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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 12-29-2014, 12:16 PM
sinbad71 sinbad71 is offline
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Default Canted, over clocked barrels

This thread is not a complaint of S&W revolvers, but rather a comment on the problems some have with canted barrels. In the past several years I have purchased 8 brand new Smith revolvers of various models and calibers through both local gun shops and online sites. I am also noticing the large number of complaints of forum readers pertaining to canted or over clocked barrels coming from S&W. This has prompted me to go to the safe and check all my Smith's for that problem and I found that NONE of the new guns have any clocking problems. I then went to my LGS and looked at their S&W inventory of revolvers and found just one of the many with a slight cant. This certainly doesn't mean there aren't revolvers produced with problems, because there are some.

I think this must make me the luckiest new gun purchaser going??

I only comment on this issue so that new readers don't get the impression nearly ALL Smith revolvers come from the factory screwed up, because MOST seem to be just fine.

Just my observations.
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:22 PM
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I think most of these canted barrels came from the era of non P&R.Some from this time frame were just fine. Others looked like the factory had the overnight cleaning crew make the guns.
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Old 12-29-2014, 03:33 PM
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I have bought well over a dozen new and used S&W revolvers over the last 6 months. Mostly new. I have not had any canted barrel issues. I have no doubt this problem exists, because forum members post here having this problem.

But think about it this way. People who have problems are the loudest. When someone here buys a new S&W revolver and the barrel is NOT canted, they don't write a post reporting their barrel is installed correctly. So we don't hear about that. We do here from the folks that have a problem. These posts are rare as well. I suspect the percentage of guns that leave the factory with a canted barrel is quite small. A fraction of 1%...something like 0.0001% is my guess.

This is not to say S&W does not have some serious QC problems. I have bought a total of five new 7-shot 357 L Frames over the last six months. Three of the five had bad timing and had to go back for repair. Not good. S&W fixed them quickly and shipping both ways, so no biggie. Just annyoing to have to send a brand new gun back for repair, and even more annoying to have to do it 3 times in a row in a two month period.

I asked my buddy who owns a high volume LGS if they noticed a problem with timing of new 7 shot S&W revolvers. They said they rarely see a timing problem on the 6 shot and 8 shot S&Ws, but frequently see 7 shot Smiths with bad timing that they send back to the distributor for replacement. They said they see it surprisingly often lately.

Last edited by HarrishMasher; 12-29-2014 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 12-29-2014, 03:53 PM
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I love my new 629. I make a post about it. Bought it brand new from my LGS in the 27th. Wish I had looked it over better but had I turned it away idk when I would have seen another one. Anyway I'm staying positive S&W will make it right.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:37 PM
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I love my new 629. I make a post about it. Bought it brand new from my LGS in the 27th. Wish I had looked it over better but had I turned it away idk when I would have seen another one. Anyway I'm staying positive S&W will make it right.
WOW!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:40 PM
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WOW!!!!!!!!!
Just a smidgen off I'd say. Lol
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:44 PM
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I love my new 629. I make a post about it. Bought it brand new from my LGS in the 27th. Wish I had looked it over better but had I turned it away idk when I would have seen another one. Anyway I'm staying positive S&W will make it right.
Ouch! That shouldn't have left the factory that way.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:45 PM
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Whoa. I recently posted about my 640 being canted, as mine was over-torqued by just a few degrees, but nothing like that.

To the spirit of the OP's message, I'm sure there are many, many fine S&W's that leave the mothership perfectly fine out of the gate. I have a new model 66 Combat that's screwed together very nicely. But some do occasionally slip through the QC cracks.

I'll be contacting S&W on the 2nd when they reopen to get my shipping label, and I am very confident they will make it right.

Last edited by Hopper; 12-29-2014 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:08 PM
Mi_Shooter556 Mi_Shooter556 is offline
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I'm hoping they make it right! Lol. I was just so excited when my LGS called me to tell me they got one in. I was excited and didn't look it over the greatest. I'm not worried tho. It took me a couple months to even find this one a few more weeks at the mothership won't hurt.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:09 PM
Mi_Shooter556 Mi_Shooter556 is offline
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And in case anyone wonders the spent shell casing was dated 11/06/2014. So it just left the factory not long ago

Last edited by Mi_Shooter556; 12-29-2014 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:14 PM
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The factory has to know there is a problem and apparently they just don't care. If they can't screw the barrel on right how can you depend on them to do the heat treatment correctly?

I can live with the internal lock and the two piece barrels and other changes. I can't accept poor quality control and apparently poor manufacturing practices. This is the type of thing that gives American manufacturing a black eye.

Bill
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:17 PM
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And in case anyone wonders the spent shell casing was dated 11/06/2914. So it just left the factory not long ago
=======================================

Or 900 years in the future.

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Old 12-29-2014, 05:18 PM
Mi_Shooter556 Mi_Shooter556 is offline
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^^^ I just caught it. I was editing while you were typing.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:28 PM
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This type of poor craftsmanship and quality control does cast a negative shadow on the company. I would be very disappointed if I waited for some time for a firearm only to return it because of a defect.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:35 PM
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And in case anyone wonders the spent shell casing was dated 11/06/2014. So it just left the factory not long ago
I'm with you. I had a 640 in mind, and when I finally found one at a LGS, I had to have it. Mine was test fired 11/04/2014, so like yours, it's a very recent build.

I didn't really notice the cant on mine until I got it home and gave it a careful cleaning/inspection. It can be hard in a gun shop to turn a pistol over this way and that without sweeping people. But wow, mine is noticeable, but not *nearly* as obvious as yours.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:45 PM
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I'm with you. I had a 640 in mind, and when I finally found one at a LGS, I had to have it. Mine was test fired 11/04/2014, so like yours, it's a very recent build.

I didn't really notice the cant on mine until I got it home and gave it a careful cleaning/inspection. It can be hard in a gun shop to turn a pistol over this way and that without sweeping people. But wow, mine is noticeable, but not *nearly* as obvious as yours.
Same here. Didn't notice till I got it home and cleaned and oiled. I'm still thrilled to have my 629. Just gotta wait a few more weeks to take her to the range. I guess while I'm waiting I'll be able to find a holster, speed loaders, and stock up on some more .44 ammo
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:59 PM
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Incredible how canted that barrel is. It is like in the 1 o'clock position. Unreal!
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:01 PM
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What surprises me is the number of web threads about the barrel clocking issue. Everyone sends them back, but you would think enough of them had been returned that S&W would address the issue at the factory.
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:09 PM
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What surprises me is the number of web threads about the barrel clocking issue. Everyone sends them back, but you would think enough of them had been returned that S&W would address the issue at the factory.
The only part that gets me is these things aren't cheap. As gun enthusiasts we all know this hobby is expensive. I paid $800 + tax for the 629. Not Colt Python money, but not Hi-Point either. Two days after Christmas $800 is a lot of money. Lol. Don't get me wrong it's a quality firearm. And it will be beautiful when I get it back, but I dislike the fact my new $800 toy will be gone for a few weeks. Lol we just started to get to know each other and she is leaving me.
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:51 PM
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I love my new 629. I make a post about it. Bought it brand new from my LGS in the 27th. Wish I had looked it over better but had I turned it away idk when I would have seen another one. Anyway I'm staying positive S&W will make it right.

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Old 12-29-2014, 07:06 PM
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What surprises me is the number of web threads about the barrel clocking issue. Everyone sends them back, but you would think enough of them had been returned that S&W would address the issue at the factory.
What surprises me is the number of people that don't look for this BEFORE paying for their firearm.

Even if it's internet sale, you can almost always contact the seller and request a picture facing the barrel. Buying from a LGS and discovering it after the fact is inexcusable.

This defect is pretty obvious, unlike an internal, non-visible one.
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:16 PM
Mi_Shooter556 Mi_Shooter556 is offline
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What surprises me is the number of people that don't look for this BEFORE paying for their firearm.

Even if it's internet sale, you can almost always contact the seller and request a picture facing the barrel. Buying from a LGS and discovering it after the fact is inexcusable.

This defect is pretty obvious, unlike an internal, non-visible one.
I own my mistakes. In my haste to get one I didn't notice. I take responsibility on my actions. Having a majority collection of semis and new to the revolver game I took certain things for granted. It's a learning curve for sure. However I won't let it ruin the new found love I have for revolvers. Next time I'll be better prepared
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:19 PM
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Incredible how canted that barrel is. It is like in the 1 o'clock position. Unreal!
A little more,and he'd be well suited for "hoodlum horizontal" shootin'.
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:24 PM
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Now don't laugh---I am asking a serious question here--I wonder where this gun would shoot too? and with that thought in mind, what did the "test fire", "collect the case" techy,do when he fired this gun?

Clearly S&W has a serious problem here, and clearly S&W does not care. They are letting the customer do the quality inspection for them. If we quit being customers, who is going to do this service for them?
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:49 PM
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I asked my buddy who owns a high volume LGS if they noticed a problem with timing of new 7 shot S&W revolvers. They said they rarely see a timing problem on the 6 shot and 8 shot S&Ws, but frequently see 7 shot Smiths with bad timing that they send back to the distributor for replacement. They said they see it surprisingly often lately.
ONE WOULD THINK THAT FACED WITH THIS VOLUME OF GUNS RETURNED FOR THE SAME ISSUE, THAT S&W WOULD MAKE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO PINPOINT THE EXACT SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM--A PERSON OR PERSONS, A MACHINE, LACK OF QC, WHATEVER--AND CORRECT IT. THAT WOULD SAVE EVERYONE A WHOLE LOT OF GRIEF. ONE OF OUR FORUM MEMBERS WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE MANUFACTURING STEPS COULD VENTURE AN EDUCATED GUESS, I'M SURE. I HAVE TWO 7 SHOT 686s. TIMING APPEARS TO BE GOOD ON EACH……….
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:57 PM
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The image of the 629 above illustrates a serious cant. However, I wonder what the actual rate of returns is, and what is the acceptable specification.

Face it, most of us on this forum are pretty particular when it comes to our guns and probably notice things that many others would not. Combine that with only reports of problems in the absence of satisfied reports, and you have an echo chamber.

I am not saying a cant is not a serious problem if found - and the 629 above is pretty severe - but I have a lot of revolvers from Smith, and none of them have a cant that I notice. Now, if I were to take a protractor and start measuring, would some be off "true north?" Maybe.

But my gut tells me the magnitude of the problem is not commensurate with the attention it receives.
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Old 12-29-2014, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mi_Shooter556 View Post
I own my mistakes. In my haste to get one I didn't notice. I take responsibility on my actions. Having a majority collection of semis and new to the revolver game I took certain things for granted. It's a learning curve for sure. However I won't let it ruin the new found love I have for revolvers. Next time I'll be better prepared
No disrespect intended, at all.

If I had a dime for every time that I bought something, got home, looked at it and/or tired to use it and found something wrong…

I would be a wealthy man.

Like you, I only make that mistake once. I'm guessing that you will inspect your next revolver with a microscope And, the great thing about S&W is, they will make it right. And, the best part is that you got yourself a GREAT revolver that will give you many years of faithful service.

Be careful with revolvers… they are addicting. Another mistake that I am learning the hard way
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:03 AM
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Funny this thread came about. Saturday morning myself and a good friend drove about 230 miles one way to a very well stocked gun shop. I was after a 327-TRR8 or M&P R8-did not matter which one. Friend wanted a 986. They had 4 986's on hand. They had one in the display case and 3 in the vault. First 2 we looked at both had canted barrels and 1 of them the timing was off. The 3rd out of the vault was ok. They had 1 M&P R8 in the display case and 1 in the vault,looked this one over with a microscope and she was perfect.Shot the M&P yesterday and boy was it sweet! Hope to shoot friends 986 later this week.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:27 AM
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NOV 2014

Just went through the entire canted barrel process with S&W.

Care to peek?

S&W Customer Service Canted Barrel
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:48 AM
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If such an obvious oversight makes it all the way to a customer, what else should we be concerned about??!!!
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:57 PM
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Quick update: called S&W this morning to get it in for service. The guy who answered the phone was very polite. Had my shipping label in about 5 min. Got it boxed up and dropped it off at FedEx. Hopefully they are just as fast at the repair and sending back. I'll update more when it returns.
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Old 01-02-2015, 03:11 PM
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Sorry for those of you with the problem, but geez...another thing to worry about. I think I'll just ignore it. I hope I forget to check my own revolvers, but I probably won't
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:54 PM
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Default Their specs are.....

Their specs are +/- 5 degrees. If it's in that range it is 'in spec'. I think I could eyeball better than that. Of course it would be too expensive to put an indexing mark on the frame and barrel. I'm glad to hear of a lot of NON canted barrels. It seemed like an epidemic. I'm not knocking S&W either but if a quality gun manufacturer can't screw a barrel on straight, something is definitely WRONG!
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Old 01-02-2015, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by HarrishMasher View Post
I have bought well over a dozen new and used S&W revolvers over the last 6 months. Mostly new. I have not had any canted barrel issues. I have no doubt this problem exists, because forum members post here having this problem.

But think about it this way. People who have problems are the loudest. When someone here buys a new S&W revolver and the barrel is NOT canted, they don't write a post reporting their barrel is installed correctly. So we don't hear about that. We do here from the folks that have a problem. These posts are rare as well. I suspect the percentage of guns that leave the factory with a canted barrel is quite small. A fraction of 1%...something like 0.0001% is my guess.

This is not to say S&W does not have some serious QC problems. I have bought a total of five new 7-shot 357 L Frames over the last six months. Three of the five had bad timing and had to go back for repair. Not good. S&W fixed them quickly and shipping both ways, so no biggie. Just annyoing to have to send a brand new gun back for repair, and even more annoying to have to do it 3 times in a row in a two month period.

I asked my buddy who owns a high volume LGS if they noticed a problem with timing of new 7 shot S&W revolvers. They said they rarely see a timing problem on the 6 shot and 8 shot S&Ws, but frequently see 7 shot Smiths with bad timing that they send back to the distributor for replacement. They said they see it surprisingly often lately.
The timing or "carry up" drama with the seven shot models is there's very little engagement of the extractor periphery with the cylinder recess. There's only one driving surface! The rest of the "fingers" don't help move the cylinder along. There has to be some allowance (versus tolerance) between the two parts, but without backup, the one finger can easily push off a little and retard timing. Usually OK with cartridges in the cylinder.

I have also recently selected a 986. It was the display model and had some shop wear, but was the only one of 4 in stock that had decent timing and a reasonably clocked barrel. One was terrible on both counts! Paid more than what can be had on the internet, but at least it passed my inspection first. Worth the extra expense, methinks.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:20 PM
Hopper Hopper is offline
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Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
Their specs are +/- 5 degrees. If it's in that range it is 'in spec'. I think I could eyeball better than that. Of course it would be too expensive to put an indexing mark on the frame and barrel. I'm glad to hear of a lot of NON canted barrels. It seemed like an epidemic. I'm not knocking S&W either but if a quality gun manufacturer can't screw a barrel on straight, something is definitely WRONG!
Ugh, I hope you're wrong about the +/- 5 degrees being "in spec". I got a label from Smith first thing this morning, and dropped off the 640 at FedEx pretty soon after that. I did have a nice chat with the guy who answered their CS line, we talked range visits and general shooting for a bit, hopefully it's a good sign that the 640 will come back all straightened out as others have. He did tell me about canted barrels and tolerances, but I insisted that it wasn't good form to have a sight leaning to the left that should be straight up and down.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:43 PM
Nick B Nick B is offline
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With that barrel on that 629 so badly over torqued I would of looked it over real good for a cracked frame .
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
Their specs are +/- 5 degrees. If it's in that range it is 'in spec'.
5-degrees is pretty gross. If that is indeed in "spec", then they have a serious quality problem. I think even a gun buying novice would see a 5-degree cant and wonder what is going on.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:50 PM
Nick B Nick B is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob1943 View Post
5-degrees is pretty gross. If that is indeed in "spec", then they have a serious quality problem. I think even a gun buying novice would see a 5-degree cant and wonder what is going on.
Well how about their specs for barrel/cylinder gap of up to .012 ?
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:03 PM
David S David S is offline
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Originally Posted by Mi_Shooter556 View Post
I love my new 629. I make a post about it. Bought it brand new from my LGS in the 27th. Wish I had looked it over better but had I turned it away idk when I would have seen another one. Anyway I'm staying positive S&W will make it right.
I looked at almost a dozen new 629 Classics at various local LGS over a 2 year period in a vain attempt to purchase a new one. They all had canted barrels up to and including ones as bad as yours. I gave up and bought a used 629-3 on Gunbroker.

I ordered a model 63 with a 5 inch barrel just about the time they stopped offering that size. It took 3 months for my LGS found one, and when it came in the barrel was canted, the rear sight leaf was twisted to align with the front sight and the frame of the gun was not polished. I sent it S&W to correct these issues and the did.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:02 AM
S&WForty S&WForty is offline
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Originally Posted by Mi_Shooter556 View Post
I own my mistakes. In my haste to get one I didn't notice. I take responsibility on my actions. Having a majority collection of semis and new to the revolver game I took certain things for granted. It's a learning curve for sure. However I won't let it ruin the new found love I have for revolvers. Next time I'll be better prepared
I had never heard of the canted barrel until after I bought 2 or 3 revolvers. All of mine are okay. I cut my teeth on semis, too, and getting into revolvers has been fun but educational in a way I didn't expect.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:45 AM
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I've received a clocked barrel from S&W...

Although nowhere as bad as the 629 above, my 640 Pro showed up with a tweaked barrel. It was shipped as a warranty replacement gun from S&W to me via my FFL dealer.

It had several warranty issues when we pulled it out of the box and I included the slightly over-clocked barrel to the list when I packed it up and shipped it back.

At least the repair was quick.

My 640 was made in early 2014... Hopefully the barrel tightening machine has been recalibrated.

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Old 01-30-2015, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Mi_Shooter556 View Post
I own my mistakes. In my haste to get one I didn't notice. I take responsibility on my actions. Having a majority collection of semis and new to the revolver game I took certain things for granted. It's a learning curve for sure. However I won't let it ruin the new found love I have for revolvers. Next time I'll be better prepared
Don't feel like you're the only one! I did the exact same thing.... noticed it at the dealer right after I bought it (minutes)... was told they can't do anything... had to send it to Smith & Wesson. They actually laughed when I pointed it out to them... they obviously made a fool of me! but I am prepared for the future.... non smith gun... maybe a Ruger, although I've seen canted barrels on those at gun shops as well.... ridiculous!
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:15 PM
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Watch this video at about the 2:50 mark. You'll the the guy tighten the barrel and then sight it. This is in the performance center.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRbUn214yUs
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fs357mag View Post
Wouldn't a return to the pinned barrel make this a moot issue?
Nope. Plenty of canted barrels went out in the pinned barrel days too.
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Old 01-30-2015, 01:06 PM
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Canted barrels are getting pretty common these days from several manufacturers. I bought two new S&W revolvers last year (4" 686, and 6.5" 629 Classic). The 686 ended up having a slight cant to it, which I didn't notice until my first range trip. It is not bad, but you can tell that the rear sight is over to the right just a bit. The 629 is straight, but the cylinder release seems to come loose under recoil (blue loc-tite fixes that).

Dad bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter last year and that darn thing has probably the most canted barrel I've seen. The rear sight is flat out over to the right side. He put a scope on it.

I'm done with new revolvers unless I need to buy something to beat up while keeping my older, nicer revolvers looking good.
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Old 01-30-2015, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fs357mag View Post
Wouldn't a return to the pinned barrel make this a moot issue?

(Hey, I can dream, can't I?)
I bought a 1917 45acp cheap because it had a loose barrel. With the pin in you could rotate it quite a ways in either direction from center. Pin is straight. A spare N frame barrel from pinned gun is the same in that frame. The pin doesn't help if the barrel isn't correctly fitted. The slot in the barrel for the pin is actually well oversized.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:47 PM
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I bought a 629-1 about 2003. Fine when I got it but after 2 range trips the barrel looked just like the one in the picture. Had it fixed and never had another problem with the gun since.

Used to own a lot of S&W revolvers and only had the problem on one gun.
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Old 01-31-2015, 09:17 AM
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it even happened back in the "good ol' days"

Here's a 28-2 mfg about 45 years ago.



GF
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by labworm View Post
NOV 2014

Just went through the entire canted barrel process with S&W.

Care to peek?

S&W Customer Service Canted Barrel
You were very lucky to get it back corrected and in such a short time... Mine has been there since beginning of Jan and when I called yesterday I was told it will be at least another 3 to 4 weeks!
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  #50  
Old 02-03-2015, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Wouldn't a return to the pinned barrel make this a moot issue?
No!

The reason is that whether the barrel is "pinned" or "crush fit", the installation procedure is the same except for the pin. In both cases, the barrel's thread is timed so that it makes into the frame until it hand tight when approx. 60 degrees before TDC. It is then torqued the rest of the way to TDC. The pin is merely a redundant safety protection against catastrophic failure from the barrel unscrewing. The barrel does not just screw into the frame like a bolt into a nut and then the pin installed.

I suspect that the barrel canting issue stems from only adhering to a theoretical torque spec. and not a visual inspection also but I cannot verify same.



Bruce

Last edited by BruceM; 02-03-2015 at 09:22 PM.
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