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Old 03-23-2012, 11:30 PM
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Default model 66-3 locked up...

Had a model 66-2 (the 2 is stamped over a 1) lock up last night shooting some .357 that I had laying around. The ammunition is Lellier and Bellot .357 magnum and is marked FMJ 10.25 g 158 grs. I have shot quite a bit of 38 special with no problem but the above ammo locked up the revolver so I could not open the cylinder, pull the trigger or pull the hammer back. Eventually, I was able to get the trigger to pull back and discharge the next round. Unloaded the revolver and took everything home. What caused this problem and what was the actual problem? (Other than the obvious that everything was locked up...) Any help would be appreciated, do I need to send back to Smith and Wesson to ask for their advice/help?
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:33 PM
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Most likely the ejector rod unscrewed. Keep in mind it is reverse threaded, so it tightens to the left.
Jim
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:38 PM
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I'm betting the primer flowed back into the firing pin hole. Look at the fired primers. Are they deformed or look "smeared"? That S&B is pretty hot ammo,
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:43 PM
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A number of possibilities - fouling under the extractor, bullet of unfired rounds moving forward, gas ring at front of cylinder moving forward (problem would continue when unloaded), etc.
I think the primer flowing into the firing pin hole is very likely.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:28 AM
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The above are all good possibilities, however they've missed the most obvious possibility. That is that you have some carbon accumulation in one or more chambers from that 38 spl. you were shooting. If so, you may have had one or more cartridgeds that were standing a bit "proud" of the cylinder that were binding on the recoil shield. If so, and if you haven't cleaned the gun yet, you'll probably find some scrape marks on the recoil shield.

Tip, if you ever have any issues when shooting DO NOT CLEAN THE GUN until you've looked it over very carefully. Scrapes and trails left in carbon fouling can provide some vital clues to help in diagnosing the cause to a problem.

Other possibilities not yet mentioned.

Excessive carbon fouling or lead builup on the face of the cylinder. Normally this is only a problem when the Barrel/Cylinder gap is less than 0.004 inch and takes a box or two of ammo downrange to become a problem. Take a look at the face of your cylinder and see if there are any visible "scrapes" in the carbon layer that forms from shooting.

A chunk of loose powder under the extractor star. This will have the same effect as that carbon ring from shooting 38 spl., meaning a fresh load of cartridges won't be fully seated in the cylinder and cause binding on the recoil shield. In this case however the solution is to either blow that chunk of grit out of there or use a toothbrush or similar to brush it out. To avoid this problem in the future make sure to point the barrel straight up when ejecting empty casings, doing this keep any unburned powder remenants in the casings as they are ejected.

That's all I can think of right now. IMO you'll need to spend a bit more time at the range shooting before assuming your revolver needs factory attention. As you can see nearly every single potential problem can be addressed with cleaning or some basic maintenance. BTW, with Sellier & Belloit's reputation for hard primers I would consider primer flowback to be rather unlikely in your model 66, generally that particular problem is associated with Federal primers.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:54 PM
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OK. Took the revolver back to the range last week. Did not replicate the "total lockup" problem but did have it start to lock up in double action, would release the trigger, then pull the trigger and all was fine. This happened several times. Then I actually got the same problem to happen when there was no ammunition in the cylinders.... Have the revolver at home and not able to replicate now... Thinking about sending back to s&w and letting them take a look.

Could someone give me an idea as to when a 66-2 would have been manufactured and/or if you have any other ideas as to where I should look?
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357 magnum, ejector, extractor, fouling, lock, model 66, primer, smith and wesson

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