Well, the board is either fixed, or it's going to run terribly. Cross your fingers and hope for the best. I'm at my technical limit right now.

Back with a 1917

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The Zieg
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Back with a 1917

#1 Post by The Zieg » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:28 pm

Three reasons to post:

To reintroduce myself. The Zieg from Colorado, a few surplus firearms (M1, N°1 MkIII*, M38, M1911 "frankengun"). I'm a shooter more than a collector, but I'm keen to restore what I have and keep them clean, working, and intact. I do like to acquire accessories to complete the picture: Holsters and lanyards and slings and so forth. I'm a horse trainer and riding instructor with an interest in cavalry from several periods and I enjoy carrying my surplus arms when I ride. On that note . . .

I just won an auction for a Brazilian contract S&W 1917 dated 1937. It has not yet arrived, so I can't give too much detail, but I'll return to this thread and edit my post with pics and information. I'm thrilled soon to be shooting .45 ACP from a revolver and carrying this beast in a cav holster on trail rides here on the high plains. I do know the lanyard loop has been removed, but the seller has included it along with the original grips, a pile of full moon clips, and a rather nice holster he crafted himself (it looks professionally built in the pics). It's a a parkerized finish, which I think was standard for the Brazilian '37s, though I think I've seen some blued examples (am I imagining that?). I think the wood grips are serialed with pencil, but not matching to the gun. Otherwise, the gun matches. Pics of the bore look good and seller tells me it's an accurate shooter, so I'll be putting rounds downrange as soon as I can. Stay tuned!

Finally, a tech question: Where the heck is the setting for changing my password?! I just can't find it anywhere on my control panel in the site. Nevermind, I found it!

Thanks in advance, I'm glad to be back, and I look forward to reposting some pics of my arms and seeing more of yours!

Zieg
Last edited by The Zieg on Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Back with a 1917

#2 Post by Polock » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:51 pm

Welcome back! No expert, but when they first came into the USA all I saw were blued---
Your plans to use your revolver as a trail gun touches my nostalgia button--I enjoy roaming the desert with vintage
or milsurp guns.
"I have never seen a situation so desperate that the arrival of a policeman did not make worse"
Brendan Behan, Irish poet

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Re: Back with a 1917

#3 Post by The Zieg » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:57 pm

Thanks, P! As soon as it arrives, I'll get pics up and start spouting my marginally informed opinions. Like most of my Milsurp items, I need to pair it with some good books which will answer questions like finish and serial number ranges.

I'm in Colorado, as you read, and I do get down to Tucson every so often. Next time I do, maybe I can swing by your neck of the saguaros and we can burn some powder? If you get up here and you want to ride a bit, you're welcome at Double E Farm!

Zieg

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Re: Back with a 1917

#4 Post by The Zieg » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:22 am

Didn't arrive yesterday, so looks like it'll be Wednesday at the earliest to see it. In the meantime, here's a pic from the auction site.

Zieg
pix013466732.jpg

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Re: Back with a 1917

#5 Post by RWS » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:46 am

There were actually TWO Brazilian contracts, but if yours has a 1937 stamp it is likely a 1st contract revolver. The first contract was let in 1937 but it was actually 1938 before the Brazilian government received them. A few of these were made up from unused U.S. 1917 revolver frames that S&W had in storage from WW1 and may or may not exhibit U.S. inspector or eagle head marking.

To the best of my knowledge, ALL these first contract revolvers were factory blued. When they were imported back into the U.S. many were so tropically finish-challenged that some importers phosphated them to improve the appearance. They will be found with both commercial checkered medallion grips or smooth 1917-style grips. I believe it is generally accepted that the first contract revolvers were in the serial number range of 181,983 to 207,043, and the topstrap over the cylinder was flattened.

The second contract revolvers were shipped in 1946. The 1937 stamp is usually missing on these and the topstrap over the cylinder was rounded for this batch so one can somewhat devine which contract gun they have. Bores on either contract will range from "just OK" to Very Good. Serial number range on the 2nd contract guns is allegedly 207,196 to 207,989, although some exceptions do exist I believe.

Some of the rear sight notches are square and some are U-style, but I can't remember at the moment which style went with which contract. I'm thinking the square notch is a 2nd contract feature. Could be wrong there though.

I have 3 of these revolvers. When they were on sale back in the late 1980's or early 1990's they were being sold for $180 apiece or two for $300. I bought two at the 2-for-$300 price. Both were a bit finish-challenged but mechanically excellent. I phosphated the worst of the three myself so clearly some revolvers will be owner refinished. (That 3rd revolver had been heavily buffed and reblued by some previous owner but the bluing job was excellent and it proved to actually be the most accurate of the three. My brother has borrowed it and I'm afraid I'll have to sell or give it to him in order to maintain good fraternal relations).

There is a limestone boulder on my nephew's farm that is about 3 feet by 4 feet. I was astounded at how easy it was to walk standard .45 acp hardball ammo onto that boulder at 300 yards. Made me feel a bit like Elmer Keith. I was a lot younger and much less experienced in those days.

In my experience, none of these guns show great accuracy with lead bullets. They all seem to have that shallow rifling thing that S&W was doing during WW1 and are designed for jacketed bullets. You really notice it once you shoot beyond 25 yards.

Finally, in case you didn't know it, they're all worth a Brazilian dollars these days, nyuk-nyuk,nyuk.

-Bob

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Re: Back with a 1917

#6 Post by The Zieg » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:13 pm

Thanks for this info RWS! Some of it I knew and some I didn't, and getting it all is why I love SRF. As soon as it arrives I'll get some pics up in this thread and we'll start to come to some conclusions about it. From the pics I have seen of it, the bore is going to be pretty good but that Brazilian crest is going to be faint. I'm crossing my fingers for this week.

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Re: Back with a 1917

#7 Post by The Zieg » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:17 pm

Well, it's here! I have put sixty rounds through it so far. Here's the rundown:

No inspection marks, reassembled in armory so numbers are not matching, great bore, no flame cutting on the top strap, no issues with the forcing cone, and parkerized somewhere along the way. It shoots well and the trigger pull is heavy, but it's very smooth. Almost no end shake and the cylinder gap looks just fine (though I have not put a feeler gauge in to measure it).

Someone did a trigger job along the way and while it did not harm the double action pull, the would-be gunsmith damaged the single action let-off. He probably filed it down too much where the sear meets the trigger. Touching the trigger in SA causes it to jump off the sear and the rebound spring pushes it into your finger, letting the hammer sink without a real strike. I will probably avoid future problems by simply ordering a replacement trigger. They're out there.

As for the price, I did well. Three sets of grips (including originals), lanyard loop (owner had removed it), holster (owner made), ten full moon clips, and shipping to my local shop for under $550. I'm very pleased, even with the hitch in the SA.

Zieg

PS: It's a Brazilian contract model, so should this get moved to S. American pistols?
IMG_20171227_130700_01.jpg
IMG_20171227_130717_01.jpg
IMG_20180101_154219_01.jpg
Here sporting original grips, but serial number not matching.
IMG_20180102_112206.jpg
The Brazilian crest is a bit fainter than some. I'd prefer a stronger stamp, but it might have been more distinct in its original blued finish.
IMG_20180102_112221.jpg
Last edited by The Zieg on Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Back with a 1917

#8 Post by RWS » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:10 am

I think it could go in either of the U.S. or South American handgun forums. It's a U.S. manufactured revolver so I think it's OK where it is. The faint Brazilian crest on your revolver is just additional evidence that it was lightly buffed before refinishing, probably to remove surface rust (and a lot of these Brazilian contract revolvers have surface rust). Un-refinished revolvers have much stronger Brazilian crests. I have one this way and its crest is strongly imprinted.

As to light SA issue with your revolver, check it for push-off. Cock the hammer but don't touch the trigger. Simply push the hammer forward with light to moderate pressure and see if the hammer will fall without ever touching the trigger. If it will then use it only in DA mode until you can get it fixed.

I have an old commercial S&W 1917 that had the same problem as yours but bubba worked on my hammer notch, not the trigger. I found a new hammer and now it works perfectly so look very closely with a magnifying glass before arbitrarily buying a trigger. While you are correct that hammers and triggers can be found, new ones ain't cheap and used ones may or may not be any better than what you already have.

BTW, since you're trying to document the degree of originality, the serial number should be found in 5 places on the revolver. Under the right grip (which you already know is wrong), on the butt, on the under side of the barrel, on the inside face of the extractor, and on the rear of the cylinder. As you most likely already know, numbers inside a S&W crane are just assembly numbers, not the serial number. Just the opposite for Colt revolvers though. The S/N IS on the inside of a Colt crane.

-Bob

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Re: Back with a 1917

#9 Post by The Zieg » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:52 am

Bob, you hit the hammer right on the spur with your suggestion. It is indeed push off. This makes the repair even simpler, now. Numrich has the parts at reasonable prices. I also checked the SNs again and I was wrong: They are all matching. The serial under the barrel is overstruck by the reimporter's stamp, but the rest are good. I'll put up some more pics later today.

Zieg

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Re: Back with a 1917

#10 Post by The Zieg » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:52 am

IMG_20180106_092147.jpg
IMG_20180106_092006.jpg
Assembly number, not SN, but . . .
IMG_20180106_092303.jpg
IMG_20180106_092606.jpg
Serials matching.

Zieg
Last edited by The Zieg on Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Back with a 1917

#11 Post by The Zieg » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:16 pm

IMG_20180106_092102.jpg
Serial number is hiding under the import mark, I think.
IMG_20180106_092212.jpg
Rack number?
IMG_20180106_093152.jpg
Stamped serial under grip, but no match
IMG_20180106_093248.jpg
Showing some of the pitting and rust that necessitated the parkerizing/phosphating.

Zieg

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Re: Back with a 1917

#12 Post by The Zieg » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:24 pm

So this is the gun. Needs new hammer, lanyard, period holster (handle rearward as it's the 1937), half moon clips. I'm loving it so far and it's only going to get better.

Zieg

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