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Discussion Starter #1
I just have to share this with you guys. We had a guy open a thread in the Ask each Other forum over on the CMP. Seems he's got a Colt Snubbie that's shooting to the left.I suggested he have the barrel turned about .005 to the left, forcing the gun to shoot to the right a little. Or, tap the front sight on the right side with a small steel plate as wide as the sight to move it left. This other guy comes on,claiming in a later post to be a Gunsmith and tells him what needs to be done is to have a smith strip the gun,lay it on two metal blocks with the end of the barrel on one and the grip on the other and whack it a few times with a Babbitt hammer!!!!!This, he claimed would bend the frame enough to make the gun shoot straight and would only result in a small correction to the yoke!

Guys, I've been to both the S&W Armorer's class on Wheelguns and the Ruger class, I've never heard anything so preposterous. Obviously, I should have attended Colt's class on wheelguns so I could learn this.
 

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Okay Charlie; that was good...and quick.

Msgt...

The internet warrior is a kook.

Going back to Charlie’s comments; Colt’s was very good about having their fixed sight revolvers shoot to point of aim, or very near point of aim. I’m assuming this Colt’s snubbie is a Detective Special, or some other factory iteration of same (‘cause if it isn’t, all bets are off). I would always recommend beginning with the load the gun was intended to shoot, which is a 158 grain lead round nose, standard pressure .38 Special. Shoot from the bench, and shoot only single action until you’re 100% convinced that the problem isn’t the gun.

From there, you adjust the gun to the preferred load; and like you said, windage adjustments are best accomplished by turning the barrel ever so slightly. Bending the front sight almost always results in the front sight coming off of the gun because they’re just soft soldered into a shallow channel in the barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Never thought of that Kevin, I'm not that Familiar with Colt revolvers. I was assuming it was a formed sight. Thanks! I like learning new things.
 

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There's always the option of opening up the rear sight notch on one side with a file, after you have determined what the gun's regular load is going to be. I'm given to understand that most fixed-sight revolvers could stand to have that notch opened up a little anyway, so that could be a two-birds-with-one-stone fix. (I've only owned one fixed-sight revolver in my life, an M1937 S&W, so cannot speak from personal experience to this point.)

To see if this is a viable alternative, try shooting the gun with the front sight not centered in the rear notch, but with it sitting flush with the rear notch on the side to which you wish to move the group. If that gets you in the neighborhood of where you want to be, you know what to do.
 

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Well, I might try turning the barrel before filing, but it's possible you won't be able to get it to move.

I once bought a 4" Smith 28 for the specific purpose of putting a 3.5" M27 barrel that I'd managed to procure on it. After driving out the pin, I was completely unsuccessful in getting that barrel to move at all. Just as well--now I like it just fine with its "proper" 4" barrel on it. :wink:
 

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Kevin... you didn't go to S&W armorers school? When I did the first thing they give you is a babbit bar and instructions to never let the owner see you bash his gun...

The suggestions offered here are probably the safest, but I would really want to know why it is shooting off before trying anything. Snake's ammo comment is right on because fixed sights are regulated at the factory for a "standard" load which in 38s is the 158 gr. LRN and often small errors can be corrected with a different brand of ammo or a handload.
 

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Nope, I never went to S&W armorers school. Most of my work was on military stuff; pistols, rifles & class 3 stuff. Had an old guy named Davis teach me how to do action work on S&W revolvers, but I never got into the serious revolver work, just the simple stuff. Hell, these days I'm too lazy to even do S&W action work on my own guns. But that's mostly because I have young kids at home and they demand the majority of my time, so it's not like I get the option of doing much gunsmithing anymore. I did manage to build a 1911 and a FAL this year for a friend though.
 

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After Colt upgraded the "D" frames to the 1972 shrouded, heavy barrel they seemed to have problems getting the barrels indexed properly.
With the barrel rotated too far or not far enough, they shot off and usually slightly too high due to the rotation causing the sight to be slightly lower than if it was at 12:00 top-dead-center.

I sent a good number back to Colt to have the barrels properly indexed and this corrected the targeting. It was surprising how much off target a slight rotation could cause, and you'd never think that small an amount could cause a gun to shoot high.

Occasionally, I'd see one that shot high but the barrel was properly indexed. Colt's fix for that was to use a hydraulic "pincher" tool to squeeze the sides of the post-1972 ramp sight, and this would stretch the sight higher.
You can ID one of these by long shallow, rounded grooves in the sides of the sight.

As for the internet commando pistolsmith, I've heard worse than that, and seen worse.
One of my favorites was a customer who finally admitted that since his revolver was shooting off target, he drove his truck onto the barrel and lifted up on the frame to "put a bend in the barrel".
The same technique has been used as a barrel vise in an attempt to re-barrel a revolver, since the owner didn't happen to own the "correct" wooden barrel blocks and hammer handle to get the barrel off. (No sir, Colt doesn't have a special tool that can straighten a bent frame).

Another customer put the frame in a vise and stuck a bar of steel half way down the barrel so he bend the barrel to target it. (Note to owners: I recommend not using a RUSTY steel bar. It's a little harder on the rifling).
Over the years I saw some wild and crazy "gunsmithing" repairs, and I've heard some strange ones from the experts on the internet, some of whom may even own a gunsmiths screwdriver.

One thing I tell people. The clowns who tell you to do this stuff, or use these odd-ball chemicals and techniques to clean guns, aren't going to be standing by with a hand full of cash to buy you a new gun when it doesn't work like they said it did for them.
 

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On bending barrels:

I bought a used Charter AR-7 that shot several inches to one side or the other (I forget which) even with the sights adjusted to the max (dovetailed front sight).

Looking down the barrel, I discerned that it was visibly bent. Apparently, right in the middle.

I put a piece of 2X4 on the floor, put the muzzle end of the barrel on the block and the breech end on the floor, and stood on the barrel in the middle. I put a little weight on at a time, and then checked it. Only took a couple of "stands," and I don't think I ever got to my full weight, before the barrel looked straight (or darn close to it).

Today, it shoots right where the sights look. Or, at least, as close to that as a typical AR-7 will. :wink: :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, theoritically, for every .0016 you turn the barrel you should move Point of Impact 1" at 50 feet so, .005 should just about put him on at that range( I used 50 feet because it is a snubby).
 

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I once had a RoK-return M1 carbine that shot left, even with the rear sight all the way over. I was contemplating sticking the muzzle into a vise, and bending it to move the PoI, but swapped it before I did anything. I got a dream-shooter Austrian-return...the other person wanted an all Rock-Ola carbine for a wall-hanger (his dad worked for Rock-Ola during WWII). It was a win-win.

For fixed-sighted handguns, I just apply Kentucky windage if the sights are close, or for different ammo--a bulls-eye shooter, I ain't. That's after I correct operator errors, of course.
 
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