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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 04-03-2021, 11:45 AM
1780inn 1780inn is offline
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Default S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed

Here for your perusal is Smith & Wesson .45ACP US Army model of 1917 serial number 132134 with British Birmingham proofs on cylinder, frame and barrel. I recall reading/seeing information that some 20000 of these S&W 1917s were sent to the UK in 1940; perhaps this is one of them.
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S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917a-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917c-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917b-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917d-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917e-jpg  


Last edited by 1780inn; 04-03-2021 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 04-03-2021, 11:48 AM
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A few more photos:
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S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917f-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917g-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917h-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917i-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-sw1917k-jpg  

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Old 04-03-2021, 11:49 AM
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One more to show serial number etc:
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:27 PM
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That 1917 was made in November 1918. Could have been a private purchase as I see no broad arrow or viewer's marks. Or had the UK moved on from that in 1940?
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Old 04-03-2021, 01:39 PM
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Revolvers that the British bought in a regular fashion through the British Purchasing Commission went to RSAF Enfield for unpacking and acceptance, and got the well-known stack of stampings on the left back frame and the crossed-pennant proof until fall 1941, when revolver shipments moved under Lend-lease.

But I do not know whether the batch of M1917s that were dispatched to Britain as a stopgap emergency help received that standard treatment. This one almost certainly belongs in that batch, and I cant detect any markings either.

PS: A quick forum search produced a few others with pictures, British post-war proofed but not acceptance-stamped, presumed from the same batch, so that confirms it.

20,100 guns in July 1940, straight from Army depots.

Last edited by Absalom; 04-03-2021 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 04-03-2021, 01:53 PM
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i have what was evidently a lend-lease Model 1917 with British proofs on the cylinder.

John

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Old 04-03-2021, 02:35 PM
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Thanks for the useful info; I'll send for the S&W letter to confirm shipment details.
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Old 04-03-2021, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1780inn View Post
Thanks for the useful info; I'll send for the S&W letter to confirm shipment details.
The letter will only confirm the first shipment from S&W to the US Government in 1918. It won't have any info on the 1940 shipment.
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Old 04-03-2021, 08:02 PM
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Not to appear picky, but the July 1940 shipment was not Lend-lease.

The Act was not passed until March 1941, revolvers were not included until late fall of that year.
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Old 04-03-2021, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
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Not to appear picky, but the July 1940 shipment was not Lend-lease.

The Act was not passed until March 1941, revolvers were not included until late fall of that year.
I never noticed that before. Do you know how they got around the Neutrality Act?
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Old 04-03-2021, 10:00 PM
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I never noticed that before. Do you know how they got around the Neutrality Act?
I dont know the details, but I would think it was somehow slipped through under the cash-and-carry legislation which from 1939 had allowed FDR to bypass the Neutrality Act when it came to supplying Britain.
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Old 04-03-2021, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
Not to appear picky, but the July 1940 shipment was not Lend-lease.

The Act was not passed until March 1941, revolvers were not included until late fall of that year.

Picky, picky, picky!

I changed my post.
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Old 04-04-2021, 05:33 AM
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I have posted about the Model 1917 previously but here it is again. A Model 1917, built in 1918 that made its way to England at some point and acquired the appropriate stamps and such.

Kevin
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S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-6cf5f83c-d3dc-4575-9d6f-e41a3fdb2f92-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-503f0484-19e4-4141-9f6e-41aa739468e6-jpg   S&W US Army Model 1917 British Proofed-4da8071f-3824-4524-a9a2-6e0cb564d077-jpg  
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Old 04-04-2021, 06:02 PM
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The one I bought had no proof markings at all, and I had to point this out to the vendor, who had to get it proved and stamped.
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:59 AM
1780inn 1780inn is offline
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Can any identify this British proof mark on the side plate by the screw? Under a magnifying glass looks like a tine broad arrow at 1 o'clock.
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Old 04-07-2021, 02:32 PM
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I'm proud that a bunch of these made it to Britain after Dunkirk and the loss of so many arms. I'm glad that Britain was strong enough to survive WWII. I'm glad they let a few of the arms we sent them escape to make it back to the USA. I'm very disappointed that the brit government destroyed the countless arms so kindly sent because they didn't trust their own people with personal arms.............
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Old 04-07-2021, 03:58 PM
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Not clear enough to tell. Might be a London proof mark.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:58 PM
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The Neutrality Act may be a clue to the lack of British proofs on these guns. They may have been treated as a civilian purchase of surplus pistols?
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
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The Neutrality Act may be a clue to the lack of British proofs on these guns. They may have been treated as a civilian purchase of surplus pistols?
That is an interesting thought. However, theres something that would suggest that this wasnt a worry at this point:

When these were sent in July 1940, S&W was already producing .38 S&W-chambered M&Ps for the South African military, a belligerent along with Britain, and the South Africans did property-stamp those revolvers. Legally, the 1917s would not have been different.
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:39 PM
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There's no requirement to prove them commercially when they go to the government.
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:49 PM
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There's no requirement to prove them commercially when they go to the government.
We know that.

The issue under discussion here is the opposite: These are pre-Lend-lease government acquisitions without Enfield acceptance markings.
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Old 04-08-2021, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
That is an interesting thought. However, theres something that would suggest that this wasnt a worry at this point:

When these were sent in July 1940, S&W was already producing .38 S&W-chambered M&Ps for the South African military, a belligerent along with Britain, and the South Africans did property-stamp those revolvers. Legally, the 1917s would not have been different.
I don't know anything about the US Neutrality Act, but the early South African M&Ps were a staight commercial purchase, ie South African property.

Peter
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Old 04-08-2021, 04:05 PM
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It has puzzled me a bit that this significant shipment of 20,100 Models 1917 does not show up in Charles Pates book except in a passing general remark about the US transfering obsolete munitions to Britain after Dunkirk. Elsewise Pates list with shipment data, including many much less significant guns and batches, are quite detailed. There must be little documentation to be found.

However, after some forum searching I came upon this from our friend Alan in Australia from 2013 in a thread about one of these. Its the only background info Ive discovered. Im sure he wont mind if I quote him; highlighting is mine.

If your revolver has the remnant of red paint on the barrel, I strongly suspect it is one of the 20,000 .45 revolvers that were included in the 37 million dollar sale of artillery, ammunition and small arms, which the British government bought off the US Steel Company, the US government having sold the same day this equipment to the US Steel Co. This was to get around the US Neutrality Act which was in force at the time. This sale also included 500,000 Model 1917 rifles and 80,000 odd assorted machine guns as well as 500 .38 S&W revolves and 900 odd 75mm guns, etc.

My reaserch at the UK National Archives and American archives shows that, the contract was amended about 4 times and the total dollar value ended up being about $43 million, the final number of M1917 revolvers shipped was actually 20,100.

This was in July 1940 so well before Lend Lease, the guns were paid for by the British.

Last edited by Absalom; 04-08-2021 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 04-08-2021, 04:43 PM
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Yes, the US Steel Export Corporation was created specially for the purpose.
These figures re taken from the Official History - 'Lee-Enfield' is wrong - should be M1917 Enfield, of course.
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:11 PM
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A more detailed list
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:28 PM
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A more detailed list

I'll take a few of those 1917s at $7.50 each!
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Old 04-08-2021, 06:46 PM
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Me too...Me too...
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:15 PM
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although many people in the Depression were earning five or ten cents an hour, if they were lucky enough to be working at all.
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:12 PM
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Thankfully the free exchange of guns and money kept these guns in circulation. As a man with a few guns bought in good times could always sell them for cash to get through hard times. Guns have always been a hedge against inflation, like Gold. That is one reason old guns reappear when the old folks die and the grand kids sell off the antiques and guns for chump change..............
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