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Old 07-10-2018, 05:12 PM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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Default S&W service policy issue (and a bit of a rant)

I had posted about the initial stages of this previously in a different thread. Now that it's final, I wanted to create a separate thread for informational purposes (and probably a bit of a rant).

I had an issue with my four year old 642 (I purchased it new). The hammer pin broke, so I sent it back to S&W for service. Based on my ammo purchases, it had 100 rounds of +P (Remington/Speer) and a couple thousands rounds of standard pressure FMJ through it. Half the FMJ was a mix of Federal and Winchester. Half was Armscore.

They evaluated the pistol and said the yoke bolt was worn out and the hammer pin was broken. The pistol was considered non-repairable. They determined those items were considered normal wear and tear, not material defects, and not covered by the lifetime service repair policy. They also told me they consider any foreign ammo, including Armscore, the same as reloads, not as factory ammo. I don't think I'd seen that about foreign ammo in their manual, but I could easily missed it.

When I asked how a pistol rated for continuous +P service could be worn out at 2,000 rounds of standard pressure ammo, the supervisor's response (over the phone) was their pistols can worn out with a single round of standard pressure ammo. I escalated, but they came back and said no. They'd sell me a new pistol at a small discount or I can have the old pistol back.

In the past I've gotten really great service from S&W under the service repair policy. This seems out of character. I wanted to post because I see others posting about how great the S&W Service Repair Policy is. I'm wondering if S&W is changing how they administer that policy.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:43 PM
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Sounds like you got the screws put to you and it makes me sad.

On the other hand, it is unlikely to ever affect me directly-- I have no plans (actually less so) to but current S&W products. In the last decade, their only good selling point (IMO) has been their customer support, but if that is eroding also, we're left only with great memories and a cool logo.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:55 PM
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I agree with “Sevens” that this is a terribly unfortunate situation....

If this gun was produced after 1989 and unless there were obvious signs that it had been tampered with or abused, I see no reason that S&W should not to honor their warranty.

It’s a fact that all mechanical things made by man are subject to failure at some point and that is exactly why the warranty is offered. Unless they can point to clear evidence to prove otherwise, I would ask again (nicely) for them to reconsider their position.

Let us know how the saga continues.

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Old 07-10-2018, 05:56 PM
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That pretty much sucks if you ask me. To me, that is saying that their concealed carry revolvers are junk if you can wear them out with a couple of thousand rounds of normal ammo. And tells me to buy an equivalent weapon from the competition, Ruger, Colt or Kimber.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:55 PM
Arquebus357 Arquebus357 is offline
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Odd that S&W would talk about a "yoke bolt". Maybe yoke screw but I have never heard of a yoke "bolt" on a S&W revolver. I don't understand how a worn yoke screw and a broken hammer pin would make it "non-repairable" . Get it back and find someone with a bit of skill.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:59 PM
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To a new S&W buyer this is not good at all!
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:16 PM
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Point #1 -- Not to question the original poster's account, but let's face it -- we have only his account, and nothing of S&W's side. Can a hammer pin break and a "yoke bolt" wear out in just 2000 rounds? I don't know. I don't recall ever seeing a service life stated for a 642. I do recall that when S&W's first unsuccessful, utterly pathetic .380 came out they made it clear that 2000 rounds was about as far as it would go.

Point #2 -- To the original poster, assuming you are giving us a complete and honest report, I feel your pain. You may well have a legitimate gripe that S&W should address. Assuming that you do -- what can we do about it? My suggestion would be to make further enquiries at S&W by phone or, preferably, letter and find someone who will listen to your plight. Nobody there is out to screw you, or themselves, by ignoring a real problem -- but being human beings, I am sure there is an employee or two there who may not be completely on the ball when it comes to customer service.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:35 PM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
Point #1 -- Not to question the original poster's account, but let's face it -- we have only his account, and nothing of S&W's side. Can a hammer pin break and a "yoke bolt" wear out in just 2000 rounds? I don't know. I don't recall ever seeing a service life stated for a 642. I do recall that when S&W's first unsuccessful, utterly pathetic .380 came out they made it clear that 2000 rounds was about as far as it would go.

Point #2 -- To the original poster, assuming you are giving us a complete and honest report, I feel your pain. You may well have a legitimate gripe that S&W should address. Assuming that you do -- what can we do about it? My suggestion would be to make further enquiries at S&W by phone or, preferably, letter and find someone who will listen to your plight. Nobody there is out to screw you, or themselves, by ignoring a real problem -- but being human beings, I am sure there is an employee or two there who may not be completely on the ball when it comes to customer service.
It's an honest presentation of the facts. You can choose to believe them, be skeptical, or completely discount them.

A couple points in response to yours...

#1 When I sent the pistol in, I told them the 642 had a couple thousands rounds through it and specifically asked if that was close to the service life. I was told "no way, not even close."

#2 Like I mentioned in the original post...
Quote:
I wanted to post because I see others posting about how great the S&W Service Repair Policy is. I'm wondering if S&W is changing how they administer that policy.
Others that are considering purchasing an S&W firearm based on perceptions about S&W's Lifetime Service Repair Policy (which is different than the actual 1 year warranty), may be able to use my information as a data point in making their decision.

My experience probably won't stop me from purchasing another S&W, but I'll definitely have a different view of the value I'm getting for the $$.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:10 PM
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I had a similar issue one with a 200.00 fishing reel, so I went over the head of customer service and sent a letter to the parent company. Not long after that, my new reel showed up.

The point is, try going over the heads of S&W.

What concerns me most, if I read the OP correctly, it is possible to wear out a gun from a single standard pressure round? What's up with that statement? Are they saying if the gun wears out in 1 round, tough luck?

Obviously you need to be cool headed, but get to somebody that cares. They have a lot of issues there. sales are off by 25%, and profit is down by 75%.

No gun should wear out under the conditions you stated..

Maybe i will put the thought of a 617 on hold
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:00 PM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post
...
What concerns me most, if I read the OP correctly, it is possible to wear out a gun from a single standard pressure round? What's up with that statement? Are they saying if the gun wears out in 1 round, tough luck?
...
I'm the OP. Just to make sure I'm being as clear and fair to S&W as possible, the Customer Service supervisor told me they evaluate two criteria for defects in material and workmanship.

#1 - Is there a metallurgical issue with your specific pistol.

#2 - Are there other pistols in the same manufacturing lot as yours that have the exact same failure as yours.

If the answer to both of those questions is no, then he said it's considered normal wear and tear and not covered by the lifetime service repair policy, whether the pistol has been fired one time or 100,000 times.

To me that doesn't seem to account for normal variations in manufacturing processes.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:01 PM
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What is a yoke bolt??????
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy2525 View Post
I'm the OP. Just to make sure I'm being as clear and fair to S&W as possible, the Customer Service supervisor told me they evaluate two criteria for defects in material and workmanship.

#1 - Is there a metallurgical issue with your specific pistol.

#2 - Are there other pistols in the same manufacturing lot as yours that have the exact same failure as yours.

If the answer to both of those questions is no, then he said it's considered normal wear and tear and not covered by the lifetime service repair policy, whether the pistol has been fired one time or 100,000 times.

To me that doesn't seem to account for normal variations in manufacturing processes.
Sounds like CS was looking for a way to deny your claim, kind of like an insurance company. Like others this does run contrary to my experience with S&W so I’d keep trying. Pls let us know how it goes.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:25 PM
JimCunn JimCunn is offline
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What's a yoke bolt?
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:34 PM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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What's a yoke bolt?
Not my terminology, this is what the guy at S&W told me.

The cylinder is connected to the yoke with the ejector. The pin on the other end of the yoke that slides into the frame is the yoke bolt (not my terms). S&W says I elongated either the bolt or the bolt hole by opening and closing the cylinder too many times or too forcefully.

I took the pistol to the range and shot it. I haven’t figured out a way to reload without opening and closing the cylinder. I wasn’t slamming it open and closed.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by muddocktor View Post
That pretty much sucks if you ask me. To me, that is saying that their concealed carry revolvers are junk if you can wear them out with a couple of thousand rounds of normal ammo. And tells me to buy an equivalent weapon from the competition, Ruger, Colt or Kimber.
I AGREE muddocktor. I AM TOTALLY DONE WITH PURCHASING ANY NEW S&W PRODUCTS....

IN THE WORDS OF B.B. KING----"THE THRILL IS GONE"......
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:51 PM
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Just read that S&W's sales (profits) are way down, as the industry as a whole.
What the OP experienced may be the company tightening up and holding warranty work to "the letter of the law" or whatever their warranty equivalent is.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:24 PM
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I AGREE muddocktor. I AM TOTALLY DONE WITH PURCHASING ANY NEW S&W PRODUCTS....

IN THE WORDS OF B.B. KING----"THE THRILL IS GONE"......
Just to be clear, I am NOT advocating for people to stop buying new S&W firearms. I like my 640. I like my Shields. I have another 642 that’s been dead nuts reliable.

I am saying one of the value added features of purchasing a new S&W firearm has been the lifetime service repair policy. Even though that policy still exists and the wording of that policy is the same, how it’s being administered appears to be changing for the worse. That impacts the value proposition when considering S&W.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Arquebus357 View Post
... I don't understand how... a broken hammer pin would make it "non-repairable" ....
On a steel frame gun replacing a hammer stud is very doable. Alloy frame guns are a different kind animal, especially on a gun with such a low price point to begin with.

One thing you should never do is dry fire a Smith revolver with the sideplate off. Very hard on the studs. The sideplate supports the studs' free ends. When it's removed the studs are cantilevered and very weak.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:57 PM
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I have to date sent in 2 semi auto pistols and one revolver back to S&W. one for repair and the other two for non warranty work and although I can't speak for others experience I can only say with what I experienced.

All my contact with S&W over the phone they have been very polite & informative. They even returned my phone calls on multiple occasions.

The last pistol I sent in, a model 10 from 1985, they refinished it inside & out to like brand new condition. Even threw on a new set of wood grips at no extra charge.

I will add, with a couple emails I got them to send me, free of charge not one but 2 brand new RSA for my M&P 9mm and a set of replacement rubber grips for my 617.

I'm not saying that I'm not buying the OP's story, all I'm saying is that everytime I had any dealings with S&W, they were very polite & professional... just sayin'.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:12 AM
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It sounds to me like they don't want to cover it because this is "normal wear and tear" and that there is no minimum number of rounds to wear out those parts. I don't know why they didn't just tell you that, but that's my interpretation.

Even when a product says "lifetime warranty" I take it as a given that if I want it fixed at the factory, I need to spot the defect sooner than later. If I had a gun that worked fine for four years and then a part wears out, I'd consider it my responsibility to get it fixed.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:19 AM
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It really is sad to see what has become of Smith & Wesson. One a great manufacturer of fine American firearms, reduced to a mediocre manufacturer of subpar American firearms.

I'd hate to say it, but based on what I've read of S&W over the past year, I'm no longer interested in purchasing any of their newly manufactured firearms and will seek alternatives elsewhere.

I used to really want to own some of their iconic Revolvers like the Model 25 and 29, but now I'd rather just get a Ruger Redhawk.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:25 AM
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The last new car I bought came with a dealer lifetime power train warranty. But the terms and conditions are so onerous it's virtually impossible any owner could collect on that warranty. Maybe S&W pulls the same tricks.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:44 AM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGVshooter View Post
I have to date sent in 2 semi auto pistols and one revolver back to S&W. one for repair and the other two for non warranty work and although I can't speak for others experience I can only say with what I experienced.

All my contact with S&W over the phone they have been very polite & informative. They even returned my phone calls on multiple occasions.

The last pistol I sent in, a model 10 from 1985, they refinished it inside & out to like brand new condition. Even threw on a new set of wood grips at no extra charge.

I will add, with a couple emails I got them to send me, free of charge not one but 2 brand new RSA for my M&P 9mm and a set of replacement rubber grips for my 617.

I'm not saying that I'm not buying the OP's story, all I'm saying is that everytime I had any dealings with S&W, they were very polite & professional... just sayin'.
If you go back to my OP, that had been my experience too, until now. Even in this case they were very polite.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:09 AM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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Originally Posted by silversnake View Post
It sounds to me like they don't want to cover it because this is "normal wear and tear" and that there is no minimum number of rounds to wear out those parts. I don't know why they didn't just tell you that, but that's my interpretation.

Even when a product says "lifetime warranty" I take it as a given that if I want it fixed at the factory, I need to spot the defect sooner than later. If I had a gun that worked fine for four years and then a part wears out, I'd consider it my responsibility to get it fixed.
Those are fair points.

My counter was/is how does a pistol that’s rated for continuous +P operation become non-repairably worn out from firing only 2,000 rounds of std pressure ammo if there isn’t a manufacturing defect? If it had 10,000 or 20,000 rounds through it, then I’d say sure, worn out. I have a reliably functioning LCP with more rounds through it than that revolver.

To your second point, the non-repairable part broke and makes the pistol inoperable. They consider the breakage to be due to “normal wear and tear” and not a “defect in material or workmanship.” They aren’t asking me to purchase a replacement part to fix the pistol. They want me to purchase a replacement pistol for retail price. In terms of timeframes, when a major vendor has a repair policy where they say they will repair or replace any parts due to defects in material or workmanship at no cost for the lifetime of the original owner, my assumption is the timeframe the phrase “lifetime of the original owner” refers to is from the moment I purchase the pistol until I either sell the pistol or die, not just four years.

Maybe those things are unrealistic expectations?
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy2525 View Post
Those are fair points.

My counter was/is how does a pistol that’s rated for continuous +P operation become non-repairably worn out from firing only 2,000 rounds of std pressure ammo if there isn’t a manufacturing defect? If it had 10,000 or 20,000 rounds through it, then I’d say sure, worn out. I have a reliably functioning LCP with more rounds through it than that revolver.

To your second point, the non-repairable part broke and makes the pistol inoperable. They consider the breakage to be due to “normal wear and tear” and not a “defect in material or workmanship.” They aren’t asking me to purchase a replacement part to fix the pistol. They want me to purchase a replacement pistol for retail price. In terms of timeframes, when a major vendor has a repair policy where they say they will repair or replace any parts due to defects in material or workmanship at no cost for the lifetime of the original owner, my assumption is the timeframe the phrase “lifetime of the original owner” refers to is from the moment I purchase the pistol until I either sell the pistol or die, not just four years.

Maybe those things are unrealistic expectations?
Yeah, it's a tough call. The part did work for four years so it's going to be hard to call it a manufacturing defect, then again, you only have 2,000 rounds through a pistol that should last much longer. If it were me, I'd call Judge Judy...
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy2525 View Post
....
Based on my ammo purchases, it had 100 rounds of +P (Remington/Speer) and a couple thousands rounds of standard pressure FMJ through it. Half the FMJ was a mix of Federal and Winchester. Half was Armscore.
.....
They also told me they consider any foreign ammo, including Armscore, the same as reloads, not as factory ammo. I don't think I'd seen that about foreign ammo in their manual, but I could easily missed it.

...
I've never purchased Armscor ammo, but it may not be SAAMI certified. The warranty will likely void if you admit to using reloads, reman, or non-SAAMI spec ammo.

From the manual I found online:

Use only commercially manufactured ammunition with internal ballistic pressures which are in strict accordance with the specifications of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI). If you are uncertain, contact your ammunition supplier for verification.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:44 AM
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This is BS. 4 years and 2000 rounds is not a “lifetime warranty”. And the armscore ammo was their way out of paying you. I wouldn’t have told them about that. Who can remember every round fired from 4 years ago? Ammo fired? Factory target loads only, sir! And I just checked Armscor’s website. It says the ammo is made in the USA plant and meets SAAMI specs. And just when is 500 rounds a year to kill a gun “normal wear and tear”? Guess my 60 year old Combat Masterpiece is gonna break any time now.

Send a letter (certified mail), to the president, and make it signature on delivery. Tell them you are dissatisfied with the outcome and will never purchase another S&W product again. Might get a different result.

A friend of mine inherited his father’s Ruger Security Six when his dad died. Bought new around 1975. 30,000 rounds of .357 Magnum, at least. I doubt any .38 since his dad reloaded his own ammo and never shot .38. That was the first .357 I ever fired. 30 year old gun when he got it and it was a bit loose. Ruger said send it in. They paid for shipping both ways and brought the gun back to new. Even reblued it. Total cost was zero dollars and he had it back in like 3 weeks. They no longer service the Six series guns but I have read posts on other forums where those who sent in a Six were offered another revolver at a deep discount. One guy got a GP100 for like $400.

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Old 07-11-2018, 07:12 AM
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This is BS. 4 years and 2000 rounds is not a “lifetime warranty”.
It's a "service policy." The "warranty" is for one year . . .
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:21 AM
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I've never purchased Armscor ammo, but it may not be SAAMI certified. The warranty will likely void if you admit to using reloads, reman, or non-SAAMI spec ammo.

From the manual I found online:

Use only commercially manufactured ammunition with internal ballistic pressures which are in strict accordance with the specifications of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI). If you are uncertain, contact your ammunition supplier for verification.
I just checked the SAAMI site and Armscor is listed as a supporting member. So that tells me that Armscor sells SAAMI compliant ammunition. And off the Armscor website, I found the following statement: "ARMSCOR, an ISO 9001 Certified Company, complies with the SAAMI, CIP and other military or customer desired standards or requirements."

To me, it sounds like that rep on the phone was feeding you a line of poo and trying to get S&W off the hook for fixing their worthless revolver. I would escalate this into court if needed. It's not like you told them you fed it reloads or something else that dopesn't meet their ammunition criteria.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:01 AM
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As much as I hate to suggest this, I firmly believe that Smith and Wesson are attempting to live on it’s past reputation; one of producing a top-quality revolver at a fair price.
Even though S&W still has a lock on the civilian market for revolvers. It appears that they don’t understand they are facing a shrinking market for their products, and one that may well continue to shrink over the years. Smith and Wesson have also forgotten the importance of Positive Word of Mouth advertising.
If I were in the market for a NEW handgun, a S&W product would not be my first choice.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:59 AM
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It's a "service policy." The "warranty" is for one year . . .
Whatever they call it. They sell you a gun and promise to take care of any defects in worksmanahip or breakage of parts outside “normal wear and tear”. Aside from that being intentionally vague, 2000 rounds of range ammo and 100 rounds of +P in a gun that specifically says +P on the barrel, is not “normal wear and tear”.

I think if he pushes the issue he’ll get some satisfaction. Go over their heads. If they don’t make it right, if make it a point to tell them you’ll never buy another of their products and you’ll make it a point to tell others not to, as well.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:35 AM
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I just sent in a revolver with an outta spec.b/c gap 3 weeks ago. It's getting sent back fixed already. The tech guy over the phone heard what I had to say, took my word for everything I mentioned and promptly sent me a dispatch ticket(fedex).

Hard to believe this is the same company. Hard to believe.

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Old 07-11-2018, 10:47 AM
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I suggest that if the hole in the recoil shield is elongated that the revolver shipped that way & it is indeed a manufacturing defect. How could it possibly be worn oval?
This needs to get escalated.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:09 AM
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Just as an update. From the suggestions here, I sent a very polite e-mail to the S&W CEO explaining the issue and expressing my disappointment in both the pistol performance and the service experience.

I don’t expect he reads his own e-mail, but the admin that manages his email will send it to the appropriate Director level guy.

Stay tuned.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:19 AM
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Very disappointing; not that I would buy a new S&W revolver anyways. Never thought the day would come where I would buy a new Ruger revolver over a new S&W.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:04 PM
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I think that like most things, it depends on who's desk it ends up on. A polite letter to the CEO is no panacea, but it often works as well as anything to create a change of heart.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:39 PM
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Time isn't on the OP's side. Forget the round count and +P versus standard pressure breakdown (which to S&W's ears is irrelevant since they have no way to verify or refute OP's claims). It is still a 4 year old revolver...and S&W knows that for sure. As mileage + age increases, the likelihood they'll fix it for free...decreases. Buy a brand spanking new wheelgun and stash it away for 5 years before firing it. If it breaks after only three cylinders full...you have very little ground to stand on...despite a low round count. I learned about dealing with S&W's CS when my firing pin busted on my three year old 627 PC. I was worried that they would force me to ship it to them and then charge me for repairs. They cheerfully mailed me a replacement pin, no questions asked. That's why I find the OP's tale a little surprising. That doesn't sound like the way any customer service rep at ANY company treats customers. Is there more to the story? I'm surprised at how quickly others here jump to conclusions and vow never to buy a new S&W because of alleged lousy service. Aren't there plenty of satisfied customers posting stories elsewhere on this forum? I've read quite a few positive reviews, so I don't think we should judge S&W's CS too hastily.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziggy2525 View Post
Just as an update. From the suggestions here, I sent a very polite e-mail to the S&W CEO explaining the issue and expressing my disappointment in both the pistol performance and the service experience.

I don’t expect he reads his own e-mail, but the admin that manages his email will send it to the appropriate Director level guy.

Stay tuned.
A handwritten letter is much more effective. Like 15 years ago, I took my car to a Pep Boys to fix the AC. Three times back and forth. Even supplied them with the factory parts. Yeah, I should have just brought it to the dealer but it was an old car. $400 later and still not fixed. Even worse, it was making a screaming noise.

I wrote a detailed letter to the president of the company and sent it to the headquarters registered mail. Didn’t expect anything to happen. Three days after I mailed it, I got a call from corporate. President read the letter and they were calling to let me know that the spoke to the manager of the branch I had the work done and if I would go in with my credit card they would credit me back for the full amount.

2000 rounds of range ammo is barely breaking it in. The gun should be replaced. New 642’s are like $350 at the dealer. It’s not a small amount of money. Certainly not enough to risk losing a customer or multiple customers for life over.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:45 PM
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Just a thought: Does it make sense to provide the same warranty for alloy framed revolvers as steel? As Kernel Crittenden mentioned yesterday, alloy framed revolvers are a different animal. Personally, I believe it was an engineering mistake for S&W to manufacture alloy guns to essentially the same dimensions and contours of the steel counterparts. They had to be significantly weaker and more prone to wear over the long haul. They should have beefed up the design and/or used steel inserts on contact points where appropriate.

Why they didn't? My guess is that S&W assumed most buyers of small alloy framed revolvers would not shoot them all that much, so it would not be a big problem. Basically, the aluminum frame guns were given the same warranties as the steel guns while hoping they would sit in sock drawers.

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Old 07-11-2018, 11:20 PM
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My brief S&W warranty experience with similar, but different, circumstances.

My 442-1 was ~5 months old in December 2015 @ ~1500 rounds when some internal pin broke (unknown which one, whether hammer or trigger). After ~2 months, (realize this is the holiday period with personnel off and probably a factory shutdown) S&W replaced the entire firearm as, apparently, S&W doesn't have a method of replacing just one pin in these models.

S&W even reimbursed the dealer fees as, since I was in California at the time, the new gun had to back through an FFL with the forms & fees (& 10 day wait prior to bring the gun home).

Whether the OP's situation is different due to time between warranty claim and purchase or if S&W is becoming stricter with claims is unknown.

My listed 642-1 was bought in the year 2000 and has had zero problems with an unknown round count, but over 3400 rounds (I didn't always keep a round-count log on all my firearms).
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:47 AM
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Though, I sympathize with the gent and his model 642. I purchased a Smith & Wesson Model 48 Classic from the Fort Bliss PX back on Sept 3 2016 for $570.00. The pistol was “New”, but I looked at this pistol on and off for over two years prior and watched it develop a turn line on the cylinder as one clerk or customer dry fired it during that time. I knew it would need a new firing pin when I purchased it and called S&W Customer Service once Labor Day was over with. I clearly explained the situation to S&W and was told with a chuckle that’s its “no problem and we will get it right”. Three weeks later I got the pistol back with the repair invoice that the firing pin, main spring and CYLINDER were replaced. Pistol looks great and shoots even better. I’m a happy S&W Customer.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by kbm6893 View Post
A handwritten letter is much more effective. Like 15 years ago, I took my car to a Pep Boys to fix the AC. Three times back and forth. Even supplied them with the factory parts. Yeah, I should have just brought it to the dealer but it was an old car. $400 later and still not fixed. Even worse, it was making a screaming noise.

I wrote a detailed letter to the president of the company and sent it to the headquarters registered mail. Didn’t expect anything to happen. Three days after I mailed it, I got a call from corporate. President read the letter and they were calling to let me know that the spoke to the manager of the branch I had the work done and if I would go in with my credit card they would credit me back for the full amount.

2000 rounds of range ammo is barely breaking it in. The gun should be replaced. New 642’s are like $350 at the dealer. It’s not a small amount of money. Certainly not enough to risk losing a customer or multiple customers for life over.

I agree. While email should be as effective as snail mail, in reality, it just doesn't seem to be the case. In this situation, I'd give the email a couple of days and if there's no response, I'd follow up with a hand written letter. Always be calm and courteous when writing this kind of communication, sticking to facts and pointing out your previous loyalty to the brand. I'd consider doing a CC to the local BBB too.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:06 AM
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This is extremely disappointing to hear. I look forward to updates regarding any subsequent action.

I wish you the best of luck with this, Ziggy. It's certainly got my attention.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:09 PM
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Just a couple of points:
  1. The pin that locks the cylinder into the frame is the "Center Pin"
  2. The other locking point on the J frame is under the front of the barrel, the spring loaded pin is the "Locking Bolt"
  3. If the Locking Bolt is not properly fitted it offers no real support for the extractor rod/cylinder. This makes the Center Pin the actual and sole locking point for the cylinder. One thing to check on any S&W revolver is to look at the front of the Yoke while in lockup, hold the frame with one hand and try to move the cylinder laterally with the other. If there is more than just the slightest play, the Lock Bolt may not be doing its job or there is already some elongating of the Center Pin Hole in the frame. If the Locking Bolt is not offering proper support, the Cylinder Pin is taking all the pressure and wear and tear. This will probably lead to accelerated wearing of the Hole in the frame.
I think many folks don't appreciate the true roll of the Locking Bolt and importance of its proper fitment . FWIW
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:35 PM
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I agree. While email should be as effective as snail mail, in reality, it just doesn't seem to be the case. In this situation, I'd give the email a couple of days and if there's no response, I'd follow up with a hand written letter. Always be calm and courteous when writing this kind of communication, sticking to facts and pointing out your previous loyalty to the brand. I'd consider doing a CC to the local BBB too.
I specifically remember mentioning I was considering a complaint to the better business bureau.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:40 PM
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I am not one to jump to conclusions lightly. The very nature of this weapon is to protect the owner when the whole world... or at least the real estate he / she occupies at that moment... has gone to sh*t. It is a last ditch gun that we can & do stake our very life on. We expect it to do it's job.
Guns made before 1900 will do so... with just a bit of periodic cleaning & a drop or 2 of oil. I should expect no less from a gun made in the modern era.
There is no reason for a gun company to exist that does not understand this.
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:01 AM
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I am not one to jump to conclusions lightly. The very nature of this weapon is to protect the owner when the whole world... or at least the real estate he / she occupies at that moment... has gone to sh*t. It is a last ditch gun that we can & do stake our very life on. We expect it to do it's job.
Guns made before 1900 will do so... with just a bit of periodic cleaning & a drop or 2 of oil. I should expect no less from a gun made in the modern era.
There is no reason for a gun company to exist that does not understand this.
I would agree if we were talking about a modern era gun made out of steel. S&W though designed their alloy frame guns along the same dimensions and contours of their steel counterparts. That was obviously not a design they expected to hold up to regular shooting. I suspect these guns were designed for self-defense use -- not the range. I also suspect most of these guns sit in sock drawers for years (decades?) at a time without a shot fired.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by flagman1776 View Post
I am not one to jump to conclusions lightly. The very nature of this weapon is to protect the owner when the whole world... or at least the real estate he / she occupies at that moment... has gone to sh*t. It is a last ditch gun that we can & do stake our very life on. We expect it to do it's job.
Guns made before 1900 will do so... with just a bit of periodic cleaning & a drop or 2 of oil. I should expect no less from a gun made in the modern era.
There is no reason for a gun company to exist that does not understand this.
Everything you said above was absolutely correct...but that was NOT my point. My point was that we shouldn't so hastily draw conclusions from just one person's tale. Let's remember that S&W cranks out a lot of firearms of all types, year after year. You say "I am not one to jump to conclusions lightly." Yet you are doing so based solely upon a single online post from someone you don't know? I myself am not ready to label all new Smith's coming off the line as unreliable junk just because one person reported a problem on an online forum. There's too many variables, too many unverifiable questions. Was it truly new and unfired when he bought it all those years ago? Maybe someone bought it from the dealer, took it to the range over the weekend - firing God knows what through it - and returned it on Monday morning because they couldn't take the recoil from a small frame snub revolver. Dealer cleans it up and sells it as "new." Then there's the OP who had it for four years and fired (at least) 2000 rounds through it. Was the revolver broken or defective when the OP recently contacted S&W for service? Probably so. Was it defective when it left the factory all those years ago? That is difficult to answer...and hardly grounds for the rest of us making conclusions.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:10 AM
kbm6893 kbm6893 is online now
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S&W service policy issue (and a bit of a rant)  
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Originally Posted by 500SNW View Post
Everything you said above was absolutely correct...but that was NOT my point. My point was that we shouldn't so hastily draw conclusions from just one person's tale. Let's remember that S&W cranks out a lot of firearms of all types, year after year. You say "I am not one to jump to conclusions lightly." Yet you are doing so based solely upon a single online post from someone you don't know? I myself am not ready to label all new Smith's coming off the line as unreliable junk just because one person reported a problem on an online forum. There's too many variables, too many unverifiable questions. Was it truly new and unfired when he bought it all those years ago? Maybe someone bought it from the dealer, took it to the range over the weekend - firing God knows what through it - and returned it on Monday morning because they couldn't take the recoil from a small frame snub revolver. Dealer cleans it up and sells it as "new." Then there's the OP who had it for four years and fired (at least) 2000 rounds through it. Was the revolver broken or defective when the OP recently contacted S&W for service? Probably so. Was it defective when it left the factory all those years ago? That is difficult to answer...and hardly grounds for the rest of us making conclusions.
I’m not making conclusions regarding the quality of the firearms. I’m commenting on the lack of support for the weapon that was sold to the OP.

A modern gun with a very low round count and almost no +P ammo fired broke. It was made after 1989 and the OP is the original owner. It qualifies for the lifetime service agreement. It hasn’t been abused or neglected. They should honor the agreement they made when the OP bought the gun.

Last edited by kbm6893; 07-13-2018 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:43 AM
Ziggy2525 Ziggy2525 is offline
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S&W service policy issue (and a bit of a rant) S&W service policy issue (and a bit of a rant) S&W service policy issue (and a bit of a rant) S&W service policy issue (and a bit of a rant) S&W service policy issue (and a bit of a rant)  
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Originally Posted by kbm6893 View Post
I’m not making conclusions regarding the quality of the firearms. I’m commenting on the lack of support for the weapon that was sold to the OP.

A modern gun with a very low round count and almost no +P ammo fired broke. It was made after 1989 and the OP is the original owner. It qualifies for the lifetime service agreement. It hasn’t been abused or neglected. They should honor the agreement they made when the OP bought the gun.
Thanks. You’re saying it better than I was. If I dropped it off a building or ran it over with a car, that would be abuse. If I shot it with some sort of super magnum reload, that would be abuse. All I did was shoot the pistol with std pressure ammo.

Even though I only had a couple thousands rounds through it, IMO, based on their service policy commitment, round count and age are irrelevant. They don’t specify a maximum round count. They say the revolver is rated for continuous use of +P ammo. They don’t specify the maximum age of the pistol. They say the lifetime of the original owner.

If there’s a lifetime repair policy, when all you did was shoot it and it breaks, there was some type of defect. It could be in materials, workmanship, design, or applying that service policy to that model pistol. If that model pistol was only designed to be put in a sock drawer and shot rarely, that should either be in the operators manual or the service policy. S&W offered those terms to entice people to purchase their pistols.

We’ll see how it turns out. Thanks everybody for all the support.
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Last edited by Ziggy2525; 07-13-2018 at 07:52 AM.
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