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Old April 28, 2013, 02:49 AM   #1
Bill Akins
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My Snub barrel S&W 1917 revolver project.

Hi guys. Been away from this site for awhile. Been busy with other things.

Got my S&W 1917 snubby barrel project finished. Had one major accident on the mill though that you will see in a minute.

The below two photos were from the auction where I purchased the 1917. As you can see the barrel has been cut, it has no front sight, is rusty and is locked up because of a bent ejector rod. It had genuine India Sanbar stag grips on it. So that was a plus. But I don't care for them so I took them off and put some nice fat Jay Scott grips on it to better fill my big hands. Probably will sell the Sanbar stag grips since they are worth about $150.00




The first thing I did was acquire and install a new (old stock) ejector rod.


Then I took it all apart, cleaned it, installed some Wolf replacement springs to lighten the trigger and hammer, and highly polished it as you can see below.....






Continued next post.






.
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"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; April 29, 2013 at 01:02 AM.
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Old April 28, 2013, 02:54 AM   #2
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One of the members (Jack the toad) from another site (the S&W forum) sent me a shot out rifling snubby barrel from a 1917 he had, and I heated up the front sight and removed it from its silver solder to go onto my snubby barrel. Of course I had to file a flat onto my barrel for it to go on to, just like it had been on the shot out rifling barrel. Here's that front sight removed from the old shot out barrel....


I had tried attaching the front sight to my barrel with J&B weld epoxy, but trust me, that doesn't work and it came off the first time I fired the revolver. That brings us up to date on my previous work. Below is my latest progress on the project.

Finally got the front sight tig WELDED (not silver soldered) on. I wanted it to be as strong as possibly held to the barrel so instead of silver soldering it on, it was tig welded on with a nickel steel rod. And yes I did remove the ejector rod's front lug's spring before welding and replaced it afterwards. In fact I removed the ejector rod and cylinder too when it was welded. Here's a few pics of that before I ground down, filed, sanded and polished the welds....






Now for the major accident I had in the mill. The end of the barrel was jest a leetle off and not square from where it had been cut, so I was doing a leetle trim on the end of the barrel. Everything else was about done and this accident was right at the end of the project. Isn't that always the way? The revolver slipped in the vice and before I could shut the mill down, the mill bit danced all down the right side of the barrel putting deep multiple cuts in it and took out a chunk of the receiver where the barrel screws in too! Needless to say I was sickened to see that happen.


Continued next post.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; April 29, 2013 at 01:03 AM.
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Old April 28, 2013, 02:55 AM   #3
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But not to worry, about an hour and a half of tig welding later filling in all the cuts on the barrel and the chunk taken out of the receiver, and careful tig welding to preserve the seam where the barrel screws into the receiver at that cut out chunk point on the receiver, and everything was filled in again. Then disk sanding and filing and sandpapering and polishing again until you can't tell that accident ever happened. Whew! I can tell you though,...I was sweating it, those were some bad cuts on the barrel and chunk taken out of the receiver. But the repair came out okay and nothing was deep enough to cause any operational problems, it was mainly cosmetic, but MAJOR league cosmetic. Here's what it looks like now.

Careful tig welding and filing to get the seam of the barrel to the receiver back correct where that chunk had been cut out by the mill accident....




More of the same from further out....


Overall view of previously damaged right side of barrel now fixed. Front sight attachment/welding, filing and polishing came out nice didn't it?......


Side views of revolver today.


Continued next post.




.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old April 28, 2013, 02:56 AM   #4
Bill Akins
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It is "in the white" but highly polished. To anyone who doesn't know what "in the white" means, that means it doesn't have any finish of any kind and the metal is bare.

The snubby barrel is exactly 3 & 1/2 inches long.

There are a few little spots I will continue to polish out and later I might even send it out to get it nickel plated. But for the most part, I think now, I can say the project is finished. It has taken me a while to get back to it, and it has been polished like that in the white for over a year and no rust of any kind has formed on it. Must be that the highly polishing of the bare steel, helps keep rust from having a place to form. I don't know for sure, but it hasn't rusted any at all. Kind of like it that way, but might get it nickel plated one day.

I am really happy about how the welding on attaching the front sight came out. If it hadn't been for that bad mill accident I would have been finished a day sooner. I am happy overall with it. Compared to what she looked like when I got her, she's a gem today. I'll post an update on its accuracy when I shoot it soon, and we will see if the welding of the barrel pulled the barrel any, but it was kept cool with a compressed air nozzle between each and every weld on each cut on the barrel and receiver, so it didn't get too overheated. Can't wait to test it out shooting.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; April 29, 2013 at 09:59 AM.
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Old April 28, 2013, 05:01 AM   #5
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Nice outcome Bill. I had a similar project piece long gone now based on a very rough $100 Brazilian. And similarly, the smith had a shop accident and gouged the cut bbl stub. He did a porting on the bbl to cover the blunder. Manufactured a ramp sight for the bbl and reblued her. Made a nice truck piece.

Again, congrats.

PS. It begs for a custom Tom Threepersons.
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Old April 28, 2013, 06:26 AM   #6
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Nice work
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Old April 28, 2013, 06:30 AM   #7
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That's a fine looking 1917. Good work.
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Old April 28, 2013, 09:16 AM   #8
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That's an impressive welding job on the barrel.

My main concern is, though, that with cuts that deep and the amount of heat you've flushed into the barrel along its entire length you may have weakened it significantly.
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Old April 28, 2013, 10:40 AM   #9
jrothWA
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Should havd used analuminum rod.

inside the bore to draw heat away faster, with the compressed air on that.

Do you have access to a testing lab that can do a hardness test, either Brinnell
or Rockwell A, test some other ares of the top strap and lower crane/frame ares and then the welded areas and compare.

You MAYBE safe but try and confirm.

Nicely done tho!
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Old April 28, 2013, 12:47 PM   #10
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Have you tried any blueing on the nickel weld?

I took some Winchester parts in for repair, the end cap for the magazine had some goon twist the screw slot out (no reason to ever put a screwdriver in it, it isnt threaded). The helpful guy at the welding shop did me a big favor and used a really strong nickel welding rod to strengthen the repair on the end cap. The nickel weld wont blue. The cap is now "fixed", but unusable.
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Old April 28, 2013, 01:45 PM   #11
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I don't fancy the high polish finish but it's your gun and you seem to favor it, so more power to you. I have one of these but the barrel is 3-3/8". I would prefer the honest 3-1/2" you have. Apples and oranges I guess. (smile)

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Old April 29, 2013, 02:02 AM   #12
Bill Akins
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Quote:
Chesster wrote:
Nice outcome Bill. I had a similar project piece long gone now based on a very rough $100 Brazilian. And similarly, the smith had a shop accident and gouged the cut bbl stub. He did a porting on the bbl to cover the blunder. Manufactured a ramp sight for the bbl and reblued her. Made a nice truck piece.
Again, congrats. PS. It begs for a custom Tom Threepersons.
Thanks Chesster. I'd luv to have a Tom Threepersons holster for it. But other priorities right now at the moment, and I have a few holsters for my 1917's already. (Although none as nice as a Tom Threepersons holster). I have a short N frame, spring loaded, shoulder holster that's perfect for my 1917 snubby, but it needs shoulder harness repair before I can use it again. And I have two other short waist holsters that I normally use for my Uberti .45 colts that also fit my long and short barrel S&W 1917's. So I can get by for awhile, but you are right, a Tom threepersons holster sure would be nice.

Here's a double shoulder holster rig I created to hold two of my S&W 1917's by using two 1917 holster reproductions, and using parts from two Sam Browne belts. The waist rig is my double 1912 holster rig for my parkerized auto ordinance and my stainless hi cap para ordnance. All .45 acp's of course.






Quote:
Hawkeye wrote:
Nice work.
Thanks Hawkeye.

Quote:
Skoro wrote:
That's a fine looking 1917. Good work.
Thanks Skoro.

Quote:
Mike Irwin wrote:
That's an impressive welding job on the barrel.
My main concern is, though, that with cuts that deep and the amount of heat you've flushed into the barrel along its entire length you may have weakened it significantly.
Thanks Mike. The cuts were deep on the barrel but not even quite halfway through it and while it was being welded, to keep the heat down, a compressed air hose was blowing on it AFTER doing each and every individual weld on each cut. Did it weaken the barrel in any way? I don't know but I'm sure it wasn't particularly good for it. But I had no choice. I'll find out when I shoot it next and post a report here on how it does. I don't think I'll have a problem with the barrel though. I don't shoot plus p's in any of my old 1917's and with the relatively low pressure and velocities of the .45 acp, I think I'll be okay. I will wear a heavy pair of welding gloves, my kevlar helmet and and kevlar vest plus safety glasses the first few cylinders of rounds I put through it next, just to be on the safe side.

Quote:
jrothWA wrote:
Should have used analuminum rod.
inside the bore to draw heat away faster, with the compressed air on that.
Do you have access to a testing lab that can do a hardness test, either Brinnell or Rockwell A, test some other ares of the top strap and lower crane/frame ares and then the welded areas and compare.
You MAYBE safe but try and confirm.
Nicely done tho!
Thanks. Glad you liked it. But I haven't heard of that particular kind of metal. What is an "anal-uminum" or "analuminum" rod? Is that some kind of new type of metal mined from someplace very dark? . Unfortunately I don't have access to a testing lab that could do a harness test. Only my shop and my backyard acreage and the squirrels out back aren't much help scientifically. No doubt I could take it to a jeweler or someone who could do a hardness test, but no matter what the hardness results showed, I am still going to shoot it, so why bother? As I told Mike, the cuts didn't go even halfway through the barrel and with the relatively low pressures of a standard loading .45 acp, I think I'll be okay. Our forefathers shot black powder barrels that were iron, not steel and not even particularly heat treated, or at least unevenly heat treated, and they did okay. I realize that was lower pressure black powder loads, but a factory load .45 acp isn't that hot of a load even by black powder standards. But I will wear hand, head, body and eye protection when I shoot the first few cylinders through it, just to be on the safe side. I'm fairly confident I won't have any problems, but I will take safety precautions when shooting it for the first time. I'll post again to show the results of when I shoot it.

Quote:
Malamute wrote:
Have you tried any blueing on the nickel weld?
I took some Winchester parts in for repair, the end cap for the magazine had some goon twist the screw slot out (no reason to ever put a screwdriver in it, it isnt threaded). The helpful guy at the welding shop did me a big favor and used a really strong nickel welding rod to strengthen the repair on the end cap. The nickel weld wont blue. The cap is now "fixed", but unusable."
No I haven't tried any bluing on the weld or any other part of the revolver Malamute. Because I don't intend to blue it. It will either stay highly polished and "in the white" or be nickel plated.

Quote:
Dave T wrote:
I don't fancy the high polish finish but it's your gun and you seem to favor it, so more power to you. I have one of these but the barrel is 3-3/8". I would prefer the honest 3-1/2" you have. Apples and oranges I guess. (smile).
Dave, originally I was just polishing out the pits and rust with an eye towards getting rid of them, but there was so much of it, that it necessitated me polishing out the entire revolver to get rid of them all. As I buffed along and the beauty of the polished bare carbon steel metal came out, I decided I really liked the looks of it like that. If I ever did want to get it re-blued (which I don't and won't), highly polishing out the metal like that would only give me a superior surface under the re-blue and make it look better. I have four S&W 1917's now. A blue 1917 commercial model, a matte nickel 1917, this snubby 1917 in the white, and a 1917 that is highly polished nickel with gold plated cylinder, hammer, trigger, lanyard ring, ejector rod and cylinder release, and I have to admit I do like the highly polished nickel finishes the best. Just a personal preference. I'm the same way with my black powder revolvers. I sold all my other black powder revolvers and just kept two Pietta 1860 .44's that are nickel plated and came with gold triggers, hammers and cylinders and faux ivory grips. But I bought stainless steel cylinders for each of them and polished those out to match the nickel plating. I hate rust and no doubt that's part of the reason I like nickel plated (or stainless) guns, because no matter what, eventually a blued gun will rust (or patina to brown) much quicker than a nickel plated one will. And I can't get a black powder 1860 in stainless nor a S&W 1917 in stainless, so I have to settle for nickel plated. Plus the nickel or stainless cleans up easier and you don't have to worry about keeping it dry in an outing as much. Plus I just like the high polish nickel esthetically. Must have a little "New Orleans pimp" in me Lol. Just "ma thang" I guess.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; April 29, 2013 at 04:57 AM.
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Old April 29, 2013, 06:46 AM   #13
Magnum Wheel Man
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nice work... personally I probably would have swapped the barrel out after the "accident" but you seem to have both the patience & skill to fix the issue...

I like the high polish, & can see the nickel if it's a gun you plan to carry often, but if it's an occasional use gun, that thing would look awesome in a deep high polish blued finish...

BTW... I might be interested in the stag grips, for my 1917, if you still have them ???
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:13 AM   #14
Bill Akins
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Quote:
Magnum Wheel Man wrote:
Nice work... personally I probably would have swapped the barrel out after the "accident" but you seem to have both the patience & skill to fix the issue. BTW... I might be interested in the stag grips, for my 1917, if you still have them ???
Thanks MWM. Yes I still have the india sanbar stag grips. They were dirty in the auction pics you saw in this thread. I've since washed them with soap and water and a toothbrush and they look even better. I'd have kept them, but my hands are large and they are too narrow for my grip, so I put fat Jay Scott grips on all my 1917's.
If you're interested in them, shoot me an I.M. and we'll talk.


Quote:
Malamute wrote:
I took some Winchester parts in for repair, the end cap for the magazine had some goon twist the screw slot out (no reason to ever put a screwdriver in it, it isnt threaded). The helpful guy at the welding shop did me a big favor and used a really strong nickel welding rod to strengthen the repair on the end cap. The nickel weld wont blue. The cap is now "fixed", but unusable.
Malamute I think I might know of a way you can get that end cap to accept cold bluing that you can do yourself. Regular low heat solder will accept cold bluing. The kind of low heat solder that is used on circuit boards and to solder wires. Take a propane torch and heat up the area on your end cap that has the buffed out nickel weld on it. It won't get hot enough to affect nor melt the nickel weld, but will heat it up enough for it to accept the solder. Then "tin" that area with the solder. Then buff it smooth. Repeat as necessary until you get total "tinned" coverage after buffing smooth. The solder coating should take the cold bluing then. I have used solder like that in the past to fill in small areas and pits on some of my blued guns and it took the cold bluing I used as a touch up. Should fix your Winchester's end cap bluing problem.


.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; April 29, 2013 at 10:32 AM.
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Old April 29, 2013, 12:17 PM   #15
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Nice work. If you want a durable finish that has the look of nickel or your in-the-white polish job, you might consider bright chrome.
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Old April 29, 2013, 01:47 PM   #16
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Beautiful piece, beautiful work.
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Old April 29, 2013, 02:44 PM   #17
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Very, very nice work!!!
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Old April 29, 2013, 06:46 PM   #18
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I Like it...A lot.

ks
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Old April 30, 2013, 12:07 AM   #19
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Hard to believe it's the same gun, even after the milling accident. I may have just given up and cut it in half. You did a very nice job saving that piece.
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Old April 30, 2013, 06:34 AM   #20
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Helluva save, Bill, nice work! Love the leather, too!
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Old April 30, 2013, 08:25 AM   #21
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"I don't shoot plus p's in any of my old 1917's and with the relatively low pressure and velocities of the .45 acp, I think I'll be okay."

There have been concerns with the standard hardball load in the M1917 S&W for decades, almost from the time of inception for the gun.

Most resources recommending not shooting hardball .45 ACP through them because of the increased pressure and wear. A number of sources have theorized over the years that the very generous chamber throats on the M1917 were one way of reducing chamber pressures.

Most loading manuals show .45 Auto Rim loading information at reduced velocities with lead bullets.

I woudn't be worried about the barrel blowing out catastrophically, but I would be concerned with it possibly bulging if you've compromised the "native" hardening that was worked in when the barrel was made.
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Old May 1, 2013, 02:37 AM   #22
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The stag grips are "Sambar," not "Sanbar."
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Old May 2, 2013, 05:41 PM   #23
Deaf Smith
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Bill,

Nice set of shoot'en irons but...



I just use one at a time!

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Old May 6, 2013, 11:27 PM   #24
Bill Akins
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Quote:
Bill DeShivs wrote:
The stag grips are "Sambar," not "Sanbar."
Yes I know. Big fingers of mine hitting one key over.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old May 7, 2013, 12:19 AM   #25
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I admire the perseverance and great results!
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