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Old 10-11-2017, 08:12 PM
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Default SW 69 = failure

I generally love a good 69, but SW has seriously muddled my experience.

Got a NEW M69. Here is their first line of propaganda: "Smith & Wesson L-Frame revolvers are built to suit the demands of the most serious firearms enthusiast. "

Well maybe back in the 1980s, but not so much in 2017. The new ball detent crane/cylinder lock up is a fine addition to the design...but only if it is actually working.

Mine showed up with a ball NOT in the detent. Looking at the top of the barrel showed that then entire barrel was screwed in too far. This put the ball "out of battery".

Sent it back to SW. Waited 4 weeks. Got the same gun back in the same condition with a form letter essentially disregarding my concerns.

Granted, I can simply tweak the barrel back 1/8", but why should I have to do QC for a $900 gun?
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Last edited by s&wchad; 10-12-2017 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:16 PM
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I can't think of a single S&W revolver that I've purchased new in the last five years that hasn't had a canted barrel.

After the last one (the fourth in a row) it was the official last new S&W product I'll ever own.

Fortunately for me I just happen to have a fondness for P&R Smiths.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:22 PM
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Send it back again. I would in a heartbeat.
That is really bad.
Good luck, dont give up.
Jim
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:50 PM
Clarke Hammer Clarke Hammer is offline
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The ball is not supposed to rest entirely in the notch. If it did, it would not be doing its job of holding pressure to keep the cylinder closed. The ball maintains necessary pressure by being jammed against the side of the notch.

Last edited by Clarke Hammer; 10-11-2017 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:58 PM
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I know I'm new here but this topic has been brought up and discussed thoroughly in the past. My 69 is the same way and the cylinder has not ever swung open when it wasn't supposed to.

My only smith from the 80s has the worst bluing, worst wood grips, canted barrel and counter rotation problem of any of my guns.
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:01 PM
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I too have a model 69 with the ball detent off center! What a bunch of marketing Bulls---t they're trying to shove down our throat. The ball is NOT in the center of the notch, so what's the purpose? It's totally useless. They make it sound like it's the answer to all their problems that they've had in the past with a 44 mag in a lighter frame than the N frame.

I should have bought a Ruger and dealt with the heavier gun. Should have known better. But I tired ...shame on them or,....shame on me!
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke Hammer View Post
The ball is not supposed to rest entirely in the notch. If it did, it would not be doing its job of holding pressure to keep the cylinder closed. The ball maintains necessary pressure by being jammed against the side of the notch.
Please read Clarke Hammer again, he is correct. Ball detent is as it's designed to operate. They did change the design for the 2.75" M69. If barrel liner sets back from front of barrel shroud, that's fine, as long as barrel cylinder gap is correct. DO NOT "Tweak" the barrel 1/8"!! Have you fired it? How does it shoot?
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Whiteleather View Post
I generally love a good 69, but SW has seriously muddled my experience.

Got a NEW M69. Here is their first line of propaganda: "Smith & Wesson L-Frame revolvers are built to suit the demands of the most serious firearms enthusiast. "

Well maybe back in the 1980s, but not so much in 2017. The new ball detent crane/cylinder lock up is a fine addition to the design...but only if it is actually working.

Mine showed up with a ball NOT in the detent. Looking at the top of the barrel showed that then entire barrel was screwed in too far. This put the ball "out of battery".

Sent it back to SW. Waited 4 weeks. Got the same gun back in the same condition with a form letter essentially saying "blow me".

Granted, I can simply tweak the barrel back 1/8", but why should I have to do QC for a $900 gun?
Can you please show a pic of the top showing the barrel to frame fit and alignment? I agree with the others, the detent is not supposed to be centered in the notch, but if you have an over- or under-clocked shroud thatís a separate issue that should be addressed.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:19 AM
HeavyDuty Ken HeavyDuty Ken is offline
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And $900? I hope he kissed you afterwards.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:49 AM
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It's a two piece barrel design with the outer shroud keyed in place so it can't rotate!

Just in case y'all missed the comments regarding the ball detent above, if it was centered, then no closing tension would be applied. Not that much is needed and the actual locking is done at the rear....
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:45 AM
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The ball not being totally centered.causes it to exert a inward pressure on the yoke. If it was bottomed out in center of V notch it would exert less inward pressure. Think of it as a ramp that happens.to end with a V. As other have said it was designed that way. If it contacted other side of the V it would start to press ball in and out on yoke.

It works and works well. Better than a lug in a small hole over an inch out on the end of.a skinny ejector rod that rotates and can't have any pressure on it or it will effect effort needed to turn cylinder.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:52 AM
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I had to pull out my 627 PC to check ball position, sure looks centered to me when closed.

After taking a closer look, it is a tad bit off center. I appreciate the engineering explanations.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:58 AM
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My Ruger Redhawk 44 mag locks up like a bank vault. It has a 7 inch barrel, blued finish and, yes, it is heavy but is a great revolver.
P.S. S&W revolvers have too many screws, the Redhawk not so.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:04 AM
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I don't get it?? All the talk about detent ball but no picture of it. Yet to me it looks as if the real problem is a chunk out of the bottom of the shroud. Is that vertical line under the barrel on the frame a crack??? The ball detent is the least of your problems if you have a cracked frame , please excuse my ignorance but no mention of the "line" or chunk that seems to be missing.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
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I don't get it?? All the talk about detent ball but no picture of it. Yet to me it looks as if the real problem is a chunk out of the bottom of the shroud. Is that vertical line under the barrel on the frame a crack??? The ball detent is the least of your problems if you have a cracked frame , please excuse my ignorance but no mention of the "line" or chunk that seems to be missing.
You’re seeing the notch for the detent ball, and the line between the frame and crane.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:40 AM
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The line under the barrel is where the crane meets the frame. Every gun has that. The chunk out of the bottom of the shroud is the cutout for the ball detent.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:12 AM
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This sort of misunderstanding is probably one of the issues that lead to the change of the detent onto the yoke in the 2 3/4 inch model 69. {using a full length ejector too....nice engineering}
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelslaver View Post
The ball not being totally centered.causes it to exert a inward pressure on the yoke. If it was bottomed out in center of V notch it would exert less inward pressure. Think of it as a ramp that happens.to end with a V. As other have said it was designed that way. If it contacted other side of the V it would start to press ball in and out on yoke.
This makes sense IF they want inward pressure. If you don't need directional pressure, then perfectly centered in the notch is how a normal detent functions. In this case I can see why they want inward pressure.

S&W could have avoided all of this double/triple cylinder locking requirements if they didn't have a counter-clockwise rotating wheelgun. Not saying this to stir pot, but Colt has used one single cylinder retention pin for over 100yrs without issue.
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:19 PM
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It's pretty pathetic it's now 2017 and we put a man on the moon 48 years ago and Smith and Wesson can't even install a properly indexed barrel on a regular basis.

What. The. Hell. Smith.

To be fair I had to send a brand new Bisley back to Ruger for the same thing.

Last edited by LazarusLong; 10-12-2017 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyM52 View Post
This sort of misunderstanding is probably one of the issues that lead to the change of the detent onto the yoke in the 2 3/4 inch model 69. {using a full length ejector too....nice engineering}
They also eliminated milling on the top of the frame. Can't complain anymore because the shroud/frame lines might be 1/2 a line width off.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:28 PM
HeavyDuty Ken HeavyDuty Ken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LazarusLong View Post
It's pretty pathetic it's now 2017 and we put a man on the moon 48 years ago and Smith and Wesson can't even install a properly indexed barrel on a regular basis.

What. The. Hell. Smith.

To be fair I had to send a brand new Bisley back to Ruger for the same thing.
Did someone confirm an indexing problem?
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:01 PM
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I really feel for the people who work warranty claims at S&W.
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:19 PM
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Nothing to see here.
Just move on.
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:55 PM
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Your first picture showing the detent illustrates very clearly that the detent is correctly preloaded on a bias to increase the CLOSING force created by the detent. Most Non Engineers have the impression that a detent ball should be bottomed out in a V notch. In Engineering this is not how it should be done. Because when springs are compressed they exert MORE force than when extended, 100 of the time. Now, granted that ball may be preloaded by only 0.02 inch or so but with a spring that is probably only 3/16 to 1/4 inch long that is nearly 10% of the extended length position. Depending on the ramp angle and spring rate of the detent spring that 0.02 inch may produce 20 or 30 % more closing force.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:45 PM
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I agree with the other posters that it is supposed to be this way. My 69 shoots great, locks up solid and the ball detent looks like this:


Last edited by Dave Lively; 10-12-2017 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyM52 View Post
This sort of misunderstanding is probably one of the issues that lead to the change of the detent onto the yoke in the 2 3/4 inch model 69. {using a full length ejector too....nice engineering}
It was also smart of S&W engineers to make the new 2 3/4 inch models with the ball hidden when the cylinder is closed. Out of sight, out of mind!

Best,
Rick
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:33 AM
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Yep

.

69 Combat Magnum - ball detent lock

(-014a)

.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:18 AM
HeavyDuty Ken HeavyDuty Ken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUEDOT37 View Post
Yep

.

69 Combat Magnum - ball detent lock

(-014a)

.
I'd be lying if I didnít admit to wishing my 69 4.25Ē had this style of ball detent...
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Old 10-14-2017, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke Hammer View Post
The ball is not supposed to rest entirely in the notch. If it did, it would not be doing its job of holding pressure to keep the cylinder closed. The ball maintains necessary pressure by being jammed against the side of the notch.
Respectfully...I do not agree at all.

I cannot think of a single ball detent system in which the ball is outside the detent. It is supposed to roll into the notch or divot fully. Otherwise why bother with a notch? Just have it press on a flat surface.

As others have noted, the barrel is actually visibly canted. If the barrel were centered and straight, the ball would be in the center of the notch. It would take considerable force against the ballbearing to compress the spring to allow the ball to slip out of the notch. This is how some of my breakbarrel airguns lock up, this is what makes my target aperture sights go 'click-click-click' instead of just 'cl-cl-cl'.

I think the torque adjustment on their barrel assembly machine is too high. My particular photo shows an over rotation of the barrel.

Last edited by Kris Whiteleather; 10-14-2017 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:24 PM
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I have a question if someone doesn't mind answering for me. What creates the alignment between the bore and cylinder on the model 69.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:44 PM
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Your picture looks fine to me. Please post a picture of the top showing the gross misalignment and canting of which you complain.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Whiteleather View Post
Respectfully...I do not agree at all.

I cannot think of a single ball detent system in which the ball is outside the detent. It is supposed to roll into the notch or divot fully. Otherwise why bother with a notch? Just have it press on a flat surface.

As others have noted, the barrel is actually visibly canted. If the barrel were centered and straight, the ball would be in the center of the notch. It would take considerable force against the ballbearing to compress the spring to allow the ball to slip out of the notch. This is how some of my breakbarrel airguns lock up, this is what makes my target aperture sights go 'click-click-click' instead of just 'cl-cl-cl'.


I think the torque adjustment on their barrel assembly machine is too high. My particular photo shows an over rotation of the barrel.
All the ones I have looked at in the stores lock up like the pictures shown so you have now seen one that is not in the divot fully as designed. I did see a 69 this week in a local shop that had its barrel SHROUD out of alignment with the frame. The lines on top did not line up. I wonder if there is some play in the shroud frame fit that gets torqued when the barrel is tightened?
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Old 10-14-2017, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
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All the ones I have looked at in the stores lock up like the pictures shown so you have now seen one that is not in the divot fully as designed. I did see a 69 this week in a local shop that had its barrel SHROUD out of alignment with the frame. The lines on top did not line up. I wonder if there is some play in the shroud frame fit that gets torqued when the barrel is tightened?
The lines on mine didn't line up and the front sight was vertical. I doubt that it was even a production spec to have the lines indexed exactly.
On the 2.75 the offending lines were eliminated.
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
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On the 2.75 the offending lines were eliminated.
Heading off "internet engineering" (complaining) at the pass!
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Old 10-15-2017, 12:32 AM
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I don't see anything in the picture showing misalignment either.

The ball is doing its job also. Using your airgun comparison, I have seen two different ball detent arrangements. One has the ball seat in a recess of some sort, usually a shallow groove. The other seats the ball against an V-shaped "blade" of steel. The ball rests against one side of the V and provides pressure toward the closed direction....similar to the model 69.

You may disagree, but I haven't seen anything to make me think your gun has any problem.
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhnttrpp View Post
I have a question if someone doesn't mind answering for me. What creates the alignment between the bore and cylinder on the model 69.
The cylinder chamber to barrel line up is.done like all S&W revolvers. The locking bolt pressing up through a slot in frame and engaging a notch in cylinder holds cylinder in time to barrel. With yoke pressed in tight against the frame holding the cylinder in side to side alignment, center pin engaging it's hole in center of r recoil shield provides most of this and the yoke lock assists instead of lug on bottom of barrel engaging the front of the ejector rod. Once again the spring loaded ball in shroud was never meant to bottom out in notch on yoke. Yes, there is a V in the bottom of it, but the ramp had to end in some manner. Could have used a flat spot at the bottom and been just as effective.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris Whiteleather View Post
Respectfully...I do not agree at all.
Chances are if you could look at every ball detent system when locked up, you would find many/most balls do not set squarely in the detent. The reason is machining two different mating parts to match exactly and provide the thrust in the proper direction would be very difficult and time consuming. S&W chose the easy way: machine the detent in one place and locate the ball so it doesn't need to be so critically located but will still provide the lock up in the direction desired. Your picture clearly shows the ball in the proper location to be putting pressure on the crane in correct direction for lockup. This is not a defect, which is why S&W did nothing to the gun.
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:35 AM
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Op you have a two part barrel. Your talking about screwing out the barrel but the shroud wouldn't turn if you were able to get the barrel tool, that you won't be able to get anyway because smith wont sell them. The shroud is keyed to the frame. Backing up the barrel will open your gap and leave you with a shoud that moves around. Soon your barrel would unscrew and fall out. Your ball fits the way it should. You might not understand the design but it has been explained quite simply. You should sell your 69 at a deep discount and put this behind you. I can offer you $300 right now.
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Old 10-15-2017, 08:38 AM
Gunsnwater Gunsnwater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUEDOT37 View Post
Yep

.

69 Combat Magnum - ball detent lock

(-014a)

.
That has to weaken the yoke. I have straightened bent yokes from the movie wrist flick and you would be very surprised at how little pressure is needed to bend them.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lively View Post
I agree with the other posters that it is supposed to be this way. My 69 shoots great, locks up solid and the ball detent looks like this:

Nice pix showing how the ball detent works.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelslaver View Post
The cylinder chamber to barrel line up is.done like all S&W revolvers. The locking bolt pressing up through a slot in frame and engaging a notch in cylinder holds cylinder in time to barrel. With yoke pressed in tight against the frame holding the cylinder in side to side alignment, center pin engaging it's hole in center of r recoil shield provides most of this and the yoke lock assists instead of lug on bottom of barrel engaging the front of the ejector rod. Once again the spring loaded ball in shroud was never meant to bottom out in notch on yoke. Yes, there is a V in the bottom of it, but the ramp had to end in some manner. Could have used a flat spot at the bottom and been just as effective.
So the center pin engaging its hole in the shield is the primary alignment for the cylinder and the yoke bottoming out in the frame is the secondary alignment. Is there any adjustment at this location. At the factory or otherwise. And thanks for the explanation.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:49 AM
jhnttrpp jhnttrpp is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lively View Post
I agree with the other posters that it is supposed to be this way. My 69 shoots great, locks up solid and the ball detent looks like this:

That my friend is an excellent photo demonstrating exactly what we are talking about. I wish we could all do as well. BTW you might want to clean.... Oh never mind
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  #43  
Old 10-15-2017, 10:29 AM
RoyM52 RoyM52 is online now
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The Smith and Wesson web page should have all this information on their web site. It would do away with a lot of unnecessary shipping and misunderstandings. Bad press for no particular reason. And weeks without the newly purchased gun and fear that something needs fixing. A little bit on a web page would help turn around time for things that actually need attention.
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:55 AM
uncleted327 uncleted327 is offline
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What would really help is if people stopped thinking they know more about how something should have been built, or why something was built the way it was, than the company building them. If there are legitimate issues with your gun, mechanically or with the finish, send it back. But shoot the gun before you determine something isn't how you think it should be. Chances are there's nothing wrong with it. More and more people bitching about how there's a misalignment of milling lines by a 32nd of an inch or some other meaningless garbage.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUEDOT37 View Post
Yep

.

69 Combat Magnum - ball detent lock

(-014a)

.
The weird thing is that it's not a 69-1.... But consistency has never been all that big a deal with S&W and it's model designations!
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:30 PM
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I was also curious as to why the new ball/detent arrangement wasn't designated a -1.

Disassembled the 2 3/4" gun's cyl/yoke to clean it after over a thousand rounds. Here's a picture of the new detent on the inside/back of the yoke.



Paul

Last edited by Paul105; 10-16-2017 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:54 PM
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I picked up a model 69 in the first year they came out, and mine is put together exactly like the OP's gun. The locking ball is not centered in the shroud notch, and the top of the barrel serrations do not line up perfectly with the serrations on the top strap of the frame. This appears to be a combination of the barrel shroud being slightly clocked, as well as being a little off laterally to the left. EVERY SINGLE 69 that I have inspected since has this barrel shroud issue to some degree...........most have been much worse than mine. Furthermore, the crown of the barrel liner of my gun was burred up. If I had jammed my fingertip in the bore and twisted, I have no doubt that my finger would be left bleeding. It was that ragged. Has anyone seen this tool that torques the barrel liner to the shroud? I'm speculating that when they torque everything together, these shrouds are forced off-center because of the tolerances in that frame tab/shroud notch indexing solution. I sent my 69 back to Smith complaining about the rough crown and the barrel/frame serrations not lining up. They cleaned up the crown, but I saw no change in barrel/frame alignment. I had the gun back from Smith very quickly. All of this said, this 44 Mag is a great shooter. My gun came with a .003 barrel cylinder gap which was one of the reasons I did not reject it. I knew Smith would fix any major issues. I have not regretted buying this gun. If only I could talk Smith to giving up one of those barrel tools, but they will not budge on that subject. I was told that "each gunsmith" makes his own tool.
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Old 10-16-2017, 04:27 PM
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Just noticed that the explosion adjusted the slightly offset milling on my 69 into perfect alignment!
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  #49  
Old 10-16-2017, 04:51 PM
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If I really wanted to remove a shrouded barrel like used by the model 69 I would not use a tool that engaged the rifling. First it would be difficult to make and second it would be hard on the rifling. I think there is a better way to do this.

First get or machine a piece of brass square stock that would fit down the barrel. I would also get some low temp solder that melted below 200f. They make this type solder for various uses usually using some type of tin, lead, bismuth, indium alloy. Plug the forcing cone, mount the in a padded vise by the grip frame with the cylinder removed so the barrel is pointed up. Use a frame wrench made to fit around the yoke cut like a normal frame wrench. Then heat the solder, barrel and the brass square stock to about 250-300f. Pour the barrel 1/2 way full of solder and stick in the bar. Let it cool and unscrew the barrel using a wrench on the end of the brass bar and holding onto the frame wrench. Do whatever, then reinstall.

Remove solder by warming up the gun and scrubbing the bore. With no flux it isn't going to bond to the stainless well in the first place. Only function is to make a perfect mate of the barrel to the brass bar.

Machinist sometimes use this type of solder to mount small odd shaped pieces to something they can chuck up or put in a machinist vise. Do a net search for it, lots available.

Someday I am going to get some that melts around 135f and cast a spoon out of it and then give it to someone to stir sugar in their coffee. LOL

Last edited by steelslaver; 10-16-2017 at 04:54 PM.
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  #50  
Old 10-16-2017, 08:27 PM
S&W ucla S&W ucla is offline
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Diagram I found online showing 2pc bbl, key in top of frame for shroud, barrel tool.

Shocker, there has to be a better way, lol. Have you heard from S&W if they will help out?

Steelslaver, Wouldn't cerrosafe work? Brownells carries it for making chamber casts.
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