Perfect Union banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got my S&W 1917 snubby barrel project finished. Had one major accident on the mill though that you will see in a minute.

The below two photos were from the auction where I purchased the 1917. As you can see the barrel has been cut, it has no front sight, is rusty and is locked up because of a bent ejector rod. It had genuine India Sambar stag grips on it. So that was a plus. But I don't care for them so I took them off and put some nice fat Jay Scott grips on it to better fill my big hands. Probably will sell the Sambar stags since they are worth about $150.00




The first thing I did was acquire and install a new (old stock) ejector rod.


Then I took it all apart, cleaned it, installed some Wolf replacement springs to lighten the trigger and hammer, and highly polished it as you can see below.....








One of the members (Jack the toad) from another site (the S&W forum) sent me a shot out rifling snubby barrel from a 1917 he had, and I heated up the front sight and removed it from its silver solder to go onto my snubby barrel. Of course I had to file a flat onto my barrel for it to go on to, just like it had been on the shot out rifling barrel. Here's that front sight removed from the old shot out barrel....


I had tried attaching the front sight to my barrel with J&B weld epoxy, but trust me, that doesn't work and it came off the first time I fired the revolver. That brings us up to date on my previous work. Below is my latest progress on the project from this past week.

Finally got the front sight tig WELDED (not silver soldered) on. I wanted it to be as strong as possibly held to the barrel so instead of silver soldering it on, it was tig welded on with a nickel steel rod. And yes I did remove the ejector rod's front lug's spring before welding and replaced it afterwards. In fact I removed the ejector rod and cylinder too when it was welded. Here's a few pics of that before I ground down, filed, sanded and polished the welds....






Now for the major accident I had in the mill. The end of the barrel was jest a leetle off and not square from where it had been cut, so I was doing a leetle trim on the end of the barrel. Everything else was about done and this accident was right at the end of the project. Isn't that always the way? The revolver slipped in the vice and before I could shut the mill down, the mill bit danced all down the right side of the barrel putting deep multiple cuts in it and took out a chunk of the receiver where the barrel screws in too! Needless to say I was sickened to see that happen.




But not to worry, about an hour and a half of tig welding later filling in all the cuts on the barrel and the chunk taken out of the receiver, and careful tig welding to preserve the seam where the barrel screws into the receiver at that cut out chunk point on the receiver, and everything was filled in again. Then disk sanding and filing and sandpapering and polishing again until you can't tell that accident ever happened. Whew! I can tell you though,...I was sweating it, those were some bad cuts on the barrel and chunk taken out of the receiver. But the repair came out okay and nothing was deep enough to cause any operational problems, it was mainly cosmetic, but MAJOR league cosmetic. Here's what it looks like now.

Careful tig welding and filing to get the seam of the barrel to the receiver back correct where that chunk had been cut out by the mill accident....




Continued next post due to 15 image per post limit....

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Continued from previous post.

More of the same from further out....


Overall view of previously damaged right side of barrel now fixed. Front sight attachment/welding, filing and polishing came out nice didn't it?......


Side views of revolver today.




It is (in the white) but highly polished. To anyone who doesn't know what (in the white) means, that means it doesn't have any finish of any kind and the metal is bare.

The snubby barrel is exactly 3 & 1/2 inches long.

There are a few little spots I will continue to polish out and later I might even send it out to get it nickel plated. But for the most part, I think now, I can say the project is finished. It has taken me a while to get back to it, and it has been polished like that in the white for over a year and no rust of any kind has formed on it. Must be that the highly polishing of the bare steel, helps keep rust from having a place to form. I don't know for sure, but it hasn't rusted any at all. Kind of like it that way, but might get it nickel plated one day.

I am really happy about how the welding on attaching the front sight came out. If it hadn't been for that bad mill accident I would have been finished a day sooner. I am happy overall with it. Compared to what she looked like when I got her, she's a gem today. I'll post an update on its accuracy when I shoot it soon, and we will see if the welding of the barrel pulled the barrel any, but it was kept cool with a compressed air nozzle between each and every weld on each cut on the barrel and receiver, so it didn't get too overheated. Can't wait to test it out shooting.

.
 

·
M.I.A.
Joined
·
1,474 Posts
Very nice. I'm a bit curious about those "India Sambar" grips. Can you tell us a little bit about those? It almost looks like there is a notch at the top, similar to a Barami HipGrip.

Also, do you roll your own ammunition, own a chronograph, and I assume you're using moonclips, eh?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Very nice. I'm a bit curious about those "India Sambar" grips. Can you tell us a little bit about those? It almost looks like there is a notch at the top, similar to a Barami HipGrip.

Also, do you roll your own ammunition, own a chronograph, and I assume you're using moonclips, eh?
Thanks Risasi. "India Sambar stag" grips, are highly preferred grips made from genuine India stag horn. I am not an expert on them, but I'm sure you can google them up to find out more about them.

I'm not sure what you mean about a "notch" at the top of the grip. Could you elaborate a little more about what you mean about a "notch"? On the Sambar stag grips that originally came with the revolver, the top area of the grips mimics the exact same fit as the factory wooden military grips had. By a notch, do you mean the flats that are on either side of the half round area at the top of the grips? That's exactly the same fit as the original wooden military grips had on this revolver and also the same style grips used on many early 20th century Smith and Wessons. The Sambar stag grips are beautiful and expensive grips, and would work fine for someone with smaller hands than mine, but since I have fairly large hands, they don't fill my big hands very well, so I put a set of wider width Jay Scott grips on them that do a fine job of filling my hand and helping me have better control.

I do reload my own ammo and shoot factory ammo too and yes I use both half moon and full moon clips, the full moon clips mostly because they include all cartridges and are just easier for me to use rather than using two separate halves that only hold three cartridges each. However you can also just load the individual .45 acp cartridges into the cylinders without the use of moon clips, but you have to poke the empties out with a pen or pencil or something since the extractor needs the half or full moon clips to extract. So in a pinch you could load cartridges without moon clips of any kind on the S&W since the cylinders are machined to headspace the cartridge on the case mouth. Now on the Colt model 1917 revolver, the cylinders are bored straight through and the cases cannot head space on the case mouth, so on a 1917 Colt you have to use moon clips exclusively to load. I prefer the S&W 1917 revolver over the Colt 1917 revolver both for the above reason as well as for design and grip angle.

.
 

·
M.I.A.
Joined
·
1,474 Posts
This here is a Barami hip grip: Barami Hip Grip Concealed Pistol Revolver

Basically they have a notch, protrusion, whatever you want to call it, that allows one to hook it over the top of one's pants when carrying "Mexican". Sorry about the confusion. The first couple of pictures look like they have a gap at the very top of the stocks, so it was throwing me off.

Interesting to know about the head spacing, I didn't realize any of the manufacturers from that time were doing that and assumed hence the need for moon clips.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
This here is a Barami hip grip: Barami Hip Grip Concealed Pistol Revolver

Basically they have a notch, protrusion, whatever you want to call it, that allows one to hook it over the top of one's pants when carrying "Mexican". Sorry about the confusion. The first couple of pictures look like they have a gap at the very top of the stocks, so it was throwing me off.

Interesting to know about the head spacing, I didn't realize any of the manufacturers from that time were doing that and assumed hence the need for moon clips.
Ah, from your link, I understand what you meant now Risasi. But no, the Sambar stag grips don't have that protrusion to hook over the pants like that and are just regular grips.

The S&W 1917 revolver is my favorite revolver model and I have four of them. The invention of the half moon and later full moon clips, was the first type of speedloader and I believe it was not only WAY ahead of its time, but is actually better than a modern speedloader because instead of having to use a speedloader to dump your cartridges into the chamber and then put the speedloader back in your pocket or pouch, with the moonclip it just drops right into the cylinder along with the cartridges. Much cleaner that way since it saves the time and motion of having to put a modern speedloader away after loading the cylinder.

Another advantage of the full moon clips over a modern speedloader is that the empties come out together in the full moon clips as a unit, not so with the individual empty cases ejecting that have been loaded with a modern speedloader. So in my opinion, the full moon clip has two very important advantages over the modern speedloader. 1. The speedloader/full moon clip goes into the cylinder with the cartridges saving time and motion necessary to pocket a modern speedloader after loading. 2. The empty cases come out as one unit as opposed to individual cases ejecting and is easier to pocket than doing so with individual ejected cases from a modern speedloader, makes it easier to find if you drop them on the ground so you can always retrieve your cases for reloading. You might miss finding an individual case on the ground, but you won't miss six empty cases joined together in a full moon clip. I can't say enough good about the full moon clips and the old S&W 1917 warhorse. It is hands down my favorite revolver for the above reasons as well its knockdown power without too much recoil of a magnum and quicker followup shots without the over penetration of a magnum.

I can reload a 1917 S&W using full moon clips almost as fast as I can replace a 1911's magazine. For speed of reloading, the 1917 S&W's and 1917 Colts using full moon clips are about the fastest method of reloading a revolver there is. No fumbling around with individual cartridges and almost as fast as reloading an autoloader's magazine and the empty cases being in the full moon clips stay together in one unit upon ejection.

Both the Colt 1917 revolver and the S&W 1917 revolver used the half and full moon clips. But the advantage of the S&W 1917 over the Colt 1917 was that each chamber of the S&W cylinder was machined with a ridge to headspace the case on the case mouth. The advantage of this was so that if a soldier in WW1 lost his half moon clips (full moon clips didn't exist yet at that time), he could at least still load his revolver with the cartridges individually without using a half moon clip and then poke out the empties using a pencil, stick or anything that would fit into the front of the cylinder to poke the empty case out. Since the .45 acp cartridge was headspacing on the case mouth on that ridge in the S&W's cylinder chamber, and it had no rim, the extractor had no way to eject it unless there was a half moon clip attached to it, hence the need to something to poke the empty out with. It's also handy to have today in case your moon clips get bent or you don't have any available, at least you can still load and shoot without moon clips. If a soldier in WW1 had a Colt 1917 revolver and he lost or bent his half moon clips, he couldn't load it.

So for that reason and the design and grip angle of the S&W 1917 revolver, I prefer it over the Colt 1917 revolver. However, there is one advantage the Colt 1917 revolver has over the S&W 1917 revolver. Yes you have to use moon clips with the Colt to load the .45 acp cartridge into it or else the case will go too far forward in the cylinder since it has no rim and there is no ridge in the chamber to headspace on the case mouth like on the S&W. But it does make the Colt easier to convert to use the rimmed .45 Colt cartridge without having to bore out the ridge in the cylinder that the S&W 1917 has.

On the 1917 Colt (and S&W) the gap between the recoil shield and the rear face of the cylinder is wider than the gap required for the rimmed .45 Colt cartridge, so that necessitates doing one of two things to convert the 1917 Colt to .45 rimmed colt cartridges. 1. You have to install a shim over the rear face of the cylinder so that it pushes the rimmed .45 Colt case back correctly enough for the firing pin to pop the primer with regularity.

Sometimes it will fire without doing that, but often you will get light primer strikes and failures to fire if you don't reduce that gap. Some folks claim that installing the shim on the face of the cylinder to enable use of .45 rimmed Colt cartridges can cause a slight bulging of the case just forward of the rim, since the theory is that the shim does not support the case just forward of its rim as well as it would be if it was completely inside the cylinder. But usually there is no problem since the case of the .45 rimmed colt is fairly thick and strong in the area just forward of the rim and the theory that it would bulge is usually unfounded. I have seen some folks cut and use sections of moon clips epoxied or silver soldered to certain areas on the face of the cylinder to reduce that gap.

2. You can also shim the face of the recoil shield instead of the face of the cylinder. This takes up the gap too.

Sometimes you will find a formerly .45 acp 1917 Colt that has been modified this way to shoot the .45 rimmed colt cartridge. This was also a common modification done to .455 caliber British lend lease Colt 1917's that were imported back into the U.S. and you will see those at auction sometimes too modified like that for the .45 rimmed colt cartridge. However, that is an ill advised modification since the problem with that is the .455 projectile the Brits used has a larger diameter than both the .45 acp and the .45 rimmed Colt cartridges. So you cannot get good accuracy with a .455 Brit Colt 1917 that has been converted to .45 Colt rimmed cartridges because its .455 barrel rifling is too large in diameter.

The only way to properly fix that, is to change the .455 barrel out to a .45 acp barrel. In doing that conversion, the cylinders of the 1917 Colt do not require boring out like they would on the S&W 1917.

Personally I wouldn't convert either the Colt nor the S&W 1917's to use the rimmed .45 Colt cartridge, since I think the .45 acp is a good enough man stopper. I just mention it here as the only possible advantage the fully bored out Colt 1917 cylinder has over the S&W cylinders and that is if you could even call it an "advantage" at all. So it's only an "advantage" if you are doing a cartridge conversion to .45 colt rimmed.

I still think the advantage of being able to load the S&W 1917 with individual .45 acp cartridges without the use of a moon clip outweighs any advantage the fully bored out cylinders of the 1917 Colt may have for ease of converting the Colt to use .45 Colt rimmed cartridges.

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Marvelous work, am amazed that the cuts came out so nicely. Did a 32 Colt gub model many yrs ago. Still have it and keep 4 rounds in the mags--just in case you know--lol. PM inbound.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Glad you fellas like it. I haven't had the time to get out and shoot it yet. Too many projects taking my time up. I'll try to post a range report when I finally get the chance to shoot it.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top