When describing a classic Smith & Wesson revolver in a gunbroker auction, it always helps if it has "the big four T's", target sights, target trigger, target hammer and target grips, like this S&W 29-2.
And an even bigger plus for S&W collectors and I presume shooters, too, is a classic Smith which has recessed chambers and a pinned barrel. Just what advantage a pinned barrel is, I have no clue. Seems to me a barrel screwed into the frame would be stronger than one pinned in place.
But the mere words "pinned barrel" will definitely help sell a classic Smith, like this Model 29-2 .44 Magnum with a 6" barrel, the classic "Dirty Harry" sixgun made famous by San Francisco Police Department Inspector Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood's most famous role.
And most models with pinned barrels also have recessed chambers, another prized "feature" for S&W buyers. But Massad Ayoob sticks a pin in that balloon in his article about the S&W 27 in his new book, Massad Ayoob's Greatest Handguns of the World.
The recessed chambers, which began in 1935 and continued late into the epoch of the Model 27, were prized by revolver aficionados. The reason was the exquisite machining that went into them. They served no actual purpose, according to most firearms engineers and experts, other than creating an illusion of more steel support for a high-powered cartridge.Now ain't that a pip? Sorta the reverse of the famous Microsoft saying, "it's not a bug, it's a feature." Those prized recessed chambers are actually a bug and not a feature. Whodathunkit?
In field use, they actually had a downside. Particles of unburned powder could find their way there as spent casings were ejected, creating a buildup that could prevent full insertion of the next cartridge. This could potentially lock up the gun.
Maybe next I'll be finding out that pinned barrels ain't such a big deal either.