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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 01-03-2021, 10:59 PM
DB404 DB404 is offline
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Default Model 19 strengthening

Iím pretty sure everyone here knows how the Special Forces guys wore out M19s by shooting lots and lots of 125 grain jacketed hollow point ammo, experiencing flame cutting of the top strap and loosening of the gun. The standard yarn has it that S&W solved the Model 19 ďproblemĒ by developing the 586 and 686. What I would like to know is if any other strengthening efforts went into the Model 19, similar to those done with the Model 29, especially the -4 and -5 iterations. Iím not really lusting after a heavier .357, as I wonít be running thousands of hot loaded 125 grain bullets through it, but I would enjoy a Model 19 4Ē or 6Ēwhich would not develop premature end shake or quickly lose the ability to tightly and precisely lock up for the shot (timing problems). The most recently made Model 19 I have owned was a 19-3, so my knowledge about the dashes since then is very limited. Thanks for your answers in advance!
All the best, Dave

Last edited by DB404; 01-03-2021 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 01-03-2021, 11:38 PM
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The 19-6 went to a radiused stud package which was said to prolong the life of a revolver significantly. Honestly I am not sure if they ever utilized a hardened yoke like the N frame but I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:39 AM
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Model 19 Variants
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Old 01-04-2021, 07:44 AM
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For durability, the current production (19-9) is probably the best thanks to a significant redesign. The front lock is no longer on the ejector rod, it has been moved to the yoke. The barrel has been redesigned, going to a rifled tube, exterior shroud and tension nut, similar to the Dan Wesson system. Gone is the thin spot at the bottom of the barrel forcing cone.
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Old 01-04-2021, 07:49 AM
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The first model 19 production run (Combat Magnum through 19-8) are fairly similar in structural detail. By reputation the weak spot was the flat/thinner bottom of the barrel forcing cone; there was not an "Endurance Package" modification as done on N frames but regular unlocking with heavy loads (as in heavily loaded model 29s) was not an issue as far as I have read or seen.

The current model 19-9 has the multi-piece barrel assembly and a good quality reputation, so if you are looking for one without the potential issue of older guns both it and the current model 66 may be good choices for you.
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Old 01-04-2021, 08:49 AM
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If youíre not going to run a lot of 357 ammo through it why worry about it? Find a nice gun, shoot it with 38ís or lighter 357ís and enjoy it.

I donít think there is any definite answer to why forcing cones crack. It seems some do...some donít. The only one Iíve seen with my own eyes was on a Model 15, 38 Special of all things. A 15-8 IIRC so it was a fairly recent gun. I wish Iíd taken a picture of it.

On the other hand my 19-9 is one of my favorite guns.
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Old 01-04-2021, 09:36 AM
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Anyone know if this would apply to my 4” 1973 Model 66?
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Old 01-04-2021, 09:52 AM
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Anyone know if this would apply to my 4Ē 1973 Model 66?
It might. Stick to .38 Special or heavier bullet (> 125 gr) full .357s and keep the forcing cone clean to lower the risk.
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Old 01-04-2021, 10:25 AM
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The best improvements for the 'K frame', is the 'L frame'.
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Old 01-04-2021, 11:57 AM
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DB404, I don't own a 19 but I do have a 66 no-dash, one of the early ones. I only shoot 38 special 158 grain through it. (not taking any chances on cracking the barrel extension, forcing cone) How I fixed my need for full house 357 Mag is I got a 586 no dash. And I'm currently looking for a 686.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunBass View Post

I donít think there is any definite answer to why forcing cones crack. It seems some do...some donít.
There is, the thin (or flat spot)!

Yes, some shoot hot stuff, some don't and some less or a lot of it. There's a correlation.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DB404 View Post
Iím not really lusting after a heavier .357, as I wonít be running thousands of hot loaded 125 grain bullets through it, but I would enjoy a Model 19 4Ē or 6Ēwhich would not develop premature end shake or quickly lose the ability to tightly and precisely lock up for the shot (timing problems).
All the best, Dave
Hi Dave,

Based on your plans for it's use, you have no worries about your 19-3.

Too add one bit of information to the great information already shared above. S&W has used a shield in some models above the bar/cyl gap to avoid flame cutting. You could do that but likely not needed, again based on your conservative shooting plans for your 19-3.

I've shot my 19-1 as you propose and it's as tight as it was 50 years ago when I got it.
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Old 01-04-2021, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DB404 View Post
Iím pretty sure everyone here knows how the Special Forces guys wore out M19s by shooting lots and lots of 125 grain jacketed hollow point ammo, experiencing flame cutting of the top strap and loosening of the gun. The standard yarn has it that S&W solved the Model 19 ďproblemĒ by developing the 586 and 686....
Nope, never heard that one. But there's probably a story for every gun S&W's ever made, so nothing would surprise me.
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Old 01-04-2021, 11:36 PM
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About 15 years ago I went to one of the S&W armorer schools and asked a lot of questions. I was told that the later dash models of 19 & 66 seemed to hold up better to hot loads, and the 66 seemed to hold up better than the 19, but my source did not know what changes, if any, were involved. Maybe the later dash versions just hadn't been shot as much.

As mentioned above, the new "Classic" (complete misnomer) 19 and 66 should solve the hot loads problems completely.
But not everything is perfect. I bought a new 19-9 Classic last Fall. The rear sight is bad (windage adjustments tilt the blade but don't move it), the DA and SA trigger pulls are heavier than old-but-stock K frames, and it spits horribly with Magnum loads. So bad I wouldn't dare shoot it without glasses. Trying to fix the trigger pull, I went to remove the sideplate, the screws must have been tightened with an impact wrench; I broke two screwdrivers just trying to remove them.

It's going back to S&W when I have time.
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:59 AM
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His new S&W design video, the Classic M19 critique:
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:53 PM
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^^^
Yes, I had watched that video before buying my 19-9, and Jerry Miculek's video also. Both were very impressed by the design changes. So am I.
But if S&W ships junk quality like my gun, the design improvements don't do much good.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:53 AM
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It wasn't made by some big machine called " Smith & Wesson " ! It was built by a guy that obviously doesn't take pride in his work or the company that he works for . Let's not judge the whole company by a bad experience . Regards Paul
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:40 AM
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Gearhead Jim,

Yes, the side plate screws on the
Model 19-9 are very tight. I use
a Chapman torque "wrench" and
they come loose fairly easily. The
same tight screws are common to
many of the older models as well.

As for spitting, I've had spitters
on Smiths going back to the
1980s. Try a different load
first.

As to the wobbly sight blade,
I suspect that's easily corrected.

Heavy DA pull? They are around
12 pounds but quite smooth. A
change of rebound spring if you
must is easily accomplished. That
"heavy" spring ensures fast
reset and avoidance of lockup
by shortstroking.

For all your complaints, contact
S&W. The gun has a guarantee.

By the way, I have two (yes two)
of the 19-9s and have encountered
no problems.
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:47 PM
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Thanks everyone for the info. It is helpful. Part of the reason I sought feedback has to do with my first Model 19, which was a four inch gun, made at the end of the first year production. It came with the original box, papers, and tools and had been a motorcycle officer's gun for use when escorting funeral processions in a large western city, and had rarely been fired. When I acquired it, it locked up tighter than any of my other Smiths, on each chamber of the cylinder. After less than 200 rounds of handloads (several grains below maximum in two manuals, to be easy on it) it only locked that tightly on 4 of 6, so I put it away, then several years later sold it to a collector. I really liked that revolver; it had a super trigger, both SA and DA. It was just about a perfect woods loafing revolver for the lower 48.
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Old 01-11-2021, 10:32 PM
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I've been target shooting my 19 for well...a long time and to be honest, I don't know why anybody would want to put a lot of magnum ammo through any K frame revolver even if there were no chance of damage. If you're thinking of self defense, the modern 38+P has come a long way and is far more manageable, at least for me than magnums. I had the chance to shoot a friends 586 6" barrel. All that weight and that heavy full under lug barrel tamed those magnums nicely.
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Old 01-11-2021, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigChief52 View Post
I've been target shooting my 19 for well...a long time and to be honest, I don't know why anybody would want to put a lot of magnum ammo through any K frame revolver even if there were no chance of damage. If you're thinking of self defense, the modern 38+P has come a long way and is far more manageable, at least for me than magnums. I had the chance to shoot a friends 586 6" barrel. All that weight and that heavy full under lug barrel tamed those magnums nicely.
I can't possibly say you are wrong.... BUT... I am one of those guys who puts oodles of Magnum rounds through my Magnum revolvers.

At the risk of sounding like a braggard, I really don't feel recoil.

EXCEPT for my Scandium/Titanium 360 Magnum revolver.

That stings a bit.

Just to put a cherry on this sundae, One of my very first duty weapons was a 2 1/2 inch model 19 stoked with 125 grain Magnum ammunition.

When we shot things.... They stayed shot.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:06 AM
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I don't shoot 38 spl's in my K-frame 357's . If I want to shoot 38 spl's I have a real nice Colt Police Positive Special taylor made for the job . I don't shoot the 125 gr magnum loads in any of my 357's , K , L or N frame Smiths or my Old Model Colt Trooper ( poor mans Python ) . My K-frame Smiths get 357 magnum loads using bullets from 158 gr --- 180 gr . One of my favorite loads is the Keith swc ( 173 gr) crimped in the crimp groove on top of 7.0 grs of Unique loaded in a 357 case . It's just a good upper mid range 357 load . Great " walk about " load . Regards Paul
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:11 AM
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Many years ago when I decided to become well regulated with handguns you could buy buckets of once fired 38 brass cheaply. I suppose this led to my affinity for shooting 38s in 357 revolvers. It took many rounds of lightly loaded rounds before I could graduate beyond embarrassing territory. To this day, even though my skill level is reasonable, I don't shoot magnums nearly as well as 38s from my 19. This makes me believe that for many people, the L frame revolvers would make a better platform for shooting full power magnums.
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:11 AM
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I have a 66-2 which I have listed as shipped in 1983. I guess that would incorporate the same features as a 19-6?

I bought it as a derelict at a gun show in 2007. It was a bit beat up, had excessive end shake/gap and poor lock up. It shot pretty good despite all that. But it bugged me.

I sent it off to have it rebuilt, and then some. Yoke stretch, barrel set-back, .003 gap, Weigand DX front sight base & target blade, .500 target trigger, and a 3.0# single action trigger pull. Plus some cosmetic work.

It was my primary range gun for years. I still shoot it but have a couple of others that I've been working with so I haven't shot it much in the last two years.

But prior to that I shot it a lot. I have a tad over 30,000 rounds on the rebuild. It has a barely discernible amount of end shake. I can't get a .005" feeler gauge in the gap. Still shoots under 2" at 25 yards over bags. Though my age is starting to affect my ability to pull that off.

I generally shoot a 158gr LSWC with 4.0 gr of W231. But sometimes I shoot a button-nose wadcutter with the same load, or a 125gr LRN with 4.0 gr of 700X. I have probably shot a thousand .357's, most of which were also 158gr LSWC powered by a starting load of 800X.

The 125gr LRN and the 700X/800X loads were induced by component shortages during the aftermath of the "Sandy Hook Panic". But I still shoot them occasionally.

But I ramble. I don't expect it to go forever without some maintenance but I also don't see it "wearing out" in quite a while. Oh wait, I did break a firing pin in 2014.
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
The first model 19 production run (Combat Magnum through 19-8) are fairly similar in structural detail. By reputation the weak spot was the flat/thinner bottom of the barrel forcing cone;
One change in the earlier guns that may have a bearing on forcing cone failure was the few years the gas ring was moved from the cylinder to the frame (yoke). It was done to improve fouling prevention of the extractor rod, but after moving the gas ring to the frame, fouling actually got worse, so, S&W moved the ring back to the cylinder, with an improved retention so it didn't come loose, as some of the earliest ones were known to do.

When the gas ring was moved to the frame (yoke), it required even more of an undercut on the forcing cone than the earliest models. If you see an early M19, prior to a -3 (and even quite a few -3's) the undercut is smaller than later ones that were made while the gas ring was on the yoke. After the ring was moved back to the cylinder, the larger undercut remained, rather than reverting to the smaller cut. According to the Standard Catalog, the gas ring change was made with the M19-4, and the M66-1. That said, my M19-3 has a cylinder-mounted gas ring. The article I read does not mention at what point the gas ring was initially moved to the yoke. The point is, though, the undercut was smaller at one time than it is on most M19's since about the dash 4. This is the article I read that talks about this:
The Smith & Wesson L-Frame Story - RevolverGuy.Com
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim View Post
About 15 years ago I went to one of the S&W armorer schools and asked a lot of questions. I was told that the later dash models of 19 & 66 seemed to hold up better to hot loads, and the 66 seemed to hold up better than the 19, but my source did not know what changes, if any, were involved.
Did they say what they considered a "later model"? Would it be a post P&R (M19-5 or M66-2), or a post-lock gun with MIM and CNC?

Last edited by Hair Trigger; 01-13-2021 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:20 PM
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Thanks for posting this very informative article. That solved a mystery for me. I've been hearing about how the flat weakened the forcing cone to the point of failure on model 19s and yet when I look at my old 19-3 that flat is tiny. Hardly any steel was removed.You have to look closely to see it. Then I saw the picture where half the steel was cut away and the whole thing makes sense to me now.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:05 PM
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This may seem a bit off track but
why is the 9mm supplanting the
once vaunted .40 S&W in autos.
Answer is that the 9mm is easier
to shoot, has less blast and recoil.
And the 9mm probably gets the
job done if a shooter can hit better
with it.

So, now the question of .357 Smith
& Wesson Magnum, and yes it is
an excellent defensive and maybe
hunting round. But its blast and
recoil in a K-frame are not pleasant
or acceptable for most shooters, which
Bill Jordan understood dozens of years
ago.

So shooters even with the
improved, if you believe so, the Model 19
remains an excellent .38 Smith & Wesson
Special handgun. And you will be
well served. Want to blast occassionally,
go ahead and use some .357s.

It seems to me if you really are a
dedicated .357 shooter, then use a
an L-frame or N-frame.

You want the slightly lighter Model 19
for carry and SHTF situations, then do
so along with those manstopping .357s.
But you'd better be able to handle them.
And with age, some age, it becomes
a more problematic set of circumstances.

Today's S&W Model 19-9 is an excellent
revolver and easily supplants my
favorite, the Model 15, and the older
Model 19s. In fact, in this day, I believe
the new Model 19 is the replacement for
the Models 10, 13, 65 and 65. Smith
& Wesson could just, in its Classic
Model 19 lineup, expand the
choices in barrel length, 3- or 5-
or 6-inchers. The Carry Comp already
is in the line up.

As it is, Smith & Wesson features if
not produces just too many models
nowadays. But as a positive, its 686 line
up is an ideal of variety for most
shooters.
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Old 01-15-2021, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hair Trigger View Post
One change in the earlier guns that may have a bearing on forcing cone failure was the few years the gas ring was moved from the cylinder to the frame (yoke). It was done to improve fouling prevention of the extractor rod, but after moving the gas ring to the frame, fouling actually got worse, so, S&W moved the ring back to the cylinder, with an improved retention so it didn't come loose, as some of the earliest ones were known to do.

When the gas ring was moved to the frame (yoke), it required even more of an undercut on the forcing cone than the earliest models. If you see an early M19, prior to a -3 (and even quite a few -3's) the undercut is smaller than later ones that were made while the gas ring was on the yoke. After the ring was moved back to the cylinder, the larger undercut remained, rather than reverting to the smaller cut. According to the Standard Catalog, the gas ring change was made with the M19-4, and the M66-1. That said, my M19-3 has a cylinder-mounted gas ring. The article I read does not mention at what point the gas ring was initially moved to the yoke. The point is, though, the undercut was smaller at one time than it is on most M19's since about the dash 4. This is the article I read that talks about this:
The Smith & Wesson L-Frame Story - RevolverGuy.Com
Did they say what they considered a "later model"? Would it be a post P&R (M19-5 or M66-2), or a post-lock gun with MIM and CNC?
They did not say what would be a "later model". I had the feeling that it wasn't an instant change with a particular dash number, but a progression over years. But that's just my intuition, no hard information.
And as mentioned, it could be that the later guns were holding up better just because they hadn't, on average, been shot as much.
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