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  #1  
Old 06-17-2015, 03:23 PM
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Default S & W Model 46 Semi-Auto

Hello from Germany!

Today I bought what was offered as a model 46 S&W pistol, However, this gun confuses me a little bit. It has wooden target stocks instead of red plastic grips. The receiver is clearly marked model 46, proof marks are from 1967 and S/N is 93774. It has not cocking indicator which is also correct or this model. However, the barrel / slide assembly is a 5 1/2" heavy match barrel with all the checkering on top which are normaly only present on a modell 41.I counted 9 lines of checkering which is the same as on my model 41 (S/N 114603 from 1969). I don't think that anyone here in Germany changed the barrel / slide assembly in 1967 because I guess they where simply not available. Here in our country the model 46 is a rarely seen gun. I started shooting in the early 70s and never ever saw a 41 or 46 and in the early 70s the still famous Walther GSP entered the market. I know that S&W made 500 model 46 with heavy 5 1/2 match barrels, but I have not seen a picture of the top of the barrel / slide assembly. In some way it seems logical to me that the did not make a complete different part, but I really would like to know more about this little beauty. Any help would be appreciated.
Tahnks
Rainer
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Last edited by littlerocknroller; 06-17-2015 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:34 PM
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Someone may have added the wooden stocks on this as they look like older ones because of the color of them. My 46 is the long barreled version of this model. I fired it just last night again and do enjoy it quite a bit. Let us know how it shoots when you can please.
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:19 PM
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This is clearly a model 46 with all the right parts. The stocks on the latter guns, were either nylon or walnut, yours being in the last batch the walnut stock is no surprise.

The barrel and slide for a model 41 will fit a Model 46, however, yours is correct. If you compare the slide height with your Model 41 you will quickly see the difference. The barrel is correct.

Great addition to any S&W collection.

Last edited by Aussie Collector; 06-17-2015 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:31 PM
TOM BECKWITH TOM BECKWITH is offline
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Nice 46 and fairly rare even for a 46 (5.5" bbl). This was one of the later 46s (production stopped in 1968). The 5.5" bbls were finished on top like the 41 5.5" bbls. Like milk and cookies - the plastic grips ran out before the last 46s produced. A few 76 and 78XXXs had wood grips (1966 era). Reminder - standard velocity ammo ONLY due to weak rail to frame strength even with radiused slides.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:50 PM
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A friendly "discussion" (argument) today with a .22 semi-automatic pistol collector. He collects all nice .22 pistols including S&W 41's but not 46's. Years back I gave up my 41's in lieu of concentrating on the 46's.

His concept, which I feel is more heresay than fact, is that the 46's were made by apprentices and cost much less than the 41. After pulling out a 1960s S&W catalog I showed him that the 46 was approximately only 10% less than a 41 ... and ... THE only differences are the plastic / delphin grips instead of the walnut grips and the matte (post war type) finish where the metal was not polished out to the perfection of the pre-war guns.. Other than that, I contend that the 46 functions and shoots as faithfully and accurately as any 41 with the same configuration.

The Catalog showing the prices difference between the two quickly quelled the discussion.

Where do these stories come from where people might think that the 46's were made by trolls, grunts and grinches in the S&W factory instead of a master craftsman ?

I would dare to put both a 41 and 46 in a Ransom Rest with the same barrel length and same ammo to tell me one is either less or more accurate than the other.

Aussie ... you out there ? What's your take ?
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Last edited by model3sw; 06-20-2015 at 11:09 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:02 AM
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With regards to the model 41/46 there are lots of myths and Chinese whispers that become lore. Some are still to be defunct. I see one error in the top post, however if I say otherwise Im sure I will be pointed why Im wrong, I would rather let it go. I made a mistake on my post above, no one will notice. Typos occur, errors occur, mistakes are made and in the right or wrong (half full or half empty) place it becomes fact.

Most if not all of my reference books used for Model 41/46 information have errors. There are errors in the American Rifleman 1958 article that has become fact. The list goes on and on.. Although I must point out its my opinion.

The cost saving of the 46 came mostly from the dropping of the cocking indicator and muzzle brake. The nylon grips and finish also contributing a cost saving to a lesser extent.

All I can say is if there was a difference in the Model 41 and Model 46 in regards to accuracy then the Army Marksman Units would not have purchased them over the Model 41. They did test and compare however I have not seen any details of it.

I have not heard this one (myth), its a ripper. Did you know there was a 6 barrel for the model 41, it says so on Wikipedia. Also the number on the Model 41 barrel refers to the test group. Barrels that failed accuracy tests are turned into 5 barrels. I think this stuff is gold.
Cheers.
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:52 AM
TOM BECKWITH TOM BECKWITH is offline
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As noted by AC, the military used 46s which precludes "practice/training production" theory. Also as noted lower production costs including CI and brake elimination, rib rolling, slide undercut (hard to see offset in separate slide mfg.), rear sight finish, and general exterior finish/blueing.
Note that the 5.5" bbl did have the top ribbing and basically a 41 5.5" without the slide rail undercut.

It is interesting the number of "fruits and flavors" in a simple little .22 target pistol. Another thing I like is that an Aussi friend is probably the most informed and studious member of our group.
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:37 PM
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Thank you Tom. Thank you , Jaime. Happy Father's Day guys.
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