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  1. #1
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Revolver Breakdowns.......

    The thread under Colt concerning the finest revolver ever made brought up the ralative strength of revolvers in general. I've had about as many busted revolvers as anyone, though never blew up a revolver as far as splitting the cylinder walls. I say any gun will eventually suffer a breakdown when subjected to heavy firing of heavy loaded ammunition.

    1. Dan Wesson .357 Magnum (my son-in-law's) barrel swelled inside the shroud, locking the two together. Gunsmith was unable to separate the parts, sawed off the assembly ahead of the frame to remove. New barrel and shroud required.

    2. Dan Wesson .357 Magnum (same gun) barrel stub cracked inside frame. This from metal fatigue, replaced barrel.

    3. Dan Wesson .357 Magnum (another son-in-law) Side plate bulged out did not guide hand (pawl) so cylinder did not lock up, gun fired, splitting the barrel.

    4. Colt New Service .45 Colt/.44 Special Trigger sear worn down, failed to lrotate cylinder far enough to lock up. Discovered before any damage done.

    5. Colt M1917 .45 ACP Trigger sear worn down, same as above.

    6. Colt Python .357 Magnum Trigger sear worn, discovered before damage done. This was after 5,000 rounds. The two others above were used guns when I bought them, so had no idea of the number of rounds fired.

    7. Smith & Wesson Model 29. This gun suffered broken trigger pivot pins and other internal parts. This was sent back to the factory for installation of an "endurance package."

    8. Smith & Wesson Model 29 Barrel stub cracked at about 8,000 rounds. Replaced by factory.

    9. Colt Single Action Army .357 Magnum (customized) Top strap stretched, barrel angled downward so far rear of cylinder bound against the top strap. Frame had to be re-aligned by gunsmith.

    In addition, numerous top-break revolvers that passed through my hands as a kid had worn locking lugs to the point the guns usually jumped open when the gun was fired. I learned to have a welder build up the lugs and then file them down to original contour.

    Most of these guns were magnum caliber, fired with high velocity, heavy bullet handloads, and were usually approaching the 5,000 round mark or so.


    Bob Wright

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  3. #2
    John2393's Avatar
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    That's too bad. I've owned several S&W revolvers from airlight to a bull barrel model 10 38which I fed 38 +ps in it all the time. Never had a hitch. I have only shot one Dan wesson .357 with interchangeable barrels from 4" to 14". O was neat but too blocky for me. And I've never shot a colt, except for a sat night special, and the cylinder release bit my thumb twice. To this day I won't buy a revolver except a ruger. Period. The thicker cylinder walls and the heavier frame make it rest back in my hand with such natural balance, I can't honestly say I really like any other revolver. I do like S&W but they tend to be barrel heavy to me.

    But that cracking frame, broken gun crap is unacceptable. That's how armed citizens become dead citizens. So my 2 cents...stick to rugers. The price is comparable and the double locking cylinder, the thicker cylinder wall, and the heavier built frame will feed anything. I have a mowry special 3 1/2 inch redhawk and feeding 180-210 grains is like shooting a 357 mag. I can one hand it and stay on point all the way through all 6 rounds double or single action. Up in the 240-305 gr rounds I have to hold on a bit tighter, but a 180 gr may be lighter but energy= mass x acceleration, so for less recoil I still get the boom boom to stop a Ford powerstroke. And I'm not one for wounding. Dead folks don't testify...call me a psycho, whatever, I'm not going to prison because some knucklehead pulls iron on me and his friends are there to toss his piece in the woods, and tell the law I accosted an unarmed man with deadly force. Sorry, shoulda picked smarter friends. I don't wound folks. I will punch holes in the car and send them all to hell. And not lose a minutes sleep over it. My word vs theirs, not good for me. My word vs 4 dead folks...well that's easier to explain.

  4. #3
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    I say any gun will eventually suffer a breakdown when subjected to heavy firing of heavy loaded ammunition.
    Well, yeah.

    Why do you hate Dan Wessons so much?
    Not all reloads have to be max loads...just sayin.

  5. #4
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill0084 View Post
    Well, yeah.

    Why do you hate Dan Wessons so much?
    Not all reloads have to be max loads...just sayin.
    Never said I hated Dan Wessons. They just never came into my realm of shooting. Can't say I didn't give them a try. I've put many thousands of rounds through a Dan Wesson .44 (again, not mine) but can't honestly say tthey display any superiority over another comparable revolver, Colt or S&W. So, all things being equal, I'd go with the pretty guns.

    Bob Wright

  6. #5
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John2393 View Post
    I do like S&W but they tend to be barrel heavy to me.
    That's exactly my druthers!


    But that cracking frame, broken gun crap is unacceptable. That's how armed citizens become dead citizens.

    The guns that I experienced these problems were field guns, not my social everyday gun.

    I'm a Ruger fan also, but for slick DA work, the S&W action is still far and away the best!


    Bob Wright

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    Never said I hated Dan Wessons. They just never came into my realm of shooting. Can't say I didn't give them a try. I've put many thousands of rounds through a Dan Wesson .44 (again, not mine) but can't honestly say tthey display any superiority over another comparable revolver, Colt or S&W. So, all things being equal, I'd go with the pretty guns.

    Bob Wright
    Not really implying superiority as such. I own a Colt & S&W too. The S&W gets the most use these days.
    It's just that DWs are typically considered very robust revolvers. You seem to have found their limits. I know my DW has thousands of 170gr silhouette loads through it. It has held up well considering, aside from a timing issue back in the 80s.

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    Interesting thread from you folks with far more big-banger experience than I've acquired. Always interesting.
    But, I'll have to jump in, my "retired mechanical engineer" psyche can't reist.

    Quote Originally Posted by John2393 View Post
    . . but energy= mass x acceleration, so for less recoil I still get the boom boom to stop a Ford powerstroke. . .
    Uh, sorry, no.
    Sir Isaac Newton set down his laws of physics a few centuries ago.
    They are proven, and have stood the test of time and thousands (millions ? ? ?) of experimental verifications.
    Unless you want to get into Einstein's "slight modifications" due to his "Special Theory of Relativity" (think E = M x C squared).
    Last time I checked, bullet velocity has not been able to approach the speed of light.

    So, we are back to Newton's "slower stuff".

    FORCE = Mass x Acceleration. F=MA.

    Kinetic Energy = Mass x Velocity Squared. K.E. = M x V x V.

    I'll leave it up to "the student" to answer which of his "laws" are which.

    EDIT EDIT EDIT ************************************************** **********************************
    OH CRAP, I just KNEW I shouldn't post after that third vodka and coke medication to reduce old age aches and pains.

    WE ALL KNOW that K.E. equals ONE-HALF M x V squared.
    Don't we ?

    DON'T WE ? ? ?

  9. #8
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanP_from_AZ View Post
    Interesting thread from you folks with far more big-banger experience than I've acquired. Always interesting.
    But, I'll have to jump in, my "retired mechanical engineer" psyche can't reist.



    Uh, sorry, no.
    Sir Isaac Newton set down his laws of physics a few centuries ago.
    They are proven, and have stood the test of time and thousands (millions ? ? ?) of experimental verifications.
    Unless you want to get into Einstein's "slight modifications" due to his "Special Theory of Relativity" (think E = M x C squared).
    Last time I checked, bullet velocity has not been able to approach the speed of light.

    So, we are back to Newton's "slower stuff".

    FORCE = Mass x Acceleration. F=MA.

    Kinetic Energy = Mass x Velocity Squared. K.E. = M x V x V.

    I'll leave it up to "the student" to answer which of his "laws" are which.

    EDIT EDIT EDIT ************************************************** **********************************
    OH CRAP, I just KNEW I shouldn't post after that third vodka and coke medication to reduce old age aches and pains.

    WE ALL KNOW that K.E. equals ONE-HALF M x V squared.
    Don't we ?

    DON'T WE ? ? ?
    You are correct, the formula I always used was "1/2 x Wt (grs.)/7000 x 1/32.16 x V (squared)." That reduced to "Wt x V(Squared) /450240."

    I always felt too much emphasis was placed on KE, rather than momentum. The light, fast stepping bullets always yeilded high energy figures, while the big heavy slugs shined in momentum, and, hence, penetration.

    Bob Wright

  10. #9
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    I've been away for a while, but I couldn't resist when I got home and saw your reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    . . . I always felt too much emphasis was placed on KE, rather than momentum. The light, fast stepping bullets always yeilded high energy figures, while the big heavy slugs shined in momentum, and, hence, penetration. . .
    Yep, I surely agree.
    For those big furry critters that evolution has provided with nasty teeth and nasty claws, and sometimes a nasty disposition,
    I'll go for "big heavy" every time over "little fast".

    My mountain wilderness "hiking gun" is an Alaskan in .454 Casull.
    Kinda like pretty heavy bullet, and kinda fast ! You know, have your cake and eat it too !
    However, I have never tested "my theory", and certainly hope that I never get the "opportunity".

  11. #10
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    I broke a Ruger Redhawk once. That little hook that holds one end of the mainspring busted off, so I sent it back to Ruger (this was an older, first year production model). I think they beefed it up a tiny bit, and they changed the installation from open-end-of-hook-UP, to open-end-DOWN, which also kept if from jumping off the mainspring seat under recoil (happened only occasionally, and only with hot loads, but it was a real bummer when it did, as a near-full field-strip was required to get it back up and runnin').

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    (snip)

    I always felt too much emphasis was placed on KE, rather than momentum. The light, fast stepping bullets always yeilded high energy figures, while the big heavy slugs shined in momentum, and, hence, penetration.

    Bob Wright
    I can agree with that. When I was up Alaska way, the Redhawk was always loaded with hard-cast 320 grain flat-nose slugs. These would leave a streak of Pachmayr rubber on my palm after 6 rounds, but at 1100 FPS they'd go through TWO 14-inch-thick telephone poles, back-to-back, and keep on truckin'.

    However, if you want to make soft/squishy things go "SPLAT!", then you need a Sierra or Remington 180 grain JHP ahead of a stiff charge of Win296. Out of a 7.5" Redhawk, my favorite 180 JHP load will trip the chrono at 1700+ FPS, and if you shoot a watermelon with this load inside of 25 yards, you'll be picking melon-pulp and seeds out of your hair for hours. Lotsa fun!
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
    However, if you want to make soft/squishy things go "SPLAT!", then you need a . . . Out of a 7.5" Redhawk, my favorite 180 JHP load will trip the chrono at 1700+ FPS, and if you shoot a watermelon with this load inside of 25 yards, you'll be picking melon-pulp and seeds out of your hair for hours. Lotsa fun!
    OK, when I'm out in "my Nat'l Forest" I don't want sticky crap on my body.

    So, I just have fun "dealing" with gallon milk jugs filled with water. Previously rinsed well, of course. At 25 yards.

    The first time I did this in front of my girlfriend, I started with my wimpy .38 Special J-frame. Then .38 +P stuff.
    Then .45 LC out of my 1873 clone.
    Then .45 LC out of my Ruger Alaskan.
    All just a good time watching (and her video-taping) some water splashing.

    Then, my "mountain wilderness" hiking full power .454 Casull hunting load.
    What she said after "getting hit" with water from 25 yards away sorta invalidated the video-tape for "family showings".

  13. #12
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanP_from_AZ View Post
    OK, when I'm out in "my Nat'l Forest" I don't want sticky crap on my body.

    So, I just have fun "dealing" with gallon milk jugs filled with water. Previously rinsed well, of course. At 25 yards.

    The first time I did this in front of my girlfriend, I started with my wimpy .38 Special J-frame. Then .38 +P stuff.
    Then .45 LC out of my 1873 clone.
    Then .45 LC out of my Ruger Alaskan.
    All just a good time watching (and her video-taping) some water splashing.

    Then, my "mountain wilderness" hiking full power .454 Casull hunting load.
    What she said after "getting hit" with water from 25 yards away sorta invalidated the video-tape for "family showings".
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

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