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Old 04-19-2017, 06:52 PM
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Default S&W Model 46 Question

I am a 25 year collector of S&W's. The problem (?) is I am a collector of top-breaks and tip-ups, so this Model 46 I just acquired is a little out of my wheelhouse. I am very new to this model of semi-auto, so please bear with me.
My pistol has the 5" barrel. It has the square-cut slide and is in the 24XXX range. Today, while looking around the internet, I ran across a Model 46 that is approx. 40 s/n's less than mine, yet has the radius-cut on the slide. This seems backwards to me. I thought I understood that the square-cut was changed to the radius-cut because of cracking problems. The slide and barrel on mine both number to the frame, and I would assume the one online matches as well.

Any thoughts ?
Thanks,
WB
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:39 PM
TOM BECKWITH TOM BECKWITH is offline
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First - a slide and bbl. numbered to the frame is unusual. Pictures would help. Any military or other unusual markings? Possibly an armorer reworked it for a pistol team.

Second, frames were produced in batches and NOT consecutively assembled. First in the box, last out in next stage. Your SN is right in line with the changeover from straight cut slides (and bbls.) to radiused cut. This situation is not uncommon in this SN range.
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:01 AM
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Yes they are both numbered to the frame. And also there are military markings. I will provide pics soon.

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WB
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:28 PM
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Finally got to the pics :
Slide


Barrel


Stamp
on right rear frame




What can anyone tell me about this pistol. It has quite the interesting story on my end.
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WB
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:37 PM
TOM BECKWITH TOM BECKWITH is offline
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That is a US Air Force team pistol. Mine is 254XX round slide and only the bbl is numbered to the frame and stamped on the locking extension. I have a couple of 41 bbls. that are stamped on the left side of the bbl. - no real consistency in added marking.
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:34 AM
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You have the original grips on it as well I see. Very Nice Unusual model. Mine's has the long barrel on it and Cherrywood grips at this time.
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:13 AM
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Any idea on the year (s) of service or the whereabouts ?

Thanks
WB
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:09 PM
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That falls in around 1974 I believe.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:25 AM
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Your model 46 would be from around 1961
The AFPG is Air Force markings and is Air Force Premium Grade
THe AFPG and the numbers on the barrel and slide would have been done by the AF armorer
I believe your gun is correct with the square cut. There are many model 46s with the round cut in the 24XXX serial range which I believe to be replacement slides (and modified or replacement barrels).

I also notice that the Patridge fron sight has been messed with. the barrel appears to be an origional 5", a little hard to see for sure in the pictures, but I think it is. The serrations on the front strap are also additions.

Last edited by Aussie Collector; 04-23-2017 at 04:34 AM.
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Old 04-23-2017, 02:24 PM
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I thought that front sight looked unusual. It's funny that the AFPG stamp isn't as crisp as the numbers stamped on the slide and barrel. I would've bet that those two serial number stamps were done at the factory as they are perfectly struck. The stippling on the front strap is very well done. I would assume that was also done by the AF armorer.
This is all good information and exactly what I was looking for.
It will be interesting to see what the factory letter indicates when it arrives.
Thanks

WB
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:14 PM
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Congratulations-Interesting Model 46.
In addition to the info in the Standard Catalog #4, you might want to pickup a copy of "U.S. Military Match and Marksmanship Automatic Pistols" by Bill Jenkins for more related information.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:44 PM
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Well Done again Aussie with your superior knowledge of this model, I was useing the standard serial no.s list of the M41 which I believe they actually date to by the coding on them. This list is on another Forum elsewhere.
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie View Post
Well Done again Aussie with your superior knowledge of this model, I was useing the standard serial no.s list of the M41 which I believe they actually date to by the coding on them. This list is on another Forum elsewhere.
Thanks Barry.
Interesting this other forum has this information as its so far from correct. The model 46 was discontinued in 1968 so 1974 might be a little out for any model 46
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:20 PM
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Rec'd the factory letter on this one yesterday. First of all, a huge thanks to Roy Jinks and Don Mundell and their staffs for the quick turn around time on the letter. Took less than 3 weeks ! Outstanding !

As can be seen this Model 46 was indeed an USAF pistol - which we already knew thanks to the guys on this forum.



So this is where this handgun turns even more interesting. I acquired this from a good friend of mine. He inherited it from his father. His father was an aircraft mechanic / machinist with the USAF during the Viet Nam war, and he was stationed in Viet Nam. One day a couple of crates of weapons were delivered to the shop he was in charge of with orders to destroy them. He and his crew took to chop-sawing these weapons. My friends Dad took a liking to this Smith & Wesson Model 46 and somehow it founds it's way to his duffle bag and back home with him. I can only imagine that this was not the only weapon saved from this doomed lot by servicemen that day.
So now, knowing this story, I have to wonder what was one (or possibly more) of the USAF's Pistol Teams Model 46's doing in Southeast Asia ? Certainly there were no active pistol teams stationed in Viet Nam during the war ? Were these target pistols issued to other servicemen ? If so, for what purpose ? How many Model 46's did the USAF take delivery on, and how many of them found a similar fate as the ones that were destroyed ?
I'm sure some of these questions cannot be answered.

I just think this pistol has an interesting story attached to it. I will be thrilled if anyone can shed some light to this story.

Thanks,
WB
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Old 05-05-2017, 05:00 PM
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What did it take to get a M41/M46 stamped as AFPG?The only thing that makes any sense to me is a trigger job and maybe a "reliability package".

And now we have a Field Barrel AFPG 46 less than 5 or 6 years old being destroyed in 'Nam?

I know from people who were there that it was easier to take something over than to bring something back, especially as the war wore down!
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Old 05-06-2017, 04:36 PM
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very very nice piece especially with the original 46 grips and AFPG stamping. Did it come with any other original items such as the box and cleaning tools?
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:50 PM
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I only acquired the pistol.

WB
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:01 AM
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Anyone have a theory on how or why this USAF Team pistol wound up in Viet Nam in '67 ? And furthermore why would the Air Force order it's destruction, only being a few years old ?

WB
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:42 AM
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Saw this thread the other day and I thought I'd jump in with a M-46 I acquired back in the mid 60's. I got this pistol from friend and fellow U.S. Navy Shooting Team member, PO1 Don Hamilton. Don was both a Navy pistol Champion and National Champion. The gun has the 5 1/2 barrel. Many thousands of rounds have gone thru this pistol over the years. About 5 years ago I sent it off to the S&W Custom Shop for an overhaul and restoration. It came back with a beautiful high gloss finish and new stocks. Mechanically it is perfect. I know it is not original but it's my gun and is now pretty much a safe queen (old eyes and bad hands aren't competitive).
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Old 05-23-2017, 06:40 PM
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That Model 46 looks awesome !

WB
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