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Old 04-29-2012, 04:43 PM
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Default Side plate replacement..

Hello folks...
I have a question.. Assuming I have the right part... how difficult is it to fit a side plate to an " N " Frame revolver ( a Pre 27 )..

Taking it off and disassembly is not a problem.. the questions comes as I have always heard that they are " Fitted" to the gun..


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Old 04-29-2012, 05:12 PM
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I read somewhere that the "fitting" entailed swaging a slightly over-sized side plate into the frame opening and then polished on the frame for the exact match up, how true that is remains to be seen as I've yet to verify that with a different source.

I've swapped side plates on a 3 screw M28-2 N-Frame and it fit remarkably well, but you could see upon close examination that it was about a fingernail lower than the surface of the surrounding frame. I've been told that I was lucky that it was even that close of a match.

Since it was just a M28-2 shooter, it was the proverbial close enough for government work situation and it was much better than the original that came with the gun, it looked like a crowbar was used to remove it by inserting it between the side plate and hammer and prying on it by someone not knowing about the "tab" at the top of the side plate that engages the frame.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:49 PM
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The more modern the manufacture, the better the fit was/is right off the machine.
Pre-models didn't have the luxury of the modern machine tool manufacture methods now used.
Parts such as the side plate were made a few .000" over size and hand fitted to the frame.

An already fitted side plate from another gun will most likely drop into place with little or no work,,but the light tight fit at the edges seen on the original won't be there except by chance.
Not all the way around the edges anyway.

After the (edge) fitting into place,,the surface was polished on belts and hard wheels to level the plate and frame as one.
Each revolver obviously ends up being a bit different from the next. Might only be a couple .000" high or low,,but when a plate from one is put on to another frame the differences can be at least felt,,usually seen.

Plus the polish lines and gloss usually don't match. Might be close though,,but not the perfect fit and finish of an original.

You could do like some gun fitters did and peen the gaps shut. Then polish the plate and frame together and (re)finish.
Looks great from the outside and only small marks on the inside viewable when the gun is disassembled.

I just finished working on a LC Smith 'Skeet Special' Grade that had it lock plates fitted up to the frame like that at the factory.
I guess the technique wasn't the sole property of Eibar's best.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:52 PM
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Side plates are definitely fitted parts.

During manufacture the side plate was hand fitted to the frame, then special bolts were used to hold it in place while the entire frame and plate were polished as a single unit.

For this reason, used plates will seldom fit or fit properly.
What you usually wind up with is a plate with noticeable gaps with the frame and the plate either higher or lower then the frame, leaving a noticeable "step".

If you have a valuable pre-Model 27, the best course of action is to send it in to S&W and have them supply and fit a new plate.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
If you have a valuable pre-Model 27, the best course of action is to send it in to S&W and have them supply and fit a new plate.
To my knowledge, Smith and Wesson won't work on a gun that old and that includes refinishing. My understanding is that the gun needs to be model number marked for them to attempt to service it.

Bruce
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lock, m28, model 27, model 28, n-frame, sideplate, skeet, smith & wesson, smith and wesson

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