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Old 04-07-2014, 12:36 AM
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Default Triple Lock target conversion (not King) - Tulsa, April 2014

One of the nice things about going to the Wanenmacher Tulsa Gun Show is the Southwest Bunch meeting on Saturday evening. Some amazing stuff at the show 'n' tell this time, from the only known scoped S&W .320 revolving rifle (in nickel, no less) to 1/2 scale and 3/4 scale handbuilt, fully functional, miniature Registered Magnums.

I picked up an item on Saturday afternoon interesting enough to bring but it was more of a "show 'n' ask" for me. I had found a 1st Model Hand Ejector (commonly known as the Triple Lock) that had gone to the British in .455 caliber, and had later been converted to a target .45 Colt. The hang tag on it had said that it was a King conversion, and I wanted to get opinions as to whether it was actually done by King or someone else.

Most King Gun Works conversions and parts that I have seen have "King" stamped somewhere on them - this rib had no visible markings. After some examination I believe the concensus was that it had not been done by King, but by a talented post-war gunsmith/target shooter. Possibly the rib was made by King, or maybe not - not really any way to know.

Click on the pictures for larger versions.














Note the interesting sculpting of the hammer. The top surface has been smoothly ground away and repolished, and I believe re-cased as well. The checkering also feels slightly sharper than usual in a gun this old, it may have been refreshed.








The rear sight is a S&W post war micro click adjustable, but of an early vintage. It has ten grooves in it while the rib has eleven, so there is some mismatch at the joint. The rib is screwed into the frame at the back end and pinned to the original sight boss at the front end.





This isn't a very good picture but you can see that the front sight has a brass bead inset into it. I'll see if I can get it shined up and a better pic later.





The rear sight windage screw is dead flat, which someone mentioned that was a characteristic of the early adjustable rear sights. At some later point S&W changed to a domed windage screw.





Note the overtravel stop screw in the back of the trigger guard. It is perfectly adjusted.





I was pleased to see that although this firearm was converted from a service sidearm to a target gun, the smith retained the lanyard ring. If you can't read it the serial is 12685.





For conversion from .455 Webley to .45 Colt the cylinder was reamed and the back face shaved. This took off the serial number that would normally be stamped there but I have no doubt that this is the original cylinder. All other locations match - the backside of the ejector star, underside of the barrel, the third lock, and the crane. I haven't had the sideplate off to see if it's stamped on the inside but it likely is.









Stamped "NOT ENGLISH MAKE" on both the barrel and frame. (Wouldn't want anyone to think this junk was made in the King's England now, would we!) The caliber is X'd out and .45 Colt is stamped on the other side (visible in picture 2).





Concensus is that the stocks are Sanderson. They enclose the backstrap and have wraparound checkering. A modest thumbrest is on the left panel. Several people commented on how good they felt but they are not to my personal liking - undoubtedly made for someone with hands much larger than mine. However I do not foresee separating these from the gun (other than perhaps temporarily for shooting) - they've been together for a long time and should stay that way.

I think the sides of the grip frame have also had some polishing done to them. They seem smoother than what I am accustomed to seeing. Could be that the smith just couldn't abide the usual rough machining there.









As an aside, I also picked up a custom .45 Colt revolver on Friday but from "Brand R". The late gentleman who put it together obviously had been looking at Hamilton Bowen's work, and I believe that is actually a Bowen rear sight. It looks like he started with a .44 Magnum Bisley and simply overstamped it from .44 to .45, so it is .45 Colt and not ".45 Magnum", whatever that might be.





Last edited by Tom K; 05-24-2014 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:55 AM
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There were a number of guns that all sold at one auction, I don't have a link and I don't remember where the auction was, but they were customized in a similar style: custom grips, custom target sights, modified hammers. This gun reminds me of those guns.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:16 AM
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Nice catch.
I'm usually a purist when it comes to old guns, but revolvers like this with tasteful and skillfully done modifications are real beauties.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:45 AM
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Very nice. I have a soft spot for nicely done conversions. I Picked up a 2nd Mod HE MKII, with British markings, but converted to 38 special. Other than the modified front sight you can't tell it was ever modified. The finish is still all original and all matching numbers. Whoever the gunsmith was that sleeved the barrel and chambers he was talented.
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:26 AM
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Here is the link to my prior thread. Not King, but probably the work of the same gunsmith.
Modified or Butchered?

Bob
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red9 View Post
Here is the link to my prior thread. Not King, but probably the work of the same gunsmith.
Modified or Butchered?

Bob
Bob, thanks for the link to your thread, very interesting. At the SW Bunch meeting David Carroll said that he had acquired three similar guns (probably at the same auction) and that he would look at them more closely and let me know if he figured out anything. I believe he said he had a Triple Lock .44 and a 1917 both done the same way - I don't remember what the third one was. I think he said two of them had shortened barrels as well.

Interesting that in post #18 you show the joint between sight and rib, and they are lined up better than mine. Looks like one side of the rib was trimmed slightly.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:14 AM
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Good looking triple lock, I like "Enhanced" guns. Let us know how it shoots.

Paul s
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:46 AM
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Tom, nice, nice finds. That Triple lock is great.


I'm so doggone sorry to have missed the show and the get together.

( closing on a house is just NOT a good enough reason. Won't happen again!)
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:35 AM
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Pictures don't do it justice... It was really nice to see it in person. Really cool Triple Lock

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Old 05-23-2014, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul s View Post
Good looking triple lock, I like "Enhanced" guns. Let us know how it shoots.
Paul s
Any range report?


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Old 05-24-2014, 06:34 AM
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Not a King. The rib is quite different. BUT, still a neat, neat piece! How's it shoot?
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:41 PM
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That is a really neat old S&W, if it shoots as good as it looks you have a really nice gun. I really like the King modified revolvers and this one looks like one of those even if it is not.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:39 PM
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Tom K, it may not be a King conversion but IMHO arguably better than a King and to be admired as such. If that is a tapered barrel; the competency of the machinist (who might well have been the gunsmith too) is quite remarkable.

The smithy-machinist had to do some complex math AND execute it in order to accomplish the barrel rib. Obviously, King Gunsight Co did the same math and a cottage industry was born by repeating it countless times in support of their aftermarket conversion business model.

My argument in favor of your one-off is all about the geometry which is very remarkable. For example, the barrel's incremental length of taper, and formulas for the barrel radius, the barrel diameter, the circumference (perimeter) of the barrel, the area of the barrel, the chord, arc and the arc length of throughout the barrel's length, sector and the area of the sector.

If your gun were on display for sale right next to a full King conversion, yours would get my nod over a King.

Many decades ago, I competed against a guy shooting a King-Colt. I set out to find someone to do the job of adding a rib on my own revolver. There were no takers.

Thus the same reasons apply today ...because it is far easier to affix a Bomar or Aristocrat to a bull or slab side barrel... rather than produce and execute a finely crafted product such as yours. It would be very interesting to learn who did the work to acknowledge the craftsmanship.


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Old 05-26-2014, 05:32 PM
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Tom: I forgot to post earlier... thanks for letting us see it in Tulsa. It is a great looking piece.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:19 PM
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cool finds!
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:31 PM
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That is a fine looking hunting "Nimrod" Ruger. I hope it shoots as good as it looks. Those Bisley frames really reduce recoil. Best wishes, Marc
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:59 AM
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Finally got the gun to the range last week, along with some others. I made an entire post about it here: At the range with .45 Colts, .44 Specials

Here are targets from the .45 Colt Triple Lock.





And after sight adjustment.




I also shot the Ruger, here are targets for it.




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Old 07-31-2018, 03:03 AM
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OPINION: No, not King. (It's not marked KING, and no such product is displayed in their catalog---the one I have (1939). Additionally, I have a King Super Target TL---and this ain't it. (King rib is full length, and both front and rear sights are King.)

All that aside, this (as already noted) is a fine piece of work!

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 07-31-2018, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K View Post

I picked up an item on Saturday afternoon interesting enough to bring but it was more of a "show 'n' ask" for me. I had found a 1st Model Hand Ejector (commonly known as the Triple Lock) that had gone to the British in .455 caliber, and had later been converted to a target .45 Colt.
Yours is the last version 455 built under the British contract:

3.B. “44 Hand Ejector-1st Model Triple Lock” 691 assembled at the end of the British contract but many sold on the commercial market, built from remaining TL frames and numbered in the 44 Spl # series ~ 12,000 – 14,XXX range. Shipped 1916-17.
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Old 07-31-2018, 07:34 AM
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Very nice gun. To me well done modifications that increase a guns shootablility are great. On one like this some might lament the loss of "collectability" but, I believe it is a very fine piece and has a unique value both as a shooter and as a example of fine gunsmithing.
On my list of great revolvers
45 colt-check
triple lock-check
target-check
accurate-check
winner-check
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Old 07-31-2018, 08:17 AM
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Interesting old S&W. Looks very nicely done. Would be fun to know who did the work. And yes, that is one of the Bowen target-type rear sights on your Ruger. Don’t let it get away from you!
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Old 07-31-2018, 08:52 AM
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Might as well add another example from this unknown gunsmith. There's a couple others on this board with modified guns from the same individual.


Last edited by LLOYD17; 07-31-2018 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 07-31-2018, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLOYD17 View Post
Might as well add another example from this unknown gunsmith. There's a couple others on this board with modified guns from the same individual.


Not necessarily unknown - information from David Carroll indicates that the gunsmith was Joe Lamping of Cincinnati, in the 1940s and '50s. Copy and paste from post #10, in this thread: S&W 1917

"Looks similar to the hammer on a gun modified by Cincinnati gunsmith Joe Lamping. Here's some text and pictures from an old auction on Gunbroker by David Carroll (woodlawn boys):

SMITH & WESSON .44 HAND EJECTOR, 2ND MODEL TARGET -- 6 ˝” barrel, original blue finish with non-medallion checkered walnut grips. A fabulous 1924-1925 mfg. revolver that was professionally altered in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s with the installation of a custom-made, solid full-length target-sighted barrel rib. This custom conversion was done by a then well-known Cincinnati, Ohio pistol-smith of the period, Joe Lamping, who was a serious competitive shooter as well. On the new barrel rib Mr. Lamping installed a S&W post-war rear sight assembly and a brass-bead ramp front sight. He also reconfigured the original hammer, added a trigger-stop screw in the trigger guard and honed the action to perfect smoothness. The satin-blue finish is 100% original and shows only light handling and use, the non-medallion grips are original and matching-numbered, the fit and function is flawless and the bore & cylinder chambers are mint. An awesome and very cool post-war period conversion N-frame, done by one of the early master gunsmiths !! Please see the numerous photos for all details and close-up views of the finish condition."

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Old 07-31-2018, 01:13 PM
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Another ancient posting arises from its tomb.
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K View Post
Not necessarily unknown - information from David Carroll indicates that the gunsmith was Joe Lamping of Cincinnati, in the 1940s and '50s. Copy and paste from post #10, in this thread: S&W 1917

"Looks similar to the hammer on a gun modified by Cincinnati gunsmith Joe Lamping. Here's some text and pictures from an old auction on Gunbroker by David Carroll (woodlawn boys):
Thank you for the info. I had missed that thread when looking for info on these modified guns.
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