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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I think S &W stuck with revolvers after this epic failure. Proprietary ammo was the first bad decision, trying compete with "The Master" John Moses Browning in his wheelhouse was another.
I actually like the design. The back strap wheel safety is not great. I think only 9000 or so were made of my numbers are correct.
 

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That's cool. Working around JMB's various patents probably wasn't easy at the time. What caliber is it?
 

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I think S &W stuck with revolvers after this epic failure. Proprietary ammo was the first bad decision, trying compete with "The Master" John Moses Browning in his wheelhouse was another.
I actually like the design. The back strap wheel safety is not great. I think only 9000 or so were made of my numbers are correct.
It can shoot .32 ACP without a problem.
 

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I think S &W stuck with revolvers after this epic failure. Proprietary ammo was the first bad decision, trying compete with "The Master" John Moses Browning in his wheelhouse was another.
I actually like the design. The back strap wheel safety is not great. I think only 9000 or so were made of my numbers are correct.
Smith & Wesson’s First Semi-Automatic Pistol
The turn of the 20th century saw the semi-automatic pistol market explode with dozens of manufacturers offering designs. Smith & Wesson’s rival Colt was already beginning to dominate the market with John Browning’s designs. Smith & Wesson began searching for a design which could compete with Colt.
In 1909, Joseph Wesson met Charles Philibert Clement, a Belgian firearms designer, Clement had developed a series of 5mm and .25 ACP semi-automatic pocket pistols. Seeing promise in the design Wesson bought Clement’s patents in 1910 and began to develop them for the American market. The resulting pistol was the Smith & Wesson .35 Caliber Automatic or Model of 1913, which was chambered in Smith & Wesson’s proprietary .35 S&W Auto cartridge and fed from a 7-round magazine.
Like Browning’s FN 1900 the pistol’s recoil spring was above the barrel giving a lower bore axis. However, rather than use a slide like Colt’s pistols the Clement design used a reciprocating bolt which rode within the receiver with exposed sides to allow it to be gripped when charging the weapon.

A Liege-manufactured 1907 Clement patent automatic pistol (source)
Initially Smith & Wesson planned to use the popular .32 ACP round however, engineers feared feeding problems and barrel wear caused by the .32 ACP’s copper-nickel projectile and instead developed a lead semi-jacketed slightly larger round. This may partially have been an attempt to break Colt’s hegemony as the .35 S&W Auto developed by Smith & Wesson and Remington in 1912 was designed to sit directly between Colt’s .32 ACP and .380 ACP. As such the Model 1913 was intended to directly compete with two of Colt’s most popular pistols, the Model 1903 and 1908 Colt Pocket Hammerless. The new .35 calibre cartridge was also ballistically inferior to the .32 ACP with less muzzle velocity
Clement’s system for field stripping the pistol was retained which saw the trigger guard pulled down to release a lug on the barrel allowing the barrel and recoil spring assembly to be pulled upwards to facilitate cleaning.
It was Savage with their range of semi-automatic pistols which had first successfully appealed to women shooters and Smith & Wesson also took this sector of the market into account. However, the Model 1913′s small bolt (which lacked the mass of a larger slide) necessitated an extremely strong recoil spring which made it difficult for shooters with weaker fingers to operate. As such Joseph Wesson designed and patented a cross bolt lock which disconnected the bolt and spring allowing the weapon to be easily loaded. The bolt lock stud can be seen on the left side of the receiver (see image #3).

Clement’s 1909 patent drawing showing how the hinged barrel was released when the trigger guard was pulled down (source)
The Model 1913 had a number of safety mechanisms including a small knurled manual safety located on the backstrap which when rotated up made the pistol safe (see image #1). This proved to be a very unergonomic location for a safety. A second safety was a small grip safety designed by Joseph Wesson located just below the trigger guard on the front strap.
Production of the pistol finally began in May 1913, and it began to ship at the price of $16.50 (approximately $390 today) while rival Colt and Savage pistols sold for approximately $15. Sales were initially steady, with Smith & Wesson using the marginally more accurate fixed barrel as a selling point, but production was halted between 1915 and 1918 to focus manufacturing on wartime revolver contracts. In early 1919, a final production run began and production continued for another three years.

Joseph H. Wesson’s 1910 patent for a front strap grip safety (source)
The Model 1913 proved unpopular with its proprietary ammunition being more expensive than Colt’s .32 ACP. The .35 calibre round was also less powerful than Colt’s ammunition and owners of the Model 1913 realised they could use the more readily available .32 ACP, despite accuracy suffering and cases bulging.
While the pistol was extremely well made and operated reliably in comparison to the sleek, simple Colt 1903/08 Hammerless the Model 1913 looked clunky and a little antiquated by 1922. This combined with its expensive proprietary ammunition and convoluted controls affected the Smith & Wesson’s sales. The Model 1913 could not rival Colt’s dominance of the automatic pistol market and production ended in July 1922 with only 8,350 made. Smith & Wesson would try once again to break into the pistol market in 1924 with another semi-automatic this time chambered in .32 ACP, however this too would prove a failure.
 

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Here, for comparison, are the Colt and almost identical FN Browning pocket pistols that S&W was competing against. These examples are the smaller direct blowback action .25acp version vest pocket pistols:

First, the Colt variation:

Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Everyday carry


Next the FN Browning:

Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Airsoft gun
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here, for comparison, are the Colt and almost identical FN Browning pocket pistols that S&W was competing against. These examples are the smaller direct blowback action .25acp version vest pocket pistols:

First, the Colt variation:

View attachment 581029

Next the FN Browning:

View attachment 581031
It reminds me a lot of the CZ-45 in .25acp. I sure do like these small guns
Everyday carry Air gun Gun accessory Metal Trigger
 
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