Top 6 Smith and Wesson 351C Problems And How To Fix Them

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I recently had the chance to test out the Smith and Wesson 351C in the field and let me tell you, it’s a fascinating little revolver. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about it. But like any piece of machinery, it comes with its own challenges. 

So, what kind of Smith and Wesson 351C Problems am I talking about? I’ve dealt with low velocity, misfires, light primer strikes, accuracy issues, cylinder complications, and even grip discomfort.

Don’t fret; this article aims to dive deep into these problems and provide practical solutions to get your 351C running smoothly.

Overview of Smith and Wesson 351C Problems & their Solutions

ProblemsQuick Solutions
Low Velocity IssueSwitch to lighter bullets.
MisfiresReplace the firing pin and try different ammunition.
Light Primer StrikesClean and lightly lubricate the firing pin area.
Accuracy IssuesPractice dry firing; if a defect, consider returning it.
Jammed CylinderAdjust gap and clean under the extractor.
Uncomfortable GripDry fire to adjust grip and consider grip modification.

Top 6 Issues & Solutions of Smith and Wesson 351C

1. Low Velocity Issue

So, you know how a sports car isn’t meant for off-road adventures? In a similar vein, the Smith and Wesson 351C isn’t the guy you call when you’re looking for high velocity. 

While I was out in the field, I noticed the shots were moving a bit slower than I’d have liked. The issue, I found, is the gun’s small barrel. 

The small barrel contributes to a reduction in speed, making the bullets travel at a lower velocity. It’s not a design flaw; it’s just the nature of the beast.


You might think you’re stuck with this low-velocity problem, but guess what? I found a workaround. The key is to switch to lighter bullets. Trust me, I tested it out, and it made a noticeable difference. 

Lighter bullets go farther and faster within the same cartridge. But be mindful that these lighter bullets are more susceptible to wind resistance and will lose speed quicker than heavier ones. 

So it’s like a balancing act, but if high velocity is what you’re after, this trick is your best bet.

2. Misfires Issue

Alright, next on the list is the issue of misfires, and let me tell you, this one can be a bit alarming. While testing the Smith and Wesson 351C, I experienced a couple of unexpected misfires. Yep, pulled the trigger, and nada—quite the head-scratcher. 

After digging, I found that the firing pin was the usual suspect. It was weaker than it should’ve been. That’s not all; bad ammo could also be a contributing factor. 

For someone new to shooting, this could really lead to dangerous situations, and that’s the last thing anyone needs.


Now, on to solving this little dilemma. First, check the firing pin. In my case, replacing it did wonders. Firing pins are generally not that expensive, so having a few extras on hand won’t break the bank. 

Trust me, it’s a good insurance policy. Next, consider swapping your ammunition. During my tests, a different type of ammo resolved the issue. Either way, you’ll want to get this sorted before hitting the range or field again. 

Both fixes are straightforward and don’t require a PhD in Gun Mechanics 101, so give them a try.

3. Light Primer Strikes

Ah, the infamous light primer strikes, a classic issue that’s like a pesky fly you can’t quite swat away. During my field test with the Smith and Wesson 351C, I encountered this issue a couple of times. It’s a little less severe than a full-on misfire, but it’s annoying all the same. 

I did some snooping and found that the root causes could be gun buildup or even mechanical failure. Another possibility? An unclean firing pin area or the gap between the bolt face and the cartridge. 

It’s a laundry list of potential culprits, but it’s good to know where to start looking.


So, how did I go about fixing it? First things first, I inspected the firing pin area. A thorough cleaning and light lubrication set things straight. Be cautious not to go overboard with the lube; too much of it and you’re back to square one. 

If cleaning doesn’t do the trick for you, don’t hesitate to get professional help. Consulting an expert or local gunsmith is a safe bet. In my case, the cleaning routine fixed the issue, making the 351C more reliable and easing my mind.

4. Accuracy Issue

Let’s talk about accuracy—or, should I say, the lack thereof. While shooting the Smith and Wesson 351C, I noticed it wasn’t exactly a sharpshooter’s dream. 

The gun required a lot of trigger pulls, and as I fired more rounds, the trigger pull seemed to get even tougher. I know it sounds counterintuitive; you’d think it would get easier, but nope! So, what’s up with that? After some research, I discovered this could potentially be a manufacturing defect. 

You heard that right: the more you shoot, the heavier the trigger pull gets, affecting your accuracy.


So, what can be done? First off, if it’s a manufacturing defect, send it back to the company ASAP. Get it fixed by the people who made it. 

Now, if you’re not keen on sending your revolver away, there’s another route you can take. I decided to put this theory to the test and fired a thousand or more rounds. 

Gradually, I did get more comfortable with the heavy trigger pull. I also practiced some dry firing to build finger strength. It’s not a quick fix, but practice makes better, right?

5. Cylinder Issue

Okay, let’s get into another issue I encountered—the jammed cylinder. This one’s a real nuisance. When I was out in the field, ready to fire some rounds, the cylinder just decided it wasn’t going to play nice.

It became stuck and wouldn’t revolve. Frustrating, right? After some inspection, I figured the gap adjustment was off. But wait, there’s more; it wasn’t just the gap. 

Unburned powder or dirt under the extractor could also be the party poopers here. So, yeah, it’s a multi-faceted issue that needs addressing.


Alright, let’s talk fixes. First, make sure your cylinder’s adjustment is spot on before you take it with you. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to consult the instruction manual. 

A little reading never hurt anyone. Secondly, you’ll want to get in there and clean the area under the extractor. In my experience, a correct-sized brush did the trick. 

One tip: avoid going overboard with the lubricant. Too much, and you’ll find yourself back at square one. So, clean, adjust, and you’re back in business.

6. Grip Issue

Now, I get it; the design is there to reduce the weight. But here’s the thing: if you’re not used to a small grip, it feels odd in the hand, almost like trying to write with a tiny pencil. 

Especially for newbies, this can be an uphill battle. It’s like the gun’s fighting against you, and that’s not what you want when you’re trying to shoot accurately. It’s one of those overlooked details that can become a big headache.


So, how do you go about fixing this? Well, you’ve got to make friends with that grip. Seriously, spend quality time with it. I’d suggest dry firing the revolver a ton of times—like, a thousand or more—to get the hang of it. 

Another tip that helped me was using both hands to find a more comfortable grip. You could adjust the existing grip if it’s not working for you. 

And hey, adjusting the grip is pretty straightforward, so don’t let that intimidate you. Find what feels good, practice, and before you know it, that grip will feel like an extension of your hand.

Final Verdict

The Smith and Wesson 351C is a unique, compact revolver that’s got its own set of challenges. It’s a mixed bag, really. From low velocity to misfires, light primer strikes, and grip issues—these hiccups can make you scratch your head. 

But remember, no gun is perfect out of the box. My testing in the field has revealed simple, effective solutions for each problem. You can make this revolver work by swapping out the bullets, cleaning and adjusting parts, or even practicing more. 

So, if you’re ready to put in a little elbow grease and don’t mind getting to know your gun up close, the 351C can turn out to be a reliable companion for you.


Is it OK to dry fire a Smith and Wesson revolver?

Yes, except for .22 caliber models like the 22A, 22S, 422, 2206, 2214, 2213, and 41.

How much does a Smith and Wesson 351 weigh?

Unloaded, it weighs 11.2 oz.

What does M&P stand for Smith and Wesson?

Military and Police.

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I'm Micheal, an avid shooter and hunting enthusiast from Texas. I'm a recreational shooter who loves to spend time at the range and enjoy learning about new firearms and gears. I love to write about guns and share my passion for shooting with others.

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