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A tale of Two Wheel Guns.... Ruger Vs. S&W Customer Service

Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagon Collector
#1
Allow me to tell you two stories of customer service from two major players in the wheel gun world, that I experienced first hand, this year.

1. I bought a brand new Smith & Wesson 627 Performance Center. It came to me with a canted sight (not barrel), a hammer so sharp it cut me, a crown that protruded outward and one could catch their fingernail on, a set of grips that had gaps I could fit a dime in, and a weird tooling mark in the top strap. I was issued an RMA after having owned the gun for 18 hours. 4 weeks later I got it back. The sight was pushed to the left to make it look straight but was still canted, the hammer was unchanged, the crown was fixed and the grips were replaced with a decent fitting pair.. Then I noticed the forcing cone had been cut with a chipped or dull reamer. I sent it back a second time. 2 weeks later I got it back with a new barrel that still had damaged rifling but a straight sight, a number of scratches in the finish including tooling/vice marks in a few spots from when they replaced the barrel, and the front sight fell off after about 200 rounds. I sent it back a third time. 7 weeks later after being promised I would be communicated with yet experienced a lack of returning my messages or emails, I got a gun back with the sight solidly mounted and the finish corrected, but still marred rifling. My follow up communication asking for an explanation of the work that was completed was never returned and I have never heard from them since. A NEW gun took 12 weeks to repair to what I still consider less than factory new condition.

2. I purchased an old (1992) SP101 with no box or paperwork from a fellow. Turns out it had some trigger issues, it wouldn’t reset some of the time and would lock the action. I called Ruger who sold me a shipping label for $30 due to the age of the gun. I shipped it on a Monday, it arrived on Wednesday, and I got a return shipping notice on Thursday. It came back to me that following Monday. One week turn around, it was in their possession for one day, and was sent back repaired, with a new instruction manual, New box, and a cleaning cloth. The vintage gun was 100% repaired. That same day I got an email from an employee of Ruger who used to work with my father, stating he saw a post on a forum about an SP101 with a funky trigger and wondered if it was me. He offered to send me a shipping label, and asked if there was anything else he could help with on the process. Unknown to him I had already gotten the gun back, but this employee was reviewing his customer base and reached out to me knowing there was a problem.

I tell these two stories because they show the very different actions of two different companies. I will never hesitate to buy ANY Ruger in the future. I doubt I will ever buy a New Smith and Wesson again, simply because of the crap I went through.
 

Bulleteater

Big Stick policy
Forum Supporter
#5
...I doubt I will ever buy a New Smith and Wesson again, simply because of the crap I went through.
Things could be worse; you could own S&W stock (AKA: "American Outdoor Brands":gayfight:) and kick yourself day and night for not selling your shares after Trump got elected. Ask me how I know.:rolleyes5: Their terrible customer service isn't helping matters, either.
 

RFSALES

uber Member
#6
I like both Ruger and S&W revolvers attended factory armorers schools for revolvers at the factories. I read more complaints about S&W revolvers than with Rugers and Ruger appears to be more aggressive in continuing to expand calibers in their revolver lines,
The best comment I saw about S&W is that quality control is left to the consumer !!
 

pick_six

Adjusting to the west!
Forum Supporter
#7
It's interesting,what you say.

At one time remington had a great reputation and a great product line and market share.

They were bitten by the same bug as you say for SW. At least as far as their product and QC issues go. I say that as a remington guy.

You'd think these guys would learn.

I like both Ruger and S&W revolvers attended factory armorers schools for revolvers at the factories. I read more complaints about S&W revolvers than with Rugers and Ruger appears to be more aggressive in continuing to expand calibers in their revolver lines,
The best comment I saw about S&W is that quality control is left to the consumer !!
 

RFSALES

uber Member
#8
The people that trained me at S&W were trained by fitters that worked through WW 2 or were trained by fitters that came back to work after WW 2, they took pride in their work.
Today S&W has assemblers and the quality shows it.
 

Mike Searson

Μολὼν λάβ
#10
I've always been impressed with Ruger's "If you broke it there must have been something wrong with it" ethic.
Not always.

Just 2 weeks ago my buddy sent back a GP-100 he inherited from his uncle to replace the rear sight. ruger told him it was unrepairable, they had to destroy it and his only compensation was the chance to buy a new GP-100 for $500.

The legendary days of customer service at Ruger appear to be dead.
 

Gullwing

1911 pistolsmith
Staff member
Moderator
#11
Not always.

Just 2 weeks ago my buddy sent back a GP-100 he inherited from his uncle to replace the rear sight. ruger told him it was unrepairable, they had to destroy it and his only compensation was the chance to buy a new GP-100 for $500.

The legendary days of customer service at Ruger appear to be dead.
They had to destroy it because of the rear sight?
 

Mike Searson

Μολὼν λάβ
#12
They had to destroy it because of the rear sight?
They claimed the bbl, cylinder and hammer were damaged and needed replacement as well...their rationale was it was simply to expensive to fix.

I knew someone else that sent back an LCR, they said unrepairable, shipped him a new one...that failed in 5 months and they offered another free LCR...he took a free SP101 instead.

In the past I've sent them guns in pieces and they came back intact and with free shipping. Apparently they're not doing that anymore.
 
#13
Allow me to tell you two stories of customer service from two major players in the wheel gun world, that I experienced first hand, this year.

1. I bought a brand new Smith & Wesson 627 Performance Center. It came to me with a canted sight (not barrel), a hammer so sharp it cut me, a crown that protruded outward and one could catch their fingernail on, a set of grips that had gaps I could fit a dime in, and a weird tooling mark in the top strap. I was issued an RMA after having owned the gun for 18 hours. 4 weeks later I got it back. The sight was pushed to the left to make it look straight but was still canted, the hammer was unchanged, the crown was fixed and the grips were replaced with a decent fitting pair.. Then I noticed the forcing cone had been cut with a chipped or dull reamer. I sent it back a second time. 2 weeks later I got it back with a new barrel that still had damaged rifling but a straight sight, a number of scratches in the finish including tooling/vice marks in a few spots from when they replaced the barrel, and the front sight fell off after about 200 rounds. I sent it back a third time. 7 weeks later after being promised I would be communicated with yet experienced a lack of returning my messages or emails, I got a gun back with the sight solidly mounted and the finish corrected, but still marred rifling. My follow up communication asking for an explanation of the work that was completed was never returned and I have never heard from them since. A NEW gun took 12 weeks to repair to what I still consider less than factory new condition.

2. I purchased an old (1992) SP101 with no box or paperwork from a fellow. Turns out it had some trigger issues, it wouldn’t reset some of the time and would lock the action. I called Ruger who sold me a shipping label for $30 due to the age of the gun. I shipped it on a Monday, it arrived on Wednesday, and I got a return shipping notice on Thursday. It came back to me that following Monday. One week turn around, it was in their possession for one day, and was sent back repaired, with a new instruction manual, New box, and a cleaning cloth. The vintage gun was 100% repaired. That same day I got an email from an employee of Ruger who used to work with my father, stating he saw a post on a forum about an SP101 with a funky trigger and wondered if it was me. He offered to send me a shipping label, and asked if there was anything else he could help with on the process. Unknown to him I had already gotten the gun back, but this employee was reviewing his customer base and reached out to me knowing there was a problem.

I tell these two stories because they show the very different actions of two different companies. I will never hesitate to buy ANY Ruger in the future. I doubt I will ever buy a New Smith and Wesson again, simply because of the crap I went through.
You had a bad experience I get it and you have been harping about it ever
since. Now you know why the older Smith's command the prices they do. Enjoy your Ruger's if your happy with them I am happy for you. I am not going to defend S&W's new guns or there lack of quality control. If you guys want to go back to the days of hand fitting every part by skilled craftsman you would be looking at $2500.00 revolvers. MIM parts and assemblers are what they had to do to stay competitive in today's marketplace. They figured out its cheaper to have a gun returned then reject it in the factory. I really don't understand why its a big deal there are about 3 guys left on this forum that are into revolvers the rest of ya are into plastic semi's seems like the old school wheel guys got ran off a while back for voicing there unpopular opinions.
 
#15
You had a bad experience I get it and you have been harping about it ever
since. Now you know why the older Smith's command the prices they do. Enjoy your Ruger's if your happy with them I am happy for you. I am not going to defend S&W's new guns or there lack of quality control. If you guys want to go back to the days of hand fitting every part by skilled craftsman you would be looking at $2500.00 revolvers. MIM parts and assemblers are what they had to do to stay competitive in today's marketplace. They figured out its cheaper to have a gun returned then reject it in the factory. I really don't understand why its a big deal there are about 3 guys left on this forum that are into revolvers the rest of ya are into plastic semi's seems like the old school wheel guys got ran off a while back for voicing there unpopular opinions.
I'm OK with $2500.00 revolvers if they are accurate as a 1970's Colt Python and last three lifetimes. Right now a top quality revolver is $9,000.00-$10,000.00 anyway.

From Korth USA--> http://www.korthusa.com/images/dsc00053a.jpg

Being one of the revolver guys I can say I own several Rugers and they are tough as nails.

The MIM S&W's are a failure.
 
#16
I'm OK with $2500.00 revolvers if they are accurate as a 1970's Colt Python and last three lifetimes. Right now a top quality revolver is $9,000.00-$10,000.00 anyway.

From Korth USA--> http://www.korthusa.com/images/dsc00053a.jpg

Being one of the revolver guys I can say I own several Rugers and they are tough as nails.

The MIM S&W's are a failure.
I wouldn't disagree with any of your points other than Colt revolvers don't last 3 lifetimes. If you have ever removed the sideplate on a colt the parts look like they should be in a fine watch not a gun. Compare the size to a S&W with forged parts. Colts were notorious for going out of time and all the guys that could work on them are dead or retired.
Rugers are overbuilt and will last a very long time I owned a few of the six series but they look like a tank and the triggers aren't great. No thanks I will take a forged S&W any day.
So how many Korth's do you own?
 

terdog

uber Member
#17
Today S&W has assemblers and the quality shows it.
Don't blame the guy on the floor. He's been told by management what he's allowed to do. Its a management decision not a skill issue.

RemLin would be in the same boat, but their sales dropped and they had soo many returns that they had to up their game on the 336.
 
#18
As to current quality issues, I own several pre WW 2 Smith hand Wesson revolvers. We have formed Smith and Wesson Historical Foundation that has digitized many company invoices and letters.
I owned a 3 1/2 Registered Magnum shipped to a FBI agent in 1937 . The agent returned the gun to S&W for a front sight change and SWHF found a letter he wrote to S&W requesting that the gun be tested because he was aware of RMs coming open during rapid fire. Many S&W collectors consider the RMs to be the finest S&W handgun made yet there seems to be QC issues with them.
I own a 22 caliber OUTDOORSMAN, shipped in 1938, that was returned to S&W because of "BAD TRIGGER PULL" again SWHF found his letter.
A handgun is a machine built by humans and errors can happen.