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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 05-23-2020, 11:54 AM
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29-1 29-1 is offline
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Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258  
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Originally Posted by opoefc View Post
3/24/2010 The parts that Roy refers to are Model 29s, less their barrels. Here's a brief history of the Tunnel Gun -- The idea (Task Number 02-F-68) was conceived at the Aberdeen Proving ground's Limited Warfare Lab and on Aug. 9, 1967, $132,422 was eventually appropriated by the Army to fund creation of a multi-projectile low noise hand weapon for tunnel operations in Viet Nam. The primary contractor was the Aircraft Armanents Inc., (AAI) in Maryland. In Feb.1969, S&W shipped 29 Model 29s, less barrels, to AAI. AAI modified the frames and provided a 1.3" smooth bore barrel in caliber .400, and counter bored the cylinders chambers to .530" Cylinder length was not changed. 10 prototypes were produced and sent to Viet Nam for field trials by the 25th Div, 1st Inf. Div. & the Americal Div. Trial reports indicated that many misfires, problems with mud & rain, rust, breaking of parts, etc occurred, how ever some users reported them as effective tactical weapons for use in tunnels, etc. In Jan 1970 a 2nd effoprt was made at Aberdeen PG to cure the problems reported. A lanyard ring was added, etc. and the task name was changed from Tunnel Gun to Quiet, Special Use revolver ( QSPR) 6 more prototypes were made. Records are not clear on the total number of Tunnel guns made, however I have serial numbers for 18 guns and suspect there maybe a small handful more. The biggest problem was the ammo, which had to be handmade individually. The cartridges were 1.87" in length by .518" diameter. Wall thickness of .080" made from 60,000 psi steel. 15 high density steel pellets in each round. Muzzle velocity 750 fps. Effective range 50 ft. I have a copy of the Army's report on the first trial in 1969, however the 2nd trial's report was never printed. I also have a copy the US Army's Instruction Manual for the QSPR, dated Feb 1971, and other documents relating to the various development stages by AAI and material from the Director of the Project at AAI, plus the field reports from users of the weapon in Viet Nam. These are very interesting documents, for example "The Tunnel Weapon was found to be ideally suited for ambushes. In one night ambush operation, 2 Rangers from the Americal Div. ,using a single QSPR, killed one NVA officer &2 NVA soldiers. The Officer, and the soldiers were shot at a distance of 10 ft. " Ed. #15
Ed, in my plans to give a happy birthday shout-out to S299258, one of 2 Model 29-2 frames S&W shipped to AAI 51 years ago today, May 23, 1969, I came across your summation of the Tunnel/QSPR story that was written a year before one actually turned up on Gun Broker disguised as a 29-2! I suppose I was so excited at the time to have been the lucky one to have discovered it I completely overlooked your posting. Had I done so at the time, so many questions and hoops I jumped through could have been avoided Anyway, though most of you guys except for the new members have already seen this posting earlier, I thought today on it's birthday, 5/23/1969, which was also a Memorial Day weekend, I'd repost some of the original pics I posted in 2011 right after it was discovered. And, as I mentioned in another thread on "grail guns," this one by far was my best find over the years. It was intended to make a revolver that could better serve and protect the very brave (crazy to some ) Tunnel Rat soldiers fighting in the jungle tunnels in Viet Nam. So many of those brave young men lost their lives in that war in those tunnels and they are among the soldiers of all our country's wars who made the ultimate sacrifice that we honor this weekend. Thank you again Ed for putting so succinctly what I wanted to say in the first place Chuck

My original post as follows:
Between 1968 and 1969, S&W shipped 23 (known serial numbers) Model 29-2 revolvers, some frame only, to Aircraft Armaments INC, (AAI), in Cockeysville, MD for conversion to what was known as the Tunnel Gun. After a 3 month field test between July-Oct 1969 in Vietnam, it was renamed the Quiet Special Purpose Revolver (QSPR), after some minor mods were made to the weapon. The changes made were based on recommendations from soldiers from the 25th ID, the 23rd (Americal) ID, and the 1ST ID, who field tested 10 revolvers over those 3 months in the VC tunnels in their areas of operation. Read the Tunnels of CuChi to hear about the 25th ID (Tropic Lighting), mention of the Tunnel Gun. S299258 pictured here represents an example that never made it to conversion for unknown reasons. I am very fortunate to have acquired one of my grail 44 magnums, albeit the frame only, just the way it was shipped to AAI on 5/23/1969. There will be a full article presented to the SWCA Journal for publication consideration. With the help of Roy Jinks and members of the International Ammunition Collectors Association, as well as retired employees from AAI to include the now 65 year old gunsmith who built the original Tunnel Guns, I've been able to gather much provenance and information on these arguably rarest of the 44 magnum variations. This will all be detailed in the planned article. The gun was completed by my gunsmith, John Blauvelt in Wallkill, NY. Voted by Field and Stream Magazine, one of the Top 10 Gunsmiths in America, John can do anything with a firearm, literally, and he described this project as "very interesting and a one of a kind job". Enjoy the pics of what must have been one heck of a weapon, as the Army test reports back in 1969-72 certainly claimed it to be. Unfortunately, timing is critical with most everything, and it was with the TG/QSPR. By 1972 when the final Land Warfare Unit/AAI testing and evaluation had been completed and all deficiencies, especially with the cartridge (which is the real story), had been corrected, Vietnam was drawing down so the need for a tunnel weapon was no more. This became the Model 29 that really never was.
Enjoy
Chuck

Invoice to AAI 5/23/1969 for two 44 Magnum frames
S299258 and S318575


Factory Letter S229258


Frame only as shipped to AAI 5/23/1969


Notice serial number only, no model # stamp in frame. Crane has same assembly number as the frame which was not always the case after AAI gunsmiths cannibalized the first 10 guns received.




Blauvelt Conversion to exact original specs but false/plugged barrel to meet BATF compliance:








The cylinder chamber walls are paper thin as were the originals due to reaming them out to.526. Notice the daylight seen through the stop notches, as were the originals.






The cartridge is the real story behind this revolver. The captive piston round was capable of containing the blast noise, flash, and other energy normally done by the weapon. In essence, the round is the weapon and the revolver is simply the carrier.








Tunnel Gun Holster built by Bucheimer, Frederick, MD


Custom Made TG Holster for display purposes.


Original TGs at Aberdeen, MD. gun on the left is coated in Teflon and is the QSPR version with lanyard loop requested by soldiers in the field, for a "dummy cord" as Army Rangers call them.







Tunnel Gun Specs


S299258
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Last edited by 29-1; 05-23-2020 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:30 PM
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Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258  
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Thanks for reposting this! Remember I got you the stocks .
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:20 PM
mikerjf mikerjf is offline
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Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258  
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This and a Deer Gun. That's what I want!
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:48 PM
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29-1 29-1 is offline
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Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258 Happy Memorial Day and Birthday S299258  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
Thanks for reposting this! Remember I got you the stocks .
Murph, absolutely and I still thank you as they were perfect in every way.
Chuck
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