I picked up an older Model 36 and the ejector rod is binding a little in the cylinder. I lubed it with Militec but it still binds. I was hoping to remove it to see if it's bent or check to see if there's gunk inside the channel. Does anyone know how to remove the cylinder or where on the web I might find disassembly instructions? Thanks.
I'd suggest you take it to a 'smith. Tearing apart a cylinder takes some special tools, IIRC. It's been a while since I did one (about 10 years) but I vaguely recall it being a real PITA. Removing the cylinder, on the other hand, is easy. Just remove the screw on the sideplate closest to the front of the gun.
Actually, it’s fairly simple if you’re careful and have a vise.
Remove the cylinder/crane assembly as described by darm444 above.
Totally separate the cylinder and the crane.Put at least a couple of empty cartridge cases in the cylinder to prevent damage to the extractor star, it’s pins, or the cylinder itself.
Clamp the extractor rod tightly in a smooth faced vise (you do not want the rod to be able to turn at all or it’ll probably wind up being scarred). Alternatively, use a checkered face vise and something like brass shims to protect the rod. Or maybe try this with a couple of layers of duct tape wrapped around the rod. The bottom line is you don’t want to scar the rod.
Also, I find this works a little better if you put the rod in the vise horizontally, rather than up-and-down.
Grasp the cylinder firmly with your hand and turn it
to unscrew it. (If it’s really stuck, I guess you could insert a couple more empty cases about 3/4ths the way into the cylinder and use a tool such as a screwdriver or a pair of pliers on those cases – not the cylinder! - for more leverage, though don’t get carried away applying pressure.)
While I’m pretty certain this wouldn’t be an issue with your revolver, note that with really old S&W revolvers the extractor rod had a
thread and thus unscrewed in the opposite direction.
Absolutely do not use live rounds for any of the above!!!
Looks like I got it backwards! So much for doing this from memory.
Not any magic to taking one down...As stated you can remove the whole cylinder by taking out the front screw, then hold the cylinder and pull the yoke out the front of the frame. This prevents scarring the cylinder on the frame.
Once done you can remove the ejector rod by putting 3 or more empty cases in the cylinder to take the stress of unthreading the rod by supporting the ejector. You can use a pair of vice grips AND A THICK PIECE OF LEATHER AS PADDING (or something similar) to unthread the rod...NOTE: The rod is REVERSE threaded so loosen it as though you were 'tightening' a normal bolt. If it resists, try some solvent but if it just plain doesn't seem like it's going to come loose...stop and take it to a gunsmith.
Note also: it's very easy to bend these rods, esp using this technique so proceed at your own risk.
Of course, pay attention to what comes loose..some of these have small collars, don't lose it or get things turned around lol...also put the ejector back in the same orientation as before (you can use a felt tip pin to mark it if you like)
DO NOT try to unthread the ejector rod without putting the empty cases in the cylinder...if you fail to do this it puts tremendous stress on the ejector and may put it slightly out of time.
My Model 36 is old. It has no letters in the serial number. I've heard that this is one way to tell. How can I be sure what way it's threaded?
I don’t know what the cut off is for the change in thread direction.
FWIW, I just checked a Model 36 I bought in 1968 with the SN 63XXXX (all numbers) – it definitely has the newer left hand thread.
Jerry Kuhnhausen’s book “The S&W Revolver” states:
“Standard rods are left hand threaded to tighten with cylinder rotation. Older rods are right handed [identified by a grooved recess, or line, cut into the end knurling].”
I have no idea what this recess or line looks like – and I’ve seen plenty of older S&W’s! The extractor rods of older S&W’s do have an enlarged area where the knurling is so I wonder if that’s what he’s referring to?