Questions on S&W .455's


July 27, 2011, 12:21 PM
1. When did the 4 line inscription first appear on S&W revolvers?

2. What explanation would there be for seeing two S&W .455's offered on-line, one a triple-lock, bearing the 4 line marking?

I know one of you docents of S&W Lore will elevate me out of this ignorance.


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Jim K
July 27, 2011, 07:48 PM
The four-line marking appeared in the post-WWII period; no triple-locks or original .455 revolvers would have it, or any marking in that area.

I would like to see a triple-lock with the four-line marking; something has a strange odor.


July 27, 2011, 08:08 PM
Jim, go to Gunbroker, current item 24396257, it is a factory re-nickel and that may be the answer as to why. I have also seen a blued one, so?

July 27, 2011, 10:52 PM
member Drake GMBH has a Model 1917 with four line markings and the US army serial number showing manufacture before 1919. I would guess an early 1950s factory rebuild/new build on an old frame.

Jim K
July 28, 2011, 02:38 PM
Waidman, that doesn't look like factory nickel/renickel, but are you saying it is in .455? If so, what does the barrel marking look like?

Radagast, it is the postwar frame that has the four line address, so someone would have to explain how that and the original butt markings are on the same frame. I would like to see some good pictures of that gun as I strongly suspect the butt markings may not be original.


July 28, 2011, 07:36 PM
Jim, please don't ask me to import all the pics. They are on GB and a current auction with the number above.

It is a curiousity and one I'm sure you will enjoy viewing.

I stand corrected the nickel is a .44 Special. The blued example was a .455 No.2

July 30, 2011, 08:40 AM
Jim: The discussion of Drakes gun starts on page 60 of the DOB thread, lots of detailed pics on Page 61. I'd be interested in your input.

July 30, 2011, 09:41 PM
I found the other (another ?) one. At Gunnbroker #242575857. 2days remain.

July 30, 2011, 09:42 PM
Ignore this

Jim K
July 31, 2011, 12:39 AM
I looked at the Drake GMBH gun and unless I got the wrong one, it is not a .455. It is a 1917 with a replacement barrel marked with S&W's "diamond" rebuild mark. Who serrated the front sight, I don't know, nor do I know when or by whom it was Parkerized.

The butt markings look good. The added markings (the S&W logo and the front frame markings, which Drake GMBH mentions but does not picture), could, as Radagast says, have been put on by S&W when they refurbished the gun, but why the Parkerizing? Even if S&W did that during WWII, they would not have put on a marking they did not have a stamp for until post-war. Very puzzling.

As to that frame marking, I remember when they put it on; like the Ruger "warning" it caused some talk and folks called it "the billboard."

I can come up with some ideas, but would need a lot closer look at those added markings before trying to figure things out.


July 31, 2011, 03:05 AM
I knew it was a 1917, just pointing out that if it has a four line address after a rebuild then the .455s may also have received their four line address after a rebuild.

July 31, 2011, 12:02 PM
Here are a few more detail shots of the S&W M1917-

S&W Crest (

Address stamp (

Barrel patent stamp (

Lastly, just a recent photo of the revolver. I put a set of transitional Magnas on it. Far more pleasant to shoot than the smooth wartime stocks but less gaudy than the Pachmayrs it was sold to me with.

Magnas (

Jim K
July 31, 2011, 09:51 PM
The barrel markings are OK, but the barrel is a replacement, not an original M1917 barrel (wrong patent date markings, marking on wrong side of barrel). The frame markings are fake; they appear to be pantographed. The logo looks suspicious; I won't swear it is fake, but I think it is. Oddly, neither would be on a real M1917, so the faker really blew it. S&W Model 1917's were Parkerized during WWII, but their value is less than one in the original blue.

In brief, the gun is a mess and IMHO good only as a shooter. At this point, I even wonder about the butt markings, but they looked OK. Anyway, the collector value has been destroyed by a bungling attempt to "gild the lily."

I would say that faking an S&W Model 1917 and then doing it wrong would be silly, given the relatively low cost, but I wonder if you are in Europe (GmbH?), where a lot of faked American collector guns have turned up.


July 31, 2011, 11:15 PM
No, I'm in Texas. I bought this gun as a shooter and paid accordingly. From what I've read and what Radagast discussed with me I believe it's one of the guns S&W purchased back from the gov't and refurbished. The barrel serial matches the Model 1917 number on the butt. There is no property mark on the underside of the barrel. It has an eagle head stamp at the rear of the trigger guard on the left side and in the crane recess. There's also an ordnance bomb on the left side of the frame near the rear sight. I'm certain the parked finish was done much more recently - I suspect the surface was media blasted since several of the markings look a bit shallow. I'm out of town at the moment but I have a few photos on this laptop if they can help put this to rest. It does have prewar lockwork and postwar N-frame grips do not fit - the frame is too long. I was advised by Keith Brown this model needed prewar or 'transitional' grips as the earlier N-frame grips are slightly longer.

Jim K
August 1, 2011, 01:53 PM
The barrel is a replacement, numbered by S&W to match the frame (the diamond says that). It dates from the 1930's or 1940's and is not the original M1917 barrel. The sideplate dates from the 1917 timeframe as it has no provision for any of the hammer block safeties. If it matches the frame, then the frame markings are wrong. I don't think those markings are legitimate or that S&W put them on. They look like either pantographing or etching, not stamping, when compared to genuine S&W markings made with the same stamp.

The sideplate stamp also is odd; for one thing, it looks to high up. But it would not have been original to a 1917 sideplate.

As I say, that gun is a puzzle. As a shooter, no doubt it is OK but there are too many questions for it to be considered a collectible.


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