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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 07-20-2020, 08:25 PM
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Default Old Style Long Action vs Post-War Short Action

This topic has probably been covered ad nauseum but I'm new here and find this stuff really fascinating.

Can you guys please help me understand the different characteristics of the old style long action compared to the post-war short action? Specifically in the Model 10s. And why the change? I don't even know the right questions to ask but I'm sure you guys know what I'm asking. Again, I apologize if this is an old, worn out topic.
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:35 PM
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It all began in 1940 with the limited production K22-40 Masterpiece. It would have been more successful if not for WW2.
The hammer was a shorter throw 'speed hammer' with a cut notch on the back and different position of the pivot pin.
A similar modification to the hammer had been performed by custom gunsmiths for competition shooters for years prior. I think King's was one of these.
Anyway, after WW2 and I assume eventually running out of pre-war style long action hammers circa 1947 (post-war long action hammers look the same externally but have an added 'safety cut' inside introduced in 1944 due to a sailor killed by a dropped revolver on a Navy ship.
During and just post-WW2 R&D began developing the modern 'short action' hammer.
Hope this covers what you need to know.
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Old 07-21-2020, 02:13 AM
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First, there are no Model 10 revolvers with the long action. The long action had been out of production for nearly 10 years before there were any Model 10s.

Immediately after the war, the M&P was the only K frame revolver produced by the company, with shipping beginning in February, 1946. Those immediate postwar M&Ps had the long action with the new sliding hammer block safety and were serialized using the S prefix numbers (the earliest examples actually had an SV prefix).

In about March, 1948, the M&P started getting the new "High Speed" hammer (short action) at serial number S990184. Shipments began in April. Some guns were still assembled using the long action, but that was phased out pretty quickly. All the C prefix M&Ps had the "High Speed" hammer. The sole anomaly was the relatively rare .32 Military & Police, made in the early 1950s. Some of those had the long action.

When target sight guns started coming on line (the K-22 first), they also had the short action, which had actually been pioneered before the war, as mentioned above by cgt4570.

The sequence was similar on the N frames and the I frames are a completely different matter. Hondo44 would have to fill you in on those.
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Old 07-21-2020, 02:41 AM
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As already mentioned, the short action originated outside the S&W factory. Here is my Reg Mag with a King short action and Cockeyed Hammer




If you look in the King catalog #19 in this thread, it was a $10 option to convert a gun to short action. As a comparison, the cockeyed hammer was only $5:

D.W. King Information Thread

I don't know if other gunsmiths offered similar work but I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
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Old 07-21-2020, 03:23 AM
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To follow up on Jack's comment on the I frame actions relative to short vs. long actions, Jack is correct.

The I frames retained the original pre war action after the war; there was no redesigned action change. Therefore there are no long nor short I frame actions; they're all the same.


Attached below is a photo of two S prefix M&Ps. The one on the left has the "High Speed" hammer. The older issue on the right has the pre war style long action hammer. Long action hammers are always of the pre war style, while short action hammers are all post war style hammers:


Photo credit: JP@AK
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Old 07-21-2020, 11:01 AM
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And for completenessí sake, and since I happen to have these photos handy, here is the last significant change to the long-action hammer, illustrated:

The first picture shows the pre-1945 hammer without the cut for the new hammer block safety, the second a 1946 specimen with the cut.


Old Style Long Action vs Post-War Short Action-48a1d390-3570-47ae-b775-e3dac99f37f3-jpg

Old Style Long Action vs Post-War Short Action-98fb2079-9321-4f1c-ad8d-a06e27bcd499-jpg
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Old Style Long Action vs Post-War Short Action-48a1d390-3570-47ae-b775-e3dac99f37f3-jpg   Old Style Long Action vs Post-War Short Action-98fb2079-9321-4f1c-ad8d-a06e27bcd499-jpg  

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Old 07-21-2020, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhfromme View Post
[...] Can you guys please help me understand the different characteristics of the old style long action compared to the post-war short action? [...]
You got great information above. Like usual I learned from reading those guys.

Practical characteristics? With the hammer building up momentum through a longer fall the mainspring does not have to be as heavy so long actions tend to have a better DA pull. Unfortunately, at rest, long action hammers cover up half the rear sight in fixed sight M&P revolvers. While not being able to get a full sight picture until you are part way through the DA pull is not good, the worse thing is making it harder to see how well your sights stayed in alignment the instant your hammer hits down.

I have no doubt the hammer fall was shortened to reduce lock time. In theory, if you have lousy follow through, that's less time for the gun to get out of alignment with the target. The obvious answer is to not quit your job just because the hammer started down.
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Old 07-21-2020, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
First, there are no Model 10 revolvers with the long action. The long action had been out of production for nearly 10 years before there were any Model 10s.

Immediately after the war, the M&P was the only K frame revolver produced by the company, with shipping beginning in February, 1946. Those immediate postwar M&Ps had the long action with the new sliding hammer block safety and were serialized using the S prefix numbers (the earliest examples actually had an SV prefix).

In about March, 1948, the M&P started getting the new "High Speed" hammer (short action) at serial number S990184. Shipments began in April. Some guns were still assembled using the long action, but that was phased out pretty quickly. All the C prefix M&Ps had the "High Speed" hammer. The sole anomaly was the relatively rare .32 Military & Police, made in the early 1950s. Some of those had the long action.

When target sight guns started coming on line (the K-22 first), they also had the short action, which had actually been pioneered before the war, as mentioned above by cgt4570.

The sequence was similar on the N frames and the I frames are a completely different matter. Hondo44 would have to fill you in on those.
***
Help me out here Jack! Not just K frame M&P model from 1946!
'K frame' target models with "short action" version also from '46. My own lowest K10xxx/'47, edition reflecting!
Maybe I'm just 'nomenclature challenged' here, but requesting clarification please!
Just the aside, I very much like these early "narrow barrel profile" style!
Best!
John
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Old 07-21-2020, 02:21 PM
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iskra

There were only 2 K-22s shipped in 1946, both of them in December. Thousands of them shipped in 1947.

The first K-38 wasn't assembled until June 6, 1947 (only five assembled at that time), and the first one to ship left the factory in February, 1948. Full production of K-38s began in May, 1948.

The K-32 didn't appear on the market until 1949.

So, my statement, (Immediately after the war, the M&P was the only K frame revolver produced by the company, with shipping beginning in February, 1946.) stands the test of evidence.

Cheers!
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Old 07-21-2020, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
iskra

There were only 2 K-22s shipped in 1946, both of them in December. Thousands of them shipped in 1947.

The first K-38 wasn't assembled until June 6, 1947 (only five assembled at that time), and the first one to ship left the factory in February, 1948. Full production of K-38s began in May, 1948.

The K-32 didn't appear on the market until 1949.

So, my statement, (Immediately after the war, the M&P was the only K frame revolver produced by the company, with shipping beginning in February, 1946.) stands the test of evidence.

Cheers!
Thanks for the kind, expert clarification Jack!
Best!
John
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:33 PM
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Here are a couple of mine for comparison. Both are K-22 Masterpieces ... top is late '30s, bottom is late '40s.





Last edited by stamper; 07-21-2020 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 07-25-2020, 08:36 PM
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Thanks for the pix! Comports with my understanding... If I understand correctly! To my mind as shown in the lower photo, that's a "short action". And a 'cool looking' action, to add!

Again thanks & Take Care!
John
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