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  #1  
Old 11-30-2010, 02:52 PM
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Default Remember the "Escort"?

I'm in the process of putting together an article on the Model 61 "Escort" pistol. These were only made for a few years by Smith & Wesson in the early 1970s, making them nearly 40 years old now. They were not well received by the public. S&W discontinued them, saying they were not in accord with their higher standards, or something to that effect. I took this photo this morning to accompany the future article on this unique little .22 pocket pistol:



They were originally sold with a small pistol rug included in the box, together with a cleaning rod, instruction sheet and papers. Here's a shot of the gun on the pistol rug:



Another shot, with the instruction sheet:



Although there were complaints at the time about some malfunctioning, I've fired this one, and it never failed to go "bang" when I pulled the trigger.

Anyone else have some experience with these little pistols?

John
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:17 PM
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Default We're reaching way back here...

I spent a day at the range with one in the early '70s. It belonged to a friend who had just joined the Houston PD. He wanted a Baby Browning to carry in a second handcuff case, as was the fashion back then. He couldn't find one thanks to the GCA of '68, so he thought the Escort might do instead.

We fired 200 rounds or so between the two of us. The only thing I remember feeding consistantly was 40 gr high speed solids. Hollow points were hopeless and about half the time standard velocity rounds would not eject.

That particular pistol would not hand feed the first round from a full magazine. It worked OK with 4 (?) rounds or you could load the chamber and then insert a full mag. We only had one magazine, so I don't know if a different one would have solved the problem.

The sights were actually a little better than a Baby Browning, but it was still a 10' panic pistol. Like a Baby Browning, you had to be careful of your grip. It was easy to induce a stoppage with a high thumb.

I do remember when they were discontinued, Glen Slade's in Houston had a stack of them behind the counter with a sign that said "Clearance-$58.50". Wish I had bought a couple.

Charles
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:24 PM
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I have a 61-3 s/n 52xxx and have never had a problem with the pistol.I think that it had a bad rep because of the flimsy 22 cal mags.but I have 2 good mags that will fire std 22's to stingers with no FTF.I have heard that the cocking indicator can bind on the plastic grip panel and cause some problems.Just my 2 cents!
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:34 PM
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I had two. one blued and one nickeled with white grips. Both were "ammo sensitive".
I too used a "Baby" Browning .25acp as a BUG in my handcuff case.
I was disappointed in the Model 61s as I thought S&W made great firearms until the Model 61.
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:11 AM
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While I don't have any live-fire experience with them, I have seen more than a few starting to turn up at the local gun shows here. That, and a co-worker of mine just bought one for his wife.
Didn't S&W sort of reissue it in the form of the 2213/2214 Sportsman?
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:37 AM
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Had one back in the day. Got rid of it and haven't looked back.
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:00 AM
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Default The Escort Concept Soldiers On...

S&W 2214.





So far this one's reliable with all this ammo.



Drew
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:25 AM
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Default Bayard Pistol

Paladin - You should check out the european Bayard pistols. They predated the S&W 61 by a lot of years and there are a lot of design similarities. I would guess that S&W used the Bayard as a design basis. The Bayards were made in several calibers. I actually owned a Bayard .32 ACP pistol and a S&W 61 at the same time. The similarities are striking.
You probably can find some sources on the internet, but the old Book of Pistols and Revolvers by Smith (I think) had a page or two on the Bayards.
By the way, your photos are really excellent.

- - - Buckspen
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:56 AM
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Paladin - You should check out the european Bayard pistols. They predated the S&W 61 by a lot of years and there are a lot of design similarities. I would guess that S&W used the Bayard as a design basis. The Bayards were made in several calibers. I actually owned a Bayard .32 ACP pistol and a S&W 61 at the same time. The similarities are striking.
You probably can find some sources on the internet, but the old Book of Pistols and Revolvers by Smith (I think) had a page or two on the Bayards.
By the way, your photos are really excellent.

- - - Buckspen
Thanks for the tip on the Bayard pistols! I'll check 'em out!

John
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:29 PM
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Yep, I have one. I'll try to get up a better pic.

My Little 61 Escort
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:46 PM
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The 2214 sure looks like it's got the Escort's DNA.I wonder if the mags will work?
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:21 PM
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Based on the tip above from Buckspen, I've looked into his observation that the Escort closely resembles a Bayard pistol, and I believe he's right on the money.

I think the S&W engineers had closely studied the 1908 Pieper Bayard .32 ACP pocket pistol, and that it was their obvious inspiration for the Escort. The Bayard was based on a design by one Bernard Clarus of Belgium. He had patented his work in England in 1907. The similarities of the S&W pistol to the old Bayard are quite striking! I guess there's nothing new under the sun. I'll be incorporating this information into my article on the Escort - thanks to Buckspen!

More information on the Bayard can be found here:

1908 Pieper Bayard

John
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:25 PM
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The 2214 sure looks like it's got the Escort's DNA.I wonder if the mags will work?
It's obvious to me that the engineering that went into the Escort was also utilized in later S&W .22 pistols. These include the Models 422, 622, 622VR, 2206, 2213, and 2214. All use the same configuration.

John
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:37 PM
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I have one I traded for in '77. Probably 2-300 rounds and never malfunctioned.

Keep your thumb out of the way.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:20 PM
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Saw an Escort at a pawn shop, good condition, for $249.

Should have picked it up! I have the 2214, short barrel one, but would have been a nice companion to it.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PALADIN85020 View Post
It's obvious to me that the engineering that went into the Escort was also utilized in later S&W .22 pistols. These include the Models 422, 622, 622VR, 2206, 2213, and 2214. All use the same configuration.

John
John,

Between the Bayard and the Escort is the Smith & Wesson Model of 1913, .35 Caliber (and .32 Caliber) Autopistols which are based upon System Clement and share many of the same design concepts.

Might want to look that one up too and add it to your article.

Drew
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:10 AM
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Here's one bought new by a friend who never fired it, however when he set it up he left it cocked and forgotten for 37 years. I gave him $400 for the gun, replaced the recoil spring, firing pin spring, hammer spring and removed the magazine safety.

It was then test fired again (Failed to fire over 50% first and stoved pipped most of those) this time it didn't miss a lick with 4 brands, standard Centurion solid 38 gr, Remington Golden 38 gr HP, Federal solids, and CCI Stinger(?) 1640 fps muzzle velocity and the fire that came out the end of the barrel from the CCI was visible 1 PM on a summer day.

The gun was amazingly accurate and 100% for the test. Cleaned it, and stored it in the gun safe. Was thinking about carrying it, but rimfire is not a primary CCW by no means. That said it beats a pocket knife.



PS: That was just two magazines each of the test ammo for total of 40 rounds second test, with 12 to 14 from first test that it failed. Love the little gun and it wll replace my Sig P238 when I get to old to deal with the 380 recoil. It is one sweat little pocket gun, and 100% reliable and accurate, every thing my Colt Mustang wasn't.

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Last edited by Old Navy; 12-02-2010 at 12:19 AM. Reason: Round count
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:31 AM
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Old Navy, That is truly a beautiful picture and firearm. I'm in awe.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:39 AM
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Old Navy, That is truly a beautiful picture and firearm. I'm in awe.
Thanks RKS just wish I could take credit for the photo of the P238, but I can't. However the M-61 is my attempt with cheap ($5) pawn shop camera.

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:48 AM
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I would like to find out the total production numbers for the model 61.I think it was only produced from 1970 to 1974.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:04 AM
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Thanks RKS just wish I could take credit for the photo of the P238, but I can't. However the M-61 is my attempt with cheap ($5) pawn shop camera.

Yeah right.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:14 AM
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I would like to find out the total production numbers for the model 61.I think it was only produced from 1970 to 1974.
I was talking to a S&W collector a few years ago about his two 61's and he said 2500 to 3000 was general figure tossed around and that was, in his opinion on the high side, he figured maybe 2000 at most. But he did say S&W could have made 3000 or 4000 and never shipped more then half, and the rest laying on a shelf in storage, says S&W has done a lot of crazy things in the past.

I really like the gun, just wish it had been made in 32 ACP that would have been the cats meow.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:50 AM
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Default An Good Article About the M61

Here is a link to an excellent article on the M61, including production numbers:

S&W Escort
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:05 AM
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Here is a link to an excellent article on the M61, including production numbers:

S&W Escort
The article is very wrong about numbers made and that numbers made can be figured by using serial numbers.

That guy is crazy if he thinks S&W made 65,000 M-61'S in a three year production run (22,000 per year) and was still making other guns in the same period. Remember this is before their CNC machines and S&W just didn't have that kind of ability for making guns in those amounts and still make all their other guns.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:35 AM
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I remember these. They used to turn up used in Lansing with some regularity and then sit there for a while, usually the nickel ones and with the pouch.

Period gun magazine coverage wasn't friendly to them. It was a time when Smith and Wesson was still mostly associated with revolvers. Gunwriters meanwhile were a conservative breed. Even the 39 and 59 were looked at with some concern.

I think the marketing was meant to push the Escort as a woman's gun. Timing was wrong. At the time women didn't per se want cute if they were buying a gun. I think most were sold to men that gifted them to wives, girlfriends,mistresses etc. They'd then sit in the cute little pouch in a drawer for decades.

The GCA '68 didn't go into effect until Jan of 69. Smith and Wesson also misjudged the market. The Escort seems to have cost more than the cheaper imported autos that were now expected to dry up, but for a while various loopholes had these guns simply being assembled in Florida from foreign parts. Later many were entirely U.S. made - the Jenning, Ravens, FIE products, et al.

It seems that by the -2 change that Escorts ran better.

I think the next carry oriented .22 LR from Smith and Wesson didn't come along until the first of the Airlites, the 317. The snub 34s and other autos seem to have been sold as tackle box or kit guns.

I was tempted by one of the later 422s, but never obtained one.

At least as late the early years of this century the old time gun guys - retired LEOs and such - still would politely warn you against an Escort if you were a regular customer.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:55 AM
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John,

Between the Bayard and the Escort is the Smith & Wesson Model of 1913, .35 Caliber (and .32 Caliber) Autopistols which are based upon System Clement and share many of the same design concepts.

Might want to look that one up too and add it to your article.

Drew
Drew,

I've addressed the 1913 .35 auto before on this forum. You can find an article I wrote on it in Dillon's Blue Press for the April, 2010 issue. You can read it on line here - go to page 40. Hope you like it.

http://www.bridleandbit.net/ebooks/b...files/main.swf

The .35 auto is a Clement design, while the Model 61 is based on a design by Bernard Clarus of Belgium - a patent issued in England in 1907. This resulted in the 1908 Pieper Bayard pocket pistol, obviously the inspiration for the Model 61.

John
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:59 AM
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Got one in the soviet state of N.J. 1976. Carry it once in a while-it is ammo sensitive-and when it gets dirty it will start to malfunction. Overall its well made-tight-size is ideal for the pocket.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:43 PM
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I bought the first one I saw, a nickel 61-3, when I started being interested in handguns in the -70's. They weren't common in my neck of the woods, then or now.

I have owned at least 6 of them since, shot a couple of others and still have 3 of them, a -1, a -2 and that first -3. They are really interesting, but in my mind, much more so as S&W history and a curiosity than as a serious weapon.

I have never been able to get any of mine to fire 50 consecutive rounds without a stoppage. None of the folks I personally know who have them have had any better luck than I have. Maybe I haven't tried enough varieties of ammunition in them.

On the other hand, an early M-422 I bought in 1987 has been shot a lot, by several different shooters as well as myself, and it has been pretty well flawless. I think the -422 magazine makes a huge difference.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:13 PM
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I have a Model 61-2 Including the Original Box-Instruction Sheet-Warranty Card & Pistol Rug,I have fired it a few times in the past and seem to remember it being kinda finicky about ammo.[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:32 PM
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Drew,

I've addressed the 1913 .35 auto before on this forum. You can find an article I wrote on it in Dillon's Blue Press for the April, 2010 issue. You can read it on line here - go to page 40. Hope you like it.

http://www.bridleandbit.net/ebooks/b...files/main.swf

The .35 auto is a Clement design, while the Model 61 is based on a design by Bernard Clarus of Belgium - a patent issued in England in 1907. This resulted in the 1908 Pieper Bayard pocket pistol, obviously the inspiration for the Model 61.

John
Must've missed that John... sorry for the redundancy.... and thanks for the link. I've always felt that the little 1913's were under appreciated... looks like you've put alot into this. Thanks for sharing the results of your effort in research!

Drew
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:33 PM
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Here is mine:



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Old 12-02-2010, 10:46 PM
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Since these guns were made in early '70's think how rare it is to have one with box & manual and the rug. I remember my dad and later even when buying guns myself in the early to mid '70's that guns were often taken out the box and put in rack or display case. Those handguns and rifles were seldom put back into their box when sold, just like my Escort, my Mossberg 142A, Savage 342, and several others from back in the day.
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:29 PM
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I have never been able to get any of mine to fire 50 consecutive rounds without a stoppage. None of the folks I personally know who have them have had any better luck than I have. Maybe I haven't tried enough varieties of ammunition in them.
To quote from S&Ws instruction sheet: Due to inconsistent velocities and lubricants of .22 caliber ammunition it is a good policy to test fire various brands to determine which brands work best in your pistol and use this type for best performance.

I've used Remington Golden Bullet hi-speed hollow points in mine with no problems. It's relatively clean ammo which I also use in my Colt .22/45 conversion unit with the floating chamber. Other brands tend to foul the floating chamber on that one rather quickly.

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Old 12-03-2010, 02:32 PM
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Guess I better pull mine out of the safe and re-wax and oil the internals. I need to either make it a shooter/backup gun or get rid of it because I'm no collector.

Local dealer has a NIB Ruger Bearcat that I might trade with on, but it's only $379 OTD price, however it would give me two of the NIB Bearcats for the grandsons.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:18 PM
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:16 PM
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Bought one back 1987 while in the Army,to carry while off duty in the seamier parts of our nations capital.After two trips to the range i sold it and bought a Walther PPK.I would have felt more confident throwing it at someone,it was a ***.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:29 PM
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Here's my Escort story. Bought one NIB. Nickel white grips. Took it to the range. After 3 mag's it blew the top slide off right into my forehead. Nasty wound and almost hit me in the eye. I sent it back to S&W. They called and offered what ever they had in the current line up for free and shipped. I got a Bodyguard 38 Special and never looked back. Everytime I see one I cringe. Nice collectable almost like the 9mm carbine they built for the British during WW2. You guys can have them.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:24 PM
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There was some quality issues back in those days with about everything S&W made, some models more then others. Colt, Ruger and others did also, for same reason, no C&C machines, and they were trying to make guns too fast and quality suffered.

My 61-3 has been perfect since I replaced recoil spring with Wolff extra power, and firing pin spring, replaced a weak hammer spring (it had set on shelf cocked for 36 years), checked and tightened tension barrel and removed magazine safety.

It's amazing how accurate it is, but I would only carry it as a last resort gun when nothing available or backup to my Sig 238 that backs up the S&W 629 3" for example. Rim-fire IMHO has too high a miss-fire/failure and variation of charges.

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