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2017, 12:51:59 PM »
I used to be hardcore into S&W revolvers and at one point had somewhere around 15 or more of them (had a few M&P autos and a model 41 as well). Every single S&W item in my collection got purged about 4 years ago, and I bought a pile of CZs with the proceeds and Glocks to replace the M&Ps - I will never own a S&W product again.

It simply got just exhausting and frustrating trying to buy S&W products without quality issues that it was no longer enjoyable to collect them. The older revolvers were a lot nicer but even then it was risky buying them online without being able to tell first-hand if the timing was off, endshake, etc before purchase. Revolvers with problems are costly to fix as well.

Just about every single post-lock revolver I bought had to go back for something, and it would take months to get back. Messed up timing, chatter marks in the barrel, cylinder gaps >0.010 on brand new guns, off-center barrel crowns were a huge issue too. Once they were fixed they were fine but it was super frustrating. The straw that broke the camels back was a 10-shot model 617 I purchased that had a ton of tool marks in the bore. I sent it back for a new barrel to be installed under warranty, and it came back 2 months later with a cracked frame from over torquing the new barrel. They replaced the entire gun (and it took them another 2 months to issue a new gun) which I promptly sold along with every other S&W I owned at the time.

I hear ya loud and clear. I still have many older S&W wheel guns that I will never part with but after the issues with newer models I've bought I'll never buy another new S&W. I never buy ANY gun that I can't handle first.

Offline afultz075

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2017, 02:45:27 PM »


I hear ya loud and clear. I still have many older S&W wheel guns that I will never part with but after the issues with newer models I've bought I'll never buy another new S&W. I never buy ANY gun that I can't handle first.

It's a shame because S&W Revolvers are such a timeless design, and would be so nice to own if there wasn't such a high probability of rework being needed. I think overall I had the least issues of any with the post-P&R, pre-MIM guns manufactured in the '90's I owned. My biggest issue with the pre-1980 guns (Bangor Punta era) was wide cylinder gaps were way too common - but that may have been from use and the cylinder moving back.

Offline SI VIS PACEM PARRABELLUM

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2017, 04:56:41 PM »


I hear ya loud and clear. I still have many older S&W wheel guns that I will never part with but after the issues with newer models I've bought I'll never buy another new S&W. I never buy ANY gun that I can't handle first.

It's a shame because S&W Revolvers are such a timeless design, and would be so nice to own if there wasn't such a high probability of rework being needed. I think overall I had the least issues of any with the post-P&R, pre-MIM guns manufactured in the '90's I owned. My biggest issue with the pre-1980 guns (Bangor Punta era) was wide cylinder gaps were way too common - but that may have been from use and the cylinder moving back.

I have a couple M19's and an M10 that are pre Bangor-Punta and they are outstanding revolvers. A few from the Bangor era that are still decent guns but yea you have to watch for that bc gap. My M36 is from the Bangor era and the l swear the little devil is as accurate as some of my 4 inch guns. Got a M66 and a 2.5 inch M19 from around 1990 that I bought new and they are really nice as well.

Offline Redcat94

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2017, 07:30:36 AM »
I guess I'm the exception here. I prefer my newer S&W revolvers (2010 and on) to my older ones. I like being able to replace the sights verses the old style fixed ones. I've also never had any mechanical problems with the guns themselves or the internal lock. MIM parts don't bother me either.
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SPO1SHADOW

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2017, 09:26:35 AM »
I agree with the crowd. I purchased several new revolvers after the acquisition of Bangor Punta and the quality of the guns were junk. Cylinders rubbing the back of the barrels, barrels out of spec, even the barrel length kept getting shorter and shorter. Prices were up and quality went down. This has not improved over the years. I am very thankful for the pre 1960 S&W revolvers I own. Back then most of the components were hand fitted and the bluing was marvelous. The 1980's Colts weren't any better.
Knowing how much I like them, when they re-introduced the model 24's in .44 Special a few years ago my Wife purchased one for my Birthday. The front sight was canted to the left, the timing was way off and the new lock would lock the gun up tight when shooting a stiff .44 Special load. This gun went back 5 times and the front sight is still canted to the left. I finally just said the hell with it and replaced the lock in the frame with a dummy and turned the barrel another 1/16th to level the front sight. I replaced the MIM trigger with an older non MIM and that corrected the cylinder bolt timing. You could not melt a new one and pour it on me.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 09:49:22 AM by SPO1SHADOW »

Offline SoCal

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2017, 10:09:04 AM »
I guess I'm the exception here. I prefer my newer S&W revolvers (2010 and on) to my older ones. I like being able to replace the sights verses the old style fixed ones. I've also never had any mechanical problems with the guns themselves or the internal lock. MIM parts don't bother me either.

I'm with Redcat.  No problems with old or new S&W revolvers.
If I had known how much better being retired is than working I would have done it FIRST.

Offline Quercusmax

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2017, 01:26:32 PM »
I guess I'm the exception here. I prefer my newer S&W revolvers (2010 and on) to my older ones. I like being able to replace the sights verses the old style fixed ones. I've also never had any mechanical problems with the guns themselves or the internal lock. MIM parts don't bother me either.

I'm with Redcat.  No problems with old or new S&W revolvers.

This has been my experience as well.
If it's popular, I'm against it.

Offline IDescribe

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2017, 05:26:18 PM »
edited twice to fix first paragraph, as I keep reading new info:

I have a Smith & Wesson 686-4 I bought in 1994.  The 686-4 was released in 1993.  I have found references to Smith switching the 686 from hardwood grips to the Hogue rubber grips in 1994, and I have found a reference to the Hogue grip being part of the 1993 -4 upgrades.  So I'm not sure.  Mine is a 686-4 and came with the hardwood grips.  I guess I'm not 100% sure of the year of manufacture, but my guess is 1993. 

Anyway, the pistol has been perfect.  The SA trigger break is about 5 pounds, but it feels like one pound and seems to break when I think it.  A lot of younger guys will laugh when I break out an old wheelgun, but when I let other people shoot it, it's inevitable that someone will offer to buy it.  EVERYONE loves that gun.

I have had a hankering for a 44 the last couple of years, and even though I know the standard purchase there is a Ruger, I can't help but think about my 686, and I want to buy a Smith.  My Smith was purchased after the golden age, apparently, but mine is a rock star.  I guess I'll be doing some more research.  This thread has me thinking. 
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 07:08:33 PM by IDescribe »

Offline balin

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2017, 06:34:48 PM »
I have a few S&W revolvers from each decade for the last 70 years.  I find the fit and finish was better in years past. Due to the hand fitting. I can't say the accuracy is better back then then now.

Online Meechy7648

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2017, 07:27:48 PM »
I think the older revolvers have that special "something" (although I'd happily take a 686). Smooth, balanced, beautiful... My Model 66-1 is amazing, to me.

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« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 07:30:20 PM by Meechy7648 »

Offline jameslovesjammie

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Re: Why the pre-1980 S&W revolvers?
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2017, 11:45:10 PM »
I have a Smith & Wesson 686-4 I bought in 1994.

Anyway, the pistol has been perfect.  The SA trigger break is about 5 pounds, but it feels like one pound and seems to break when I think it.  A lot of younger guys will laugh when I break out an old wheelgun, but when I let other people shoot it, it's inevitable that someone will offer to buy it.  EVERYONE loves that gun.

I shoot a 686-5.  I bought it used ~Y2K, and I'd assume late '90's production.

It is my "if it came down to owning one handgun" gun.  I LOVE my CZ's, but my 686 is my favorite gun.  I've harvested 6 whitetail does with it at distances from 55-100 yards.  I've done the Jerry Miculek trigger job on it and tuned the springs.  It will now only run with Federal primers, but I wouldn't have it setup any other way.  It is currently at a 4 lb DA and 1 lb SA.  I haven't used it for hunting in over a decade, but I would probably put in the factory mainspring if I were to.


I have had a hankering for a 44 the last couple of years, and even though I know the standard purchase there is a Ruger, I can't help but think about my 686, and I want to buy a Smith.

It really depends on what weight of bullet you are wanting to shoot.  If you are thinking full power 240 grain and less, then I would go with the Smith.  If you are thinking of heavy 300 grainers, then the Ruger would be better suited to your needs.  I REALLY have a hankering for a Bisley Hunter.   Had one in the store...should have taken it home.  HATE the standard SBH.  The trigger guard smacks me every time in the middle finger on recoil.

I prefer Smiths for the same reason I prefer CZ's: it isn't necessarily them in their stock form that I find appealing.  It's what I KNOW they can become with the addition of quality parts from a strong aftermarket.

686-5 is top left with the 8 3/8" barrel and X Frame monogrip.


 

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