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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a Smith Model 17. After a detail strip and cleaning, it's working very nicely with the usual glass-smooth action of the older Smiths.

Only problem I've got is that the cylinder release is hanging up a little. It appears to me that the pin on the end of the bolt is a little worn and not depressing the catch on the back of the cylinder quite far enough, and it's catching on the back of the frame. (Pardon please if I don't have the terminology quite right, I can't find an exploded view that's clear enough to read the numbers and get the exact name of the parts.)

Anyway, my question is this: Is the bolt, plunger and spring a drop-in item, or does it need to be fitted by a gunsmith?
 

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The bolt is a drop in item. It should rest just about flush with the recoil shield when the cylinder is out. Guessing you're getting a little resistance and then the cylinder jumps out. Actually that's fairly common on S&W revolvers. Before you buy any parts, make sure the front locking bolt is depressing smoothly, (item 31) people rarely knock the pin out to clean them. Make sure the center pin through the cylinder is clean and smooth as well. You can also polish the round end of the center pin if needed. Can also lightly polish the outer edge of the center hole in the recoil shield....be careful though, do not enlarge the hole any.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks very much for the tips! I'll check that front locking bolt first. Also appreciate the nice clear diagram!
 

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Thanks very much for the tips! I'll check that front locking bolt first. Also appreciate the nice clear diagram!
Glad to help. Is the cylinder opening smoothly after it releases? Sometimes the front screw on the sideplate can be misfitted, if that's the case, back it out a turn and check. If it's hard to unlatch, then the bolt/center pin/front bolt area as you suspect needs to be looked at. If you polish the center pin, be careful not to shorten it any. I also run a rubber polishing cone in the end of the extractor rod (item 15) where it fits over the front locking bolt. You can also polish the front locking bolt, but again, don't shorten it or reduce it's diameter. Wouldn't call the bolt a high wear area as nothing really abrades the end to shorten it but I checked Brownell's, K frame bolt shows in stock @ $21.04.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, once the cylinder gets past that first little hitch, it swings out smoothly.

I had the gun completely stripped for a detail cleaning and lubed all the points mentioned.

The extractor is tight.

With the cylinder open, the bolt pin is not flush with the recoil shield. I don't have an appropriate tool to measure it, but at a guess it's 1/32nd to 1/16th recessed. I've pushed on the release button and the bolt is all the way forward. When I disassembled it to clean it I didn't notice any crud buildup or burrs in the bolt channel.

There is some wear on the side of the cylinder locking hole on the recoil shield where the pin is hanging up before releasing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
 

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Pull the thumbpiece (items 54, 55) and see if the bolt moves further out. 55 has a guide portion that slides in a slot on the frame. If the thumbpiece is holding the bolt back, you can either polish the front of the slot or the front of the thumbpiece or a little on both. That's a good pic and it does appear that the bolt is recessed enough to cause the pin to have to jump the recoil shield. I don't want to cause you to buy parts that may not fix your problem so a careful study of all these parts and how they work together is in order. A nice thing about S&W, you can watch the innards with the side plate removed. If it would help you, I have a 17-4 that I can disembowel later today and give you any measurement you desire such as the length of the bolt. Big trick is go slow.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Pull the thumbpiece (items 54, 55) and see if the bolt moves further out. 55 has a guide portion that slides in a slot on the frame. If the thumbpiece is holding the bolt back, you can either polish the front of the slot or the front of the thumbpiece or a little on both... [snip]...I have a 17-4 that I can disembowel later today and give you any measurement you desire such as the length of the bolt. Big trick is go slow.
Good idea on the thumbpiece and slot, I'll check that.

Having had the sideplate off and the lockwork removed, I think I have a pretty good grasp of how things work together. If I get confused, I'll get back to you.

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I pulled the thumb piece off and checked to see if there was any additional movement of the bolt. There was none that I could see.

Just brainstorming here, but what about polishing the shoulder behind the release pin on the bolt? That would have the effect of making the pin a bit longer. Is there some reason that would be a bad idea?
 

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I pulled the thumb piece off and checked to see if there was any additional movement of the bolt. There was none that I could see.

Just brainstorming here, but what about polishing the shoulder behind the release pin on the bolt? That would have the effect of making the pin a bit longer. Is there some reason that would be a bad idea?
You could do that as long as as the hammer clears. When the bolt is back with the cylinder closed, the tail of the hammer must swing past the bolt as it cams down into the frame. Course you could cut a little out the back of the bolt as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You could do that as long as as the hammer clears. When the bolt is back with the cylinder closed, the tail of the hammer must swing past the bolt as it cams down into the frame. Course you could cut a little out the back of the bolt as well.
That makes sense. I'll give that a shot when I get back.

I'm about to leave for a week's training courtesy of my employer. I'll be going for my NRA certifications as Handgun Instructor, Shotgun Instructor and Range Safety Officer.

Shooting a thousand rounds or so of the Government's ammo and staying in a hotel with an indoor pool for a week. Don't get no better than that!:D
 
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