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  #1  
Old 06-29-2018, 07:08 PM
Ralph G. Briscoe Ralph G. Briscoe is offline
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Default S&W lock failure--it finally happened

As the owner of several modern Smith revolvers--with the lock--I had always been skeptical about the frequently expressed concern that the lock could spontaneously engage....until today that is. I set up a target and started shooting with my model 632. On what should have been the 5th shot the gun locked up. I've read that this was most likely to occur when shooting heavy loads in light revolvers. I was shooting very light handloads--1.5gr Bullseye, 90 grain cast bullet in .32 acp cases. Furthermore, I've shot this gun very little since buying it new and always with light or moderate loads. I've never used .327 magnums--.32 long, .32 HandR, .32acp only.
This incident has caused me to seriously rethink some things. My usual carry guns have been a 642 or a 432--both with locks. I will be having those removed and in the meantime will go back to carrying my 70's vintage Chief's Special.
Lock failure--IT CAN AND DOES HAPPEN!
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:17 PM
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Any serious Smith I buy... that damned Hell Hole gets snatched out as quick as I can degrease the revolver and an Original Precision lock delete from JD... If you can change your spark plugs in your truck you can install the lock delete with just some patience and watching the YouTube video's.

I'm sorry that your rig locked up OP. Thank God it didn't happen in a SD situation. My "N" frame's definitely get the Lock Delete because they are carried as "Woods-Guns" and I do shoot the 255 grain Hard Cast in the 625 and certainly the 300 grain pills in the 629. Check out originalprecision.com and/or contact J.D. "the owner" for help with your order if you need help. I can walk you thru the de-install/install if you PM me.
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:20 PM
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I've locked up a 686 with a lock, shooting my monster Ruger loads! I mean the whole gun seized! Hammer wouldn't go back. Cylinder wouldn't turn. You name it.
Did the lock fail? Nope. It appeared to me at the time, the brass expanded enough to lock itself on the recoil shield. As after it cooled, you could see all the brass was scraping there. It's been so long I really don't know if that was really what was up. I still shoot the gun today. All I did was clean it afterwards. It could turn and open after it cooled a bit.
Were you able to disengage the lock therefore letting the gun fire? Did the gun seize completely and let you open the cylinder after? What did you see that made you realize the lock did fail?

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Old 06-29-2018, 08:24 PM
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I am picking up a 627 Monday. Might have to look into these youtube videos you speak of.
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:27 PM
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I don’t ccw carry s&w revolvers with or without the loc. As well as my other valuable handguns. There pristine and worth too much. I carry an old war horse that’s dependable as throwing a stone.(cz82).

But that’s bad news it locked up. I hammered my new m58 with federal magnum loads with no problem.

For hunting I bought a used ruger SBH 10.5” barrel.

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Old 06-29-2018, 09:00 PM
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Lock up is extremely rare. But still, if its a 10 minute youtube job to remove it, why not. Never had issue with any of mine so far, though.
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:35 PM
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I removed the lock from my 637 and just left the hole. I guess I need to do that with my other carry guns.
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:48 PM
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Any mechanical device can fail given enough time and use. I have seen hammers break. Excrement occurs.
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:54 PM
Ralph G. Briscoe Ralph G. Briscoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou_the_welder View Post
I've locked up a 686 with a lock, shooting my monster Ruger loads! I mean the whole gun seized! Hammer wouldn't go back. Cylinder wouldn't turn. You name it.
Did the lock fail? Nope. It appeared to me at the time, the brass expanded enough to lock itself on the recoil shield. As after it cooled, you could see all the brass was scraping there. It's been so long I really don't know if that was really what was up. I still shoot the gun today. All I did was clean it afterwards. It could turn and open after it cooled a bit.
Were you able to disengage the lock therefore letting the gun fire? Did the gun seize completely and let you open the cylinder after? What did you see that made you realize the lock did fail?

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It locked up completely--nothing would move, couldn't open the cylinder. As I was testing new handloads at first thought the problem might be ammo-related, then I remembered the lock, found the key and unlocked it. It's functioning normally now, but I don't trust it until the lock's dehorned.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:24 PM
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You are the second person I know of that the lock did fail then. The first guy described using the key also. And his was a small J frame.
Sometimes its ammo related like what happened to me.
So far....none of my K, L or N frames have locked up- due to the lock! (Knock on wood)
I don't think I'll be disabling any locks on mine-due to the fact that they've never failed me at the range where I use them.....
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Originally Posted by Ralph G. Briscoe View Post
It locked up completely--nothing would move, couldn't open the cylinder. As I was testing new handloads at first thought the problem might be ammo-related, then I remembered the lock, found the key and unlocked it. It's functioning normally now, but I don't trust it until the lock's dehorned.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:47 PM
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had a 625 lock during an idpa match, thought it was a bent moon clip or high primer pulled trigger hard to go thru it. The gun went back to S and w they replaced many parts, still have it minus the lock, won't ever buy another smith with a lock
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Old 06-29-2018, 11:42 PM
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I had a Model 25-13 MTN GUN in 45 Colt lock up twice on my with Cowboy loads on first outing, you could see the flag up on it, and a 438 locked up after 3 shots. I removed lock from both and they worked fine afterward.
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:28 AM
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I know the chances of failure are remote. But any handgun I've owned has been for defense, not hunting or range duty, and I wouldn't take the chance to own one with the lock in place. I understand the new S&W revolvers are quality products; but if I could buy one (I can't) I would immediately remove the lock and plug the hole. I don't like even remote chances of failure in a gun I might need to save my ancient bacon.

Now I'm counting down till this thread gets closed on the grounds that the subject has (a) been done to death, and (b) it's covered by the Ayoob article.
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:34 AM
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Ayoob file???
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:45 AM
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Why should it get closed, shouldazagged? The OP is posting about a real problem he encountered and not something he just heard. And he is saying that he is going to remove the lock and not ranting on and on about new revolver quality or whining incessantly about the locks like some do. And I can understand his concern about the lock engaging on his self defense gun. As a matter of fact, it makes me think twice about removing the lock out of my wife's model 60. As that is her self defense gun at the house while I am 750 miles away at work for 2 weeks at the time. The lock is in it for now, but I can see myself removing it in the near future.

Ralph G. Briscoe, thanks for posting up about the lock engaging on your gun and not ranting on and having a hissy fit about it.
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:52 AM
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I know the OP wasn't ranting, and had a genuine concern, which I said I share. I would not, repeat not leave the lock in place on a new gun.

I was just observing that these threads tend to get locked down after a while on grounds of repetition.
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry52 View Post
had a 625 lock during an idpa match, thought it was a bent moon clip or high primer pulled trigger hard to go thru it. The gun went back to S and w they replaced many parts, still have it minus the lock, won't ever buy another smith with a lock
I am trying to understand what happened with the factory repair. I understand they replaced many parts. Did they replace the lock? Did they replace other malfunctioning parts? Did they return it to you with or without a functioning lock? Did you remove the lock after the return from service? Previous posts have maintained that SW will only return a gun in "factory condition," meaning in this case with an operational lock. Or did you re-remove the lock after return? Not judging, just trying to understand.
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Old 06-30-2018, 02:20 AM
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smith replaced lock ,cylinder stop ,hand and cylinder . i removed the lock the best part of this repair was I got performance center cylinder (beveled)
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:10 AM
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I've had Smiths lock up, too. I never thought to blame the lock. Why? Because they didn't have one. Moral of the story: Revolvers can lock up for any number of reasons. Was the lock the culprit... or the scape goat?
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:26 AM
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Thumbs up 642 Still available without internal lock

I bought my 642 ~3yr ago online, and WITHOUT an internal lock. That model is STILL available without the internal lock. A valid option for those concerned.

The 642 without the lock is a good/great SD carry, IMO. I've carried it for 3yr but recently shifted to a SS framed K6S, capable of .357 rounds. I am seriously thinking of keeping/using the K6S with only 38Spec+P for carry. Much more controllable rounds IMO, particularly, in a lightweight (23oz).

I have both a 686 and 627 for the big rounds and will keep them as "Range Revolvers", as least for now.
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Old 06-30-2018, 11:01 AM
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There is no need to remove the whole lock. Just take out the "flag" part of the lock and grind off the "nub" and re install.
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Old 06-30-2018, 11:07 AM
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Lock!? Smith and Wesson's have a lock!?
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Old 06-30-2018, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph G. Briscoe View Post
As the owner of several modern Smith revolvers--with the lock--I had always been skeptical about the frequently expressed concern that the lock could spontaneously engage....until today that is. I set up a target and started shooting with my model 632. On what should have been the 5th shot the gun locked up. I've read that this was most likely to occur when shooting heavy loads in light revolvers. I was shooting very light handloads--1.5gr Bullseye, 90 grain cast bullet in .32 acp cases. Furthermore, I've shot this gun very little since buying it new and always with light or moderate loads. I've never used .327 magnums--.32 long, .32 HandR, .32acp only.
This incident has caused me to seriously rethink some things. My usual carry guns have been a 642 or a 432--both with locks. I will be having those removed and in the meantime will go back to carrying my 70's vintage Chief's Special.
Lock failure--IT CAN AND DOES HAPPEN!
There are good reasons Mr Murphy came out with his pronouncements.
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Old 06-30-2018, 11:51 AM
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That did it!
My new 686 plus and 586 l-comp are going in our garage sale.

How much should I ask for two unsafe revolvers?
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:12 PM
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Ralph,

Thanks for posting this. I think this is useful information.
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:42 PM
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Default Don't Panic

None of my EDC pieces have a manually operated internal lock so I don't have a dog in this fight. Personally I wouldn't recommend disabling any safety/lock feature in any carry gun. I'd simply carry something else.

I do have two range toys with internal locks, 625 & 986, zero issues, zero concerns.

Anything designed by man can fail. Apollo 13 ring a bell? Over the course of three decades I saw hundreds of men and women every year qualifying, training, and practicing with S&W revolvers. Although it was very rare, I saw S&W revolvers lock-up long before the internal lock was a gleam in the Clinton's eyes. The most common causes were the ammunition being used, reloaded ammo being the number one culprit there, and/or the operator.


Excerpts From:
The S&W Revolver Internal Lock
By Chris Baker
https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/s...internal-lock/

"Despite all the damning evidence, the Smith & Wesson internal lock problem is likely not as bad as it appears. In truth, we only have anecdotal evidence that some S&W locks have malfunctioned. We have no real data that would indicate the prevalence of such problems. You can also find anecdotal evidence of exploding Glocks, slides flying off Berettas, and self-firing Remington 700s. Taken individually, none of these reports necessarily indicate any specific trend or “epidemic”. Guns are machines and all machines fail eventually. Some design weaknesses can make certain failures more likely, but it’s really tricky to determine just how likely."

"The reported problems often involve revolvers that have had custom work performed on them, or were pre-owned. It’s also a safe assumption that many broken lock claims have come from S&W owners who tinkered with their revolvers but chose to leave that fact out of their “report”."

"Many of the so-called “internal lock failures” can actually be attributed to user error or some other problem not lock related. Of course, a broken gun is a broken gun, but not all supposed lock failures are genuinely what their owners initially assume they are."

Full Article:
The S&W Revolver Internal Lock
By Chris Baker
Follow Link then click on "Continue to LuckyGunner.com"
https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/s...internal-lock/
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Old 06-30-2018, 12:53 PM
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Some years ago, a very serious expert in the field, active in LE, training, and ballistics research, mentioned in a discussion (I think it was on another forum more directed to military/LE folks) that he was aware of agencies that prohibit lockable revolvers from being carried by officers because they are unsafe.

I don't care about the esthetics, but I won't have a firearm that is not at least potentially suitable for serious use, which precludes the lock models. It is not only a solution in search of a problem, but counterproductive (unsafe) in a serious use firearm.

Range toy? Fine. Hunting, SD, etc? No. Hell no. A zillion times hell no.
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Old 06-30-2018, 01:01 PM
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I have a couple of early production revolvers that came w/lock, but they are gone now. With all of the negative stuff you hear on here about Taurus, I sure wish that S&W had put their lock on the back of the hammer like they did-of course, a lock on a revolver is like teets on a boar hog, as my old grand dad used to say.
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Old 06-30-2018, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingflapjack View Post
I have a couple of early production revolvers that came w/lock, but they are gone now. With all of the negative stuff you hear on here about Taurus, I sure wish that S&W had put their lock on the back of the hammer like they did-of course, a lock on a revolver is like teets on a boar hog, as my old grand dad used to say.
It wouldn't have mattered where S&W put it, people would have complained.

As long as there's no bashing, there's no reason why the thread should be closed. For those unfamiliar with the term bashing, read the sticky on top of this section or click on the link below.

Bashing, Crying, & Whining
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Old 06-30-2018, 02:51 PM
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Since S&W has been selling lock revolvers for almost 20 years, and we live in such a litigious society, there must be hundreds of successfully lawsuits documenting lock problems. Lawyers and damaged owners must be making millions off all these well researched failures.

Lock Trolls: Please post links to just a few of these many lawsuits, I wanna get my payout. One would be enough.
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Old 06-30-2018, 03:21 PM
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I appreciate that this was a first hand experience. Not a friend of a friend, ect.
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Old 06-30-2018, 03:45 PM
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I wonder how many rounds have been fired thru S&W revolvers with locks by forum members in the last 20 years. I suspect that it's a considerable number and that failures are at a very, very small rate. This is the first, first hand report I've seen here. I plan on keeping my revolvers with locks and will probably buy more.
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Old 06-30-2018, 04:37 PM
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Are there legal implications to removing the lock?
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Old 06-30-2018, 04:43 PM
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Are there legal implications to removing the lock?
In your area it could be possible, but I believe it would be more of a factor in the civil suit as ammo against you attacking the mindset rather than the action. A shooting should be judged on whether the act was a lawful use of deadly force or not rather than the tool in a criminal trial. But with people like the way they are and juries are people, you really don't know.
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:26 PM
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Are there legal implications to removing the lock?




The IL is a "storage device" not a "safety"! How would a legal issue arise?
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:29 PM
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Screw "legality".
Also, if S&W can make guns like the 643 with or without the lock, why don't they offer that option in EVERY revolver? I mean, damn, installing the lock actually takes more steps, parts, and work. Just eliminate it already!
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:34 PM
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I guess if you relied on the IL to keep someone from using the gun. That could be a factor. But, if you rely on the IL for safe storage, this is probably not a smart idea.
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:35 PM
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Not the first time this has happened and wont be the last.

Our agency, as well as the two neighboring agencies, forbid the use of IL equipped revolvers. For off duty as well.

We had two IL equipped J-frames lock up on the range during annual qualifications.

A lot of agencies forbid their use. Why do you think they finally started making lock free J-frames again? They were losing LE sales and MONEY! Regards 18DAI
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
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The IL is a "storage device" not a "safety"! How would a legal issue arise?
Your saying the failure of a safety lock on a firearm wouldn't attract legal attention in our day and age? Turn on the TV. Gun issues are kinda a big deal right now. Some days it's all they talk about.

That lock is there to protect children from evil dangerous guns, and everyone knows guns can just "go off" by themselves. Failure of that lock puts children at risk!

Get that in front of a jury in the right venue and make millions off a wicked Gun Merchant. Where are all the millionaires? In 20 years, not even one?
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:13 PM
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Are there legal implications to removing the lock?
ONE RAMIFICATION IS THAT IT WILL VOID YOUR FACTORY WARRANTY ! ! !
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:14 PM
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Just put it back in to sent off for warrantee service.
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  #42  
Old 06-30-2018, 06:21 PM
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Relying on the lock for storage safety is moronic. My out of service firearms are almost always locked up in a safe of some kind.

Anti gun tort whores will file anything and argue all sorts of drivel, just like the anti-cop nutters. Proper defense will result in terms and bar discipline. I rarely see well done defense in the latter, and don't expect it in the former. I suspect proper defense, which among other things requires enough technical knowledge to know that such a claim would be frivolous, is lacking. I can only think of one really aggressive defense of LE that was well done; just happened last week in of all places Seattle. The judge actually pulled up her Huggies and hammered the plaintiffs.

The fact that 18DAI has direct knowledge of agencies banned lock equipped revolvers, and why, is a clue. I don't care what the odds of such a failure are - the fact that it can and has occurred is enough, because the lock serves no legitimate purpose. It is there only for political reasons because at the time, no one in a position of responsibility at S&W was a leader, and as such did not have the skill or the spine to call out the moonbats for their silliness. Now, there still are not, or the truth would have won out. This is similar to the spineless garbage I see far too often from LE command officers with regard to use of force. I see it far too often in many fields - people afraid to express reality to the delusional for fear of being considered "mean". We need a lot more R. Lee Ermey and a lot less Dale Carnegie.
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:25 PM
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Why is the "Lock" still being installed by S&W ?
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:31 PM
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^ See above ^. As i said about a command officer (the elected office head) at an agency who did not come out in defense of one of his personnel some years back after a controversial but legally sound and actually inane OIS: a "microcephalic invertebrate gelding", "who is to leadership as syrup of ipecac is to a good meal".
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:33 PM
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New around here, and let me say up front I will not have a serious use Smith with with the IL. I don't need to be convinced it's a really bad idea.

But, I don't understand all the "likes" for the origianl post. We're glad a firearm chad a catastrophic failure?

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Old 06-30-2018, 06:34 PM
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New around here, and let me say up front I will not have a serious use Smith with with the IL. I don't need to be convinced it's a really bad idea.

But, I don't understand all the "likes" for the origianl post. We're glad a firearm chad a catastrophic failure?

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Old 06-30-2018, 06:57 PM
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I've occasionally experienced, and have seen (revolvers of other's), S&W revolvers seize during live fire ... but none of them have involved the ILS (lock). Various other mechanical problems were involved.

One of them was really interesting, and a problem I'd never seen or even heard of before, in a NIB M617. The owner brought to us at the range (since a couple of range staff were S&W revolver armorers). The trigger and hammer were sluggish and difficult to function using the trigger, and it finally completely seized while I was checking )not shooting) it.

When I opened the side plate, I was kinda amazed to see that the spring for the hammer sear had come out of its spot, and had somehow dropped down low enough to have become entangled in the area of the hammer, trigger and rebound slide. It had become "cut" apart when it was caught up in the movement of those parts. How weird is that, right? (The repair was a new hammer sear spring for the MIM hammer.)

During my revolver armorer class I had a chance to ask other armorers in the class, from a number of agencies, about any "lock" failures they experienced or reported (confirmed). The answer was none. The guy teaching the class told me that he'd not yet had anyone in a revolver class report experiencing a ILS failure, either.

Looking at the way the itty bitty torque lock spring (installed on the locking arm) is supposed to be positioned and installed in the recess within the channel of the bolt (pretty much held in place by the presence of the bolt), it looked pretty secure.

However, then we saw that if someone opened the gun and removed the hammer and bolt, and then tipped the gun onto its (right) side, the weight of the locking arm could easily cause the spring to drop out, or just slip out, of the then-exposed recess. If the spring leg was no longer anchored within its intended recess, it couldn't hold the locking arm down.

This started to make some sense when it came to an occasional internet report of how a new model S&W revolver (with the ILS) might've experienced a lock failure after it had been opened up and worked on. Obviously, it also made me wonder if a moment's inattention during production assembly might've resulted in someone not properly installing the little dog leg of that torque lock spring.

Many years ago I used to have conversations with different folks at the factory, when calling and asking questions as an armorer for their various models. At various times I heard (from different guys) how a few very early problems with the ILS had been caught early on. One of the guys said those were identified early during the X-frame development (due to the significant recoil forces).

A revolver tech told me that he'd received a few warranty returns from owners claiming lock problems, but none of the guns involved had actually experienced lock problems. Instead, they involved other fitting issues that required repair, like DA sear stubbing and fit. (In the revolver class we were told that 90% of the hammer DA sears were dropping in new guns and working without any fitting, but the other 10% still required fitting.)

I know when I got my only J-frame that had a ILS (first production run of the then-new M&P 340), I looked at it with a bit of a suspicious eye. I checked the parts list and saw that a revision of the torque lock spring was listed, but didn't know which it had happened. Afterward, when I came back from my armorer class and was anxious to practice my new revolver armorer skills, I ordered a few extra torque lock springs and locking arms for the J's. (The springs had to be installed in the locking arms for installation, and they're small, as is the little slot in the locking arm, and there's a nub in the recess, past which one end of the spring's legs has to be forced. Let's just say young eyes, or a magnifying lens lamp, are handy.)

Even though my year old M&P 340 hadn't exhibited any issues with the ILS (lock) with all of the Magnum, +P and normal .38 loads I'd been using (a lot), I assembled and installed that new locking arm & spring for practice.

Many years later, and a respectable number of cases of various ammo later, I still haven't had any issue with the lock.

I've seen quite a few new style J's come through our range since the ILS was integrated in the guns, and none of them have caused issues for the owners, either, and most of those have been in the hands of cops using them for of-duty weapons. I've seen some CCW licensess's use them for range quals over the years, too, and no problems from them, either.

I've asked S&W's LE sales management folks about sales of J's to LE agencies and cops. I think it was NM State Police who buying and issuing new model M637's as secondary and off-duty weapons. I was told nobody was aware of any reported complaints from LE agencies at that time (mid 2000's).


Now, only one of my several J's have the ILS, and I'll acknowledge I tend to prefer the aesthetics of the smooth frame side versus that of the hole for the ILS.

I even ordered one of the newer model M&P 340's that was finally offered without the ILS, just to have one of each (any excuse to own a pair of them ).

That said, guess which M&P 340 it is I mostly carry and prefer to shoot? It's the one with the LOCK. Why? Well, it's never failed me in 13 years ... and I did a fair amount of shooting with it when the ammo was stocked in our range inventory. It's acquired a fair number of scratches, nicks and an unexplained dent (in the trigger guard, of which I have no memory of how it got there). It's been my normal "range beater" and my frequent daily off-duty and retirement carry weapon for some years. During that time & use, its acquired a pretty smooth trigger pull, too.

From what I've heard now and again, as long as the revolver has an exposed hammer that can be cocked into single action, the corporate legal folks at the company aren't going to recommend ditching the lock.

Just my thoughts. Everyone's got 'em.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:50 PM
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None of my S&W revolvers have the internal lock. I'm well aware that its about a one in a million chance that it will malfunction. However, it just so happens that I'm the one in a million guy that poop like this happens to all the time.
I ain't takin' no chances.
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:40 PM
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I always have no opinion until I know the owner's level of fiddling with his/her revolvers . . .
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:47 PM
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Risk vs reward; no-brainer.
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