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Smith & Wesson Semi-Auto Pistols Other Smith & Wesson Semi-Automatic Pistols from the 1950's to Present


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Old 08-01-2020, 08:13 PM
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Default It’s ALIVE, my My PC FrankenSmith Shorty 40

Well the Shorty 40 MKIII top end arrived today. I was very nervous and apprehensive but I opened up the box. Although the top end looked clean and almost new I cleaned everything up. (Even the grips were in great shape.)

It seemed to fit on my 2nd run of the Shorties, (with plenty of good grease.) It was snug getting the rear part of the slide started but NOT tight. Once it was completely on it fit perfect, smooth and a very nice fit. It seems that when it’s on the frame it is VERY happy. Getting it started it is snug, NOT tight. There was was no problem fully cycling it w/o barrel and recoil rod/springs. I put the barrel and recoil rod/springs, (new,) in and it would not hand cycle. I kept trying thinking I didn’t have things right. Nope. For whatever reason once I put the original recoil rod/w/new springs in it hand cycled perfect. Great but then I found out that ONLY the original, (2nd run,) slide stop would even fit and function correctly with the different barrel/top end. No big deal and “they” say that the slide stops were hand fit. I don’t know but others sure do.

I understand that some may not really get why I tried this but others do. I’m only into all this Shorty 40 nonsense for a total of $779.00. Yep I just added it all up. Plus I’ve got LOTS more parts now.

Gonna have to wait to test drive it due to scheduling. Im sure it will be awesomely excellent. It seems perfect anyway.

Oh, and thanks for those that sent me positive PM’s prior.

Jim
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:38 PM
Sevens Sevens is offline
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Well I have no doubt whatsoever that is most definitely looks better, it is more attractive by a LOT! Hope she runs well too!
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:27 PM
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I just hope you’ve quit “shuddering” Sevens.

I’m surprised about your your original concern due to your non interest in the compact PC’s.

Jim
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:59 PM
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What was it orgionaly? Just a different variation of the shorty. 40?
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Just one more!
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:11 AM
JohnHL JohnHL is offline
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Way to go, Jim!

You know I love that stuff.

And I'm not so surprised it fit.

While others may know a lot more about the PC than I do, I've suspected that most of the later work product of the Peformance Center was limited production pistols assembled from parts with tighter tolerances (i.e. machine built with higher rates of even slightly out-of-spec part rejection) as opposed to a team of opti-visor wearing uber-smiths, hand carving totally unique objets d'art out of aluminum and steel billets.

Great pistols but hardly one-offs.

Nice work!

John
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:45 AM
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Definitely not one-offs, but at the same time... parts that start the project nowhere in the hemisphere of fitting together until slowly mated together, just a tiny bit at a time.

The goal wasn’t to get a frame and a slide to hang together as one pistol and function... the goal was to make an elite, fitted handgun.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Definitely not one-offs, but at the same time... parts that start the project nowhere in the hemisphere of fitting together until slowly mated together, just a tiny bit at a time.
Sorry, Bro Sevens, but I've got to call hyperbole on that statement.

"(P)arts that start the project NOWHERE IN THE HEMISPHERE OF FITTING TOGETHER..."

(Just who machined these ridiculously out-of-spec components? Monkeys?)

"...until slowly mated together, JUST A TINY BIT AT A TIME."

(Not unlike Sisyphus pushing the rock uphill?)

Not hardly.

I stand on my previous statement that PC pistols were assembled from more carefully crafted (machined) parts than standard production models.

If you total the vast numbers of PC models produced and divide by the number of elite gunsmiths the PC employed during the period of production, you will quickly calculate that to slowly mate these ill-fitting parts "together, just a tiny bit at a time" would necessitate these 'smiths to STILL be removing minute amounts of metal, to this very day, and beyond.

Quote:
The goal wasn’t to get a frame and a slide to hang together as one pistol and function... the goal was to make an elite, fitted handgun.
The GOAL was to change and improve the public perception of S&W from a mass marketer of production guns into a 1st class competitor on the world stage and ultimately, to increase profits.

And if that wasn't the case, why are the elite gunsmiths gone and only the PC name remains?

John
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:03 PM
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Hmmmm, can we share a bit more where we are coming from before we agree that each other us WAY out in left field?

I've watched the insider video series where a craftsman takes one frame and one slide and starts to mate them together... and tap tap tap taps on them to get them to move a BIT. Takes 'em apart, cleans out the mating surfaces, goes back to work. Bit by bit by bit, until these two parts that began life NOT fitting together become seemingly almost as one yet with the ability to reciprocate. I've seen similar videos from Les Baer... and his guys pound them with hammers in both directions. Brother John, these parts absolutely start life in a place where they don't fit together. Not at all.

I didn't attempt hyperbole, apologies if that's how it came off.

These parts (frame and slide) are, in my opinion and speaking for nobody else, a damn country mile different from production parts. And make no mistake, I have over 40 Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handguns, I love these guns, most of which are production guns.

These guns might look like the production guns from across a room. They are a different animal.

Finally, you ask "why _____" and I can only chuckle at the possibilities for answers. Why in the %$&# do they make a robin's egg blue "PC" Shield .380 or whatever the holy hell that is?! Frankly, I think they have a lot of heads shoved far up a lot of tails. Fill in the rest.

Lightning in a bottle, most likely isn't ever going to happen again.

Not for JohnHL but for anyone reading... If you don't know true, elite S&W Performance Center, you've cheated yourself.
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Old 08-03-2020, 01:06 PM
JohnHL JohnHL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
Hmmmm, can we share a bit more where we are coming from before we agree that each other us WAY out in left field?
Well we are in different "fields", that's for sure.

Quote:
I've watched the insider video series where a craftsman takes one frame and one slide and starts to mate them together... and tap tap tap taps on them to get them to move a BIT. Takes 'em apart, cleans out the mating surfaces, goes back to work. Bit by bit by bit, until these two parts that began life NOT fitting together become seemingly almost as one yet with the ability to reciprocate. I've seen similar videos from Les Baer... and his guys pound them with hammers in both directions. Brother John, these parts absolutely start life in a place where they don't fit together. Not at all.

I didn't attempt hyperbole, apologies if that's how it came off.

These parts (frame and slide) are, in my opinion and speaking for nobody else, a damn country mile different from production parts. And make no mistake, I have over 40 Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handguns, I love these guns, most of which are production guns.

These guns might look like the production guns from across a room. They are a different animal.
The "tap, tap, tap" process you are describing is for building tight clearance, Competition Only, "Match" pistols for "gun games".

The several THOUSAND "Shorty", "Recon", and "CQB" models produced (I said "later") are/were "Combat" pistols (at least ostensibly) and would have no earthly reason for "match grade" clearances and therefore no reason to begin the fitting process with parts too tight to fit together.

Quote:
Finally, you ask "why _____" and I can only chuckle at the possibilities for answers. Why in the %$&# do they make a robin's egg blue "PC" Shield .380 or whatever the holy hell that is?! Frankly, I think they have a lot of heads shoved far up a lot of tails. Fill in the rest.
It's all about merchandising and profit.
It was then.
It is now.

Somebody back then thought that "winning on Sunday means selling on Monday".

Then someone thought, "The PC name is revered. Let's sell some "limited production" pistols with the PC name and some enhancements to buyers with a little more disposable income."

Then someone thought, "The PC brand is so popular, that we no longer need the actual PC personnel, just the name!"

Then someone thought, "Robin's Egg Blue .380 Shields will have an appeal to some buyers."

All of this thinking was inspired by the same mindset: Profit.

Quote:
Lightning in a bottle, most likely isn't ever going to happen again.
If I may make an assertion, you are a passionate fellow and see the PC as "Camelot".

I see the PC as a corporate department that had an evolving mission.

The first mission was to make S&W a "World Class" competitor in semi auto pistol matches.

The second was to create competition pistols for shooters outside of Team Smith & Wesson.

The third was to create a "limited production" line of higher priced pistols for well heeled collectors.

And the last was to create a "brand" so well liked that the "brand" no longer required dedicated personnel.

To that end, the S&W "Performance Center" succeeded in all four missions.

Quote:
Not for JohnHL but for anyone reading... If you don't know true, elite S&W Performance Center, you've cheated yourself.
On this, we CAN agree.

John
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:50 PM
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4T5GUY, I’m on a similar quest for a two tone (blue over stainless) Smith semi-auto, but mine is a “full size 9” instead of a “Shorty 40.” I’m reaching the frustration level with a second Gen top on a second Gen lower. I just ordered a 3rd Gen upper (complete) to go on my lower in hopes the later barrel bushing type will help.

I hope your project goes more smoothly than mine!

Froggie
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:28 PM
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Well, I can plead ignorance on the alloy frame compact PC guns, I don’t own one. I have a single smallish PC, my SD-9, that’s steel frame. That pistol is fitted just like my target Limited guns. The SD-9 doesn’t have quite the elite trigger that the Limited guns do, but it’s nicer than a MIM-equipped 3rd Gen.

And all the PC pistols I own have a genuinely elite level of fit and feel. They exceed, slightly, the fit of both my 52’s.

There’s no way they get this fit with a couple random pieces pulled from a tub of pieces.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:58 PM
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Brother Sevens,

If you have big enough tubs of each part, you can mix and match until you get pretty good fit. It’s only when you have one of each part that you have to work at getting them to fit. Then again, you have to care and have a little pride in your finished product rather than just trying to slap together as many units as possible by the time the whistle blows for lunch. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Froggie
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:34 PM
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Just a couple of things. Maybe related, maybe not.

Trying to get to my point I’ll hurry. I was really into Mustangs. I had a ‘69 GT, an ‘87 GT, and then I got a ‘96 SVT “Cobra“ when they first came out. I dumped a lot of money, (too much maybe,) into all three. So at first in my opinion the “Cobra” was a gimmick although it ripped. I almost took the snakes off. So what if the two guys who hand built the engine actually signed the decal on it? Did Carroll still have anything to do with it? Nope. Ford was just still trying to cash in. Getting into the suspension of it I had to eventually call Boris Said cause most of the new parts didn’t fit. Boris explained that even though the parts were from a “box“ everything was specifically selected and hand fit. He helped me get that “Cobra” to where I wanted it. The other two Mustangs were always very happy with the parts I put on them, no issues.

Fast forward now. I’ve just exchanged my 1st, 2nd and 3rd Gen slides on their like frames. (Some I’ve done before of course.) Bottom line is all is well until you get to the PC examples, and the TSW’s. The 4040PD was just as unhappy with different top ends. Also now I believe that even the PC slide stops are, (or could be “hand fit” too as they do NOT seem to want to work in other like PC examples but are perfect in their intended. At least the ones I have anyway.

I definitely do not know so these are just my limited observations. Try it for yourself. IF you dare.

Jim
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:36 PM
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Y’all are confusing me.

I admitted that I’m familiar with PC Shorty guns, but not intimately so.

I am familiar with the Limited guns. Anyone else here posting... are you? Do you think that fit and those lines come from some $12 an hour parts swapper trying six different slides on a frame until one moves freely and doesn’t rattle as much as an old Govt Model?

The PC likely doesn’t exist anymore because the guns didn’t sell well. An 845 Limited was a $997 gun when it hit the market in 1995. You’ll need nearly $3,000 if you want to try one today.

If you wouldn’t then and you won’t now, all is well. Maybe you wouldn’t appreciate one. It doesn’t change the fact that these are elite, hand fitted machines. Maybe that is also hyperbole, y’all can decide.

I would have posted earlier but I spent six hours on the range with my handguns. Guess the masses would have liked the 1006 the most. Not me tho.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:23 PM
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I thought I was at least trying to support your view/experience Sevens, I found out that you really can not just change PC parts with other “like” examples. Maybe true too with TSW’s ? Obviously they are wonderfully special AND hand fit happiness.

I actually DID try my CQB 45 top end on my 845 and of course it was no way no how. Wouldn’t even start. My Shorty 45 and or 45 Recon wouldn’t start on my CQB. That was true for most others. (TSW also.) These ARE specially fit parts. Most of my PC examples did NOT fit on their respective counter parts. Try it. They were picked then mated and we’re intentionally fit together regardless of their original origin. Again for those that have a “few” PC examples, just try to use another like PC slide stop.

I’m sorry now that I even started the original post. I mostly wanted to say that I think I improved, (maybe,) a somewhat undesirable pistol, (to me,) into a better one, (to me.) I got very lucky that the MK3 top end EVEN fit on a middle run run of the Shorty’s. These early PC pistols were never intended to be mismatched. Same for some of the TSW I think. I am referencing frames and slides. There is NO difference in internal parts that can be seen. The trigger bows are cleaned up a bit on the sides, but not polished like I usually do on sides and bottom.

The picture is of the Shorty 40 MK3 parts I got, (all left,) next to “standard” production parts. There is no appreciable difference. Take your PC examples apart and see. My non railed, (1998,) 7 rnd 45TSW had more work done on the internal parts.

Jim


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Old 08-03-2020, 11:42 PM
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I like what you did to the little PC pistol. I don’t see myself ever chasing one but if I did, I love the way that yours looks now.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:57 PM
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Please, Gentlemen, don't misundertake me!

I meant to cast no aspersions on the PC.

I did not mean to suggest that during the 1990s (the "salad days" of the PC) that tubs of production parts were dumped on bubba's bench, slapped together in a drunken stupor, and a PC sticker was plastered on.

(That was to come later... )

To the contrary, the PC had their own machine tools and could arrange time on the latest equipment in the plant.

They built their own frames and slides, mated together from the git-go.

And they hand fitted the parts as needed.

But as they got in to the later combat pistols, they were using the newest machining centers and were benefiting from much improved production tolerances to decrease bench time.

The PC guns of the 1990s were a several cuts above the production guns and will remain a very bright spot in company history.

Sorry for the drift, Jim.

Your thread was extremely enlightening.

John
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