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Cracked frame on a 637?

Is that normal? If so, clown on and I'm a silly goofball. If not, is this common?
Is it "normal"? No. Is it a problem? No.

How long is that vertical "crack" you are worried about, 1 millimeter? Less than 2 mm? Would you even see it - the vertical "crack", not the horizontal seam - without extreme close-up photography or magnification? If you hadn't noticed the normal seam at that location and had your attention drawn to it, would you have even noticed that minuscule "crack"? I would consider to be more of a blemish or scratch than a crack. If you went over all of your guns with a fine-tooth comb like that who knows what you would find.

I took a quick look at my Model 60 last night when I saw your thread. There is an actual arched gap on mine. Your seam is tighter than mine at that point. I'm really not worried about it. As the threads I linked to showed, it is a common mistake for people to think the seam between the side plate and the frame is a crack. It isn't and it isn't something to worry about.

Now, if you want to worry about some real cracks, there have been reports of lightweight J-frames cracking under the point where the barrel screws in. That's where you should be keeping an eye on things.

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Used To Hunt

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Is it "normal"? No. Is it a problem? No.
Are you seriously recommending to someone that they should ignorantly ignore something they don't full understand because you say so? I hope this gun is brought to attention of the PROFESSIONALS who engineered the firearm for inspection. If it gets a clean bill of health what is lost? If it comes apart in his hands what could be loss?
 
OP
T
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Is it "normal"? No. Is it a problem? No.

How long is that vertical "crack" you are worried about, 1 millimeter? Less than 2 mm? Would you even see it - the vertical "crack", not the horizontal seam - without extreme close-up photography or magnification? If you hadn't noticed the normal seam at that location and had your attention drawn to it, would you have even noticed that minuscule "crack"? I would consider to be more of a blemish or scratch than a crack. If you went over all of your guns with a fine-tooth comb like that who knows what you would find.

I took a quick look at my Model 60 last night when I saw your thread. There is an actual arched gap on mine. Your seam is tighter than mine at that point. I'm really not worried about it. As the threads I linked to showed, it is a common mistake for people to think the seam between the side plate and the frame is a crack. It isn't and it isn't something to worry about.

Now, if you want to worry about some real cracks, there have been reports of lightweight J-frames cracking under the point where the barrel screws in. That's where you should be keeping an eye on things.

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Those gnarly splits were the type of thing I saw when I googled "J-frame cracked" or something like that.
That type of damage would certainly have me VERY worried, and without a shadow of a doubt would have me render the piece inoperable for my, or anyone else's use.

Back on the 637 in question:
This little crack is probably 1/4" long right now? It is easily visible with the revolver in hand. I bet it would get larger if I kept shooting with it.

This crack/damage actually did prompt me to really closely inspect my other revolvers and auto-loading pistols and I couldn't find anything alarming in any of the other ones. Sure, typical wear marks that you'd expect from a holster/carry piece, and also from using them, but nothing like what I see on my 637.

Maybe I am just more picky/neurotic than some but that crack on the 637's frame has me concerned. I just don't want to find myself interrupting an enjoyable afternoon at the range with a trip to the ER picking pieces of metal out of my shooting hand.

As I initially mentioned, the 637 was purchased as a range trainer, not a carry gun, but I sure don't want to ruin a day at the range by neglecting to contact S&W for the all clear or "that's fine and nothing to worry about." :D

Due to the holiday, I have not been able to correspond with either S&W or a local gunsmith who would know much more than me, so all I've got to go on is my experience with machines, and my experience says: "that ain't good and don't look right." :/

If I saw something like that on my CNC mill, I would shut the machine down, lock out power, pull the operator and be on the horn with the manufacturer to acquire replacement parts. That's just me. I don't want my guys getting hurt.

EDIT:
Thank you again to all who have read and contributed to this thread. I'll be sure to follow-up here once I have word from a gunsmith and/or S&W.
It is very cool, at least for me, to have a peer group offer insight, knowledge and opinions about something I don't have knowledge on, so again: Thanks guys!
This forum is a tremendous resource and the contributions offered are greatly appreciated.

Stay good all!
 
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Are you seriously recommending to someone that they should ignorantly ignore something they don't full understand because you say so? I hope this gun is brought to attention of the PROFESSIONALS who engineered the firearm for inspection. If it gets a clean bill of health what is lost? If it comes apart in his hands what could be loss?
People come here to get advice and opinions. They are free to weigh the advice and opinions they receive and agree or disagree, or follow that advice or ignore it as they wish. I gave my opinion. If you disagree with it you are free to express your opinion too, as you did.

What is lost? If nothing is wrong, then time is lost, and the time of the PROFESSIONALS is wasted.
 
OP
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Any update on this?
Yes!!

I'm sorry for the lack of follow through. Owning and operating a business, personal affairs and life overall got the better of me. Lame excuses I know, but we can likely all empathize.

Conclusion/resolution:
I was WRONG. This revolver is fine.

I contacted S&W who authorized a repair/inspection ticket and when I went to drop it at the local dealer, I asked to see and handle a few similar models. I carefully inspected a few in my own hands and focused on the same area.
The similar models (the specific model numbers escape me but they were all aluminum and scandium j-frames with a exposed hammers; more or less the same revolver as my 637, just different colors/dress/materials) and all exhibited the same "crack" or simply had a "hole" or missing portion at the same location on the frame. These were brand new revolvers handled right off the dealer's shelf/display.
An interesting side note: no stainless models exhibited the same crack or hole... ?

Custiosity got the better of me and I removed the side plate to see what that area looked like inside.
The "crack" I was concerned with was visible inside as well, but I found that area broke off with VERY light pressure from a toothpick. What I gathered was that that material should have been machined away (explaining the missing part on the new revolvers) but was not fully removed on my 637.
The photo below hopefully displays what I mean (compare with original photos where I initially expressed concern). The photo was taken after reassembly and removal of the "crack" area.

In short: I was worried over nothing but did not have the experience to determine if it was normal or cause for alarm.
I can admit when I am wrong, and I was wrong on this one.
Needless to say: revolver did not go back to S&W (I'm not gonna waste their time) and runs great. :)

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread. I do appreciate ya'll taking the time out of your lives. Hopefully we all learn a thing or two from this one; I know I did, and i know I've got a lot more to learn!

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I have two no dash Smiths, a Model 36 and a Model 64, both of which are light years better machined and assembled then my newer versions. The new ones are still fine revolvers, but owning older ones makes me long for the days when what the OP experienced simply would not have made it out of the factory to the shelves. I had a similar experience when I bought a brand new 686+ Pro that’s marketed as a bridge between their standard and Custom Shop models. Three rounds into it and it locked up completely with the hammer back on a loaded round. It took me 30 minutes of fiddling with it to safely soft-drop the hammer and clear the cylinder. Turns out the frame was forged out of specs. When it heated up, there was insufficient space between the cylinder and the frame to allow the case heads to rotate through. They replaced it, but I sold it with full disclosure and then it took me a long time to make the leap and buy another new Smith revolver. The newer ones I have (Models 442/60 Pro/69) have all been great, though. Just be aware and check carefully.
 

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