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Hello,

I recently acquired this S&W Model 1917 45 ACP and need help dating it and understanding it's history. There are no US Property marks and it has commercial grips but it does have the lanyard ring. Serial # 26420 on the underside of the barrel (followed by an S) and on the cylinder. There are no markings on the inside of the grips or on the grip frame. It has the typical S&W patents marked on top of the barrel. Any help you can give me would be much appreciated!
 

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Sweet looking revolver. Welcome to the forum!:cool:
 

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The bottom of the grip frame doesn't seem right to me...................It's difficult from pictures, but the finish in the first photo seems questionable too.......as do the grips/stocks.

None of this detracts from the shoot ability our beauty of the gun.......but all of it affects the collector value.

Personally, I'd love to have the piece as a shooter.
 

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welcome01 to the forums from the Wiregrass! The gun has been refinished. In addition, the legal serial number has been removed from the butt frame. The SN's on the barrel and cylinder are interesting but not usable for meeting the legal requirements of the gun control act of 1968 which requires the serial number to be on the frame. The S on the cylinder and barrel probably indicate replacements at the factory. The serial number indicates 1918 production but is far too low to be for a commercial 1917 and too low for post-war 'S' series production. So, not collectible or even legally ownable with a missing serial number on the butt.
 

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As others have mentioned, nice looking revolver. And one that poses some questions. The GHS mark on the left frame by the rear sight is the acceptance mark of Gilbert H Stewart and used on S&W Model 1917s from December 1917 until about September 1918. At that point, the military took over production at the S&W factory and started to use the “Flaming Bomb” as the acceptance mark. IF the serial number on barrel and cylinder is correct, it indicates a build date of March 1918, which goes with GHS. Troubling is the lack of U S PROPERTY stamps on the barrel and frame. These were not shallowly stamped so they were not likely polished out. Nor were serial numbers lightly struck. Perhaps measuring your frame and comparing it with unaltered frames could tell if someone used a grinder or file. These areas were hand finished so some variation will be noted, but it might help.

This may be a commercial model built on a military frame. But there is no S&W logo on the left. And still no number on the frame.

It is still a nice revolver. Without the serial number will black helicopters swarm dowm and take you and the revolver, nevercto be seen again? Doubtful. Only if you plan to sell will it become an issue.

If it were mine, I would enjoy it and take the steps to get it properly numbered.

Kevin
 

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Agree the serial #'s and GHS indicate early production. There is no evidence that anyone took a grinder to either the barrel or frame. The barrel is perfectly round and would be oval shaped if someone ground out deeply set markings. And if someone went to this trouble, why leave the other serial numbers in place? Its almost like this one escaped the factory like this.
 

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Right after the war, there were some who thought if they were caught with anything marked “U S PROPERTY” they would be arrested. So you can find many instances of those marks being removed. I dont know if this is one of them. The barrel could easily be a replacement. It is the frame that is the real puzzler.

Kevin
 

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That would make sense. They would have had to refinish the whole gun as well. An added tidbit, the underside of the extractor is serial numbered also and matches the barrel and cylinder. If the barrel was replaced then they also replaced the cylinder and extractor with a matching set.

If someone "de-mil'd" it as you suggest they did a very good job and weren't worried about all the other serial numbers, just the US property marks.

I bought it as a shooter so I'm not worried about re-selling it. My kids can deal with that after I'm gone! Thanks for your help.
 

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Enjoy that shooter! Hardball is what it likes. I use cast bullets and mine like them fat. Regardless, 850 fps for 230-245 grains is a nice loading.

Kevin
 

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,455No2-.38-44.jpg Once upon a time I owned this ersatz Heavy Duty. Someone somehow acquired serial matching HD barrel and cylinder dating to the latter 1930's. The butt was intact and with the accompanying tattoos identified the frame as a .455 No.2. There were no marks indicating it was factory work.

Altering a gun prior to 1968 was not the same issue (since serials were not absolutely required) as it became afterward. The gun is essentially contraband, yes. If I were privy to someone capable of doing deep pantograph style engraving I would be tempted to recreate the serial. On the other hand my source tells me that serials are not run on military surplus lacking importers marks.

The actual prescribed process is to surrender the gun to the ATF and apply for an ATF serial to be applied. Presuming it is returned to you.
 
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