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Old 02-22-2016, 12:11 AM
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:01 AM
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Very nice 3rd model SS Larry! Since your post and pics have no text accompanying, I am curious whether or not your gun has an "Olympic chamber??" You can check for this by placing a 22LR cartridge in the chamber. If it fully chambers with minimal effort, you have a standard chamber. If you have to push it in with force, you have the Olympic chamber. The idea was for the Olympic chamber on 3rd model SSs was that if the bullet when chambered is already introduced into the rifling, accuracy would be improved. AFAIK, there was no correlation between the Olympic chamber, and a measurable accuracy improvement, so the idea was scrapped. The Olympic chamber is said to be more rare than the standard. Also, I will forgive you for posting a top break in the hand ejector / early semi auto area - tsk tsk!

Here is mine, which has the Olympic chamber:



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Old 02-22-2016, 01:49 AM
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First, the "Olympic Chamber" is not as rare as we once thought. A recent letter was posted (somewhere), also commentary by Jinks noting considerably more such guns than were originally thought. Don't quote me, but a number in excess of 2,000 sticks in my mind. Additionally, such guns are most likely to be (serial) numbered above 10,000, and shipped in 1920 and after.

Second, such guns, (with both early and late "chambers") are substantially more accurate (smaller groups) than standard guns. I've tested all versions as scientifically as possible (without a machine rest), and there is no question about it. Standard gun---all 10's @ 25 yards. "Olympic" guns---all X ring @ 25 yards. Given the results, I've seen, I suspect tests conducted with a machine rest would produce ragged one hole groups. It's perhaps noteworthy there was no difference in the performance between early and late "chambers"---aside from the later "chambers" being easier to load----easier, not easy. But then again, I cheated---used a "pusher".

Ralph Tremaine

I should have added 25 rounds were fired from each of the three guns (all 10"---same sights). Also, no effort was made to determine optimum ammunition. I shot what I had on the shelf----Aguila SE Subsonic.

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Old 02-22-2016, 01:53 AM
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Interesting Ralph...I never had the opportunity to do a test myself. My 3rd model SS is the only one i own currently. Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-22-2016, 12:04 PM
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Interestingly enough, the idea most certainly was scrapped; but not for a lack of improvement in accuracy. These guns were originally made for folks who could shoot better than their (plain vanilla) guns could---a fairly small crowd. They proceeded to shoot accordingly---and won the Olympics (1912--Sweden, I believe). I imagine the word got out, and then the folks who thought they could shoot better than their regular guns could wanted one too. Fine---send money. They sent money.

Then, learning the guns were an absolute pain in the butt to load, they started to complain---these guns are no damn good! S&W lengthened the throats a bit (.025"). The "new" guns shot just as well---and were still a pain to load----a lesser pain. More complaints. Enter the Straight Line. ALL of them had the "Olympic Chamber"---but the throats were longer yet---and almost easy to load---but still required an extra effort. More complaints. The man in charge said "Dump it!"----1926---June maybe (It's noted in the Random Engineering Changes section of N&J.). The rest of the Straight Lines are easy to load.

The moral of this story is: Some folks just don't know when they're well off.

The folks who did know when they were well off then could get "barrels" (liners) from the likes of Pope (almost all of which had short throats)----and win.

Ralph Tremaine

This concept had been around for more than a little while. It first appeared on S&W's with the NM #3 Target (the 38-44)---late 1880's---thereabouts. The cartridge (designed by Ira Paine) is the same length as the cylinder-----the case is the same length as the cylinder (bullet's inside). Bullet leaves case, and is immediately in the barrel/rifling. More to the point, the bullet had no opportunity to rattle around in the comparatively unconstrained environment of the typical revolver chamber/throat---and become deformed. This was not lost on the custom pistolsmiths of the 50's and 60's (my era of experience), who made competition guns accordingly. The cylinders were the same length as .38 Special wadcutters---custom barrels set back to meet the cylinder. You go up against folks with those guns with your stock as a stove K-38's, and you're going home with your empty cases---and that's all---no trophies!!

Last edited by rct269; 02-22-2016 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:00 PM
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I have a couple of these 10" 3rds, but know very little about them. Thanks for the great info...

Real clean one:






Well used one:





I don't recall shooting either of them, but this thread has inspired me...
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