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Old 09-06-2018, 11:47 AM
IOPiece Chicken IOPiece Chicken is offline
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Default S&W 1917 DA 45

Ok this was my uncles gun. I know nothing about it and was hoping that the forum could shed some light on it for me. I will post pics of the fit arm and answer any questions. Thanks any help would be great would like to have a story to go with it.
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S&W 1917 DA 45-58097a1a-bcd2-4966-91ff-dbac8752a190-jpg   S&W 1917 DA 45-0845ff6c-2a63-4895-818a-9035b9b3c53c-jpg   S&W 1917 DA 45-52ae1bc2-9f22-4743-a733-c76864d9d979-jpg   S&W 1917 DA 45-6a1f44ae-744d-4140-8c08-ac0f9c7c79ed-jpg   S&W 1917 DA 45-27d68d24-5d2f-4a46-8388-9248c8ba4969-jpg  

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Old 09-06-2018, 11:55 AM
IOPiece Chicken IOPiece Chicken is offline
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A few more pics. I know this seems to be a redundant request after searching for days about the gun but any help would be great. Thanks again
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:55 AM
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It seems to be a very early S&W Model 1917, produced some time that year. These were chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge, the same as used in the M1911 Colt military autopistol. Cartridges were usually used in conjunction with three-round "half moon" clips to aid fired case extraction (as the .45 ACP round has no rim). However, cartridges can be loaded and fired without the clip, you will just need to pull out or punch out fired cases by hand. Yours appears to have been refinished and of course the grips are not original. But nicely done.

There are several sources for "full moon" (6 round) clips today which replaced the original "half moon" clips. They are not expensive. Look on eBay.

Those S&W M1917s used during WWI will have serial numbers up to 169959, but there were post-WWI civilian models, plus some produced for the Brazilian military, which reach higher serial numbers.

The US military also purchased Model 1917 revolvers from Colt. The Colt and S&W M1917s are similar in general size and appearance, but they are not the same mechanically.

Last edited by DWalt; 09-06-2018 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:30 PM
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Ok so you are telling me it was made in 1917 and was a ww1 era pistol. I’m sure that it was reblued due to the trigger being blued.

Is this military issue I could not find any of the bomb stamps I read about and if you could which would be the correct grips so I can make it period correct.
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:05 PM
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It may have lost some of it's markings in the refinish process.

Are you certain the hammer & trigger have been blued ? It may be my eyes or iPhone screen, but they look like they may still have case colors on them.

That is a nice old gun, and a good momento of your uncle.
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by IOPiece Chicken View Post
Ok so you are telling me it was made in 1917 and was a ww1 era pistol. I’m sure that it was reblued due to the trigger being blued.

Is this military issue I could not find any of the bomb stamps I read about and if you could which would be the correct grips so I can make it period correct.
Welcome to the Forum.

Only the military version has the US ARMY stamp on the butt. You still have the "GHS" stamp inspection mark. The proper grips would be smooth walnut with concave tops, not the later smooth walnuts with the convex tops.
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:21 PM
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Do you have a close up photo of the side of the trigger? IIRC, these early guns have concave stocks and grooved triggers up to a certain point. The grooves were eliminated first as it was believed that they would hold dirt and the stocks were changed to just plain walnut without the indentation at the top as a cost saving measure.

It appears that the gun has serial number matching frame, barrel and cylinder however the yoke number appears to be different.

This happens a lot with military arms that went through the hands of an armorer. Many times guns were disassembled for repair or replacement of parts and reuniting serial number matching parts was not a high priority as military arms were supposed to be built to specific dimensions and were interchangeable.
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:41 PM
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Weren't those all parkerized from the factory?
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Welcome to the Forum.

Only the military version has the US ARMY stamp on the butt. You still have the "GHS" stamp inspection mark. The proper grips would be smooth walnut with concave tops, not the later smooth walnuts with the convex tops.
The "GHS" stamping (in a circle) stands for Gilbert H. Stewart, a government inspector. He was a Major in Army Ordnance. The GHS stamp appears on the earliest S&W M1917s, up to around SN 42000. It is also found on several other types of military rifles and handguns (including the Colt M1911). Both the S&W and Colt M1917 military revolvers had similar stampings and serial numbers on their butts. One strange difference is that the S&W M1917 serial number and the Army property number were the same. Colt M1917s had a serial number and also a different Army property number, essentially like two serial numbers.

"Weren't those all parkerized from the factory?"

Not during WWI. All M1917s were blued. Some earlier guns in inventory which were refurbished and re-issued during WWII were given phosphate finishes (Parkerized).

Last edited by DWalt; 09-06-2018 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:26 PM
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I do not have a pic close up of the trigger but will get one tonight. Also the hammer is not blued but the trigger to me looked to be blued and I do not remember groves in it. I do have another angle of the piece. See below.

Also great info and thanks for all the info. The 1917 is starting to quickly become my favorite piece in my collection.
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:28 PM
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The other pic
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:38 PM
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Sorry, I misspoke. I meant to say HAMMER not trigger. It was the sides of the hammer that were grooved.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:43 PM
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Aside from the serial number, the identifiers of an early S&W 1917 are the circular grooves on the hammer sides and the flat/concave grip tops.
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Old 09-06-2018, 04:50 PM
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NICE!! Mine came in somewhat later and acquired from a member here, right at the time I was looking for one. Isn;t that a rarity. Finish is a bit rough but no matter, she shoots just fine and loves the Walrus stocks I gave her that I had laying around.

Enjoy That fine piece.

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Old 09-06-2018, 04:55 PM
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Here are a couple of pictures that might be helpful. From left to right:

1) The stocks, showing the upper concave circles;
2) The hammer, showing the concentric grooves;
3) The trigger on a revolver from the same year as yours;
4) The trigger from a much later (Brazilian model).
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:08 PM
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Those ARE the correct stocks for this era 1917 as well as the grooved hammer. Neither hammer or trigger look blued to me. I would say, (from the photos) that the finish is original. Very nice early gun.
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:37 PM
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Just got off work and looked at the trigger it does not have groves and is definitely blued but everything else looks legit. It has grooved hammer non blued. Just hard to believe that i have a 100+ year old fire arm that looks this good and I assume is shootable. I would like to thank all for helping clear all this up. The DA 45 has so many different directions that I didn't know what I had and was also hard for me to believe it was that old. Also very nice examples you guys have of this fire arm. This is going to make a great handle down to the kiddos one day. For now though its dad's PB.

Last couple of questions I found were I could fire both .45acp and .45auto at todays standard loads is this true and safe. Or should I purchase a weaker round.

Also maybe a rough value and is this considered rare before I go running this thing like jack hammer.

Lastly I think I will take S&W up on the $75.00 authenticity offer and get some paper on it. would this gun be worth the $75.oo paper or just leave it as this.
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:50 PM
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You probably won't get much more information about your revolver with a letter than what you have already received on this thread. As for value, it has been diminished somewhat by what appear to be a reblue and non-original grips. Probably a $600-700 gun + or - , but others will be along with additional estimates, I imagine. I'll let the ammunition experts tell you what to shoot through it -- but definitely shoot it. Nice gun - enjoy it!
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:53 PM
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If you send for a letter, all it's going to say is that it went to some US Government agency. Basically all of these were sent to the same place. There is a list available from some folks here on the forum that can tell you the week(?) or month that it shipped. I would not spend the money for the letter.

I have one original one and one that has been restored like yours. I don't enjoy shooting semi-auto .45 ACP, but enjoy shooting them out of these revolvers.

Enjoy it! And welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
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Lastly I think I will take S&W up on the $75.00 authenticity offer and get some paper on it. would this gun be worth the $75.oo paper or just leave it as this.
The letter won't tell you much that you don't already know except for an exact shipping date. It will tell you nothing about what happened to it after it left the factory other than it would have gone to some military supply depot. But it's your $75.
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:18 PM
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That is a nice very early 1917. It has been reblued.

There's a dent on the barrel that's been blued over,
the lanyard swivel is blued but should be color case hardened,
and it's too black to be the 1917 finish.

A typical 1917 S&W Historical Letter here:
1917 What do I have?

1917 Year of manufacturer site here:

U.S. Military Dates of Manufacture
Click on 1917 S&W and plug in your serial #

SERIAL # LOCATIONS: To confirm all parts are original, one can check for the 6 (or 7 TLs only) matching serial # locations for fixed sight pre war Hand Ejectors and all post war Hand Ejectors thru ~1956 and a few as much as 3 years later.
NOTE: Observing serial #s for accuracy or even existence, especially on penciled stocks, requires magnification, bright light, and an attitude that it is there!

1. Gun butt - or fore strap on I frames/single shots with grips that cover the butt

2. Barrel - bottom of barrel or in extractor shroud
3. Yoke - on rear face only visible thru a chamber with a flashlight

4. Extractor star - backside
5. Cylinder - rear face
6. Right stock only - on back; stamped, scratched or penciled depending on vintage and stock material. (except most post war target grips because individual fitting not required.)

7. TLs only: rear side of middle lock cam plate

The # in the yokke is an assembly # and should not match the serial #.

ASSEMBLY (factory work) #s: These multi-digit numbers of 3 to 5 digits, are on the yoke at the hinge, in the ‘yoke cut’ on frame opposite the yoke near the hinge, (accompanied with a stamped inspector letter) and inside of the sideplate, for the pre war and early post war period. Once the gun is shipped, the only use for the assembly # is to confirm the three parts it's stamped on are original.

In 1957 the assembly # in the yoke cut of the frame was relocated to the left side of grip frame after model #s were assigned and the serial # was eventually added in the ‘yoke cut’ where the assembly #, now moved to the left side of the grip frame, used to be. You know they are assembly (factory work) #s because of those 3 locations that always match on guns that are original, and that’s the only usefulness for them after guns leave the factory; still used to this day, long after serial number locations decreased.


1917 PRODUCTION SUMMARY:

Military 1917s are in the #1 thru # 169959 (the estimated last military #) range but with only 163,635 revolvers completed and delivered by or in 1918, and approximately 7,300 revolvers were delivered partially completed and were not counted in the 163,635 figure. As usual with S&W, revolvers were not completed in order of their serial numbers and all numbers were not used. All were shipped to Springfield Armory.
Both S&W (7300 frames) and Colt were allowed to purchase M1917 revolvers left over when their rebuild contracts were terminated at the end of WWII.* (Pate, see below for full text.)

Most early WWI 1917s are marked "GHS" in a circle, (Gilbert H. Stewart), Gov’t inspector, left side frame up near the hammer serial number range 1-42000. There’s also a GHD Guy H. Drewry inspector from 1930-1957 (with various increasing ranks in front of his name), who was in charge of the Hartford Ordnance District and under whose authority and name, ordnance contractors stationed at the S&W factory inspected guns both for Lend-lease and for ASP (Army Supply Program) contracts.
Middle range guns are marked with a flaming bomb on upper rear left side of frame, beginning c. #42000 to April 1918.
Late war time produced guns are marked in various locations with an eagle head over an "S" followed by a number like S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S9, S24, S27, S34, etc., in several places from April 1918 to war’s end. These marks are inspector marks used on Military guns which are also marked "United States Property” on the underside of the barrel.

The butt of the gun will have a two line serial number (when over 3 digits) and U.S. Army Model 1917 in four lines as well as a lanyard ring (which is the earliest version; pinned, polished and case colored, not sandblasted and blued). “UNITED STATES PROPERTY” is roll stamped under the front end of the barrel.

Earliest have smooth, concave round top stocks and circular hammer grooves up to about #15,000. Although, many have been observed sporadically up to the #20,000 range. As with all things S&W, there is seldom a specific serial number cut off. Deletion of the stocks w/concave top and the hammer grooves were of the earliest changes.

Most 1917 military issue have round top straps and a U notch rear sight. Later built frames with early #s have been observed with flat top strap and square notch rear sight; example #113934. It is not known when this change was initiated. However, cumulative wisdom is that the flat-top strap with Sq notch rear sight revision came to the N-frame in the 1926/1927 time frame.

War time 1917s did not have hammer block safeties in the side plate, nor S&W trademark logos, not even commercial models (nor did any hand ejectors) following the war until ~ 1920.


Cylinder hold open detent:
In my experience military 1917s had the cylinder hold open detent in the yoke bell crank as did all pre war N frames and some early I and K frames. The cyl hold open detent went away on all frames after WW II with the usual few exceptions that had frames/yokes made pre war. It's been reported that some 1917s do not have the detent as a war time expedient, but of the hundreds of 1917s I've seen all did or at least had the hole with wear evidence that the detent spring and pin were lost. Use caution if you remove the yoke and cylinder from the frame or the spring and plunger can launch across the room.

Plunger shown here in bottom of yoke and has a spring underneath it:




Serial/Government numbering of 1917s, Smith vs. Colt:
Many do not know that S&W 1917s are #d differently from Colt 1917s.

The S&W serial # is on the butt, as opposed to Colt, and served a dual purpose; it was also S&W's government #. The serial number on the COLT US Army Model of 1917 is stamped on the frame, opposite the crane, and a different number on the butt of their 1917 is the government #.
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:20 PM
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The letter will likely tell you that it shipped to Springfield Armory sometime in the spring/summer of 1917.

.45 Auto and .45 ACP are one and the same, shoot away (assuming it is mechanically sound).

With a serial number that low, the grooved hammer, and the GHS stamp, I would consider it more desirable- I would put the value closer to $1000. If it were offered to me at $700 I would buy it, assuming it is in good mechanical condition.
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:12 PM
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just got done cleaning inspecting the barrel and test fired. all went well and gun fired without any issues. I was pleasantly surprised with the feel it was nice and smooth. first time firing a 45 out of a revolver. want to personally thank you all for the information provided on this forum. very responsive community. thumbs up for sure.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:19 PM
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Nice S&W !

I've got a 1917 S&W with a a low number...I think.

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Old 09-07-2018, 12:55 AM
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C & L, yes, that is one of the first 1917s built.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:10 AM
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C & L, yes, that is one of the first 1917s built.
I thought it was. Somewhere in time before I owned it a previous owner had it nickel plated. Ruined the value of it.

At least they did a good job of it plus did not plate the hammer, ejector star, or trigger.

They may have replaced the hammer as it does not have the grooves.

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Old 09-07-2018, 12:32 PM
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If that nickel finish ruined it, i just might send my ugly k32 to get ruined.

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Old 09-07-2018, 03:15 PM
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GREAT THREAD!!

You have a super nice revolver there to the OP. Have you shot it yet?
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:02 PM
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Went out yesterday and brung the D.A. 45. The D.A. was flawless. The only complaint is the unloading of the clip ring (minor one). I have tool and 8 rings on order so will fix that issue. This thing fired as if it was brand new nice tight and was a blast. You guys are right she is a shooter. This one will be here to stay no doubt. I am very great full to have gotten this fire arm and will cherish it for years to come.
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Old 09-10-2018, 08:21 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is offline
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.45 Auto and .45 ACP are one and the same, shoot away (assuming it is mechanically sound).
Actually they are not the same. The 45 ACP pressure is in the 19,000 range because it is designed to create enough power to reliably function the slide of the 1911 auto pistol; its primary application.

The 45 Auto Rim has significantly less pressure at 15,000 and therefore less power because it was specifically designed only for revolvers and with less recoil, therefore is safer especially in those revolvers converted to 45 ACP/AR w/o heat treated cylinders.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Actually they are not the same. The 45 ACP pressure is in the 19,000 range because it is designed to create enough power to reliably function the slide of the 1911 auto pistol; its primary application.

The 45 Auto Rim has significantly less pressure at 15,000 and therefore less power because it was specifically designed only for revolvers and with less recoil, therefore is safer especially in those revolvers converted to 45 ACP/AR w/o heat treated cylinders.
I believe he is asking what the box will say- what ammo to buy. The box will either say .45 Auto or .45 ACP. I don't believe he was asking about .45 Auto Rim, but that is informative that the AR is lower pressure.
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:25 PM
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One other difference is that military .45 ACP was loaded with a full metal jacketed bullet. The .45 Auto Rim was loaded with a lead bullet, until recently.
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:05 AM
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The other pic
Nice family heirloom. Most likely shipped Dec 1917. Features of your gun would show up much better without the photograph behind it. A light colored solid background would look much better.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:14 AM
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The .45 Auto Rim was loaded with a lead bullet, until recently.
Which has been theorized why the 45AR had a lower pressure than the 45ACP originally. “...reduce gas cutting when firing swaged lead bullets.” (Handloader #254)

The shallow rifling & the soft lead bullets were the issue in the 45AR's.

The 45AR didn't show up until about 1920.

The 45AR SAAMI pressure is 15K cup - the 45ACP is 21K psi.

.

Interesting thread.

.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:58 PM
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In my relatively brief experience with shooting .45 ACP/AR ammunition in a revolver I have found that at least with my Brazilian jacketed bullets shoot better, the rifling is very shallow. I suppose you could size bullets to better match the barrel but for my purposes I have found it to be much easier to simply purchase plated bullets by Rainier. I have found the 185 and 200 gr. bullets shoot best in mine and I load plated bullets to speeds just under what I would use with full on jacketed Hornady XTPs. My Model of 1955 revolvers will shoot cast bullets much better than plated due to their deeper rifling, same is true with Model 25's. I much prefer shooting Auto Rim cartridges in any of my revolvers chambered for .45ACP, once I made the switch I never looked back. I am sitting on a stockpile of .45ACP ammunition for the few .45 pistols I own and do not reload for that caliber, only Auto Rim.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:43 PM
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In my relatively brief experience with shooting .45 ACP/AR ammunition in a revolver I have found that at least with my Brazilian jacketed bullets shoot better, the rifling is very shallow. I suppose you could size bullets to better match the barrel but for my purposes I have found it to be much easier to simply purchase plated bullets by Rainier. I have found the 185 and 200 gr. bullets shoot best in mine and I load plated bullets to speeds just under what I would use with full on jacketed Hornady XTPs. My Model of 1955 revolvers will shoot cast bullets much better than plated due to their deeper rifling, same is true with Model 25's. I much prefer shooting Auto Rim cartridges in any of my revolvers chambered for .45ACP, once I made the switch I never looked back. I am sitting on a stockpile of .45ACP ammunition for the few .45 pistols I own and do not reload for that caliber, only Auto Rim.
The 1917 revolvers, both S&W and Colt, were designed with shallow rifling to fire .45 ACP hardball in half moon clips. Many of the 1917s that I have examined are almost smooth bore, probably due to the corrosive primers used back then.
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:35 PM
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I would have to add that most of these fine old revolvers have had a lifetime of firing 230 gr. hardball ammunition which is a lot tougher on what little rifling they were equipped with from the beginning adding to their ultimate demise. I've been somewhat tempted to try using an oversized bullet from a custom mold but in the end have decided to just use the old revolver to the best of its ability and accept it for what it is. Fun to shoot and fully capable of center of mass or better on mansized targets at 25 yds. What my Brazilian model of 1917 did for me was open to door into the pleasure of shooting .45 ACP/AR in a large frame revolver...I'll use my Model of 1955's and Model 25's for the times when I feel like testing my shooting abilities as regards scores in the center rings of a target
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