S&W 638 Issue!

This is a discussion on S&W 638 Issue! within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I recently purchased a Smith & Wesson 638 to be a summer gun for my XDSC. Well finally got to shoot my brand new 638 ...

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Thread: S&W 638 Issue!

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    Member Array jtyler05si's Avatar
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    Exclamation S&W 638 Issue!

    I recently purchased a Smith & Wesson 638 to be a summer gun for my XDSC.




    Well finally got to shoot my brand new 638 and ran into some serious trouble.
    I bought a box of Federal "Range and Target" 130 gr. ammo.




    After shooting 35 of the 50 rounds, the cylinder was noticeably hot in that I could touch it to open the cylinder, but I didn't want to touch it for very long. Well after those 35 rounds (shot and reloaded at a steady pace) I loaded the next 5 rounds (#36 to #40) and noticed the cylinder would not shut all the way. I kept trying to figure out where it might be rubbing, but could not link any particular point. After unloading and trying to figure it out it eventually cooled and closed properly. It was still warm, but opened, closed, and functioned perfectly so I set out to reproduce the issue with the remaining 15 rounds.

    So for the last 15 rounds I shot rather hastily but still tried to work on form. After emptying the last 5 rounds I noticed it did it again.

    Has anyone heard of this before? The first thing I thought of was that the frame is a different material than the steel cylinder and barrel, and therefore has a different thermal coefficient. At the same time, I was sure that this should not be an issue since the multi-material J-Frames have been out forever. The only other thing is that possibly dirt can get under the extractor, but it seems silly that so little rounds can cause this (ignoring the possible relationship with temperature that seemed apparent).

    If this is to be expected, I am fine with that considering in a defensive situation involving a snubbie I hope to never need more than one or two reloads, but damn what a surprise this is.

    -Tyler

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    Member Array SWIll's Avatar
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    I also shoot a SW 638, but have not run into this problem before, and have shot it in a similar fashion to you many times at the range. Hopefully someone with more knowledge than me will come along and be of more help to you.
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    Distinguished Member Array AKsrule's Avatar
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    My guess is that after 35 rounds of inexpensive ammo there was just enough junk on the cylinder face / forcing cone to hang it up.

    You might also have a minimal cylinder gap on your 638.

    Try wiping the cylinder face inbetween reloads and see if it still happens...
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    Senior Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    Check the cylinder gap and see if its between 6th and 10ths. if less then 3 or 4 th's the cylinder could be expanding and comeing in contact with the barrel .
    jtyler05si and marcclarke like this.

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    Senior Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
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    I think these guys may have it nailed. I also shoot a 638 and haven't experienced this issue.
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    That would also be my best guess. That your firearm has a very small barrel/cylinder gap (usually a very good thing) and your cylinder is expanding (as metal always does) & when it really heats up your cylinder is then rubbing/contacting the barrel forcing cone.
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Are you related to Rollo?
    BugDude and gottabkiddin like this.
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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Is Rollo posting under a different name now?
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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    Is Rollo posting under a different name now?
    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Are you related to Rollo?
    Rollo don't do Smiths any more :)

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    Member Array jtyler05si's Avatar
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    Ok guys, thanks for the help. I'm going to go try to find some calipers to measure the gap. Actually I wonder if I can use a spark plug gap tool. I will let you guys know. Not sure who Rollo is.

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    Senior Member Array bunker's Avatar
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    when i first started shooting revolvers, i was overcleaning them, and leaving them too oily.... mix oil with dirty gunpowder, and it acts like cement.... dont overclean, as i had some similiar issues that you have had. bunker
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    Member Array jtyler05si's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunker View Post
    when i first started shooting revolvers, i was overcleaning them, and leaving them too oily.... mix oil with dirty gunpowder, and it acts like cement.... dont overclean, as i had some similiar issues that you have had. bunker
    I never cleaned it yet as I had not shot it yet.

    Well I found a feeler gauge, but it only has .009,.015,.017, etc. So all I can say is that my gap is between .009 and .015 which from what I am reading is not that small of a tolerance. I would like to get some smaller gauges and measure when the gun is hot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Are you related to Rollo?




    Yeah^^^^^^^^^^^

    I thought, Oh brother Rollo went back on his promise and bought another S&W wheelgun.
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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    Rollo don't do Smiths any more :)

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    I hope this one does the trick. I got the holster and it's great!!! Can't even tell I'm carrying. I hope your bad S&W karma isn't like cooties or anything. If after many years and many smith snubs I suddenly start having issues, I'll need to see a local medicine man to do a bad mojo gogo away spell.
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    Member Array jtyler05si's Avatar
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    It seems my gap is okay and since it was the first time to shoot the gun, I don't imagine there could be much dirt under the extractor. It really felt like the gun was swollen. I haven't been able to find a single story of someone having the same issue. I'm not really sure what to do.

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