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Well, here is the latest addition to my small but growing U.S. martial arms collection. This is a Smith & Wesson Model 1917 DA .45 revolver whose serial number places the year of manufacture at 1918. As you can see, the pistol is in great shape and the barrel is just as nice on the inside as the revolver is on the outside! Accompanying the revolver is a WWI lanyard and three-pocket ammunition pouch and a WWII TEXTAN 1942-stamped holster. I even managed to come across some Winchester 1918-dated .45 rounds!



























Any comments regarding my rig or any information you can provide concerning the continued use of these revolvers during WWII (e.g., where used and by whom) would be much appreciated.

Tim
 

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Tim,

If you don't yet have a copy please get one - Charles Pate's "US Handguns of WWII - The Secondary Pistols and Revolvers", he devotes a chapter to the Model 1917's. You have a nice revolver with original accessories; as to its use during the war who knows, Pate and others have documented that many were used stateside and overseas by support troops, some were provided to allies but frankly yours looks to be in such nice shape I wonder if it saw service in WWII. In any case it certainly is a nice example and you should also consider getting it lettered, its only $30 and such a fine example deserve a factory letter.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Tim,

If you don't yet have a copy please get one - Charles Pate's "US Handguns of WWII - The Secondary Pistols and Revolvers", he devotes a chapter to the Model 1917's. You have a nice revolver with original accessories; as to its use during the war who knows, Pate and others have documented that many were used stateside and overseas by support troops, some were provided to allies but frankly yours looks to be in such nice shape I wonder if it saw service in WWII. In any case it certainly is a nice example and you should also consider getting it lettered, its only $30 and such a fine example deserve a factory letter.
Thank you for the suggestion to purchase a copy of Pate's book and also to get the revolver "lettered".

On this latter point, how exactly would I go about obtaining a letter describing the provenance of this revolver?

Thanks for the education.

Tim
 

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Excellent find, excellent pictures. I bought mine back in 1981.
Here's a question-did you make sure to photograph it against a 48 star flag?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's a question-did you make sure to photograph it against a 48 star flag?
Yes, that is in fact a 48 star flag. Picked it up off ebay for $20 and it is a beauty!

Tim
 

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Very SWEET revolver and nice photos to boot. I have the Brazilian version, it's by far my favorite revolver....once I changed the grips for shooting. :) I would love to find a M1917 in that condition with funds in hand.
 

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Go to www.smith-wesson.com, click on firearms, then customer support, look for "request a weapon's history" and you can then print out a request form, fill it out along with a check for $30 and mail it in.

Did you know that throughout most of 1918 S&W was not actually operating the plant but that the Army had taken it over? Control was returned to S&W management in early 1919.

A warning - collecting S&W seems to be about as addictive as smoking crack (at least for a lot of us), be carefull or before you know it you will be a regular at gunshows, pawnshops and gunstores, haunting auctions, estate sales and the internet for ever more old revolvers. In fact, as I think about it, you better let me save you now before its too late - send me your revolver and never touch another one. Its not too late to save yourself and I won't even charge you anything for this service.

Take care and enjoy it.
 

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very nice revolver and great kit , it is a wonderfull revolver at the range , these are so smooth and very accurate [at least mine is] congrats on a great find

mine and kit

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Go to www.smith-wesson.com, click on firearms, then customer support, look for "request a weapon's history" and you can then print out a request form, fill it out along with a check for $30 and mail it in.

Did you know that throughout most of 1918 S&W was not actually operating the plant but that the Army had taken it over? Control was returned to S&W management in early 1919.

A warning - collecting S&W seems to be about as addictive as smoking crack (at least for a lot of us), be carefull or before you know it you will be a regular at gunshows, pawnshops and gunstores, haunting auctions, estate sales and the internet for ever more old revolvers. In fact, as I think about it, you better let me save you now before its too late - send me your revolver and never touch another one. Its not too late to save yourself and I won't even charge you anything for this service.

Take care and enjoy it.

Actually, no, I did not realize that the revovlers in 1918 were likely manufactured under the direct supervision of the US army. That is pretty cool!

I did, however, look into getting the revolver "lettered" and after speaking with Mr. Roy Jinks, the S&W historian, I decided not to. According to Mr. Jinks the only information he could provide regarding a revolver issued to the US military is that it was purchased by the US government. Beyond this rather generic and obvious information, they are unable to convey any information about what Unit may have been issued the weapon or where it may or may not have seen action.

Any way, I still am quite pleased with the pistol even though I will never know where it has been and what it has done.

Tim
 

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I bought my Smith 1917 from a fellow whose brother used it as his conceal/carry weapon. It came with a real nice Uncle Mikes shoulder holster. They are nice shooting pieces.

Tim (too)
 

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Nice rig, thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
did you take the grips off and look if there is anyones name on them?
Yes, I did take the grips off, but unfortunately no one's name is penciled on the inside.

Tim
 

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You also should look to see if the serial number is in pencil under the grips.

Got one a decade ago, manufactrued in May 1918 and sold to a civilian as surplus in the 1930s, bought it from the son or grandson of the original purchaser. Best $350 I ever spent.

Its probably too nice to be a nightstand gun, but, well, I like the idea of a .45 and revolver.
 

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ACCORDING TO MY VIEW S&W U.S. ARMY MARKED MODEL 1917 REVOLVER IN 45 ACP. ALL ORIGINAL CONDITION WITH 95% BLUE FINISH PERFECT WALNUT GRIPS, EXCELLENT BORE, CASE HARDENING VISIBLE ON HAMMER AND TRIGGER, TIGHT ACTION. THERE ARE ONLY TWO WAYS TO PURCHASE THIS FIREARM; 1. You must have a Federal License, OR 2. You must be willing to have the firearm shipped to a dealer in your state who will transfer it to you.

Lincon

http://www.crackcocaineaddictiontreatment.com
 

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Huh?

ACCORDING TO MY VIEW S&W U.S. ARMY MARKED MODEL 1917 REVOLVER IN 45 ACP. ALL ORIGINAL CONDITION WITH 95% BLUE FINISH PERFECT WALNUT GRIPS, EXCELLENT BORE, CASE HARDENING VISIBLE ON HAMMER AND TRIGGER, TIGHT ACTION. THERE ARE ONLY TWO WAYS TO PURCHASE THIS FIREARM; 1. You must have a Federal License, OR 2. You must be willing to have the firearm shipped to a dealer in your state who will transfer it to you.

Lincon

http://www.crackcocaineaddictiontreatment.com

What on earth are you talking about???
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah, I had the same question. I was quite surprised when this old thread was resurrected!

Tim
 

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Pate's book is about the best source I know for use of the M1917 during WWII. My Colt M1917 was parkerized during WWII and I don't believe ever issued after that rebuild, but my S&W 1917 was not. Come to think of it, I don't believe I've ever seen a parkerized M1917 Smith and Wesson although that was pretty characteristic of the World War II rebuilds. Havne't seen that many Colts either, come to think of it. US Military Police were supposedly (per Pate) particularly wedded to the M1917s and their influence supposedly prevented larger excessing of the revolvers imediately after World War II.Many went to Post Office between and after the wars: I have a US M4 holster marked Property of US PO Department: never have seen a plain US marked M4. The M4 was a simplified leather holster that was basically a single flap of leather sewn together without the bottom plug your holster has and is the last holster made for these M1917 revolvers.I never have seen that many of the half moon clip pounches on the loose either. Nice rig you have!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
doughboy1953,

Thanks for the compliment. I certainly do enjoy my time at the range with this beauty :D. I have worked up loads that this old gal really handles well and are quite accurate - 5.2 gr. of W231 behind a 200 gr. LSWC bullet from the Magnus Bullet Co in once-fired Winchester brass.

Tim
 
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