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Thread: Are SW cylinders supported as well as Ruger?

  1. #1

    Are SW cylinders supported as well as Ruger?

    Ruger (specifically the GP 100) claims 3 point cylinder support being front, middle and rear. I know there are other Ruger revolvers that are the same . How is different from a Smith and Wesson 686 for example? It seems the SW has a spring loaded detent on the end of the ejector rod where Ruger does not. Can someone comment on the pros and cons of these configurations?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Rmiked View Post
    Ruger (specifically the GP 100) claims 3 point cylinder support being front, middle and rear. I know there are other Ruger revolvers that are the same . How is different from a Smith and Wesson 686 for example? It seems the SW has a spring loaded detent on the end of the ejector rod where Ruger does not. Can someone comment on the pros and cons of these configurations?
    The crane supports the cylinder and ensures the cylinder is aligned with the frame. The lockup points simply keep the cylinder in place. The cylinder stop insures rotational alignment (timing) IOW that the chamber aligns with the barrel at the time of shooting. Three lockup points will not result in a better barrel-chamber alignment any more than a single lock up point.

    I think you are concerned about a “non-concern”.
    Last edited by Pol; 01-18-2021 at 11:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Wikipedia offers the following description of Ruger as a superior design to some pistols. I don’t know if SW is the same. In particular when the cylinder is open the crane is a weak point and a pistol can be damaged by imparting undue force on it when loading. That is the issue that was discussed later in the Utube I linked. At this point I’m just trying to determine IF the SW design is the same as the Ruger. Seems to me they both have the crane, cylinder latch and the spring loaded pin on rear of cylinder associated with the ejector.

    Wiki: The pivoting part that supports the cylinder is called the crane; it is the weak point of swing-out cylinder designs. Using the method often portrayed in movies and television of flipping the cylinder open and closed with a flick of the wrist can in fact cause the crane to bend over time, throwing the cylinder out of alignment with the barrel. Lack of alignment between chamber and barrel is a dangerous condition, as it can impede the bullet's transition from chamber to barrel. This gives rise to higher pressures in the chamber, bullet damage, and the potential for an explosion if the bullet becomes stuck.[44]
    The shock of firing can exert a great deal of stress on the crane, as in most designs the cylinder is only held closed at one point, the rear of the cylinder. Stronger designs, such as the Ruger Super Redhawk, use a lock in the crane as well as the lock at the rear of the cylinder. This latch provides a more secure bond between cylinder and frame, and allows the use of larger, more powerful cartridges. Swing-out cylinders are rather strong, but not as strong as fixed cylinders, and great care must be taken with the cylinder when loading, so as not to damage the crane.[44]

  4. #4
    Site Supporter farscott's Avatar
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    Not all S&W revolvers use the well known locking method with the muzzle end of ejection rod. Some older S&W N-frame revolvers used the "Triple Lock" where the "third" lock was on the crane. Some Performance Center revolvers use a ball detent lock in the crane. The ball detent accomplices the same thing as the "Triple Lock" crane lock with much simpler (less expensive) machining. S&W drops the ejector rod lock when using the ball detent lock.

    Considering the X-frame is chambered for the .460 S&W and the lack of stories about S&W cylinders unlatching under recoil since the adoption of the "Endurance Package" in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the S&W cylinder locking system has to be considered suitable for the cartridges for which it is chambered.

  5. #5
    Is the locking system on the 686 (L-frame) the same as the 629 (44 mag-N frame)? If not , are the locking systems appropriate for their respective calibers?

  6. #6
    Member Wheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rmiked View Post
    Is the locking system on the 686 (L-frame) the same as the 629 (44 mag-N frame)? If not , are the locking systems appropriate for their respective calibers?
    The locking systems have always been appropriate for their respective calibers on Hand Ejector models when using factory ammo that is within SAAMI specs. One example of this would be some of the Buffalo Bore .44 Magnum ammunition that states on the box to NOT use in S&W 29s and 629s. The Ruger revolvers have always been capable of handling heavier loads than their equivalent S&W counterparts. This really only matters when running heavy for caliber bullets or hotter hand loads.
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  7. #7
    @Pol pretty much nailed it above. I would only add that the latch pin on the front of the ejector rod on the S&W is much farther from the rear pin as compared to the Ruger's front lock which is more robust. That gives the S&W more leverage and may end up actually being stronger. I see the difference as moot.

    The bigger issue in Rugers being able to handle hotter loads is just heavier overall construction of the frame and the biggie is the cylinder stop notch is rotated to be between chambers in the Ruger while S&W's are on the chamber centerline yielding a much thinner chamber wall at that point. This really comes into play in the .45 caliber. It's shockingly thin even with them being N frame chambering. Not a real huge factor in the smaller ones.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rmiked View Post
    Is the locking system on the 686 (L-frame) the same as the 629 (44 mag-N frame)?
    Identical.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan1980 View Post
    @Pol pretty much nailed it above. I would only add that the latch pin on the front of the ejector rod on the S&W is much farther from the rear pin as compared to the Ruger's front lock which is more robust. That gives the S&W more leverage and may end up actually being stronger. I see the difference as moot.

    The bigger issue in Rugers being able to handle hotter loads is just heavier overall construction of the frame and the biggie is the cylinder stop notch is rotated to be between chambers in the Ruger while S&W's are on the chamber centerline yielding a much thinner chamber wall at that point. This really comes into play in the .45 caliber. It's shockingly thin even with them being N frame chambering. Not a real huge factor in the smaller ones.
    Are there any known failure of cylinders of the 629 (44 mag) due to cylinder cracking? In other words is the design good even with the cylinder stop notch located in the center of the chamber resulting in the “thin area”?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rmiked View Post
    Are there any known failure of cylinders of the 629 (44 mag) due to cylinder cracking? In other words is the design good even with the cylinder stop notch located in the center of the chamber resulting in the “thin area”?
    We're discussing designs that have existed in similar form anywhere from decades to more than a century. Hard-used and well-proven. You can find anomalous incidents of any kind with anything, but they're exceptions, not the rule.

    What are we really discussing here and what are you actually concerned about?
    Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?

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