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


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Old 02-14-2021, 08:46 PM
azdover azdover is offline
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Got out of the S&W game and strayed into the "R" world for a while. Nice, beefy guns but I found I preferred S&W wheels guns. Started back up with a 17, 627 PC, and 625 - all stainless with rubber grips. Not as good looking as blue and wood, but easier for me to maintain and shoot. Also added fiber optic front sights since they are a lot easier to see as my glass prescription keeps getting stronger.

Decided I wanted a CCW K frame. Picked a really lousy time to buy a new gun. All the new ones are perpetually "out of stock". And suddenly everybody thinks their old shooters are high dollar collectors items because they put aftermarket grips on them and polished up the finish with an angle grinder - but I guess that's American capitalistic supply and demand at it's finest. Would have preferred a new 66-8" with a 2.75" barrel, but stumbled across a new 19-9 Carry Comp online at a reasonable pandemic price. So a couple of keystrokes while waving the plastic at my computer, and a week later I'm the proud owner.


During the initial inspection out of the box, it looked pretty good although the trigger was 12#/5# DA/SA. The hammer was also pretty stiff when cocking it. Figured that was due to the high trigger pulls. And the rear sight was centered, so maybe the first shots would be on paper (I should know better).

When I got home, I took it apart to clean up the action a little and add some Wolff reduced power springs. One thing I noticed was the cylinder lock spring is blue, same color as the IL cam spring. All the others I've seen are silver and felt a little lighter in tension. Called S&W customer service and after a brief hold while the CS agent checked with someone else, he came back and said that was normal. The only other parts I've ever seen that are interchangeable on S&Ws are 2 of the side plate screws. Oh well, maybe it's the new normal (where have I heard that before?).

The other thing that caught my attention was the hammer. After removing the trigger, I put it back in the frame and screwed on the side plate to check for sideplay and freedom of movement. There was no side play because the hammer was actually binding against the the bearing surfaces on the side plate and the frame. I compared the hammer to the one in my M17, and it was was a couple of thousandths thicker. I swapped hammers between the two guns and problem solved. I had actually shimmed the hammer in the M17 to get rid of some side play. Tolerance stacking in action I guess. Putting the M19 back together with the new springs and no hammer binding brought the trigger pulls down to a much better and smooth 9#/3# DA/SA. I also replaced the grips with a set of Hogue Bantams. The wood factory grips have some sharp edges and the factory rubber grips are a little too big for concealed carry IMO. Guess I have a custom gun now.

Off to the range to sight in the M19 and check function. Good news is it went bang every time I pulled the trigger. Now about those sights - first shots were 4" left and 8" low single action off sand bags at 15 yards. I'm a mediocre shot at best, but I'm not that bad. Oh well, should have know better. The rear sight is now almost all the way to the right and the height adjustment is pretty close to being totally unscrewed. Brownells to the rescue! Have a new taller rear sight blade on order. Also fired off an order to Dawson's for a fiber optic front sight. The factory tritium front is almost impossible for me to see due to my Hubble telescope prescription and the tritium vial is so small that I can barely see it in a blacked out closet.

After the first 6 rounds, a new challenge reared it's ugly head. The cylinder would still rotate, but it wouldn't open. I finally got it open by a sharp blow with my palm to the right side. I thought maybe I just needed to shoot it some more to break things in. Same problem all day even after 100 rounds. The 19-9 has the new frame mounted ball detent front lock. Looking at it, I saw some unburned power and carbon on the parts. I thought debris might be binding things up. I oiled the ball detent and tried to cycle it back and forth a few times, but it was gritty and binding up, and would not return to the spring loaded forward position. Another call to S&W CS for some advice, the standard "I'll put you on hold and check with somebody", and then the usual "send it in we check it out" answer.

Ball stuck in the wrong rearward position.


So now we come to the final chapter of this saga. When I got home, out came the angle grinder and a 5# hammer. Why send it back to the Performance Center experts to fix it? They were the ones who built it in the first place and sent it out the door for sale, right? Actually, "Performance Center" is included in the gun description.

The front lock system is more of a rod or pin, not ball detent. The rod/pin/ball (hereafter know as the ball) would slide back and forth if pushed on one end or the other, but not smoothly and would not return to the forward position on its own. It was actually easy enough to take apart by pushing it forward from the back. I just had to make sure to keep a finger over that hole in the side to keep the spring inside from launching a really small cone shaped pin into low earth orbit. I buffed and smoothed all the metal parts. I also made up some small rolls of 400 and 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to try to buff the inside of the frame mounted part of the assembly.

Parts before buffing


The ball would now slide smoothly back and forth, but when it was pushed back flush with the front of the frame mount by the crane when the cylinder closed, it would not return to the forward position where it was supposed to lock into the detent in the crane. I could see the ball sticking out of the back of the crane and the front of the crane had a little play in it.


However, once I dry fired the gun, the ball popped forward into the detent and the crane locked up nicely.


After working on the problem for a lot more time then I cared to, I gave up and went to bed planning on just giving up and sending it in to disappear for a while. The next morning I took one last look at the offending parts and noticed that if the ball was pushed forward just slightly, it would then continue forward on its own to the proper position. Looking at the ball by itself, it looked like the cone shaped pin was resting just in front of the angled notch in the ball. There was no tension in the angled bottom of the ball to force it forward. "Light bulb!" said my inner Gru. Getting out the angle grinder again (okay a couple of jeweler's files and some wet/dry sandpaper). I extended forward part of the notch about 1/16". It shallowed the angle a bit, but now when the crane forces the ball back when closing the cylinder, the cone shaped pin rests in the notch. The ball will now move forward on its own from the spring pressured cone pin and the crane finally locks up nice and tight like it should. I think this all could have been a non-issue if the little access hole for the spring and cone pin had just been drilled a little further back in the frame mounted part of the assembly, but then again I'm not sure I'd bet money on it.

Modified part of ball is to the left (front). Original shape to the right (back).



For anybody that wants to jump in here and say that's why I should only buy old pre-MIM guns made by the old S&W factory gunsmiths, yeah, you're probably right. But I've often wondered if all the guns S&W made way back when were really that good. While the good ones are still around, maybe the others arenít because they've been melted down into boat anchors or something.

A coupe of other things I noticed. Even after only one range session and no holster time, the finish is starting to wear off on the edges. Was easy enough to touch up with some cold blue. The matte black finish looks very business like, but it is not very durable. And the front of the barrel forward of the port is rifled, although a bullet fits easily through it without engaging the rifling. Anybody have any clues?


So it's time to go shoot it again. Hopefully the crane will lock up properly and the cylinder will open without banging a rock on it. With all my "custom" touches and my ball detent fix works, I'll be really happy with the gun.

And then again, I may be reporting back about needing a new crane, cylinder, barrel, gun, fingers, etc.

If you read this far, thanks for hanging in there. Glad to be back.
Pete

Last edited by azdover; 02-16-2021 at 11:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2021, 08:34 AM
Pepper Pepper is online now
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Thanks for the great report. I have been looking for one. I think you saved me some money!
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:06 AM
azdover azdover is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper View Post
Thanks for the great report. I have been looking for one. I think you saved me some money!
I still think itís a good weapon if youíre looking for a 3Ē medium frame 357. Iíve done a web search and havenít found anybody with a similar problem. If you find one, just make sure the ball moves freely and engages the crane detent when the cylinder is closed. If it continues to be an issue on my gun I can always have a gunsmith install a more conventional ball detent for $50. Or I might even pick up a Power Custom ball detent jig for a few bucks more and do all of my guns.

And maybe Iíll just ignore my appearance OCD and let the first developer a ďpatinaĒ as it starts to wear. There are people out there who actually pay extra to buy a gun with a battle worn finish.

Donít pass one up if you can find one at a decent price.
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:26 PM
uncleted327 uncleted327 is offline
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I prefer the 586 L-Comp myself. Size and weight is very similar, but you get the extra round and a one piece barrel on the 586. Still would prefer they offered either the K-Comp or L-Comp in stainless as well.
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Old 02-15-2021, 01:13 PM
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41 Roadmaster 41 Roadmaster is offline
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I enjoyed reading the great description of your experience and about your ability to resolve the issues yourself. I would have had to send it back. All that I have heard on these 19's is very good. I'm sure that you will enjoy yours now. Also, great selection of revolvers.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:12 PM
azdover azdover is offline
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Ran a couple of boxes 38 and 357 through the 19-9 today with no problems after modding the ďball.Ē The cylinder locked properly and opened smoothly every time. Guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:29 PM
waffles waffles is online now
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Glad you fixed it, but man that's frustrating to see an $1100 (give or take) performance center revolver leave S&W like that. Damn cool looking revolver though.
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