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Old 05-12-2018, 01:44 AM
cjwils cjwils is offline
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Default 1917 What do I have?

I recently picked up a Smith and Wesson 1917 that has lots of military indications but also has a civilian S&W insignia on the right side plate. (In case you cannot tell from the photo, the right side insignia is definitely S&W, not Brazilian.) The butt shows US Army Model 1917 150683. That number is also on the bottom of the barrel and the rear face of the cylinder. The crane has the number 22600, and that number is also on the frame in the crane cutout. The gun has a flaming bomb on the upper left rear of the frame. In three locations I see a little symbol that I understand might be an eagle, and under that symbol is S24 in one location and S2 in two other locations. The stocks are smooth walnut that appear to be military style, but they do not match this gun. On the inside of one stock is a pencil number that I cannot completely read, but it appears to be in the 30,000 range. On the right side of the barrel are two symbols that I cannot interpret and the letters NP.

My camera is not great at extreme close ups, so I don’t have photos of some of these details. I could try to take close up pictures if that is necessary.

My guess is that this was a military gun made during WW1, and it went through some rehabilitation process after 1920 when the right side plate was changed for some reason and replacement stocks were installed.

The finish seems to be original and is mostly in decent condition for its age.

Is this a decent collectable, or just a shooter with minimal historical interest? Would I gain anything by lettering it?
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Last edited by cjwils; 05-12-2018 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:21 AM
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That's awfully good looking, but you're right it's had some rework and has a post 1935 commercial large logo on the side plate.

First thing to do is pull the side plate and confirm the # stamped on the inside is different than the 22600 in the yoke and yoke cut in the frame (Colts have cranes, S&Ws have yokes), or no # at all.

Use magnification on the eagles and you'll see an eagle head pointing upwards with the S24 and S2 underneath; they're inspection stamps.

Second, pull off the left grip and check for a date stamped on the left side of the grip frame near the toe and an R S near the heel.

The marks with NP on the barrel is anybody's guess but maybe a civilian mark or rack # for a guard service, private or Govt agency, or etc. A close up of the marks would really help. Also a shot of the other side.
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:49 AM
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That is a good looking 1917 with concave grips. My guess (WAG) is that it went back to the factory at some point and the logo was put on it then. A interesting S&W 1917 for sure.
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:24 AM
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I zoomed in on the right side of the barrel and the “symbols” next to “NP” appear to be British proofs. The NP and associated marks would signify that the gun was nitro proved. Try to get a photo of the proof marks.

The gun doesn’t appear to have the “Not English Made” stamp. My guess is it went to Great Britain under Lend Lease, but wasn’t sold commercially after the war. I don’t know why it has the S&W trademark, but I’d pull the sideplate and check the number on the inside.

Do your barrel markings look like this?

1917 What do I have?-000_0272-jpg
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by s&wchad View Post
I zoomed in on the right side of the barrel and the “symbols” next to “NP” appear to be British proofs. The NP and associated marks would signify that the gun was nitro proved. Try to get a photo of the proof marks.

The gun doesn’t appear to have the “Not English Made” stamp. My guess is it went to Great Britain under Lend Lease, but wasn’t sold commercially after the war. I don’t know why it has the S&W trademark, but I’d pull the sideplate and check the number on the inside.

Do your barrel markings look like this?
s&Wchad,

Good eye! That NP was ringing a bell, I just couldn't come up with it this early.

W/o the 'NOT ENGLISH MAKE', it came back before 1925, but I think the USA only lent-leased 1917s for WWII. So more likely came back across the big pond thru unofficial channels, as in a duffel bag.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:17 AM
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The serial number on the butt dates it to December, 1918. So it should have left the factory just after the war ended (November, 1918). But it has the early stocks and the logo on the sideplate, so you wonder if it somehow never left or if it left and came back. Who put what parts on it and when may be impossible to determine. It may just be worth a $75 letter, but that's up to you.

I think Chad is right about the symbols. If you can't get a close up photo, just describe them. If crowns are involved, the English had it at least for a while. NP does indeed mean Nitro Proofed.

Note that those concave stocks are very desirable and people will pay a pretty penny for them.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:38 AM
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So more likely came back across the big pond thru unofficial channels, as in a duffel bag.
My thoughts exactly!
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:09 AM
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cjwils, is the head of the ejector rod in the white? Is "United States Property" stamped under the barrel?
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:17 AM
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Here is the OP again.

It does say "United States Property" on the bottom of the barrel. I should have included that in my first post.

The stamps beside the letters NP on the right side of the barrel look like the crowns in the photo shown by Jackflash above.

Wiregrassguy, I am not sure what you mean by the head of the ejector rod. Is it the ckeckered steel knob on the ejector, or the little shaft that slides in a sleeve under the barrel? That little shaft is white on my gun.
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:20 AM
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I will try to see if there are any markings under the sideplate. But first, are there any tricks to taking the sideplate off? I know that taking the sideplate off a Colt revolver is more complicated than you might think, but I don't know how that compares to the sideplate on a Smith.
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:49 AM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
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Remove the screws, USING A HOLLOW GROUND GUN SMITHING SCREWDRIVER, hold the revolver with the side plate up and then tap the grip frame with something soft, like a wooden hammer handle or the handle of a screwdriver. The side plate will work itself off.

If you remove the cylinder, beware there is (or was) a spring loaded pin in the yoke. This is a cylinder hold open devise. It will probably be stuck with old gummed up oil, but it could be free and shoot out if you're not careful.
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:03 PM
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The head of the ejector rod is the knurled mushroom shaped knob. When you unlatch the cylinder and open it out, you can see the head of the knob that connects with the latch bolt to secure the front of the ejector rod. That head should be in the white, not blued. Often, if the gun has been refinished, the head has been blued.

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Old 05-13-2018, 12:50 AM
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The head looks in the white, but actually case hardened, they just didn't show much color.
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:03 PM
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I got the side plate off, and I found 22600 in a cutout on the inner surface of the side plate. That is the same as the number on the yoke and on the frame cutout behind the yoke.

I also removed the grips again. On the left edges of the grip frame under the grips, I see a small diamond, and the numbers 61, L2, and 866 in different locations.

The head of the ejector knob does seem to have been blued. I still think that other parts of the gun do not show signs of rebluing, because the edges and corners of the all the lettering look really sharp.

There are still a lot of questions. Could it be that the grip frame, cylinder, and barrel from an old WW1 era Army gun were put on a newer gun for the lend lease program in WW2?

Would a S&W history letter tell me anything about the number 22600, or would they refer only to the Army number - 150683?
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:27 PM
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Let's start with the 866, that appears to be a date; Aug. 1966 when it went back to S&W for a rework.

At that time the sideplate was either replaced and if so, Smith would have re-stamped it with a matching assembly #22600. More likely however, the original sideplate was stamped with the current 1966 large logo on it as part of the refinishing.

The diamond on the grip frame indicates a rework.

The 61 and L2 are normal inspection stamps, likely original.

The protocol in 1966 was to blue the ejector knob.

You need a historical letter, although it won't speak to the rework, it's necessary before you can request rework documents from the S&W Historical Foundation.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:23 PM
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I sent off for a historical letter. Will let you know the result in a few weeks.

Last edited by cjwils; 05-15-2018 at 06:45 PM.
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