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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 02-23-2011, 07:20 PM
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Blue Steel Revolvers Have Better Triggers Than Stainless Steel? Blue Steel Revolvers Have Better Triggers Than Stainless Steel? Blue Steel Revolvers Have Better Triggers Than Stainless Steel? Blue Steel Revolvers Have Better Triggers Than Stainless Steel? Blue Steel Revolvers Have Better Triggers Than Stainless Steel?  
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Default Blue Steel Revolvers Have Better Triggers Than Stainless Steel?

General question for the experts...I had lunch today with a bunch of gun nuts. We all have S&W revolvers of one type or another...one had a Model 14-4 that was very nice. One of the folks has a lot of experience shooting and collecting S&W's and he made the comment that his older blued steel revolvers had a much smoother action than the newer stainless steel models. I didn't know that and it made me start to think (since I mainly have stainless steel guns). For example, my 686-4 has a case-hardened hammer and trigger...I have not taken it apart, but aren't most of the parts that move to fire the gun made of the same material as the old blued steel guns? Not the flash-chromed or MIM parts, but what else besides the trigger would be involved to make this statement? Do you guys (generally) agree that the old steel blued guns are better (more accurate, better trigger action) than the stainless models?

Thanks, B
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:34 PM
Sailfish 40 Sailfish 40 is offline
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I don't know about more accurate, but my model 19-3 has a much smoother trigger than my model 66-5's. Maybe due to the MIM parts on my 66's or maybe the trigger is smoother on the model 19 due to being polished from being shot more?
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:19 PM
Big Cholla Big Cholla is offline
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NO, not necessarily. There are several carbon steel handguns with stainless steel counterpart handguns with exactly the same trigger, sear, hammer and springs. So there will no difference there. The differences come into play in manufacturing tolerances and final finishing techniques. Sometimes the handgun's dimensions, the tolerances of the parts and the final finishing all come together to create a 'great' out of the box trigger pull. Sometimes they work the other way and the trigger pull is on the high side.

If your handgun has a great trigger, relish it. If it doesn't, find a competent pistolsmith on that model of handgun and have a trigger job performed. ........... Big Cholla
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:48 PM
dfariswheel dfariswheel is offline
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Compare apples to apples.
Compare say, a 1985 Model 19 to a 1985 Model 66.
The only difference in the trigger will be due to individual gun variations.

I've heard people say that blued guns have better single action pulls than stainless guns, but they get that deer in the head lights look when it's explained that the single action pull is confined to the interface of the hammer and trigger, and both guns used the same carbon steel parts.
One was color cased, the other was hard chromed...... Same trigger and hammer under the finish.

The only difference you'll feel between a blued S&W "K" frame and a stainless S&W "K" frame is individual manufacturing variations.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:13 AM
scooter123 scooter123 is offline
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I think that it's simply a matter of wear. Take a gun that's been shot for 30 or 40 years and it's going to feel very very smooth because all of the interference conditions will have been worn away. Carry up will also most likely come up a touch short due to the wear on the hand and the drive lugs on the extractor.

I have a 610-3 with the internal lock and some MIM internals with either a forged hammer and trigger or color case hardened MIM hammer and trigger. The only thing that I've done to the action is install a 14 lbs. rebound spring and tweak the strain screw to a 9 lbs. DA pull. On all six positions of the cylinder it feels like I've installed needle and trust bearings on hammer and trigger.

On the other hand my 620 was a bit "stagy" when I first started tuning on it. It had a definate "hitch" in the action after the cylinder stop dropped. One cause was the trigger was dragging on the frame. Installing a 0.0015 shim took care of that issue. However, while testing the action with the hammer out I found that 2 of the drive lugs in the extractor were just a bit "tight". A few passes with a 1200 grit diamond lap resolved that. Now it runs as smoothly as my 610 and I know for a fact that the hammer and trigger are MIM. However, just shooting the gun for 10 or 20 years would have caused enough wear to smooth it out, all I really did was speed up the process a bit with the application of a touch of clearance in the right spot and a few strokes with an abrasive that cuts very rapidly.

Point is, sometimes you get lucky and everything fits just right, other times it takes a bit of fitting to get it right and that can be done either by a lot of use or some careful application of a stone.

PS; I also have an older 67-1 that does come up a touch short on carry up when trigger or thumb cocked in slow motion. That doesn't bother me a bit because that isn't how I shoot it, I don't like staging a DA trigger. However, it was the inspiration for my tuning activities on my newer guns because when I purchased it used it had a 9 lbs. DA trigger that was so smooth it was a joy to shoot.
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:14 AM
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In days of yore, the stainless alloy was a bit more prone to galling or tool chatter. This may be where this urban legend may have started.
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:52 AM
BobR1 BobR1 is offline
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In the original post it was mentioned Older Blued guns compaired to newer Stainless ones.

I think older Smith & Wessons were put together with a little more care in Pre 1970 days. I started buying S&W revolvers in the 1970's used. I seemed to think they were all pretty well made at the time. Several of these guns were made in the 1950's and 1960's.
Then I started seeing some pretty sloppy Smiths. Probably in the early 1980 If I remember correctly. Not sure when they would have been made. I seem to remember S&W was bought out, and quality took a drop for a while.

I have all stainless steel Smiths at the moment. I have no complaints with any of them. With that said, I have checked all of them out before buying, except my 610 No Dash that I ordered.

I looked at a Stainless 22 magnum at a gun show that I was told was made in 1984 a while back. It did not look to have been used much. The cylinder lock up was really bad. Probably as bad as any worn out revolver I have ever had my hands on.

While new Stainless guns seem to be pretty good. I think clean Old Blued Smiths from the 50's and 60's were a little better.

Just My 2 Cents

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Old 02-24-2011, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for the responses. We were all very impressed with the Model 14-4 that one of the guys had yesterday. It isn't extremely old - I think 1980. But it had a pinned barrel and everything was very tight with no cylinder wiggle or end shake...none. And the action was extremely smooth. The person who made the original comment about blued steel guns also said that every time he purchases a gun he gets a "trigger job" to smooth out the action. Perhaps that is something to be considered, but I'm pretty comfortable shooting two of my guns like they are. I have a newer 642 (no lock) that doesn't have the smoothest trigger...perhaps I should send that as a test case and get an action/trigger job?

Again, thanks for all of the responses, B
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:32 AM
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According to Jerry Mikulek in his DVDTrigger Job, the stainless triggers are coated are are slicker then a blued trigger. He said you will always get a better feel with stainless then blued...he said the only way to improve a blued trigger would be to hard chrome the entire inside of the hammer/trigger group
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:42 PM
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They're all pretty good, IMHO. Best DA of my lot, however is a Model 681-0. I have no doubt that Jerry M knows that of which he speaks.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:10 PM
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You don't need an expensive trigger job, all you need to do is to remove the side plate and lube the trigger sear with moly. Its an expensive trigger job in a can. Bill

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Old 12-06-2019, 09:35 AM
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I wouldn't agree. I own and shoot multiple examples of both and have had issues with both. Those that have issues get a trigger job.

The last S&W I acquired is a Model 14 from the late 60's...I figure probably 66-67. Beautiful gun, great trigger and the tightest throats I've ever encountered on a revolver. Probably why it wasn't shot much.

A few experiences with other pre 1970 S&W's vs more modern guns leads me to believe that while the fit and finish on the older revolvers was superior I'm not at all sure about their actual machining tolerances. I see a lot more variance in older models.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:54 AM
Benchrest1 Benchrest1 is offline
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My gunsmith told me he could get a smoother and better trigger job on guns without any MIM parts. He didn't say anything about stainless or blued.

Last edited by Benchrest1; 12-07-2019 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassoneer View Post
General question for the experts...I had lunch today with a bunch of gun nuts. We all have S&W revolvers of one .....
No, sorry they are all about the same. The blued ones just look cooler.

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Old 12-07-2019, 06:56 AM
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Guys, the question was a good one and answered almost 9 years ago, and the OP hasn't been on the Forum for nearly 4 years. Hope he is enjoying his blued (and stainless) S & W revolvers.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:42 AM
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The older revolvers were hand fitted. My k38ís are very smooth.
My older n frames are very smooth. My newer mim n frames need break in.

My two brand new m57 and m58 had two different feeling triggers. One was smooth the other was harsh on the let off. Lubing it with moly made the harsh trigger very close to the smooth trigger. Of course I ran the action for a while.
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610, 642, 681, 686, extractor, lock, model 14, model 19, model 66, model 681

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