November 3, 2019
At the Big Reno Show today, I spotted a lonely and abused 15-2 with a 6″ VH barrel on a seller’s table. Looking it over, I saw rust on the rear sight; speckles of rust on various parts of the finish with a faint hint of Barney color on the frame; a small gouge on the upper rear corner on the sideplate where it had probably been dropped; crane marks on the sideplate; a gouge from the rear of the cylinder on the recoil shield and down into the cylinder stop on the sideplate; and finally the capper… the bore was ringed at the midpoint.
I bought it anyway. I did get what I thought was a decent price on it. I’ll admit to having somewhat of a rep for rescuing abused machinery, sort of like other folks rescue animals. The seller told a tale about having bought the revolver and three other barrels (a Pistol Pak? Who knows…), mounted the 6″ on the revolver because “it made it sort of look like a Python”, then sold the other three barrels at a show in Wyoming… for $300. Whoever you are that got that great deal, I hate you; but only a little bit and only in the nicest way.
When I brought it home, a few minutes with 0000 steel wool, a brass brush and Break-Free took care of most of the rust speckles, although the finish still shows some tiny pits here and there and will have to be kept well oiled. Pulling off the Pachmayr Grippers, there were only a couple of speckles under the grips. The gouged corner of the sideplate yielded to 600 grit sandpaper, a small popsicle stick, some oil and a lot of patience, followed by a dab of cold blue. It still shows, but not much and again, good enough for a beater. Thankfully, the barrel shroud came off easily, exposing the bulged tube. There doesn’t seem to be any other damage that I can find. The action is still buttery smooth and lockup is pretty tight, good enough for a range gun. The fore-and-aft play of the cylinder while open bothers me a bit, although if I read correctly, this isn’t an unknown phenomenon. I’ve already dropped an email to Shawn at DW, asking to order another 6″ blued barrel. I think this one will be good to have as it will relieve me of the temptation to shoot the heck out of the 9-2.
March 27, 2009
February 16, 2016
September 28, 2008
I recently passed on a too expensive 15-2 that was in great mechanical condition, but only had about 50% of it’s finish. I don’t have a clue how it got that way, it’s not gouged up or anything it’s just got a lot of finish missing. My fantasy is to find a really cheap 15-2 that needs a refinish, and have it done in one of the really nice nickel finish, like the now out of business Robar’s NP3. I’ve seen a couple of NP3 finished guns and it’s pretty awesome.
February 16, 2016
… like the now out of business Robar’s NP3. I’ve seen a couple of NP3 finished guns and it’s pretty awesome.
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November 3, 2019
This one cleaned up well enough. There are a few small pits and scratches, but since I’m treating this as a range toy it’s not a problem yet. Worst case, I’ll take it to the Cerakoter that our shop uses and have it coated.
One thing that does bother me; I received the new barrel from DW and was surprised to find that it was burred at the muzzle to the extent that the pilot for my barrel nut tool could not be inserted and the forcing cone/rifling transition was so rough/burred that I could not pull an Otis Ripcord through it. I cleaned up the burring at the muzzle with a chamfering tool but couldn’t reach the forcing cone/rifling transition as I don’t have a forcing cone cutter. After firing it with nothing but JSP and FMJ ammo, there was a dramatic amount of leading, mostly at the middle of the bore. Is that a phenomenon typical with DWs? Off the rest, I noted several flyers that I’m fairly certain weren’t me, although there were some that certainly were my error. Makes me wonder if the rough transition from throat to rifling is damaging the bullet jackets.
I should add that it shot well enough to shoot mostly into one ragged hole (granted it was a LARGE ragged hole!) at 10 yards, two hand hold, 158 gr. Federal JSP, as fast as I could accurately fire double action. Target shows 50 rounds; the round outside the orange to the right was shot during the process of sighting in. I’d call that “good enough” for a range toy.
August 8, 2016
I would definitely email Bob (DW revolversmith) in addition to Shawn, with photos explaining the issue.
These barrels aren’t cheap and you shouldn’t have to settle. They’ll make it right.
December 5, 2008
November 3, 2019
Thank you kindly! I’m waiting for a second 6″ tube to mount on my 9-2; if it has the same issues as this one had, I’ll have to drop the guys at DW a line and find out what they can do for me. If they can’t do anything, I’ll pick up an 11 degree forcing cone cutter, adjourn to the lathe at work and deal with it myself.
November 3, 2019
I received the second 6″ barrel, to be used in my 9-2. It had none of the issues of the first barrel in terms of muzzle and forcing cone. My barrel nut tool pilot fit easily once I wiped away the swarf (which was oxided, indicating that someone didn’t bother to remove it before finishing the barrel… the shop I work for wouldn’t let that out of the shop) and I was able to easily pull an Otis Ripcord through the barrel both before and after installation. Rather than send the first barrel back, since I’ve already deburred the muzzle, I’ll probably just pick up a forcing cone cutter and clean up the forcing cone. That should eliminate any problems and hopefully not throw so many fliers.
I’d have gone out to the range today to test it, but Mother Nature decided to gift us with a little snow. Maybe next week!
November 3, 2019
To provide closure, here’s an update:
I took both the 15-2 and 9-2 with their new barrels to the range yesterday. For the 9-2, test ammo was Winchester white box .38 +P 125 gr. JHP. For the 15-2 this time, I took PMC Bronze .357 158 gr. JSP. The 9-2 shot as expected, with the exception of having to move the rear sight quite a ways to the right to get on target. Having done so, it remained on target out to 25 yards. I did not test it at any longer range.
The 15-2 exhibited a few flyers while getting it sighted in with the new load (POI changed about 1.5″ at 10 yards) but then seemed to settle down, yielding the following 6 round group at 10 yards from the rest:
Not quite a “one hole” group but far better than the previous result. The 9-2 exhibited similar results right out of the box (this was taken prior to final sight adjustments, I wound up moving the rear sight quite a ways right):
25 rounds from the 15-2 followed by 25 rounds from the 9-2, off hand and as fast as I could fire accurately double-action yielded the following:
The two flyers at bottom right and left were definitely me, not the firearm or ammo. Contrast this with the group shown in post #6, and also factor in that the weather yesterday was 32 degrees and falling at the range with a freezing fog, compared to high 40’s and sunny at the previous range session. Despite my rapidly freezing fingers, the groups yesterday were significantly better.
Following the range session, I cleaned the 15-2 and noted absolutely no leading, unlike the severe leading after the prior range session. In addition, I can now pull an Otis Ripcord through the barrel with little more than the ordinarily expected effort. Running a Q-tip across the interface between forcing cone and rifling now does not result in snagging or seeing Q-tip material caught on the interface. I would conclude that the PMC jackets are tougher than the Independence, allowing the PMC bullets to knock down the rough surface rather than damage the jackets. I may not need that forcing cone reamer after all… which works for me.
October 30, 2019
November 1, 2019