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  #1  
Old 10-06-2012, 07:46 AM
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Default S&W 1917 Serial #13(PIC HEAVY)(UPDATE SEE LAST POST NEW PICS)(Letter Update Last Pic)

This 1917 was offered for auction 3 weeks ago. I was on vacation at the time and could not be there. To my surprise a friend of mine was there and bought it. Knowing I love the 1917 he couldn't wait until i got home to show her off.

This gun is in very nice condition but there are some questions. It's serial numbered in all the right places but the grips. Being this early it should have the interlocking G,H,S but it has a Springfield bomb. I have showed this gun to several military collectors and they all have side it's right as rain. It shows no signs of refinish.

I bought this last week from my friend. Please give me your opinion. Thanks for looking.


















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Old 10-06-2012, 07:54 AM
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WOW that's beautiful. Is that a 12 instead of a 13 on the barrel?
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:04 AM
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Grooved hammer, check. Consistent numbering without signs of multiple modifications, check. No GHS cartouche, to be sure, but the flaming bomb looks like a more detailed stamp than what I see on later guns. Barring further research, I will accept that. And the stocks? Non-concave, so probably not original as you had already indicated. Doesn't look refinished. I think it's a righteous 1917 with an asterisk for the wood.

Lucky 13! Here's to good friends and good acquisitions.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:11 AM
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George that is in fine shape.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beagleye View Post
WOW that's beautiful. Is that a 12 instead of a 13 on the barrel?
There's a slight bit of motion blur in that picture, if you zoom in you can see it's a 13.

That it quite a gun, and serial number. I hope your friend got a nice tall beer as well!
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:18 AM
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Grrrrr. I'm turning green with envy.

Ok, I'm over it now. Congratulations on a fabulous revolver. Enjoy it.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:20 AM
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Very nice! Agree on the stocks not being of the proper type.

Please warn your friend there is a certain senior S & W collector who may ask him about acquiring this gun, whose last name sounds like a word associated with bad luck (and begins with the letter "J")
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:43 AM
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George,
The grips would be numbered in pencil. So look again in different kinds of light.
The bomb points to later final approval.
So, how did it get the grooved hammer if not assembled early?
A real puzzler.
If it was a late built gun, the grips could be original. They sure look like they are fitted to that frame.

That's a nice gun. Drop me a PM about what we discussed before you bought it.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:12 PM
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Thanks everyone. very happy to own this!!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:33 PM
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WOW! Just freaking WOW!
My much later version SN 85XXX has the eagle head (penguin) on the left side frame just above the rear of trigger guard. What would that indicate?

Ed
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  #11  
Old 10-06-2012, 11:58 PM
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On a more studious look, it now appears to me that the bomb symbol has been double struck. That may be why it looked more ornate to me than the symbol I know from later guns.

Let me make up a story: I could see this as a first day gun that was pulled from the packaging cart and floated around the factory as a production specimen for a period of time. Say it got pushed to the back of a Wesson desk under a stack of papers and was rediscovered four or five months later. Then it could have been equipped with the grips du jour and shipped, with the inspection mark landing on the top left side only after it got back into the delivery channel. Early gun, late characteristics, inconsistencies resolved.

But why didn't it get distributed and used?

It is a really nice gun. I am slowly coming to realize that there are some very well preserved 1917s out there. It is hard to know how that could happen given the presumed urgent demand for battlefield sidearms.
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:33 AM
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DCWilson, Good theory but I have another What If. What if an Inspector pulled an early example and issued it to himself?
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
Let me make up a story: I could see this as a first day gun that was pulled from the packaging cart and floated around the factory as a production specimen for a period of time. Say it got pushed to the back of a Wesson desk under a stack of papers and was rediscovered four or five months later. Then it could have been equipped with the grips du jour and shipped, with the inspection mark landing on the top left side only after it got back into the delivery channel. Early gun, late characteristics, inconsistencies resolved.

But why didn't it get distributed and used?
Maybe, David, somebody at tbe factory or at the depot to which it was eventually delivered (or both) was superstitious. This one should definitely be lettered, of course.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:18 PM
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not sure if i'll letter it. would like to know the real store behind this revolver.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:54 PM
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The 1917 is a work of art.
I'm very biased when it comes to my revolvers but not many can compete with an S&W 1917.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:44 PM
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i will admit to having very little indepth knowledge of the 1917s, but that is a very, very sweet gun with a cool serial number!!!

good score! i hope you treated your bud to a nice dinner!

ed
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:08 PM
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Do you have any photos of the left grip frame showing any factory rework dates? It would appear that this gun went back to the factory at some point to have the WWII safety block installed, hence the "S" on the cylinder face.

Also, a two digit serial numbered gun should have the GHS stamp on the left frame by the rear of the cylinder. Since this gun has the flaming bomb, it indicates later service to me. It is possible that this gun was held by the company for a period, perhaps in the company collection, but was later released for WWII service. This would explain the non dished stocks, the "S" on the cylinder and the later government acceptance stamp.

I would definitely consider a letter on this one.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:08 PM
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I can't get over how early this gun is. It could darn near glance to it's left when it was made and see the first one off the line! I sure can't explain the GHS absence but with it being the 13th one built that is so early that they may not have got in to all their usual markings as we've come to know them.
I would dealy love to have one of the 1917's with the grooved hammer, concave grips and GHS. And I would be totally happy with one in just average condition..you know, like the rest of my guns.
I sure have enjoyed viewing your pics.

Roger
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:21 PM
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The only real concern I have with your latest acquisition is that it is not mine! Beautiful gun in remarkable condition! WOW! Thanks for sharing that with us. Kyle
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:58 PM
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I agree the bomb looks struck more than once, It could be a lunch box gun that never made it to springfield armory. Stranger things have happened at the factory in the early days. I have a friend who's father and uncle worked there and he said a lot of guns had special handling to the parking lot.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:22 PM
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I have the same gun and it also does not have GHS on it.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:51 PM
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I have the same gun and it also does not have GHS on it.
What serial number range does your 1917 fall into? Only the earlier 1917s had the GHS marking.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:06 PM
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All I know is that I am very, very envious. That is awesome.
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:31 PM
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1917 military over-run or Civlian ?

Check out this thread. This might explain some of the unusual characteristics of this 1917.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:05 AM
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What serial number range does your 1917 fall into? Only the earlier 1917s had the GHS marking.
I believe it is earlier than this one is. I had it in front of me when I was looking at this one. I just got a rather large collection and am in the process of moving some safes around. I got four older smiths as well as two remington cap and ball guns and a bunch of WW1 and WW11 stuff, including a Japanese samuri sword. I'll post some pics in another thread.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:29 AM
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I have the same gun and it also does not have GHS on it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tunachaser View Post
I believe it is earlier than this one is. I had it in front of me when I was looking at this one. I just got a rather large collection and am in the process of moving some safes around. I got four older smiths as well as two remington cap and ball guns and a bunch of WW1 and WW11 stuff, including a Japanese samuri sword. I'll post some pics in another thread.
When you say "the same gun," do you mean it has the radially grooved hammer and the rounded (rather than dished) stocks? Those two features plus the GHS cartouche are what help distinguish the early varieties of 1917 models and are strongly correlated (but not perfectly correlated, based on the evidence of the gun at the top of this thread) with serial numbers.

By one standard of measurement it would be pretty hard to have an earlier specimen than a gun with serial number 13, but that is partly what this thread is about in light of the mixed characteristics of the gun in the original post. What is the serial number of your gun? (xx out the last couple of digits if that makes you more comfortable.) Shipment info is available for the Model 1917, and someone should be able to give you the exact week in which your gun shipped from S&W.

Looking forward to photos of this and the other S&Ws. And the Remingtons, too -- but mostly the S&Ws.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:51 AM
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You will flip when you see the .22, it is almost perfect. But my .45 is not earlier than 13, it is 5 didgets, my bad, but it does have the same grips. I tried to upload from my phone, no go. It may be tomorow before I can post them, my dog had surgery this morning and I will be tied up. But I will be seaking advise on what to sell and what to keep, it looks like 40-50k worth of stuff, she wanted them out of the house!
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:38 PM
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C'mon guys- you know they were never built in serial number order. There may have been 10,000 guns finished before that frame got pulled off a rack and built. That frame may have been taken off the rack by a fitter the first day, but maybe he saw a black cat on the way to work, hung it back up, and thought "not today".
Who knows?
That IS one of very few 1917's I would get a letter on, simply because it has such a low number with later features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSR III View Post
Do you have any photos of the left grip frame showing any factory rework dates? It would appear that this gun went back to the factory at some point to have the WWII safety block installed, hence the "S" on the cylinder face.
Incorrect.
Many 1917's have an "S" in lieu of eagle head inspector marks. It stands for "Springfield" and merely means the part passed. It was used on frames, barrels, and cyl's.


I blew the pic of the bomb up till it exploded from the heat. I see no evidence of a double stamp. I believe it is in fact a very clear stamp.

I believe this gun is righteous and unaltered, grips and all.
Did you ever look again for the penciled grip number?
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  #29  
Old 10-12-2012, 08:52 PM
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Thanks Lee, Have been very busy will get on that...
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:36 AM
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Conga-rats to you !
#13 is a find of a lifetime to be sure, especially in that condition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post

Many 1917's have an "S" in lieu of eagle head inspector marks. It stands for "Springfield" and merely means the part passed. It was used on frames, barrels, and cyl's.
Would the 'S' mark being present on the barrel, Cyl & frame be an indication of a first year manufacture date by S&W prior to the Govt. taking over management of the factory ? What is the relation or time period demarcation between the transition from GHS to using the flaming bomb mark?

I'm asking because I have #568xx which has the three 'S' marks and a flaming bomb and I have always thought it was S&W production prior to the govt takeover of the plant that I have read about.

Thanks for your info.

Last edited by 125JHP; 10-13-2012 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:45 AM
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Great revolver and love that SN. Could you imagine going into WW 1 and harms way and being issued SN 13. What floor in a building isn't issued a number (13). I believe people were more superstious in 19teens than today. A good chance the revolver was not initially issued because of the SN 13. Reading in the Neal/Jinks book pg 216 it says, the barrel and cylinder were stamped "S" (Col. Gilbert H. Stewart, inspector.) The post by Wiretap about his low SN (71) also has a S on the cylinder as does SN 11. I can not find pics of SN 45 to see if it has the cylinder S (July 25 2009 forum post?). A letter or a shipping date might explain the different inspection mark/ grips.
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:51 PM
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Upon further inspection I have found that the right hand grip
above the screw hole does number to the gun. It is very very hard to see and you have to be in the right light and angle to see.

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Old 10-15-2012, 07:24 AM
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Good for you, George. I thought they looked fitted to the gun.
I'd still letter that gun, and I've never lettered a Military 1917.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SWSC View Post
Reading in the Neal/Jinks book pg 216 it says, the barrel and cylinder were stamped "S" (Col. Gilbert H. Stewart, inspector.) The post by Wiretap about his low SN (71) also has a S on the cylinder as does SN 11.
Thanks for that correction.
I claim a foggy mental breakdown.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:16 AM
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I happily retract my earlier comment about an asterisk for the stocks. The whole revolver looks to be consistently numbered.

I would letter that gun too.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:40 AM
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Congrats on that buy !! This is a terrific find. Love the S/N 13. Sal

PS: NOT in any way associated with #13 above. On the posts pertaining to the theory of lunchbox guns ... I feel, has been severely overplayed. I can easily accept that the machinists, shop crew, and others (including janitors) had access to an abundance of parts including number stamping tools. Enough parts, comprise the entire, finished product. Was this practice common? I think not. Did it happen? I feel it is very likely it had. Is the answer of "lunchbox gun" for every gun which does not fit the specific mold (of what should and should not be when other, more reasonable analysis fails) suggest they are all lunchbox guns? Definitely not. Many years, and a long unknown chain of custody leave a multitude of questions that likely can never be know for fact, however, a thorough physical examination usually provides "more rational assessments" (and even a few more "presumptions" we can safely make) than irrational (or hopeful) "assumptions".
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  #36  
Old 10-17-2012, 12:13 PM
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Maybe someone was just superstitious and didn't want number 13 in the hands of anyone being shot at.. How many 13th floors are there. I think it was just set aside so no bad luck would come to the person it was issued to. They were probably supposed to skip 13 and someone just goofed. ALso why it has no apparent wear.
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  #37  
Old 10-18-2012, 04:56 PM
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I totaly agree with Mr James as he said, specialy in the fact that it has the flaming bomb (Army ordnance) it indicates later service perhaps later released for WWII service
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSR III View Post
Do you have any photos of the left grip frame showing any factory rework dates? It would appear that this gun went back to the factory at some point to have the WWII safety block installed, hence the "S" on the cylinder face.

Also, a two digit serial numbered gun should have the GHS stamp on the left frame by the rear of the cylinder. Since this gun has the flaming bomb, it indicates later service to me. It is possible that this gun was held by the company for a period, perhaps in the company collection, but was later released for WWII service. This would explain the non dished stocks, the "S" on the cylinder and the later government acceptance stamp.

I would definitely consider a letter on this one.
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  #38  
Old 10-18-2012, 06:56 PM
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I'm curious, the direction of the number lettering on the grip bottom is such that there would only be room for 3 digits.
After 999, the digits would have to be rotated 90 degrees. Did S&W not foresee 1,000 units+?
Any thoughts?
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  #39  
Old 10-18-2012, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappy1911 View Post
I'm curious, the direction of the number lettering on the grip bottom is such that there would only be room for 3 digits.
After 999, the digits would have to be rotated 90 degrees. Did S&W not foresee 1,000 units+?
Any thoughts?
They dropped down to the space below and continued.

13
123
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  #40  
Old 10-18-2012, 07:37 PM
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Yes, it's very simple...They just started a second line!
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:59 PM
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If memory serves, the stamped bomb on the left side of the frame does not mean Springfield Armory. It means that the piece is manufactured for use as US military ordinance or munitions. The Springfield Armory carries it as a symbol because they were the US ordinance manufacturer from prior to the Civil War until about mid-VietNam era. That is a very nice piece indeed! I own a Colt 1917 with a 3 digit serial number that was used in WWI and WWII. Shoots like a champ out to about 150 yds with 230 gr ball ammo, even though accuracy is on the lighter side of 12 moa.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:09 PM
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I am honored to have the 1917 that my Grandfather carried as a sergeant in the AEF in WW1. My dad carried it as a personally owned firearm as a B-24 pilot in WW2, and I carried it as a green-as-grass Infantry 2nd Lt. in the 'Nam. The finish is worn off and only patina remains, and the barrel is pitted and worn. I don't think it was ever fired in anger by either of my ancestors, but it, and my great great grandfather's commissioning sword are my most prized possessions.

The revolver is taken to the range on special occasions, and it is fed .45 auto rim handloads that are not much more potent than squirrel farts (3.5 gr. Hodgdon Clays under a 230 gr lrn), but it will still put 'em in the 10-ring when I do my part.
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  #43  
Old 10-18-2012, 08:27 PM
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What a treasure you have sir!
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:55 PM
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Thank you, sir. And welcome home, brother.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:19 PM
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"The Springfield Armory carries it as a symbol because they were the US ordinance manufacturer from prior to the Civil War until about mid-VietNam era."

Springfield was one of TWO US armories. The second was Harpers Ferry, located in Virginia. Other arms makers also provided arms for the US Government pre War of Northern Aggression, including Remington and Colt.
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  #46  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:45 PM
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Hi George,

Beautiful piece!

I was excited when I recently picked up #71. Getting a two digit SN is impressive enough, but #13 - wow!

I'd definitely get this gun lettered. It's not that expensive, and could give you some really good clues on the history.

My #71 also has the later style grips, though judging from the penciled number (9744) these were replacements. It also has a smooth hammer, not the concentric grooved hammer, so that is likely a replaced part as well. Haven't sent my letter request yet, but I will be soon.

I also have a Brazilian and a completely customized Army issue. They all shoot great. It's just a fantastic model of revolver. Get to the range with some .45 AutoRim and have some fun!

Richard.

PS - if you ever want sell that one I'm sure lots of us here would be interested, including me!

Last edited by Wiretap23; 10-19-2012 at 09:59 PM.
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  #47  
Old 10-21-2012, 09:51 AM
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Default Serial #45

Back in 2009 I acquired serial #45. After reading all the posts I checked all the markings on my gun. Mine DOES have the GHS intertwined logo but DOES NOT have the flaming bomb ordnance stamp and DOES NOT have an S stamped anywhere on it.

Great find being serial #13. Low digit serials are rare and usually command more money.

You need to get this one lettered to see what Roy has to say about it.

jsmith
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  #48  
Old 10-21-2012, 04:39 PM
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Yours is correct. It will have the GHS OR flaming bomb, but not both.
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  #49  
Old 10-28-2012, 11:18 PM
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That's one beautiful 1917! Thanks for sharing the pics.
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  #50  
Old 04-24-2014, 06:18 PM
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S&W 1917 Serial #13(PIC HEAVY)(UPDATE SEE LAST POST NEW PICS)(Letter Update Last Pic) S&W 1917 Serial #13(PIC HEAVY)(UPDATE SEE LAST POST NEW PICS)(Letter Update Last Pic) S&W 1917 Serial #13(PIC HEAVY)(UPDATE SEE LAST POST NEW PICS)(Letter Update Last Pic) S&W 1917 Serial #13(PIC HEAVY)(UPDATE SEE LAST POST NEW PICS)(Letter Update Last Pic) S&W 1917 Serial #13(PIC HEAVY)(UPDATE SEE LAST POST NEW PICS)(Letter Update Last Pic)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Finger Lakes Region of NY
Posts: 2,512
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Letter update in 1st post!!
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George Jamison
S&WCA #2143
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