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Old 02-12-2017, 10:40 PM
deyomatic deyomatic is offline
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Default How short can a 1917 Barrel be trimmed?

For starters, I will likely never have this done, BUT, I have been dreaming about a .45ACP snubby lately. The likely candidate seems to be an older 1917 (probably a Brazilian model for cost reasons).

Looking at the ejector rod, there are steps cut into the barrel flat so that the rod "fits" into its shroud. Is the shroud necessary? Does that lock the front of the cylinder in place?
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Old 02-12-2017, 10:46 PM
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Yes the ejector rod locks into the lug.
Same gun with a chopped replacement barrel for the Brazilian 1937s.The original barrel above was bulged and I got a replacement barrel. A fellow forum member chopped it and moved the front sight back.
Note the absence of a barrel flat between the ejector rod and the barrel and no notch for the ejector rod knob on the Brazilian barrel..
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Old 02-12-2017, 10:48 PM
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The clearance cut in the barrel flat is for the ejector rod knob and not related to the front locking point for the rod. I think the shortest barrel you can make to keep the latter is 3.75" but others who have done the work will let you know for sure.
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:31 PM
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Assuming you just want to cut the existing barrel and refrain from relocating the locking lug and shortening the ejector rod and center pin, I don't see how you get to less than three inches -- which is actually a pretty good snubby length for an N-frame revolver.

It's worth noting that in recent decades S&W have produced N-frame models with 2-5/8 inch barrels and even two-inch barrels. If the barrel threads haven't changed in the last century, you might even get a modern .45 barrel and just screw it in, though you would still have to do something about the ejector assembly. That sounds to me like more trouble than it is worth, but then I am older and less adventurous than I was 8-10 years ago, when I might have been tempted to try something like that.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:14 AM
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Use a 1917 Colt because it doesn't use the locking lug on the ejector rod and you can cut the barrel and ejector rod. Larry
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:32 AM
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Over the years many Smith's have had barrels shortened enough to eliminate the front locking lug (not shroud). They seem to perform just fine.

Most custom shops and I believe the S&W Perf. Ctr. install a ball detent lock in the yoke at the front of the cylinder to replace the front locking lock. It's a simple, inexpensive, and efficient alternative.

The only limiting factor is how short can you put up with for an extractor rod. You can have an 1 1/4" barrel total barrel length and still have a 1/2" of extractor rod 'throw'; all you really need to 'crack' the fired cases loose from the chambers to dump them. Or worse case, to give you enough grasp on the case heads for your fingers to pull stubborn cases from the chambers.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:18 AM
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Sorry, no pics... I need to get a camera and learn to use it.
I have a 1917 that had a chopped barrel to app. 4" but was pretty much shot out as bullets would tumble, etc. I had a surplus 625-10 barrel that makes a pretty good snubby but requires a ball detent for front lockup.
Gun now shoots surprisingly accurate and no tumbling. I painted with rattle can duracoat but would like to make a RB K frame grip out of it before sending to Robar for their hard chrome finish. Sorry for the drift.
ETA:
Forgot to mention but its pretty obvious that ejector rod (mine had a messed up end anyway) had to be shortened.

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Old 02-13-2017, 04:49 PM
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My first thought was: "Flush with the frame, I spoze."

Just depends on how much functionality you want to retain vis a vis durability and reloading ability. If'n it was me, I wouldn't want to go past the factory lug; that example Iggy posted would be perfect.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:05 PM
Old Arkansawyer Old Arkansawyer is offline
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I traded off a Colt 1917 in 45 colt. It had a barrel replaced in England with the British proof marks. Wish I had known a smith who could have made a snub. Traded for a S&W victory 38 plus some folding money and still have the 38 but the money has disappeared.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:11 PM
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I cant seem to get Photobucket to cooperate today. Been too long since I used it I guess. Anyway, in my old posts there is a picture of a 1917 I got as basically a barreled frame with a barrel that was split and bulged in front of the locking lug. After cutting and crowning I ended up with about 3 & 3/8" of barrel. I could have shortened it maybe 1/4" more without getting into the locking lug. Has turned into one of my favorite guns and I have another beater that will get the same treatment if I will show some initiative and get it done.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:32 PM
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This gun had a chopped and bored out M28 barrel recessed into the cylinder window, mated to a reduced cylinder.



Net result 2" forward of the frame, 3" from end of cylinder. I forget which but one of the famous gun writers from the '30 advocated this. (not the M28 barrel obviously)
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:45 PM
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Every time I see Iggy's gun, but want to do the same thing one day. I have a very finish challenged .44 Spl 2nd model, but I would want to find a spare barrel to cut, so that I could reverse the process if I wanted to later. Someone has already "customized" the front sight, so it's not really "original" Any more..... Every time I see Iggy's, I am temporarily inspired.

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Old 02-13-2017, 09:34 PM
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My only problem with using the Colt would be that they tend to be more expensive to start with...If I can get a Brazilian for a reasonable price, this might be a fun project.

Hondo,
I like that idea about the ball detent.
As for the ejector length, I would have the benefit of moon clips, so if the weight of all the brass doesn't allow it to fall out with a very short throw of the ejector rod, a fingernail could probably help it the rest of the way...

Anyone have a ballpark for a price on a shortened barrel? I know it all depends on who does it, but I'm just curious.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:39 PM
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Why not just remove the barrel and shoot it right from the cylinder? Can't get much shorter than that!!!
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by deyomatic View Post

Anyone have a ballpark for a price on a shortened barrel? I know it all depends on who does it, but I'm just curious.
It's in the $100 range give or take if you don't have to shorten the ejector rod.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:13 AM
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Here is mine, sporting a cut down 1950 barrel and adj sights added. Grip frame cut down to K frame round butt also. 3 1/2" which to me fits the frame size. With a 1917 barrel you could move the locking lug back and shorten the ejector rod by trimming off the large knob and knurl the tip of it.to get a 2" if you really wanted too.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:47 AM
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"the Chopper"
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:51 PM
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Form follows function as the saying goes. I think a 3 1/2 inch barrel would do both. I think it gives you a good sight radius and looks good too. The thing is at the prices even the Brazilian ones are bringing it would be hard for me to do this to one unless the barrel was already toast. That being said I understand the desire to do so what a great self defense Smith it would make. A big chunk of lead at moderate velocity would be hard to beat.
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Old 02-15-2017, 06:10 PM
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Does anyone have a 3-1/2" "custom shortened" .44 2nd Model barrel with the half moon sight for sale?

Or any shortened .44 2nd model barrel for sale?

Send me pictures and price.

Perhaps you know who will do this "nicely" if I supply the barrel
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Old 02-15-2017, 06:45 PM
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I have found better buys on Colt 17's on gunbroker than S&Ws, finish challenged ones, are sometimes, reasonably priced. The barrel is easily shortened to 2.5 in. JMHO-YMMV.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Arkansawyer View Post
I traded off a Colt 1917 in 45 colt. It had a barrel replaced in England with the British proof marks. Wish I had known a smith who could have made a snub. Traded for a S&W victory 38 plus some folding money and still have the 38 but the money has disappeared.
Not sure I understand that statement.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:54 PM
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Does anyone have a 3-1/2" "custom shortened" .44 2nd Model barrel with the half moon sight for sale?

Or any shortened .44 2nd model barrel for sale?

Send me pictures and price.

Perhaps you know who will do this "nicely" if I supply the barrel
Yes I have a 2nd Model 44 barrel shortened to 3 1/2" plus about 1/32". Gives you a bit of adjustment space at the rear if needed to 'clock' the barrel in your frame, and still have 3 1/2".

It's a post 1928 barrel meaning that it would normally have the single step notch underneath for the "barrel knob. But it has the 2nd step nicely added for use of the pre 1928 "mushroom" knob.

Professionally crowned just like the factory. Sorry don't have a photo right now. The bore is excellent, good rifling and no pitting whatsoever.

The markings on the sides are clear and sharp, never been buffed or re-blued. Smith and Wesson on the left side, 1/2" from the muzzle, .44 S&W Special Ctg on the right side, 1/4" from the muzzle. So both look good on the shortened barrel.

The original front sight has been expertly soldered back on perfectly straight with no seam showing, and covers part of the address/patent dates on the top. The blade has been re-profiled on the rear edge to be more like a Patridge sight, front half still has the 1/2 moon. I didn't do work, someone a lot better than me did the work.

The threads have some nicks in them but it easily threads into a frame I tested it on with no drag or resistance.

Has original blue on back half of barrel and no blue where the sight was soldered on.

It needs re-bluing of course, or at least touch up. Some minor surface blemishes, one small spot of minor pitting that will easily disappear with the slight polish for re-bluing. No locking bolt, spring, or pin in the barrel lug.

$10 plus postage, $17 total max, maybe a bit less.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:00 PM
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Not going to find one for less than that.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:48 PM
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That's a GREAT price!
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:34 PM
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Hondo44 - I'll take it!

I' have a ratty 2nd model .44 to fit it on that will be a great piece.

I'll PM you next - Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:51 AM
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Hondo44 - I'll take it!

I' have a ratty 2nd model .44 to fit it on that will be a great piece.

I'll PM you next - Thanks!
Hi Jeff,

My pleasure, just 'paying it forward', that's all I have in it.

Returned your PM.

Thx,
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:16 PM
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Does anyone have a 3-1/2" "custom shortened" .44 2nd Model barrel with the half moon sight for sale?

Or any shortened .44 2nd model barrel for sale?

Send me pictures and price.

Perhaps you know who will do this "nicely" if I supply the barrel
This shortened 3rd Model Transitional came my way a couple years ago. I'd like to see a shortened 2nd Model .44 someday!
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:26 PM
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I picked up this Brazilian model for a ridiculously low price and thought it would be cool to cut it down to 4" since I like that barrel length for carry comfort and retained shoot-ability. I thought about doing it myself but decided to have a local gun mechanic do the work for me and asked him if he could build me a Baughman style front sight with red ramp. I like the way it turned out and it is one of my favorite range guns, I do tend to carry it more than any of the others I own with exception to a recent 24-3 3".
I also reinstalled the lanyard ring and found a set of diamond center Magnas that although a scotsche short in the frame fit very well.

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Old 02-16-2017, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
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This shortened 3rd Model Transitional came my way a couple years ago. I'd like to see a shortened 2nd Model .44 someday!
That short .44 you have is just about perfect. Iggy's 1917 a close second for me. There's some mention of chopped Colt New Services here. I love mine, though an N Frame Smith fits my hand better. You sure can make a Colt pretty short, though. This 1917 is 2 1/2" which is the usual chop job length.


Here's the shortest big bore I have. No, I won't shoot it like that. It's waiting for a barrel. But Skeeter Skelton wrote about it as an across the card table shooter.

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Old 02-17-2017, 11:03 AM
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Ever hear of the " Fitz Special " ? His work did not include just the ' Police Positive " . According to the records @ Colt , He chopped some New Service revolvers to 2" barrel . Google " Fitz Special " and read the article in ' American Rifleman ' .
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