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Smith and Wesson Model 40 Light Rifle

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by ammoguy100, May 21, 2017.

  1. ammoguy100

    ammoguy100 Member

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    Hi There! I recently came across a Smith and Wesson Model 40 Light Rifle and it seems to be a real oddity in the firearm world. Before you get too excited, the rifle is in VERY rough shape and is missing most of the internal parts and stock. I was wondering in anyone has any information about this model that isn't readily available on the internet. There is a bit of information that comes up on Google and it is fascinating! The SN is 1497 and it is a MK1. Is there any chance that this could have made it overseas? It would be hard to believe that this rifle was released to the public in 1975 and this much neglect could have happened in that short time. Is there any value to this as it stands?
     

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  2. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Forgotten Weapons did a very good information video on them.

    Many were tossed overboard post WW2 when England decided invasion wasn't happening after all.
     
  3. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Smith & Wesson Model 1940 Light Rifle
    In 1939 the British gov't asked Smith & Wesson to design a 9mm light rifle for the British military. The design was developed in the US using commercial 9mm Luger ammo. The more powerful British 9mm service ammo broke several receivers within 1000 rounds of testing. The contract was cancelled after 60 prototypes, 750 Mark Is, and 200 Mark IIs with strengthened receivers. Of 1010 known examples, few were ever issued for military service. The gun apparently did not get past the proving ground test stage. At the end of the war, five examples were placed in UK military museums and the rest were destroyed or dumped at sea.
    The buttstock was Tennite plastic, the gun fired semi-auto-only (one shot per trigger pull) even though it generally resembled a submachinegun. The forward grip was metal and housed the magazine and the cartridge ejection chute. The enclosed downward ejection system kept out dirt, but made clearing a jam difficult.
    Model 1940 Light Rifle
    Type: Semi-Automatic Carbine
    Place of origin: United States
    Production history:
    Designer: Edward S. Pomeroy
    Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
    Specifications:
    Weight: 9 pounds (4 kg)
    Length: 32 inches (81 cm)
    Barrel length: 9.75 inches (25 cm)
    Cartridge: 9×19mm Parabellum
    Action: Blowback, Open Bolt
    Feed system: 20-round box magazine
    At 9 pounds it was pretty heavy for a "light rifle".

    "A Bad Investment: S&W Model 1940 Light Rifle"
    by Bruce Canfield - American Rifleman, Wednesday, October 17, 2012
    https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2012/10/17/a-bad-investment-sw-model-1940-light-rifle/
    US legality: ATF Curio & Relics List lists the "Smith & Wesson, model 40, Light Rifle, caliber 9mm parabellum" as a Curio & Relic, more likely to be valued as a collectible than as a weapon. NFA rules apply: they are still as Short Barrel Rifles (SBS) and open-bolt semi-auto theoretically convertible to full-auto.
    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/g...r-relics-list-1972-2007-atf-p-530011/download
     
    243winxb likes this.
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    A lot more of these than were thought to be extant came out of the woodwork after being declared C&R. A collector here had one of each, Mk I and Mk II, in excellent condition, and he wasn't the only one.
    The project was a huge money loser for S&W. Fortunately the British were making cheap STEN guns for the job and agreed to take revolvers instead of demanding their money back.
     
  5. ammoguy100

    ammoguy100 Member

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    Is there any value to one is this condition?
     
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    There is SOME value to anything. One suggestion is that if the missing parts are not obvious, a military museum might well want it for display since they are pretty rare. If you donate the gun, your tax deduction can be "flexible."

    I hadn't looked at the pictures before replying, but even so, I think that relic could be made into a decent display piece.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  7. ammoguy100

    ammoguy100 Member

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    So, I got a letter back from Roy Jinks from the Smith & Wesson historical society and, he says that this serial number was never assembled and it was destroyed and buried. I can't tell if this makes him more or less value but, it sure is interesting! Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  8. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    It certainly looks to haven been buried at some point.

    That'd explain the condition and missing parts for sure.
     
  9. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Someone didn't bury it very deep or 'destroy' it much.
     
  10. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Very cool, but if it fired from an open bolt NFA rules would apply and it would be highly Verboten to even own the receiver....and now that you've put it on the internet, your best bet is to cut it in half right now and document the destruction with many good pictures!
     
  11. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    I think that existing semiauto open bolt rifles are exempt.
     

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