A Gunguy....your S&W

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by Zigzag2, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. Zigzag2

    Zigzag2 Guest

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3703
    (2/11/03 9:12:43 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del All A Gunguy....your S&W
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    Thought I'd separate this from Trackermt's post to avoid confusion.

    "But! Hold the horses there X. If they started making them in 1915 how could it be called a 1917? And by my fairly low serial number 32000 range, I figure it must have been a civilian model.

    My S&W doesn't say Webly Mark II on the barrel or anyother place on the gun, it just says [.455] period.

    I am still not convinced its a 1917 model gun. Besides, doesn't military revolvers always have seperate issue numbers?"

    OK, let me explain.

    In 1907, S&W came out with an enlarged (N Frame) version of their famous "Hand Ejector" model. It was chambered for .44 S&W Special. This is known as the ".44 Hand Ejector, First Model".....also known as the ".44 Triple Lock" and "The New Century".

    When World War 1 (1914-1919) came along, the British were desperately short of revolvers and ordered a bunch of these S&W's in .455 caliber (their standard service caliber).

    The first 5,000 (serial #1 to 5000) were the same as the .44 Hand Ejector, 1st Model (except in .455 cal.) but had no caliber stamping on the barrel. These are known as the ".455 Mark II Hand Ejector 1st Model". The barrel length was 6.5". Of the 5000 revolver produced, only 100 were commercial guns, the rest were military. These were produced in 1914 and 1915.

    The next batch, serial #s 5001 to 74755, were the same as the first model, but made without the ejector shroud and with the caliber stamped on the barrel. These are called ".455 Mark II Hand Ejector, 2nd Model". They were made from 1915 to 1917. This is what you have.

    In 1917 the U.S. was about to get into the war. We were very short of handguns and couldn't manufacture M1911's fast enough, so the government looked around to see what else they could use.

    Well, there was S&W making these large-frame, large-bore revolvers for the British. It was a fairly simple to rechamber these guns for .45ACP, cut the barrel to 5.5", and add a lanyard ring....that was done, and the government adopted it as the "U.S. Service Model of 1917". (They also did this with the Colt "New Service" revolver which became the Colt M1917)

    The S&W M1917 was made from 1917 to 1919 and had it's own serial # range.

    Sooooo.....your .455 Mark II Hand Ejector, 2nd Model is NOT an M1917, but it's virtually the same gun.

    ......and now you owe me TWO beers!

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 3353
    (2/11/03 12:14:59 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A Gunguy....your S&W
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    My gun has noooo ejector shroud, therefore it is indeed a fair assumption that it was one of the under 5000 made, and a chance its a civilain model for maybe some Canuck up north or some blighter over seas.

    Good heavens, I win my point and owe you two beers...now pouring a keg into the keyboard hope yer thirsty.

    Thanks X, for the update on the S&W. I really like this gun and haven't been this taken with a handgun like this for a long time.

    Gunguy

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 3361
    (2/12/03 9:52:02 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A Gunguy....your S&W
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    X ole buddy, was looken in my first edition Sixguns by Elmer Keith, and he tells a lot about the S&W around the period of my gun, but didn't come through with much on except to say:
    It was made in .455 and 6.5 inch barrel.

    Before the 1917 model came into being they were calling this gun the .44 Military. Then the big WW-1 order came in and they first started converting these .44 Military they had on hand into guns to fill the new order for the Brits. That is, they begin boring out the center axis to make the caliber .455 Webly Mark II caliber. Then they continued making guns on the .44 Military style until the 1917 came into being with the non checkered plain walnut grips and the poorer finish for GI cheaper manuf.

    My gun has the better finish like the .44 Military and has those beautiful checkered grips like I posted over at the other site...but don't have the barrel shroud like the Triple Lock.

    Elmer should have expounded a little more on my period of gun
    so it wouldn't leave us hanging on the manufacturing numbers.

    I think these converted war guns from the factory begin after serial number 16,600 but Elmer has me very confused on that issue.

    Gunguy