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Old 07-05-2018, 09:40 AM
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M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military  
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Default M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military

I have a LGS that often has some vintage handguns. I don't think they would deliberately mis-communicate anything, but not sure how well versed they are on M1917s. Some years ago, I had a M1917, military, and it was a great deal; I bought it from a German gun store (I was stationed there). However, I became nervous about trying to bring it back as it gets very complicated about "war surplus" firearms and people often end up having to take a huge loss, so I made a great trade on a 547 (which I was able to bring back). I have a 4" barreled Model 22 that I really like, but have always wanted a vintage M1917.

So, my LGS has what they are calling a M1917 commercial. I'm not sure that's what they have, markings are confusing me, and I'm worried someone has polished out markings that would cause it to be considered something else. When I had my M1917, I knew a lot about markings, but like everything else, have forgotten most of it. This M1917 has new grips, looks like those Altamonts they put on the new versions of the M1917s. It has the markings on the butt, and an empty socket for the lanyard ring. Didn't the commercial model omit the ring, but keep the markings? There is no Brazilian badge on the sideplate, but the serial # is 210XXX. Shouldn't that make it a Brazilian, or could it be a straight up commercial? Finally, the blue is really interesting. It's a deep dark blue, nearly black. It must have been refinished because it looks really good. Corners are crisp and it has sharp edges, look amazingly clean, but it's clearly been refinished; maybe a factory reblue? It has no inspectors marks, so I'm pretty sure it's not military. If they were able to buff out the Brazilian and/or the inspectors mark, I'll say they did a good job, because it sure doesn't look like it. Can anyone give me some identifying features to be sure of what I'm looking at? I'm leaning towards buying it, and am really looking for a shooter ant not so much a collector, but I just want to make this thing hasn't been prettied up and trying to hide some serious issues. Compared to my old M1917, it is way better looking, locks up tight and appears to have little or no end shake (unlike my old M1917). I should mention about the blue; it's very different looking than what my old M1917 and others I have seen. It's not that sort of "slow rust blue" look like the originals had, it's slightly matt in texture, which makes me think someone was trying to make it look original, yet new at the same time. Lettering is pretty good throughout, almost as good as original, so it was a pretty good polishing job. I've polished and re-blued guns in hot tanks, so I can tell if it's bad, or at least, really bad.

Curious to hear opinions from those with a lot of M1917 experience. I want it, but don't want to take a dive just yet.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:52 AM
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From the serial number, it is one of about 1000 “postwar Transitional“ 1917s made just after WW II, so it is indeed a commercial gun. Photos would help for an opinion about originality of finish.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:53 AM
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As I understand it, there were 210,320 Model 1917s made, with 175,000 sold to the US Military and 25,000 sold to Brazil. That leaves about 10,000 extra. The US military guns were made from serial number 1 to 175,000, leaving one to believe there all commercial guns were numbered higher in the range, but examples of low serial numbered guns to pop up without military stampings. Could be expertly refinished while removing all marks or missed the military stamps and the military inspectors markings as well, or . . . ?

As for the gun you are looking at, with no military markings and a high serial number, it should have 1930s style medallion checked walnut stocks. Should be a straight up late commercial Model 1917.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:23 AM
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No pictures yet, sorry.

I've been pawing through old 1917 posts and have found some things I should have added.

It does have a S&W logo on the left side of the frame.

It appears to be military as the butt has the serial number and US Army stamps. The right sight of the frame says "Made in USA"; and nothing else. Again, no Brazilian on the side plate, but not sure that exactly means it's not a Brazilian.

S&W logo on the left side. I saw no "S" markings as a prefix. There is definitely no inspector stamp. Reading Hondo44s info and Handejector (don't want to get in trouble for not citing original sources!), I'm wondering if this is a rejected frame, late model military? They may have removed the ring to sell that idea better. Can't remember if the bottom of the barrel has the "United States Property" but I think it does. The commercial might or might not have that? Seems like it goes both ways sometimes.

One thing I noted. After checking other pictures of M1917s and commercials, I note all have slight bevels a the end muzzle end of the cylinders, on the edge of the flutes. This one seemed to have larger bevels, but they don't look rounded, as it buffed too hard. Don't remember what's under the crane.

I'm wondering based on what I've read so far, if it was a military that was sent to S&W and they added the logo? The serial number is a little confusing too, the butt does not have the single serial # parallel to the grips.

My thinking is if they have a military, particularly a Brazilian, and are calling it a commercial, I'll have some good backing to bring down the price. In truth, I would prefer a military model anyway, but I wouldn't tell them that. They are asking $799 for it, which isn't too bad, but not really right for a rebranded and misnamed model.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:15 AM
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This is a strange one. If it has the US Army Model of 1917 on the butt, plus the serial number, it should be a military revolver. If it has the small S&W emblem on the left side and the Made in USA on the right side of the frame, it should be a commercial 1917, built after mid 1922. Brazilian 1917s should have the Brazilian crest on the side plate and the single line serial number on the butt. Did you notice if it had the square notch rear sight or the dimple rear sight?
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:07 PM
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I didn't. Now I'm questioning my memory on what I saw and the serial number. Here is what I am positive of at least this point. It can't be commercial as I know it has the military marked butt.

So, my concern now is, if it was a Brazilian or not. I know for certain it does not have a Brazilian stamp on the side plate, but does have the S&W logo on the left, "made in US" on the right. Really thinking it may be a Brazilian masquerading as a commercial. I'm going to look at it again tomorrow, now I have a better idea about specifics.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:30 PM
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Just a WAG, but if it has the markings for a Brazilian contract 1917 in all places but the side plate and has been reblued, could someone have replaced the side plate with an unmarked one prior to rebluing? I believe the side plate is serial numbered on the US contract 1917s, but I donít know about the Brazilian contract ones. Hondo44 or Muleygil will know if the side plate should be serial numbered on The Brazilians.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:42 PM
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I think I had read that, but the chance of me getting the side plate off before a sale would be pretty slim, I think. I'm going to look at it carefully to see if I can tell that it's been buffed out. I had seen some other posts by Hondo44 (I think) where S&W may have added logos, or the Springfield address when doing reblues or work in later years. Wondering if that may have happened, but not really thinking that it has. I have a feeling that whoever sold it to my LGS got one over on them, or worse. Not going to accuse them of anything like that, though.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:55 PM
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Roy's book give an example of a 185,000 manufactured in 1933 with a hammer block. The Brazilian contract was 1938. A revolver with a serial number over 200,000 fits into the late 1930s Brazilian contract.

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. . . It appears to be military as the butt has the serial number and US Army stamps. The right sight of the frame says "Made in USA"; and nothing else. Again, no Brazilian on the side plate, but not sure that exactly means it's not a Brazilian . . . S&W logo on the left side. I saw no "S" markings as a prefix . . .
Could this be a lunch box special? Someone in the factory scraped together enough surplus parts to assemble a 1917?? Other than that, a Brazilian contract with the right sideplate replaced or the logo sanded out. I think most Brazilian contract guns had the left side S&W logo. This does not explain the Military stampings on the butt and that remains a mystery.
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Old 07-05-2018, 02:52 PM
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So, I found a picture of it on the LGS website. In the glare, you cannot see the "made in US" but I know it's there. Oddly, the blue in the picture does not look near as good as it did in real life.

You can see the S&W logo on the sideplate; I didn't remember that. Note that it also has a straight ejector, not the mushroom. Also note those very modern grips; I cannot believe those are original in any way.

I think that one thing might answer the question. Is it possible for either a Brazilian contract or a commercial model to have the butt marked as a US military model? Maybe I am not remembering correctly, but I am nearly certain it did NOT have a single serial number parallel with the grips.

Perhaps I am remembering the serial number on the butt incorrectly. Per this picture, it certainly looks like a late model run of the commercial, after '46. But the butt may be the deciding factor. I can't find a reference that states that an Army frame may have been used for a commercial, thus showing the military marking (US Army Model 1917). I could swear I remember seeing that as I remembered it from my old Army model. I would have remembered a single, parallel serial number as that would look odd to my "calibrated" Army model memory.

So, will commercials ever have that marking? If not, I suspect that someone may have gone to some effort to turn a Brazilian into a "commercial". They are asking $769, which seems low for a real commercial, but high for a Brazilian parts pistol. I"ll buy it either way, but I'm not paying for a commercial model, when it's not.
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Old 07-05-2018, 03:22 PM
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What style ejector rod knob does it have? All the pre-war guns were mushroom, I believe. Also, does it have the post war hammer block? You can tell by cocking the hammer and looking for the notch under the hammer nose.


Are you certain about the serial number? It has to be a military gun if it has United States Property under the barrel and US Army Model 1917 on the butt. That was not put on the commercial or Brazilian models. I do have a military 1917 with a small trademark stamp. But, it got that when it was sent back to the factory in the 1920's for other work and a refinish.
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Old 07-05-2018, 03:25 PM
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You posted while I was typing. It's a commercial post-war transitional without the S prefix...I think. See the large ejector rod knob? I can't explain the military stampings. It is probably worth what they are asking for it.
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Old 07-05-2018, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
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You posted while I was typing. It's a commercial post-war transitional without the S prefix...I think. See the large ejector rod knob? I can't explain the military stampings. It is probably worth what they are asking for it.
If it's a commercial, I'm willing to pay what they are asking. Perhaps I am wrong about the military markings, but could swear that's what I saw but now am doubting it. I will get to see it again tomorrow and confirm. My concern is that someone has cobbled together some parts to make this look like a commercial model either from a Brazilian, or an Army model.

I'm hoping it's what you say. Don't know about the hammer block yet, either as I didn't realize they ever put those in.
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Old 07-05-2018, 03:59 PM
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Don't buy it on my word. I'm not an expert. Wait for a real expert to advise you. Note the flat head rear side plate screw? It came with magnas would be my guess. Commercial 1917s after the late 1930's were shipped with magnas according to the SCSW4th. Is the barrel finish tarnished or is that just flash artifacts?
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:05 PM
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Be super careful. I passed on one a few months ago. Beautifully done, but it was a refinished Brazillian with a lot of the markings polished out. Look for the S&W logo. Also look for Made In USA on the right side. There are a lot of counterfeit commercial examples out there. I told the LGS it was a "messed with" gun and he agreed after close inspection. He sold it the next day for $500. . .a nice price for a nice gun, but not a commercial.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:20 PM
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The mushroom shaped knob was replaced with the barrel shaped knob in 1927-1928. Stocks look to be reproductions, but definitely not original to the gun. Commercial 1930s era indicators with military markings from WWI sounds like a put-together gun?? A 1930s gun in the 200,000 number range, should not have US military stamps on the butt. S&W logo looks to be on the wrong side for a 1930s gun, and not correct for a WWI gun. I don not think the logo from that era had the Trade Mark encircled with an outline on top and under the logo??

Something is not right here and I would hesitate spending $800 without detailed explanation of the anomalies??

Just remembered that the logo shown on the gun is found on early K and N frames from late 1900s and early 1910s. That would make it a replacement sideplate maybe from a Triple Lock??
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:06 PM
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Sometimes it is easier taking a look at other threads on transitional 1917's. This thread has excellent pictures that indicate the OP's gun is such a gun including large ejector rod knob, trademark on the side plate, set up for magna grips, similar serial numbers without the S prefix. All that needs to be resolved is if it has military stampings and a hammer block safety, IMO. If it is a transitional, they have it priced well below market value unless there is something wrong we have not seen.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:11 PM
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I want to hear about the 4" barreled Model 22.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:50 PM
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I went by after work and looked at it closely. It does NOT have military markings. I guess my wife is right, my memory has seriously eroded. Serial numbers match throughout, 210727. Cannot decide if it has been refinished, but pretty sure; not as dark as I originally thought. The crane and frame have the corresponding part numbers (6511), and some strange marking that I could not discern. The picture from their website is accurate, the strange discoloring is flash as the blue is not perfect, but very good. There is no logo on the left side of the frame, strangely. I should add that there is an S on the butt and on the barrel and that is does have the safety block. Seems genuine to me, but you guys will know if any of that sounds wrong. If I read that post by Hondo44 and Handejector correctly that would indicate a transition model?
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:54 PM
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I want to hear about the 4" barreled Model 22.
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Itís a new-ish one. With that thing in the side
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:10 PM
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It should be a post war transitional gun. Some had the S prefix marked and some didn't. There weren't many made.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:24 PM
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Sometimes it is easier taking a look at other threads on transitional 1917's. This thread has excellent pictures that indicate the OP's gun is such a gun including large ejector rod knob, trademark on the side plate, set up for magna grips, similar serial numbers without the S prefix. All that needs to be resolved is if it has military stampings and a hammer block safety, IMO. If it is a transitional, they have it priced well below market value unless there is something wrong we have not seen.
Thanks Guy, I looked at that thread. Pretty sure this one Iím looking at is a transitional, and itís as it should be if you ignore my terrible memory. Pretty sure Iíll close the deal on it.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:26 PM
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It should be a post war transitional gun. Some had the S prefix marked and some didn't. There weren't many made.
Ed
Thanks Ed, I believe you are correct. I may close on it tomorrow.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:34 PM
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Lets us know if you close the deal and post pictures. I have a 1929 Commercial that was refinished when I bought it. Don't mind the refinish as it was bought at a super price at a local auction and lots of fun to shoot.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:04 AM
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M2, I hope it's still there for you. With your clarification, it falls late into the SN range for the 991 guns Hondo44 mentioned in the other thread. The SCSW4th says fewer than 1000 were made and the shop has it priced below the $900 the SCSW is giving for a Good condition gun. Even with the wrong grips, I think that is a pretty decent deal. Decent period correct grips are gonna be pricey but they are still floating around. While it is hard to tell from the one picture, I don't think it has been refinished. Maybe someone else has better eyes. After the war, S&W was putting a matte or brush finish on all its guns until 1956. Compared to a bright blue that would appear darker although the same process was used.


Quote:
and some strange marking that I could not discern.

Could be an eagles head inspection stamp if the frame used was originally made for the military.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:04 AM
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Here is 21015x if you want to compare finishes. Modified sights on mine.

Stu
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:48 PM
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M2,

Thank you for your military service!

I hope you're there when the store opens or call them and have it put on hold!

With your corrected info it can only be a righteous Post War Transitional.
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:24 PM
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If that is a picture of the gun, it looks like the stocks on it are ill fitting modern replicas.


A haggling point at least.
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:29 PM
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As a shooter, you'll want better stocks anyway; at least magnas like original for the gun and likely targets.
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:41 PM
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The transitional models had the longer pre-war N frame handle, right? When did the shorter post-war frames kick in? Model of 1950? Might be hard finding magnas that fit right. You can see those replica grips are cattywampus.
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:57 PM
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All,
I appreciate all the good advice and informative comments. I went by there first thing this morning and bought it. I believe the blue is original, and very nice, but wonít attempt grading it. Iíve already ordered a set of eagle magna reproís, will decide about looking for originals later. The grips that were on it were those modern altamonts like they put on the repro M1917s. In my photos, I actually traded out those with the grips that came on my modern M-22 (I had long ago replaced those with magnas for shooting).

I opened the side plate and wiped out all the oil as someone had filled it, never seen so much oil. I checked my side plate and it does match the crane and frame part numbers. I donít believe it has ever had a lanyard ring on it. I may get one, kind of like those and actually wish my M-22 had one, guess itís the old Army in me.

I have taken a picture of it along side my Grandfatherís Colt Government model, made in 1927. He was a young infantry Lieutenant when he bought it in 1930 at the PX while he was stationed in Tientsin, China. I have it lettered from Colt, indicating it was shipped to the PX there along with a 1903 Hammerless model he bought for my grandmother. He carried the Government model in WWII. Makes a nice picture of civilian versions of two old warhorses.

The picture of the crane/frames shows that marking I canít identify. Perhaps one of you know what that is, just above the part number.
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M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military-07ffeaa0-fae0-4032-956d-90a85cf64a78-jpg   M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military-3eeb84af-41b4-4782-84e3-fcb45a52a990-jpg   M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military-1abd8eff-bf76-454e-a0c6-651ef046ff36-jpg   M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military-f4ac31ce-63ea-4630-b1db-f6f3cd6fc94d-jpg   M1917 markings and identifications; Commercial vs. Military-b5b51f26-4d71-4f43-a9e1-b1ad9e0aa670-jpg  

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Old 07-06-2018, 02:03 PM
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A couple more photos, showing the left side and right, with my old Colt.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:31 PM
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Beautiful! Great catch and great price.

Clearly has the 1930 rd top frame reportedly assembled in the serial range S209792-S210782, many of which shipped in the 1946-48 period.
Should have the smaller U notch rear sight blade.

And well within the Transitional serial # range!

It wouldn't come from S&W with an empty lanyard swivel hole, they plugged the hole. So the swivel was probably removed as soon as received by the owner. Is the retaining pin still in the grip frame under the grip?

The strange stamp by the assembly # in the yoke looks like Px, but really just a poorly stamped inspector's mark which should be there.

If I did anything to it besides install a lanyard swivel, I'd swap barrels with the Model 22 to get the shorter barrel and with the extractor rod shroud like the 1917 should have had from the get go.

You scored big time!

Beautiful 1911A1 as well, more correctly a Model of 1926 since it's a civilian model.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Beautiful! Great catch and great price.

Clearly has the 1930 rd top frame reportedly assembled in the serial range S209792-S210782, many of which shipped in the 1946-48 period.
Should have the smaller U notch rear sight blade.

And well within the Transitional serial # range!

It wouldn't come from S&W with an empty lanyard swivel hole, they plugged the hole. So the swivel was probably removed as soon as received by the owner. Is the retaining pin still in the grip frame under the grip?

The strange stamp by the assembly # in the yoke looks like Px, but really just a poorly stamped inspector's mark which should be there.

If I did anything to it besides install a lanyard swivel, I'd swap barrels with the Model 22 to get the shorter barrel and with the extractor rod shroud like the 1917 should have had from the get go.

You scored big time!

Beautiful 1911A1 as well, more correctly a Model of 1926 since it's a civilian model.
Thanks Jim. I was surprised to see something like this locally. It has no pin, but Iíll order up one from Numrich with the lanyard swivel.

Not sure about the barrel. Iíve got my 22 for that, kindaí like that long barrel, for now, but may change my mind later.

Also, thanks for other posts you had made in the past. They helped me early on figure out what I was looking at. Of course, I had a lot of help here on this thread, with lots of good info and advice. Thatís why this forum has real value.

Many thanks to all that helped me out with this, itís A great example of value and credit to this forum and itís knowledgeable members.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
From the serial number, it is one of about 1000 ďpostwar Transitionalď 1917s made just after WW II, so it is indeed a commercial gun. Photos would help for an opinion about originality of finish.
You had it pegged from the very start, thanks Alan!
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:54 PM
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A little update for those that were interested in my commercial 1917. After opening it up and cleaning out the excessive oil, I began noticing some issues with it. I noticed immediately how ďsmoothĒ the action was. It was so smooth, then when dry firing (with snap caps), the cylinder would some times advance past lockup. The hand is and was fine. I replaced one spring at a time, until I ended up replacing them all. It now is flawless, and has a normal, and very tight feel to it, and no more cylinder lockup issue (or lack thereof). For about $20 dollars worth of springs, it seems virtually new. I also found some vintage grips that match extremely well, and should be pretty close to correct for the time, I think, or close enough for me. Tomorrow, I take it to the range.
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Old Yesterday, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M2MikeGolf View Post
A little update for those that were interested in my commercial 1917. After opening it up and cleaning out the excessive oil, I began noticing some issues with it. I noticed immediately how ďsmoothĒ the action was. It was so smooth, then when dry firing (with snap caps), the cylinder would some times advance past lockup. The hand is and was fine. I replaced one spring at a time, until I ended up replacing them all. It now is flawless, and has a normal, and very tight feel to it, and no more cylinder lockup issue (or lack thereof). For about $20 dollars worth of springs, it seems virtually new. I also found some vintage grips that match extremely well, and should be pretty close to correct for the time, I think, or close enough for me. Tomorrow, I take it to the range.
Very nice 1917. I like it a lot. Also digging your Commercial Colt's 1911A1.

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Old Yesterday, 10:42 PM
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Final report; I fired Remington UMC “ball” and federal too at the range today, right about fifty rounds. It was accurate even with an old one handed military stance, much more accurate than my first 1917. It functioned flawlessly with both full and half moon clips. I even tried non-clip firing; the spent casings slide out easily. The recoil was more than I expected, but not unpleasant. I have elevated it to status of my favorite S&W, which is saying a lot, I have about twenty.

I learned an interesting thing about springs with this revolver. I was having a problem when dryfiring in double action rapidly, the cylinder would sometimes not lock, and actually travel past lockup. It’s the opposite of a worn hand problem. When I replaced the rebound spring, that fixed the problem. I wouldn’t have thought that was the fix for that issue. All the springs seemed to have been set, in other words, it seems this revolver probably sat for a very long time. The main spring was really bad, too. I replaced everything with stock.
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