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Old 10-13-2015, 01:48 PM
Doug.38PR Doug.38PR is offline
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Default Cylinder gap on Highway Patrolman M28

I just measured the gap on my cylinder/force cone on my 6 inch Model 28 Highway Patrolman. It measures as .017 or even .018 (I can get the .018 inch in there if I force it a little).

I read on another thread that S&W spec is between .006 and .010. Is this correct? If so, that would mean mine is WAY too wide.

Ever since I started chronographing my 4 inch Python and my 6 inch Highway Patrolman, I've been shocked that my shorter Python can match or exceed my 6 inch S&W. THIS might explain why.

How can I have this corrected? Can a local gunsmith do it? Do I need to send it to S&W? What kind of money are we talking here?
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Old 10-13-2015, 03:19 PM
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I'm no gunsmith nor master machinist, but I do have access to a machine shop; and I managed to fit a 44 spl to an abused 38/44 frame, and rechanbered the cylinder to 44spl.

So a local gunsmith should be able to do it- just depends on his machining access & experience. It will need the barrel shoulder turned back one full thread, eliminate all the end shake in the cylinder, and set the barrel length to the desired gap. I was shooting for .004, and was able to get .005" so I was happy.
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:43 PM
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In the good ole days, S&W's B/C Gap spec range was .003" - .006". Anything out of that range was not correct or acceptable. TODAY, their spec's for a B/C Gap is up to .012" which to me is NOT acceptable, but I do not own the S&W Corp. A Gap of .017" - .018' is ABSURD and if it were mine it would already be in the mail back to Springfield!

My personal favorite is around .004" to .005" and I guess I am lucky since most of mine are actually about that, with a few at .006" but no more than that. How Smith could say .012" is acceptable is beyond me since just a few years prior only HALF that was acceptable. I suppose they are really getting sloppy and complacent or simply don't give a damned anymore.

A large B/C Gap like yours will cause lead spitting, more leading, loss of velocity and more erosion of the Forcing Cone. I would never want a Gap less than .004" because of possible cylinder binding when the gun is dirty. A revolvers Cylinder face doesn't take much to build up lead and carbon and too tight is no good either.

Last edited by chief38; 11-04-2015 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:13 PM
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Endshake and B/C gap are two different conditions with different techniques for repair.
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:44 PM
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Rick A is correct and reducing endshake (common fix is .001" or .002" shims or a combination of them) usually increases B/C Gap! Two different problems. Yes, endshake can also be reduced or almost eliminated by the process of stretching although I personally prefer the shims.

B/C Gap is fixed by refitting barrel to frame so that Forcing Cone is closer (or has less gap) to the cylinder face.

Last edited by chief38; 10-13-2015 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 10-13-2015, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collects View Post
Excessive endshake is fixed by "stretching" the barrel of the yoke a little bit (about .003 in my revolver). I did it this afternoon on a Model 27-2. It took 10 minutes. Before the repair, the cylinder could move forward and contact the forcing cone, causing the trigger pull required to get past the hard spot to be quite excessive. You use a tool that looks like a tubing cutter, but the blade has been dulled. Or, you can peen around the circumference of the yoke barrel slightly. Either way, you need to reinforce the yoke barrel while stretching by inserting a yoke/barrel alignment tool inside the barrel, reinforcing it so it does not bend from the forces applied. The B-C gap is now .003, and the gun shoots great! I test fired it 50 times this afternoon, right after I fixed it.

Other types of endshake, the type that requires the button shortened on the yoke, can be corrected using the Power Custom endshake washers. I have not found any washers that can be used instead of stretching the barrel of the yoke.

For somebody familiar with the insides of old S&W revolvers (before MIM parts), who has the tools, it is a quick and simple job, no parts required.

No barrel turning required. Sorry, 44wheelman, that is not the technique.

The Kuhnhauser manual describes the procedure. Brownells sells the yoke barrel stretching tool, yoke alignment tool, Power Custom washers, and much more.
Well, I there is almost no end shake. That cylinder is pretty solidly in place
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Old 10-13-2015, 09:54 PM
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Disregard the post by Collects. With all due respect he doesn't understand what the question is. In order to reduce the barrel/cylinder gap on a revolver with no other problems, you must remove the barrel. Chuck it in a lathe and turn the barrel shank back a few thousands and refit everything. The barrel must be indexed and then the gap fitted properly. When I went to armorers school the gap was .003 - .010. Now S&W has increased that spec. After you get the barrel/cylinder gap right and my opinion is .004 is right to start...then you will probably have to refit the extractor rod and maybe the center pin because you will have moved the lock toward the frame by the same amount that you removed on the lathe. There are specific tools that are available to recut the forcing cone which also has to be done and also for facing the barrel. The tool to face the barrel is the best to adjust the gap to .004.

This is not a job for most local Smiths who have no formal training or machine experience. If you take it to one of them to have it done, you can plan on having your revolver ruined. However there are competent smiths who are also machinist trained that can do it. S&W can do it but may not adjust it to minimum. Also, if you send it to S&W and they have trouble getting the barrel off, you won't get your gun back.
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Old 10-13-2015, 09:58 PM
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My understand that a competent gunsmith can shim something (the yoke?) to reduce the gap.
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Old 10-13-2015, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flintsghost View Post
Disregard the post by Collects. With all due respect he doesn't understand what the question is. In order to reduce the barrel/cylinder gap on a revolver with no other problems, you must remove the barrel. Chuck it in a lathe and turn the barrel shank back a few thousands and refit everything. The barrel must be indexed and then the gap fitted properly. When I went to armorers school the gap was .003 - .010. Now S&W has increased that spec. After you get the barrel/cylinder gap right and my opinion is .004 is right to start...then you will probably have to refit the extractor rod and maybe the center pin because you will have moved the lock toward the frame by the same amount that you removed on the lathe. There are specific tools that are available to recut the forcing cone which also has to be done and also for facing the barrel. The tool to face the barrel is the best to adjust the gap to .004.

This is not a job for most local Smiths who have no formal training or machine experience. If you take it to one of them to have it done, you can plan on having your revolver ruined. However there are competent smiths who are also machinist trained that can do it. S&W can do it but may not adjust it to minimum. Also, if you send it to S&W and they have trouble getting the barrel off, you won't get your gun back.
Wow. So what is my solution? I can't rely on local smiths or modern smith and wesson
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Old 10-13-2015, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by andyo5 View Post
My understand that a competent gunsmith can shim something (the yoke?) to reduce the gap.
You can shim out end shake, the back and forth movement of the cylinder on the yoke and also the yoke to frame fit. But the barrel to cylinder gap can not be shimmed tighter. The cylinder to recoil shield is fixed by the extractor center riding lightly against the center of the recoils shield with end shake correct. You can not move the cylinder forward and even if you could it would increase head space as well as cause the hand to engage the the ratchet incorrectly. The only correct fix is as stated. Removing .0277 off the barrel shoulder. This is enough for 1 turn of the 36 to the inch barrel threads. Then the barrel forcing cone face needs enough removed to get the proper gap after end shake is correct. Then you must recut the forcing cone as some of it has been removed. As you moved the locking lug on the barrel back .0277 you must remove this much from the extractor rod assy for it to close and lock properly if it was in spec before you started.

Been there done that.
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Old 10-13-2015, 11:12 PM
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Doug: I'm sure there are plenty of folks around that can do the required work to bring your 28 back within specs. However, if it were mine I would call Smith & Wesson and see if they would fix it. They do know how and I believe they will charge you less than sending to anyone else. Their shipping costs are reasonable as well. I sent a gun back this spring and the cost was very reasonable and it was not gone all that long.
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Old 10-13-2015, 11:20 PM
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Doug: I'm sure there are plenty of folks around that can do the required work to bring your 28 back within specs. However, if it were mine I would call Smith & Wesson and see if they would fix it. They do know how and I believe they will charge you less than sending to anyone else. Their shipping costs are reasonable as well. I sent a gun back this spring and the cost was very reasonable and it was not gone all that long.
Well, are they really going to be "in specs". Apparently what was in specs for this particular gun back in the 70s .006 is not in specs now .012
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Old 10-14-2015, 11:22 AM
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Contact Andy Horvath, Lagrange, Oh. 440-458-4369. He can and will fix your gun and will make the B/C gap to what you want, which should be .004". He is an excellent gunsmith.
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Old 10-14-2015, 12:46 PM
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Has anyone here ever used Jim Clark of Clark Custom near Shreveport/bossier city, Louisiana for your SW needs? Think they could handle something like this?
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Old 10-14-2015, 02:48 PM
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Has anyone here ever used Jim Clark of Clark Custom near Shreveport/bossier city, Louisiana for your SW needs? Think they could handle something like this?
Clark Custom's reputation for S&W tuning -- and all manner of gunsmithing in general -- is superb; if they're near you, you're a lucky man.
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Old 10-15-2015, 03:07 PM
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I just spoke to Clarks. Told them the situation with the gun. They were pretty skeptical. They said they could do it, but it would be spending a great deal of money for something that may or may not change anything in regard to performance of the gun. Told them I might still bring it by. I live about 2 hours away and drive through there frequently anyway. They seemed to be under the impression that the factory doesn't handle a lot of those older guns. And from what people have told me here, the factory might not even take it to true original specifications.

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Old 10-16-2015, 12:16 AM
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The process needed for correcting this, could it take away finish, edges and make the barrel fit look uneven or off. In other words: will anything be noticable or will, properly done, will it come away looking the same?

Also, as things are, the gun is out of proper specs. Doesn't that affect proper function as well as velocity?
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Old 10-16-2015, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug.38PR View Post
Also, as things are, the gun is out of proper specs. Doesn't that affect proper function as well as velocity?
How does the gun shoot? Does the large B/C gap effect the function on your gun? No offense, but we have no way of knowing how your gun functions.

How you owned it since it was new? Is there any chance the barrel was replaced at some point?
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Old 10-16-2015, 08:26 AM
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At this point I would suggest letting an outside Smith who has a stellar reputation do the job since I believe your age M28 is not under lifetime warranty. So if you have to pay for it you might as well get the best you can afford. I no longer think the Smiths at the Factory are top notch as they once were. Many of the older and more knowledgeable Factory Smiths are long gone. 😰
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Old 10-16-2015, 08:32 AM
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If done correctly it should look the same. The hard part when I did it was chucking the barrel up in a lathe. Because the barrel isn't round I used a 4 jaw chuck and copper shims to prevent any mars. Took a lot of messing around to get it perfectly centered.

If I did it again I think I would make a brass piece. Start with a 1" piece of brass, using a center on the tail stock and turn about an 1" more than the barrel just small enough that the barrel barely slid on then thread the end to 5/16 NF. Slide the barrel on and then use a brass washer and a nut to tighten it up and hold the barrel for turning. Set my center and dial indicator then turn off the shoulder using very light cuts to get me there.

How does anybody else do it????

I don't do any work for others. I just like to make the guns I want like I want them.
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Old 10-16-2015, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
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How does the gun shoot? Does the large B/C gap effect the function on your gun? No offense, but we have no way of knowing how your gun functions.

How you owned it since it was new? Is there any chance the barrel was replaced at some point?


Well: the gun goes bang. the gun gives an okay grouping.

When I bought the gun used (I am not the original owner) 10 years ago I noticed it was shaving semi-jacketed bullets on the left side facing the force cone. A piece of jacket would be sitting against the side of the force cone after each shot. The cylinder would also bind against the force cone. I was relatively new to guns so I took it to a gunsmith at a gunshop in the small Texas town I was working at the time. He said he could fix it as well as widen the force cone mouth to make the gun more accurate.

The shaving and binding stopped at that point.

NOW, knowing what I know now, I'm wondering if he didn't just shave the force cone down to prevent binding and widening the mouth of the force cone to prevent shaving. In so doing he widened the gap creating this problem cutting down in velocity, accuracy and maybe even contributed to some degree to top strap cutting (although shooting magnums I understand will do this to a point anyway). He told me I should be able to shoot a grouping the size of a quarter easy with the gun now and would be surprised. I never noticed any great pattern in grouping.
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
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If done correctly it should look the same. The hard part when I did it was chucking the barrel up in a lathe. Because the barrel isn't round I used a 4 jaw chuck and copper shims to prevent any mars. Took a lot of messing around to get it perfectly centered.

If I did it again I think I would make a brass piece. Start with a 1" piece of brass, using a center on the tail stock and turn about an 1" more than the barrel just small enough that the barrel barely slid on then thread the end to 5/16 NF. Slide the barrel on and then use a brass washer and a nut to tighten it up and hold the barrel for turning. Set my center and dial indicator then turn off the shoulder using very light cuts to get me there.

How does anybody else do it????

I don't do any work for others. I just like to make the guns I want like I want them.
I use my form fitting nylon barrel blocks and tighten the barrel/barrel block in my 4 jaw chuck, then get it centered for rotation by using a dial indicator on the barrel shank. While cutting the shoulder back, I also cut the the barrel lug at the same time, if doing a barrel that has the lug. After that it's getting the b/c gap correct and then re-cutting the forcing cone and shortening the ejector rod. Patience helps a lot.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:16 PM
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A trip back to Springfield is usually the best way to resolve this. I really don't make the leap from the current B/C gap spec. transferring over returning a 1970's era gun to spec.. The factory will give the gun the once over and bring the whole gun back into 1970's spec's. This includes headspace/endshake and timing. You will also pay S&W's rates for FedEx shipping and not a private individuals. Take photos of the gun before you ship just in case there is any finish damage.

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Old 10-25-2015, 12:55 AM
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It is now in jim Clarke custom in Princeton, la. Drove it there myself. I requested .006 but having looked at jerry Kuhnousen book I think I'll call back and request .005. They said they could do it
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:07 AM
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If you don't have an end shake problem and the gun is shooting ok then don't get wrapped up in the BC gap. As for the part about shaving lead, the problem may be that the cylinder is not indexing properly. This is a whole different problem that has no relation to the BC gap. If your gun is tight and it is still shaving it may be that the "gunsmith" who cobbled on the barrel didn't take the time to cut the forcing cone properly after opening up the BC gap. All in all, don't worry about the BC gap if the gun is shooting well.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:10 AM
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Just saw your last post. Good luck with your gun. It is in good hands and when you get it back you will forget all about the evil Colt!
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:40 AM
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Achieving correct B/C Gaps is not difficult for a Company that employs REAL Gunsmiths and will allow them to take the time, trouble and effort to do it right the first time. The "new" Smith & Wesson is more concerned with making lots of money as fast as they can and if a few guns come out correct along the way all the better - but to me it's just NOT their first priority these days.

The other problem S&W and others seem to have is that the Gunsmithing trade and the "TRUE GS" are fading - especially in the Northeast. They are relying too much on CNC machining and don't have the expertise or desire to do final fitting correctly - but that's just my personal opinion.
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Old 10-30-2015, 12:52 PM
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You made the right choice and will not be disappointed.
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:38 PM
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I was hoping for a .003-6 gap. They told me over the phone that they probably couldn't go less than 008. I told them that I understood spec was 003-006 as per Jerry Kunhousens smith and Wesson Manual. They told me those are perfect world specifications that there is a lit that goes into squaring everything and lining up and even if they do get it as low as I want it could cause binding due to gas, lead, powder, fouling. But they will get it down as close as they could while doing it right.
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Old 10-30-2015, 09:17 PM
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I was hoping for a .003-6 gap. They told me over the phone that they probably couldn't go less than 008. I told them that I understood spec was 003-006 as per Jerry Kunhousens smith and Wesson Manual. They told me those are perfect world specifications that there is a lit that goes into squaring everything and lining up and even if they do get it as low as I want it could cause binding due to gas, lead, powder, fouling. But they will get it down as close as they could while doing it right.
Sounds like a bunch of excuses to me! Tell 'em to use feeler gauges instead of chop sticks and the B/C Gap might come out under .006".
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Old 10-30-2015, 09:27 PM
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I was hoping for a .003-6 gap. They told me over the phone that they probably couldn't go less than 008. I told them that I understood spec was 003-006 as per Jerry Kunhousens smith and Wesson Manual. They told me those are perfect world specifications that there is a lit that goes into squaring everything and lining up and even if they do get it as low as I want it could cause binding due to gas, lead, powder, fouling. But they will get it down as close as they could while doing it right.
I agree with the chief. There is no reason they can't make it anything you ask for, assuming of course, they know what they are doing..
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Old 10-30-2015, 09:28 PM
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Were you given an estimate for the cost of this repair? I'm curious as to what it will cost.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:10 PM
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I've been reading all these off the wall recommendations like stretching the yoke or whatever but take my advice or leave it but there is one right way to correct your problem. Setting the barrel back on a lathe, re-install barrel, install cylinder to check gap and trim barrel shank for a .003-.005" gap. It's a pretty standard operation for a good gunsmith.

Im sure those who don't have a lathe and the skills to cut a few thousandths off the barrel shoulder will tell you all kinds of things to sell you something else, but this is not rocket science. I recall years ago Brownells sold a tool for turning back barrels by hand.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by chief38 View Post
Sounds like a bunch of excuses to me! Tell 'em to use feeler gauges instead of chop sticks and the B/C Gap might come out under .006".
For the doubters like chief 38, Jimmy Clarke's Gunsmithing in Louisiana is world famous for Jimmy's work and is now run by Jimmy Jr and Jerry Miculik who married Jimmy's daughter. It is a class operation and probably has a better reputation than Smith & Wesson's custom dept.
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:54 AM
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For the doubters like chief 38, Jimmy Clarke's Gunsmithing in Louisiana is world famous for Jimmy's work and is now run by Jimmy Jr and Jerry Miculik who married Jimmy's daughter. It is a class operation and probably has a better reputation than Smith & Wesson's custom dept.
I agree with your statement, BUT I also believe they can remove the barrel, cut the shoulder back one turn, reinstall it, then adjust the barrel shank to achieve the correct B/C gap. All that is needed then is to re-cut the forcing cone and adjust the ejector rod length.

I'm an S&W armorer, or was, not a gunsmith, and I have done the above procedure many times with excellent results. For an operation like Clark Custom Guns, this should not be a problem whatsoever.

And the statement that a B/C gap of .003" is no good due to buildup of carbon, etc. on the cylinder and will cause binding, I say horse patooie. I have set some of my guns to a B/C gap of .003", including a Model 617 that had a horrendous B/C gap from the factory, and a Model 624 that I installed a Model 29 barrel on, and they both shoot just fine.

One other thing, and that is I did have Clark build me a custom PPC gun and the work was spot on. The gun is excellent and shoots 10's and X's all day long IF I do my part, which is getting harder to do as I and my eyes age.
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:01 AM
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I agree with your statement, BUT I also believe they can remove the barrel, cut the shoulder back one turn, reinstall it, then adjust the barrel shank to achieve the correct B/C gap. All that is needed then is to re-cut the forcing cone and adjust the ejector rod length.

I'm an S&W armorer, or was, not a gunsmith, and I have done the above procedure many times with excellent results. For an operation like Clark Custom Guns, this should not be a problem whatsoever.

And the statement that a B/C gap of .003" is no good due to buildup of carbon, etc. on the cylinder and will cause binding, I say horse patooie. I have set some of my guns to a B/C gap of .003", including a Model 617 that had a horrendous B/C gap from the factory, and a Model 624 that I installed a Model 29 barrel on, and they both shoot just fine.

One other thing, and that is I did have Clark build me a custom PPC gun and the work was spot on. The gun is excellent and shoots 10's and X's all day long IF I do my part, which is getting harder to do as I and my eyes age.
I pretty much agree on trying to hold .003" gap but I've had a number of guns over the years that with action shooters wouldn't stay clean at .003". Everything on the guns was right otherwise but with certain bullet-powder combos you'd get enough lead splatter to build up and drag the cylinder a bit. Same gun with different bullet hardness/alloy, less pressure and heat and no problems. Best I can recall hot 357's were at the top of the offenders list. I never let my guns out the door with less than .003" then trim back if necessary. The only exception would be special request Bullseye pieces but that was it

The thing about many shops perhaps like Clark's is it's often not worth it to change a machine's set up or pull a guy free for a single barrel set back job. I have a rather large woodworking shop with lots of machines but somebody walks in the door asking for me to plane or face a cupped board and 90% of the time I can't afford to change my settings, fences or feed speed for this type of thing. So rather than say no I quote them two hours and two weeks and they normally leave. People who have never worked in or run a small machine driven business can't or refuse to understand this or the entire concept of why shop hourly rates are high.

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Old 10-31-2015, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bgrafsr View Post
And the statement that a B/C gap of .003" is no good due to buildup of carbon, etc. on the cylinder and will cause binding, I say horse patooie.
I can't agree more. I set any I did up at 3 thou, with minimal yoke and cylinder endshake. I do a lot of shooting, virtually all with cast bullets. I have never had a problem. There are a couple of things you can do to help keep the gun from tying up with crud. First of all, clean it at least every decade or so whether it needs it or not. Also, tip the muzzle to the vertical when ejecting the shells to keep powder grains from getting under the ejector. Minimal endshake at the yoke and cylinder means it will stay that way for a lot of shots because they are not slamming back and forth at every shot. Especially important on the hard kickers.

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Originally Posted by garbler View Post
The thing about many shops perhaps like Clark's is it's often not worth it to change a machine's set up or pull a guy free for a single barrel set back job.
If that's the situation, they should explain that to the customer to give him the opportunity to look elsewhere. Not pretend like it can't be done.

Last edited by aphelion; 10-31-2015 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by bgrafsr View Post
I agree with your statement, BUT I also believe they can remove the barrel, cut the shoulder back one turn, reinstall it, then adjust the barrel shank to achieve the correct B/C gap. All that is needed then is to re-cut the forcing cone and adjust the ejector rod length.

I'm an S&W armorer, or was, not a gunsmith, and I have done the above procedure many times with excellent results. For an operation like Clark Custom Guns, this should not be a problem whatsoever.

And the statement that a B/C gap of .003" is no good due to buildup of carbon, etc. on the cylinder and will cause binding, I say horse patooie. I have set some of my guns to a B/C gap of .003", including a Model 617 that had a horrendous B/C gap from the factory, and a Model 624 that I installed a Model 29 barrel on, and they both shoot just fine.

One other thing, and that is I did have Clark build me a custom PPC gun and the work was spot on. The gun is excellent and shoots 10's and X's all day long IF I do my part, which is getting harder to do as I and my eyes age.
I understand what you're saying. As it happens, I also have armorer's credentials for S&W semi's and revolvers...HK and Benelli...SIG...Glock...
and Colt (when the only armorer program was conducted in the custom shop at the factory) which is different than now when all you get is the M16. I also was fortunate to attend Gunsmithing School at Trinidad State JC. I even had my own business building custom 1911's for years on the side from being a LEO. I was lucky enough to get a few magazine articles that kept me in work for years. I have set barrels back on S&W's when I had a lathe prior to retiring from the work. Having said all that I understand that Clark may be trying to avoid having the work come back to be redone. They don't know every customer well enough to know what would happen if they gave him what he wants. And no shop can afford to keep redoing work to satisfy a customer. If they cut it down to .003 which is on the narrow side of spec and he starts shooting it in some sort of high round competition, he may not be very happy if it starts to seize up in mid match. Then he's got to drive back 2 hrs and probably leave the gun for a week, even though facing off the end of the barrel to adjust the gap and recutting the forcing cone with a good polish is only 15 minutes tops. Most of that is setting up and removing the tool between feeler gauge checks.
After all their rep was built with competition guns for bullseye. They know what they're doing. My opinion is to let them fix his 28 and see if it's as good as it should be instead of arguing about the .003 gap. It will be closer to what he wants from them, than it would be from S&W. I like S&W but lately I have less faith than I did back in the 80's when I got my armorer certifications.
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Old 10-31-2015, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by bgrafsr View Post
I agree with your statement, BUT I also believe they can remove the barrel, cut the shoulder back one turn, reinstall it, then adjust the barrel shank to achieve the correct B/C gap. All that is needed then is to re-cut the forcing cone and adjust the ejector rod length.

I'm an S&W armorer, or was, not a gunsmith, and I have done the above procedure many times with excellent results. For an operation like Clark Custom Guns, this should not be a problem whatsoever.

And the statement that a B/C gap of .003" is no good due to buildup of carbon, etc. on the cylinder and will cause binding, I say horse patooie. I have set some of my guns to a B/C gap of .003", including a Model 617 that had a horrendous B/C gap from the factory, and a Model 624 that I installed a Model 29 barrel on, and they both shoot just fine.

One other thing, and that is I did have Clark build me a custom PPC gun and the work was spot on. The gun is excellent and shoots 10's and X's all day long IF I do my part, which is getting harder to do as I and my eyes age.
I understand what you're saying. As it happens, I also have armorer's credentials for S&W semi's and revolvers...HK and Benelli...SIG...Glock...
and Colt (when the only armorer program was conducted in the custom shop at the factory) which is different than now when all you get is the M16. I also was fortunate to attend Gunsmithing School at Trinidad State JC. I even had my own business building custom 1911's for years on the side from being a LEO. I was lucky enough to get a few magazine articles that kept me in work for years. I have set barrels back on S&W's when I had a lathe prior to retiring from the work. Having said all that I understand that Clark may be trying to avoid having the work come back to be redone. They don't know every customer well enough to know what would happen if they gave him what he wants. And no shop can afford to keep redoing work to satisfy a customer. If they cut it down to .003 which is on the narrow side of spec and he starts shooting it in some sort of high round competition, he may not be very happy if it starts to seize up in mid match. Then he's got to drive back 2 hrs and probably leave the gun for a week, even though facing off the end of the barrel to adjust the gap and recutting the forcing cone with a good polish is only 15 minutes tops. Most of that is setting up and removing the tool between feeler gauge checks.
After all their rep was built with competition guns for bullseye. They know what they're doing. My opinion is to let them fix his 28 and see if it's as good as it should be instead of arguing about the .003 gap. It will be closer to what he wants from them, than it would be from S&W. I like S&W but lately I have less faith than I did back in the 80's when I got my armorer certifications.

I used to adjust my work to .004 minimum. Most of those I did were LEO guns and people are betting their lives on my work. They are also not shooters and as a group are notorious for not cleaning their weapons like they know they should.
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Old 10-31-2015, 01:35 PM
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If that's the situation, they should explain that to the customer to give him the opportunity to look elsewhere. Not pretend like it can't be done.
Not sure if you've ever run a small business especially one doing personal specialized service like gunsmithing but it's very very hard and tricky using that word NO. Its like whispering bomb in a theater if it gets out it can create havoc. Please understand I know what you're talking about and the frustration gun owners have with the current gunsmithing situation. But saying no is something I hate to do cause immediately in the small world of comp shooters or forums like this the word gets out that you won't take care of my buddy's gun and this can be really tough on a small shop. You may be back-ordered for months and it's impossible to set back a barrel then all of a sudden the phone goes dead and you'll jump at such work. It's feast or famine most of the time.

Big companies with large advertising and sales budgets consider almost any warm body with an interest in shooting as a potential customer -- they can afford to rig up and trawl the public for sales while the small shop is more hook and line off the pier. If you treated everybody who calls or walks through the door, pulling you off a job, as a customer you'd lose money for sure. Shoppers in my book are not the same as customers and fair or not I can't afford to donate too much time to them. Especially if it means trying to explain why my machines need to remain dedicated to a task or why my hourly rate or overhead is what it is. I'm a nuts and bolts kind of businessman so I lack the verbal finesse to explain and decline somebody's small job delicately. I once tried setting aside a half day once a week for shooters who wants to bring in small jobs or talk about things. It didn't work and in hindsight was a stupid idea. Toward the end of my gunsmithing career I had more and more tire kickers bringing in problems that the factory should be handling or those who just wanted to pick your brain, chat guns and used the word WHY in every other sentence. I found myself working late at night uninterrupted after a while.

In the end I can only say that these small fix-it jobs generally make you nothing, in fact you're really only swapping dollars in the end. And those that you do take in often end up hurting you since the shooter is pissed he had to wait so long and felt was over charged. It's a strange push and pull relationship of trying to make ends meet and keep your comp shooters running and still show up at as many matches as you can. To this day I contend the best customer is one that has been done wrong by another shop. These are the ones who know all too well that value has more to do with getting the job done right the first time and not price. If I sound a little disenchanted trust me I'm not the only one. Many of us who spent the time, resources and hard earned money to learn a trade found out the hard way that more often than not it's barely sustainable. I'm not talking about the ever increasing numbers of retired types or financially set who are filling the gunsmith classes these days, but the up-comers looking for a trade for life. Oh you can make some extra change as a part timer/hobbyist but try to raise a family if you're an average qualified competent mechanic with no specialties or inventions. The good competent ones are busy and there is probably a shortage but if the numbers were so promising then I'd expect a few more training centers or schools popping up. Hey not trying to rant here just give some of you a peak up the dress so to speak and it's not always pretty

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Old 10-31-2015, 05:55 PM
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It's feast or famine most of the time.
I hear you garbler, which is why I never worked on guns professionally. Gunsmithing is a great way to starve to death. But I believe professionals should be upfront with their customers. If they are not, that will come back to bite them faster than anything.
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:35 AM
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Were you given an estimate for the cost of this repair? I'm curious as to what it will cost.
They told me it wouldn't be a cheap fix. About $175
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:32 AM
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That doesn't surprise me. Guy has to remove the cylinder, carefully set up the gun and tap out the pin. Clamp the barrel and install the frame wrench to remove the barrel. Set the barrel up in a lathe and even with a good jig make sure it is centered, carefully cut off just the right amount, with maybe a try fit or 2. Then, carefully file the notch for the pin a bit forward. Install the barrel and pin. Install the cutter setup for the barrel to cylinder gap with cylinder installed, cut and check until correct, the change over to the forcing cone cutter and recut that checking as he goes. Check and adjust the length of the extractor, Lot of time and tools to do it right. With a shop rate of just $50 an hour you would have to move right along to do it in 3.5 hours.
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:03 AM
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They said their gunsmith has many many years of experience as a smith and Wesson gunsmith. Clarke is supposed to have a top notch reputation
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:17 PM
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Clark Custom's reputation for S&W tuning -- and all manner of gunsmithing in general -- is superb; if they're near you, you're a lucky man.
Not anymore, apparently.
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:19 PM
Doug.38PR Doug.38PR is offline
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For the doubters like chief 38, Jimmy Clarke's Gunsmithing in Louisiana is world famous for Jimmy's work and is now run by Jimmy Jr and Jerry Miculik who married Jimmy's daughter. It is a class operation and probably has a better reputation than Smith & Wesson's custom dept.
I find that very hard to believe now. They must've slid along way since the start of the reputation
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:21 PM
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You made the right choice and will not be disappointed.
Two weeks later I'm disappointed. I will not darken their door again
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:39 PM
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I agree with the chief. There is no reason they can't make it anything you ask for, assuming of course, they know what they are doing..
Apparently they don't.

OK gentlemen here's the latest: I got a call last week from the gunsmith suddenly telling me that they don't do barrel rollbacks anymore. His reasoning was that they've had problems with other guns in the past and that too many things can go wrong if the frame is bent, etc. needless to say this is a far cry from what I've been told multiple times over the telephone and from the reputation online and in the area that I live. I thought this was a fundamental revolver adjustment.

I even told them over the phone before bringing it that it was over a 2 hour drive and I wanted to make sure it was something they did.

so in short, they wasted my time and gas with the reputation story and then call me after two weeks to tell me they couldn't do it because they might break the gun.

I just picked it up about 30 minutes ago and told him I didn't appreciate driving all the way over there after being told multiple times they can do this. All the gentleman behind the counter could do was tell me that the gunsmith had a good reason for not doing the job, apologize and part ways. (interestingly, the gunsmith tried to throw the gentleman at the counter under the bus by telling me in our phone conversation that he just didn't know that they didn't do rollbacks anymore. I didn't come all the way over there because of what the man at the counter told me after I got there)

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Old 11-09-2015, 05:46 PM
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Does anybody know of a good Smith & Wesson gunsmith in Houston Texas that knows and I mean really knows what to do?
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:01 PM
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Does anybody know of a good Smith & Wesson gunsmith in Houston Texas that knows and I mean really knows what to do?
Very sorry for the update; what an nuisance.

It's unclear to me if Clarke's in no longer turning barrels back altogether, or if there was something specific to your Model 28 that put them off the fix?

I don't know of any S&W revolversmiths in Houston, but Briley's -- which if I recall has a good reputation in shotgun world -- does offer revolver services. I'd give them a call.

Otherwise, in Texas the two places I'd look at are LSG, Inc. in Comanche (S&W factory warranty station that is said to do it all), or Ten Ring Precision in San Antonio.

Good luck and keep us posted...
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