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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I have a well-preserved Savage 1917 in .380 ACP and am trying to locate more info on these pistols. For some odd reason, there seems to be much more thorough information available online for the Mauser 1910 and 1914 than for the Savage 1917 (though there is a fair amount for the 1907).

Does anyone know whether there were any different variants of the 1917 in .380 during its eight-year production history? Or was it exactly the same pistol from start to finish? If the former, could you tell me what distinguishes the pistol in the pictures below from some other 1917s?

I see that the combined production of the 1907 and 1917 in .32 ACP was roughly 260,000. Does anyone have an idea how many 1917s specifically were produced in .32? Unless I'm mistaken, the total production of the 1917 in .380 seems pretty clear (just under 28,000), but I haven't found info differentiating between the production numbers of the 1907 and 1917 in .32.

Finally, does anyone know what the production year for serial number 2508xB would be? I'm guessing 1926 or 1927, if production volume was relatively consistent, but I have no reliable info to back that up.

Thank you for any info you can share.




 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a recently released book on the Savage pistol, I will try to remember to look up your information later in the morning after checking hog traps.
Thank you! I may have to look into getting a copy of that book...
 

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I found it an interesting read
Brower's book mentions 2 variants of the 1917 .380s. The first variant used barrels that had been cut for the loaded chamber indicator while the 2nd variant did not. He mentions a total production of slightly over 14000 of the 1917 pattern .380s. In the ratio of .32 to .380 production, the 1917 variant had a higher ratio than the earlier Savage pistols (about 14,000 .380s to 29,000 .32s for the 1917s).
I also highly recommend Brower's book. I believe the classification system used by Brower was probably used earlier by one or the other of the other 2 authors of books on these pistols: Carr and/or Stern. The titles of the earlier works were "Ten Shots Quick" and "Savage Automatic Pistols" as I recall. I sort of want them but they're long out of print and suspect that Brower's book has everything that they had (he certainly was well aware of them) and has almost certainly better photographs. Longer too I believe. It's up in price from what it's low point was but I think you can still find it available in the $60 to $65 range plus shipping. Try dealoz.com for a search engine across several book dealers. (Can probably check on the other references too.)
 

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I mis-spoke a bit about 32 to .380 ratios of Savage automatic pistols. The HIGhESt ratio of .380 production to .32 production per Brower's book was the Model 1915 which saw abougt 3900 .380s to 6500 or so .32s. This model was the least produced versions.
But the ratio of .380s to .32s for the Model 1907s, the first of the breed, was indeed lopsided: per Brower, yet agai: 290,800 or so .32s to 9849 .380s. Of course, the .32s were around 5 years which were some of the hottest years of the pistols' production.
It seems that it's only in more recent years, long past WW2, that the .380 caliber surpassed popularity of .32 caliber pocket pistols. I would guess that .380 ammo in the first half of the 20th century was probably much less available than .32 auto. (But even I am not that old, so that's just a speculation.)
 

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I learned more from Brower's book about Savage pistols than I thought I could!

My uncle worked at the factory in Utica NY on these pistols.
 

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I need to crack my Bower open, as I came into a 1917 on The Trader.

Interesting to me is that it has a flat-wire recoil spring, but unlike a Steyr-Hahn or Glock springs, the orientation is parallel to the barrel. I wonder if this was a tradeoff to make the .380 barrel fit into the slide.

Also interesting to me is that I now have three magazines for it, two factory and one aftermarket (probably Triple K). One factory mag drops free when the catch is released, the other just stays there, and the aftermarket gets stuck!

Got out the ol' micrometer and this is what we have

Factory (Drop-free)
width front-to-back: 1.131-1.145
width side-to-side: 0.635 (average, shortens closer to the mouth)

Factory (Sticks)
width front-to-back: 1.150-1.545
width side-to-side: 0.630 (average, shortens closer to the mouth)

Aftermarket
width front-to-back: 1.155-1.165 (note, it does not have the folded sheetmetal "spine")
width side-to-side: 0.628 (average, WIDENS closer to the mouth)

Just noticed someone soldered the floorplate onto the back of the drop-free mag I got off eBay, interesting.

I have seen aftermarket mags with the spine, but haven't tried to get one yet.

Took some pics, will update this post later

---------------

Oh yeah, Savage shipped off all their factory records to the Cody Firearms Museum, if you want letters, you have to go through them.

 

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Wanted to post a few pics

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While the finish is not as nice as Austin_TX's, its honest wear with no real active rust

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Internal frame shots, this is pre-cleaning, which I will do after a range trip

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Barrel and the extra-wide recoil spring, it almost looks like three coils swaged together.

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Breechblock pics, note the inspector's "B" stamp
 

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Looks like she will clean up well
Thanks, now onto the magazines

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Left to right: The factory "drop-free" magazine, the factory magazine that came with the 1917, and an aftermarket magazine. All three are .380 and have two holes for the magazine release. However, the cartridge window is on the opposite side of the aftermarket magazine.

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Back comparison: Note the aftermarket is taller, has a "ducktail" back, and doesn't have the spine like the factory versions.



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Bottom detail: Note the left magazine has either a brazed or soldered repair (the silver dot seems to be a drop leftover from this process) while the middle has a gap where the seam meets.

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Top Back detail, note the left/drop-free magazine is slightly lower and the top of the seam is beveled. The aftermarket on the far right in fact goes up more and has a deeper cutout for the breechbock

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Front view: The telltale lines of the magazine release are on all three magazines. Note the left/drop-free appears to have had its upper cutout widened by hand.

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Bottom-front detail: Note the brazed/soldered area on the left, and the spring showing through the bottom hole in the aftermarket.
 

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3841135

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Close-up of the aftermarket magazine, not that it goes up far enough to hit the ejector, not sure I like that.



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Meanwhile, both factory magazines are far short of the ejector.


While I don't have a picture, I decided to "tweak" the aftermarket magazine that had difficulty being extracted. I noticed when I took measurements, its front-to-back length is the longest of the three, while its side-to-side is narrowest. So I put the magazine in heavy vise and gave it a gentle squeeze (not for the faint of heart). This brought the front-to-back length down to 1.150 almost consistently along its body. The good news is that it solved the difficult extraction problem, and it can now be pulled out as easily as a factory magazine. The bad news is that the floorplate doesn't fit as well and will need a little massaging. I noticed while I had the spring and follower out that the spring is torqued, so I may just replace it with a Wolff spring.
 

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Okay, took the Savage 1917 to the range, it was, interesting.

The action seemed to be a bit slower and less of a slap than the Hungarian 29M and 37M pair I had out before, it also felt pretty good ergonomically. Sights were decent and overall accuracy was quite good (minute of persona tat 25 feet, with my cross-eye dominance putting everything left of center on the target).

The magazine that came with the 1917 functioned flawlessly, had no trouble at all with it The eBay "Drop free" had a couple of nose-up FTFs, which the ol' interwebs tells me is either a weak spring or distorted feed lips. The odd one was the aftermarket magazine. It fit just fine when empty, but when I filled it, it seemed to get stuck about 2/3rds the way up; the only way it would work was to download it to five rounds (it also held seven vs eight for the originals). It might have had a feeding issue but I didn't recall.

I noticed with my 1907 that if it gets dirty it starts misfeeding, usually after 100 or so rounds. So its time to give it a deep cleaning.
 
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