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"Quality" with regards to guns may be a subjective term. I think most of us agree that the older guns exhibit a more refined finish but newer models designed and built with computer technology are probably stronger and built to closer tolerances.

As for the specific question on guns with pinned barrels and recessed chambers (P&R) it is interesting to note that Colt never pinned its barrels yet Pythons are not dismissed due to lacking this feature. Also please note that on S&Ws ONLY the 22 rim fire models and the Magnum calibers had recessed chambers. The 32s, 38s, 44 Specials and 45 Colt models never had this feature. Having said that, I admit to being more interested in older models, myself, although I know that a newer gun will certainly function well and do what most of us need a pistol to do.

We know that 20 years ago older cops cherished their revolvers as the new guys touted the semi-auto for police work. I suspect that back in the 1920s there were a bunch of shooters who clung to their SAAs in the face of the rising tide of new-fangled DA revolvers. A couple thousand years ago some guys preferred to stick with their trusty bronze swords even though these new steel swords were all the rage. It's a normal human trait to prefer the familiar. I think perhaps most of us actually resist change and the older we get the more likely we are to resist.

I think many shooters associate the loss of features like the pinned barrel with a general decline in overall quality. It's seen as a cost-cutting measure and we like to think of guns as being made by artisans and not accoiuntants.
 

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I think overall QC was better 25 years ago than it is today. Right up through about 1994 or so. Yes, I think older guns are a much better buy and value. Pre lock, pre MIM for sure, but not necessarily P&R only. Don't overlook non pinned barrel dash numbers of any model. No L frame guns have pinned barrels, but they are awesome 357s for example. I've never noticed any handling or shooting difference between pinned and non pinned barrels.
 

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I really don't know if P&R indicates a better built revolver, but it is an indication of an older quality, handbuilt, revolver. A lot of us believe that older is better. More attention was payed, during assembly, and things weren't so automated.

It is an indication of a quality, handbuilt, product, and is more expensive to build anything that way. A custom built house or car is more desirable to most of us. Same with guns! The extra finish time in preparation for blueing, shows up in a quality product.

It doesn't mean anything to most shooters, who just want a gun that works well, and shoots accurately. To us old guys, it's the way things were done in our younger years. ;) Bob
 

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I dont own any S&W that are not pinned and recessed.I have only shot one S&W that wasnt and it was a 686 with a four inch barrel.
It seemed to be almost as smooth as a model 27.I liked the gun and wish I had bought it for a shooter instead of setting up the deal for my friend.
When I get back on my feet better finacialy I realy want to buy a 460.
I have heard some talk about changing barrels on the pressed versions not being a wise thing to do and the mim parts are junk. But have no personal experience with them.
The old model 29 would work its extractor rod out and lock the cyclinder shut before they reversed the threads. And there were problems with the model 29 cylinders unlocking during heavy use up into the dash two models.
I have heard many times over the years about forcing cones on the model 19 splitting.The early model 39 semi auto had some problems.
I have seen so much said about the locks that I went surfing around reading up on them and found a few claims of them locking up on people.
But one thing is for sure the further you go back the nicer the finish on both the blueing and the wood and they used the finest steel that was available at the time.The old S&W was and is still just as acurate as the new ones and not as cluby with the big ugly underlugs.
S&W will never build another cadilac like the model 27 with its checkered back strap and deep blue finish and butter smooth action.I never understood why they never checkered the other N frames like a Model 27.
I am 51 so I guess I am old enough to be in the older set in his ways age group that prefers the pinned and recessed models. But I am not so set in my ways that I wouldnt own a non P&R.
 

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Interesting thread, and SP has done a fine job of telling it like it is.
I for one don't know why it took Smith & Wesson 50 years, +/-, to finally use left-hand threads on ejector rods.
ALL the guns, not just .44 Magnums, suffered from an occasional 'lockdown' due to a backed-out ejector rod. .38's, .22's, .44's, .45's.
Yes, the 'crushed thread' technology that brought the unpinned barrel doesn't favor barrel-replacement.
But hey...how often do we replace barrels?
MIM parts?
Often badmouthed on forums, they are made to closer tolerances than forgings. The same technology has enabled great strides in the space program and the automotive world.
The 'infamous' lock?
Member knobmtn on this forum probably reloads and shoots more high-powered and large-caliber rounds than anybody I know.
He has been the owner of a couple (GASP! :shock: ) 'new' 29's for several years.
Any lock-induced or MIM-induced failures?
None.
As most of you know, I collect and shoot (mostly) prewar guns.
Are they as strong as the newer versions?
Probably not.
It's about the now-obsolete craftsmanship for me. ;)
Just as newer cars and trucks hold up much better and far longer than the great classic cars of yesterday, the newer guns are probably better tools than their older cousins.
They are, however, like comparing apples and oranges, IMHO.
Don
:mrgreen:
 

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Nah, it's one of them urban myths. Or, gun forum myths. Who knows. There are probably one or two million reasons why I don't own a Smith & Wesson that doesn't have a pinned barrel, but I can't think of one that makes any sense. They're all subjective and usually based on my sense of aesthetics. My usual objection is that it (the revolver) looks "unfinished." Some damned fool forgot to drill that tiny, teeny little hole and insert the pin. It just don't look right.

Worth it or not? I dunno, if I had the money, I'd buy a Model T Ford.
 

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I believe the idea of a P&R Smith goes back to the idea of quality and craftsmanship and aesthetics. Current Smith & Wessons are great tools but for me don't possess that same "soul" as the older guns. Could be the concept of over engineering with MIM parts, two piece barrels, ray gun appearance on some models. Older Smiths may not actually "be" better than the newer Smiths, but, to me they sure do LOOK better and that idea of perception being reality enters the picture.

How many would rather have a 1968 SS 427 Chevelle, Tri-Power 389 GTO, Dodge 426 Hemi 'Cuda or one of todays current transporters? Better cars today, no comparison, but no soul. Ah, the "good old days."
Bob
 

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Pinning the barrel and/or recessing the charging holes in the cylinder is an Engineering / Design feature and has nothing to do with "Quality".

In fact most people don't understand what "Quality" is in manufacturing. It's actually a "System" that includes DFM (design for manufacture), production processes, training and practices, tooling analysis, evaluation standards, compliance and defect resistance management, control assurances, measuring and checks, both objective and subjective.

Some folks like to spout that the pinned / recessed guns were built during a time of "Higher Quality". That statement is simply ignorant.

Now to say that they like the design feature and the aesthetics of pinned barrels and recessed cylinders, well, that is something I can agree with.

To illustrate my point, two of the most accurate Smith & Wesson revolvers I've ever owned were a 629 DX and 4" 29-3. Both are non-pinned barrels, neither had recessed cylinders. The DX had design features I didn't like and the fit / finish of the 29-3 is not what you'd see on a Triple Lock "New Century"..... But both of these guns would out-shoot my Triple Lock hands down. So which of these guns is of the "Higher Quality"?

Drew
 

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I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for anything the current company calling itself S&W makes.

I have not seen them make a revolver I would purchase since 2001.

P&R may not automatically indicate a superior revolver, but to me, it indicates that particular revolver has none of the cost cutting measures present in current production. The current company is simply trading and profiting off a well known name and trademark.

Ugly spaceguns with "features" I neither want nor need. Give me P&R, or anything made prior to 2000. My 0.02 YMMV. Regards 18DAI
 

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I'm not arguing with you 18, in fact I stand beside you in your opinion. I hate rubber grips, key locks, bulged frames, 3-piece barrels, no color hardening.

The only post 2001 guns I've purchased new or used, were either 3rd Gen Auto Pistols or parts clean up guns like the 646's that have no key lock.

However, to be fair, the reason why is because of FEATURES of design, not "Quality" overall.

I've had guns that were shipped in the 80's with no front sights. One of my first 28's in the 70's wouldn't stay on full cock out of the box. I had a 27-2 that the front sight flew out with the first shot. I've opened blue slip top boxes on new guns and found revolvers inside with no grip screws.

For what they are, modern smith & wessons (I use lower case intentionally) are more defect free and consistent.

The point is that while yes, cost cutting savings as a result of MIM, CAM, DFM, component substitution are possible and no company is likely to ignore that, repeatability and consistency of the newer products cannot be denied either. Dimensional tolerances with small MIM parts such as hammers, triggers can be as little as 0.0001". Forged and machined parts cannot even come close to that sort of lot-to-lot constancy in a production environment.

Some of the newest guns I have are a pair of 640-1 Centennial Magnums from the mid-90's. These guns are from the era when DFM, CAM and MIM had been ironed out and making a contribution to overall quality. Both were near new when I bought them and there is, as near as I can tell, about two years between them in age. There is no measurable difference in their very smooth triggers, and they both hit well to the sights out of the box.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I simply do not care for what smith & wesson has done to their DESIGNS as opposed to complaining about something as nebulous as "Quality".

Drew
 

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Gee, I have Smith revolvers all the way from 1926 to 2008. I shoot them all.

I must be an aberration, huh? :lol:

David
 

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I came of age in the era of muscle cars and P&R Smith & Wesson revolvers so I like 'em, Bangor Punta and all. Also like the models that came before.

I currently only have two Smith & Wesson revolvers that I've bought new since 1980,
having bought and sold several others. A 1996 Model 10 two-inch and 1998 Model 642-1. The 642 is a handy tool but uninspiring. The Model 10 snub, bought in January of 1996, is one of the nicest Smith & Wesson revolvers I've ever seen of any era. It's fit and finish is just beautiful. It is a textbook reference example of a smooth, properly timed, and tight Smith & Wesson. My dealer had to order it through his distributor and wait a bit as the two-inch Model 10 apparently was no longer a big seller at the time. Sure was delighted with it when it came in. Always felt that it was "special made" for me.

A Model 24 6 1/2-inch bought new in 1983 didn't stick around. Loved the notion of the N-Frame .44 Special in that barrel length but this one required the rear sight to be cranked all the way to the right in order to shoot to point of aim. Also, the workmanship was sloppy. The blue finish had been applied over some handling dings acquired during assembly. Sometimes I wish I'd kept it but frankly it was unsatisfying due to workmanship.

I gravitate towards the Smith & Wesson revolvers of my youth or else the guns made before Bangor Punta along with the grand pre-war revolvers. I'll purchase any of these as I can while ignoring the current catalog.
 

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Sebago Son said:
Pinning the barrel and/or recessing the charging holes in the cylinder is an Engineering / Design feature and has nothing to do with "Quality".
Drew

Well there you go folks...It's true, I use and shoot 'em all. :mrgreen:


Su Amigo,
Dave
 

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When did Smith & Wesson make this Mod. Aberration of which you speak? Was it P&R'd? :mrgreen:
Hmph. Well, when it was REVEALED to me, it had a hammer lock, a trigger lock, an accessory rail, integral scope mounts, huge rubber grips that wouldn't let a speedloader fit, some sort of fluorescent front sight thingie, and what looked like a painted black finish.

The MIM parts were nice, though, and it was nice of them to include that extra case for reloaders.

David
 
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David....

Hmmmph! :mrgreen: Consider it stolen...

Drew and I differ on the MIM change over in engineering. It pretty much coincides with the changeover to CNC and other abherrations that made the guns a glorified Taurus in my eyes...

Yep, that's right ~ I said that ....

S&W died the day that MIM and it's ilk became the norm...... :)

Love you guys, but I'm gonna go and hang out in the BP forum for the rest of the Summer... :mrgreen:

giz
 

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Gizamo said:
David....

Drew and I differ on the MIM change over in engineering. It pretty much coincides with the changeover to CNC and other abherrations that made the guns a glorified Taurus in my eyes...

giz
Never said I loved the stuff Amigo, just that I understand it and do not fear it....

That having been said, I often convert many of my pretty guns I'm going to shoot alot from MIM to forged parts, mosty because I really like the Color Hardening. My 625 Mountain Gun for instance.....

But that's most a personal preference....

Drew
 
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Drew,

Agreed you old B'stid... :eek:

When we gettin' together again, Amigo? Want to get some huntin' in this Summer and hand over that Caplock to you to try out til the Walkin' Shoot....

giz
 
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