Smith & Wesson U.S. Model 1917 Revolver

posted on May 25, 2010
2010525134220-img_2601_fs.jpg

Although commonly referred to as the Smith & Wesson Model 1917, this revolver is officially the “.45 Hand Ejector Model of 1917,” which means it is a S&W Second Model Hand Ejector chambered for the .45 ACP.

With World War I looming and a subsequent shortage of M1911 pistols apparent, S&W and Springfield Armory began a joint project to develop a “half-moon” steel clip for the large-frame Second Model that would hold three of the rimless .45 ACP cartridges, thus enabling them to be engaged by the extractor. As a fail-safe, S&W “step” machined the cylinder chambers to maintain proper headspace on the case mouths, enabling .45 ACPs to be fired without the clips, although cases would have to be removed individually.

The U.S. declared war against Germany on April 2, 1917, and S&W’s Second Model in .45 ACP became what the factory workers called “The Government Model.” This series began with serial number 1, and by the end of the war 163,476 Model 1917s had been produced. The first guns were shipped on Sept. 6, 1917. They sported 5 1/2-inch barrels, polished blued finish, casehardened hammers and triggers, fixed sights, and two-piece smooth walnut stocks with lanyard rings attached to the butts. After Sept. 13, 1918, S&W factory production came under the auspices of Springfield Armory, and most guns were shipped to Springfield Armory or army depots.

The gun shown here, serial number 132065, is unusual in that according to S&W historian Roy Jinks, it was shipped directly to Camp Huntington (exact address unknown) on Nov. 2, 1918. Because of their association with World War I and their reissue during World War II, Model 1917s hold their value, especially when in above-average condition. This 85 percent gun would easily fetch $850 to $1,100 as both a shooter and a military collectable.

Gun: Smith & Wesson .45 Hand Ejector Model of 1917
Caliber: .45 ACP
Condition:
85 percent (NRA Modern Very Good)
Manufactured:
Nov. 2, 1918
Value: $850 to $1,100

Latest

Burnside Carbine Ihtog 1
Burnside Carbine Ihtog 1

I Have This Old Gun: Burnside Carbine

In the American Civil War, there was an incredible variety of small arms used, particularly within cavalry units. One of the most popular cavalry carbines used throughout the war was the Burnside carbine.

New For 2024: Mossberg Patriot 400 Legend

Mossberg expanded its Patriot bolt-action rifle line to encompass one of the newest straight-wall hunting cartridges on the market: 400 Legend.

I Have This Old Gun: Norinco 84S

The Norinco 84S presents the same general appearance as the Chinese-made 56S because it has the same overall length, is built around a stamped sheet-steel receiver and uses the same hooded front sight base, the same 45-degree gas block, the same fire-control components, the same wood furniture and the same high-polish blued finish.

Rifleman Q&A: Boattail Bullets And Barrel Erosion

In the recent spate of “long-range” boattail bullets presented to the market, I’ve observed the boattail’s degree of departure from the bullet’s cylindrical axis varies substantially from one design to another.

Quick Hits On 10 6.5 mm Cartridges

With so many 6.5 mm cartridges from which to choose, deciding on the one that’s right for you can be a challenge—so here’s a quick guide to help sort them out.

The Armed Citizen® Feb. 19, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.