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Old 02-16-2017, 10:14 PM
Johnso Johnso is offline
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Alternative barrel removal for S&W revolvers Alternative barrel removal for S&W revolvers Alternative barrel removal for S&W revolvers Alternative barrel removal for S&W revolvers Alternative barrel removal for S&W revolvers  
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Default Alternative barrel removal for S&W revolvers

I have decided to invest in a good barrel vise and action wrench set for working on Smith revolvers and have been studying them for some time. I'll likely end up making my own, but I was curious if anyone has attempted, successfully or not, to remove the barrel with the action held in a standard 5" bench vise with the same inserts typically used with the action wrench, while using the once "action wrench", now "barrel wrench" with inserts specific to the barrel to instead rotate the barrel from the action, opposite of the typical action-from-barrel. Obviously, gravity would not be an assistant as the work is being done in a horizontal plane, however the concept seems to be the same. Is there something that I am possibly missing that would cause hazardous conditions for the frame?
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:24 PM
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alec.mc alec.mc is offline
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A decent frame wrench, such as the brownells, and a few various vise pads ( rubber / plastic with v-grooves , etc ) and a decent vise that is bolted down rock solid is all you need.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:11 AM
Johnso Johnso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alec.mc View Post
A decent frame wrench, such as the brownells, and a few various vise pads ( rubber / plastic with v-grooves , etc ) and a decent vise that is bolted down rock solid is all you need.
When you say "vise", are you specifying the use of the usual barrel vise or are you implying that a solid 5" bench vise could suffice with proper pads? As my original post was questioning an alternative method, I should include that I am now curious of the use of a bench vise in place of a barrel vise.

Though the barrel vise is obviously the prefered method due to its incredible strength, could a bench vise not hold the barrel tight enough?
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:20 AM
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I just use a bench vice to hold the action with blocks made from epoxy...

For the barrels I use two lengths if 1"x 3/4" aluminum bar. One piece at 24" and one at 4" the longer one being drilled any tapped for bolts.

This set up is nearly free

Sorry I don't currently have a better pic.....

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Old 02-17-2017, 09:47 AM
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Default alternative barrel removal

Purchase the barrel vise and insert from Brownells. Also, a good vise that is bolted down to the work bench. And, do not forget some rosin and a set of leather pads for the vise. They will do the job and will not crack the frame. Without the insert or a proper vise, you stand to crack the frame. It will set you back about $150.00 for both fixtures from Brownells but well worth it and if you want to remove another model barrel, just buy the insert. As I mentioned, a good investment and a lot of elbow grease goes a long way. Good luck on your venture.

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Old 02-17-2017, 09:56 AM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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SOmetimes a bench vise is enough to get a grip and remove the bbl fom a frame,,sometimes not. I've done a lot of them w/nothing more than a bench vise, revolvers, 22 rifles too. But the bench vise has it's limits as to it's abilitys to securely clamp and hold,,they have some give to them so to speak because of their off center design (the clamp surface from the lead screw. Plus the jaws are very narrow. Not much force spread over a wide area of your frame or bbl.
You'll know it when it slips in the vise! and that can be when you're reassembling a finished product with it's brand new blue you don't want to scratch.

I've got a large, non-swivel bench vise that was broken right through the head from being used as a bbl vise at a shop I worked at.
Couldn't take the cheater bar torque applied trting to remove a rifle bbl one day they said! It was then 'fixed' with a crude steel flat strap and bolts and put on a bench. I used that for a while till they replaced it with an import vise and they discarded the old beauty. I took the busted but still working old one home and still use it,,but not for bbl removal!
They still insisted on using a large bench vise (and if applicable an even larger cresent wrench on the action) to remove octagon bbls from things like 22 rifles, ect.. even though there sat a floor mounted real deal bbl vise.
The bench vise was just 'easier to use' some of the other ;smiths would say.
You learn a lot working a number of different places,,sometimes you learn a lot of what not to do.

Buy or make a simple bbl vise. Use at least 9/16" bolts for the clamp down bolts, 5/8 even better.
Use a coarse thread on them,,goes a little faster tightening it down and taking it up. But the real advantage in the coarse thread is if you get and rosin on the threads you have a better chance of getting them apart.
Even a small dusting of rosin on the threads will lock and seemingly weld the hold down nut(s) in place.

Just my .02
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:32 PM
Johnso Johnso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovelwrench View Post
I just use a bench vice to hold the action with blocks made from epoxy...

For the barrels I use two lengths if 1"x 3/4" aluminum bar. One piece at 24" and one at 4" the longer one being drilled any tapped for bolts.

This set up is nearly free

Sorry I don't currently have a better pic.....

Thank you for the image and explanation. Is precisely what I was curious about in my OP. I have not seen it done that way. Do you do barrel work with that set up often? Has the aluminum bar ever caused issues?
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:36 PM
Johnso Johnso is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2152hq View Post
SOmetimes a bench vise is enough to get a grip and remove the bbl fom a frame,,sometimes not. I've done a lot of them w/nothing more than a bench vise, revolvers, 22 rifles too. But the bench vise has it's limits as to it's abilitys to securely clamp and hold,,they have some give to them so to speak because of their off center design (the clamp surface from the lead screw. Plus the jaws are very narrow. Not much force spread over a wide area of your frame or bbl.
You'll know it when it slips in the vise! and that can be when you're reassembling a finished product with it's brand new blue you don't want to scratch.

I've got a large, non-swivel bench vise that was broken right through the head from being used as a bbl vise at a shop I worked at.
Couldn't take the cheater bar torque applied trting to remove a rifle bbl one day they said! It was then 'fixed' with a crude steel flat strap and bolts and put on a bench. I used that for a while till they replaced it with an import vise and they discarded the old beauty. I took the busted but still working old one home and still use it,,but not for bbl removal!
They still insisted on using a large bench vise (and if applicable an even larger cresent wrench on the action) to remove octagon bbls from things like 22 rifles, ect.. even though there sat a floor mounted real deal bbl vise.
The bench vise was just 'easier to use' some of the other ;smiths would say.
You learn a lot working a number of different places,,sometimes you learn a lot of what not to do.

Buy or make a simple bbl vise. Use at least 9/16" bolts for the clamp down bolts, 5/8 even better.
Use a coarse thread on them,,goes a little faster tightening it down and taking it up. But the real advantage in the coarse thread is if you get and rosin on the threads you have a better chance of getting them apart.
Even a small dusting of rosin on the threads will lock and seemingly weld the hold down nuts) in place.

Just my .02
Thank you for your input as well. I'm sure the military rifles and lever guns require more torque than a revolver, but I'm also sure there are some extreme examples out there proving me wrong. I will still make my own barrel vise, but what thickness of steel would be acceptable for revolver work if I were using oak blocks between them?
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:05 PM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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If you were just going to use the home made bbl vise to remove and reassemble revolver bbls, I don't see any need to make the base and the top plate of anything thicker than 1/2" for the the simplest of vise designs.
If you are going to make the type where the bbl blocks (oak, lead, whatever) are 1/2 round on the outer surface and the vise upper and lower plate are cut out for that semi circle configuration, of course you'll need much thicker material to surround that feature.
But I never needed that style for removing just revolver bbls or things like 22 rifle bbls from Win & Rem pump guns and semi autos.

The biggest thing is just making sure nothing slips and turns when trying to remove or tighten up the bbl. Horizontal, verticle use,,type of jaw(s) style, type of wrench, ect ,,as long as they are all secured firmly so they don't mar the gun part and the parts don't slip during the process.

It helps being able to see clearly the junction of the bbl & frame or over the top accross the sights so when reassembly comes around you can reallaign to an original witness mark that you can easily see or square up the bbl to the frame by use of the sights or sight dovetails and action flats.
The latter often leaves you going back for a little tweek to get it just right. Eyeballing the assembly that says it's straight up with a square and level many times won't look correct once you have it out of the vise and in hand. Like houses and used car salesman, most things about them aren't perfectly straight.
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