S&W 1917 .45 Information requested
.45 is unquestionably my favorite handgun caliber and I have lusted for one of these revolvers for many years. Last Friday I had the opportunity to pick one up inexpensively – it is not collectible quality having a few pits and some loss of bluing but it is in good shape as a shooter.
My first question is age – there are matching serial numbers of 168XX with an S off to the right-hand side. I don't have the book some of you have mentioned and hope someone will look this up and give me an approximate date of manufacture.
My understanding is that this would have originally had a lanyard ring which is not present. It seems as though the butt may have been replaced as I believe that I have seen that the original would have also had a serial number on the butt. Is this true? The existing metal on the butt of the revolver is perfectly plain with no serial number and no "tap hole" for the lanyard ring. Can one be secured and if so would it be worthwhile as serial number would not match and how difficult is it to install?
Finally, I intend to use this as a hideout, home protection gun next to my bed and wonder about ammunition. It seems to be a robust revolver and I think it would probably be okay with government issue, 230 grain hardball but wonder what others think and if someone has personal experience running powerful loads through this 90 to 100 year old revolver?