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Old 01-30-2017, 10:22 AM
jhkunkel jhkunkel is offline
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Default Model 60 J frame failure to fire

I recently purchased an older model 60 Smith & Wesson J frame which was pretty dinged up.
Failed to fire about 30% of the time.
Tore the gun down completely meticulously cleaned it replaced the Springs,with Wolf Springs, honed the areas that were recommended to be honed.
Checked the hand, extractor, trigger and Hammer.
The gun now has a trigger pull of approximately 11 - 12 pound.
Still getting failure to fire on about 5 out of 50 rounds it doesn't matter what type or brand of ammunition I am using.
I am getting dimples in the primer from where the firing pin hits it, and on occasion if I cycle it through for the second time it will fire that round. Sometimes not.
Cylinder of seems to rotate properly although it is just a little loose.
I've owned a ton of jframes and never ever had a problem like this.
Any ideas or suggestions on how to remedy this problem would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:37 AM
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I am no gunsmith, but it sounds like the firing pin is not striking as hard as it should. If you're getting dimples on the primer and a second strike mostly fires, that "could" be the culprit? I am always leery when when the trigger pull has been reduced. Sometimes it takes a harder pull to set off the round.
Remember, the 60 is not a target gun, but rather a self defense firearm.
Just a question.....on a dimpled primer that did not go off on the first pull, how does the dimple compare to primers that did go off on the first pull? Is the indent less? The same? That indent can tell a lot IMHO.
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:39 AM
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I'd check to see if somebody knocked a couple loops off the mainspring . . .
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:39 AM
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Just a guess but I would replace the hammer spring with a new factory one and check the head space, should be .06
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:43 AM
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I agree with Muss Muggins and psjoe. Sounds a lot like someone reduced trigger pull by removing coils from the mainspring.
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:52 AM
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If you have already replaced the springs, including the mainspring, it's likely a headspace problem. The rear gauge should be .060" - .064"....measure with feeler gauges between the rear of the cylinder and the breechface. You don't indicate the dash number of your model 60, but along with measuring for end shake on the cylinder, be sure to check for end shake on the yoke as well. (older models made prior to spring and plunger yoke screw mod)
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:43 AM
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Check the firing pin, but usually the guns from this vintage don't have the short pin problem. Did you clean (blow some under pressure cleaner) into the firing pin area?
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:48 PM
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Has the hammer been bobbed ? Will have less mass and can lead to misfires.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zebra War Wagon View Post
I am no gunsmith, but it sounds like the firing pin is not striking as hard as it should. If you're getting dimples on the primer and a second strike mostly fires, that "could" be the culprit? I am always leery when when the trigger pull has been reduced. Sometimes it takes a harder pull to set off the round.
Remember, the 60 is not a target gun, but rather a self defense firearm.
Just a question.....on a dimpled primer that did not go off on the first pull, how does the dimple compare to primers that did go off on the first pull? Is the indent less? The same? That indent can tell a lot IMHO.

My error the dimple on the primers that did not go off is much lighter as compared to the dimple on the shots that did fire

Last edited by jhkunkel; 02-03-2017 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Wording
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:04 PM
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Has the hammer been bobbed ? Will have less mass and can lead to misfires.
Excellent point yes they Hammer has been bobbed but I have had Springs in there that has produced as much is 14 pounds of trigger pull and I still get misfires.

I am thinking of replacing the bobbed Hammer with a regular hammer.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
If you have already replaced the springs, including the mainspring, it's likely a headspace problem. The rear gauge should be .060" - .064"....measure with feeler gauges between the rear of the cylinder and the breechface. You don't indicate the dash number of your model 60, but along with measuring for end shake on the cylinder, be sure to check for end shake on the yoke as well. (older models made prior to spring and plunger yoke screw mod)
This is a Model 60 no dash after I measure the headspace if I find there is a problem how do I correct it?
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:21 PM
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Shims can be used, if needed, to move the cylinder back. Web site listed below has great service, and high quality products......look under "j-frame shim kit"

TriggerShims Brand Shim Kits
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psjoe View Post
Just a guess but I would replace the hammer spring with a new factory one and check the head space, should be .06
I have replaced the hammer spring with a wolf hammer spring and when that didn't give me any Improvement I replaced it with a Wilson hammer spring.
The hammer pull is over 12 pounds which I would think would be enough for the firing pin.
I also went so far as to take the hammer spring out of one of my other model 60's which is firing flawlessly put it in this gun still the same results.

The wolf Hammer spring I put in was 14 pounds

Last edited by jhkunkel; 01-30-2017 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:45 PM
Lee's Landing Billy Lee's Landing Billy is offline
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Sell it to me!!!!!!
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhkunkel View Post
Excellent point yes they Hammer has been bobbed but I have had Springs in there that has produced as much is 14 pounds of trigger pull and I still get misfires.

I am thinking of replacing the bobbed Hammer with a regular hammer.
I don't think the hammer being bobbed is the problem. There's far to many S&W's with bobbed hammers that have zero problems. If you've tried new springs, I'd think it's a headspace or firing pin problem as others have suggested.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
I'd check to see if somebody knocked a couple loops off the mainspring . . .
Put in brand-new Hammer Springs. I tried wolf, Wilson, and Smith & Wesson Originals.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:20 PM
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I don't think the hammer being bobbed is the problem. There's far to many S&W's with bobbed hammers that have zero problems. If you've tried new springs, I'd think it's a headspace or firing pin problem as others have suggested.
Have not had a chance to measure the headspace yet but I have a feeling that might be the answer to my problem.

One of the contributors gave me the name of a website where I can purchase shims very good information.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:23 PM
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Sell it to me!!!!!!
This has turned into a real challenge for me and as you can imagine it's very frustrating.

If I can't get it working properly in the next day or two I WILL sell it to you.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
Shims can be used, if needed, to move the cylinder back. Web site listed below has great service, and high quality products......look under "j-frame shim kit"

TriggerShims Brand Shim Kits
It sounds like this could possibly be the problem, after I measure I will let you know my results, thank you for the information.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:47 PM
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You will be able to "feel" the end shake on the cylinder by moving the closed cylinder front to back. note: a small amount of end shake (.001"-.002") is required for the assembly to function properly.
Check the B/C (barrel cylinder) gap while you're at it. If the rear gauge is out of spec, the front gauge is probably too tight. The front gauge should be .004" - .010".
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:10 PM
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I am experiencing the same thing with my new to me M-60 (but while from 1972 mine is essentially 'new') BUT I believe I know why - the previous owner's son replaced the main and trigger rebound spring with about the lightest available. DA trigger pull seems like it is only about 10-11 lbs and SA trigger pull is downright scary! The gun is also very tight as it had most likely never been fired and IS getting better - made it through 50 the other day with only one FTF BUT I am going to replace the springs with standard weight.
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
You will be able to "feel" the end shake on the cylinder by moving the closed cylinder front to back. note: a small amount of end shake (.001"-.002") is required for the assembly to function properly.
Check the B/C (barrel cylinder) gap while you're at it. If the rear gauge is out of spec, the front gauge is probably too tight. The front gauge should be .004" - .010".
What is the difference between headspace and yoke shake?
Do I measure the space between the rear of the cylinder and the frame?

The cylinder does seem to move back and forth more than it does on another of my J frames.
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:20 PM
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The "rear gauge" as S&W calls it, is the area between the breechface and the rear of the cylinder. It's measured with the cylinder closed, in the area between the cylinder and the firing pin bushing.

End shake on the yoke is a symptom of an improperly fit or worn interface between the button on the end of the yoke stem, and the yoke screw in the sideplate. If not fit correctly, this causes the entire yoke/cylinder assembly to move forward.....and thereby, opening the rear gauge.

End shake on the cylinder is gauge between the end of the yoke barrel and it's bearing surface inside the cylinder. As these surfaces wear, the cylinder can move forward on the yoke barrel and open the rear gauge to the point where the revolver begins to misfire, due to failure of the end of the hammer nose to adequately reach the primer.
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Old 01-31-2017, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
The "rear gauge" as S&W calls it, is the area between the breechface and the rear of the cylinder. It's measured with the cylinder closed, in the area between the cylinder and the firing pin bushing.

End shake on the yoke is a symptom of an improperly fit or worn interface between the button on the end of the yoke stem, and the yoke screw in the sideplate. If not fit correctly, this causes the yoke/cylinder assembly to move forward.....and thereby, opening the rear gauge.

End shake on the cylinder is gauge between the end of the yoke barrel and it's bearing surface inside the cylinder. As these surfaces wear, the cylinder can move forward on the yoke barrel and open the rear gauge to the point where the revolver begins to misfire, due to failure of the end of the hammer nose to adequately reach the primer.
Head space measures at .063
Would that be enough to cause my FTF problem?
If so would a shim solve the problem?
I appreciate all your help on this and I'm also learning a lot.
Thank you
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Old 01-31-2017, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
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Head space measures at .063
Would that be enough to cause my FTF problem?
If so would a shim solve the problem?
I appreciate all your help on this and I'm also learning a lot.
Thank you
I just noticed that in dry firing my Model 60 that works perfectly the firing pin seems to extend just a little bit more than it does on the model 60 that I'm having problems with. Could that fact also be contributing to my problem?
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:07 PM
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Poster "armorer951" is a very skilled gunsmith with many years of experience working with S&W revolvers. Were I in your shoes, having a problem with a carry gun like a Model 60, I would take the gun to a similarly trained gunsmith and have it put right professionally with an explanation of the difficulty.

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Old 01-31-2017, 03:17 PM
Lee's Landing Billy Lee's Landing Billy is offline
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Still hovering like a buzzard.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:25 PM
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Still hovering like a buzzard.
Me too. I've never had the specified problem, but I'd like to know what caused it in case I ever do.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhkunkel View Post
I recently purchased an older model 60 Smith & Wesson J frame which was pretty dinged up.
Failed to fire about 30% of the time.
Tore the gun down completely meticulously cleaned it replaced the Springs,with Wolf Springs, honed the areas that were recommended to be honed.
Checked the hand, extractor, trigger and Hammer.
The gun now has a trigger pull of approximately 11 - 12 pound.
Still getting failure to fire on about 5 out of 50 rounds it doesn't matter what type or brand of ammunition I am using.
I am getting dimples in the primer from where the firing pin hits it, and on occasion if I cycle it through for the second time it will fire that round. Sometimes not.
Cylinder of seems to rotate properly although it is just a little loose.
I've owned a ton of jframes and never ever had a problem like this.
Any ideas or suggestions on how to remedy this problem would be greatly appreciated.
Had the same problem with a model 27-2. Sold it off

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Old 01-31-2017, 03:32 PM
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Your headspace appears to be within allowable tolerances.

Lack of protrusion could be an issue. Normally, the nose protrudes approx. .040" - .045" beyond the breechface. (a dime is .050") Tolerances allowed among the various parts involved can sometimes cause protrusion to be a bit shorter or longer. Another possibility would be damage to the hammer nose, the hammer nose bushing, dirt/debris or damage in the hammer cavity in the frame.....or debris or dirt behind the extractor. (and there are others)
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:00 PM
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I have a 60-14 that I fire several thousand rounds a year through. Up until recently its been 100%. I know at one time I had a wolf kit, a Wilson kit and an apex kit that have gone into different J frames. I think I have stock springs (trying to identify springs is some sort of tricky) but I think I do. I cant seem to find a good illustration of the springs that should be in it including the firing pin spring. That said I have found that out of 100-150 rounds I will get 3-4 failure to fires. I can load them in another gun and they fire like clock work. I am following as well. This is to a point I don't have faith any longer in my once most reliable side kick.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:02 PM
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Your headspace appears to be within allowable tolerances.

Lack of protrusion could be an issue. Normally, the nose protrudes approx. .040" - .045" beyond the breechface. (a dime is .050") Tolerances allowed among the various parts involved can sometimes cause protrusion to be a bit shorter or longer. Another possibility would be damage to the hammer nose, the hammer nose bushing, dirt/debris or damage in the hammer cavity in the frame.....or debris or dirt behind the extractor. (and there are others)
I will check the protrusion on the nose.
I have completely disassembled the gun and cleaned it meticulously there's no dirt or anything in any of the cavities or extractor.
I did notice not the cylinder has a bit of side to side wobble for lack of a better term. Is it possible that the cylinder lock up is created a problem?
You certainly are extremely knowledgeable and have been very helpful in my trying to figure this out. I'm not certain if this is the proper venue to ask or not but someone mentioned that perhaps if I sent the gun to you you could check it over, I understand that would be a cost involved but that's not a problem. Assuming the cost would be a little less than a million dollars.
It's more about figuring out what the problem is there anything else.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:05 PM
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You mentioned that the headspace seems to be within tolerance, so can I assume ordering and putting a shim in would be a waste of time?
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:08 PM
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I have a 60-14 that I fire several thousand rounds a year through. Up until recently its been 100%. I know at one time I had a wolf kit, a Wilson kit and an apex kit that have gone into different J frames. I think I have stock springs (trying to identify springs is some sort of tricky) but I think I do. I cant seem to find a good illustration of the springs that should be in it including the firing pin spring. That said I have found that out of 100-150 rounds I will get 3-4 failure to fires. I can load them in another gun and they fire like clock work. I am following as well. This is to a point I don't have faith any longer in my once most reliable side kick.
I understand what you're saying that is my feeling exactly.
There would be no point in my carrying this gun if it is not one hundred percent reliable.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhkunkel View Post
I understand what you're saying that is my feeling exactly.
There would be no point in my carrying this gun if it is not one hundred percent reliable.
This is an older model 60 with no dash so the firing pin is riveted to the hammer. It is my understanding that you can no longer replace just the firing pin on this type of hammer and Smith & Wesson no longer makes them.

The search to isolate the problem continues.
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  #36  
Old 01-31-2017, 06:13 PM
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It sounds like there was both yoke and endshake issues. Solve the yoke first. 1. Take out yoke screw, remove yoke, take hammer and wack the sumvabic at 2 o'clock. Slide back in put in, close, reinstall screw and see if yoke is tight fore and aft. If not wack that sumvabic harder and try again. Once that is done measure at the forcing cone to cylinder. If over .001 order the shim needed to bring it back to .001. If that doesn't work get a real big hammer and really wack that sumvabic and throw it in a lake.

Last edited by Sol-Invictus; 01-31-2017 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol-Invictus View Post
It sounds like there was both yoke and endshake issues. Solve the yoke first. 1. Take out yoke screw, remove yoke, take hammer and wack the sumvabic at 2 o'clock. Slide back in put in, close, reinstall screw and see if yoke is tight fore and aft. If not wack that sumvabic harder and try again. Once that is done measure at the forcing cone to cylinder. If over .001 order the shim needed to bring it back to .001. If that doesn't work get a real big hammer and really wack that sumvabic and throw it in a lake.
I have a pond nearby, so i may do that:mad as my last attempt!!!
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:54 PM
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Any reliability issues in single action?

Some side to side play in the cylinder is normal and necessary. I'm assuming your primer hits are in the center of the primer pocket, more or less.

What about end shake on the yoke, did you check for that? The two crowned sideplate screws can get switched and this can cause problems. The front sideplate screw is fit to the button on the yoke stem.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:42 PM
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I have a 60
Just like yours. They don't make them like
That anymore. Stop wondering and send it to S&W. whatever you sell
It for will be what they charge you to fix it right.
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Old 01-31-2017, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
Any reliability issues in single action?

Some side to side play in the cylinder is normal and necessary. I'm assuming your primer hits are in the center of the primer pocket, more or less.

What about end shake on the yoke, did you check for that? The two crowned sideplate screws can get switched and this can cause problems. The front sideplate screw is fit to the button on the yoke stem.
Since it has the bobbed hammer, I can only shoot it in single action if I carefully pull the hammer back. i have done that on several occasions just to check, and it fires every time.
I ordered and have already replaced all the sideplate screws including the yoke. Very little yoke shake. (Hopefully I checked it correctly)

The primer hits are pretty much centered.

I'll probably put it all back together and take it out to the range to see if I can identify any specific oddities.

Any interest in looking at it?
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Old 01-31-2017, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kbm6893 View Post
I have a 60
Just like yours. They don't make them like
That anymore. Stop wondering and send it to S&W. whatever you sell
It for will be what they charge you to fix it right.
It's just one of those things that's driving me crazy, and want to understand the big question....WHY???
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:29 PM
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Very hard to diagnose problems like this without having the gun in hand. Someone said it's like doing surgery over the phone.

Perhaps you have a trusted, experienced gunsmith in your area? If not, I would suggest contacting S&W Customer Service....either by e-mail or by phone. email: qa@smith-wesson.com TX: 1-800-331-0852.

I'd be happy to look at it for you, but the government frowns on sending firearms through the mail.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jhkunkel View Post
It's just one of those things that's driving me crazy, and want to understand the big question....WHY???
They'll tell you when they fix it. Will probably fix things you didn't even know needed fixing. My friend sent his father in law's old model 10 in for a reblue. They fixed the timing and the yoke that he didn't even know were off.
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
Very hard to diagnose problems like this without having the gun in hand. Someone said it's like doing surgery over the phone.

Perhaps you have a trusted, experienced gunsmith in your area? If not, I would suggest contacting S&W Customer Service....either by e-mail or by phone. email: qa@smith-wesson.com TX: 1-800-331-0852.

I'd be happy to look at it for you, but the government frowns on sending firearms through the mail.
Well I just want to say how much I appreciate your help. I have certainly learned a lot.I may take it to a local gunsmith here in Warrenton.

I wouldn't want to get either of us in trouble with the government.

Once again.
THANK YOU
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:01 PM
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Shimming S&W for endshake.
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:27 PM
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My pleasure. If you have a question, you are welcome to send me a PM.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:10 PM
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My pleasure. If you have a question, you are welcome to send me a PM.
Thank You,

Jim
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Old 02-01-2017, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorer951 View Post
Your headspace appears to be within allowable tolerances.

Lack of protrusion could be an issue. Normally, the nose protrudes approx. .040" - .045" beyond the breechface. (a dime is .050") Tolerances allowed among the various parts involved can sometimes cause protrusion to be a bit shorter or longer. Another possibility would be damage to the hammer nose, the hammer nose bushing, dirt/debris or damage in the hammer cavity in the frame.....or debris or dirt behind the extractor. (and there are others)
I just thought I would point out that the nose protrusion seems less than the .040 - .045 you cited. The nose does not appear to be damaged when compared with my other J frame hammers.
I have completely resembled the gun and we'll take it up to the range again in a day or two. I'll report back in detail what problems if any I encountered.
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:52 PM
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Took 2 Smith & Wesson J frames M-60 to the range today.
My good old standby performed flawlessly, not a FTF in 100 rounds.
My problem Model 60 had 3 FTF's out of 50.
You could clearly see that the primer hits were very light when compared to the ones that fired.
Does this help in any way on determining what the problem might be?
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:08 PM
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Not really.

If both of the guns are older models that have a hammer mounted hammer nose (firing pin) you could try swapping the hammers in the guns. If the hammers are compatible, and the hammer from the more "reliable" model restores reliability 100% of the time, then you've pretty much narrowed the problem down to the hammer.

Other than a defective hammer nose there are a couple of other possibilities, including something called "hammer hits rebound". Not a likely cause, but possible. Also, just to double check, put empty casings in the gun and check the rear gauge again...make sure the casings are fully seated in the chambers before a measurement is taken.
Any idea if the misfires are occurring in the same chamber each time?
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Last edited by armorer951; 02-03-2017 at 11:07 AM.
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