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Old 05-05-2018, 09:58 AM
Minorcan Minorcan is offline
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Default So Called K-Frame Flaw 125 gr 357 Magnum

I’m trying to learn from some one smarter than me. What is the story here. I keep hearing stories of “the K-Frame Flaw”. I shoot 357 Magnum ammo all the time. usually 158 gr but sometimes 125 gr. Does shooting lower grain weight ammo hurt the K-Frame S&Ws? If so how and why.

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Old 05-05-2018, 10:15 AM
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This subject is beat to death, after I got my M19. started shooting .38 spl just cause its fun. shooting limited amounts of .357 likely wont hurt the gun. look at your forcing cone and compare it to a model28 you'll see the difference! I don't shoot 125 gr. because I don't feel the need to. as a carry gun 125's are probably the deal. a friend of mine did crack his back in the day, gunsmith replaced barrel. said he shot tons of hot handloads. 158's easier on your gun, .38's easier yet. IMHO hope I'm right
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Old 05-05-2018, 10:21 AM
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The lower the bullet weight, the faster velocity it can be pushed. This is true for any caliber of gun. The most pressure is generated in the chamber and hits the forcing cone pretty hard on magnum loads.

The bottom of the forcing cone on a K frame has a flat milled on it to clear the top of the crane. That makes a thinner place on the barrel than the rest of it, so it's the first place to crack when it is over stressed.

I have seen a lot of K frame forcing cones cracked from shooting hot loads or just a lot of target loads. I had a M19 (before there were L frames) that was my only match gun for 3 years. I put around 30,000 rounds of wadcutters and a couple thousand rounds of magnums through it a year. It never did crack. I've had PPC guns that the barrel cracked after only a few tens of thousands of wadcutters. Once the forcing cone cracks, all you can do is replace the barrel. It won't shoot groups any more. Sometimes it binds up the opening and closing of the cylinder.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to predict if a barrel will crack, some do, some don't. I have long since switched over to L and N frames for competition. They never have that problem.
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Old 05-05-2018, 10:28 AM
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I don't recall ever seeing any official announcement from S&W, but cracking the flat of the barrel and or flame cutting the top strap of model 19s have been given for the creation of the L frames.
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:17 AM
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Default It's not so called...

when you've cracked one.
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:29 AM
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As I understand the issue, the 125gr bullets require more powder than heavier bullets ... generating more hear and flame at the barrel/cylinder gap, which allows the flame to cut the top strap.
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by lrrifleman View Post
As I understand the issue,
It's more about the forcing cone cracking.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:19 PM
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... hi everybody. Why do most folks refer to these anomalies as
cracks. These are actually FLAME CUTS caused by a very hot flame under extreme pressure {Think oxyacetylene torch, under very, very high pressure}. It will begin wherever gas leakage is
most likely, say at the forcing cone. {The top strap will suffer too}.
Once these hot gasses can find a way out, the leak will only grow and get worse. The 'K' frame is most at fault because of the thinner forcing cone at the six-o-clock location.
The lighter the projectile. the hotter the flame is behind the projectile. A heavier projectile uses up more of the flame prior to reaching the cylinder gap.
-Don
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Paul View Post
... hi everybody. Why do most folks refer to these anomalies as
cracks. These are actually FLAME CUTS caused by a very hot flame under extreme pressure {Think oxyacetylene torch, under very, very high pressure}. It will begin wherever gas leakage is
most likely, say at the forcing cone. {The top strap will suffer too}.
Once these hot gasses can find a way out, the leak will only grow and get worse. The 'K' frame is most at fault because of the thinner forcing cone at the six-o-clock location.
The lighter the projectile. the hotter the flame is behind the projectile. A heavier projectile uses up more of the flame prior to reaching the cylinder gap.
-Don
So, what you are telling me is that what you have pictured is a flame/gas cut, not a crack? Perhaps I have been misinformed for years?
Anyone willing to lend comment to straighten me out?
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:27 PM
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Thanks for the explanations. I have shot many rounds of 357 Magnums and I know some 125 gr ammo. Never had any issues, in my Model 19, 28 or newer 60s. Maybe I’m just lucky. The picture does look like a blowout/burn more than a crack or maybe a crack that allowed hot gases to open it up. I’ll keep an eye out though and be more selective on magnum ammo.
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JH1951 View Post
So, what you are telling me is that what you have pictured is a flame/gas cut, not a crack? Perhaps I have been misinformed for years?
Anyone willing to lend comment to straighten me out?
... yes JH, it's a cut made by a hot, hi-pressure gas. The same gas that can cause serious damage to your hand if you get your hand or any other part of your body next to and close to the cylinder gap.
This problem was well known to a shooter of a revolving rifle of the old days. The arm between the wrist and elbow had to wear protection to shield the shooter's arm. A very severe blast is emitted from that cylinder gap in a 360 degree arc.
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:07 AM
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Plenty has been written about the potential for the forcing cone in the 19/66 to crack. Hot loads, especially with bullets lighter than 140 grains, will accelerate erosion of that thin throat. The bottom of the throat is the thinnest part and the area where a crack is most likely to form. Best advice for the old 19/66 is to shoot magnum loads sparingly, especially with the lightweight bullets.

S&W N-frame revolvers have thick forcing cones and are more durable. The L-frame was developed as a compromise, slightly bigger than the K-frame, allowing a full thickness forcing cone, but smaller than the N-frame.

S&W is introducing a redesigned Model 19. The blueing is their new process, I've heard it is sensitive to cleaning solvents. It does have the safety lock, which I personally do not like. But it has the two-piece barrel system that eliminates the thin forcing cone and the crane lock, so it may well take more abuse from hot loads and lightweight bullets.
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Paul View Post
... hi everybody. Why do most folks refer to these anomalies as
cracks.
Because when my 66 cracked, it then deformed the forcing cone and the cylinder would not open because it bound up on the broken portion of the barrel. It showed little to no erosion.

The picture shows a crack that was then burned open after prolonged use after it cracked.
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:14 PM
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Questions....I'm not a metallurgist.........

I have seen/observed the flame cutting on the top strap of the frame at the cylinder gap.. the cutting seems to stop with just a fine line... but have not seen the same in the forcing cone....

always "heard/reported" that the "crack" was a catastrophic failure not a slow cutting process.

If it's a cutting why don't we see it in all forcing cones? J-N frame!
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Old 05-06-2018, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post

always "heard/reported" that the "crack" was a catastrophic failure not a slow cutting process.
One day fine.. next day cylinder bound up on barrel.

I have a feeling that some out there if you look real close with good magnification you will see the problem on your beloved K frame magnum.
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:52 PM
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I have read that the 125 gr bullet loaded in the K-frame used as much as 21.0 grs of W296/H110 . That's almost the same charge load for full magnum loads in the 41 magnum and that's in an " N " frame .
Over time it just literally beat the K-frames to death . They usually needed a trip back to the factory to " tighten " them up . The forcing cone issue is one of very limited actual cases, but it did happen .
I researched it , a lot and found the statement that smith / Wesson issued saying to only use what the gun was designed for , 158 gr. or heavier bullets . S&W over the years had received so much flack from shooters because they could not load the Elmer Keith 173 swc in a 357 magnum case and crimp in the crimp groove in the " N " frames . So the factory designed the K-frames with the longer cylinder to accommodate the " Keith " swc .
Smith / Wesson later issued the statement to only shoot limited 357 magnum loads in 19's/66's . This was because police debt's continued to use the light weight ( 110-125) gr bullets because of so much " heat " they received about over penetration .
I have several 19's , today I do not " stoke " them to the max 357 magnum load . I have L and N frame 357's for that . I really like 13.5 grs of Alliant 2400 using a 158-173 gr cast swc in my K frame 357's as a max load . Regards, Paul
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:18 PM
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It is not a "flaw" in the Combat Magnum/Model 19 revolver, it is an incompatibility between a revolver design dating to 1899 and a cartridge operating at 8,000-12,000 PSI, and the high-intensity variations of .357 Magnum operating at three times the original pressure the gun was designed for!

There is a slightly thin area at the bottom of the barrel shank to clear the yoke and gas ring of the cylinder. At original pressures, even +P .38 Special, and standard bullet weight .357 Magnum pressures the design was adequate. When the lighter 110 and 125 grain bullet loads became popular because of the higher velocity they generated this thin area of the barrel shank often would fail. Not so much as pressure as the dynamics of the load imposing significantly higher strain on the barrel shank. So far as I know there has never been an actual engineering study to determine the specific reason for the failures, but there is more than adequate anecdotal evidence proving that these failures do happen, sometimes. You have to understand that 110 and 125 grain jacketed .357 magnum factory ammunition did not exist when the Model 19 was originally designed, and very little jacketed 158 grain ammunition. As long as lead bullet ammunition was used there were no reports I have ever heard of barrel failure!

I have heard reports of the failure immediately causing functional problems, and have seen revolvers with cracks still functioning normally and the owner was unaware they had a cracked barrel. It does seem these are sudden, catastrophic failures as a result of progressive fatigue.

You have to remember the Combat Magnum/Model 19 was never intended for full-time use with full power .357 Magnum ammunition. The intent was a lighter weight police service revolver ala the Combat Masterpiece/Model 15, to be shot mostly with .38 Special ammunition that the design was originally intended for, but capable of safely firing full power .357 Magnum ammunition of the day when needed by law enforcement for the improved performance. The problems occurred when people started using the guns as full-time .357 Magnums and with ammunition that didn't even exist when the model was originally proposed and designed.
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:40 PM
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A very long time ago, when I was serving in the NYPD ’s Firearms & Tactics Section (as a Sgt., and later as a Lt., I ran the Police Firearms Instructors School, Heavy Weapons Training and Research and Testing) I visited the Remington factory in, I believe, Connecticut.

Speaking with one of their engineers, he stated that .38/.357 wear on revolvers was less intense with projectile weights from 140 through 158 grains. He stated this was due to these rounds less abrupt “time-pressure” curves.

I’m not an engineer but have followed his advice ever since.

Rich

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Old 05-06-2018, 09:41 PM
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I once published an entire article on this,but will say here just that no one has mentioned that burning grains of powder (ejecta) that escape from the ctg. case in light bullet ammo, but which are burned by the heavier bullets being slower to leave the case. This ejecta impacts the barrel breech/cone and erodes it. Also, heavier doses of powder were used, usually ball powders that erode cones more.

You can minimize the problem by not letting lead residue build up in the cone. That increases pressure.

I was told by S&W that Plus P Plus .38 ammo loaded for police depts. actually is as erosive as 125 grain .357 loads!

The sole purpose of such ammo was to let police tell reporters that they used .38 ammo, for PC reasons. But the pressure curve of much Plus P Plus ammo is severe.

I talked not just with S&W, but with several ammo companies, speaking with both PR people and engineers not normally available to the public. (I was an accredited gun writer.)

The overall feeling is that hot 125 grain and lighter .357 ammo is NOT recommended for K-frame .357's. If I fire that at all, it's in my Ruger GP-100.

I've seen a few photos taken of GP's fired extensively by handloaders who fired many rounds of that hot ammo. Even a GP can crack a barrel throat, if it's abused enough!

Don't worry about 125 grain .38 ammo: it isn't loaded hot enough to be an issue.

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Old 05-07-2018, 03:27 PM
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From what I've read and discussed over the years:

In a nutshell: Isn't the context of this really a problem only when we are talking about tens of thousands of 125 gr magnums being put through a gun (on a police range that has ammo budgets that far exceed what we are able to afford to shoot) that the owner fails to clean barrel/force the cone on a regular basis?

This can happen even to Colt Pythons (I frame) or 686 (L frame) (with those two lasting a little longer on wear) to my understanding if you put it in the above context.

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Old 05-07-2018, 04:22 PM
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Just saw a 586 with a cracked cone this winter. Had ~ 6K rounds thru it...mild 38's to full 357's. S&W happily replaced the barrel for ~ $350.

Guns break. If you're really fortunate, you get to shoot enough to wear one out.

Brake pads and rotors can wear out in 20-30K miles and cost several hundred $$$ to replace. If it bothered me, I suppose I could just not drive....it's no where near as much fun as shooting.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:12 AM
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My last brake pads lasted 60,000 miles and the rotors were not warped, scored, or worn when the pads were replaced. I have no idea how many rounds my Model 19 has seen, I bought it as a well used and possibly former LEO firearm. Sadly, I have not kept records on how many rounds I've put through it either, but my use of lightweight bullets was kept to a minimum.
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:54 AM
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I'm old enough to remember when just about every LEO carried a revolver, usually either a .38 Special or .357 Magnum, rather than a semiautomatic pistol. I also remember during said "golden days" of the revolver, the premier "fight stopping" ammo was the 125 gr. JHP bullet in .357 Magnum. I've seen the terminal effects of said round on a few people who were on the receiving end of it, and it was most impressive. I recall reading a story - maybe out of Georgia - of a trooper who was in a gunfight with a very obese man. The victim absorbed multiple hits from the 125 gr. JHP round without ill effects, and it was later determined that his "extra padding" served as his own body armor. I also remember more than a few LEOs who were required to load .38 Special ammo in their revolvers, but kept a handful or two of the 125 gr. JHP ammo in their pockets just-in-case.

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Old 05-08-2018, 01:33 PM
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Paul View Post
... hi everybody. Why do most folks refer to these anomalies as
cracks. These are actually FLAME CUTS caused by a very hot flame under extreme pressure {Think oxyacetylene torch, under very, very high pressure}. It will begin wherever gas leakage is
most likely, say at the forcing cone. {The top strap will suffer too}.
Once these hot gasses can find a way out, the leak will only grow and get worse. The 'K' frame is most at fault because of the thinner forcing cone at the six-o-clock location.
The lighter the projectile. the hotter the flame is behind the projectile. A heavier projectile uses up more of the flame prior to reaching the cylinder gap.
-Don

No... The crack has nothing to do with hot gases. On those older K frame 357 magnums, S&W used the same frame & barrel as the 38 specials. In order for the longer 357 cylinder to fit, a flat was milled under the barrel to allow clearance for the cylinder. That caused a natural weakness in the forcing cone and those revolvers are prone to cracking. You can see the crack in the photo is right where the bottom of the forcing cone has been milled flat to allow the cylinder to fit in the smaller frame.

This is why S&W then produced the 686/585 series revolvers.
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:23 PM
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^^^what he said^^^
problem is in speed stuff like the 125 gr get and impact on the thin area of the forcing cone at 6 o'clock not gas
google: "k frame forcing cone crack" plenty of photos
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:44 PM
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I'll
Buy it. Ps, the 19's lasted longer than the 66's.. carbon steel. Beat to death post. New classic 19 will be my next gun. 66 be damned!
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by lrrifleman View Post
As I understand the issue, the 125gr bullets require more powder than heavier bullets ... generating more hear and flame at the barrel/cylinder gap, which allows the flame to cut the top strap.
My brother likes to shoot his "K" frame with .357 mags like I love my "N" frames in .44special and .44mag... So his sole 'K' frame sees it's share of hot pills down the pipe. His has significant flame cutting into the top strap but no cracks around the forcing cone. I guess he stopped worrying about it after an old school K frame shooter showed him a couple of his "K's" with flame cutting into almost half way thru the top strap and never seemed to get any deeper. It just sort of settled/stopped and the guy just kept on rockin' them. I'd have loved to have seen those old war horses but wasn't with him that day!
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:36 PM
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The saga of the 125 grain .357 Magnum and its
ability to ruin a revolver reminds me of the
ill-fated .357 Remington Maximum with its
light bullets introduced in Ruger Blackhawks.

The light bullets combined with pressures in
excess of 40,000 pounds immediately started
cutting top straps.

That was a real "ooops" of unintended consequences.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:15 PM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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In addition to the comments by Alk8944, back when the K frame was designed and for decades thereafter, the vast majority of people simply didn't shoot much. It wouldn't be unusual to see a K frame carried for 20 years by an LEO to have maybe 2500 rounds through it. Most of which might well have been wadcutters. OK, the steels got better (and heat treated) since 1899, but the design issues of the original still exist.

Two other issues: the first is that when the +P ammo was being developed (and some stuff way beyond +P) it was common for the ammo companies to require a hold harmless agreement from the customer. The company stated up front that the use of the ammo would cause accelerated wear and possible breakage which might result in injuries and/or death and the customer assumed all liability for same. It's kind of like your car, if you continually run the engine at the red line, it's not going to last as long as it would driven more responsibly.

The second item is the use of full power duty ammo for all training and practice. This was part of the fallout from the Newhall incident and some similar tragedies.

Last edited by WR Moore; 05-12-2018 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:18 AM
Doug.38PR Doug.38PR is offline
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One question that i’ve never seen asked: How long did Bill Jordan’s M19 last with all the .357 magnum rounds he put through it (and we know he shot a lot through his gun). Was it still running good by the time he finished his career or even until his death? Did he switch to 125 gr magnums after they were developed?
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:45 AM
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I would bet Bill Jordan really did not give much concern to flame cutting or eroded cones. He had a problem with a 19, he got a few more from Mr. Wesson. And sent the old one back in. Bill had a direct line right to the top.
Was not Bill the greatest advertisement for the 19?
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Old 05-12-2018, 12:07 PM
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O.P., GREAT question!
This is an excellent and informative thread about a subject that perhaps has been beaten to death, but is nonetheless useful for many of us who know less than a lot of guys, and have read something about the problem, and wish to learn more! Thanx!

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Old 05-12-2018, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
You have to understand that 110 and 125 grain jacketed .357 magnum factory ammunition did not exist when the Model 19 was originally designed, and very little jacketed 158 grain ammunition. As long as lead bullet ammunition was used there were no reports I have ever heard of barrel failure!
Thanks. I'm going to definitely stay with cast bullets only in my beloved 19.
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:53 PM
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Actually, the question about how Bill Jordan's model 19 lasted was answered long ago. In those days, most qualification/training was done with wadcutter .38s. Some departments might use RNL .38s, but the vast majority of the shooting was with .38s. And, as noted earlier those would all have been lead bullets.

.357s might have been used to check sighting and carried (and would probably been lead or one of the very few 158 gr jacketed), but hundreds of rounds of full power ammo were almost unheard of. I don't recall exactly when the 125 gr JHP .357s were developed, but my best memories suggest it would have been very early 1970's by the major manufacturers. (Super Vel might have been before this, but they were breaking new ground.) I'm pretty sure Mr. Jordan was retired by then.

Back in the 1980's I was issued an L frame and every round we fired was full house Federal 125 gr JHP Magnum. We shot a lot. As a result, we had a steady stream of firearms going back to the factory to get returned to acceptable tolerances. That said, we didn't split any forcing cones, but we had a lot of examples of advanced wear.

Last edited by WR Moore; 05-12-2018 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WR Moore View Post
Actually, the question about how Bill Jordan's model 19 lasted was answered long ago. In those days, most qualification/training was done with wadcutter .38s. Some departments might use RNL .38s, but the vast majority of the shooting was with .38s. And, as noted earlier those would all have been lead bullets.

.357s might have been used to check sighting and carried (and would probably been lead or one of the very few 158 gr jacketed), but hundreds of rounds of full power ammo were almost unheard of. I don't recall exactly when the 125 gr JHP .357s were developed, but my best memories suggest it would have been very early 1970's by the major manufacturers. (Super Vel might have been before this, but they were breaking new ground.) I'm pretty sure Mr. Jordan was retired by then.

Back in the 1980's I was issued an L frame and every round we fired was full house Federal 125 gr JHP Magnum. We shot a lot. As a result, we had a steady stream of firearms going back to the factory to get returned to acceptable tolerances. That said, we didn't split any forcing cones, but we had a lot of examples of advanced wear.
According to Wikipedia, Jordan retired in 1971 from the Border Patrol. So he was right there in the early 70s.
But he still had another 26 years of life on this earth which I’m sure included shooting with his beloved M19. He was always one to advance improved ideas such as his promoting the development of the M19 and the M58 and .41 Magnum. So I wouldn’t be surprised that he at least looked into the 125 grain when their track record became known in the 70s.

Keep in mind also, he wasn’t just and average Joe that carried a gun and badge and qualified, he was a professional that took practical shooting and training very seriously.
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:48 PM
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Jordan in his book No Second Place Winner
mentions that in his youthful days, not knowing
any better, he burned up an awful lot of
full power and wadcutter ammo.

But as his book points out, he turned to wax
bullets for practice and exhibitions.

He devotes an entire chapter to producing wax
bullets.

Bip, bip, bip, he'd demolish an Necco wafer at eight
feet following a fast drawer.

Last edited by UncleEd; 05-12-2018 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug.38PR View Post
One question that i’ve never seen asked: How long did Bill Jordan’s M19 last with all the .357 magnum rounds he put through it (and we know he shot a lot through his gun). Was it still running good by the time he finished his career or even until his death? Did he switch to 125 gr magnums after they were developed?
Bill told me personally that he thought the M-19 should fire only about 10-15% of the time with Magnum loads. And those were traditional 158 grain rounds.

I believe he still owned his M-19 that was presented to him in 1955. It may be the first production Combat Magnum, certainly a very early one. This doesn't mean he didn't have others. But I don't think he went in for a lot of .357 shooting in K-frame guns.

I think he retired from the Border Patrol before they had to qualify frequently with full power duty ammo.

Actually, the last time I saw him, he was carrying a Model 59 9mm auto. Said he liked it and had faith in it. We were in G.W. Stone's knife shop in Richardson, TX and Bill had driven over from Shreveport and stopped by to tell G.W. how much he liked his custom knives, which had performed splendidly on Bill's recent safari. I was there interviewing Stone for the profile of him that I published in, Blade magazine. We all knew one another from prior encounters.

What most don't know is that Bill had a very early Airweight Chief Spcl. with the light alloy cylinder that was dropped in favor of a steel one after the aluminum cylinders began cracking. You'll recall that the USAF destroyed almost all of the similar Aircrewman revolvers. I asked if it was wise to carry such a gun, but Bill said he didn't worry. I suspect he fired that gun seldom. He carried it mainly while jogging.

He did a lot of practice shooting with wax bullets, which he fired in his public demos. One gun he used for that was an old M&P .38 that had belonged to an ancestor. He had it fitted with a heavier barrel. The action was very smooth indeed. But that was true of all his guns that I handled.

Bill was an incredibly fast and accurate shooter. Most can't believe that a gun can be so deadly in the right hands until they see it!

He had a droll wit and I miss him

Last edited by Texas Star; 05-12-2018 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coaltminer View Post
If you live long enough to
Outlive your gun
I'll
Buy it. Ps, the 19's lasted longer than the 66's.. carbon steel. Beat to death post. New classic 19 will be my next gun. 66 be damned!
Please let us know why you feel the M-66 is less durable.

According to an article in, Shooting Times by I believe Dick Metcalf, the forcing cone and barrel of the stainless guns is LESS worn by high pressure .357 ammo. The steel just wears better under heat and pressure than do blue or nickel guns.

Probably the first use of stainless steel in firearms was Winchester building at least some .220 Swift M-70's with stainless barrels, to better endure the highly erosive cartridge.

My M-66-3 is probably my favorite revolver ever, and has given no trouble at all. I bought it new in 1990 and carried it almost daily for 21 years. It still looks almost new, thanks to my using high quality lined holsters and taking care of it. I have polished out a few minor scuff marks, blending the polishing in with the original finish.

I've owned about six blued M-19's and liked them, but prefer the maintenance advantages of stainless steel.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:47 PM
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Texas Star,

I recall an article Bill Jordan wrote in which
he said a fire destroyed his guns, or at least
those at his home or trailer.

He then said he'd need a new .22 rifle, a shotgun,
a centerfire hunting rifle and for good measure
probably another Model 19. This is what I remember
from memory.

He joked in another article that if you didn't
handle matters with your six shooter, it was time
to fill the air with 9 mm from a hi cap auto
as you retreated to a place where you
could practice more.

Last edited by UncleEd; 05-12-2018 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleEd View Post
Texas Star,

I recall an article Bill Jordan wrote in which
he said a fire destroyed his guns, or at least
those at his home or trailer.

He then said he'd need a new .22 rifle, a shotgun,
a centerfire hunting rifle and for good measure
probably another Model 19. This is what I remember
from memory.

He joked in another article that if you didn't
handle matters with your six shooter, it was time
to fill the air with 9 mm from a hi cap auto
as you retreated to a place where you
could practice more.
I don't recall seeing that and he didn't mention it to me, so I'm at a loss there. Might he have been speaking of what he'd need if such a thing ever happened? As a minimum basic "battery"?

As for .22 rifles, he greatly admired the Kimber Super America grade and was lusting for one that we saw at a SHOT show. I had to leave for a meeting, and don't know what he worked out with the company. I hope he got the rifle. He deserved some perks for his long service to the nation and to the NRA, and just seeing him with the rifle would cause many to think about buying a Kimber.

BTW, he was a Marine officer in addition to his Border Patrol career.

Last edited by Texas Star; 05-13-2018 at 03:08 AM.
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:23 AM
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Texas Star,

Maybe it was a "what if" article about rebuilding
a gun collection. Honestly don't remember.
But I do remember a mention of his wanting a
.22 Kimber rifle.
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coaltminer View Post
If you live long enough to
Outlive your gun
I'll
Buy it. Ps, the 19's lasted longer than the 66's.. carbon steel. Beat to death post. New classic 19 will be my next gun. 66 be damned!
I've heard just the opposite.
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:22 PM
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This thread had me checking my 19-3 with a 10x magnifier, LOL. It’s 48 years old and the cone and top strap look factory fresh. Carried much, shot not much. That said, I carry it EDC with 125 grain Remington Golden Sabers. But I don’t shoot .357 or even .38+P at the range, I shoot standard .38 Special. No need to tempt fate, given that I really like it and S&W doesn’t have replacement barrels anymore. I’d guess that the current two-piece setups couldn’t be retrofitted to it if something went wrong.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:19 PM
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In 1975 I was looking for my first revolver in 357 magnum. I was advised to stay away from the s&w model 19 because of the screws coming loose with a heavy diet of magnum loads. Now your talking about cracking or flame cutting too.
I purchased a colt Python insteadin ‘75. In ‘76 I purchased the police service six ruger. Both handguns shot and digested my stout magnum loads no problem. I have the m28 & m27 but don’t plan on shooting hot loads out of them.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:42 PM
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Default I've seen them with an irregular......

I've seen them with an irregular cracked chunk out of them with no sign of flame cutting. Either way, a cracked, split, cut forcing cone is bad and the result is the same. A new barrel is in the works.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleEd View Post
Jordan in his book No Second Place Winner
mentions that in his youthful days, not knowing
any better, he burned up an awful lot of
full power and wadcutter ammo.

But as his book points out, he turned to wax
bullets for practice and exhibitions.

He devotes an entire chapter to producing wax
bullets.

Bip, bip, bip, he'd demolish an Necco wafer at eight
feet following a fast drawer.
I recall that too. While it certainly indicates that he saved a lot of money by doing his owm wax bullets, it certainly suggests he used to put a lot of lead through his M19.

I wish i could find an old news or tv film on youtube of his demonstrations. Seems like i read he did tv demonstrations in the 50s and 60s occasionally
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JH1951 View Post
So, what you are telling me is that what you have pictured is a flame/gas cut, not a crack? Perhaps I have been misinformed for years?
Anyone willing to lend comment to straighten me out?
You have not been misinformed. At the bottom of the forcing cone is a CRACK. Above the breech end of the barrel on the top strap is an incipient FLAME CUT.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:15 PM
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I had a new Model 19 with a 6" barrel. Less than 250 rounds of factory Winchester 125 grain JHP loads cracked the forcing cone, just as described. Smith and Wesson kindly replaced the barrel. This was in the pinned-barrel days. I doubt new pinned replacement barrels are even currently available. You'd have to find a good salvage barrel, have it installed, and hope the bluing matches. That or a re-blue is in order. I no longer shoot 125 grain ammunition, factory or handloaded, through my M19. I have a 686 for that.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:45 PM
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Default Wadcutters

[QUOTE=WR Moore;140033076]Actually, the question about how Bill Jordan's model 19 lasted was answered long ago. In those days, most qualification/training was done with wadcutter .38s. Some departments might use RNL .38s, but the vast majority of the shooting was with .38s. And, as noted earlier those would all have been lead bullets.

Yep, that is how I remember it. I was USAF SP/LE and are issued handgun was the model 15. Circa 1979, the first 3 days of LE Tech school, they put us on a bus to nearby Medina annex for handgun training and qualification. All of that handgun training and the subsequent qualification was done with Winchester .38 wadcutters. Never fired a single round of the PGU duty round.
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