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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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  #1  
Old 08-28-2020, 12:59 PM
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Default 908 vs 3914 (3913)

I understood the 908 and other 9xx series pistols were an economy version of the 3914 et al. Can someone please tell me what the differences are between the 908 and the 3914 (3913) that make it the economy version.
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Old 08-28-2020, 01:18 PM
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Level of machining on the slide, plastic magazine release button, plastic sights, quality of the finish, the plunger on the recoil guide rod is plastic, not metal. I think the dovetail of the sights was changed so that they didn't have to pay royalties.

There are probably others, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

All of those were instituted to decrease the cost of production in order to compete with Glock.
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Old 08-28-2020, 01:25 PM
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Most important (to me) is the lack of a barrel locking lug in front of the chamber.

John
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Old 08-28-2020, 01:28 PM
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When I had a 908 I was astonished when I first took it down to clean it that it had a plastic DISCONNECTOR! That seems beyond cheesy to me and a safety hazard if you shot the pistol a bunch. I think the 3913 series had a metal one. Somebody on here will know better then me.
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Old 08-28-2020, 01:32 PM
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S&W went to plastic disconnectors for ALL of the 3rd gen pistols.

The factory considered it an improvement and the only problems were from "ham-handed" disassembly/assembly.

John
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:11 PM
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All that being said. Mine is incredibly accurate, feels good in the hand and is enjoyable to shoot.

But...harder to find a well fitting holster and night sights are harder to come by (have to by the pricey trijicons).

Rosewood
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHL View Post
Most important (to me) is the lack of a barrel locking lug in front of the chamber.

John
I too noticed this. Is it really a problem? Is the locking lug needed/beneficial?

Rosewood
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:16 PM
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Isn’t another difference the plastic recoil guide rod?

Regardless of the differences, I believe the 908 is a fine gun. I’ve owned two, still own one and would be a buyer again at the right price.
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
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I too noticed this. Is it really a problem? Is the locking lug needed/beneficial?

Rosewood
I guess S&W didn't think it was a problem for the "value line" pistols but retained it for all of the "full price" pistols.

John
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:25 PM
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I forgot about that on the 9mm Value Line guns. At least the compact and subcompact ones.

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Originally Posted by JohnHL View Post
Most important (to me) is the lack of a barrel locking lug in front of the chamber.

John
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHL View Post
S&W went to plastic disconnectors for ALL of the 3rd gen pistols.

The factory considered it an improvement and the only problems were from "ham-handed" disassembly/assembly.

John
Only the "Value Series" third gens (908, 909, 910, 915, 410, 411, 457, CS series) had plastic disconnectors, the standard 4-digit models had metal disconnectors.
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
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I forgot about that on the 9mm Value Line guns. At least the compact and subcompact ones.
I was swapping around parts (playing Legos) and comparing when I realized it had a different barrel with no lug.

Rosewood
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Old 08-28-2020, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirius View Post
Only the "Value Series" third gens (908, 909, 910, 915, 410, 411, 457, CS series) had plastic disconnectors, the standard 4-digit models had metal disconnectors.
NOPE!!

Plastic disconnectors for ALL models.

Only "early" 3rd gen models had metal disconnectors.

John
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Old 08-29-2020, 02:51 AM
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At the risk of getting in the middle of a disagreement...

It appears to me that there are two primary disconnector PN#s in the S&W parts catalog: 104210000 & 239070000

The earliest 3rd Gens (4506, 4006, etc) only show (1) disconnector PN# for them, 104210000, as do all the other non-TSW model, with the exceptions mentioned below.

Additionally the 411, 457, 915, 4006CHP & the 2nd Gens listed (ie: 645, 745, etc.) had PN# 104210000.

All the 3rd Gen TSW models, Chief Specials (CS9, CS40 & CS45s), 3914DAO, 4040PD, 457D, 908, 909, 910 only show (1) disconnector PN# for them, 239070000.

I'll make the assumption that #104210000 was the metal disconnector & #239070000 was the plastic disconnector because I don't have bagged replacement parts on-hand to compare.

.
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Old 08-29-2020, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood View Post
I too noticed this. Is it really a problem? Is the locking lug needed/beneficial?

Rosewood
The multiple, radial locking lugs found on most S&W pistols are a product of early 20th century semi-automatic pistol design in which the metals used to make slides was not as durable as more modern alloys and heat treatments. The S&W economy line pistols adopted the later 20th century design of a single locking lug. The single lug works just fine with modern alloys and heat treatments. Even in the venerable M1911, it is the first lug, the step that is closest to the chamber, that bears most of the force during recoil.
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Old 08-29-2020, 10:12 AM
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When it comes to S&W models that used the plastic disconnector, the question isn't which, the question is when.

When S&W went to the plastic disconnector (around 2000), every model subsequently produced was equipped with it.

John
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Old 08-29-2020, 12:30 PM
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One learns a lot reading this forum, but in the end, the 908 and 3913 are both good pistols. I prefer the 3913 for the feel and grip but would not mind owning or carrying a 908. The so called "value series" at that time are now the "They do not make them like that anymore series". The Model 915 is one of my favorite pistols. Enjoyed the post.
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:12 PM
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The "Value Line" guns I own are a CS9S, 457, and 457S. All of the CS guns, no matter of what caliber, and the 457 have no equivalent in the "regular" line of guns.

The 457 could be considered a Value Line version of the 4513TSW seven round guns, but without a rail. Could be considered, but really are not!

Still as a compact self defense .45, it's a great gun.

Let's just keep that to ourselves, though. We don't want people figuring it out.

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One learns a lot reading this forum, but in the end, the 908 and 3913 are both good pistols. I prefer the 3913 for the feel and grip but would not mind owning or carrying a 908. The so called "value series" at that time are now the "They do not make them like that anymore series". The Model 915 is one of my favorite pistols. Enjoyed the post.
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:18 PM
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There is enough members on this site to check if their 3913 series guns have the plastic disconnector on not. Would be good to know which ones do or don't for sure. Would need examples from post and pre 2000 I guess. Regardless, a plastic disconnect would see the bottom of a lake soon after purchase if it was my gun.
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:44 PM
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I'll play.

Early production 3913, flash chromed hammer and trigger - metal disconnector.

1991 3914NL - metal disconnector.

Early production 457, forged hammer and trigger, metal disconnector. Which is odd considering it had a nylon mag catch, which I replaced with a metal one. But it does have a locking lug on the barrel, unlike the other value line guns - with the exception of the 915. Regards 18DAI
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Old 08-29-2020, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DAI View Post
I'll play.

Early production 3913, flash chromed hammer and trigger - metal disconnector.

1991 3914NL - metal disconnector.

Early production 457, forged hammer and trigger, metal disconnector. Which is odd considering it had a nylon mag catch, which I replaced with a metal one. But it does have a locking lug on the barrel, unlike the other value line guns - with the exception of the 915. Regards 18DAI


Good info, especially about the 457. Now just need to here from somebody with a post 2000 S&W 3913 or similar.
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Old 08-29-2020, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUEDOT37 View Post
All the 3rd Gen TSW models show (1) disconnector PN# for them, 239070000.

I'll make the assumption that #104210000 was the metal disconnector & #239070000 was the plastic disconnector because I don't have bagged replacement parts on-hand to compare.
I have a 5906TSW that I bought as non working - the sear spring was broken and the plastic disconnector came out in three pieces. I replaced it with the metal version.

I also bought a sad 3913TSW parts kit which provided me with my only plastic spare disconnector.
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Old 08-29-2020, 06:35 PM
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I’ll play too. During the course of “graverobbing” for my Franken-Smith project, I’ve acquired both a 910 and an early 915 slide. To me, the ugly, angular shape of the 910 screams “Glock wannabe.” The 915, except for its obvious lack of polish, looks more like I expect from Smith. Of course the additional insurance of the lug on the 915’s barrel, and the incomplete machining of the slide rails on the 910 so it won’t even go on a regular Gen 2 or 3 receiver make those members of the “Value Series” more like the “Low Value Series” IMHO. YMMV, of course.

Froggie
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Old 08-29-2020, 07:31 PM
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908 vs 3914 (3913)-3913parts-jpg

I'm weeping.

(But at least the dishonored corpse found its way to caring hands.)

John
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Old 08-29-2020, 08:26 PM
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Liberal stupidity right there. Destroy the gun, but not the miscreant who was using it to commit crimes.

Y'all would cry if I told you some of the guns from the property room I saw go into the chopper. Until conservatives changed NC Law and made it so they cannot be destroyed any longer. Regards 18DAI
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Old 08-29-2020, 10:29 PM
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Saddest thing i' ve seen all day.


Quote:
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I'm weeping.

(But at least the dishonored corpse found its way to caring hands.)

John
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Old 08-30-2020, 02:51 AM
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I've owned both 908 and 3914. EDC is still a 3914 and have another twin for a spare. My understanding of one of the main differences is the 908 is alloy frame but the 3913/14 were steel. Notable weight difference. Carried a 908 for years before the 3914. Both good guns that never skipped a beat. Have never found anything I like better than the 3914. Well balanced, accurate, eats anything, great gun.
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Old 08-30-2020, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDB1056 View Post
EDC is still a 3914 and have another twin for a spare. My understanding of one of the main differences is the 908 is alloy frame but the 3913/14 were steel. Notable weight difference. .
Both the 3913/14s have alloy frames......... weigh in at IIRC about 25 oz

The only Compact 9mm with a steel frame I know of is the Performance Center SD-9 built on a steel 6906 size frame with a 4 1/4" barrel and slide.

Edit: the 4516 has a steel frame...36.5oz

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Old 08-30-2020, 01:23 PM
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Continuing to pick at the scab here, I am wondering about using the plastic recoil spring guide on other models. To me, the guide seems to just be along for the ride, so this might be a good use of plastic and a weight saver. Comments?

Froggie
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Old 08-30-2020, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
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......Regardless, a plastic disconnect would see the bottom of a lake soon after purchase if it was my gun.
Are you sure it would actually sink...?
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Old 08-30-2020, 01:35 PM
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I'm weeping.

(But at least the dishonored corpse found its way to caring hands.)

John
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Saddest thing i' ve seen all day.
It died so others might live.
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Old 08-30-2020, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHL View Post
When it comes to S&W models that used the plastic disconnector, the question isn't which, the question is when.

When S&W went to the plastic disconnector (around 2000), every model subsequently produced was equipped with it.

John

From checking the schematics, it appears the TSW guns, with possible exception of CHP 4006 as I dont have info on it, were Plastic disconnectors and the non-TSW were metal. Since the only TSW and Special Orders (except 3913LS) were produced after 1999, the 2000 changeover seems to make sense. I can't imagine they would put a cheaper plastic piece in a TSW gun at same time they were putting more expensive metal piece in non-TSW guns.
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Old 08-31-2020, 02:38 AM
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Default Which, not when

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHL View Post
S&W went to plastic disconnectors for ALL of the 3rd gen pistols.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHL View Post
When it comes to S&W models that used the plastic disconnector, the question isn't which, the question is when.
When S&W went to the plastic disconnector (around 2000), every model subsequently produced was equipped with it.
.

The S&W Parts Catalog shows which models had which disconnector.

The TSWs started in 1997 & all of them show to have PN# 239070000.

The 457 ran from 1996-2006. Only PN#104210000 is shown being used in them.

We know the 4506 was made from 1988 thru 1999 & it only shows disconnector PN#104210000.

Generally when S&W has change to a different/new style part it lists the replace part as a revision, ie: R1, R2, etc, in addition to the original part in the parts list.

Again, I didn't see any 3rd Gen that listed two disconnector PN#s in it's parts list.

.
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Old 08-31-2020, 06:42 AM
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Y'all made me go look last night. I took apart every 3rd Gen I have to verify. The only one that has a plastic disconnector is the 908. The other 7 I have all have steel, presumably stainless, disconnectors. I guess they were all pre-2000. I bought them all used after that date however.
1076, 4006, 4013, 4053, 5903, 3913, 6904.

Rosewood
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  #35  
Old 08-31-2020, 07:26 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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This may be a dumb question, but after the “bottom of the lake” comment, I’d like to know whether the steel and plastic disconnect or may be directly substituted or are the channels in the frame different, so they require the as-issued disconnect or part number? If the guns originally sold with plastic disconnectors can have direct replacement with steel ones, I see this thread starting a run on the remaining supply of the steel ones or even a cottage industry making new ones.

Froggie
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Old 08-31-2020, 05:17 PM
JohnHL JohnHL is online now
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Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
This may be a dumb question, but after the “bottom of the lake” comment, I’d like to know whether the steel and plastic disconnect or may be directly substituted or are the channels in the frame different, so they require the as-issued disconnect or part number? If the guns originally sold with plastic disconnectors can have direct replacement with steel ones, I see this thread starting a run on the remaining supply of the steel ones or even a cottage industry making new ones.

Froggie
The plastic and metal disconnectors are interchangeable (mostly).

They are both the same shape with the same machining of the frame (2nd and 3rd gen).

(Some of the 1st gen disconnectors I have seem to be stamped steel with a pin through them.)

The reason I say "mostly" is because I have a handful of metal disconnectors in my parts stock (as well as plastic), and the metal disconnectors have a number molded into them (1, 2, 3, or 4, IIRC) which indicates a size for special fitting to accommodate variations in tolerances.

Honestly, I've forgotten what dimension to which the number refers, but in a "special situation", a disconnector of a different number might create a problem, although I haven't encountered one.

Edit: I think the number refers to disconnector "tail length".

OTOH, plastic disconnectors have no numbers and have been used since about 1997 on TSW, CS, VL and standard model pistols.

You will typically see them in combination with MIM parts and laser engraving.

(All of my CS and TSW model pistols have them as well as my CALDOC 6906 with a 2000 ship date and my Jackson County, Kansas DOC 4006 with a 2006 ship date.)

BTW, during the trigger stroke the drawbar drags on the tail of the disconnector and can help create some roughness in the trigger pull.

Smoothing these metal parts can improve the trigger pull feel, but the inherent smoothness and lubricity of the plastic part eliminates the need for any stoning.

IMHO, there is no reason (other than misplaced nostalgia) to replace a plastic disconnector with a metal one.

John

Last edited by JohnHL; 08-31-2020 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 08-31-2020, 08:33 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Thanks, John for the excellent tutorial on disconnectors. I have to admit that your conclusion was pretty much unexpected, but makes perfectly good sense. I'm reminded of the time, over 30 years ago when I was informed that the new mainspring housings on Series 80 Colt Government Models were being made of plastic. Imagine my shock when I found out how smoothly and well they worked!

My personal takeaway is that if the disconnector in my 2nd or 3rd Gen pistol is working smoothly, I probably want to leave well enough alone regardless of its material composition, and if it should prove a little rough and I want to replace it, a plastic one will probably be easier to get smooth.

Regards,
Froggie
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Old 09-01-2020, 12:00 AM
JohnHL JohnHL is online now
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You betcha!

Some early 3rd gen triggers feel like the action is full of sand.

A person can spend an hour smoothing parts...

Or he can install the (despised) plastic mainspring cup and disconnector, throw in a (hated) MIM hammer, and the trigger will be smooth as silk.

Sometimes, progress is hard to ignore.

John
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Old 09-01-2020, 07:34 AM
rosewood rosewood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHL View Post
You betcha!

Some early 3rd gen triggers feel like the action is full of sand.

A person can spend an hour smoothing parts...

Or he can install the (despised) plastic mainspring cup and disconnector, throw in a (hated) MIM hammer, and the trigger will be smooth as silk.

Sometimes, progress is hard to ignore.

John
How much difference does a plastic main spring cup make? That sounds like a super easy upgrade. Are they all the same?

Rosewood
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Old 09-01-2020, 10:01 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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As with any piece of machinery, we face a decision between several factors, not all of which are consistent with one another. First, you want the machine to work, preferably for a good long service life. Next you want it to work smoothly and efficiently. Then you want economy of production so people can afford to buy your machine when you build it. If any one of these factors takes over, or if any one of them is ignored, the manufacture of the machine will be less than successful.

The plastic and MIM parts in the 3rd Gen are smooth and easy to fit and assemble, and initially they seem to work well. Sometime in the late 2030s or 2040s we will really be able to judge longevity... and we can only get a hint based on individual units that receive heavy use (such as in competition.)

If the cost were no concern, I would suggest the hammers and triggers be forged then hand polished for perfect interaction and hardened appropriately for durability. I would machine the mainspring “cup” out of Oilite so it would be self lubricating as well as durable, both smooth and tough. Of course springs would all be of the highest grade spring steel, but they would still be regarded as “consumables” and have to be replaced every so often... I can see no way around that.

Which brings us to the disconnector; should it be metal (steel?) or plastic, or something else entirely? Based on disconnectors used in other semi-autos, this important part has traditionally been made out of steel, and you almost never hear of one wearing out. Does this mean that the proper plastic part will suffice and still perform well (or like the springs, be a consumable part?) or would our “perfect machine” get a hand fitted part like our “perfect” hammer and trigger? I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable to judge, so my default stance would be to go with the traditional steel. Then again, what do I know, I’m a revolver guy!

Personally I’m working on my Franken-Smith using a well worn but dependable 2nd Gen lower with various 2nd and 3rd Gen uppers being tried. Assorted parts are piling up as I do my “grave robbing” so I have the luxury of trying out some of these parts if they seem to show promise, but I tend to lean toward the old school traditional choices. So there you go, “Fools rush in...” and I may qualify as such or may just be naive, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it until someone with more knowledge and experience shows me otherwise.

Froggie
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Old 09-01-2020, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
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How much difference does a plastic main spring cup make?
It depends.

Pulling the trigger in double action forces the steel main spring (hammer spring) into the steel cup, causing the coils to abrade on the inside of the cup.

Some are smoother than others, and some folks have smoothed the outside coils of the springs and inside of the cup, but most are noticeable.

Quote:
That sounds like a super easy upgrade. Are they all the same?

Rosewood
Yes.

John
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Old 09-04-2020, 05:12 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Well, the latest "raid on the graveyard" yielded a pretty much complete parts kit for a Model 915... and it didn't have the mag release with it, but the disconnector and mainspring cup were both made of metal. no plastic there. This one came with a pretty dirty barrel, but it did have the locking lug, unlike the 910 barrel I already had. Oh yeah, the rear sight is the standard non-adjustable sight while the front sight has a white dot. We'll see how things go.

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Old 09-05-2020, 09:37 AM
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The 915 is basically a 5904 with a thicker dust cover on the receiver. The slide has the sights of the early 3rd gen pistols (pre-Novak) and a single-sided hammer drop safety.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:12 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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The 915 is basically a 5904 with a thicker dust cover on the receiver. The slide has the sights of the early 3rd gen pistols (pre-Novak) and a single-sided hammer drop safety.
I just picked up on your slide description here. One of my 915 slides came completely stripped, but the other has the most basic non-adjustable sight (as was used on many Gen 2 & 3 guns.) The stripped slide seems to have the same dovetail machined in. Is this the sight arrangement you are referring to? My 910 slide has the plastic “pseudo-Novak” and that was kind of what I expected to find on the 915 as well.

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Froggie
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:38 AM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
I just picked up on your slide description here. One of my 915 slides came completely stripped, but the other has the most basic non-adjustable sight (as was used on many Gen 2 & 3 guns.) The stripped slide seems to have the same dovetail machined in. Is this the sight arrangement you are referring to? My 910 slide has the plastic “pseudo-Novak” and that was kind of what I expected to find on the 915 as well.

Regards,
Froggie
I snagged a nice picture of the Model 915 sight off the interwebs. It is a simple, dovetail sight.

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Old 09-08-2020, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
I snagged a nice picture of the Model 915 sight off the interwebs. It is a simple, dovetail sight.

That is the same rear sight that is on my 5903 (non-Novak). I had a 915 for a day before I traded it for a 6904. Just found the picture and it had that same rear sight also.

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Old 09-08-2020, 09:50 PM
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I have no problem with (and often prefer) MIM parts but I'm not fond of plastic...that doesn't mean the plastic part isn't sufficient, just not as pleasing to my old sensibilities. Plastic seems to perform well in most cases and probably saves time and money. Since we all love to complain about prices then we can't blame companies for cutting costs. Glock has sold record numbers of pistols using plastic parts and are celebrated for their durability.

If it came with a plastic disconnect I wouldn't be replacing it but a person certainly could if so inclined.
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:31 PM
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I have stoned disconnectors and I have used plastic ones.
Results were too similar to tell apart.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:21 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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I have stoned disconnectors and I have used plastic ones.
Results were too similar to tell apart.
It sounds as though you are saying that a plastic disconnector may be expected to function properly (and of course smoothly) with no fitting, while a steel one might require stoning to achieve the same level of performance. Is this correct?

Also, would you care to comment on life expectancy of the plastic disconnector? While I have never heard of disconnectors in S&W semi-autos wearing out or breaking, there have been several reports of breakage of the plastic ones.

Froggie
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:10 PM
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One more comment about 3rd gens. I have had them for many years and cannot recall any chronic issues of any kind being reported relating to reliability and durability. Any gun can fail but is it the exception or the rule? It has been my personal experience that failures in 3rd gens is rare and I have never had any of mine fail in any way...at all.

I do recall a TSW3953 railed gun (rail removed) that my son-in-law purchased for a song a few years ago that functioned fine in slow fire but failed under rapid fire. This gun had holster wear along with nicks and scratches so who knows what the previous owner(s) may have done to it's internals trying to make it "better". The trigger would not reliably reengage if fired fast so I think someone messed with it. Sent it back to Smith and they fixed it (replaced draw bar and other parts) at no charge and it has been a champ since then. Could have failed on it's own but a bubba trigger job seems more likely.

edit: I was happy they still had the parts to repair it. Probably tell you "can't help you but how about a nice new M&P?" nowadays.

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