New S&W 638 very difficult to cock, is that normal?

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    1. #1
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      New S&W 638 very difficult to cock, is that normal?

      I just traded in an old S&W 649 for a new S&W 638 at a gunshow. Brought the new 638 home and started dry-firing with snap caps. It is extremely difficult to cock the hammer, especially at one cylinder (I need to use both thumbs, and really bear down). I tried with the chambers empty, and get the same result. I never had that problem with the 649.

      I called S&W customer service, and they said I should fire 100 live rounds and it should loosen up and be much easier to cock. If not, I should call them back and they will send me a shipping label to send them the 638.

      Is this "difficult to cock" phenomenon common, or should I be concerned? Right now this 638 is only useful as DAO.

    2. #2
      Senior Member TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
      I just traded in an old S&W 649 for a new S&W 638 at a gunshow. Brought the new 638 home and started dry-firing with snap caps. It is extremely difficult to cock the hammer, especially at one cylinder (I need to use both thumbs, and really bear down). I tried with the chambers empty, and get the same result. I never had that problem with the 649.

      I called S&W customer service, and they said I should fire 100 live rounds and it should loosen up and be much easier to cock. If not, I should call them back and they will send me a shipping label to send them the 638.

      Is this "difficult to cock" phenomenon common, or should I be concerned? Right now this 638 is only useful as DAO.
      was it this way at the gun show? i have never had this happen in any gun i have ever owned or sold thru my shop.

      if this was a "break in" issue, it should be a uniform problem with ALL the cylinder positions , doesnt sound kosher to me. i would NOT fire it, because if it is so difficult to move the hammer, is the cylinder actually locking up in each position? i would send it back right away.

    3. #3
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      Hi Scary Bear;
      There doesn't seem to be any lockup of the cylinder at all when dry-firing in double action at any chamber position. When trying to cock the hammer it is difficult in all cylinder positions, but appears to be more difficult in one particular position. I notice that occasionally the "very difficult" chamber position becomes "just difficult" every now and then (meaning I don't need to use both thumbs and grunt- just one thumb and a grunt).

      The gun show I was at requires all guns to have a "ty-wrap" in the chamber, so I wasn't able to dry fire beforing buying.

    4. #4
      Senior Member TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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      imho it needs to go back and you should rethink a gunshow purshase that doesnt let you check out the gun you are buying..... a cheap price doesnt save you much money when you get a gun that has issues.

    5. #5
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      Yep, I learned a lesson today. I will call S&W customer service in the morning. Thanks for your advice!

    6. #6
      Senior Member denner's Avatar
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      A S&W revolver action should be smooth as butter, perhaps one of the best stock triggers out there. This gun has an issue.

    7. #7
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      Is this one of the newer models with the safety key lock? If so, maybe it is partially engaged?

    8. #8
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      I sent this 638 back to Smith & Wesson for warranty work, and received it back today. They said they replaced the extractor, and it was a "long ratchet" issue (not sure what that means). It is still difficult to cock when using red plastic snap caps, so I call S&W customer service. Steve (nice guy) thought it was because I was using plastic snap caps, and that rims of actual cartridges are thinner than plastic snap caps and shouldn't cause a problem. It is fairly easy to cock without snap caps in the cylinder, but one cylinder still seems slightly harder to cock than the others. Not sure if I should call it good and take it to the range to fire or not.

    9. #9
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      Clean it thorougly and try it again. Carbon build up can make a revolver hard to cycle.

    10. #10
      Member wjh2657's Avatar
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      I EDC S&W revolvers exclusively. I have now 5 J-Frames as well as a 686 and an old M&P (Model 10). This type of action would not be acceptable to me. No revolver should ever be binding up like this. I would definitely not carry this weapon for self-defense! I do my own armorer work on my own pistols and if I had one act like this it would go back to S&W until it worked or I would retire the weapon. This behavior for a S&W revolver is not typical or acceptable. Ther is something more wrong with this gun.

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