Revolver Sideplates, Cleaning And A Surprise

Proper revolver maintenance requires learning disassembly and that means avoiding sideplate damage. This overview also features a classic revolver with a surprise.

by RK Campbell

When a handgun comes into the shop one of the most basic steps is to determine if it’s sufficiently clean or if dirt, lint and/or clotted oil has interfered with functioning. Often, a cleaning will unstuck a part and restore reliable function. The revolver is certainly not immune to malfunctions and when working with them surprises may be waiting. Cleaning a revolver is important and even after 170 years of use there are issues found.

As one example, not long ago I examined a Taurus .38 caliber revolver. The double action trigger simply did not function properly. Yet the woman, a widow, told me that her husband had purchased the revolver in the 1970s and it had worked fine. They did the typical homeowner test seen too often. There was only one firing session with less than a box of ammunition and the four inch .38 was kept at the ready for some thirty years. I was examining the revolver for a possible estate sale. As it turned out, the only thing wrong with the revolver was that it needed cleaning. Evidently, the owner had simply squirted oil into the piece year after year and the rest is history. My experience with this revolver gave me much hope in a later experience with a Smith and Wesson but it turned out the Smith could not be repaired so easily.


Read more in our September 2012 issue. Back issues are available.

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