Monday, June 15, 2009

No User-Serviceable Parts Inside.

I have a confession to make. I was spoiled rotten for fifteen years. Working at a gun store with real live gunsmiths, any time I needed a revolver serviced, I could just bring it to work with me.

Oh, sure, I knew how they worked, and had seen up inside them plenty of times, but when it came to actually turning screws on them? Never did it. Some people may not realize this, since everybody always talks about how "simple" revolvers are, but the inside of a Smith & Wesson double-action revolver is the scene of a complex mechanical ballet that makes the guts of an autopistol look simple. A Glock or 1911 is a stone axe by comparison.

So when I mentioned on the phone to Gunsmith Bob that I was going to bring my well-used K-22 Combat Masterpiece down for a cleaning and a bit of trigger work, he told me "And you're going to do it. You have, what? Fifty of the things? There's no excuse for you to not be able to do basic work on them. We're going to have a little class."

Wish me luck.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

It'll be a good skill to have. It's much easier than looking under the hood might suggest.

Erich Martell, Albuquerque

OA said...

"Some people may not realize this, since everybody always talks about how "simple" revolvers are..."

Those are the same people that get the vapors when they see inside one of those "simple" Winchester leverguns.

Jay G said...

Oh NICE! Enjoy the tutelage, Tam. Sounds like very useful info to have!

theirritablearchitect said...

A good schematic is about all I've ever needed for this sort of thing. Nevertheless, I'd agree with your observance of the 'ballet' metaphor. Timing in a revolver is probably even more crucial than an autopistol.

staghounds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZerCool said...

I've never understood anyone who says that a revolver is a "simple" pistol. Sure, a SAA or similar is *fairly* simple, but a good DA? Ballet doesn't begin to describe the inner workings.

staghounds said...

I definitely need rehab, this post caused the image of Darcy Bussell doing maintenance on a 340sc after an IDPA match to leap into my mind.

And then Nijinsky, adjusting a chopped and channeled Nagant.

BobG said...

Never done any real work inside one of them. I've worked with Ruger revolvers, and they are quite simple compared to S & W.

Word Verification: lessness

Bob said...

Hmm, I'm guessing that the Tamara revolver collection will soon be cleaned and polished in places that have not seen cleaning and polishing since they left the factory. Good luck, Tam.

wv: mingsta. a Ming-era gangsta.

Vote For David said...

Luck!

Anonymous said...

"Some people may not realize this, since everybody always talks about how "simple" revolvers are..."

My money is on how simple revolvers are TO OPERATE. 99.99 percentage of shooters do not shoot enough to break their gear.

Of course, the same gun shop commandos that talk about "simple revolvers" also talk about how "hardy and reliable" lever actions are. Oddly I can never find these guys are gun school.

Good luck with Gunsmith Bob's College of Smith & Wesson.

:-)

Shootin' Buddy

Stretch said...

Gunsmith may be THE profession in the coming Dark Times. I'm green with envy.

Anonymous said...

every owner of revolvers should know how to disassemble and check their guns. I was tought by a freind who was an armour in the service.Pay attention and you will be miles ahead of 98% of all firearms owners. Have fun while you learn

TJP said...

Yep. Some people complain about needing a special tool to take down a 1911, but I bet that it's easier to find one of those at a gun show than a rebound slide tool.

Ken said...

Watch out for the sear spring. If you launch it, you'll prob'ly never see it again. Ask me how I know. :-P

Baba55 said...

Err... Aahhh... Range Report? w/ sequential photos of initial fumblings, foibles, frailities, favored curse words (at key points) and lastly... SUCCESS!

Unless ya got somethin' better to do o' course. (Guess I could always go over and re-read Xavier's S&W basics)

tokarev762 said...

I agree with you, that 1911's are easier to strip and work on.

Fortunately, I found an excelent smith that will clean and tune my revolvers for only $35 each. It's worth that to me, just so as not to have to worry about buggering a screw.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

You'll dig it. Hell, I know I'd dig it.

I think of them almost like clocks. Mix that with an eye for detail...

Speaking of, I have a new tale. Guy comes off the range with a brand spanking new S&W 637 that is, of all things, randomly misfiring. After chatting a bit and examining, and examining, and examining... then pointing out to one of our favorite reloaders that the loads he'd loaned to the guy since he ran out of his box, one or two were on Amerc .38spl brass and the rim was at least half thickness and the pin couldn't *reach* the primer on those, I examined it again... and found the problem.

There was a little shiny spot on the hammer, towards the top right. I looked closer.... S&W had cut the hammer face on a slight angle, but enough to strike the frame solidly instead of the firing pin.

Mad Saint Jack said...

You could sell all your Smiths and buy Rugers instead.


(Ducks and covers.)

TheAxe said...

I would love to find a class for an amateur who wants to learn the ins and outs of da revolvers. I have no intention of home done 'smith work, I leave that to the professionals but I would like to know how to clean the action and know what adjustments will affect what. It's great you have someone to teach you.

wv: challi challi brown missed the football again and lucy ate all his curry

Anonymous said...

Well, that was easy... :)


-Tam (posting remotely)

og said...

Totally sweet! plenty pictures please!

Jenny said...

At least it's not a Colt DA. :)

Michael in CT said...

DA Revolvers: Ruger is relatively easy, S&W is harder and Colts are even worse.

Single Action revolvers are not that easy either

Leverguns: Winchester 1866 & 1873 are very easy, Marlin 1894 isn't hard, Winchester 1894, never, ever again.

I've taught myself to do minor repairs and some polishing. The two biggest things are: take your time and only take remove a little bit of metal before trying the part in the gun again

Crucis said...

Someone once said, "Ya gotta know yer limitations." I'm speaking as the guy who only once was able to do a detail strip of his 1911 and get it back together---mostly.

I've the manuals, but it will be a case of dire need before I go further. Ultrasonic cleaning can do wonders, so I hear.

Frank W. James said...

Then there are those of us who routinely crack anvils and bend cast iron skillets.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

reflectoscope said...

Crucis - ultrasonic cleaners truly are things of beauty.

Jim

Michael in CT said...

I forgot where I read this tip, but it is a good one. If you are taking something apart, take a picture at each step with your digital camera. If you run into a problem, you have a picture of how it looked before you got confused.

Anonymous said...

"I've never met something I couldn't take apart and put back together and have parts left over."

I jest...

I bet you'll pick up a ton of handy information on what not to do rather than learning it the hard way.

Gmac

Ken said...

Then there are those of us who routinely crack anvils and bend cast iron skillets.

You really have to watch German-made anvils. German-made anvils have more than 70 moving parts and need to be wound twice an hour.

(Shamelessly stolen from a post at theguncounter.com.)

Firehand said...

Long time ago, Dad was working some event(security, he was Highway Patrol) where a S&W factory rep was set up. Asked the guy if there was any way he could smooth the trigger a bit.

The guy took him back to the truck, which contained a travelling gunsmith shop, took his revolver and showed him how to do a basic polish & smooth job. And then sat him down and had him do a couple more himself so he'd remember. I learned from him. Some things I won't touch, but the general cleaning and a bit of polishing, no problem. You'll be glad you learned how.

Anomalous said...

"Of course, the same gun shop commandos that talk about "simple revolvers" also talk about how "hardy and reliable" lever actions are. Oddly I can never find these guys are gun school."


I'm not sure if the implication is that anyone that believes either of those things is a "gun shop commando", or that anyone that doesn't share the opinion of the poster is one. What of those with experience that hold those questionable opinions regarding revolvers or levers?

Beware of calling names, lest you be colored with the same brush.


I haven't found the insides of Smiths to be that mysterious. Nor 94's.

Anonymous said...

I don't see where anyone said they're "mysterious", but anybody who says they aren't more complex than a 1911 or a Glock probably hasn't looked inside the three.

Les Jones said...

"We're going to have a little class."

That's a class I'd sign up for.

HTRN said...

If you guys think DA revolvers are bad, Imagine having to make cams and timing a screw machines.. Yeesh.