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Old 05-18-2014, 08:06 PM
SG-688 SG-688 is offline
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Default S serial number N-frame with a surprise W - back from Bowen

I am once again acting as amanuensis for Joe Kent by posting this oddly barreled "custom" - somebody must have liked it - .45 ACP 1950 Target S940xx that he picked up as a project to restore with something more appropriate. For that, check back in about two years.

The action was terrible - stiff and heavy. When I suggested pulling the side plate, Joe said it would be interesting if it had a "U" mainspring. No "U" ... but it has a "W" spring.

Without the wood block under the spring, the action is light and smooth. Perhaps too light. More to come.

Not pictured, but the diamond magna grips number to the gun.







UPDATE == Hamilton Bowen has worked his magic and returned the revolver looking like it should have looked the day it left S&W - if it had been made in 1938. Joe will have comments.







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Old 05-18-2014, 08:56 PM
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Don't the U and W springs make the coil spring inside the trigger rebound slide unnecessary? It looks like the coil is still in place.
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:35 PM
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I checked other my pictures; one even more clearly shows a coil spring is inside the rebound slide.

I was all agog and didn't think about it. We didn't have much time. Opened it, sprayed out the gunk, took a few pictures and then buttoned it up again.

Hammer fall and trigger return both felt light.
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:42 PM
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The coil is not supposed to be there.It looks like a custom barrel,It is missing the ejector shroud and the barrel rib.With the wood block,coil spring and front sight I wonder how experienced the person working on the Gun was.....
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Old 05-19-2014, 07:46 AM
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For one thing that spring is hitting the frame. I don't have a picture of mine with the sideplate off but you can see from this picture it does not hit the frame. I'm talking about the third picture without the wood.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:13 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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Elmer Keith found his W spring gun to be soft on trigger return, so he put in a shortened rebound spring to give it some snap.
Probably done here along with the new barrel and wood block.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:50 AM
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Good pictures Craig. I was unaware of the "W" spring. As Joe may have told you I told him about it. The gunshop owner had called me to help him identify just what it was. I was mystified by the barrel, it is basically a straight tube with some old (?) rifle sight soldered on the front. The lacking of a front lock up lug worried me, but I recognized the action as a good potential and went looking for a barrel. I missed a 1950 barrel on Ebay by 2seconds when I was overbid. The only other one I found was on gunbroker and the opening cost of that was beyond my budget for what I felt the project would cost. Joe and I discussed his "new" project, and I'm very interested in seeing it. But like you said, it will be a couple years. He's having it done right. One thing I would do is replace that "W" spring. I have a handful of mainsprings if he needs one.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:19 AM
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Nice looking gun, from what I see, in wont of a barrel. Poor thing. Someone wanted to make themselves a 1955 before the 1955 came along.

I have a 1955 with the W mainspring. It works fine, but if I were having trouble with it I would replace it with a standard spring, as was suggested. I could never see that the W mainspring improved things much but it does make some people scratch their heads when they see it.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:08 PM
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That looks like a straight-taper Colt New Service barrel to me. I think NS shank diameter and thread pitch are different from N-frame S&Ws, so if the frame has been modified to take that barrel, you may need to put a reduction sleeve in there before installing a true 1950 barrel.

That looks to be a six-inch barrel. Maybe that's the original length, but I believe some of those Shooting Master heavy barrels were 7.5 inches long, so 1.5 inches may have been lost if I am right about the identification. That cut would necessitate the new sight. I agree that the one there now looks like a drift-adjustable front rifle sight.

Even allowing for compression effects from contact with the hammer stirrup and trigger rebound slide, that W spring seems to be tweaked. The arc of the front leaf and the shape of the forward bottom loop just look wrong.

Restoration will be an interesting project. If it isn't absolutely necessary to create a correct Pre-26, a shorter barrel from a later gun would make a more general-purpose .45 out of it.

EDITED TO ADD: I just realized that I am kind of interested in these N-frame "alphabet" springs. If anyone has a spare U or W mainspring (no offense, but not this one!) that they would be willing to see move along to a new home, please PM me with details.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:04 PM
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Gentlemen, This revolver is getting a 4in barrel bored out to 45. Hamilton Bowen is doing the work for me and as we all know, it will be done more than right. You have seen the before and I will do my best to post the results when I have it back. All my best, Joe .
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:31 PM
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If Hamilton is on the job you can sit back and relax.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:47 PM
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Is this George W. Bush's gun?

That would explain the W spring!
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Old 08-25-2016, 05:49 AM
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Gentlemen, it is still a work in progress. Hamilton tells me at least another 6 months as he is still terribly backed up do to the death of the man who did the reboring of the barrels. We all know it will be worth it tho. I will update with pictures when I finally get it back. All my best, Joe.
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:36 AM
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Joe, are you going to retain that W spring or restore the pistol to a standard spring configuration? I ask because that frame appears to have the features needed to use the standard spring and IMO that particular experiment in spring design has proven to be a failure and really should be relegated to a museum piece under interesting oddities.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:45 AM
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The frames on the revolvers we obtained back in the late 1950's with the "U" and "W" mainsprings were not altered, and thus were able to utilize the 'normal' mainspring and stock strain screw.
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Old 08-25-2016, 10:53 AM
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Looking forward to the Final results. If you need a mainspring (standard factory), I've got quite a few available. See you next weekend in Herman if not sooner.
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired Gunsmith View Post
The frames on the revolvers we obtained back in the late 1950's with the "U" and "W" mainsprings were not altered, and thus were able to utilize the 'normal' mainspring and stock strain screw.
What he said.

I bought a U and W mainspring (as parts) back in the day, and stuffed them into a Highway Patrolman (my only N frame at the time). Both fit and functioned fine (The W was better----softer action.)

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 08-25-2016, 02:04 PM
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Other than my awareness of their existence, I know nothing about the W and U mainsprings. I have yet to personally see one. So what is the story on them? What's their purpose? When? What models used them - or were they aftermarket items?
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Old 08-25-2016, 02:20 PM
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The revolver will have standard internals when it comes back, tho it will have had an action job and I elected to do a 3 1/2 in. barrel with front sight in the Reg. Magnum style rather than a 4 in. barrel.
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Old 08-25-2016, 03:55 PM
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I believe the U and W mainsprings originated on the 1955 Target as the factory was looking a means of improving the trigger pull on the guns. They made some with both spring types but it didn't end up making much difference and they discontinued them shortly. I have no idea how many were made.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SG-688 View Post
I am once again acting as amanuensis for Joe Kent by posting this oddly barreled "custom"
Amanuensis, pretty cool word for Joe Kents's 'go-for'. :-)
Just kidding.

And pretty cool gun ripe for restoration!

I suspect the barrel was re-treaded rather than the frame since it's easier and the originality of the frame is retained.

That may be the first iteration of the PPC guns and Smith Performance Ctr competition guns!
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kent View Post
Gentlemen, it is still a work in progress. Hamilton tells me at least another 6 months as he is still terribly backed up do to the death of the man who did the reboring of the barrels. We all know it will be worth it tho. I will update with pictures when I finally get it back. All my best, Joe.
I believe that was Jim Dubell of Delta Gun Shop. Any idea who is doing reboring work now?
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:10 PM
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Default Back from Bowen

Has it been 2 years already?

Hamilton Bowen has completed the work on Joe's oddly barreled 1950 Target. It now has a rebored barrel, re-marked, and cut to 3 1/2 inches. Then the rib and front sight were cut back to approximate the style of a pre-war .357.

Joe will have more comments.









With the model and an S.D. Myers holster.






Personally, I would have gone with a 4 inch, but he already had one.



Corrected barrel error. The original plan was to use a Highway Patrolman barrel. I didn't catch the change.....
.

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Old 03-18-2017, 08:01 PM
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Once again my long time Buddy ,SG688, came thru with some great pictures of my latest Bowen Revolver. To say that I am pleased is an understatement, Hamilton did his usual masterpiece work which is without a doubt very pleasing. The only thing different from SG688's description is the fact that Hamilton used a barrel from a six inch outdoorsman for the conversion. He also replaced the internals with regular springs and replaced the hammer and rear sight from a Model 28. The 2 other revolvers picture are one of my Registered Magnums and a Model 1950 Bright Blue 44 Special. Thank you all for your interest in my projects and we all can only hope Hamilton Bowen , when he catches up , will once again start taking in our favorite revolvers for work and customization. All my very best, Joe.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:06 PM
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That's a nice .45, but I wouldn't use it in that holster unless you want to cut it all to pieces. When I converted a M27 to .44 Special back in '76, I used a 6 1/2" target barrel, equipped with a Patridge front sight. Everytime I drew it from the holster, I brought out little slivers of leather. I modified that sight into a ramp.

That should be a good target gun though.
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:02 PM
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Muley Gil, sage advice, it actually rides in a Safariland Model 25 with a sight channel. {but you gotta admit the Tio Sam made holster looks "cooler" All the best my friend. Joe.
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rct269 View Post
What he said.

I bought a U and W mainspring (as parts) back in the day, and stuffed them into a Highway Patrolman (my only N frame at the time). Both fit and functioned fine (The W was better----softer action.)

Ralph Tremaine
It is perhaps worth noting at this late date that it is my distinct recollection my use of both the U and W springs was done without the use of the rebound slide spring. It never would have occurred to me to use either with the rebound slide spring in place.

The use of both these springs (U & W) resulted in an action akin to those fitted with today's "spring kits"------light and SMOOOOOOOOOOOOTH. The W was better than the U (better defined as lighter and smoother).

I recently stuffed a MICULEK spring kit into a beater 1920's M&P my father-in-law carried around in the hip pocket of his overalls for 50-60 years. It ended up with a DA trigger pull of 7 lbs. It is reminiscent of the U & W springs used in my HP years ago--------------light and SMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTH.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
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Muley Gil, sage advice, it actually rides in a Safariland Model 25 with a sight channel. {but you gotta admit the Tio Sam made holster looks "cooler" All the best my friend. Joe.
Yeah, good advice and true, but that old Safariland holster is not exactly junk. I use one and never apologize for it. It's tan and basketweave, and about 40 years old - and it still looks like new! Downright pretty, I think.

Great looking revolver. Hamilton has an eye for this sort of thing, doesn't he?
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M29since14 View Post
Yeah, good advice and true, but that old Safariland holster is not exactly junk. I use one and never apologize for it. It's tan and basketweave, and about 40 years old - and it still looks like new! Downright pretty, I think.

Great looking revolver. Hamilton has an eye for this sort of thing, doesn't he?
My favorite duty holster was the Safariland Model 29, the same as the Model 25 except that the 29 has a thumb break. I have them for K and N frames in black, black basketweave, tan, tan basketweave, 4" 5" and 6 1/2". I had Brother Dave Keith make me a copy in 5" tan basketweave.

Now if I could find a tan basketweave Sam Browne belt, I'd be set.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:57 AM
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Nice looking gun but damn that front sight is tall.
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:14 AM
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M29since13, of course you're right , anyone who has carried revolvers for any length of time very much appreciates the Model 25 holsters. I have several for various frame and barrel lengths. Great holsters for great guns.
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:47 AM
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Looks great now. Am curious about the cost of having a barrel bored and rifled. Did you get a cost break down. Thanks.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:20 AM
SG-688 SG-688 is offline
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Default Get out the calipers.

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Originally Posted by JSR III View Post
Nice looking gun but damn that front sight is tall.
It is tall, but we forget how much ramp sight bases disguise the apparent height of front sights.

The comparison here with the ramp front on the other 1950 is not exact because of camera angle and distance, but the two sights are not much different.




And I like the "look" of the ramp better too.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:42 AM
Joe Kent Joe Kent is offline
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Steelslaver, I did not get a breakdown on just the reboring. The work included purchasing a new barrel, fitting it to the frame ,cutting it and re-making the sight and base and also re lettering and refinishing. While the total bill was not frightfully expensive{quality workmanship never is} it was ,in my opinion, well worthwhile. As I said above, I am more than pleased.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:36 PM
Keith Brown Keith Brown is offline
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Beautiful gun, mighty fine work by the best in the business. Not sure of the math but with a postwar rear sight, prewar style front sight, short barrel plus 45 Colt it has to look like that. Also note the single line address, very cool. Probably required a good bit of hand prep just to get the surface ready. It's a beauty! Did I already say that!
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:53 PM
Joe Kent Joe Kent is offline
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S serial number N-frame with a surprise W - back from Bowen S serial number N-frame with a surprise W - back from Bowen S serial number N-frame with a surprise W - back from Bowen S serial number N-frame with a surprise W - back from Bowen S serial number N-frame with a surprise W - back from Bowen  
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Keith Brown, From the master of superb stocks, your thoughts mean a lot to me. Thank you for your kind words. All my very best, Joe.
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