Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

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Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby evan price » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:27 pm

After a long vacation (and time off for good behavior) We decided to take another crack at this.
Mini-Evan has been champing at the bit to do something else. I swear the guy's a camera hog sometimes.
So, without further ado-


A Guide to Disassembly of the Smith & Wesson Revolver, by Mini-Me

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Howdy, folks! It's Mini-Evan, with another informative piece. My buddies and me were hanging out on top of the gun safe and we noticed a lot of these ehre S&W revolvers stacked in there. So we decided, why not make up a little show and tell?

Let's start with some of the basics- nomenclature of the Smith & Wesson variations. There were a lot of "K"-frames to look at so we picked some good ones.


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This is a Model 66, no dash. The 66 is a 357 Magnum Stainless-Steel 6-shot revolver.
As Smith & Wesson made changes, they added a dash and a number to the model. For example, 66-1, 66-2, etc.
A No-Dash is the original first model of the model type. In this case, this particular revolver is a first issue No-Dash, because the sights are stainless steel.
Later models (even of the No-Dash 66) they made the sights blackened steel for better contrast.
This model is "Pinned & recessed".

What does that mean?


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The barrel is screwed into the frame and secured by a pin driven through the shank of the barrel. Here, where I'm pointing.
This feature was eliminated in 1982 when Smith & Wesson decided to go to crush-fit barrels to save manufacturing cost.


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The charge holes in the cylinder are machined below the surface of the top of the cylinder, so that the shell case heads are flush with the top of the cylinder and not sitting on top of it.
This was done to fully support the case heads for the strong Magnum cartridges.
It was eliminated in 1982 to save manufacturing expense as S&W decided it was no longer needed.


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The Model 66 also has a partial barrel underlug with shrouded ejector rod. You can see the ejector rod is enclosed by the barrel underlug.


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This is a Model 10 revolver. It is also a "K"-frame. It is chambered in 38 Special.
You can see that the ejector rod is not shrouded.


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This Model 10 also has a pinned barrel. Obviously, it is a Pre-1982 model.


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The Model 10 cylinder is NOT recessed; none of the 38 specials were.


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This model is a S&W Model of 1905, 4th change. This is the model that came before the Model 10 the grandfather of the modern S&W revolver..
There are only slight differences but to collectors they can be profound.
For example, you will notice that the ejector rod end cap is mushroom shaped and the barrel has been relieved underneath for it to fit correctly.
This is a good indicator of a pre-1930 gun.
Depending on caliber S&W used parts which in more common calibers were not available, but in odder calibers might still be in stock.
S&W did not throw away good parts just because of a change in appearance. So things like mushroom knobs are not always 100% indicators of date, but close anyway.
S&W went to a slightly smaller ejector knob in 1930 and through WWII. After WWII S&W eliminated the notch in the bottom of the barrel and the ejector knob is the familiar one we know today.


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You'll notice this 1905 4th change also sports a pinned barrel. The cylinder is NOT recessed (this is a 38 special and predates the 357 Magnum anyway!)


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You may hear people talk about a "5-screw" action.
In the top of the sideplate there is an extra screw.
This was removed in 1957 when S&W added a lip in the sideplate to replace the screw.
It will become more clear when we examine the Model 66 in more detail.


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In the front of the triggerguard there is another screw for pretensioning the cylinder-stop spring.
This went away in 1961.
Smith & Wesson also changed the action style on these revolvers in the 1950's.
Early models had what is called a "Long Action" or "Long Throw Hammer"; the later models had a shorter hammer throw and are called "Short Action" models.
They moved the hammer pin and changed the lockwork to add a hammer-block safety.
The exact change date varies by model and sometimes within model variations as parts were phased in or out.


So, that's a basic intro to the Smith & Wesson Military & Police revolver. Also known as the M&P, or the "K"-frame revovler.
The "L" and "N" frames are similar, just a bit bigger. Most S&Ws are very similar to this.

Next, we'll dive into the Model 66 and break it down into the basic parts.
"20% accurate as usual, Morty."

Striking down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!
Carpe Noctem- we get more done after 2 am than most people do all day.
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby evan price » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:57 pm

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To recap:

This is a Smith & Wesson 357 Magnum, Model 66 No-Dash, First Issue revolver. It's a "K"-frame (Arguably the most popular gun S&W ever made.)
It sports a 4" barrel and walnut target grips. It is made from stainless-steel.

I'd like to take a moment to touch on the importance of using good tools when working on guns.
The guns in this article were all acquired used and usually were police trades. They saw a lot of work and got carried a lot.
They were often maintained as just the tools that they are and they show it- screw slots with bugger marks, scratches in the finish, rounded out screw holes.
If you have a good set of screwdrivers that fit the screws well it will prevent these 'idiot marks' as they are called.
You can do everything in these pictures with only three screwdrivers and a dental pick if you are careful and take your time.


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First things first- Using an appropriate screwdriver, remove the screw holding the grips on the frame.


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The grips are retained by a roll pin driven through the heel of the grip frame and will usually pop off with a bit of fingertip jiggling.

You can also see the screw head poking through the front of the frame at the heel. This is the strain screw. It tensions the main spring.
If you are planning on removing the sideplate you need to back off the strain screw to remove the tension from the mainspring.
This is because the pin that locates the hammer in the frame will only be supported on one side with the sideplate removed, and it is possible to strain the pin with off-center loading.
I've never heard of a pin bending or breaking, but the strain screw needs to be loosened anyway so might as well not take the chance!


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Next, remove the three screws that hold the sideplate on. The screw closest to the trigger also retains the yoke and cylinder assembly.
Note that the rearmost screw has a flat head and is a bit shorter. This screw must go back in the hole it came out of.


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You might be tempted at this point to take your screwdriver and gently start to pry the sideplate off of the frame.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T DO IT!!!
The sideplate fits very tightly into the frame. Its fitting is a skill as fine as watchmaking.
Prying will damage the edges as they meet and leave a raised ridge around the edge.
Instead, turn the gun over with the sideplate over a soft cloth. (I hold my hand under the sideplate)
Take a plastic-handled screwdriver and strike the frame of the revolver at the horn several times, sharply.
The sideplate will vibrate and pop loose all on its own, without buggering it up. The plastic handle won't scar up your frame.


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This is what you will see inside. There is a small metal bar that fits in a channel in the sideplate that will have fallen out.
This is the hammer bar. In this picture, it is installed to show how it fits in place.


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Here's the removed sideplate. The piece I'm holding is the hammer bar.


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Here's another good picture of the action, minus the hammer bar. Remember this, because it will help when putting it back together!


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My big friend is helping me with the frame.
At this point, the entire yoke and cylinder assembly can be opened, and then slid forward out of the frame.


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The yoke just slips off of the cylinder.


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The ejector rod is threaded onto the ejector. It is REVERSE THREADED. That means righty loosy, lefty tighty.
It's a good idea to stick a couple of fired cases in the cylinder to support the ejector star when you unscrew the ejector rod.
There's only two little pins and a notch machined in the shaft that catches a groove in the cylinder otherwise that hold it.
It is cheap insurance to avoid damaging something.


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Once the ejector rod is unscrewed, you can break apart the cylinder and ejector parts.
Don't loose the springs.
Top row is ejector star, yoke lock shaft, and spring.
Bottom row is ejector spring, ejector rod bushing and ejector rod.


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Some S&W revolvers have a trigger overtravel adjustment.
That's the teeny-tiny screw there just behind the trigger normally covered by the sideplate.
It can be used to move the trigger overtravel stop to make the trigger firmly stop after the hammer falls.
Making this too tight can make the gun not reset the trigger if it gets dirty.
Adjustments should be made with caution.
Not all the revolvers will have this screw.


The next section we'll pull apart the action itself.
"20% accurate as usual, Morty."

Striking down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!
Carpe Noctem- we get more done after 2 am than most people do all day.
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby evan price » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:04 pm

In previous posts we got the action open on a S&W revolver.
Now, we'll dive into the action itself.


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Remove the strain screw we loosened earlier.
Then remove the main spring by unhooking it from the hammer stirrup.
Note that the end of the spring is made to fit into a shaped notch in the bottom of the lower strap.
The notch in the spring must go back in the frame notch or the gun won't work right when reassembled.


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Now comes the part of the job that everybody fears- removing the rebound slide.
There is a fairly stiff coil spring inside the rebound block.
If you are not careful it will KA-SPROING!! somewhere and never be seen again.
It's really not that bad. Honestly.
Put the action of the gun in a plastic bag and remove the rebound slide if it worries you.
There's a fairly simple tool that is sold to deal with this spring and the slide block itself.
However it's a single-tasker and I can't see spending the cash for it.
A careful touch with a stiff screwdriver compresses the spring and lets the slide block come out without putting one's eye out.


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Here's the rebound spring. It's stiff, but it can be worked with.
On the top of the rebound slide block there's a teeny-tiny pin that the hammer block's lower slot will rest over.
On some guns this pin is not press fit, it just slips in, and it can be lost.
If it falls out on the carpet you WILL spend time looking for it with a magnet. Be careful!


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The hammer can now be removed by partially cocking it (Have to hold the bolt/cylinder release forward first) and wiggling it out.


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Here's the hammer assembly. You can see the main spring stirrup (the little swinging T-bar thingy) and the double action sear.
That's the flat, spring loaded piece in the face of the hammer.


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The small flipper-looking thing attached to the trigger is the Hand.
It is what turns the cylinder when the revolver is cocked or fired.
It attaches to the trigger with two pins and a torsion spring inside the trigger itself.


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The trigger & hand assembly can be worked out of the frame at this time. Some jiggling is expected.
You can remove the hand from the trigger, but if you do, you will need to make sure the pins are properly engaged in the torsion spring in the trigger.


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The action parts look like stainless steel. In reality they are hard-chromed. Stainless steel tends to gall and when it rubs on itself, even more so.
To avoid this, S&W hard-chromed the hammer & trigger. It's why the color does not match the stainless, it looks dull.

Here's a shot of the sear surfaces on the hammer and trigger.
It is really tempting to take a diamond stone to these notches and edges to smooth them out.
Unless you have a stoning jig I would not advise it.
The angles are cut at the factory and then surface hardened.
If you don't have a jig to hold the angle right you can actually ruin the engagement by breaking the sharp angles or making it wavy.
Since the surface hardening is only a few thousandths thick, any over aggressive stoning (Like to repair a sloppy angle you cut) will break through the hard layer and into the soft layer.
That ruins the sear surfaces and causes premature wear.
You can also cut away too much and wind up with a gun that the hammer pushes off the sear when you smack the cocked hammer with your hand.
This is very dangerous.
The only repair is to replace the hammer & trigger assemblies. They don't make these bar-stock forged hammers & triggers anymore.
Nowadays they are MIM parts. They don't interchange the same way.
My advice- unless you are a skilled S&W gunsmith with the tools and know-how, don't muck with the hammer & trigger except for some light stoning of the sides if you see any roughness.


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This is the cylinder stop. It is what holds the cylinder at a particular position.


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It has a small spring that fits into the frame to pre-load it.
It's another of those things that you can lose if you are not careful.


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You just use a small dental pick to rotate the stop down under the frame, then pop it up and out of the frame, taking care not to lose the spring.


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Here's the cylinder stop and the spring.


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Now we remove the bolt assembly.
Unscrew the screw in the center of the cylinder release and pop off the cylinder release.


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Turn the frame back over and work the bolt assembly out of the frame.


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Warning! There's a tiny rod and spring in the back end of the bolt. Don't lose them either!
Here's the rod and the spring from the bolt.



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There's the entire gun, taken apart as far as is practical with hand tools.
If you want to remove the rear sight, remove the screws holding it to the top strap.
The barrel can be removed by driving out the pin with a cup punch and then unscrewing it with a barrel vise and an action wrench.
That's above the level of disasembly I think most of us are going to be comfortable with. Really, that's a gunsmith job.
If you mess up working on the barrel it's easy to ruin the frame.
They don't make "K" frames anymore so the gun would be junk.
There's no reason to remove the barrel even to do the most thorough cleaning I can imagine.
The frame pins can be pressed out but- that's a gunsmith job to avoid messing up the frame.
I also did not remove the trigger stop and screw.
That was because on this revolver, it was set the way Evan likes it and he didn't want to mess around with it.
If you want, it's just removing that tiny screw and pulling out the stop.


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So there you have it, a Smith & Wesson "K"-frame torn to bits.
Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly.

Stay tuned, I'll be back with more.


--Mini-Evan
"20% accurate as usual, Morty."

Striking down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!
Carpe Noctem- we get more done after 2 am than most people do all day.
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby Sevens » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:29 am

That's absolutely, mind-numbingly, outrageously, purely, most awesomely, ridiculously cool. 8)

Only one nitpick -- they do still make K-frames, they just don't make K-frame .357 Magnum revolvers anymore.

Mini-Evan must be tired after all that posing and lifting. :oops:
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby Brian D. » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:22 am

Sevens, believe it or not Mini-Evan was so popular from his previous "How to take apart a..." video that some people** asked if he could make an appearance at Picnic in the Park. And lo and behold he did come along with Maxi-Evan one year.

**Okay, in this case "people" means me. Yeah I'm a little starstruck, and Mini-Evan is certainly a little star. (I got a kick out of meeting Mickey Rooney out in Las Vegas one time, too, so at least I'm consistent.)

EP I guess these threads are kinda work-intensive, especially if the cast and props aren't being fully cooperative. They are a terrific way to get people to learn about their guns though, no foolin'.
Quit worrying, hide your gun well, shut up, and CARRY that handgun!

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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby Mr. Glock » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:15 am

Mini-Me...stop (inappropriate word) the laser :mrgreen:

Gotta love Mini-EP...great job.
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby jose45 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:27 pm

Thanks so much for posting,Wonderful info for S&W K frame lovers.Very nice. :D
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby pro-gun » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:21 am

Does "Mini-Me" do work on other firearms or just S&W's? :D
Bet he would be good finding those springs that shoot across the room.
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby MrKitty » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:23 am

Fantastic, Evan!! I could only imagine how much time that took to put together and having mini-EP do all that modeling for us. xD Seriously, great write up! Thanks for sharing it with us!!
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby medmandan » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:52 pm

I do not have, nor have I ever owned a S&W Revolver but read through this with great interest anyways...bravo sir!! Highly entertaining!
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby sigbrown1297 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:07 pm

do you have any more pics that show how the torsion spring is supposed to be installed on the trigger/hand?
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby Atilla » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:53 pm

Very nice. I have a few K frames and I am sure the J, L, and N frames are very similar.
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby JN01 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:35 pm

Since all the photos disappeared courtesy of Photobucket, any chance they could be reposted?
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby evan price » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:16 pm

I'll have to find another host.
"20% accurate as usual, Morty."

Striking down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!
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Re: Mini-Me's Smith & Wesson Revolver Dissassembly Guide

Postby Brian D. » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:36 pm

Those Mini Evan threads are all time classics on this board.
Quit worrying, hide your gun well, shut up, and CARRY that handgun!

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