Broken firing pin?

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  • So my brother inherited my father's off duty weapon which is a Smith & Wesson model 49 with a shrouded hammer. He had been using it at the range and I'm fairly certain he was shooting plus P ammunition through it. This gun was made in the early 1960s. I'm not sure that it's rated for plus P. Last week he took it to the range and pulled the trigger and the first round went bang and the second round went click and all subsequent rounds also went click. I'm speculating that it is a broken firing pin. I have no idea whether the plus P ammunition was the cause of it it may have just been old age although it really doesn't have that many rounds through it.

    For all you revolver enthusiasts who may do minor repairs on your firearms, is replacing the firing pin in that particular model Smith hard to do? Is it something that I can do at home or should I really take it to a gunsmith? I usually do my own minor repairs replacing extractors ejectors trigger jobs. I haven't actually had to take a firearm to a gunsmith in a number of years. If it's going to be a fairly serious disassembly I'll do it if it's pretty straightforward I won't. The problem is I can't find a video or written instructions to do this on a J Frame. I can find it for several other Smith models but nothing for this particular frame size. Thanks in advance for an answer
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    Bad influence
    Jan 18, 2007
    J Frames are tougher than most people give them credit for. The 60 isn't an alloy frame so the use of plus p ammo isn't really going to hurt it.

    i haven't seen a 60 with an enclosed hammer before. Always external. The 640 (fully enclosed) and 649 (humpback) are the two stainless variants i have familiarity with. The earliest serial date 60 ive seen was mid sixties. One guy showed me a "special" 60 with what looked like a Carmonized hammer that was supposed to have been done for the nypd but it was still technically an external hammer. John and a few others, such as TOMB, will be along soon to give far more information and experience than I can.

    WRT the disassembly and firing pin replacement, if you are experienced at part replacement in your other weapons, the j frame should not challenge you.


    Active Member
    Aug 2, 2009
    Actually , with the shrouded hammer Bodyguard , you will have to strip it down to remove the hammer first . Once you have access , the actual FP replacement is straightforward .

    The M49 is the all steel version of the Bodyguard . As such , it has semi - wink +P status . i.e. " it won't cause catastrophic failure , but wear will be accelerated " .

    Firing Pin tips break off occasionally . To the extent anything " caused it " , more likely dry firing w/o snap caps than shooting +P .

    On conventional revolvers , visually check firing pins for cracks . But with shrouded or concealed hammer guns , you have to pull the sideplate to inspect .


    Bad influence
    Jan 18, 2007
    OK, I see that the model number has been updated from a 60 to a 49.

    A 49 is a humpback steel frame. Great guns. As Bigfoot says, accelerated wear can occur with plus p but that's usually going to present as endplay or timing issues. My centennial is even older and gets a solid diet of 158s at the border of normal and plus p 38 loadings. No issues yet. Previous owner carried it and shot it with plus p.

    Disassembly will be required to service the hammer if that is the issue but it is not incredibly difficult.

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