S&W Model 61 Field Strip (Smith’s Lemon)

Even the most well respected gun companies produce a lemon from time to time, and the 61 is one of Smith’s. In this field strip, we rip apart a S&W 61-3 .22 caliber pistol to show what makes this little gun tick.

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Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • FelixD

    Why do you presume the 61 was a dud?

    • Presume? My statement is based on personal experience, production numbers (and duration), and accounts from others to supplement mine.

      • Felixd

        Funny, mine works to this day. I bought it new in 1972.

        • ostiariusalpha

          You know, some people’s R51 pistols worked just fine also. An individual anecdote is fine, but it doesn’t outweigh the recorded performance of the overall group of firearms. The Model 61 was a bad pistol in the aggregate.

          • retfed

            My Model 61 worked so well I occasionally carried it as a UC gun.
            But then, I never had any trouble with my Remington 522 Viper .22 rifle that everyone said was a POS. Or the old single-action OMC (pre-AMT) Backup .380.
            I guess I just got lucky.

          • Felixd

            I concur that anecdotal results are limited. So, what is the source of the data that supports the initial claim? All I have seen is another anecdotal experience and “accounts” from others.

  • Twilight sparkle

    A lot of Waco pd officers carried the 5906 and hated it. I don’t know what their issue was since it seemed to be a well loved pistol for most people, urban legend around here was that they got the first ones off the assembly line. I believed it was a dud for a long time from what I heard from the officers.