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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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  #1  
Old 09-30-2020, 12:39 PM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Default Defective 642 Airweight?

A second time, is my S&W 642-2 a lemon? What can be done to fix the cylinder sticking problem? This revolver is 3 months old and has fired about 40 rounds of standard 38 Special ammo.

Problems encountered: 1) The thumbpiece fell off. 2) The extractor rubs against the frame when releasing the cylinder (see photo). The bolt is clean and extends fully forward when the thumbpiece is pushed forward.

Thank you.

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Old 09-30-2020, 01:26 PM
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Hi and welcome to the Forum. Without physically examining the piece, I’d say what you have is a normal S&W J-frame. The cylinder release shouldn’t have come loose, but it does sometimes happen. Some apply Loctite or clear fingernail polish etc. on the threads to help prevent this but I just inspect /check mine frequently. Due to the design of the piece the end of the ejection rod does protrude and drags on the face of the recoil shield.

Regards,

Dave

Last edited by Double-O-Dave; 10-01-2020 at 01:13 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 09-30-2020, 01:49 PM
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I echo what Dave said. My 642 has a pronounced drag line across the recoil shield. And the thumb piece actually fell off once at the range when the screw got so loose. Luckily I found both pieces. I've been carrying my 640 Pro instead of the 642. Your post reminded me to check the screws on both. Yep - the 642 was loose again, so I snugged it up. The 640 has a drag line too, just less pronounced.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:06 PM
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I put locktite on my screw, never fell off again.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:09 PM
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Mine also has a line there. Probably unavoidable since there is a hard steel pin dragging across soft aluminum.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaygerMtMan View Post
... is my S&W 642-2 a lemon? What can be done to fix the cylinder sticking problem? This revolver is 3 months old and has fired about 40 rounds of standard 38 Special ammo. Problems encountered: 1) The thumbpiece fell off. 2) The extractor rubs against the frame when releasing the cylinder ...
So glad to see this thread. My 642-2 is 2 months old and has fired 150 rounds of .38.
It has the same scoring on the frame. And I just checked the thumb piece screw and it was about to fall out.
So both conditions must be normal, and I will be using locktite on the screw.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:54 PM
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Here’s a 442-1. Same gun as yours save the black finish and without the internal lock. By the way, my screw needed 1/4 turn to snug it up.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:56 PM
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I got in the practice of double checking ALL the frame screws in my J Frames after a range trip. It’s not unusual for them to loosen up a quarter turn after about 50 rounds.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikerjf View Post
I put locktite on my screw, never fell off again.
Absolutely... And "Purple Loc-Tite" is made specifically for firearm Appliciations... I don't know why so many refuse to embrace this practice. It isn't the blue or red Loc-Tite Type... totally different animal and book. The "Purple" is good to go and has saved me from selling certain firearms...
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:52 PM
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Post-9, thanks for the reference. I wasn't aware of Loctite's 222 purple-colored product until now.
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Old 09-30-2020, 04:39 PM
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Nice heads up! I'll be checking the screws on ALL my J Frames. Thanks!
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHands View Post
Absolutely... And "Purple Loc-Tite" is made specifically for firearm Appliciations... I don't know why so many refuse to embrace this practice. It isn't the blue or red Loc-Tite Type... totally different animal and book. The "Purple" is good to go and has saved me from selling certain firearms...
I did not know that. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:22 PM
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If your gun is only 3 months old why aren't you sending it back to S&W for repairs ?
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:20 PM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBond View Post
If your gun is only 3 months old why aren't you sending it back to S&W for repairs ?

Good question... should I?
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaygerMtMan View Post
Good question... should I?
No, tighten the screw and use fingernail polish or locktite (NOT RED) on the threads as other have said. There is a certain level of maintenance expected of the user.

The mark on your recoil shield from the extractor is normal.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBond View Post
If your gun is only 3 months old why aren't you sending it back to S&W for repairs ?
Sending it back for what? A screw that could have been checked and tightened and a rub that is normal?
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaygerMtMan View Post
Good question... should I?
IMO Yes.

It obviously bugs you that you are having issues with your gun.
(It would bother me)

All you have to do is call them, tell them you just bought the gun new.
They pay the shipping both ways.
It has been a couple of years since I last sent one in,
but the turn around was less than 2 weeks.

Their repair shop has never let me or anyone I know down.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:07 PM
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Really? Send it back for warranty work due to a loose screw and normal wear and tear?
He posted a good question and has the answers. The owner does have the responsibility to check and maintain his weapon and now armed with the answers he most likely will do so.
What resolution could S&W offer other than to tighten a screw, check the others and return it?
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:14 PM
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Like many posters have said, there is nothing wrong with your gun and no reason to call S&W.

Sometimes the thumb piece comes loose. Either check it regularly (I do), or apply a tiny amount of Loctite (purple or blue is fine) to the threads inside the nut. A little goes a long way. I put a drop on a paper plate or paper towel. Then I use the end of a toothpick to get a tiny amount on the tip and apply that to the threads inside the nut. I screw it on and let it sit overnight to fully cure with the thumb piece side down to prevent any Loctite from getting into the internals.

The line is normal. There is nothing wrong with it.

This is my 642-1, which is a few years old:



And this is my 642ND, which is around 25 years old:



Obviously, if it really bothers you, contact S&W customer service. But more than likely they'll tell you it's normal. Even if they, for some reason, replace it, it'll get the line and you may or may not have to deal with a thumb piece that loosens.

Like I and many others have said, it's normal.

Last edited by ContinentalOp; 09-30-2020 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Posted wrong image.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:24 PM
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When you own a gun you are suppose to watch old Lone Ranger or Cisco Kid episodes while sitting in your easy chair and checking to make sure all the screws are tight and everything is clean. Don't you know nuthin?
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyena View Post
I did not know that. Thank you for sharing.
You know it brother! I shoot a "LOT" of Magnum Rounds... Just as they should be shot... I'm NOT the kind of guy that buys/runs an M29 or M629/.44Magnum and then downloads the caliber to queer @$$ 1,000 fps with a 240 grain Pill or even less... What is the point of that??? Except in very limited applications???

Elmer Keith would frown first and then Laugh upon ANY and Every Handgunner for that "ghey" kind of thing and "they" know it!

So, All of my "Yoke" screws, "SidePlate" screws, & "Cylinder Release" screws receive a tiny dab of "Purple LocTite-222" just to keep those aforementioned screws "Tight & Right"...

I've shot at everything from boars to radio collared "Trouble Bears" in the last few, (5 to be exact) years... And I'm not taking the chance of having problems at the wrong times... YMMV of course but that is upon each individual.
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Old 09-30-2020, 10:27 PM
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Let me be technical for a moment - the drag line across the recoil shield is not from the Extractor but from the Center Pin. It is a steel, spring loaded pin with a polished, rounded end that slides across the recoil shield and back every time you open and close the cylinder. (It's what locks the cylinder into proper alignment when it's fully closed.) The "severity" of the groove it leaves on the recoil shield is a function of how often the cylinder is opened and closed, NOT the number of rounds fired.

And as others have said, such a mark appears on EVERY S&W revolver that has been manipulated much at all. On a steel frame the groove doesn't get very deep because the rounded, polished center pin doesn't really have any cutting action, and the spring isn't strong enough to press very far into the frame steel. On an alloy frame gun the spring CAN press the center pin into the frame material, and the groove becomes deeper over time just from the spring pressure. But of course the deeper the groove gets the more area of the center pin tip that spring pressure is spread over, so eventually the two balance out and there's a limit to the wear. That's why ContinentalOp's 25 year old frame hasn't been worn completely through - the groove is now deep enough to absorb all the spring pressure from the center pin without getting any deeper.
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Old 10-01-2020, 08:15 AM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Is the cylinder sticking normal as well? Sometimes takes several pushes on the thumbpiece before the cylinder will released. The underlying bolt is free of dirt and seems to slide correctly.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:20 AM
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Check the ejector rod to see if it's loose. If so tighten it ; It has left hand threads I believe.
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:58 PM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sceva View Post
Check the ejector rod to see if it's loose. If so tighten it ; It has left hand threads I believe.
It is fine, checked it out before.
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Old 10-01-2020, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max503 View Post
When you own a gun you are suppose to watch old Lone Ranger or Cisco Kid episodes while sitting in your easy chair and checking to make sure all the screws are tight and everything is clean. Don't you know nuthin?
Thought I was the only one who did that.
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:08 PM
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Default S&W 642-2

The Thumb piece Screw
Looks F***** Up.
Use Hollow Ground
Screwdrivers.
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:20 PM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver GT View Post
The Thumb piece Screw
Looks F***** Up.
Use Hollow Ground
Screwdrivers
.
"It's the Indian not the arrow."
My tools are excellent, the user is not.

On this matter, I have no issue with the indentation on the frame. What has been described makes perfect sense. Seems to me that S&W should do a better job of communicating this expected wear to a new alloy frame revolver buyer like me.
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:53 PM
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I've had my 642-1 since it was new. Over 20 years. If the condition
described in this thread is normal, I must be abnormal. Haven't had
a problem of any kind. I probably average about a hundred rounds a
year at the range.
BTW those grips are Blue Lava from Hogue and the knife is a
very sharp Piranha.
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:09 PM
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Every firearm needs occasional PMCS. Check your screws every few weeks if it's shot regularly and they're not locktited. All the rest is normal. You're really gonna love when all the finish rots off your 642 as it is prone to do..






Last edited by LazarusLong; 10-01-2020 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LazarusLong View Post
Every firearm needs occasional PMCS. Check your screws every few weeks if it's shot regularly and they're not locktited. All the rest is normal. You're really gonna love when all the finish rots off your 642 as it is prone to do..





Gotta say, I'm kinda digging the rubber bands. Claude Werner advocated for a similar set-up, but instead of rubber bands he used a Hogue Handall Jr. installed upside down. I've heard it referred to as the Werner Carry System.

I tried a similar set-up for a little while, but didn't care for it.
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaygerMtMan View Post
Is the cylinder sticking normal as well? Sometimes takes several pushes on the thumbpiece before the cylinder will released. The underlying bolt is free of dirt and seems to slide correctly.
That doesn't sound normal. If the extractor rod is tight, it's possible it might be a little longer than it should be. I've heard of that happening before, and people have removed the extractor rod and very carefully, and very minimally, filed the end down to work properly.

Another thing to check...Is the extractor rod straight? With the cylinder open (and unloaded, of course), give it a little spin and see if the rod is straight.

Have you tried pulling the thumb latch back while the cylinder is open to check for any roughness/stickiness? That could mean there's some issue with the bolt. Have you cleaned and lubed the gun since you got it? You may want to try taking the grips off and spraying some Gun Scrubber into the internals, let it drain out, and then lube with oil. Cycle the action a few times and see if you still have the stickiness.

If none of those things work, or you just don't want to do any of it, it wouldn't hurt to shoot S&W customer service an email or call them for the sticking issue.
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Old 10-01-2020, 06:50 PM
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Your response is much appreciated...thank you Continental OP. Will check the tightness of the extractor rod, this to me is the likely problem. The extractor rod is straight per your spin-test. The thumb latch slides smoothly forward and backward. Lubed it with a touch of TW25B. Slides well. Will try the internally cleaning you recommend. If this doesn't work, yes I will call S&W support. Something is wrong with my midnight special!

Thanks again!
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max503 View Post
When you own a gun you are suppose to watch old Lone Ranger or Cisco Kid episodes while sitting in your easy chair and checking to make sure all the screws are tight and everything is clean. Don't you know nuthin?
Nah.

Sitting on the edge of the bed. Skivvies. Smoking an unfiltered Camel.

Last edited by dsf; 10-01-2020 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:26 PM
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"It's the Indian not the arrow."
"It's the Monkey not the Ape."
"It's the Jackass not the Donkey."
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:19 PM
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max503 max503 is offline
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Originally Posted by LazarusLong View Post
Every firearm needs occasional PMCS. Check your screws every few weeks if it's shot regularly and they're not locktited. All the rest is normal. You're really gonna love when all the finish rots off your 642 as it is prone to do..





Yes! That's the old rubber band on the handle trick. Do you Mexican carry that?
Edit: I just noticed the Barami's.

Last edited by max503; 10-02-2020 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 10-03-2020, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ContinentalOp View Post
Gotta say, I'm kinda digging the rubber bands. Claude Werner advocated for a similar set-up, but instead of rubber bands he used a Hogue Handall Jr. installed upside down. I've heard it referred to as the Werner Carry System.

I tried a similar set-up for a little while, but didn't care for it.
Yep, Claude was where I originally got the reccomendation! His stuff is gold. I rocked the Handall on this one instead of the bands for the last couple years but pretty much the whole time I had trouble keeping the Handall from sliding down. Finally got tired and took it off. Actually like the bands a bit more.

I'm surprised I don't see more hip grips. I carry with a holster and still use the hip grips because the "clip" part spaces your finger away from the frame to allow for perfect trigger finger placement on the face of the trigger if you have giant hands like I do. It's also handy to just tuck in the waistband if you just feel like stepping out for a bit and not putting a holster on.
I bought several pairs on eBay in multiple colors just to have them now that they are discontinued.
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Old 10-03-2020, 01:15 AM
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Yeah, just like said above, my model 637 has drag lines on the frame from swinging the cylinder back in place. I do have to say though, that yours seem deeper than mine does.
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Old 10-12-2020, 08:15 AM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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My Airweight is a paper-weight now. The cylinder will not open at all. Good thing the ammo was taken out the last time it was open. Called S&W support. It is being shipped to the factory for repair. Turn-around is on average 4 to 6 weeks. UGH.

Aw well, guess I need to pack my 629 now.
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:00 AM
Catwrangler Catwrangler is online now
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The reason S&W turnaround has increased is due to people sending firearms back to stupid stuff like this. I'll probably get dinged by the mods for this, but my shorts get chapped by people who don't stop to this. Yes, I've gotten more opinionated w/ age.
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MaygerMtMan View Post
My Airweight is a paper-weight now. The cylinder will not open at all. Good thing the ammo was taken out the last time it was open.
Try pressing forward on cylinder release button at the
same time pulling back on the cylinder toward the
recoil shield.
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:36 AM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Smith & Wesson support disagrees with you Catwrangler. A disabled weapon due to being unable to open the cylinder is not "stupid stuff." Every reasonable effort was made to fix the problem myself.

Here is what would be really stupid: Voiding the S&W warranty.

Last edited by MaygerMtMan; 10-12-2020 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:37 AM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Tried that and other methods. The cylinder still does not open. Thanks.
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:43 AM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Thank you. S&W support was great. Their advice... ship it back and don't try anything else which might end-up voiding the warranty.
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:57 PM
Jerry in SC Jerry in SC is offline
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My guess..either the extractor rod is a bit too long or the center pin is too short. New gun, send her back. I have to replace a center pin on a 28-2, not a difficult fix with the right tools.

The drag line on the frame from the center pin looks normal.
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Old 10-13-2020, 02:04 AM
GerSan69 GerSan69 is online now
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Originally Posted by MaygerMtMan View Post
Thank you. S&W support was great. Their advice... ship it back and don't try anything else which might end-up voiding the warranty.
So I'm guessing they frown on prying it open with a flat-tip screwdriver?

Don't blame you, especially on an Airweight. I'm apprehensive shooting the darn things, never mind messing with the innards.
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:48 PM
VictorLouis VictorLouis is offline
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If the extractor rod is not loose, then I would suspect unburnt powder flakes under the ejector star. You can usually feel that when dry-firing in DA, the jerkiness, or hesitation in the wheel spinning as it normally would.
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Old 10-16-2020, 12:11 PM
MaygerMtMan MaygerMtMan is offline
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Originally Posted by VictorLouis View Post
If the extractor rod is not loose, then I would suspect unburnt powder flakes under the ejector star. You can usually feel that when dry-firing in DA, the jerkiness, or hesitation in the wheel spinning as it normally would.
"unburnt powder flakes under the ejector star" Don't think so with 40 rounds total fired and well cleaned.
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