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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 08-04-2011, 07:14 PM
xaztec xaztec is offline
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Default Pinned Barrel Recessed Cylinder What's the big deal?

I'm not much of a collector but am an avid shooter and love S&W revolvers. I'm just wondering what the big deal is with pinned barrels and recessed cylinders. Are they just scarce features? Is it just a matter of aesthetics or personal preference? Is there some functional/performance/endurance advantage? Just not sure why guns with those features seem to command a premium. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:16 PM
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They are features on older S&Ws, from a time period when some people feel the quality of S&W revolvers was higher than it is today.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:22 PM
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Like the person before me said a lot of us believe that they were made during a time when they had more skilled craftsman and they took more time finishing the revolvers. Some will say that it is BS but to a lot of us it's not

The beauty of buying S&W revolvers is that you pay your money and you can buy what you want.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:26 PM
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The pinned barrels (until ca. 1982), and recessed cylinders on magnum cartridge (ca. 1982), are considered a sign of the workmanship that went into S&W revolvers.

The pinned barrels were a non-starter after 1955, when S&W changed manufacturing methods.. The feature was kept until about 1982, when they were dropped. It was thought that the counter-bored cylinders provided extra support for the case head. With stronger brass formulas, this feature, too, was redundant.

S&W wasn't always as good with quality, especially in the Bangor Punta era, when it was the rage to diversify and conglomerate. They weren't the only ones. Litton Industries, and Gulf & Western were just two of many others who participated. It was thought that conglomeration provided protection from the swings in various companies business cycles.

There are lots of collectors our there (me included) who like the features. I have several S&W revolvers that don't have pinned barrels and no recessed cylinders, but I have more which include these features.

Colt, Ruger, and all the rifle manufacturers don't use pinned barrels. With the way the barrels are threaded and fitted, pins aren't necessary.

Nostalgia drives collecting, and those features which make ones collection unique, is the driver in many instances.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyimo View Post
Like the person before me said a lot of us believe that they were made during a time when they had more skilled craftsman and they took more time finishing the revolvers. Some will say that it is BS but to a lot of us it's not

The beauty of buying S&W revolvers is that you pay your money and you can buy what you want.
I agree. I have four pinned and recessed S&W revolvers. All of them are better quality than my three non pinned and recessed. Too me the non pinned and recessed revolvers are typical assembly line revolvers like Ruger and other gun makers. Its like buying cars. The cars made up to the fifties were more hand fitted and too me showed more craftmanship. Todays cars are made out of plastic and by robots. Its all about production. Handguns are the same now. Look at all the tupperware guns now. That should tell everybody what this world has become.
Regards,
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:32 PM
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They're just cool.
Sorry, I get deep like that sometimes.
Jim
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:41 PM
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All S&W revolvers are top line but handle and shoot a p&r revolver side by side with one that is not and you will see a difference.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:48 PM
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Yuck, old guns are lame... You should avoid them at all costs. They have no warranty coverage, they have worn bluing and peeling nickel, the wood stocks are too bulky or skinny, they should all just be left alone...

So people like me can keep buying them. They have an appeal that a some Harley people say if you don't get it then you don't get it. I don't attempt to justify it so much anymore. We all have our tastes and desires. S&W isn't suffering at a lack of new sales, and I enjoy both their old and new for differing reasons. There was a dark time when I knew no better and thought a modern auto like a Glock or Beretta were superior but now I know the error of my ways. These days I think I want to grow the older N frame collection but those darn K frames just keep getting in the way. Some models are rare, some weren't made P/R'ed for very long, and some are technically not as strong as newer models, but for my tastes they are just some fine revolvers and I treasure and value them as near sacred tools. They aren't just some hammer to be smacked around and thrown into a tool bucket... These will be treated right and maybe someday be handed down to someone else. While I love all my S&W's, I really take special enjoyment of my Pre-1980 guns that have the pinned barrels and counter bored cylinders.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:57 PM
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like they said......and they don't make them any more!



Semper Fi
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:08 PM
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Anything older and discontinued must be better than the new thing that replaced it.

Personally I just think they look cool.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:17 AM
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good old days syndrome
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:41 AM
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OTOH, for SHOOTING purposes, some of the newer non P&R models are actually built more precisely and are frequently better shooters. This is especially true when compared to later P&R guns. The P&R guns have greater asthetic appeal to a lot of folks, as well as better defined "bragging rights".
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:25 PM
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I like em all, P&R'd or not. As others have stated the fit and especially the finishes was better on the older revolvers IMO.

No IL locks allowed though.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:58 PM
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I myself would rather see them pinned and recessed.
I also have to admit the newer ones have a much better trigger on them and appear to lock up tighter.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:15 PM
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I think I understand the thought process behind it even though I don't own any pinned barrel S&W's. As an example, I believe the older German-made SIGs with the carbon steel slides and pinned breach blocks are much higher quality and better performing than the new US-made versions with one-piece machined stainless steel slides. I've had P226's of both styles and the older gun was hands down a better performer.

On the other hand, newer can sometimes be better as well. I find the new slab-sided barrels with tapered underlugs/ ejector shrouds found on the new Pro Series Smiths to be so aestheticaly appealing, that I doubt I'd ever buy another revolver without that barrel style again.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:24 PM
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I agree with all those who prefer the old ones, the good ones, with pins and recesses.

And of course I'm out front in condemning some of the modern botched jobs coming out of S&W recently.

But there are some very positive things we should keep in mind. There are still some fine craftsmen lurking within S&W, not yet unleashed. Not all of them are oldsters. And the CNC technology which permits large scale high precision manufacturing is right there, in place...if utilized. That's how the good cylinder lockup happens.

And in the '80s - '90s, they started to get it right with the 3rd generation semiautos. S&W has outstanding engineering design capability. That good old S&W craftsmanship is not something which is simply dead and can never come back.

So if anybody at the top of S&W management ever decides they want to make the company and its products better than ever before, even better than in the recessed-and-pinned era, it could be done, in record time...with a memo and some hard-nosed followup supervision.

So far, it is obvious that no such decision has been made. I think the bean counters are still firmly in charge.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
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So far, it is obvious that no such decision has been made. I think the bean counters are still firmly in charge.
I agree with the exception of Smith's line of 1911's. I never thought the day would come when I'd find something nice to say about a S&W Auto (I think their older versions were garbage, and best used as a boat anchor), but their new line of 1911's are absolutely outstanding. IMHO as a 1911 connosour (sp), the S&W is the finest sub-$1000 dollar 1911 on the market. For $1500 or more I'd buy a Les Baer, but anything short of that I'd go with a S&W in a heartbeat.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:47 PM
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Jerry





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Old 08-05-2011, 05:59 PM
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Ref. MaximumBob's comment about the Harley folks' philosophy: I think Louis Armstrong said it best when a reporter asked him, "What IS jazz?"
His reply - "If you gotta ask, you ain't ever gonna know."

Larry
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:53 PM
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I like the older revolvers with a bit more craftsmanship but I was reminded the other day when a friend (who only has one new S&W revolver and zero older ones) commented on why he like his revolver, he said he could tell if it was loaded by looking at the side of the cylinder. He then picked up my 1973 Trooper to demonstrate and I had to then educate him about the recessed feature on some older revolvers.

On the plus side it allowed me to reinforce that you must assume a gun is always loaded and you need to check by looking in the chamber/s to be sure. If he just glanced at my Trooper and decided to dry fire it he would have been surprised!
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:04 PM
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The abundance of those who prefer the older Smith's certainly reflect upon the craftsmanship of these revolvers. The old finishes were exceptional and newer alloy finishes could never compete with them for aesthetic beauty. In my experience (with about ten snub nose 38's) the older guns had better triggers when comparing same size guns. Even an older model 37 anodized Airweight has a far more aesthetically pleasing finish than the new Airweights. Many of us appreciate the art and history of our handguns, as well as their performance. To each his own, but a deep blued older model Smith & Wesson gets my vote for Beauty Queen and Range King over the newer guns.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:09 PM
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This is just my own experience, and my comments apply only to fixed sight models. I've had two non-P&R era fixed sight revolvers, a 547 (and before anyone calls me on it, I realize the "recessed" aspect really doesn't apply to this model) and a 681. Neither would shoot to point of aim, the 681 being way off in this regard. I imagine I could've sent them back to S&W to be tweaked and made right, but it's not the kind of out of the box performance that inspires confidence in your sidearm. However, every P&R fixed sight I've shot, and I mean every one of them, be it an ancient M&P or a Model 60, puts the rounds right where you want them to go. So, why should I take another chance on a non-P&R gun unless it has an adjustable sight?

Now both of the above revolvers were 1980's vintage, and I recognize that manufacturing techniques have evolved since then, and I know plenty of people are entirely satisfied with their 21st century S&W fixed sight revolver's accuracy. But as someone else mentioned earlier in this thread, then there's that pesky internal lock....
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:42 PM
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I stumbled on a model 19-2 P&R in a local gunshop and walked out with it for $263. Best deal I ever got, and my first P&R gun. The blueing is like a mirror and the gun is FAR smoother than any other Smith I have handled. Show me a new S&W that looks or handles like this one does.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:42 PM
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It's just those old world features that show attention to detail. They might not be necessary , but they certainly are nice to those that appreciate such things.

A fine hand carved ivory or block meerschaum pipe gives a wise man an aire of distinction , and a fool something to stick in his mouth.

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Old 08-05-2011, 09:43 PM
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WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL !!WHAT'S THE BIG DEALLL!! WELL,I'LL TELL YA!! CAUSE THAT'S HOW WE LIKE-EM !! sorry long day and coffee at nite,not a good combination,ha, i'ts ok ,i'm better now !!
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:47 AM
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I think the blueing is much better on the p&r guns. People seem to forget that the older the guns get the more the guns with "issues" fade away. So you would be hard pressed to find a smith from the 60's with problems from the factory as over the last 50 years those problems were found and delt with. Smiths that were made in the last few years have not had as muchtime to get the issues resolved and so you hear about them more often. Add this to the Internet age when a person has an issue and now everyone knows about it and becomes hyper sensitive compared to years past.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:56 AM
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I have them all three ways- pinned/recessed, not p/r'd, and not p/r'd and locked. Feel the p/r'd ones are somehow a cut above, but ONLY in blue finish. For whatever reason, the stainless guns (regardless of their status) just scream to be used- A LOT! Even more than my Non pinned, non recessed M27 which I hold dear, and my favorite shooter- an early 1970s model 15 I bought used around a year ago- action so smooth I doubt a gunsmith could duplicate the feel; yes, it has no trouble with even Magtech primers ( that my old PPC gun isn't 100% on setting off).
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaddog28 View Post
Its like buying cars. The cars made up to the fifties were more hand fitted and too me showed more craftmanship. Todays cars are made out of plastic and by robots. Its all about production. Handguns are the same now. Look at all the tupperware guns now. That should tell everybody what this world has become.
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Howard
When I opened this thread, I told myself I wouldn't participate. This crock of a comment demands a reply.

Wow, Howard, are you living in the dark ages. Cars from the fifties needed hand fitting because they were primitive, chrome laden junk that couldn't roll off the line without it.

Today's cars are infinitely better handling, disc brakes that actually STOP, incredibly better engines and fuel economy (did you like 10mpg guzzlers and pathetic bias ply tires that were prone to blowouts?), massively better acceleration and incredibly better emissions. Oh, yes, another comment for the geezer crowd, they're built of much higher strength steel although I'll grant you, thinner sheet steel and in crash tests, the "occupants" in the older cars die while the "occupants" in the new ones are hardly injured. Nothing but the best from the fifties, there Howard.

Back to revolvers. I can understand those who prefer the old and what are probably deeper blue jobs and such but I'm also confident that the metallurgy in todays guns are superior. A lot of well regarded people as well as some factory gun engineers I know agree with me. Buy and use what you like but recognize the qualities of guns of both eras. Don
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:57 AM
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I had a similar reaction to the car comment.

It's exhibit number 1 that at least *some* arrive at their preference for older Smiths through irrational means.

I've also read folks inexplicably touting that Smith & Wesson used to stand behind their product in the good ol' days, but no longer do so.

Some folks legitimately have come to a preference for the older guns through reason, others have just because.
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Old 01-26-2017, 04:46 AM
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There is no advantage. It is just an easy way to tell a pre-1982 M29 from a newer one.

As far as the older ones being made better that is absolutely false. Smith and Wesson developed the "Endurance Package" and all 1988 and later models have it. It includes better heat treatment of the yoke to make it stronger. The cylinder locking notches and the cylinder bolt are longer and deeper on endurance package and post package N frames. The trigger and hammer pivot pins were improved to prevent shearing off like the older models started doing after many many full house loads. Also the cylinder notches were cut deeper and a stronger cylinder bolt lock was used to prevent backspin to another chamber as some started doing after hard rounds. Also due to modern machining the fitment and cylinder lock up is a lot tighter than the older ones ever were. These are just straight facts and anyone saying otherwise is just being biased toward their favorite older model. Yes they were nicely blued but I would put a newer M29 up against an older one anyday and a novice would pick the newer one every time. They are doing a lot better than they were at one time. The finishing is very very high quality and shines like a mirror. There is simply no way it could possibly look better.

The newer ones are made stronger but still look nearly identical.to the older ones

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  #31  
Old 01-26-2017, 04:53 AM
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Many get hung up on what they perceive as truths.

By the way this thread died years ago.

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Old 01-26-2017, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGNUMMASTER View Post
There is no advantage. It is just an easy way to tell a pre-1982 M29 from a newer one.

As far as the older ones being made better that is absolutely false. Smith and Wesson developed the "Endurance Package" and all 1988 and later models have it. It includes better heat treatment of the yoke to make it stronger. The cylinder locking notches and the cylinder bolt are longer and deeper on endurance package and post package N frames. The trigger and hammer pivot pins were improved to prevent shearing off like the older models started doing after many many full house loads. Also the cylinder notches were cut deeper and a stronger cylinder bolt lock was used to prevent backspin to another chamber as some started doing after hard rounds. Also due to modern machining the fitment and cylinder lock up is a lot tighter than the older ones ever were. These are just straight facts and anyone saying otherwise is just being biased toward their favorite older model. Yes they were nicely blued but I would put a newer M29 up against an older one anyday and a novice would pick the newer one every time. They are doing a lot better than they were at one time. The finishing is very very high quality and shines like a mirror. There is simply no way it could possibly look better.

The newer ones are made stronger but still look nearly identical.to the older ones
Just don't use Hoppes #9 on theses new S&W's. Ask me how I know.
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  #33  
Old 01-26-2017, 10:46 AM
MAGNUMMASTER MAGNUMMASTER is offline
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I know why and I know what you are trying to suggest. The same myth as others that the new finish isn't as tough as the older one. Smith and Wesson had to change their process of bluing slightly due to EPA regulations but to try to suggest the newer process is any less durable is absolute nonsense. The newer Hoppes 9 isn't the same as the old either. It used to contain benzene but the EPA had it removed cause it is a toxic chemical. Now it contains Amonium Hydroxide Amyl Acetate and Olic Acid. I wouldn't use that acid (that's what is really is) on any of my blued guns especially not a M29 no matter how old or new it is. lol
There are better cleaners for your guns that are no way near as harsh.
Hoppes is a bore cleaner anyway and not really supposed to be used to wipe down your finish anyway. If you are careful and only use it on the bore ONLY, you will be just fine. If a drop gets on the finish just wipe it off quickly. It won't harm the finish that way. The owners manual of all Smith and Wesson firearms now warn against using "Ammoniated solvents or strong alkaline solvents" and that they should not be used on ANY Smith and Wesson firearm. That's regardless of finish.

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  #34  
Old 01-26-2017, 10:47 AM
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Red face Another "Conglomeration" Example

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis The B View Post
The pinned barrels (until ca. 1982), and recessed cylinders on magnum cartridge (ca. 1982), are considered a sign of the workmanship that went into S&W revolvers.

The pinned barrels were a non-starter after 1955, when S&W changed manufacturing methods.. The feature was kept until about 1982, when they were dropped. It was thought that the counter-bored cylinders provided extra support for the case head. With stronger brass formulas, this feature, too, was redundant.

S&W wasn't always as good with quality, especially in the Bangor Punta era, when it was the rage to diversify and conglomerate. They weren't the only ones. Litton Industries, and Gulf & Western were just two of many others who participated. It was thought that conglomeration provided protection from the swings in various companies business cycles.

There are lots of collectors our there (me included) who like the features. I have several S&W revolvers that don't have pinned barrels and no recessed cylinders, but I have more which include these features.

Colt, Ruger, and all the rifle manufacturers don't use pinned barrels. With the way the barrels are threaded and fitted, pins aren't necessary.

Nostalgia drives collecting, and those features which make ones collection unique, is the driver in many instances.
Another "conglomeration" example from the same time period would be the short time when the "AMF Corporation" owned the "Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company." My understanding was that you could easily follow those bikes by their tell-tale oil puddles. Then they sold the company to back to the employees who re-established the quality ethic.
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  #35  
Old 01-26-2017, 12:13 PM
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........

On the other hand, newer can sometimes be better as well. I find the new slab-sided barrels with tapered underlugs/ ejector shrouds found on the new Pro Series Smiths to be so aestheticaly appealing, that I doubt I'd ever buy another revolver without that barrel style again.
I am just the opposite. I think the slab sided barrels on the Pro and PC series to be uglier. And yes, I do own a 627-5 Pro and it is a fine shooting weapon and one of my favorites to bring to the range. But I prefer the aesthetics of the older barrels as used on the Model 27 guns. But the slab sided barrel's looks didn't stop me from buying the 627 Pro either.

As for the P&R guns, I think the fit and finish on them tended to average better than the new revolvers. And the recessed cylinder definitely has a much better aesthetic appeal to me as the gap between the recoil shield and cylinder is much narrower and looks better in my opinion. But functionally there is no advantage to the recessed cylinder.

I now own 5 of the 6 model 27s I've bought in my life. Four of them are 27-2 guns. I had a 27-3 that I gave to my daughter and I also have a 27-5 that actually has a recessed cylinder and was produced around 1990. It was part of a collection called "12 Revolvers" and S&W actually had to make recessed cylinders for that run of 500 guns for the model 27 in the collection. And they weren't just leftovers from the old P&R days as they used the longer cylinder stop cut of the -5 guns. So it is a rather unusual gun of that period. It doesn't have a pinned barrel however.
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  #36  
Old 01-26-2017, 12:27 PM
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THREAD FROM THE DEAD!!! AGHH!!!
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  #37  
Old 01-26-2017, 01:18 PM
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Pinned and recessed? In the words of Tevye, "Tradition!"

Pinned barrels don't require a crush fit, which often results in canted barrels. Recessed cylinder chambers means cleaning with a toothpick after a day on the range.
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  #38  
Old 01-26-2017, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmithFan651 View Post
Another "conglomeration" example from the same time period would be the short time when the "AMF Corporation" owned the "Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company." My understanding was that you could easily follow those bikes by their tell-tale oil puddles. Then they sold the company to back to the employees who re-established the quality ethic.
I have NO idea how the myth started that AMF ruined Harley-Davidson because truth be told, AMF saved Harley from going defunct. If anything AMF failed to realize just how run down Harley-Davidson was when they bought it and just how much it would cost to upgrade the production facilities. The oil puddles under Harley-Davidsons and pee poor quality control of their motorcycles was present long before AMF bought the company. AMF also discovered that more parts of their motorcycles were leaving the factory in employee pockets and lunch boxes, than what was being sold to dealerships. Theft ran rampant back in the day. It came to the point where AMF had to dump Harley, or risk losing everything, so selling it back to the employees was a no brainer. And lets not forget that after the company was sold back to the employees there was some serious federal assistance, more than once, to help keep the company from going under even though AMF was long gone. Having lived in the Milwaukee area almost all my life and having owned a great many Harley-Davidsons I know the real story and it wasn't that AMF ruined anything at Harley. Harley almost ruined AMF.

To the question of Smith and Wesson revolvers, I too at one time, thought a pinned and recessed revolver was the best that the company ever offered, but that's just not true. Their current line of revolvers, especially those under the Performance Center banner are just as good as the old ones except perhaps in finish appeal. The old bluing that S&W used as well as Colt, was truly something to behold. But be honest, those finishes while beautiful to look at, weren't very durable. One scratch, or knick and it was all over. Finish durability back in the "day" wasn't a driving force, it was all about how pretty the gun looked sitting on the shelf at the local gun store.

For about one third of my law enforcement career I had to carry a department issued revolver. When I was issued my first P&R'd Model 66 I thought I was in Fat City! It didn't take long for us to start having problems with those revolvers with gas cutting of the frames and frame stretch which led to other issues. A few years later I was assigned to our department pistol team and I was issued a 4" Model 686 and that was truly a very sweet revolver, but shock of shocks, it wasn't pinned and recessed! But that didn't matter one bit, that gun shot like a house on fire and I never had one single problem with it. Then my department made the decision to go with a semi-auto which was the right decision based on what law enforcement was confronting, but they picked an absolute loser of a semi-auto, no not S&W, that we had nothing but problems with for the 10 years we carried them. They shot so poorly that we had to dissolve the pistol team because we just couldn't compete on a level playing field with everyone else. The rule at the time was, you HAD to use your department issued sidearm and ours sucked!

So while a lot of guys like to say the old guns were better, I just don't buy it. That's like saying old cars were better than what's available today. I think in many cases when someone does have a problem with a new made gun they jump to the internet and let everyone know about it and before you know it, the entire world thinks that one gun is indicative of a bad product. Don't kid yourself, customers had problems with the Smith and Wessons back in the old days too, but they didn't have the internet to cry their little hearts out on.

Rick
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Old 01-26-2017, 04:21 PM
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I'm betting if the early guns WEREN'T pinned and recessed and the new one were, we'd be reading about "Nice old model before the ugly pin and recessed cylinders". We often wish for the good ol days even if they weren't any better or maybe a bit worse.
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  #40  
Old 01-26-2017, 04:38 PM
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Right or wrong, the pinned and recessed era is when Smith & Wesson revolvers were considered at the pinnacle. Personally, I believe that to be true also.
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  #41  
Old 01-27-2017, 06:08 PM
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I have 2 P&R revolvers. I have earlier versions that were not and also later versions. The biggest down side is that when doing a lot of shooting it is much easier for dirt and accumulated crude to create issues with case drag. A big advantage is they act like chamfered cylinders for reloads. My 2.5 no dash 66 is stupid accurate. That said my favorite shooting iron is a 1964 Model 10. It is pinned, but being a 38, not recessed.

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