Always have a Plan B … I guess…

I broke my pistol! My very favorite gun! Or…well, my pistol broke. I swear I didn’t do it.

Happened a few days ago and it was like a death in the family. I had run a box of reloads through it earlier that day, and in the evening while watching a movie I took it apart to clean. Trying to put it back together, the yoke wouldn’t go all the way into its hole. I fiddled and fiddled, finally got it in, and then found out what the problem was when I tried to secure the yoke screw.

It was broken! And about half its threads were still in the frame, explaining why the yoke barrel didn’t want to seat. I fumbled the yoke back out and tried to chase the screw bits out of the frame with some plastic picks, but no go. Screwed!

I was seriously heartsick. Wasn’t till the next day that I came up with a plan of action more serious than digging my Plan B revolver out of the drawer it was relegated to for the past few years…

Yes of course I have a spare .44 Magnum. A penis as freakishly small as mine requires reliable compensation. But I hated the Taurus compared to the S&W, and after substantial dry firing over the past few days I can’t say my opinion has changed. Still, it works.

Then yesterday I did something I really hate doing: I talked to strangers on the telephone. Found a person who claims to be a gunsmith in the big town about 50 miles away, and as soon as I can bum a ride I’m going there to see what can be done for my beautiful baby.

Exactly how it happened is kind of a mystery. I know I didn’t crossthread that screw: First, you can’t accidentally do that – not with a small screwdriver. Second, I was a dealership mechanic: Crossthreading a fastener is like the most basic of the deadly sins, and I had thousands of opportunities to learn how not to do it. It’s muscle memory, has been for decades. I didn’t crossthread it.

Also: The screw isn’t just missing some threads – it’s broken. The hell?

In other news, I’m going to the Safeway in the biggish town about 35 miles away. D&L want to leave at noon, and at first I questioned that decision because it’s Monsoon: The wash has run for the past two days and you don’t want to get caught on the wrong side after an afternoon storm. But a look at the forecast says blue skies all day today, so maybe it’ll be okay. Anyway, that gave me time to make this baking day…

My loaves have gotten prettier lately. This one didn’t get much of an oven rise, though. Controlling the rise is still kind of a mystery to me.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to Always have a Plan B … I guess…

  1. Mark Matis says:

    So Tobie did not get it this time?

  2. Joel says:

    Tobie isn’t normally into wrecking my stuff anymore. Though ( I assume because of thunder-related stress) he has regressed a bit just lately. Certainly he didn’t break my favorite gun.

  3. randy says:

    Distressing indeed. But should be a simple fix once he gets the broken end out of the frame.

  4. Mark Matis says:

    I meant the loaf of bread.

  5. Joel says:

    Oh. No, I’ve learned my lesson about that.

  6. B says:

    Two is one and One is none.

  7. Clyde says:

    On S&W revolvers the screws on the sideplate (RH side of the gun) look identical but they are not; the crane retaining screw is actually 3 parts, not one: the threaded portion, which includes the slotted head, the internal spring and the plunger which is “operated” by the spring, and the crane retaining screw bottoms on the shoulder under the slotted head when properly snugged.

    The other two screws are each one-piece threaded fasteners (“other four screws” on an older, 5-screw revolver).

    To the casual eye all 3 small screws look the same and, unfortunately, can be interchanged, but there’s a reason the crane retaining screw is internally spring loaded and it has to do with retaining the crane in position and allowing it to move. The unaware may inadvertently swap screws – I’ve seen students in my Basic Pistol classes do that regularly – which eventually causes problems with the crane, and even when the error is corrected the screws suffer for the error because instead of the spring loaded crane retaining screw bottoming on the underside of the head which allows the spring loaded center section to move, it’s tightened down in the wrong hole, compressing the floating center pin and stressing the threaded shank by bottoming on the shank with the moving pin jammed against the compressed psring.

    I’d ask if the part of the screw still in the threaded frame hole is solid or hollow; solid indicates the wrong screw was installed there, hollow indicates it’s the correct screw for that position. A hollow screw is more fragile than a solid one, so if it’s been accidentally abused in the past it will be more prone to failure.

    It’s a good idea to keep a couple spare screws, especially the crane retaining screw, on hand. Inspecting that screw in particular for proper operation is part of routing maintenance on an S&W revolver.

  8. Malatrope says:

    How and why bread rises when it does, and how it does, is a mystery for all mankind.

  9. Mike says:

    Oh crap! I hope the turn around time at the gunsmith isn’t too bad and the cost for the work doesn’t hurt too much.

  10. Richard D. says:

    About the rise…professional bakers can still have issues because it is due to do many variables…humidity of the dough, humidity of the air, amount of salt in the dough, protein content of the flour, temperature of the room, length of time left to proof (rise), ad infinitum….any seemingly minor change can throw the whole thing out of wack. As long as it tastes good when it’s cut (there are few things as satisfying as a slice of warm bread just cooled enough from the oven to cut it) you are doing good.

To the stake with the heretic!