Top 7 Smith and Wesson 351PD Problems And How To Fix Them

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I’m here to share some real talk about my time with the Smith and Wesson 351PD. Let me tell ya, I’ve tested this firearm out in the field, and it’s a solid piece for the most part. 

Well, I’ve had my own share of Smith and Wesson 351PD Problems with it. The issues range from Accuracy to some discomfort while handling. Don’t sweat it, though; I’m not here to just point out the problems. 

This article will dive deep into these common snags and offer solutions so you can enjoy your Smith and Wesson 351PD to the fullest.

Overview of S&W 351PD Problems & their Solutions

AccuracyAdjust the sights.
MisfiringClean thoroughly under the extractor star.
RustRegular cleaning and occasional polishing.
Sluggish TriggerInstal Spring Kits and polish surfaces.
Ammo DamagesSwitch to a longer barrel or use different ammo.
GripReplace with an aftermarket grip.
Cylinder IssueFix or replace the ejector star.

Problems & Solutions for the Smith and Wesson 351PD

1. Accuracy Problem

Alright, let’s tackle the first issue head-on: bad accuracy. Trust me, I get it. You’re out there, you aim, you shoot, and bam! The bullet veers off a bit to the left or the right. 

Frustrating, isn’t it? Now, before you start blaming your skills or the wind, hear me out. This issue isn’t all that uncommon with the Smith and Wesson 351PD. 

When I was out in the field, I noticed the same thing. I’d aim dead center, and the bullet would go astray. So, I figured it was time to look at the sights.


The sights on this gun are a Hi-Viz fiber-optic pinned orange tube and a fixed top strap groove U-notch. Sounds fancy, but adjusting them isn’t rocket science. 

You’ll need to get your hands a bit dirty and align those sights yourself. So, I took some time, adjusted the sights, and then fired a couple of cylinders to test it out. 

The accuracy was noticeably better. If you’re still struggling after that, just readjust and test again. It’s all about fine-tuning until you hit the sweet spot.

2. Misfiring Issue

Alright, onto the next big issue: sudden misfiring. You’re all set, finger on the trigger, and you pull. But you’re met with an unsettling silence instead of the gratifying bang. 

Talk about a letdown! I’ve been there, guys, and it’s usually when you least expect it, like in the middle of a practice session at the range. And if you think it’s a fluke, it can happen again with every cylinder reload. 

The problem most often stems from a light primer strike, often aggravated by gunk and grime under the extractor star. Yep, that’s right, good old dirt messing up the show.


So, what’s the fix for these misfires? Cleaning, and I mean thorough cleaning, specifically under the extractor star. 

Before heading out to the range, make this your pre-game ritual. I tried it, and guess what? The misfires dropped significantly. 

And, while you’re at it, check for any extra buildup if it’s been a while since your last cleaning session. A clean gun is a reliable gun, and you’ll see the difference once you get into this habit.

3. Rust Problem

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty: scratch and rust issues. For a gun that’s on the pricier side, the Smith and Wesson 351PD can be pretty sensitive when it comes to scratching. 

Trust me, even the smallest brush against something rough can leave a mark. I learned this the hard way during my field tests. 

And if you think that’s all, wait until you hear about the rust. Specifically, the hammer and trigger are prone to it, especially if you haven’t been using the gun for a while.

So, yeah, it’s not ideal for something you’ve invested good money in.


So what’s the game plan? Cleanliness and maintenance. Make it a regular thing, whether you’re using the gun or it’s collecting dust in its case. I started religiously cleaning the gun, focusing on the hammer and trigger, and guess what? No more rust. 

Now, about those scratches—polishing is your friend here. A little elbow grease can go a long way in maintaining that sleek look. 

Even if you don’t use your gun often, regular cleaning and occasional polishing can keep it in top shape, and you won’t have to worry about unsightly scratches or rust anymore.

4. Problem with the Trigger

It’s time for another issue that’s kind of a bummer: the sluggish trigger. If you’ve ever fired the Smith and Wesson 351PD in double-action mode, you might’ve felt it, too. 

The trigger pull feels off, like you’re dragging it through the mud. I certainly felt that while I was out testing, and trust me, it can throw off your whole vibe. 

I’ve heard people say, “Just get a trigger job,” but it’s not that simple, right? After all, shouldn’t the trigger feel smooth right out of the box?


Now, let’s talk about solutions. If you’re experiencing that sluggish trigger, don’t lose hope. I decided to try upgrading with new spring kits. 

They promise a smoother, more comfortable trigger pull, and they deliver.

A little maintenance there can work wonders. And don’t hesitate to replace or readjust the springs; it’s a minor tweak that can make a significant improvement. Trust me, a few upgrades and that trigger will be smooth as silk.

5. Damages from the Ammo

Next up on the problem list: ammo issues. Yeah, you heard me right. Using 22 magnum ammo with the Smith and Wesson 351PD can give you a serious headache. 

I found this out when I wanted to see how versatile the gun was. Spoiler: it wasn’t great. Now, 22 magnums are typically meant for longer barrels, but put them in a 351PD, and you’re asking for a mess. 

I experienced a downright jarring muzzle blast, but that’s not the worst part. The ammo can damage the cylinder and the barrel, which opens the door to misfiring and light primer strikes.


So, where does that leave us? Honestly, there aren’t many quick fixes here. If you’re dead set on using 22 magnum ammo, you’re better off switching to a longer-barrel revolver. 

That’s the simple truth. Now, if the damage is already done and you’ve messed up your cylinder or barrel, then you’ve got no other option but to send it back to the company for a replacement. 

I know it sounds like a hassle, but sometimes, that’s just the way it goes. Take it as a learning lesson; stick with the ammo that’s best suited for your gun.

6. Grip Problem

Alright, let’s talk about something that’s a little personal: the grip. While out and about testing the Smith and Wesson 351PD, I noticed something was off. 

My hand wasn’t sitting well with the grip, and that’s kind of important for accurate shooting, right? So here I was, frustrated, holding a gun that didn’t feel right in my hand. It’s not the best feeling when you’re expecting a comfortable experience. 

This might seem minor, but a poor grip can throw off your aim big time, especially during rapid-fire. It can be distracting and affect your overall experience; nobody wants that.


Okay, let’s get to fixing this. In my quest for a better grip, I decided to explore aftermarket options. Hogue grips, to be precise. 

I immediately felt the difference after replacing the original grip with a Hogue grip. The ergonomics were just right, and my aim improved significantly. 

Switching out the grip isn’t complicated; it’s pretty straightforward, and you can do it yourself. No need to bring in the pros for this one. 

I highly recommend looking into alternative grips if you’re facing the same issue. Trust me, it’s a change worth making.

7. Cylinder Issue

When the adrenaline is rushing out in the field, the last thing you want is a hiccup in your shooting sequence. But that’s exactly what happened with my Smith and Wesson 351PD. 

I pull the trigger, and—nothing. It felt like the revolver was just skipping over rounds in the cylinder. Then I realized the ejector star was messing things up. 

Instead of letting me fire, the ejector star would skip the round and move on to the next one. It’s like having a car that randomly decides not to accelerate when you hit the gas. Talk about a mood killer.


After realizing this was more than just a one-off issue, I did some research. The best route seemed to be fixing or replacing the ejector star. For those of us who like to tinker, replacing it yourself is doable. 

I ordered a new ejector star, popped it in, and voila—smooth sailing. But if DIY isn’t your thing, sending it back to Smith and Wesson is another solid choice. 

They know their stuff and will get it sorted for you. So whether you’re handy or not, this is a fixable problem. There is no need to let a malfunctioning ejector star ruin your day at the range.

Final Verdict

There you have it, folks—the good, the bad, and the fixable about the Smith and Wesson 351PD. While it’s a decent firearm from a reputable brand, it’s far from perfect. It’s crucial to keep in mind that no tool is without its issues, and guns are no exception. 

The accuracy, misfiring, rust, trigger problems, ammo damage, grip, and cylinder issues I encountered offer a balanced view of what to expect. 

Fortunately, most of these drawbacks can be ironed out with some careful attention and the right fixes. So don’t let the problems deter you; instead, use them as an opportunity to get to know your firearm better. 

With proper maintenance and tweaks, this piece can give you a smooth, safe, and accurate shooting experience.


How much is a 351PD Smith and Wesson?

The Smith & Wesson 351PD costs around $809.00.

Is a Smith and Wesson 351PD a J-frame?

Yes, the Smith & Wesson 351PD utilizes the J-frame design that’s been a part of the brand for over 70 years.

What is the barrel twist rate of the Smith and Wesson 351PD?

The Smith and Wesson 351PD has a 1:9 RH barrel twist rate.

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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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