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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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Old 05-10-2016, 08:08 PM
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Default 2nd Model Hand Ejector - 45 LC?

A gentleman from South Africa contacted me a while back, and we have been corresponding some about S&W revolvers he has been running across down there.

He has some questions about a 2nd Model HE he has come across. It has what I believe are the Canadian markings - very similar to one I have. Crossed pennants at the front of the frame, and the 3 marks above the stocks on the left side - a broad arrow, crown over G7 over E, the Roman numeral II.

There are no caliber markings on the barrel He says that the seller says it is a 45 LC. He said a 45 LC cartridge chambers fine.

It is my suspicion that because of the Roman numeral II, that it means it was originally a Mark II (.455 Webley?). He has sent me some pictures which I am attaching. He is wondering if this could be one of the 727 45 LC sent to Canada.

I have never seen one, so I don't know what the markings would look like. Can anyone let me know how you can tell? Many thanks









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Old 05-10-2016, 09:29 PM
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Perhaps that is a converted 455? I believe that the S&W guns were marked 45 COLT by the factory.
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Old 05-10-2016, 09:45 PM
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I believe caliber markings on the barrel are interspersed throughout production so that's not odd. Neither the cylinder nor the recoil plate has been shaved for the thicker 45LC rim, and the chambers have not been recessed. A 45 LC will chamber, but will the cylinder close and cycle or spin freely with the Long Colt chambered?

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Old 05-10-2016, 09:54 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I will ask him about the cylinder closing and turning.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
... He has some questions about a 2nd Model HE he has come across. It has what I believe are the Canadian markings - very similar to one I have. Crossed pennants at the front of the frame, and the 3 marks above the stocks on the left side - a broad arrow, crown over G7 over E, the Roman numeral II. ...
Those are English markings, although I think Canada may have also used the Crossed Pennants proof marks. The others were applied in England.
Broad Arrow ... Accepted into (British) Government Service
Crown over G7 over E ... Inspector G7 inspected and accepted it at the Royal Arms Factory located at Enfield Lock.

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... It is my suspicion that because of the Roman numeral II, that it means it was originally a Mark II (.455 Webley?). ...
I used to think that too, but it's incorrect. The II means that it is the second model of .455 S&W revolver that was approved for service by the British Armed Forces. The first model was the renowned Triple Lock.

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... He has sent me some pictures which I am attaching. He is wondering if this could be one of the 727 45 LC sent to Canada. ...
No. I think those went to the NWMP. It's just possible that its tolerances are loose enough that the slightly thicker .45 Colt cartridge rim has sufficient clearance for the cylinder to close and rotate. Or someone has milled down the recoil shield to allow this.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:17 PM
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I don't know how the Canadian .45 Colts were marked, but the conventional wisdom is that there is no listing of those serial numbers available, so there is no way to establish originality. It is entirely possible that the .455 recoil shield has been thinned to allow clearance for the .45 Colt rim, which is a most undesirable approach. I don't see any chamber recesses for the .45 rim, and I think the Canadian chambers had recesses.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:36 PM
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I've owned both a Triple Lock and a Colt 1917 that started out as 455s and were made into 45 Colts. The TL had the chambers recessed to solve rim thickness problem.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:35 PM
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Hi
there is one way to tell but it takes having a 2nd model 455 and this gun side by side and use a dial calper and measure the height of the front sight
you have to measure from the same point on both.
the 45 colt will be a little higher. Make sure both front sights are origninal
and have not been cut down.
The 727 number could be correct but there have only been a small number that are from this shipment. less that 20 documented.

There was one run of 15 made in 1916 they were all commerical not military, one from that serial number range is documented and I own it.
the 15 were all in one run number in constructive serial numbers.
mine is serial 46748 and it is 99% has not been used.
Jim Fisher
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmg60 View Post

There was one run of 15 made in 1916 they were all commerical not military, one from that serial number range is documented and I own it.
the 15 were all in one run number in constructive serial numbers.
mine is serial 46748 and it is 99% has not been used.
Jim Fisher
I would sure like to see pictures of 46748 Jim.
Jeb

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Old 05-11-2016, 03:16 AM
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CONVERTED TO 45 COLT:

I believe it was a standard 455 Hand Ejector 2nd Model taken into the British Service. But the chamber shoulders have been reamed deeper for the Colt 45 as evidenced in the photos by the change in the pattern of the chamber machining marks between where the original 455 chamber shoulder was located, and the new Colt 45 shoulder depth location.

And also the conversion to 45 Colt included shaving the breechface, which is blue because the gun has also been refinished.

The advantage of this method is that the cyl lug in the rear bottom left corner of the cyl window still snugly fits the cyl. It does not have fore and aft play as when the cyl face is shaved.

The disadvantage of shaving the breechface instead of just reaming and recessing the chambers, is that it will no longer reliably fire 455 cartridges.
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Old 05-11-2016, 03:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmg60 View Post
Hi
there is one way to tell but it takes having a 2nd model 455 and this gun side by side and use a dial calper and measure the height of the front sight
you have to measure from the same point on both.
the 45 colt will be a little higher. Make sure both front sights are origninal
and have not been cut down.
The 727 number could be correct but there have only been a small number that are from this shipment. less that 20 documented.

There was one run of 15 made in 1916 they were all commerical not military, one from that serial number range is documented and I own it.
the 15 were all in one run number in constructive serial numbers.
mine is serial 46748 and it is 99% has not been used.
Jim Fisher
Hi Jim,

Is your 2nd Model 45 Colt marked with caliber on the barrel?
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Old 05-11-2016, 05:34 AM
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I'd be surprised if any of those original .45 Colt chambered guns were accepted into military service, so they wouldn't have the Board Arrow or other British or Canadian markings.

The MK II will chamber .455 MK II cartridges, the usual WW I issued round, but I think will also use the longer MK I and the same length .455 Colt. ?

Please ask your correspondent about the availability of both .455 and .45 Colt ammunition in South Africa. Or, if any of our members there sees this...??

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Old 05-11-2016, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
I'd be surprised if any of those original .45 Colt chambered guns were accepted into military service, so they wouldn't have the Board Arrow or other British or Canadian markings.

The MK II will chamber .455 MK II cartridges, the usual WW I issued round, but I think will also use the longer MK I and the same length .455 Colt. ?
Correct, all 455 chambered revolvers produced at S&W have chambers cut for the longer 455 Mark I cartridge.
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
These two statements are not mutually exclusive; in other words they are both correct.

The "II" stamped on the frame does mean the gun is named the "Mark II" by the English. But by virtue of its single chambering, it does also indicate that it was originally chambered for the .455 Mark II cartridge.
...
I believe the “II” has one meaning, bolded in the above quote. I don’t think the "II" was intended to indicate anything else.

It is true of course that the revolver fires the Mark II cartridge.

You will note that there is no “II” on the British Service S&W Mark I (Triple Lock), even though it chambers the .455 Mark II (Cordite) British Service Cartridge. Ditto for the British Service Colt Mark I. They do not have a “II” because they are each the Mark I of their respective types.

I’m confused about what “by virtue of its single chambering” means. As has been stated before, all three (the Colt Mark I and both Marks of the S&W) will also fire the longer .455 Mark I cartridge.
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Old 05-11-2016, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Flash View Post
I believe the “II” has one meaning, bolded in the above quote. I don’t think the "II" was intended to indicate anything else.

It is true of course that the revolver fires the Mark II cartridge.

You will note that there is no “II” on the British Service S&W Mark I (Triple Lock), even though it chambers the .455 Mark II (Cordite) British Service Cartridge. Ditto for the British Service Colt Mark I. They do not have a “II” because they are each the Mark I of their respective types.

I’m confused about what “by virtue of its single chambering” means. As has been stated before, all three (the Colt Mark I and both Marks of the S&W) will also fire the longer .455 Mark I cartridge.
Jack,

Sorry, I could have been clearer I guess.

Yes the II stamped on the frame means the British named the 455 2nd model, the Mark II, and that's all it means.

But, if the gun is stamped II, it could only be chambered for the 455 (yes, I and II, but barrels only being stamped 455), not 45 Colt in the context of Jeb's quoted post, by virtue of the fact that the revolver wasn't factory chambered for any other cartridge and therefore deductive reasoning.


Note: I'm not aware that the 455 1st Model Triple Lock was ever named, stamped I, or ever officially referred to as the Mark I. Not even by the British, and it wouldn't be by S&W.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:15 PM
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I've posted before but will again here that a few years ago I found a .455 Mark II Hand Ejector Second Model in .45 Colt at a small gun show. The seller was convinced that it was a Canadian .455 that had been converted. I doubted that since there were no Canadian markings or any indication of a conversion and no caliber marking on the gun. A quick email to Roy confirmed that I was correct; it was an original Factory .45 Colt (sn 747xx) that shipped on May 4, 1917 to the Phelps Dodge Mining Co. Ongoing research indicates that it may have played a role in the company's employee/labor fracases during that time.

Roy's comments on that model might be helpful here: "Between April and June 1917 Smith & Wesson manufactured 700 units of this model that are listed in the manufacturing records as .45 Colt caliber. Unfortunately the manufacture records do not record serial numbers. The shipping records for this model list in this same time period the sale of 703 units, but the shipping records do not list the caliber. I am positive that the sale of these 703 units are the .45 Colt listed in the manufacturing records. The extra 3 units could have been manufactured from revolvers that had already been assembled."

Bob
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:01 PM
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Thx Bob,

That's an excellent additional piece of the puzzle!
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Old 05-12-2016, 10:45 PM
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Jim
They are no cal markings on this gun and no other markings. it was a commerical Shipment.
Roy had to go in to the build records to find where they build 15 45 colts because the ship records did not list a Cal. This is the only one of the 15 that has showed up.
Roy said he guessed the other 14 were for a shipment to some other country.
Jim
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