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I saw this listed on Gunbroker as a S&W model 1917. I contacted the seller twice, telling him what I thought it was and expressing concerns that there were no markings on the pistol that I could see even though his pictures were very clear. Especially the missing serial number on the butt. He said "let the buyer beware". With no serial number I wasn't bidding no matter what it was. I think it went for $780.00. Any thoughts or opinions? pix928351776.jpg pix262836434.jpg pix698687742.jpg
 

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This topic comes up quite often. I can't count the number of times that i've had to educate an FFL holder on the serial number location on S&W revolvers. Yes it isn't really legal to sell or possess this gun. Is the BATFE going to come looking for you? That's highly doubtful. If you get in trouble for this than it's very like you did something even more egregious to attract their attention.
 

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It was the absence of all identifying marks as well as the serial number, no marking on either side of the barrel, no marking on either side, no caliber marked, that really had me concerned. I definitely wasn't bidding. Triple locks came in several calibers, not just .44 Special. No way would I buy a gun without knowing the caliber, and the seller thought it was .45 ACP which I don't think was offered in a Triple Lock. I had to let it pass.
 

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You were smart to pass on that one. The ground off serial number would have killed the deal for me too.
It is possible that it was altered to 45 ACP. My TL saw British service in WWI as a 455. It was rechambered to 45 Colt by boring out the chambers and shaving the recoil shield. It also was stamped to the nth degree with British proof marks. Keep looking, they made more than one.

John
 
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It was the absence of all identifying marks as well as the serial number, no marking on either side of the barrel, no marking on either side, no caliber marked, that really had me concerned. I definitely wasn't bidding. Triple locks came in several calibers, not just .44 Special. No way would I buy a gun without knowing the caliber, and the seller thought it was .45 ACP which I don't think was offered in a Triple Lock. I had to let it pass.
John,

You were wise not to buy w/o butt (frame) serial # (although that can be remedied), The lack of caliber and name markings not so much.

Because it's easy enough to identify the chambering with measurements or trying cartridges in the chambers. Recognize a goodly portion of the British 455 service contract revolvers were never caliber stamped by S&W. And most conversions of that period are not stamped with the new cartridge. Most will never see a TL chambered in any other caliber than 44 Spl or 455 in their lifetime.

And you're right, the TL was never chambered for 45 ACP because they didn't have heat treated cyls like the 1917 Army 45 to handle the ACPs ~ 20,000 PSI needed to reliably function the 1911 Slide. All cartridges chambered in the TL did not exceed 15,000 PSI; 44 Spl, 45 Colt, 44-40, 455 MKI & II, etc. And therefore why TLs and 44 or 455 2nd models shouldn't be either. Although many have been converted to ACP and have functioned fine with out calamity, it's not recommended especially shooting a steady diet of ACPs unless downloaded. Many convert to shoot 45 AR (designed for revolvers only) with only 15,000 max PSI.
 
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