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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 05-11-2020, 03:31 PM
Tommy Green Tommy Green is offline
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I have a stainless S&W hand ejector .455 revolver. I was told it belonged to a Mountie. Ser. # on the butt is 59909 with the
# 11 (I think) to the R (looking toward the barrel). It also has 2 small crossed flags on the frame just forward of the cylinder. The same 2 small crossed flags are on the inside of the bullet loading chamber. It shoots REALLY good with vintage .455 that I have been able to get at gun shows. Also have used .45 modern ammo with 6 RD and 3 RD bullet clips to good effect. It has pearl grips with a red plastic spacer (that was not stock) but supposedly to match the Mountie uniform ?
Any info would be appreciated!
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Old 05-11-2020, 03:45 PM
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Something is a little strange in your details. First, it cannot be stainless. Is it perhaps Nickel plated? If it was originally chambered in .455, that is the only cartridge it would accept, yet you mention using .45 ammo in clips (.45 ACP??), indicating that it was later modified to use .45 ACP, and probably would no longer be able to fire .455 rounds reliably. Can you see a serial number stamped on the rear face of the cylinder? If modified to .45 ACP and plated, the revolver no longer has any collectible value, RCMP or not. Please clarify, and pictures would be very helpful. SN 59909 indicates that it is a .455 Mk II Hand Ejector Second Model which likely shipped in mid-1916.

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Old 05-11-2020, 03:51 PM
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...and if it's a bright finish, it's most likely nickel plate- not stainless.

Photos would help.
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:56 PM
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It might be nickeled or even chromed, but that would not be its original finish. The story about being a Mountie gun is possible but probably just unfounded salesman puffery. The grips could have been changed at any time. It is doubtful that pearl grips would have been standard issue on a RNWMP revolver.

By the way, the two flags proof mark you reference is most commonly called crossed pennants.

Edited to add:
Gun show .455 ammunition may be corrosive (particularly if it is pre-1950s military or even commercial). You may want to very thoroughly clean your revolver immediately after firing it if there is any question about when the ammo was made!
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Green View Post
I have a stainless S&W hand ejector .455 revolver. I was told it belonged to a Mountie. Ser. # on the butt is 59909 ....
It may have belonged to a Mountie, under circumstances we canít reconstruct, but the issued service gun for the RCMP from 1904 to 1919 was the Colt New Service in .455, with the 5.5Ē barrel. Starting in 1919, the same gun in .45 Colt was issued. The New Service remained on duty until replaced in the mid-1950s.

The crossed-pennant proofs indicate that your gun, no matter where it entered Allied service during WW I, started its career as a military, not a police gun.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:03 PM
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Thanks to all for our comments, this is the fist forum i’ve Ever joined. I’ll try to clarify. The clips i mention are the round and 1/2 round with slots for the bullets, not sure what they are called. I’m 77 and can’t remember kaka. They are NOT .45 clips, sorry. The finish is chrome or Nickle (very shiny but NOT new by any means). I have fired many ,455 through it and probably 1 -200 total .45 with the 1/2 moon clips(???) the bottom of the grip has a screw hole probable for a lanyard loop. I was skeptical about the Mountie story also. I got this about 30years ago in a gun shop in Pensacola Fla. the # is still clearly visible on the cylinder. The moon clips or what ever they are called with .45 ACP ammo and functions perfectly.
I would love to send pics when I learn how on this forum???!!!
PS. I always REALLY clean my guns after shooting. Thanks again for all your input but I still don’t know much more than I did. From what I can tell the finish is original, the markings on the frame don’t appear to me to be degraded by a coating?? I’ll work on the pictures.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:33 PM
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Welcome to the Forum, Your gun has been refinished in nickel. It's not stainless. It was originally a blued military contract gun,.455 Mark II model, sent to the Brits in WW1. The crossed flags indicate a release from their military inventory after the war. It was probably bought by a dealer who did the refinish and it was sold on the commercial market in the US. Many of these received bored out chambers in order to chamber .45 cal. ammo which was much more available in the US market than the .455 ammo. Ed.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:36 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.

These revolvers were built for the British during WW I and were shipped with a blue finish. The clips are called half moon and full moon clips. The lanyard loop hole is not threaded. The LL was secured with a cross pin.

It is interesting that the serial number is still present on the rear of the cylinder and that .45 ACP in moon clips fit, though I do have a Colt New Service that fires both .45 ACP in clips AND .45 Colt ammo.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Green View Post
... Thanks again for all your input but I still donít know much more than I did. From what I can tell the finish is original, the markings on the frame donít appear to me to be degraded by a coating?? ...
Well, at least you now know it isn't stainless steel (S&W didn't make SS revolvers till the 1960s). Very unlikely that the nickel finish is original but you can get the definitive answer by sending off $100 to get a factory letter.

That hole in the bottom of the butt frame is for a lanyard loop (or "butt swivel" as S&W called it). It isn't threaded, but held in place with a pin.

A Mountie may have owned it at some point, you never know. But dealers have been known to stretch the truth from time to time...

You're right calling the clips "moon clips". The six round version are generally called "full moon clips", the three round version "half moon clips".
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:49 PM
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Tommy Green, welcome to the forum.

It may have had a proper metal preparation before being plated but it's definitely not original factory, they were only blued.

If there's a date under the left grip on the side of the grip frame and possibly a star following the frame serial # on the butt of the grip frame, it could be a factory refinish and plating.

It's been converted to 45 ACP with clip usage. Since you can load and shoot 455 rounds w/o the clips, it either uses the modern method with rim left around the rear cyl face (hence # is still extant), or because of the long hammer nose (firing pin) used in those days to ensure ignition.

The serial #59909 makes it a 455 Hand Ejector - 2nd Model (455 MKII model as labeled by the British), likely shipped May 1916* to Rem Arms, purveyor of firearms for the British during WWI.

*But no guarantee because they were not built or shipped in serial # order.

The serial # appears way too low for it to be one of the 14,500 Canadian shipped firearm, whose serial #s are in the 70XXXs.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:57 PM
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I have a Colt New Service Revolver which was shipped to the North West Mounted Police, Sept 6 1904 and is factory engraved on the backstrap "N.W.P.D. #4XX". It was one of a shipment of 700. This information was obtained from the factory letter purchased in 1994. It is reblued and definitely has gone some miles. It is a shame that it can't talk. Maybe we could hear about Sergeant Preston and Yukon King.

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Old 05-11-2020, 10:11 PM
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Tommy, welcome to the Forum. We all learn a lot here. You made a good choice for this as your first forum...... you may need no others!
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
It's been converted to 45 ACP with clip usage. Since you can load and shoot 455 rounds w/o the clips, it either uses the modern method with rim left around the rear cyl face (hence # is still extant), or because of the long hammer nose (firing pin) used in those days to ensure ignition.
To me, it doesn't seem possible that the cylinder face has been shaved to accept .45 ACP in moon clips, and the SN would remain visible. It makes more sense that possibly a .45 M1917 cylinder has been fitted. If so, the SN on the cylinder would differ from the frame SN, unless the conversion was done by S&W and the .45 ACP cylinder SN was stamped to match that on the frame. This is all pure guesswork without some good photos.

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Old 05-12-2020, 07:58 AM
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Semper FI
The method of making a dual 45 cylinder by recessing the inside portion of the rear cylinder face and leaving a ring of metal around the outside edge for rimmed cartridges will not work using 1/2 moon clips. As they ride on the outside edge. Op stated he had used 1/2 moons. 455 ammo has an even thinner case rim than 45 colt, so chambering those in a 45 acp cylinder would give you huge head space. Then the statement that the serial number is visible on the rear cylinder face.
Makes me confused. Possibly a 45 acp cylinder with it's serial number and the 455 are head spacing on the cartridge mouth. The over all on an acp case is .012 longer and the chambers then that much deeper, but it would probably fire the 455s

Edit. Did some research and math. If you used the shorter MKII ammo and it's rim .04 sit on the cylinder space you would have .044 more head space than an acp. A dime is .053, so if the hammer nose protruded that much and there was minimal endshake, it would probably fire the 455 rounds. Really give the cases a run at the recoils shield, but then the 455 isn't exactly a power house.

Does the cylinders serial number match the one on the butt of the gun? I don't see how it can if marked 455 and it fires 45 acp in 1/2 moons.

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Old 05-12-2020, 09:30 AM
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Any gunsmith could have re-stamped with the serial number after shaving the rear of the cylinder. Maybe the owner wanted it done, or maybe the gunsmith just felt it proper to replace the number?? Pictures of the cylinder s/n would be interesting.
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:38 AM
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I agree it could be a restamp. I have never found a set of stamps that small, but they must exist. Smallest I have are 1/8" high. I know you can get 3/32" sets.

A picture of the rear of the cylinder and the rest of the revolver would really help to give a clear idea of what is going on.

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Old 05-12-2020, 09:50 AM
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Yeah, something doesn't add up.We don't have all the exact details. We need to see photos of the shoulder in the chambers, the "1/2 moon" clips used, the rear face of the cyl, and the breech face.

I do know that 45 Colt cases either shortened or full length in a rechambered to extend the shoulders ACP cyl will fire reliably in those old N frames with their long firing pins.

And the 455 MKI cases would headspace on the chamber shoulder with proper headspace in a 455 cyl shaved for ACP with clips and fire perfectly.
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:27 PM
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Good point Hondo. Tommy Green may well be shooting .455 Mk I cartridges. Since I more commonly run across Mk II ammunition, I just assumed that's what he was finding at gunshows as well.

This is indeed an intriguing situation. From Tommy's comment about the second crossed pennants mark, (not entirely clear but I believe on the rear face of the cylinder just like the serial number), we can surmise that the rear of the cylinder was not machined. After all, even if someone restamped the s/n, no way they would or could redo the crossed pennants.

One might say it could be a .45 ACP cylinder that the Brits somehow got hold of and marked. But that sounds pretty far fetched and would be an amazing coincidence.
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:54 PM
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Interesting to speculate on whether it's this or that, but it doesn't change the fact that it is probably impossible to establish any connection with the RCMP, and also that it's not original and is just another shooter-grade revolver.
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Old 05-12-2020, 02:58 PM
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The obvious possibility has not been mentioned. Head space for .45 ACP was created by filing the recoil shield. As long as the firing pin was not shortened it would drive .455 cartridges forward then set them off when their rims stopped against the rear face of the cylinder.

Even if used in the line of duty, owned by a LEO is not the same as having been purchased by their employer. Lots of cops own lots of guns over their lifetimes.
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Old 05-12-2020, 03:54 PM
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The obvious possibility has not been mentioned. Head space for .45 ACP was created by filing the recoil shield. As long as the firing pin was not shortened it would drive .455 cartridges forward then set them off when their rims stopped against the rear face of the cylinder.
That can be (and has been) done if the desire is to rechamber a .455 for .45 Colt, but there would be a great deal more metal removal from the recoil shield required to allow moon-clipped .45 ACP to be used. I haven't known of that much recoil shield shaving to be done. Has it?
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Old 05-12-2020, 03:55 PM
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Guns & Ammo, January 2010 has big article of RCMP 455 Colt. I think by Gary James.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:11 PM
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Thanks again for All your responses. I’l try and enlighten as well as possible. I’ve learned a LOT!! First I removed the stocks and there is No star stamp but yes there is the pin for the lanyard. On the butt of the grip there is the ser. # 59909, and on the same area toward the trigger there is two 11 ,s (eleven) stamped. When I shoot .45 acp with the Full or Half moon clips the space between the cyclinder and firing pin chamber is not measurable by me but the action rotates easily! No binding when shooting and the cylinder turns freely. When using .455 (no clip) there is about 1/8 without a bullet chambered and about 1/16 space between the cylinder and firing pin chamber with a .455 bullets chambered. The firing pin is completely recessed and does not protrude at all. I guess I should have said recoil shield instead of firing pin chamber. This is the only revolver I have ever had, I have 5 .45’s from a 1911 WW1 Colt to a Kimber Custom 2. So forgive me for lack of correct nomenclature on revolvers. I’ll catch up!
Hooaah!
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:14 PM
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PS, If anyone could tell me how to send pic? ( i have an I pad.)
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
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Thanks again for All your responses. Iíl try and enlighten as well as possible. Iíve learned a LOT!! First I removed the stocks and there is No star stamp but yes there is the pin for the lanyard. On the butt of the grip there is the ser. # 59909, and on the same area toward the trigger there is two 11 ,s (eleven) stamped. When I shoot .45 acp with the Full or Half moon clips the space between the cyclinder and firing pin chamber is not measurable by me but the action rotates easily! No binding when shooting and the cylinder turns freely. When using .455 (no clip) there is about 1/8 without a bullet chambered and about 1/16 space between the cylinder and firing pin chamber with a .455 bullets chambered. The firing pin is completely recessed and does not protrude at all. I guess I should have said recoil shield instead of firing pin chamber. This is the only revolver I have ever had, I have 5 .45ís from a 1911 WW1 Colt to a Kimber Custom 2. So forgive me for lack of correct nomenclature on revolvers. Iíll catch up!
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Tommy,

Don't worry about nomenclature, you'll pick it up quickly! Your description was comprehensive enough to follow.

Today's revolver lesson is about the hammer nose, i.e., firing pin:

Smiths have rebounding hammers so that the pin does not protrude to rest on a primer unless the trigger is pulled, as a safety measure.

Therefore to see the pin protrude you drop the hammer by pulling the trigger, but don't release it, hold the trigger to the rear and the firing pin will be at maximum protrusion. Notice when you release the trigger the hammer will kick back and lock, and cannot be pushed forward.
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:10 AM
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His description "When using .455 (no clip) there is about 1/8 without a bullet chambered and about 1/16 space between the cylinder and firing pin chamber with a .455 bullets chambered." Pretty much tells me he has a cylinder set up for 45ACP. The 1/16" between the case head and the recoil shield when he has 455 cases in the gun is really excessive headspace. It fires because of a fairly long hammer nose (firing pin). It does no damage because the 455 is pretty low pressure.

Above I calculated that setup would have about .044 extra headspace with 455 ammo. 1/16" is .0625. But, he is making a visual estimate.

I have some 455 ammo and some 45acp revolvers. I should go try it myself.

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Old 05-15-2020, 01:07 PM
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Thank you all for your help. I have plenty of info now. I’ve sent 2 other posts that evidently did not go through???
I give up !
Thanks again!!! God Bless
Tommy
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