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Well, Sir ... another myth exploded right before my eyes! And a good thing, too, I expect! I've always thought I'd get around to doing just this kind of kitchen table abortion on an old OP I have. It's a 6" and I'd rather have a 4". But, I've had it for years so I'll just live with it! Besides, I have two nice old swivel holsters I'm fond of that fit it. Thanks for the advice - glad you posted it here. I might have missed it, otherwise.
 

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This is my reply to that question on another forum.
This gets asked regularly, so I thought you might find it interesting:

Unfortunately, replacing a revolver barrel is not a job that can be done at home. Not unless you're willing to make a HEAVY investment in tooling, and the time to learn how to use it properly.

A revolver barrel IS NOT simply a threaded pipe that can be screwed on the frame. It must be fitted, and the fitting is absolutely critical. Simply threading a new barrel on isn't the end of the job, just the beginning.

The procedure, (in brief) is:

A special barrel vise is used to hold the barrel, and a special gun model-specific action wrench is used to unscrew the frame from the barrel. (Both expensive)

A new barrel is checked to insure it will fit properly, (used barrels ARE NOT always fittable, or usable).

The new barrel is test fitted to the frame, and a lathe is then used to remove an EXACT amount of metal from the barrel shoulder to bring the front sight to top-dead-center, when the barrel is torqued into place. (Lathe: VERY expensive, and absolutely necessary).

The barrel is properly torqued to a "crush fit" against the frame shoulder, with the front sight at top-dead-center, using the barrel vise and action wrench.

A special tool (expensive) is used to establish the barrel/cylinder gap, (critical), by cutting the rear of the barrel. This MUST be 100% SQUARE to the front of the cylinder. A hand file won't do it.
The barrel/cylinder gap MUST be correct. Too small a gap, binding of the cylinder. Too large a gap, inaccuracy, and spitting lead.
The gap is measured in the thousandths, with a very fine line between too much and not enough.

A special tool, (expensive) is used to cut the forcing cone in the barrel. The forcing cone MUST be cut to an EXACT angle AND mouth diameter. If not properly done, the gun will be inaccurate and will spit lead badly.

The old time instruction to "whittle some barrel blocks for the barrel, stick a hammer handle or 2 X 4 through the frame, and twist her off", is pretty well guaranteed to ruin the gun.

Revolver frames WILL bend and break though the barrel ring if done this way. Not all the time, just most of the time.

You still find people who do this, supposedly with good results, but they ain't gonna be standing by to buy you a new revolver if things don't work out like they say.

In short, revolver barrel work is a gunsmith-ONLY job. If you want to learn more, and decide if you'd like to do this as a hobby, buy a copy of Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The Colt Double Action Revolver: A Shop Manual, Vol. One"

This has a very complete set of instructions on how to do barrel work, and an explanation on why doing it the hammer handle way has ruined so many fine Colt's.
 

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While I would not recommend rebarrelling any Colt revolver because of their crush-fit barrels, I have had good results rebarrelling S&W revolvers with pinned barrels. I just drive out the pin, clamp the barrel in a vise between two pieces of soft pine, and twist the frame GENTLY. This has always done the trick for me. Assembly is reverse-order. Sometimes you have to file the end of the forcing cone a few thousandths to allow the cylinder to close or rotate, but that's about it. Good take-off barrels can usually be had very cheaply and this can make a ruined gun serviceable again.
 
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