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Old 02-11-2017, 09:31 PM
ctyree ctyree is offline
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Default Grandfather's Revolver

I recieved my Grandfather's Smith and Wesson .455 Revolver. In today's terms it was his EDC. He worn it on his hip when he went hunting and fishing, it sat on the car seat whenever he traveled. Basically he never left the house without it, except for maybe going to church.

On the left side of barrel is:
Smith & Wesson .455

On top of the barrel is:
Smith Wesson Springfield Mass. U.S.A
Patented Oct. 8 1901 Dec. 17 1901 Feb. 6 1906

The serial number, 36796, is on the bottom of the grip frame.

Here is a link to some photos.

Error | Photobucket

Not interested in the value, just the history.

Any info is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:45 PM
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If you want the history, get a factory historical letter. It will tell you when it was shipped from S&W, to whom and where and the configuration when shipped. Did your GF have the cylinder reamed to handle .45 Colt rounds? Many .455 receive that treatment, as .455 ammo was not that easy to find in the US. Ed.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:50 PM
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Error - photo bucket did not load the pictures. Did you shoot it prior to receiving it? Either way, you must be over the Moon owning such a nice Revolver.

Thank you,
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Old 02-11-2017, 10:07 PM
Toblerra Toblerra is offline
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I want to see those photos!
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Old 02-11-2017, 10:14 PM
ctyree ctyree is offline
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Yes, it was reamed out for .45 Colt rounds.

Going to have a gunsmith take a quick look at it before I shoot it. It hasn't been fired in close to 25 years.

Here's the link again, hopefully it works this time...

Smith Wesson by cdtyree | Photobucket
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:05 PM
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Beautiful!
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:11 PM
g8rb8 g8rb8 is offline
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Cytree,
Welcome to the S&W forum. That's a really nice looking heirloom and a great remembrance of your grandfather.

Your revolver dates outside my bailiwick but looks like what the SCSW (Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson) calls the .455 Mark II Hand Ejector 2nd Model. Don't put much credence in the information I provide until one of the more experienced members confirms it.

Produced circa 1915-1917.
69,754 revolvers produced.
Considering a majority were manufactured for England and a minority for Canada it might be interesting to know how your grandfather acquired it?
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:28 PM
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Welcome aboard from Wyoming.

Can't tell you how refreshing it is to see a new member show off a family heirloom and say they're not interested in the price.

Thanks for sharing your grandfather's (YOUR) revolver.

Cheers,

Bob
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:40 PM
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The letter of authenticity mentioned above can be requested by the information in this link:

Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation - Letter Process - Insuring that the rich history of Smith & Wesson will continue for generations to come

Historically, the British contracted with S & W and many other companies to provide sidearms in WW I in their standard service cartridge. The first model S & W provided was the Triple Lock, which had design features that might cause it to jam more easily with mud and debris, so the second model deleted those.

Several methods exist(ed) to convert the .455 cylinder to .45 Colt; the best way was to lengthen the charge holes, slightly counterbore the chamber mouths and thin the recoil shield to fit the thicker Colt brass rim. If this was done with yours, you should still see the serial number on the rear cylinder face.

Enjoy and treasure that gun!
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Old 02-12-2017, 03:11 AM
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You're a lucky guy and have a nice heirloom; one that's been overseas and back again.

Many of these were re-chambered for American cartridges like 45 Colt or 45 ACP/AR. Yours will shoot 45 Colt as well as those chambered for 45 Colt by S&W at the time.

S&W 455 vs. 45 Colt vs. ACP bore & groove sizes:

Pre war Smiths with 45 Colt chamberings were so few before 1917, Smith used the same groove and bore sizes as their .455:

bore diameter - .447" to .448"; groove diameter - .457' to .458"


1917 45 ACP barrels & post war to current Smith .45 Cal barrels are:

bore - .445"; groove - .451”



A little history; yours is the 3rd version below:

There are three basic versions of .455 Mk II (Webley) chambered Hand Ejector revolvers made by S&W under contract to the British for WW I. All three versions include some triple locks. The .455 (Webley) Mk II when stamped by S&W, refers to the cartridge, not the revolver. However the 455 HE 2nd Models (3rd version below) were stamped II for “Mark II Revolver” by the British on the left rear frame of the revolvers and are known as such by them.

The 3 Versions of .455 Mk II Hand Ejectors (actually all were chamber reamed long enough to also accommodate the longer .455 Webley Mk I cartridge per the British contract. So the model name is a bit of a misnomer), for the British are:

1. “.44 HE 1st Model”, ‘Triple Lock’ converted to .455 chambering: 812* factory reconfigured, unassembled or unsold ".44 Spl HE 1st Models", often not stamped .455, original chamberings unknown, most or all likely .44 Spl, 666 for the British #1104 thru 10417 (obviously not all serial #s in this range were used for the 666), the extra 146 in serial range #9858-10007 for the commercial market; 123 in England and 23 in the US [N&J pgs. 204-205]. These 812 .455 TLs were serial #’d in the .44 1st Model serial # range of 1 to 15375. The 666 were shipped in 33 different groups ranging from 4/8/14 to 4/28/16 with the majority delivered 10/21/14. These will often have added lanyard swivels when converted to 455 at the factory by drilling thru the serial # which is factory re-stamped on the left side of the grip frame under the stock.

* SCSW reports "over 800", but by shipped serial # count, it’s actually 812, 146 of which are commercial guns [S&WN&J pgs. 203, 204 & 205].

NOTE: Of the 146 .44 HE 1st Models that were converted/built as .455s assembled some time after the first 666 military .44 1st Model .455 TLs and sold commercially, 123 were sold to the British, shipped to Wilkinson Sword 10/1/14 and 23 sold in the US, shipped to Shapleigh Hardware in St. Louis, MO. on 1/1/1918.

The 23 at some point were converted to .45 Colt and it’s unknown if by the factory before shipment to Shapleigh or after delivery to Shapleigh. However even IF converted by the factory (as suggested in a September 2013 Rock Island gun auction narrative), the revolvers would not have a star on the butt or a rework date on the grip frame because they did not go back to the factory for conversion as rework, they were converted before they left the factory.

2. “.455 Mk II HE 1st Model”, TL in the new .455 British serial # range 1 to #5461 [H of S&W pg. 201] made 1914-15; thus creating a possible ~ 68* duplicate serial #s of the 812 “.44 HE 1st Model TLs”, also chambered in .455 in 1. above.

*About Duplicate 44 HE series serial #s with Brit contract series S/Ns:

Duplicate numbers of the 666 .44 HE TLs chambered in .455 (#1104-10417 in the 44 HE range - not all inclusive, are known and published) + 146 (#9858-10007 .44 HE range - not all inclusive, are published as well), can exist with 68 of the .455 HE 1st Model TLs (#1–5461 in the Brit contract # range), and with the .455 2nd Models (#5462 and up to #15375 - the last .44 HE 1st Model serial #) in the Brit range.

3. “.455 Mk II HE 2nd Model” (sans extractor barrel shroud and 3rd lock), but with slightly larger cylinder/frame window dimensions from versions 1. and 2. above, the ".44 HE 1st Model Triple Lock" factory converted to .455, and ".455 HE 1st Model TL" produced in .455, respectively. The 2nd Model continued in the .455 1st Model TL Brit serial range beginning #5462 to #74755, shipped 1915-17. By Feb 1916 724 were manufactured for the Canadians, chambered in 45 Colt, presumed for the RCMP [H of S&W, pg. 203]. Another 15 in 45 Colt were sold commercially in 1916. The Canadian military also bought 14,500 .455 2nd Models. And 1105 2nd Models were released for commercial sales in the US, shipped Dec 1917 to Shapleigh Hardware in St. Louis [S&W, N&J pg. 216].

“As the Brit contracts were finishing up in [April, H of S&W pg. 203] 1916, S&W found enough [44 HE frames and 455] parts to build 691 .455 HE 1st Model, Triple Lock frames [#2. above with .455 chambering]. These guns will be numbered in the .44 Spl serial number series. I have no idea why they were not just numbered in the .455 series. Perhaps it was .455 barrels and cylinders that the factory found, and they simply turned again to existing 44 HE 1st Model TL frames to use them up. They were sold commercially.” Lee Jarrett

Enjoy,
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Old 02-12-2017, 09:33 AM
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Pretty neat, I must say! Welcome to the FORUM! If it checks out ok, (should) will be a fun gun to shoot. Bob
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:44 AM
ctyree ctyree is offline
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Thanks to everyone, I greatly appreciate the information and insight.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:21 AM
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Update - gunsmith the disassembled and cleaned the revolver, this fixed the action. Feels great to shoot, it is as accurate as I am.

i think it is now best to keep this revolver as a memento of my grandfather and use it sparingly. With that said, I am now looking to purchase a revolver for use. Anybody have any thoughts/ advice on the Model 25-15?
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:44 AM
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I'd look for a lightly used model 25-5 in 45 Colt. It would be a more modern equivalent of your grandfather's revolver. Good luck, happy shooting, and thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:45 AM
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The column of markings tell much about its travels.
The Broad Arrow ... British Ownership Mark
Crown / 1F / E ... Inspected and Accepted into Service at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield by Inspector "1F"
II ... It is the Second Model S&W accepted into service, the first being the well-known "Triple Lock"

Elsewhere on the frame, the "Big Asterisk" (Actually two broad arrows, point to point) shows that it was released from service to be sold on the civilian market.
The Crossed Pennants is a proof mark.
Grandfather's Revolver-markings-jpg
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