6 Common Smith & Wesson Governor Problems: Troubleshooting and Fixes

Smith & Wesson Governor Problems: The Smith & Wesson Governor is a type of handgun. It’s not too big, with a short 2.75-inch barrel. It’s a revolver, which means you can fire it in two different ways: single-action or double-action.

The frame of the Governor is built on something called a Z-frame, which is basically a stretched version of another frame called the N-frame. It has a grip similar to the K-frame, which is quite comfortable to hold. The frame can be made from a lightweight material called scandium alloy or stainless steel.

This gun can shoot different kinds of bullets. It can fire 2+1⁄2-inch-long .410 shotgun shells, .45 Colt cartridges, and .45 ACP cartridges. But for the ACP cartridges, you’ll need to use special clips because they don’t have a rim.

The rear sights on this gun are fixed, meaning they don’t move. They’re similar to the sights on smaller .38 Special and .357 Magnum guns, as well as medium-sized K-frame service revolvers. The front sights, which you look at when you aim the gun, have a tritium night sight.

This is handy for shooting in low light, and you can adjust it if your aim is off. The Governor can hold six bullets in total, in any combination you like.

Now, here’s something important to know. The Governor is a fairly big gun, but it’s not too heavy, weighing less than 30 ounces when it’s not loaded. This is because it’s made with lightweight materials.

However, there are some things you should be aware of if you’re thinking about getting this Smith & Wesson Governor revolver. This article is here to help you understand these issues and how to solve them.

We’ll also include reviews from real people who have used this gun in different situations. These reviews will give you a better idea of how this gun performs in real life. So, keep reading to learn all the important details!

Specifications & Features of Smith & Wesson Governor

Specification Details
Type Revolver
Place of origin United States
Manufacturer Smith & Wesson
Unit cost (MSRP) $869–1,119
Produced 2011–present
Mass 29.6 oz (840 g)
Length 8.5 in (22 cm)
Barrel length 2.75 in (7.0 cm)
Width 1.75 in (4.4 cm)
Height 5.5 in (14 cm)
Cartridges .410 bore
  .45 ACP
  .45 Schofield
  .45 Colt
Barrels 2.75″/6.985 cm
Action Single or double-action
Feed system 6-round cylinder
Sights Rear notch and tritium front blade

Common Smith & Wesson Governor Problems with Solutions

Common Smith & Wesson Governor Problems with Solutions

The Smith & Wesson Governor is a small, easy-to-carry revolver. It comes in two versions: one made from lightweight scandium alloy and another from stainless steel. They both use a special frame called the Z-frame.

You can get the alloy model in two variations: one with regular iron sights and another with the added bonus of a Crimson Trace laser sight. There’s also a stainless steel version that has open iron sights.

But, like with any firearm, there are some problems that a few folks have encountered when using the Smith & Wesson Governor. Let’s dive into these common issues people have faced:

  1. Misfiring Problem: Sometimes, the gun doesn’t fire as it should, causing frustration and potential safety concerns.
  2. Shells Not Going Off: Occasionally, the bullets inside the gun’s chambers don’t go off when you pull the trigger.
  3. Extraction Issues: Getting the spent shell casings out of the gun can be tricky for some users.
  4. Locked-Up Gun: In rare cases, the revolver might become jammed and not work at all.
  5. Light Primer Strikes: This means the firing pin didn’t hit the bullet’s primer with enough force, which can lead to misfires.
  6. Moon Clip Problem: The Smith & Wesson Governor can use moon clips for certain types of bullets, but there can be issues with these clips.

Now that we’ve identified these common problems with the Smith and Wesson Governor, let’s dig a bit deeper into each issue and explore potential solutions for them. Understanding these problems and their fixes can help you use your Governor more effectively and safely.

Problem #1: Misfiring Problem

Users often find that the gun doesn’t shoot properly, and their shots miss the target. This can occur because the firing pin doesn’t hit the ammo hard enough, especially with tough shotshell primers.


Before shooting, make sure the revolver is clean. Sometimes dried lube can cause issues. Ensure the mainspring strain screw is fully tightened. Clean the action with aerosol spray and add five drops of gun oil to it.

Problem #2: Shells Not Going Off

Some users who’ve been using Remington ammo faced a problem where about one-third of the shells didn’t explode because the firing pin didn’t hit the primer properly. This problem seems to be linked to the Remington ammo itself.


Switch to using 45 Colt and 45 ACP cartridges from other manufacturers, as this often solves the issue. Also, check that the strain screw is tight.

Problem #3: Extraction Issues

Sometimes, the spent brass gets stuck in the cylinder, causing problems when trying to extract it. This can occur if the ammo used isn’t suitable for the revolver or if the cylinder isn’t cleaned properly.


Use ammo specifically designed for this revolver and ensure the cylinder is clean. Replacing the ammo with a fresh one that suits your revolver might also help.

Problem #4: Locked-Up Gun

Users may face a situation where the gun seems stuck. The hammer can’t be pulled back, the cylinder doesn’t rotate, and spent shells won’t eject. Various reasons can lead to this issue, including a lodged bullet or using 410 ammo.


Shine a light between the cylinder and barrel to check for a lodged bullet, and if found, tap it back into the cylinder with a brass rod. Try releasing the internal lock key and turning it. When using 410 ammo, push the cylinder toward the edge of the carpeted shooting station while holding the cylinder latch open.

Problem #5: Light Primer Strikes

Sometimes, when using 410 shotgun ammunition, there are occasional light primer strikes. Light primer strikes can occur when the strain screw is adjusted to lighten the trigger pull, and it can also be related to the type of ammo used.


Use brand-specific ammo for the revolver to prevent light primer strikes. Federal ammo is recommended over Remington for reliability.

Problem #6: Moon Clip Problem

Shells may get stuck in the moon clips, making them hard to extract and causing issues while shooting. Moon clips can be problematic when they’re not properly designed or if the steel used is of lower quality.


Trim the moon clip slightly to make it easier for shells to enter and be extracted smoothly. Consider using good-quality moon clips, or polymer ones can work well to avoid this problem.

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User Reviews for Smith & Wesson Governor

User Reviews for Smith & Wesson Governor

The Smith & Wesson Governor revolver is a fantastic choice for target shooting. It’s easy to carry and user-friendly. However, it’s important to note that using it without proper training is not recommended.

The user reviews for the Smith & Wesson Governor have been overwhelmingly positive. While there are both positive and negative reviews, the positive ones outweigh the negative ones.

Some users have raised concerns about ammunition. They suggest using ammunition from American manufacturers over others. This preference is due to differences in specifications that were demonstrated by a YouTuber.

Another YouTuber has recommended using 45 ACP ammunition with the Governor. The reason is that it works well with the moon clip and is more affordable compared to 45 Colts and 410 ammunition. Additionally, it’s readily available and makes the loading process easier.

Frequently Asked Questions About Smith & Wesson Governor

What is the barrel length of the Smith & Wesson Governor?

The Smith & Wesson Governor has a barrel length of 2.75 inches, equivalent to 7.0 centimeters.

How heavy is the Smith & Wesson Governor?

The weight of the Smith & Wesson Governor is approximately 29.6 ounces, equivalent to 840 grams.

What types of ammunition can the Smith & Wesson Governor fire?

The Smith & Wesson Governor is versatile and can fire three different types of ammunition: 2.5-inch-long (64 mm) .410 shotgun shells, .45 Colt cartridges, and .45 ACP cartridges. To use the .45 ACP cartridges, you’ll need the supplied moon clips because these cartridges don’t have a rim.

Is the Smith & Wesson Governor considered a good revolver?

Opinions may vary, but many users find the Smith & Wesson Governor to be an excellent revolver. It’s often praised as one of Smith & Wesson’s finest firearms.

How much does a Smith & Wesson Governor cost?

A brand-new Smith & Wesson Governor revolver typically has an average price of $761.45. If you’re considering a used one, you might find it for around $650.08 on average.

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