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help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:43 am
by lurker
i see we're obsessing over donald and germs and the dem party's ineptness lately, and i find it annoying. so i offer this distraction.
this is my latest purchase, a smith and wesson model 4 topbreak, circa 1890s i believe. the finish is entirely a rich brown patina, there's some rifling left and while it's obviously worn, it kinda-sorta works.
kinda-sorta.
at the range it had several misfires, light primer strikes.
there's some play in the hinge at the front of the trigger guard, so that there's a little wiggle between the frame and barrel-cylinder assembly.
the extractor star is slow to retract, maybe dirty?
the firing pin sometimes sticks in the hole through the frame. this would explain the semi-random light strikes.
i think it can be redeemed.

what do you experts say?
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Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:15 pm
by eelj
Looks like a great paperweight. But thats just me talking.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:39 pm
by Marlene
Start with a full tear down and detail cleaning?

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:57 pm
by senorgrand
Beyond, "listen to Marlene," I have no insight.

Cool piece though. Very Sherlock Holmes.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:11 pm
by Tedzilla
I'd remove any wood/rubber/bakelite and soak in a good penetrating oil for a few days and then tear down and detail. The soak may prevent broken parts and damaged threads. There's an outside possibility of a make and model specific tutorial online.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:46 pm
by MayhemVI
I'd like "Full Spring Replacement" for 500, Alex.

The wiggling between the frame and cylinder might be your problem though. If S&W no longer works on these types of revolvers, I'd check with Uberti to see if their gunsmiths can tighten things up for you.

1. What's she chambered in? Just out of curiousity.
2. If you ever want to sell, lmk.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:12 pm
by Tedzilla
MayhemVI wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:46 pm
I'd like "Full Spring Replacement" for 500, Alex.

The wiggling between the frame and cylinder might be your problem though. If S&W no longer works on these types of revolvers, I'd check with Uberti to see if their gunsmiths can tighten things up for you.

1. What's she chambered in? Just out of curiousity.
2. If you ever want to sell, lmk.
Full spring replacement might be '500', worse yet it might be 'unobtainium'. Most Smiths like to replace parts, not fabricate them.
Once it's clean and oily I'd try it again, the light strikes might be gone. The wiggles may take a little more on a 130 year old pistol.
It is a handsome rascal.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:02 pm
by lurker
oops, sorry, .32 S&W
it is a fine paperweight.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:21 pm
by CDFingers
Were it mine, I'd do the soak in penetrating oil for several days then take it apart on a clean table. Marlene takes pics at every stage so as to remember how it goes back together.

CDFingers

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:29 pm
by lurker
hmm, clean table. that's a problem. that could take a day or so.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:56 pm
by senorgrand
lurker wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:29 pm
hmm, clean table. that's a problem. that could take a day or so.
NOW you have a project.

Or, just order a new table from Amazon...

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:02 pm
by CDFingers
The best way to clean a table is to invite a Labrador retriever over, then stand it near the table and pull out a tennis ball. Clean table. Now, the floor might be a mess. Not my department.

CDFingers

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:30 pm
by Marlene
HA!

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:53 am
by sig230
Nice Smith. Take a close look at the firing pin since it sound like it is either bent or maybe peened. The slight wobble is normal and should disappear when the hammer is fully cocked and trigger pulled. Hold the hammer back and pull trigger and check lock up then. It was designed for smokeless powder so any modern 32S&W short should work.

Here are some of my Top Breaks:

Left to right: S&W DA Model 4 in 38S&W, Hopkins & Allen Safety Police in 32S&W (the cartridge is a 38S&W for size) and a Singapore Police Force Webley IV in S&W 38/200:
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Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:32 am
by highdesert
sig230 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:53 am
Here are some of my Top Breaks:

Left to right: S&W DA Model 4 in 38S&W, Hopkins & Allen Safety Police in 32S&W (the cartridge is a 38S&W for size) and a Singapore Police Force Webley IV in S&W 38/200:
Nice collection.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:25 pm
by lurker
nice, very nice. "some of".
i also have 3, the smith and 2 H&Rs, one of them in '38s&w, the other .32. none of them works reliably. i'll get up a better post with pics in a while.

Re: help me diagnose this revolver.

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:02 pm
by sig230
lurker wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:25 pm
nice, very nice. "some of".
i also have 3, the smith and 2 H&Rs, one of them in '38s&w, the other .32. none of them works reliably. i'll get up a better post with pics in a while.
Here is a somewhat unusual H&R. It was before H&R assigned model numbers and before they settled on the "Defender" name and so most likely from 1937 or 1938. It is 38S&W and the serial number is 234.

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similar one from Jim Hauff's book,
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