Interesting closet find. S&W 53 Jet

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Jimbo80, Nov 27, 2021.

  1. Jimbo80

    Jimbo80 Member

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    My buddies widow just found this in the bottom of a storage closet. A first year S&W 53 Jet. I had never heard of it before. I did a little research and found it's a very interesting cartridge. Anyone shoot one before? No 22 cylinder and only 3 adapters. 53Jet.jpg
     
  2. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    It's a jewel ! Unfortunately you have to get boutique ammo for it :( unless you want to invest in reloading. You can still find insert s but the original inserts were the best.S& W won't refit it with a .22 lr cylinder any more, but custom smiths will. That gun is worth at least a $1000 on GB from what I can see. Price range would be $800-1500 depending on condition and if it has box ect. I love them .The 4" is rarest but least desirable as the were the original " ear wax " gun. And it blows the energy out the barrel under 6" like yours which is most common and gets 1800 fps or so with a 40 grain bullet.The 8 3/8" version was by far the best getting 2000 fps and loads with Little Gun powder today hit 2300 fps with my 8 3/8 with good easy extraction in dry Chambers. Probably should sell it on gun broker as guns stores want 20-30 percent .
     
  3. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Very cool! Never shot one, used to see them pretty regularly at the shows back in the '90s but rare these days.
     
  4. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Very nice. :thumbup:

    Ive seen two for sale with a price over 2k locally in the past couple of years, but they’re really rare here. They were highly priced because one was a .22 Jet with six .22 LR inserts and a .22 Mag extra cylinder and the other one was some sort of factory-engraved commemorative for what looked like an employees retirement. That had .22 Mag inserts and a spare .22 LR cylinder.

    If you can source inserts or a second cylinder for either .22 LR or .22 Mag it’s much easier to shoot than trying to make .22 Jet (.357 Mag is the base case) or finding some ammo to buy.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2020/12/30/wheelgun-wednesday-need-for-speed-with-the-22-jet/amp/

    If you get a chance to shoot it let us know what you think. :)

    Stay safe.
     
  5. Dframe

    Dframe Member

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    I like mine. I laughingly refer to it as the worlds loudest 22.
     
  6. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    I moved my 6" on, the muzzle and cylinder flash with Blue Dot made my eyes water
    when shooting at a covered bench.
    Still have 'quite a few' of the 40 gr. Remington factory .222 dia. bullets if you end up with it.

    JT
     
  7. Bob Meyer

    Bob Meyer Member

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    I have one. When they discontinued the brass I brought 500 cases from Huntingtons, and1000 .222 bullets on gun broker. My problem is that all of the recommended
    loads I've tried shoot about 1' high at 50 yards with the rear sight as low as it will go. It seems to defeat the purpose of a 1800 fps gun to load it way down to get it to shoot to the sights.
     
  8. ECVMatt
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    ECVMatt Contributing Member

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    That is a great find! I love weird calibers and have a Marlin 62 Levermatic in .256 Winchester so I have always been intrigued by the Jet.

    A quick .22 Jet story: One the the gentlemen who taught me how to hunt was an LACO Sheriff who loved to hunt bears in the mountains above Los Angeles with dogs in the 1970's; when this was legal of course. One of the guys at his station begged to go with him many times, but they didn't really get along so my friend kept putting him off. Finally he gave in and they met up for the hunt. The other guy showed up with a S&W 53 in .22 Jet. He swore it was more than enough to bag a treed bear so off they went. Long story short, it was not enough for bear, my buddy almost got a good bite taken out of him and some dogs got chewed up. Anyways, all we had to do to get my buddy fired was mention the .22 Jet or S&W 53 and he would have an aneurysm! It was a good way to make the campfire talk exciting.

    I have wanted to shoot a Jet ever since hearing this story, multiple times, just to see what it is all about. I am glad to see that revolver has found the light of day and hopefully it will get shot again.
     
  9. Jimbo80

    Jimbo80 Member

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    [QUOTE="ECVMatt]That is a great find! I love weird calibers campfire talk exciting.
    I am glad to see that revolver has found the light of day and hopefully it will get shot again.[/QUOTE]

    I would love to get some trigger time with it but I don't see that happening. It's definitely going to be sold and she is in WI and I am in FL. I could buy it at a good price but I am not really a wheel gun guy and would rather invest the funds elsewhere. I'm trying to advise her on how to sell it and not get screwed. She is afraid of it and doesn't come from a gun family so that may be a chore. She could do the GB thing I'm guessing but I'm old school and like to see that kind of stuff stay local. Leaning towards putting it on consignment.
     
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  10. Terry G

    Terry G Member

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    A Friend (Rich) owned at least one of every S&W Handgun he could find. What a collection! The .22 Jet was one he could not get to work with the .22 LR feature. The inserts were hard to get in the chambers and harder to get out. He bought the .22 cylinder and found it had a lot of misfires and the accuracy was really bad. He finally stopped shooting it and just kept it as a collectors piece.
     
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  11. ECVMatt
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    ECVMatt Contributing Member

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    Of course now I need to try and find one!

    It looks like a very fun gun to shoot.

    I guess you have to watch the video on YouTube.
     
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  12. Jimbo80

    Jimbo80 Member

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    [QUOTE="ECVMatt, ]
    Of course now I need to try and find one!
    [/QUOTE]

    I hate when that happens:). I will say this gun is getting more interesting the more I learn about it.
     
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  13. Terry G

    Terry G Member

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    Where will you find ammunition? There was an article about Bear hunting with the S&W .22 Jet in the old Sports Afield or Outdoor Life Magazines. I don't remember which.
     
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  14. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I have a 10”Contender barrel in .22RemJet, had (and sold) an H&R in the caliber for a long time. I’d almost rather chew my own thumbs off than go back to making Jet cases from .357 cases. When I shoot the last of the ammo I have the barrel goes up for sale. I would throw in a set of sizing dies but I’m just not that mean.
     
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  15. ECVMatt
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    ECVMatt Contributing Member

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    I make ammo for my .256 from .357 brass, so I guess I could give the Jet a try. It also looks like sizing brass to 256 Winchester dimensions is a great starting point to get to .22 Jet.

    It appears that PPU makes it from time to time and custom brass makers still produce it as an additional source.

    This seems like it would be a great gun to take to the desert and plink at longer ranges.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
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  16. BLACKHAWKNJ

    BLACKHAWKNJ Member

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    IIRC the 22 Jet was a Great Idea That Didn't Work. Firing a high pressure tapered round in a revolver, led to a lot of case setback, the one owner I knew saw the 22 inserts often didn't work that well.
     
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  17. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I don’t know if it’s ever been tried, but a custom cylinder for .22 TCM using moon clips may be an option for one well-heeled enough to pay a custom gunsmith to do it.

    The moon clips should keep the cases from setting back individually when fired… I guess as long as the pressures are kept similar to the 9mm Luger it should work.

    6F6BD451-E712-49A1-9EB3-6C4571238783.jpeg

    Oh, to have the funds to try…the wonders one could find! ;)

    Stay safe.
     
  18. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    Yes the original cylinder could be rechambered to .22 TCM easy enough and the extractor star cut for clips. A good idea ! The .223 bore is a no big deal thing in my opinion. I have used ..224 bullets in my two no problem. Also a good smith can fit a .22 rimfire K frame cylinder pretty easy. I bought one off eBay reasonable and had it done for $200+ shipping
     
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  19. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    The Jet started out as S&W attempting to come up with a supersonic 22 in a revolver format. The two major problems with the product was case setback and extraction. I’m talking about severe case setback to the point that it locked the revolver up when chambers were dirty. The engineers at S&W addressed this issue by installing a pin in the breech face to stop cases from setting back and locking the gun up. I’m not sure if the first production run had this pin, but later production runs sure did and even that was only marginally effective.

    The other issue was case extraction. Pressures were so high that after the first firing on a clean cylinder the only way you could get fired brass out of a cylinder with powder residue left behind from the previous round was with a hammer and punch...assuming your revolver did not completely lock up due to case setback. S&W’s fix for this one was to instruct the shooter to clean the chambers with lighter fluid after each firing...and not just a lick and a promise clean but scrupulously clean. Depending on brass hardness this was not always effective either. When all was said and done these problems, along with availability and cost of ammo, pretty well doomed the Model 53 to extinction. They’re an oddity and collectible but impractical.

    The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson shows a total of 14,956 units being produced from 1961 to 1974 with a total of two engineering changes following the first production run...53-1 & 53-2. Remington discontinued making the ammo somewhere around 1989 or 1990.
     
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  20. Monac

    Monac Member

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    I thought one of the reasons S&W came out with the Model 53 was that people were already fooling around with revolvers custom chambered (and barreled, I guess) in 256 Winchester Magnum. Ruger eventually made a single shot (the Hawkeye) in 256, but I think all the revolvers for it were custom jobs.

    Do you think the 256 Win Mag would have worked better than the Jet in revolvers? Did S&W go with the 22 Jet because they thought it worked better in a revolver, or because they thought 22 rimfire interchangeablity was a big deal?

    Also, I am really startled that S&W made 14,956 Model 53s (thanks, whatnickname). That was either some mighty wishful thinking, or a lot of people were looking for novelty at the time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  21. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    It was a fad of sorts. Don’t know for certain, but I suspect that the 256 Win Mag suffered some of the same problems the 22 Jet suffered. Had it not, I believe that Ruger would have chambered it in the Blackhawk rather than going to the trouble and expense of doing the R&D on the 256 Hawkeye. Bottom line is that high pressure, high velocity rounds just don’t work well in revolvers. The one notable exception is perhaps the 327 Federal Magnum. But that is a straight-walled case which probably makes all the difference.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
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  22. Bob Meyer

    Bob Meyer Member

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    I finally gave up and scoped my gun. A mount cost me $6.75 from Numrich and $70 for a Bushnell Phantom II scope from Ebay. Now it will shoot 1/2" groups at 25 yards, and it shoots to point of aim.
     
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  23. Terry G

    Terry G Member

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    This discussion reminded me of a (Rich) guy I knew way back when. He bought every S&W revolver and Semi-Automatic that he could get his hands on. He was just over joyed to get the .22 Jet. His did what other have said. Two or three rounds and it would lock up. He sent it back to S&W and they returned it "repaired". Now one shot would lock it up. Back to S&W and returned with free .22 LR inserts?? Still locked up and the .22 inserts would only work about half the time. Last I heard he had returned the gun to S&W and go a refund.
     
  24. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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  25. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    A long time ago, my brother bought a new one with an 8 3/8" barrel and having the optional .22rf cylinder. I really wanted this revolver but he sold/traded it before I got a chance at it. Still hate him. :cuss:
     
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