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Old 04-16-2018, 02:27 PM
KWK-12 KWK-12 is offline
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A few years ago I acquired what apparently was an unfired 12-3 revolver. I'm fond of it, but the cylinder tends to bind on a fired case. It appears the problem is the hammer nose bushing, which is not flat but has a protruding lip at its edges. This would be warranty claim were it 1984 or so, but even if it was NIB, the warranty card in the box said "1 year" so it's long out of warranty.

I know of no 'smith in this area who specializes in S&W revolvers. Where to send it for a new bushing? I could go to the factory of course, but if I'm to send it off, I might as well go to a 'smith who could slick it up and install a spring kit, too.

Karl
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:42 PM
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Reloads or factory loads? Sometimes the brass is a mite too thick at it's base. Happens with me once in awhile. Maybe file that edge off?
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:34 PM
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It will happen with both factory and reloads. With the lightweight frame, my reloads are rather low pressure (low recoil) and are more likely to leave a primer high. The last time I was out, I peered in along the breech face when a case stuck and saw the primer sticking out and contacting right where the lip on the hammer nose bushing was. The cylinder begins to rotate until the primer gets to the edge of the bushing.

It would be difficult to file off the edge of the bushing. It's just about at the level of the breech. It looks as if the rest of the bushing (that is, the face away from the edge) is actually sitting a bit lower than the aluminum frame.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:41 PM
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If this were only happening with reloads, I'd say that was the problem due to the fact that the primers are coming out. But since you said it happens with factory ammo also, it's something else. If you have a problem with the fining pin bushing as you have indicated, this requires the revolver be returned to the factory for repair. Call S&W Customer Service and you will find them to be most helpful. They will send you a shipping label to return the revolver and if there is any cost for that repair, it shouldn't be too much.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:47 PM
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If your loads are so light the primers stay backed out then increase your load until they don't! Any revolver will bind up loaded that light. I find it hard to believe any factory load will leave a primer backed out instead of re-seating it! Model 12s are a lot stronger than some give them credit for.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:54 PM
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Alright, it has been a while since I fired factory in it, so I'll take it to the indoor range tomorrow and put two boxes of factory through it to refresh my memory.

As for my light loads, they are merely standard, starting loads, jacketed or lead. They are not insanely light, just light. It's more for comfort than worries about the strength of the aluminum frame.

More tomorrow...
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:48 PM
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KWK-12 View Post
It will happen with both factory and reloads. With the lightweight frame, my reloads are rather low pressure (low recoil) and are more likely to leave a primer high. The last time I was out, I peered in along the breech face when a case stuck and saw the primer sticking out and contacting right where the lip on the hammer nose bushing was. The cylinder begins to rotate until the primer gets to the edge of the bushing.

It would be difficult to file off the edge of the bushing. It's just about at the level of the breech. It looks as if the rest of the bushing (that is, the face away from the edge) is actually sitting a bit lower than the aluminum frame.
You actually have two problems:

1) The high primers is an issue that has already been addressed above.

2) The firing pin bushing is supposed to be flush with the recoil shield.
The bushing is an "interference fit" and is driven in, however the aluminum frame is soft so the bushing is not retained as well as if it were pressed into a steel frame. And/or it was canted when driven in, especially if you only have a lip on one side.

Insert a brass rod with flat end that fits in the bore, down the barrel and gently tap on the protruding lip until it's seated flush with the recoil shield.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:20 AM
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The hammer nose bushing is staked in place after being inserted into the breechface. If the bushing was not properly installed, and is protruding due to recoil, then the gun will need to go back to the factory for repair.

The attached images show the staking ring around the perimeter of the bushing (model 442-1), and the end of the tool that is used in this procedure.





Bushing staking tool:

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Old 04-17-2018, 08:43 AM
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If it is only the Bushing that is protruding and assuming you don't want to attempt fixing it yourself, and qualified LGS should be able to set it in 15 seconds. If if is loose and moves out of place again then it will need replacement. This is not a big job and should be able to be done locally.

If for any reason the Bushing Hole is not deep enough and not allowing proper seating, then yes, I'd send it back to the Factory.

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Old 04-17-2018, 02:29 PM
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Well, it's not my reloads.

The indoor range in town had only Federal 130 FMJ for use (and you must use their ammo in their range), but this is probably low pressure stuff and more likely to leave the primer high. I put six in and rotated the cylinder with my fingers to verify no rims were too thick. On firing, the gun jammed on the second round.

I removed the cases and could see the primer was left high on that round. I put it alone back in and rotated the cylinder around by hand, and sure enough, it binds every time on that fired case. To see if it was a fluke, I reloaded six more and the next round did the same.

The odd thing is I don't recall this happening so much with factory loads. On the other hand, I've never shot this load in it. I did, though, shoot the similar load from Remington, and, again, I don't recall it happening so often.

armorer951, thank you for those pictures and explanation. Mine doesn't look like that, but an older Model 10 of the same era as my 12 did, and so did a modern J frame I looked at, both a few weeks ago. On yours, at the edge of the bushing, it falls off in a bevel. On mine, there is a ragged, raised lip instead. I'll try to find a camera to make a suitable digital picture and get it up on the web for posting here.

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Old 04-17-2018, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
......
2) The firing pin bushing is supposed to be flush with the recoil shield.
.......
Insert a brass rod with flat end that fits in the bore, down the barrel and gently tap on the protruding lip until it's seated flush with the recoil shield.
Do this ^ and try it again.

If the fired case can't recoil all the way back and is stopped by the offending burr around the bushing,,the small dia primer will not be and continues rearward and stays there, higher than the case head.
Now you have a primer that is 'high' in the fired case no matter what the loading was in that round when fired.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:04 PM
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Your 12-3 precedes when staking began and exhibits the problem that led S&W to begin staking. They now stake all guns, alloy and steel.

If it were me, I'd buy the staking tool and stake my gun.

Also, does your cylinder have fore and aft movement? You may have excessive headspace. Primers protruding after each shot is normal, but excess headspace prevents the normal primer reseating against the recoil shield after firing like they're supposed to do.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:45 PM
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Unfortunately, I can't locate the charging cord for the camera with the better lens, and my phone won't do. I should have a photo tomorrow.

I'm beginning to suspect I've misinterpreted the "lip" I've mentioned. Looking at it again today, I think the bushing is canted slightly, lower CW looking from the shooter's eye. It sits below the breech ("recoil shield" is the correct term?) some, but in the CCW direction it's nearly flush. What confuses me is what looks like an annular groove around the bushing's hole, and I thought the inside of this was a lip on the bushing, but it doesn't make sense this lip would be taller on one side than the other.

Enough verbiage. A picture is worth many words, and I'll try to get that camera charged. Thanks for the comments.
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:53 PM
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(Find the charging cord, find the instruction booklet, find the buttons for macro mode, etc.)

Here's a picture of the bushing:



Starting in the center of the bushing is the hole for the firing pin, then comes the surface which supports the primer, which I'll call the face. Next comes what I have called above the "lip." I can't tell if this is part of the bushing or is part of the aluminum of the frame. After the lip comes a narrow gap, and then finally what's clearly the frame.

The picture shows the face of the bushing is below the frame (to the left from this view). The lighting doesn't show that it's only a little below the frame on the opposite side, but this is where the primers hang up.

What I called "a narrow gap" is wider in the region where the bushing's face is low.

Those more knowledgable about the construction of the old K frames might better describe what is seen in this picture.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:44 PM
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In your photo, you're looking at the bushing, and the staking ring. (see post #9) The surface or "face" of the bushing should not be below the breechface. Looks to me like the hole in the breechface designed to hold the bushing was cut a bit too deep when the bushing was initially installed at the factory.

I would contact S&W and supply them with at least two photos. (one from each side) They may be willing to install a slightly taller hammer nose bushing. The oversized ones used to be available. The fact that it's out of production, combined with the type of frame material used on this model may prohibit them from attempting a repair.
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:28 PM
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Thank you. I've sent a photo to S&W. It was your comment in post #9 that lead to my backpedaling in post #14 on the "lip." A staking ring seems the best explanation, but post #13 left me wondering (by the way, the cylinder does not exhibit fore/aft play).

Numrich still catalogs the hammer nose bushing for the 12-3, but whether a taller one is available I can't say.
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:19 PM
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It may have been set too low when originally staked at the factory or gradually driven back during shooting.

Notice from the hammer side, you can contact the back side of the bushing thru the firing pin slot with a flat bladed screwdriver tip. You can gently tap on the bushing and see how easy it moves. If it moves easy, it has to go back for replacement. S&W or one of their authorized repair stations will work on any Smith with a Model # on it (starting 1957). So yours is not too old by far.

If the bushing is tight, drive it flush and see if it stays there after shooting. You have nothing to lose by trying. If it sinks back in after shooting it, again, it needs replacement.
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Old 04-18-2018, 07:06 PM
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As of 2016, I believe all of the domestic (US) S&W Authorized Repair stations have been closed, so it will need to be sent to the factory.

1-800-331-0852
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:35 PM
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KWK-12,

My first response, and that of others apparently, was based on the impression that you gave, that the edge of the hammer nose bushing was standing higher than the frame. From your second, I believe, you state that the bushing face is below the face of the breech! Your photo appears that way too! Way different problem.

If the hammer nose bushing is below flush there is only one way to fix it, send it to S&W to have the hammer nose bushing replaced as Armorer951 said. It won't be free, a friend had to send a Model 60-? which had the hammer nose bushing set too low and it cost him something like $60 as I recall. This was 2-3 years ago. It was a pre-lifetime warrantee gun too.

S&W will do it right, at least as inexpensively as anyone, and probably at least as fast.
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:45 PM
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Sorry about that, Alk8944. I wasn't aware of the staking operation, and to my eye (and my son's) it appeared the bushing had a raised lip at the edge. I understand now that "lip" is instead the staked aluminum frame.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:19 PM
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To follow up: I contacted S&W, describing the model and the problem. To my surprise, they sent a paid mailer, so off it went to them. I've just received it back, also on their nickel, saying the parts needed to fix it are no longer available. I'm disappointed, but I can't complain about how they approached this.

It looks as if I'm in the market for a nice, older 10. Sadly, a very nice 10-5 sold at the nearest store about the same time I shipped my 12-3 off to S&W. The search begins...
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Old 06-29-2018, 06:49 PM
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Tell S&W the hammer nose bushings are available at Midway and Numrich. They can borrow my staking tool.

s&w hammer nose bushing - MidwayUSA
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KWK-12 View Post
To follow up: I contacted S&W, describing the model and the problem. To my surprise, they sent a paid mailer, so off it went to them. I've just received it back, also on their nickel, saying the parts needed to fix it are no longer available. I'm disappointed, but I can't complain about how they approached this.

It looks as if I'm in the market for a nice, older 10. Sadly, a very nice 10-5 sold at the nearest store about the same time I shipped my 12-3 off to S&W. The search begins...
The problem with the factory repair is they are almost helpless by exercising no options other than to put in new parts. Your 12-3 is far from lost with such a simple problem. Take it to a few local smiths and get their feedback. I'm sure one of them can fix it, it's not rocket science.

Or do as I suggested above in my post, drive it back in place. If the problem reoccurs after a couple of thousand rounds, drive it back in again.
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Old 06-30-2018, 03:37 AM
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If you’re still interested in sending it to a smith and having an action job done at the same time look up Nelson Ford in Phoenix, AZ. His action jobs are A+ and I’m sure he can fix your issue as well. He specializes in S&Ws and Colts. Last time I was in there he was working on a set of revolvers for a guy in New England somewhere so I know he does out of town business.
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Old 07-01-2018, 05:30 AM
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If worse comes to pass, I believe it would be possible to make a slightly thinker bushing. It is not a complicated piece of metal.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KWK-12 View Post
It will happen with both factory and reloads. With the lightweight frame, my reloads are rather low pressure (low recoil) and are more likely to leave a primer high. The last time I was out, I peered in along the breech face when a case stuck and saw the primer sticking out and contacting right where the lip on the hammer nose bushing was. The cylinder begins to rotate until the primer gets to the edge of the bushing.
It seems I saw a video that Speer made that showed that a primer normally backs out up firing, then as the main recoil drives the casing back, the primer is reseated.

Does anybody know anything about this? I suppose it would be easy to check out because the primer seated deep would be flush with the surface after being reseated.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:32 PM
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Recoil doesn't drive the casing back.
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
It seems I saw a video that Speer made that showed that a primer normally backs out upon firing, then as the main recoil drives the casing back, the primer is reseated.

Does anybody know anything about this? I suppose it would be easy to check out because the primer seated deep would be flush with the surface after being reseated.
You recall correctly. That's exactly what happens:

1. It works just that way with normal power loadings.
2. With very high power/pressure loads we've learned to look for indicators like the machining marks from recoil shield imprinted on the primer and even cratered primers where the primer actually flows back into the firing pin bushing hole.
3. Low power/pressure loads can leave primers high.
4. To test this phenomenon, fire a primer in an empty case, it will bind up the cyl every time. To make blanks or wax bullet loads the flash hole in the primer pocket must be drilled oversize to prevent binding. The primer has enough pressure to drive out the primer like normal, but there's no opposite back pressure from a powder charge to drive the case back to re-seat the primer.
5. A light weight gun exacerbates the issue because the whole gun recoils more which mitigates the back pressure that re-seats the primer. Similar to the way too lightly holding a semi auto causes the slide to malfunction by not fully ejecting the empty case. There's not enough resistance to the recoil for the slide spring to operate correctly.
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