7 Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems: What to Expect

The Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic is an excellent piece of machinery, revered in the firearm community for its reliability and design.

However, real-world experience reveals some issues that owners commonly face. These include cylinder lock problems, grip issues, cylinder jamming, rear sight grief, lead spitting issues, sight moving issues and issues with the forcing cone and frame.

In this article, I aim to address these Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic problems, offering practical solutions and troubleshooting tips based on my own testing and experience.

Problems & Solutions at a Glance

7 ProblemsWith Their Practical Solution
Cylinder Lock ProblemSend it to a qualified Smith and Wesson expert.
Grip IssueUpgrade to an ergonomic, textured aftermarket grip.
Cylinder Jamming ProblemReplace damaged ratchet wheel; test for smooth movement.
Problem with the Rear SightSend your gun to professional repair service.
Lead Spitting IssueReplace damaged cylinder parts to prevent lead spitting.
Sight Moving IssueRegularly inspect and tighten sights before use.
Forcing Cone and FrameUse only 38 S&W Special ammunition.
Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems
Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems

Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems With Their Practical Solution:

1. Cylinder Lock Problem:

The cylinder lock is central to the functioning of this revolver, yet it occasionally decides to act up.

Picture this scenario: you’re in a high-stakes situation, and suddenly, the cylinder lock gets stuck in an unlocked position. This hiccup can render your gun unreliable at a crucial moment, creating an annoying and potentially dangerous situation.

One common trigger for this problem is a misaligned cylinder, which can occur due to wear and tear or improper handling.


The cylinder Lock part of the revolver is crucial for smooth operation, and repairs may involve replacing the entire cylinder lock formation if quick DIY fixes don’t suffice.

From my personal experience, I’ve found that advice from pros can work like a charm, providing insights on handling such firearm problems effectively.

If you’re having problems with the cylinder lock, don’t hesitate to send it to a qualified Smith and Wesson expert for repairs. Sometimes, replacements are inevitable when parts have vanished or worn out over time.

Ensuring the cylinder lock is properly maintained is advised to prevent future hassles and maintain the reliability of your firearm.

Read More: 4 Smith and Wesson 317 Problems: Expert Solutions Inside.

2. Grip Issue:

One common problem that many shooters may notice is the grip issue. The grip is a comfortable place for your hands to rest and a critical component that directly impacts your shooting experience.

A bad grip can make shooting uncomfortable and awkward, leading to strained and slipping hands. This affects accuracy and safety.

As an expert in firearms, I’ve found that addressing the grip issue early is crucial.

Ensuring your hand’s grip feels natural and comfortable can significantly enhance your shooting experience.


Dealing with the grip issue is crucial for improving your shooting experience. Swapping out the factory grip for an aftermarket ergonomic option can be a game changer.

I recommend upgrading to a grip that fits your hand position comfortably and provides better control. Even a simple adjustment can make a big difference, reducing fatigue and enhancing accuracy during extended use.

From personal experience, I’ve found that choosing a grip with a textured or rubberized surface improves handling significantly. This easy swap enhances comfort and ensures a more effective and enjoyable shooting session.

3. Cylinder Jamming Problem:

Now, move on to another frustrating problem: cylinder jamming.

Picture this: you’re at the range, ready to take some good shots, but suddenly the cylinder jams up when you try to cock the gun. It’s a headache that leaves you perplexed and frustrated.

This issue often stems from a damaged ratchet wheel or a jammed cylinder that leaves the gun locked out and unable to shoot. What starts as a minor inconvenience can quickly worsen, impacting your shooting experience.

From personal experience with the Model 19, troubleshooting cylinder jamming requires careful inspection.


Here’s how to fix it.

To fix cylinder jamming problem requires a systematic approach for effective resolution:

  • Carefully disassemble the revolver by unscrewing the side plate to access internal components. Once the side plate is off, disconnect the hammer block and main spring from the grip’s side.
  • Identify and replace the damaged ratchet wheel with a new one, ensuring each step is followed precisely. This may involve removing the rebound slide and spring. Reassemble the revolver, securing the side plate and grip snugly.
  • Test the action by performing dry fires to ensure smooth cylinder movement and verify the issue is resolved.

4. Problem with the Rear Sight:

The rear sight is crucial for making adjustments that cooperate with the shooter’s angle and environment. However, it can be inconvenient when it refuses to budge or adjust as needed, especially during essential shots.

Trust in your sights is paramount; any dark or catch in their adjustment can lead to second-guessing your shot.

From personal experience with the Model 19, ensuring the rear sight is adjustable and cooperates smoothly with blade adjustments is critical. If you encounter issues that don’t budge or align properly, diagnosing and resolving the problem promptly is crucial.


So, what’s the solution? When the rear sight becomes unreliable or misaligned, it can be tempting to mess with it yourself.

However, risking making it worse is not worth the wait. Instead, send your gun to professionals with a history with Smith & Wesson firearms.

I’ve bitten the bullet and resolved my rear sight issue by opting for a professional repair solution. This approach works best to restore confidence in the site’s performance without the pickle of potential problems that could arise from DIY attempts.

Trusting pros to handle the repair is worth the wait, ensuring the sight is aligned and functional as intended.

5. Lead Spitting Issue:

Next on the list is a lead spitting issue, which can be annoying and concerning for shooting safety.

This issue manifests when small bits of lead escape from the barrel after firing, potentially causing uncomfortable situations where hands or faces may be lightly exposed to lead residue.

The culprit behind this problem is often a faulty cylinder star, necessitating careful inspection and maintenance to prevent such occurrences.


To tackle the lead spitting issue.

Begin by disassembling the firearm and carefully inspecting the cylinder for damage, especially the cylinder star. This step is essential to spot and address potential faults that could compromise safety and the shooting experience.

If damage is found, replacing the faulty part is not optional but necessary to ensure the reliability and performance of your firearm.

Trusting professional services for replacement is advised to mitigate any risks associated with lead buildup and maintain optimal shooting conditions.

6. Sight Moving Issue:

Ah, the moving sights. This issue can throw off your game when hitting the target.

The first time it happened to me, I couldn’t believe it. I was focusing hard, squeezing the trigger carefully, but my shots were just a bit off. I double-checked my sights, and sure enough, they had shifted.

When dealing with moving sights, it feels like a curveball during what should be a dead-on shot. This can be particularly annoying for the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic.

It can make you second-guess your accuracy and consistency. It’s essential to walk through each step to ensure the sights are securely in place and to make adjustments if needed.


For a solution, regularly inspect the sights before each shooting session to catch any signs of loosening or shifting early on. If you notice the sights have started to move, promptly tighten or adjust them as needed.

Be sure to check the case where the sights are secured, as sometimes the issue may lie there. If tightening or adjustments don’t resolve the problem, consider replacing the sights if faulty.

This proactive approach ensures your firearm maintains reliable and accurate performance without interruptions.

7. Issues with the Forcing Cone and Frame:

Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic owners may encounter occasional issues with the forcing cone and frame, particularly under heavy use with 357 Magnum and 38 S&W Special ammo.

The frame can sometimes develop cracks or other signs of wear, especially when subjected to the force of 125-grain Magnum rounds at the range.

Inspecting these components regularly and using appropriate ammo is crucial to ensuring the longevity and performance of your revolver.


Finding a convenient solution becomes crucial when faced with frame cracking or other issues related to the forcing cone due to the heavy use of 357 Magnum or 38 S&W Special ammo. Use only 38 S&W Special ammunition.

My experience has taught me that promptly sending the gun for repairs or replacement parts can mitigate these problems effectively.

It’s essential to stay vigilant and act quickly upon experiencing any issue to avoid further complications.

My Final Conclusion:

When evaluating the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic, it’s evident that this revolver excels at blending classic design with modern versatility.

Despite its wide range of ammo choices, owners may encounter particular challenges, such as cylinder locks and grip issues.

However, these are fixable concerns, whether through swapping out grips for a more comfortable experience or addressing more complex issues by sending the firearm to Smith & Wesson for repairs.

This classic machinery demands diligence and attention to detail from its users to ensure it continues to work smoothly and safely.

For those ready to own this revolver, being aware of these considerations is essential before signing up to own such an iconic firearm.

My Friends Feedback:

When discussing the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic, my friends have provided varied insights based on their experiences with this iconic revolver.

One friend, a seasoned shooter since the 1970s, reminisced about his Model 19 with a 2 1/2 bbl, emphasizing its reliability with both .38spl and .357 magnum rounds. He praised its size, weight, and the classic bluing that made it a master on the range.

However, he cautioned about forcing cone issues and potential frame cracking, particularly when subjected to magnum loads over a prolonged period.

Another friend, who regularly carries a S&W 642-1 for personal defense, highlighted its compactness and reliability with .38spl ammo, mentioning it as a reliable choice for concealed carry.

He pointed out that while it’s not designed for heavy-duty use like the larger Model 19, it excels in scenarios where concealment and lightweight are paramount.

Another aspect discussed was the Pachmayr grips, which several friends have swapped onto their Model 19-9 variants to improve handling and reduce recoil. They noted that these grips are a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to enhance their shooting comfort and accuracy.

While the Smith & Wesson Model 19 remains a showcase piece in terms of its classic design and historical significance, it’s crucial to be aware of its limitations and the need for regular maintenance, especially when shooting magnum loads or older models prone to forcing cone issues.

Each user’s experience with this revolver can vary (YMMV), but its enduring appeal and role in firearms history are undeniable.

Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems
Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems

Common Questions Asked About Smith and Wesson Model 19 Classic Problems:

What year was the Smith and Wesson Model 19 made?

The Smith & Wesson Model 19 is a revolver manufactured by Smith & Wesson, first introduced in 1957 on the K-frame. This model is chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge. The K-frame design is slightly smaller and lighter compared to the original N-frame.

What is the twist rate for the Smith and Wesson Model 19?

As per information from the Smith & Wesson forum, both the Model 14 and Model 19 share identical twist rates of 1 in 18 3/4 inches.

Is the Model 19 double action?

The trigger on the S&W Model 19 is exceptionally smooth, measuring 0.38 inches wide. In double-action, our revolver consistently pulls at an average of 13 pounds, while in single-action, it averages a pull of 4.75 pounds.

Is the Smith and Wesson Model 19 still in production?

Introducing the newest addition to the Model 19 lineup: the Performance Center® Model 19 Carry Comp®. Featuring a 2.5” PowerPort™ vented barrel and tritium night sights. Meanwhile, the Model 19 Classic remains in production, a cornerstone model that influenced today’s S&W revolver offerings.

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