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Thread: Dismayed by revolver quality generally, with very few exceptions

  1. #1
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    Dismayed by revolver quality generally, with very few exceptions

    I've had several Rugers.

    Redhawk - .44 mag. light strikes with factory hammer spring. Terrible DA.

    GP100's - .357, .44 spl. Terrible DA, ever after use and reduced springs. Tight forcing cones in cylinder have to be opened up properly for non-jacketed bullet accuracy.

    S&W's - Various. Broken pin in Airweight .22, older K frames stop turning after under 100 rds of lead, mainspring screws come loose, light strikes. Got a new 686 in '23. Mainspring came loose though screw was tight, hammer / stirrup / spring latest design not reliable and just to save production cost. This one also gummed up in under 100 rds of lead.

    Colt - I've got a '22? King Cobra and really like it! But it's probably only a matter of time before I get a lock up or the hammer breaks. Many stories of these. If they had a great rep I'd have a 2nd KC and an Anaconda 4 in. But I see trouble stories with those, too. (Lock ups, not turning)

    Taurus / Charter - Have had several. No more. Had problems or it wore out quickly.

    The revolvers I've had best luck with are 5 Ruger LCR's. I sold one because it had a hammer spur and I didn't care for that. But all have worked great.

    I did wear out one .357. It stretched and the cylinder popped open. Being it was 4 yrs old Ruger wanted me to pay to send it in and they might charge me to fix it. Sold it to a relative with disclosure. He collects, doesn't shoot much.

    I've hear of LCR's breaking return springs and I'd like to replace mine before they break or at least have a spare. My two .327's have been great.

    Why can't I have a revolver with a nice DA, won't "gum up" quickly, and doesn't have a history of breaking or locking up?

    Anyway, IME of 30+ years firing revolvers the Ruger LCR has been the most reliable and durable with a good DA.
    Last edited by Ron3; 02-15-24 at 14:49.

  2. #2
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    Even old Smith 357 and larger K frames, in the ubiquitous model 29 44 mag would shake apart if shot much with full power loads.

    Can't speak to newer double actions, the price has generally scared me away.

    I've come to appreciate Blackhawks. Dead simple, easy to get parts for if needed and in most cases Ruger did not charge for them. The only ones I've needed were abused or lost by a previous owner.

    I used to think they were useless but now I think they're fun, especially for ringing steel and hunting.

    The ones I'm familiar with are all vintage, I have no idea if they are making decent Blackhawks anymore. But to me there is no reason not to find a vintage one.

    The best modern DA I've shot is a lowly Kahr P40. Yep, did go back to the factory under warranty when I first got it. But has been dead reliable since and has a silky smooth action. Still in the family. And I've run a lot of plates with it.

    I know there are haters, but just recognize that in the Kahr line there's a wide range of quality in the various models. P9, P40, P45 are built to higher quality and finish. Most of the folks I've seen with problem have PM series.

  3. #3
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    “Back n Forth” always trumps “Round n Round” in a high round count handgun.
    The simplicity of a reciprocating slide will always be more reliable than (reasonably) tight tolerances of revolver hand/cylinder, particularly if shooting Lead bullets with Lube.
    I had a .38 Super Competition gun (1911) go 130K rds (with cleaning, spring changes) before slide cracked beyond repair.
    Seriously doubt I’ve ever run even 10K rds through all my S&W revos combined.
    A true "Gun Guy" (or gal) should have familiarity and a modicum of proficiency with most all firearms platforms.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijin View Post
    “Back n Forth” always trumps “Round n Round” in a high round count handgun.
    The simplicity of a reciprocating slide will always be more reliable than (reasonably) tight tolerances of revolver hand/cylinder, particularly if shooting Lead bullets with Lube.
    I had a .38 Super Competition gun (1911) go 130K rds (with cleaning, spring changes) before slide cracked beyond repair.
    Seriously doubt I’ve ever run even 10K rds through all my S&W revos combined.
    Any trouble with your S&W revolvers?

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    Had to think about that.
    A m58 went out of time from abusive firing. Really fast double action work is rough on cylinder notches and stop; the inertia of that big/heavy cylinder is hard on any revolver, but the N frames in particular.

    Also had to replace a yoke and extractor rod in a m29-2 a a guy warped by closing cylinder “Hollywood” style, again abusing gun.

    Virtually all of my .44 mag and .45 Colts required cylinder throats be reamed to shoot cast lead/hunting bullets to their accuracy potential. All of the throats were to tight from factory, resulting in cast bullets being swaged down/undersized which wouldn’t obturate in barrels.
    Opening throats to 1 or 2 thousandth over bore diameter gave optimal accuracy.

    The old 25-2s were famous for great accuracy with jacketed bullets but rifiling was “shallow” and cast bullet accuracy was sub par.
    Only fix I came up with was; quit bitching and shoot jacketed bullets.

    I’ll add all of my S&W revos are pre MIM/lock guns. Not too long ago I could source parts pretty easily from Numrich/Gun Parts Corp.
    Like most “gun folks” Id guess, I went through phases of obsession with different firearms, primarily handguns. My revolver phase was 15+- yrs back.
    That’s all that comes to mind.
    A true "Gun Guy" (or gal) should have familiarity and a modicum of proficiency with most all firearms platforms.

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    That's just crazy.

    There is no reason you should be having problems with any decent revolver.

    I've got a 1976 Security Six that I've been shooting steady since Dec. of 1976. It was my go to wheel gun until I finally got a S&W Model 19 sometime late 80s. I've got my dads Colt Python which he regularly took hunting and it's a 1970s vintage that runs like a champ.

    I have a S&W Model 29 that kicks like a bastard, but it's been 100% reliable. I bought a Redhawk because unlike the 29 it doesn't kick like a bastard. Think I got it in 2001 and it's been absolutely reliable, but I don't have thousands of rounds through my .44s.

    I've got a third series Colt detective with a high round count and no problems.

    If any of them started malfing on me I'd go nuts. I think the cost to produce a decent wheel vs the cost to produce a Glock 19 are just dramatically different and the desire to keep wheel guns under the $1,000 range means corners just get cut.

    During the 80s I was doing a lot of combat magnum stuff because .38s were pretty cheap and range reloads were next to nothing.
    It's hard to be a ACLU hating, philosophically Libertarian, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, scientifically grounded, agnostic, porn admiring gun owner who believes in self determination.

    Chuck, we miss ya man.

    كافر

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijin View Post
    Had to think about that.
    A m58 went out of time from abusive firing. Really fast double action work is rough on cylinder notches and stop; the inertia of that big/heavy cylinder is hard on any revolver, but the N frames in particular.

    Also had to replace a yoke and extractor rod in a m29-2 a a guy warped by closing cylinder “Hollywood” style, again abusing gun.

    Virtually all of my .44 mag and .45 Colts required cylinder throats be reamed to shoot cast lead/hunting bullets to their accuracy potential. All of the throats were to tight from factory, resulting in cast bullets being swaged down/undersized which wouldn’t obturate in barrels.
    Opening throats to 1 or 2 thousandth over bore diameter gave optimal accuracy.

    The old 25-2s were famous for great accuracy with jacketed bullets but rifiling was “shallow” and cast bullet accuracy was sub par.
    Only fix I came up with was; quit bitching and shoot jacketed bullets.

    I’ll add all of my S&W revos are pre MIM/lock guns. Not too long ago I could source parts pretty easily from Numrich/Gun Parts Corp.
    Like most “gun folks” Id guess, I went through phases of obsession with different firearms, primarily handguns. My revolver phase was 15+- yrs back.
    That’s all that comes to mind.
    Thanks.

    My GP100 .44 spl had too-tight forcing cones, which is odd since Ruger should expect most bullets from that cartridge are going to cowboy loads / lead bullets. I wasn't reloading then and it took me awhile to understand what the hell was going on!

    A nice surprise is the Ruger LCR line. The .357's I had and .327's I have now have properly-sized forcing cones for firing common over-size lead bullets.

    I do shoot rapid DA. I probably shouldn't get a new Anaconda.

    How fast DA shooting is considered abusive? .3s splits shouldn't be. Or is it?
    Last edited by Ron3; 02-17-24 at 13:25.

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    I forgot about cylinder rods unscrewing.

    Had a S&W and a Rossi do that.

    Looking back, the Ruger GP100 (2), SP101's (3), and LCR's (5) have be been the most reliable. But the GP100's and SP101's the most difficult to shoot because the DA triggers are awful.

    Oh, yea...I had an NAA mini that got out of time and stop working right after about 250-300 rds of .22 magnum.

    I wonder if Ruger has done anything to reduce the quality of current GP100's?

    If not perhaps I should revisit them and see about getting the forcing cones sized correctly, (if necessary) and trigger mechanism worked over by a pro. (Absolutely necessary)

    A round-butt 3" in., 7 shot .357 GP100 could be a good gun with a great DA trigger as long as it was reliable. At least with Federal primers.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron3 View Post
    But the GP100's and SP101's the most difficult to shoot because the DA triggers are awful.
    I have put a lot of rounds through a GP-100.
    I fought with the DA for quite a while and eventually tried using a Wilson spring kit but the gun's overly stout firing-pin spring turned out to be an obstacle.
    The firing-pin is captured in the frame with a cross pin that is blended to the frame. Its designed not to be removed. (I think the newer revisions are captured by a removable bushing)
    If I had a mill I could square up one end of the retaining pin and drive it out of the frame but making it look nice again would be a challenge.

    Convinced I reached the limit, the best I could get to work was a 10lb trigger return spring and a 12 lb mainspring that I then shimmed to achieve reliability. Now the DA is not awesome but I'd call it reasonable. No failures in the last 2k rounds since I made the changes. This is with various factory ammo and/or Winchester primered reloads.

    The good points are:
    the GP-100 handles 357s very well and accurately.
    The cylinder notches don't peen even if you run the gun with 1/4 sec splits. I assume this is due to the offset notch geometry.

    This was a new gun in 1996.
    If you look at a new one now, check to see how the firing-pin is retained. If it can easily be accessed to replace the firing-pin-spring, you should have a reasonable chance of improving the DA trigger pull.

    After messing with the GP-100, I bought several used S&W revolvers.
    IIRC, S&W tried several different design changes to cope with the fouling that accumulates where the cylinder turns on the yoke. Depending on whether the gas ring is part of the cylinder or whether it is on the yoke and how the gas ring is mounted in the cylinder apparently makes a difference. Somewhere around engineering change "-4" they got it sorted out.
    Simply by dumb luck, my 19 and 64 are -5 and I have not had the fouling issue you describe.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildcat View Post
    I have put a lot of rounds through a GP-100.
    I fought with the DA for quite a while and eventually tried using a Wilson spring kit but the gun's overly stout firing-pin spring turned out to be an obstacle.
    The firing-pin is captured in the frame with a cross pin that is blended to the frame. Its designed not to be removed. (I think the newer revisions are captured by a removable bushing)
    If I had a mill I could square up one end of the retaining pin and drive it out of the frame but making it look nice again would be a challenge.

    Convinced I reached the limit, the best I could get to work was a 10lb trigger return spring and a 12 lb mainspring that I then shimmed to achieve reliability. Now the DA is not awesome but I'd call it reasonable. No failures in the last 2k rounds since I made the changes. This is with various factory ammo and/or Winchester primered reloads.

    The good points are:
    the GP-100 handles 357s very well and accurately.
    The cylinder notches don't peen even if you run the gun with 1/4 sec splits. I assume this is due to the offset notch geometry.

    This was a new gun in 1996.
    If you look at a new one now, check to see how the firing-pin is retained. If it can easily be accessed to replace the firing-pin-spring, you should have a reasonable chance of improving the DA trigger pull.

    After messing with the GP-100, I bought several used S&W revolvers.
    IIRC, S&W tried several different design changes to cope with the fouling that accumulates where the cylinder turns on the yoke. Depending on whether the gas ring is part of the cylinder or whether it is on the yoke and how the gas ring is mounted in the cylinder apparently makes a difference. Somewhere around engineering change "-4" they got it sorted out.
    Simply by dumb luck, my 19 and 64 are -5 and I have not had the fouling issue you describe.
    Thanks for relaying your experiences.

    When it "gummed up" I had been mild .38's BNH 12 and warm (@915 fps) 187 gr .357 BNH 18 double grease ring bullets. I fired a newer Colt King Cobra with the same ammo. Even more in fact, and it never slowed down.

    There was no barrel leading.

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