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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Forgive my tirade as this may be but I would like to get some facts.

I always hear about the k frame smith not being able to stand a steady diet of heavy 357 magnum loads. It seems that the hot 125's are the worst offenders if you can beleive what you read and hear. Have you or anyone you know killed one?, How many rounds and what kind did it take?

Last year I picked up a smith 65-3 with the 3 inch barrel and roundbut grip frame. It was a police trade in and while I picked what I thought was the best of the several the dealer had this one has some mileage on it.

I bought the gun wanting a little more ump for day to day carry than the little 637 I find myself with lots of times these days. I also wanted a smith 357 magnum k frame. It seems I have been going through revolver withdrawals ever since my dept. took our 66's and 686's several years ago and issued semi's.
Since I planned on toting it some, and everyones's advice was the 3 inch round but was the cat's meow, so I got one.

I have really fell for the little sixgun, it shoots great, the heavy barrel has just enough weight up front to make the 357 magnum loads more user friendly than my old 66 and is not too heavy for day to day carry when doing chores around the house.

While using and shooting the 65, especially one like mine with some usage, longevity is something I have been wondering about.

It will see much more shooting with 38 special level loads than full bore magnums but I still need to know where my carry load will hit with reguard to point of aim and how recoil feels for rapid shot recovery, etc. etc.
So it will get some heavy load usage, how much can I shoot it before I wear it out, shoot it loose, crack a forcing cone, whatever???

And if the day comes when I have shot it loose, ( I use this term loosely, but it's seen commonly in reference to magnum k frames) Is it now a paperweight???
Can it be fixed, can it be rebarreled or rebuilt??

I would like to hear from some of you who has themselves or know other people who have shot their k frames to death, What did they do, with said corpse???

I think I am going to enjoy mine, shoot it and carry it all I want and keep my eyes open for another one to put up in case I find mine has died on me suddenly.

Sorry for this long of post, but if you are still reading you have probably wondered some of the same things as I have.
Let me hear your take on this subject.

Joey S aka 308
 

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Sorry to say, but yes, your prized M65 is going to shoot loose using magnum loads. In fact, if you shoot factory magnums in it, you'll start noticing the difference in about 10,000 - 20,000 rounds.

In other words, don't worry about it--any mechanical device will wear out with enough use, but you'd be surprised how hard it's going to be to wear out a quality sixgun, especially if you stick to .38 Specials for most of your shooting. That gun will last longer than you will.

Your mileage may vary. If you reload and like to push the envelope, you might manage to break something inside the first 100 rounds, but factory ammunition isn't going to be a problem. It's said that very hot, light bullet loads (i.e. 110 grain), can accelerate flame cutting of the frame, but again, I doubt that you'd shoot enough of them to do any catastrophic damage.

Oddly enough, an N frame .357 will go out of time before a K frame will, due to the extra weight of the cylinder.
 

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Hello. Keep an eye on the forcing cone at the 6 o' clock position where the flat is milled to let the yoke pass when the cylinder is in the gun and ready for firing. This area can crack. I've seen it on two and both had received a rather steady diet of Remington 125-gr. SJHP in the full magnum load. Current 125's I've check other than Corbon are not quite as fast as in year's past. This might help reduce that potential problem.

Best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mr Ray and Mr Camp, thank you for the information. I will not ever fire 10000 rounds of full magnums through it in my life time.
Mr. Camp, on those you observed as being cracked, could they be repaired ? Would a barrel change fix them?
All in all a k frame is still a nice package would'nt you say? Joey S aka 308
 

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Hello. I think the K-frames are little jewels. In the past the fix has been to replace the barrel. I do not know if S&W is still doing this or will quit when their supply of K-frame barrels is expended as they are discontinuing the K-frame magnums.

Best.
 
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SAC, you hit the nail on the head. If anything is going to cause untimely wear on a K-Frame it is hot 125gr loads. Other than a steady load of these enjoy your K-Frame as they are a great revolver. Regards, Richard
 

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Another factor in premature wear in a Smith is slamming the cylinder open and closed practicing 'speed reloads'.

I've seen guns that were loose as a goose that had never seen a +P .38 or hot .357 load.


Regards,

Pat
 
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It's worth noting that S&W does a very nice job of fixing worn-out old revolvers.

I had some timing problems with my S&W M65 3", which was a PD trade-in. I shot around 10,000 rounds through it over a couple of years, of which only a small number were full-house magnums. Most were 38 Spl 158 gr +P loads. It started to misfire after the second year, and my local smith couldn't fix it, he said. The pawl on the back of the cylinder had worn to the point where it wasn't being properly indexed by the hand. This meant that S&W would have to install a new ejector & pawl and fit it to the gun.

We sent the M65 off to S&W and it came back 3 weeks later working perfectly. IIRC, the total cost, including shipping, was about $50. Turnaround time, price, and workmanship was/is unbelievable in this day and age, where custom gunsmithing typically means you won't get your gun back for 6 months and at a hefty price.

I have fired another 10,000 rounds through this revolver since S&W redid the cylinder, and it's still working perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Doc Rocket, thanks for your post. That is what I had hoped to hear from someone. I can use my smith without worry, and if and when the time comes S&W can make it nearly new again.
Good post and good info, Joey S
 
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A local dealer got in a shipment of police trade in parts guns. A bunch of 19-3's, 13's and 10's. Of the ten 19's I looked at, four had cracked forcing cones. The crack was at the bottom of the forcing cone and ran parralel to the barrel. Just one single crack that dissapeared into the threaded area of the frame. There were no chunks blown out. That was the first time I had ever seen that in close to 30 years of shooting. Granted, these were obviously scrapped out becasue of the forcing cone and other unrepairable wear, but to see that many at one time was still amazing. They were all well worn Police guns. No idea on the history of them at all, but, most police guns aren't shot that much at all. I still carry my 65 3 inch and not worry about it at all, but I carry 158 GR lead semiwadcutters in it.
 

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The big problem with rear end barrel failure is that S&W no longer has barrels for chrome-moly(blue) guns in the K frame size-or so some have reported .A friend of mine who lost the rear end of a M-19 barrel told me pretty much the same sad story.Shoot light for practice-shoot heavy for serious!Ciao
 

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As I understand it the K frames were made for a 158 grain load. The 125 grain load puts a lot of pressure on the cone, much more than the 158.
 
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both had received a rather steady diet of Remington 125-gr. SJHP in the full magnum load. Current 125's I've check other than Corbon are not quite as fast as in year's past.
I shot some recent vintage Remington 125 grain hollowpoints through a chrony and mean average velocities were 1542 fps
 

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In February, I had to have the barrel on my M19-4 replaced due to a split forcing cone. I was unable to find a 4" bbl to replace the original. I finally found a 2 1/2 " barrel at Clark Custom Guns in Louisana. I had them do their service action job, chamfer the chambers,and narrow and polish the trigger. It's now a smooth actioned, easlily concealed, magnum carry gun. But I practice with 158 gr lrn handloads, and carry Corbon 125 gr jhp magnums.
 

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It appears that there are no replacement "chrome-moly" barrels at S&W.If you must shoot hot loads then it would behove you to start looking for a replacement barrel now(gunsmith,gunshow,etc) before you really need it.Practice does not require the use of hot "duty"loads the Airforce and the Navy-they are real shy of practicing with real"Nukes" but their practice bombs probably work just fine for practice!!! Will
 
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If you can catch forcing cone erosion BEFORE cracking begins, the barrel can be turned and a fresh forcing cone can be cut to new metal. On a K-frame, the most susceptible spot is the thinner 6-o'clock position where the forcing cone is cut flat on the bottom to accept the cylinder crane.

Barrel turning/forcing cone cutting can be done twice, MAYBE three times max, depending on severity before the first turn. But if you wait until a crack begins in your forcing cone, the barrel is shot and cannot be turned, but only be replaced. Bad news? S&W has NO more K-frame barrels and they're mostly gone from other suppliers of used parts as well! So in many cases, unless you're really lucky to find a barrel, your gun is SHOT!

What to do? Shoot heavier weight bullets like 145 and 158 gr. (avoid factory 125 gr. .357 loads, except occasionally) and keep a good eye on your forcing cone. If it's starting to look knarly, send it off to S&W for a "turn of the barrel" and then when you get it back, start paying more attention to the loads you're shooting and the wear you're creating.

The most wear on the forcing cone has been associated with the 1450 fps 125 gr. factory loads. Better to stick with 1250 fps 145 gr. SIlvertips, 1200 fps 158 gr. Gold Dots, or similar loads which aren't so damaging to the forcing cone. I think they're better for defense use anyway, than 125 grainers. (Because of penetration and weight retention.) But for the bulk of your shooting, lighter loadings (not lighter bullet weights) are more enjoyable and less wearing on the gun and the shooter.

Also be aware that ALL guns wear with continued use and ANY gun can be worn out with enough heavy loads. Some will just wear a bit more quickly with heavy/hot/fast loads. If you want it to last, use some care and treat it well. If you don't mind wearing it out, treat it however the heck you want. Just be aware, S&W .357 K-frame guns are NOT being made anymore!
 
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My first centerfire handgun was a M19 4" purchased in 1970. 10K+ rounds of 1250 fps .357 Magnum 158 grain reloads were put through the gun before it started to be a little loose. Went back to the factory about 1975 and came back bright nickel with a pinned in blue ramp with yellow insert. Shot the gun for another 10K rounds before selling it about 1979. In the history of the gun only 6 .38 Special rounds were fired from that M19. Don't know what more one could ask of a mechanical devise that has to endure that kind of pressure.

Bob
 
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I just got a NEW never fired model 19-7 6" barrel.

OMG, Best $420 ive ever spent.

Trigger pull / action is awesome and its very fun to shoot with full power 158gr loads.

It certainly doesnt feel the Gun is suffering much with those loads.

Its my most accurate handgun by far [G17, G27, Kimber 5" etc].

Incredibly I can put it IWB and go about my daily business [but i never do being such a nice , discontinued revolver] no problem.

I love K frames. So im gonna get another one
, maybe a 4" 19 or a 3" model 13.
 
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