S&w d.a.45


Kaptan Kaos
September 19, 2011, 01:44 AM
I have a revolver I am trying to find some info about. On side of barrel is stamped "S&W D.A. 45" Patent dates are 1901,1906, 1909.Serial # is 53XXX. It is chambered in .45 Colt. Several cartouches are present , one flaming ordnance bomb on upper frame near hammer, one unknown design on inside of frame with "S2" under it and one of the same design on frame near trigger gaurd with "S9" under it.Any help would be greatly appreciated. THANKS!

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September 19, 2011, 07:11 AM
You have a Model 1917 Hand Ejector, these were manufactured for the US Army between September 17 1917 & January 1919 in a serial range of 1 to 169959. Yours was manufactured after April 1918, the S2 is a sub-inspectors mark, the unknown design is probably an eagles head stamp.
These guns were supplied to the US Army in .45 ACP for use with moon clips, not in .45 Long Colt. If your gun is chambered for .45 long Colt then it has probably been bored out or re-cylindered. There was at least one post war Model 1917 supplied in .45 Long Colt, so its just possible your gun left the factory in that configuration, if it did it would have some value to a collector.
Consider paying $50 to have S&Ws factory historian Mr Roy Jinks look up the original shipping records and send you a letter listing what the original configuration was.

Jim K
September 19, 2011, 09:19 PM
You can't rechamber a .45 ACP cylinder to .45 Colt; the headspace will be excessive and the firing pin won't reach the primer. You have to have a new cylinder for that conversion.


September 19, 2011, 09:25 PM
I also own a 1917 converted to .45 LC. Who converted it is a mystery, but whoever and however they did it, it works great. Reliable and accurate.

September 19, 2011, 11:22 PM
Modifications to WWI revolvers are myriad. I suppose the Models 1917 both Colt and S&W are the least altered. I have a .38/44 built on a .455 No.2. I've heard tell of Herter's selling a .357 kit.

Given the number of .455's rechambered to .45 Colt it does seem like an unecessary degree of effort unless one truly wanted an unbobbed shorter barrel.

Nothing done in this era or to a WWII British Victory much surprises me.

Kaptan Kaos
September 20, 2011, 12:19 AM
I feel it was originally chambered in .45 Colt. .45 ACP rounds placed in cylinder will fall thru, if you use half moon or full moon clips then cylinder will NOT close. Sound right to you?
Will take your advice and go thru S & W historian and get info-Thanks for your help!

September 20, 2011, 01:47 PM
Are you sure it isn't chambered for .455 Webley? It's a shorter round than .45 Colt; there were a number of .45 Hand Ejectors chambered for that cartridge.

September 20, 2011, 07:32 PM
Either chambered for .45 colt originally, or re-cylindered at a later date. If there is a star stamped on the butt near the serial number then it was re-worked at the factory at some point. Jim K was correct that a bore through of the .45 ACP cylinder would not work.
.455 Webleys had a longer barrel and would have Canadian or British acceptance marks, not US accelptance marks, so I thinks its doubtful that it was originally chambered in that caliber.

September 21, 2011, 01:00 PM
Sound right to you?If the cylinder is original to the gun, it will have the serial number stamped on the rear face of it.
If it doesn't have a serial number, or it does and it doesn't match the one on the butt, it has been replaced by someone other then S&W.

Also, the cylinder stop stud in the frame on a 1917 .45 ACP would have to have been modified to allow the longer .45 Colt cylinder to open all the way.


Kaptan Kaos
September 21, 2011, 11:49 PM
The numbers match all the way around, no star on butt. It is a 5 1/2" barrel. Am getting required stuff together to get request to S & W for history.
Thanks for all replies!

September 22, 2011, 01:09 PM
When they issued the contracts to buy the 1917 revolvers to both S&W and Colt, both companies were making their respective revolvers in 45LC. The S&W I owned, which was repatriated from Brazil, had chambers which allowed 45ACP to headspace on the mouth so that in an emergency you could shoot with out the moon clips (extraction could be a problem), I did see a Colt not too long ago and the chambers did not seem to have the lip to headspace the 45 without the clips.

Rick in Alexandria

September 22, 2011, 08:25 PM
S&Ws prewar offering was the .44 Hand Ejector, also known as the triple lock or New Century. 90% of production was in .44 Special, 8 percent were chambered for .450 Eley/.455 and less than two dozen were originally chambered in .45 Colt, although some of the .455s were converted to .45 Colt at the factory.
The Colt Model of 1917 didn't headspace on the case mouth, it was designed to require moonclips. Not a good idea for a gun intended to be used in the mud and desperation of close quarters trench warfare. This was probably the first known case of a manufacturer claining "It's not a bug, it's a feature" :P

September 23, 2011, 11:16 AM
The Colt Model of 1917 didn't headspace on the case mouthThe first ones didn't.
Then after S&W entered the fray and properly chambered the S&W 1917, Colt & the Army saw the error of their ways.

From that point on, they chambered them to headspace on the case mouth, just like S&W.

About all the guns in service were later converted.

It is now very rare to find a 1917 Colt with the early bored through cylinder still in it.

An old friend has one, but it is the only one I ever saw.


September 23, 2011, 11:42 PM
I live and learn. Thanks RC.

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