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Old 12-22-2011, 12:05 AM
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Default Strength of S&W .22 Revolvers with Aluminum Cylinder

I was wondering about the strength of S&W .22 revolvers with the aluminum cylinder. Let me be really specific. Is it safe to shoot CCI Velocitors in the 317 and 43C? I am wanting to carry as potent a load as possible for use while hiking, and I have read superb reviews of the Velocitor, but I just don't want to ruin my gun in the process. One point to consider is that the 351C is virtually the same gun as the 43C, also with an aluminum cylinder, but chambered in .22 WMR. So, one could reason that if it is strong enough for the .22 WMR, it should be able to handle hot .22 LR. However, the 351C only holds 7 instead of 8 which means that the cylinder walls are thicker on the 351C, and I am sure that was done for a good reason. I am just thinking while I am typing. Any real world experience with these Air Lite .22s and Velocitors would be appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by Old Fashioned Six Shooter; 12-22-2011 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:01 AM
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I would say its fine, but maybe email the company and ask to be sure it would work fine,
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:28 AM
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Mine have never done a thing other than shoot any 22 round I wish to shoot in them. Longevity....can't really say, but I have heard from other 317 owners that have reported as high as a 10,000 round count.

I ran across a spare 317 cylinder and barrel and picked it up, but I doubt I will ever need it. The general warning is not to get to aggressive with brass cleaning brushes and the finish is not that resilient. Other than that....I would not be concerned about it. Nobody that I know of has posted a picture of a blown-up aluminum 22 cylinder. If anybody has one....let me see it please.

You can always replace the cylinder and yoke in a 317 with a stainless one from a new-model 63....even the barrel as well.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:44 AM
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Wouldn't even give it a second thought. Shoot any factory ammo out there and, should a problem arise, the gun is covered by S&W's lifetime warranty.
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:09 PM
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So far, I am really pleased with the responses. I was afraid I would hear just the opposite. My dealer is supposed to have a 43C on the way for me. I have had a 617 6 shot for years and love it. I have just recently "discovered" the .22 J-frames. If I like the 43C, I might look at a 63 next. Thanks!
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:14 PM
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I have a 3” 317. It had a slightly uneven barrel-cylinder gap and the gap produced a jet that eroded the face of the cylinder. Everything else was fine, but after having this happen and sending the gun back to the factory a couple of times, they replaced the barrel and evened up the gap, and replaced the cylinder with a stainless cylinder. It picked up about 3.8 oz. in the process. I prefer it this way. It actually shoots quite well, but it is more difficult to shoot well with the very light weight.
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Old 12-22-2011, 05:07 PM
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I have a 317 3" Kit Gun that I have had extraction and accuracy problems even after trying different remedies. Anyone know if S&W would refit a stainless 63 bbl. and cyl for me at my expense?
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:00 PM
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As I understand it...Tom C had it done under warranty due to flame-cutting. I called Smith and they told me they would do it for $140 at that time....around 6-months ago. It was a "stage" I was going through concerned about the aluminum cylinder, of which...I am no longer concerned. I have two 317's that work like a Swiss watch and are both as accurate as I am at reasonable distances.

Contact Smith and see what they say. If they can't make it shoot straight, they may do it under warranty. If they can't prove you're not the original owner (if you are not)....they have no choice but to take it under warranty.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:14 PM
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I picked up a used 317 snubby and called Smith to ask if it was ok to shoot stingers out of. (I didn't know about Velocitors at the time.) The lady said it was fine to shoot stingers with. And it was also ok to clean the cylinders with a bronze bristle bore brush.

Since then I have shot Stingers, Velocitors, Quik-Shok, and all the Aguila hypervelocity rounds with no problems.

It is very accurate. Way more accurate than me. Can hold nice small groups. But the POI seems to differ a little dependent on the load.

At 9.9 oz, it's a great sports gun. I use it for trail running, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, x-country skiing etc.

The only things I don't like about it is the rough heavy trigger and the exposed hammer. Need a 43c I guess.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:19 PM
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I have the Wolff shooters spring pack in both of mine. My wife can shoot your eyes out with it and she is an itty-bitty thing. You can tame the TP. Some folks report FTF's, but I have never had any in either gun.

I need to add that I have heard the hammer spur can be bobbed. I have a spare hammer and plan to try that one day.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:44 PM
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I have slightly more than 3000 rounds through my 10-shot 617 with the aluminum cylinder, no problems yet.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullet Bob View Post
I have slightly more than 3000 rounds through my 10-shot 617 with the aluminum cylinder, no problems yet.
That's right! I forgot the the original production 617 10-shot had an aluminum cylinder that was later changed to steel.
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  #13  
Old 12-28-2011, 05:17 PM
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I have a follow-up post here based on something I have just learned.

I purchased a pile-of-parts from a used 317. I haven't a clue as to how many rounds the parts have seen, but for the price of all the internals I received...it was a bargain. Everything but the frame. I decided I would stick the cylinder in one of my newer guns just for giggles. Yoke and cylinder changes are suppose to be a factory performed fit, but I tried it anyway.

I believe that excessive end-shake is going to be the first problem that will be observed in an alloy cylinder. My main concern had previously been the yoke-rod, but this older used yoke and rod were dimensionally identical to my new rod. My (relatively) new cylinder fits either one and the BTCG is the same with either yoke .004-.005, as well as the end-shake. When I installed the used cylinder on either yoke, end-shake was way out of spec. and very obvious. With the cylinder pushed forward, I could barely insert a .0025 feeler to gauge the BTCG. With the cylinder pushed rearward I had a BTCG of around .012. The yoke rods being the same....the wear is on the bearing surface at the back of the cylinder and I would imagine this shows-up rather quickly in an aluminum cylinder. One of my 317's has around 1,000 rounds through it and I can already feel a bit of end-shake as compared to my wife's 317, which has been little fired.

Would the gun shoot...you bet it would. Was it accurate...yes and it shot about like the newer 317. I could tell no difference at all. The end-shake issue can be corrected with bearings, but I also learned this morning that it may also be necessary to re-finish the interior bearing surface of the cylinder as the yoke-rod cuts a grove in the base of the cylinder. A simple bearing installation may fix the problem temporarily, but the real fix is to machine the inside bearing surface of the cylinder prior to the installation of any bearings (shims).

The older cylinder also exhibited slightly more "wobble" than the newer cylinder, so I expect the inner cylinder bore is somewhat worn and not the yoke rod, as it performed the same with my newer cylinder.

What does all this mean to anybody....I don't know, but it may make for interesting reading for anyone concerned with aluminum cylinder longevity. I am sure the main concern from most shooters is..."will it blow-up". That should not be the main concern. I feel like these aluminum cylinder guns will require more and better lubrication in the rotational area where the cylinder comes into contact with the yoke-rod. That is where your wear will be.....not in the chamber bores, but in the cylinder-to-yoke-rod fitment.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:50 PM
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I confess as much as I like my little 317, I feel more comfortable with the stainless cylinder. Even with that I try not to shoot it much. I have one of the 3” Model 63s. I shoot the hell out of my stainless gun, so I don’t have to put the wear and tear on the aluminum gun.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:59 PM
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For all I know....these parts could have came from a range-gun, but I am sure it was well-fired. Probably thousands and thousands of times. The good news is that from what I think I have leaned, the internal bore of the cylinder is the weakest link in the chain. I would have expected the yoke-rod to wear before the cylinder, but it is also likely that this yoke had been replaced before...who knows. I think I will make an attempt to fashion a stainless steel washer to install as a bearing. Since the end-shake is so severe, I can almost make a standard .010 washer work.

The same thing happens on any revolver, be it steel or aluminum. If it is fired enough, it will develop end-shake as the rod pounds the rear of the cylinder under recoil and with the heavy magnums, frame stretch comes into play......just takes a little longer on a steel gun I suppose.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:13 PM
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So far, the only gun I have that needed work is my old .44 Redhawk. I put a .002” washer in it some years ago and haven’t had a problem with it since.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:39 PM
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Well....we have all heard this remark in one version or another and I often utter it myself. "AirLites and Airweights should be often carried but little fired".

I would never use any of mine as range-guns anyway and I only use the 317 as a pocket-pistol out here on the farm. It maybe sees 100-150 rounds a year. I am only fooling with this worn-out cylinder just as something to do, but it actually shoots pretty darn well for the shape it's apparently in. I can't do much about the increase in BTCG after I install the washer to fix the end-shake, but there are several folks shooting guns out there every day with a .010-.012 gap. I like to lite-up my surroundings in the dark anyway.

Having said all this....I still think the little aluminum guns are great and as strong as they need to be for the purpose they serve. They just are not built to take the punishment of multiple thousands of rounds and need to me more carefully maintained IMHO.

When I go to a shootin' match.....I take the steel guns.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Fashioned Six Shooter View Post
That's right! I forgot the the original production 617 10-shot had an aluminum cylinder that was later changed to steel.
The model 17-8 had a 10 round aluminum cylinder also. I had one and am sorry I sold it.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babalooie View Post
The model 17-8 had a 10 round aluminum cylinder also. I had one and am sorry I sold it.
Another case of seller’s remorse. From what I heard about them, they used aluminum for the cylinders while they were getting the kinks out of the CNC processes to make them from stainless. They were reported to be very accurate.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:44 PM
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I don't believe there is a thing in the world wrong with the aluminum cylinders, but I do think they need more attention in the area of contact with the yoke-tube.....that's where they will wear. I doubt very seriously that anybody could blow one apart using any off-the-shelf ammo out there now.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:34 PM
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CCI Velociters and Stingers can be used in any .22 LR caliber handgun or rifle unless the manufacture of the firearm states otherwise .

The Smith and Wesson model 43 C should be able to handle all 22 lr, long, and short cartridges without any problems.

I also believe that Smith and Wesson has a life time warranty on its firearms.

It is really difficult to wear out a quality .22 handgun or rifle. I have a model 41 Smith made in the early 90's, and I have well over 20,000 rounds through it mostly hi velocity ammo, the bulk pack variety. Nothing has ever broke and it still works great. I also noticed no wear in the barrel and it probably shoots more accurately today than when new.

al
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:02 PM
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It's not the bores themselves that should be of any concern, but the end-shake. We all know that every time we fire the gun the interaction between the cylinder and the yoke-rod "clash", which eventually causes end-shake. Any Smith revolver will suffer this condition under enough shooting. I just think the aluminum components can't stand-up to it like the SS, or carbon steel components can. I have an old aluminum cylinder and a yoke tube that has been stretched twice over it's lifetime and has an end-shake around .008 now even after the rod has been lengthened twice.

They are not likely to explode, but the surface areas in the yoke-tube to cylinder deserve much closer attention to routine cleaning and lubrication than a fully steel gun.

Last edited by snubbiefan; 01-09-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present Thread, Strength of S&W .22 Revolvers with Aluminum Cylinder in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; I was wondering about the strength of S&W .22 revolvers with the aluminum cylinder. Let me be really specific. Is ...
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