|...and now here's Al|
with the Weather.
When did the quality die? I shot a Model 57 from the 70's. Beautiful glossy blue barrel a grip that bit into the hand but was not too aggressive and I shot 6 rounds under 3" at 25 yards with it. I did something similar with my dads Model 10 from 1969.
When did they stop being well made into the rough triggers I seem to feel from the ones from today.
But then of course I might be a 13 year old girl who reads alot of gun magazines, so feel free to disregard anything I post.
I wouldn't say that the quality started off high and took a dive. It's more like they continued to make improvements until production standards became cost prohibitive. I have a Model 29-2 that has a canted barrel. It came from the factory that way. It has all the usual signs of quality like a pinned barrel and recessed cylinder. I have a 629-3 in the same configuration with the endurance package and pressed barrel that came out years later that I would consider to be of higher quality.
Personally I don't buy anything newer than mid 90's production. But that is only because I don't like MIM parts, internal locks and I prefer the firing pin mounted on the hammer. It doesn't mean the newer production guns aren't quality. They just don't have features I desire.
Hey I will give you the simple answer. anything 1995 and below is good to go....lol
Evil Triumphs When Good Men Do Nothing
I would suggest that it started to slip in the mid’70s when the Dirty Harry craze was in full bloom, and S&W was playing catch-up with 29s for sure, and other models as well. Then the Bangor Punta group took over and it slipped even more. But to be fair, Colt was leaking oil at this time as well. Winchester had already had their Dunkirk, in ‘63.
When hand finishing became too costly, only the companies with progressive manufacturing techniques were able to thrive, like Remington and Ruger.
|The Whack-Job |
Around 2001 when Safety Hammer purchased S&W. First they installed the idiot lock and changed the frame lines.
Then they proceeded to cheapen up the manufacturing and construction. These days they can't even put the barrels on straight.
The Performance Center, once a hallmark of quality, is simply another production line in the main factory. You are paying for the famous roll mark. Nothing more.
As far as I'm concerned S&W went out of business in 2001. I have not purchased one of their brand new products since then and have no intention of ever doing so again.
Unless of course they get bought out by a gun manufacturer. Regards 18DAI
Blue lives matter.
About the time the "radiused stud package" rolled out. If you have the S&W Standard catalogue, you can see where in the series of dashes (-) that a model had the pining and recessing deleted, and when the MIM parts replaced forged ones.
In the 'Expanded 5th Edition' of Jerry Kuhnhausen's Smith and Wesson Shop manual, there is a chapter devoted to MIM, the above mentioned stud package and the other factors that lead to the decline in S&Ws quality. Jerry shows multiple pictures and shares his experiences in the matter. The pictures really showed the difference in construction.
Jerry's comment "Smith and Wesson went from a gun company to a company that made guns" explains the culture shift.
I'd say in the early 70's, from my recollection.
---------------The Answer Is There Is No Answer---------------
I think it’s a two part answer and I addressed the first decline and 18DAI the second.
Although I have a Performance Center 627 UDR that is seriously well made (see avatar) with superb trigger pulls and no fit or finish issues, it probably is the exception and not the rule.
A lot of S&W revolvers can’t pass my “hands on” exams.
|addicted to trailing-throttle oversteer|
No kidding. Our No.1 return-for-service is anything S&W marked 'Performance Center', across all manufacturers and their brands. Not a revolver, but our most recent calamity is a PC Shield9 that locks open on racking without ever engaging the slide stop of even a magazine in the well. From what I could tell the chamber block of the barrel catches on the machined rear lightening/port holes in the slide. Only a firm grip holding the open slide completely back and at the same time some jiggling of the barrel frees the action so it can return to battery. Yeah, that's 'performance' all right...bad performance.
It's interesting about the modern guns, with CNC frames and MIM parts... it's so much easier to action work on them, everything is true, flat, square. And yet even the best of them feel like crap to me. They may be smooth and light, but they feel like cheap toys.
Sliced bread, the greatest thing since the 1911.
There were plenty of problems with guns made back in "the good ole days.
I have limited experience.... I grew up with two S&W 38's and they shot well... may post a picture of the one I will get around to sending to the Museum in Quantico one day....
the only S&w Revolver I have bought is a model 19, probably from the 70's and it is the finest revolver I own.... damn well made and a perfect trigger....
Older Smith's were better? Gee, I don't know .
I've owned plenty of Smith's from the 70's to today and honestly don't see much difference between them. Granted, the older pre-EPA bluing was deep and lustrous, but also wore off more quickly. Today, my preference is stainless in any-case, so no big deal. And no, I couldn't care less about the lock. Have some of both and don't pay any attention to it.
In my book, any Smith is preferable to the Tupperware stuff being pushed today.
If you are any kind of S&W guy you know the Bangor Punta years were the best years of the company hands down....The guns and finishes were outstanding. When Tompkins took over S&W they also did a great job in the 1970-2000....Saf-T-Hammer totally screwed up the brand with the damn locks and sleeved barrels...
Evil Triumphs When Good Men Do Nothing
Interesting stuff here. Thanks to all for posting as this is pertinent to my old gun.
That said, quick question: Have a no-dash 586 that has some rusting...contemplating sending it to S&W for the mod and a re-finish/re-blue. Should I send it to S&W for the re-blue or is there a better option?
tempus edax rerum
I worked in a gun shop for few years. This was from the mid to later 1970's. Yes along time ago.
Even back then we saw changes in the S&W quality. When we'd go to log one in we'd always be saying hey come look at this.
In the last 6 months I've bought 3 Shields and a 442 & 642. Just looking at the J frames I see a big change in the S&W quality and the cheapeness from my early J frames. I swore I'd never buy a S&W semi auto but I have to admit I like the Shields at least so far. 2 of them I haven't fired yet but I have shot others before.
Don't get me started on the crap Ruger is sending out today. I refuse to buy anymore Ruger's until they can turn it around. I'm speaking from experience not hearsay.
*** A Proud NRA Benefactor Member***
|The Whack-Job |
Send it to Fords in Florida. They have craftsmen at Fords. It will look brand new when you get it back.
I wouldn't send anything to the current company posing as s&w. Good luck! Regards 18DAI
Blue lives matter.
Two things to consider about old versus new revolvers (that apply to Colt's as well as S&W):
The highest-paid workers were the polishers and finishers, usually senior employees that had worked their way up the ladder and spent many years with the company. It's hard to nurture that level of craftsmanship today at a corporate level.
As far as smoothness of actions, some of those revolvers have decades' worth of live and dry-fire behind them. I've handled LNIB M&Ps and OPs/Police Positives from the 1930s that were nothing special as far as SA or DA triggers went.
in my opinion "mid 70's" is not "older Smiths" 1950-1969 make some beautiful guns, I am lucky enough to own some.
from the abyss
I have an early 80s 629 and a Mountain Gun. Both are flawless and I can find no difference between them and my dad's 50s model Highway Patrolman (other than my brother got the HP instead of me). So, if there is any decline in quality, it would have to be after that IME.
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy." Winston Churchill
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