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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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  #101  
Old 07-24-2020, 09:25 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is offline
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Reportedly only the first ~30,000 Colts had cyl 'charge holes' instead of chambers. That would mean the first 30,000 shipped,, not necessarily #s 1 thru 30000.
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  #102  
Old 07-24-2020, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by StrawHat View Post
Granted, I have little to do with Colt firearms, but from what I understand, only the very early Colt Model 1917s had cylinders bored straight through with no headspacing ridge. I am not positive but believe most of those were fitted with new cylinders either by Coltís or military armorers.

Kevin
Kevin you are correct, only at the beginning of the Colt M1917 contract did Colt use cylinders requiring the use of moonclips. Eventually they started using cylinders with headspacing shoulders in the chambers so they could be fired with or without moonclips such as S&W had done with their M1917 production from the very beginning.

I have an all-original early Colt M1917 example still having the cylinder that requires moonclip use. All of my later serial numbered Colt M1917 examples, as well as my Colt Civilian Model of 1917 examples, have the headspacing shoulders in the chambers.

Just to clarify, the early Colt cylinders that require moonclips were not technically bored straight through. There is a shoulder in the chambers as one would expect on any normal rimmed revolver cartridge chamber. Unfortunately this early shoulder style allows the .45acp round to fall too far into the chamber as to prevent reliable primer ignition. On my early Colt M1917 example it will allow .45acp cartridges to go in about flush with the rear cylinder face instead of sticking out enough to properly headspace.

From what I have read many early Colt M1917 cylinders not having the correct headspacing shoulders in them were swapped out with later style cylinders that did allow one to fire the revolver both with and without moonclips.

Occasionally an early style Colt M1917 still having it's original style cylinder pops up on the radar.

Dale
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  #103  
Old 07-24-2020, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Reportedly only the first ~30,000 Colts had cyl 'charge holes' instead of chambers. That would mean the first 30,000 shipped,, not necessarily #s 1 thru 30000.
I have seen all kinds of different numbers regarding this. I keep hoping to see something rock solid from Colt such as in a factory letter, but nothing to date.

Of course who knows how many may have survived still having the original cylinder.
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  #104  
Old 07-24-2020, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tenntex32 View Post
...I have an all-original early Colt M1917 example still having the cylinder that requires moonclip use. All of my later serial numbered Colt M1917 examples, as well as my Colt Civilian Model of 1917 examples, have the headspacing shoulders in the chambers....

Dale...
Yours is the first one of which I have heard, not that I have gone out of my way to look for one!

Interesting how they did the first batch of chambering but got it corrected for the rest. Kind of opposite what S&W has done re: the Model 625.

Kevin
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  #105  
Old 07-24-2020, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by StrawHat View Post
Yours is the first one of which I have heard, not that I have gone out of my way to look for one!

Interesting how they did the first batch of chambering but got it corrected for the rest. Kind of opposite what S&W has done re: the Model 625.

Kevin
Kevin,

I have seen a few but not very many. One thing you have to look out for is that many later style Colt cylinders may have had their original chambers reamed/modified to accept .45Colt ammo.....thus the owners think they may be the early style cylinders. An all-original unmolested early (or later) Colt M1917 cylinder will not properly accept .45Colt ammo.

Here's a pic of my all-original early style Colt cylinder that will not fully accept .45Colt ammo. (It's the same revolver/cylinder as in my previous pic showing the unclipped .45acp ammo going in flush with the rear cylinder face.) This is another reason I try to correct folks when they say early Colt cylinders were originally bored straight through as this is an incorrect statement. If they were simply bored straight through then .45Colt ammo would go all the way into the chambers.

Dale
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  #106  
Old 07-25-2020, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by tenntex32 View Post
Kevin,

I have seen a few but not very many. One thing you have to look out for is that many later style Colt cylinders may have had their original chambers reamed/modified to accept .45Colt ammo.....thus the owners think they may be the early style cylinders. An all-original unmolested early (or later) Colt M1917 cylinder will not properly accept .45Colt ammo.

Here's a pic of my all-original early style Colt cylinder that will not fully accept .45Colt ammo. (It's the same revolver/cylinder as in my previous pic showing the unclipped .45acp ammo going in flush with the rear cylinder face.) This is another reason I try to correct folks when they say early Colt cylinders were originally bored straight through as this is an incorrect statement. If they were simply bored straight through then .45Colt ammo would go all the way into the chambers.

Dale
Excellent observation. Perhaps the shoulder machined too deep was actually just a manufacturing error!
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  #107  
Old 07-25-2020, 10:08 PM
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No, the 1917 Colt I have has a tapered transition to the chamber throats like a .455 cylinder and no headspace ledge. I'm not sure that it is not chambered with a .455 reamer............
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  #108  
Old 07-26-2020, 12:05 AM
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I don't feel it was a chambering error on Colt's part with regards to their early style cylinders requiring the use of moonclips.

With regards to the cylinders possibly being reamed for .455.......the .455 Webley case is considerably shorter than the .45acp case so I would feel that the tapered shoulder for .455 Webley ammo would be too shallow to allow a .45acp round to go in as far as they do in my early Colt M1917. Now the .455 Colt Dominion case is closer in length to the .45acp case but unfortunately I do not have any .455 Webley or .455 Colt Dominion ammo to see if their slightly larger diameters will even fit into the early Colt M1917 chambers. (Just do a Google Images search of ".45 acp vs .455 Webley" and you will see what I mean.)

I have read where some folks speculate that Colt may have simply used .45Colt cylinders in their early M1917 revolvers. I feel this to not be the case as one can clearly see that the much longer .45Colt rounds will not chamber properly in my all-original early Colt M1917 example......not by a longshot.

I feel Colt simply knew the .45acp M1917 revolver ammo was going to be issued on moonclips and made sure the chambering method used on their early examples would allow for ample room for the .45acp rounds to chamber under the worst of wartime conditions.

I also feel the U.S. government (and possibly even Colt) may have seen the benefit of S&W's M1917 style cylinder that allowed the use of .45acp ammo both with and without moonclips and steered Colt in that direction. IIRC the government may have even asked S&W politely to allow Colt to do something similar with regards to their cylinders. Since the U.S. government had federalized S&W at some point later on in M1917 production this may have also helped with S&W's "decision" to allow such.

Maybe someone has access to actual U.S. government, Colt, or S&W documents that provide more info as to the decision making process at Colt and possible needed permissions from S&W?

Dale

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  #109  
Old 07-26-2020, 03:42 AM
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If you drop a .45acp into a S&W cylinder chambered in .455 it will go in flush with the base of the case. The .455 MKII was much shorter than the .45acp and the MKI is also shorter but the chambers on a .455 are much deeper. If you don't believe me check it out.
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  #110  
Old 07-26-2020, 04:36 AM
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Dale,

Thanks for that. Upon further contemplation, I must agree with you. Although I've seen it written for both Colt, and S&W (for S&W in the Journal Book 2 reference to Kuhn, 1961), I can't believe that either Colt or S&W would use a charge hole for a non-heeled bullet cartridge. After all, they had been chambering their revolvers for modern cartridges with chamber throats for at least 40 years by 1917.

If Colt purposely positioned the chamber shoulder deeper than the .45 ACP required, I wouldn't think it was for the .455 cartridge. I know S&W British Svc revolvers are only marked .455 because they're actually chambered for the longer .455 MKI at British request, so both MK I & II could be fired. An ACP falls all the way in the chamber.

Photo by Lee Jarrett

Did Colt produce any 455 New Svc revolvers for the British? If they did, I can believe they may have shaved the rear cyl face of unused cyls for use in their early 1917s. They certainly had precedent for that by using left over 1878 DA cyls in their single action army. They didn't waste anything.

Certainly didn't need deeper chambers to ream them on purpose in ACP cyls. Neither for the shorter MKII or even the longer case .455 MkI (.455 Colt and Dominion) same case length as the ACP. I have both, they do not chamber all the way and no deeper than the ACP in a S&W 1917 ACP cyl chambers because of the tapered case, as you said. So they wouldn't need a deeper reamed shoulder.

It certainly wouldn't be for the shorter MkII, which headspaces on it's rim at the cyl face. It would not fire or not reliably enough with it's thin rim.

The MKI will fire for certain, because it's tapered and too fat at the bas to chamber completely as you thought.

Or were they left over cyls chambered for the .45 Frankford Arsenal ACP equivalent cartridge with a rim, submitted in the New Svc for the 1906 Army Trials???? That would make more sense for the deeper tapered shoulders since that case was longer than both the ACP and MkI case.


The government didn't have to share S&Ws 45 ACP shoulder position with Colt, it was not patented, nor patent-able under patent law. It was not only too general of a concept but one that was already in the public domain that all manufacturers were already using for at least 40 years.

But the gov't did propose that S&W share their clip patent rights with Colt at no royalty expense which they did. And before the Gov't took over production. Smith's original clip design from the 1870s was for a full moon clip, but that's another story.

Like you, I would really like to know the true story.
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  #111  
Old 07-26-2020, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by tenntex32 View Post
...Since the U.S. government had federalized S&W at some point later on in M1917 production this may have also helped with S&W's "decision" to allow such.

Dale...
Dale,

If you are referring to the seizure of the S&W factory by the US Government, that occurred in Sept of 1918 and went until January 1919.

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  #112  
Old 07-28-2020, 06:20 PM
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Here's my pre 26 that was modified for use with 45 Colt ammo. I purchased it with this modification so I do not know who did the work. It is accurate and reliable. This revolver shoots best with my handloads using jacketed bullets.
I've tried Hornady's in 451 and 452 diameter and can't really tell much difference but I should put it on my Ransom Rest.
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  #113  
Old 07-28-2020, 07:27 PM
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...Here's my pre 26 that was modified for use with 45 Colt ammo...
It looks like the chambers were deepened and the extractor star cut to recess the rims of the cartridge.

Nice work, whoever did it.

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  #114  
Old 07-28-2020, 11:56 PM
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I have a pre-26 barrel purchased from a forum member. About time I put it on my 25-2.

I dig tapered barrels.
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