View Full Version : Need advice on old S&W 29-2 repairs.

July 12, 2016, 17:21
Picked up my 2nd 29-2 4" barrel, vintage 1980s maybe 70's, I have to do a serial number look up for the exact year made. It's nickel so actually a 629. It's a little sloppy on the cylinder indexing, lock up etc. has more wobble than it should. It will shoot fine albeit it'll spit lead from the forcing cone I am pretty sure. I have not shot it going to replace stuff first. It looks as if it was relatively well cared for but it also looks like it was shot a fair amount.

I need to do a complete disassembly, replace springs & figure out how to get the cylinder lock up & indexing back to factory specs.

I have a take down, disassembly manual & ordered a CD for complete tear down / repairs. So first order of business will be to do a complete disassembly & clean. Then I need whatever parts I need. Any suggestions? I am probably also going to look into what springs are the best to install.

Right Side Up
July 12, 2016, 17:25
A Nickel 29 is still a 29.

July 12, 2016, 17:27
Well the salient information is it is a 29 dash 2 P&R; Nickel or Blued, still the same gun.

July 12, 2016, 17:29
A 629 is Stainless Steel. I knw I have one.

Andy the Aussie
July 12, 2016, 17:35
Yep needs to be made of stainless steel to be a 629 but I digress.

Get a copy of....


...and read it through. End shake and timing require some skill to repair. It may be that you just need springs and a new cylinder stop but that depends. When I rebuild my 29-2 years ago it was spitting copper and such, new hand, new stop, new springs etc, but I had it done by S&W here.

Clyde the Pointer
July 12, 2016, 17:53
Not a good "I'll fix it myself with no experience" project for sure.

July 12, 2016, 18:35
OK thanks Andy I will order up that manual, looks good. As far as repairs I will do a complete tear down, replace springs, hand, stop, whatever else & then check it out, I know I can do that without any issues at all. Then after that if she still seems a bit sloppy I might have to have a GS look at it...Not sure I want to send it off to the factory for repairs however, I would rather have it locally available for pick up.

Over-all, the barrel rifling is very good, forcing cone is good, no cracks & no dings anywhere at all, never been dropped from appearances, sequencing for the trigger / hammer is good, front sight red insert is about to fall out & the rear sight is missing some paint for the little white line 'U' outline. No Nickel peeling but a few small pitting areas (very small) on the cylinder & under the grips toward the rear of the trigger guard.

July 12, 2016, 20:51
PM me the serial number and I'll look it up for you.

The only springs that usually need replacement are the mainspring and the rebound spring, and then only if they have been cut down or thinned. Sometimes the strain screw (in the front grip strap) gets shortened in order to lighten the trigger pull, but that's generally a mistake.

I have a Triple Lock (the first N frame S&W) made in 1913, shot a lot and still has what look like the original springs. My PPC revolver has more than 20,000 rounds through it, is 25 years old and the springs are fine.

I'd shoot it first before you start swapping parts out.

S&W made a change to how they cut the forcing cone about 1977-1978 and re-cut owners' guns for free. If yours is earlier than that, it will probably spit out the sides. I had it done on one of mine and it made a big difference. If your gun was made later than that, never mind.

Unless you have a gunsmith locally that actually has S&W revolver training, I'd send it back to the factory. If you call the service department, they will send you a pre-paid shipping label (they will add their actual costs to your bill, usually about 1/3 what UPS or FedEx costs) and you can take advantage of their much lower shipping cost.

July 12, 2016, 21:09
End shake and timing require some skill to repair. It may be that you just need springs and a new cylinder stop but that depends. When I rebuild my 29-2 years ago it was spitting copper and such, new hand, new stop, new springs etc, but I had it done by S&W here.

Andy is absolutely correct. It does take some skill. I have had Smith repair two revolvers for me. I had a model 10 and a 686 that ( at different times ) were getting sloppy. I wanted to try the model 10 myself but I wanted it done right so I sent it off. My dad has had Smith rebuild a couple as well. You may have to wait and drop a few $$$ but its worth it to have it right.

On the other hand, if there is a Gunsmith that is local that is willing to work with you on the rebuild I would do it. Doesn't hurt to call around and see!!

July 12, 2016, 21:25
Thank U all. I tore it down, NO hammer block pin (the little key thing with the loop that hooks on at the bottom). The insides were just filled with greenish sludge / oil, I mean it looked like someone just dumped a shot glass of liquid shit into the insides....but now I will order a hammer block pin, a new cylinder stop assembly as well.

I will look at the forcing cone, does not look beveled from what I recall. I will pm U the serial number Buff, thanks a lot. More updates later. I am going to try to post some pics soon.

As far as shipping it to S&W, ya just might do it...I will get the parts first, put it together & see from there.

July 12, 2016, 21:37
A good cleaning inside is often enough to cure a lot of other troubles. Many people "clean and lube" their revolvers by squirting crud in through any opening, usually some solvent and then some oil, and it mostly just makes a mess.

You're doing it justice. M-29's are great guns.

Right Side Up
July 12, 2016, 21:43
Thank U all. I tore it down, NO hammer block pin (the little key thing with the loop that hooks on at the bottom). The insides were just filled with greenish sludge / oil, I mean it looked like someone just dumped a shot glass of liquid shit into the insides....but now I will order a hammer block pin, a new cylinder stop assembly as well.

I had the same thing happen on my Pre-29 .44 Magnum. I bought it from a collector, and those guys HATE to take the side cover off a Smith revolver for fear of buggering it, so they don't clean the insides (but they wax the sh*t out of the outside). This gun looked to have had a lot of cast boolits run through it, the crud looked it was from boolit lube.

I cleaned it out and it shot like a dream afterwards.

Retired Bum
July 12, 2016, 22:55
The early Model 29's including the dash two's would at times do something really strange when fired with full power loads. It is called reverse cylinder spin. When fired the cylinder would rotate clockwise to the next chamber. This happened with the two 29-2's I have owned. Both were made in the early 1970's. I recall reading about this in gun rags back then and no one was ever able to explain it.

The last time I shot my 6.5 inch 29-2 it was with a full power handload using the Speer 240 grain TMJ over a healthy charge of H110. Out of 50 rounds fired the reverse cylinder spin happened three times.

I have owned two 29-3's and one 629-3 and this never happened with these revolvers. I guess S&W got the problem fixed.....

And so it goes.

The Retired One

Right Side Up
July 12, 2016, 23:04
It had something to do with the cylinder stop and spring. They made a 29-3E that had the better stop and spring. The -4's too, and I suppose all the consequent ones too. The silhouette shooters had this problem a good bit. You can buy a slightly more powerful cylinder stop spring from Wollfe.

July 12, 2016, 23:11
OK back together minus some missing parts. I am missing the hammer block pin, the 'trigger stop rod' a small pin that runs inside the rebound spring assembly. Nothing else missing & everything else looks very good.

Seems to index a bit tighter now. Problem I think is the cylinder rod assembly, the extractor rod, yoke assembly or the inner fitting of same seems slightly wobbly & this may be the source for the slight wiggle on lock up, it's not huge but it is not a lock up like my other blued 29-2 which feels tighter, they R both roughly the same vintage as far as years. I will pm U the SN Buff.

The forcing cone actually has a slight inside bevel edge looks like to me.

Will try to post pics in a bit. I need a Photo bucket acct. I guess.

July 13, 2016, 00:32
The trigger stop pin wasn't always put in if the gun didn't need it, it just depended on how the parts fit together randomly. Very few of my older N frames ever had one.

Sounds promising thus far.

July 13, 2016, 00:55
Thanks BUFF, then the hammer block pin & a few other parts might do it as far as parts go. If it still has some slop then I will look into the yoke assembly & the cylinder extractor & spring / center pin / etc. What was the forcing cone issues U talked of? I will research that myself however.

I cannot get into my photo bucket acct to save my life so pics at some point maybe LOL.

Don't they just sell the sight insert for the front blade? That orange plastic piece? I do not particularly want to change out the whole from sight.

July 13, 2016, 03:38
The red insert starts out as a colored epoxy mix. You make a little "dam" on each side of the cut in the sight and pour in the red colored epoxy, then let it harden and take the dams off. Then you trim it flush with the face of the ramped sight blade. Brownells sells a kit with everything and there are 'how-to's' on the web. If you are handy, it's a simple, easy job. I have also seen people cut a chunk from a plastic toothbrush handle and whittle it down to fit. then super-glue it in place. Hard part is finding a toothbrush the same color you want.

The forcing cone they just reamed or cut it to a different angle than they had been using before. I think the new angle was 11 degrees. They did it to reduce spitting of powder and bullet material through the barrel/cylinder gap. My 6-1/2 incher didn't spit but my 8-3/8 incher did, so I only sent the long one in.

July 13, 2016, 06:37
Hmmm, seems to be a fairly decent 29. You can check a few other things if you have the tools. If you remove the front frame screw, this will release the cylinder and yoke (upon opening it first). Then, you can take the cylinder off and inspect clean the yoke's shaft. Also, check for alignment if you have the N frame "rod". I am pretty sure Brownell's sells these still. They go in through the yoke, close the yoke and then slide it forward to see if it goes into the rear of the frame at the recoil plate. If it goes in smoothly, then that part's in good shape. If it is off and does not align with the hole in the recoil plate, then you need to "bump" it over until it does. This is a pretty important procedure and will definitely make the 29 better. Put the cylinder back on and check for end play. If it is excessive, some use small "washers" to stack up and take out it out. But, Smith will usually "roll" the yoke tube (what I call it) a few times until it stretches and takes out the end play. My buddy made the tool, copying it from someone that went to Smith and Wesson years ago. I basically is a plumber's tubing cutter with the sharp blade blunted and not able to cut, but only impart pressure on a dulled down wheel. When this is turned, with slight pressure (as if cutting copper pipe), it will make the yoke tube grow just enough to take out the end shake of revolvers. Be careful if doing this and go slow because it will "grow" quickly and you can soon find yourself with too long a yoke tube. Trust me. These two things, coupled with an assembly check of the hammer (push off) test will definitely make that 29 a much better gun. Good luck.


July 14, 2016, 00:10
Thanks all, I had to reread the remarks about the N Frame 'Rod' I don't have one & not how to improvise that.

I was probably mistaken regarding 'end shake' as it really does not have any fore-aft movement if that is a similar descriptor, no it is simply a slight cylinder movement on lock up as in with trigger squeezed allowing hammer to fall & then holding the trigger one can very slightly 'rotate' the cylinder, it is the small increment of movement allowed by the cylinder stop engaging the cylinder cut out on lock up.

All older revovlers have a little play in them. Getting a new cylinder stop assembly will probably tighten it slightly. As it is I think it is not anything to worry about. Also not going to worry about the bevel on that forcing cone cause right now it looks fine (No cracks) so I figure after 40 years it'll probably remain fine, if it spits a lot then maybe to the factory it'll go.

Found an old red tooth brush, it worked LOL., better than the almost ready to fall out original red insert.

Be ready to shoot this old girl (vintage 75' or 76') soon, Thanks BUFF for looking up the SN.

July 14, 2016, 07:39
Not sure what their current turnaround time is but you could always send it back to S&W. Had a 27-2 a few years back that needed some repairs and they send me the pre-labeled box and I shipped it out to them. Fee wasn't too steep and when I got it back it was like new.

July 14, 2016, 08:44
Ya I am still considering sending it back..have them do a once over...& or address any specific issues. I am going to finish my work on it first.

July 14, 2016, 15:47
S&W shuts down their plants every year about this time for a 2 week vacation period. So if you hit that, add 2 weeks.

Repairs turnaround time obviously depends on what needs to be done. I don't think S&W does their own nickel plating anymore, so that would slow things down if you wanted that, but otherwise, I hear from the S&W Forum members that most repairs are done in less than a month, sometimes a lot less. They do their warranty claims first and other repairs second, as a lot of the warranty repairs are things that never should have gotten passed final inspection and shipped in the first place.

July 16, 2016, 19:18
chino*74, if you want to do some of the work yourself, check weaponsguild

July 17, 2016, 21:03
Weaponsguild, OK will do. I am fairly certain I can get this pretty good without sending it to S&W. We shall see :}

July 18, 2016, 20:37
Sounds like your cylinder hand is worn. Go to Brownell's and order the replacement wider hand and lockup should return.

Right Side Up
July 18, 2016, 21:31
The wider hand requires the frame be filed for it. I put one in my old Model 58. A new standard width hand would probably help him a lot.

July 19, 2016, 21:24
Depending on where or if the hand is worn. Most times, a correct amount of peening on a hard flat surface (flat heavy steel bar) works wonders and keeps it original. Only a small amount of peening goes a long way. Hand work can be quite complicated if you don't know what you're doing. Also, I wish I could count how many S&W's left with only one cylinder "slightly" out of time to the other 5 holes. Lastly, the N frames would have the weight in the cylinder to "egg out" or move metal where the cylinder stop abruptly stops the cylinder, upsetting it and making that small window a little bit larger. I have seen where some use a punch and move metal back in every so slightly to make the cylinder come back in to time perfectly. There is so much to learn.


July 19, 2016, 21:38
All good advice, looks look I will check into this further, have a hammer block in it & now have a new cylinder stop, now sounds like the cylinder hand is next.

July 20, 2016, 10:49
Well, whilst you are in there poking around the gizzards anyway, you might want to check the Center Pin for straightness. This is the pin that runs thru the center of the Cylinder, ya know.
Roll the pin on a flat surface and watch the end for wobbles.

Had a heck of a time with a M 24 spittin' till I replaced a bent pin. This was on a brand new six-shooter that I had spent three months waiting for and winter coming on. No way it was getting shipped to Springfield for repairs. It needed to be shot before the snow fell. :tongue:

evan price
July 21, 2016, 06:20
Just FYI in case you didn't know, Smiths don't lock up like a Colt, they do not lock tighter when you pull the trigger.

I've seen a number of N-frames with wobbly cylinder stops, the heavy cylinder (when shot double action especially, and at high speed) tends to have a lot of inertia and it will peen the notches in the cylinder, the cylinder stop, and the frame opening- and then it over-rotates (timing is off).
These are all easily fixed by a good gunsmith, but not something somebody should mess with without tools and experience.
I'll replace anything in the gun, but when you start demanding craftsmanship, that's what those old 'smiths have.
Since yours is nickel plated, it's especially prone to damaging the finish by messing around to aggressively, so be aware of that. A little cold blue can touch up a blued gun but nickel is complicated.