Here's how they work..
The barrel is screwed into the frame. The barrel doesn't need to be timed since the sights are now on the sleeve. The cylinder gap is much easier to set since that step is now seperate from sight alignment all together
The barrel has some external threads that the sleeve mates to in the next assembly step. It appears they use some form of thread lock to set the sleeve onto the barrel.
The sleeve is then screwed to the barrel, and adjusted to make the sights properly align to the frame.. This alignment step seems to be the biggest complaint of the new sleeved barrel assemblies. It's not uncommon for the sleeve to be canted out of correct position, and shipped to the stores that way.
It's pretty simple, and it saves a fortune in raw material costs compared to making a full sized barrel and then adding the labor costs to properly time the barrel to the frame, and setting the cylinder gap with the forcing cone
So everything is held in place with the barrel/ liner threads into the frame and the barrel/liner cannot be easily separated from the sleeve. I read where a special tool is required for disassembly. What whoyld the tool be for? Thanks for your reply.
The tool is designed to fit the sleeve properly so it can be turned out without marking, denting, or damaging the sleeve or the frame.
I presently have a revolver with a damaged sleeve, and trust me, without using the correct tools to remove the sleeve there is no way on this earth I'd attempt to remove it without the proper tools. It will eventually go back to S&W's Service Center for replacement. Nobody here in Knoxville wants to mess with it.
Removing and/or replacing the sleeve and/or barrel is better left up to the pros, because if the parts are not reassembled to spec, the gun becomes dangerous, especially if the cylinder gap is set incorrectly.
DW used the method to set b/c gap and tension the barrel. S&W is not using their method for either purpose. It is strictly an easier way to put a rifled barrel on a revolver. S&W has never intended for it to be used for interchangeable barrel lengths.