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Smith & Wesson N Frame .22 RF ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by mnrivrat, Jun 6, 2006.

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  1. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    When a young man I worked for a fellow who kept a handgun in his pick-up truck. I found this out when running an errand with his truck one day and seeing the butt sticking out of a pocket in the door panel. Curious as to what it was I took a look.

    Looking at the firearm I recall it having a massive frame size and cylinder for a .22 cal rimfire and remember it still as being an N - Frame S&W .

    Does anyone know wether S&W ever cataloged a .22 RF in the N-Frame ?
     
  2. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Not to my knowledge, J and K frames only.
     
  3. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    Could the gun have been a Dan Wesson .22?
     
  4. Huskerz85

    Huskerz85 Member

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    N frame seems pretty big for something like a .22........but hey, who knows??
     
  5. steveracer

    steveracer Member

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    Isn't the 617 an L-frame?

    I think that's the current "big" .22lr
     
  6. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    I am aware of one N frame .22 that was made. In the 1930s someone with some money to spend ordered a pair of Registered Magnums from S&W and specified that one be made in .22 Long Rifle rather than .357 Magnum. I don't know if this pair is still together in the same collection but the .22 RM is known to be the hands of a very high-end collector (I can't even imagine what this gun is worth) who prefers to not let his name be made public.

    I assume that the .22 revolver you saw wasn't an N frame S&W.
     
  7. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Been over 40 years since I seen that revolver but I have always remembered it very well as it stood out like a sore thumb back then.

    I have always had it in back of my mind as a custom built , or special order S&W and knew well at the time it was something unusual. No doubt to it being an N - Frame ,or a S&W in .22 RF . I remember that clearly.

    The question is wether it was factory produced and there are others, or wether it was factory built on special order, or wether it was a modified custom gun ?

    Edited: PS , SaxonPig , Seems like you have at least varified that S&W would make one on special order .
     
  8. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Somebody mentioned when this subject came up before that there were possible "lunch box" guns spirited out of the factory. A S&W machinist could certainly build such a weapon using an N frame.
     
  9. Bqnestle

    Bqnestle Member

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    I'm dying to try and build one like that. Just need a gun to start on.

    What I'd really like to do is build a .22RF on an X Frame. How many rounds could you stuff into that size cylinder????
     
  10. deadin

    deadin Member

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    Over the years I've seen a number of M&P's (K-Frames) that had been sleeved (both barrel and cylinder) to .22 LRRF. No reason someone couldn't have done this to a N-Frame.
    Other than this, the one Saxon mentioned is that only one I've ever heard of that came from the factory.

    Dean
     
  11. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    Like I said, I have heard of one (1) N frame produced by the factory on special order. This would have been a very costly proposition and I doubt that many (so far only one I know of) shooters would be interested in such a gun.

    It's not impossible that a gunsmith could convert an N frame to .22 but since no proper cylinders or barrels are available it would require sleeving or lining the barrel and chambers. I'm not sure why anyone would bother or want one enough to pay the very high cost of such work. And if someone did go to this much trouble and great expense would they then throw this gun under the seat of their truck?

    It just makes no sense. Not impossible you saw an N frame .22, but I suspect it's much, much more likely that you simply recall incorrectly.

    Could you have seen a Colt rather than a S&W? Colt made some large-frame revolvers in .22 caliber. The Officers Model and Offical Police are big guns and were both offered in .22 caliber.
     
  12. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    While I believe my recall on this gun is fully correct, I suppose there is always a chance it is flawed. I've been around firearms all my life however and clearly know the differences - the firearm was like I said "unusual" to me then to a point of having good recall as to it's make, frame size, etc.

    It belonged to an older person of some means and sat comfortably in a side pocket on the left door panel (not thrown under the seat or mistreated).

    It was in notably used condition but not abused and could have very likely been a 1930's vintage gun. I had suspected that it was a special order and my guess is , that is still possible even if unlikely . In the 1930's I believe most businesses were very pleased to get any order , and accomidated them . If they made one for sure, there is at least some chance they made a second one or two as long as the tooling was set up to produce the unique parts ?

    I don't recall cylinder or barrel sleeves, but that is also possible. Overall the gun left vivid memories because of the fact it was not an ordinary firearm - imagine a six shot N-frame cylinder in .22 RF and you get the picture. Significantly out of place makes for that vivid recall.

    At any rate - thanks for all the thoughts regarding this firearm. I was hoping that someone had definitive knowledge of a small run of guns made in this configeration , but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm sure that Charlie is long gone now and his daughter Beth either has this gun or it is long gone to someone else after all this time.. I was just curious .
     
  13. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    An N-frame 22 would weigh a ton!

    There was only ONE N-frame .22 rimfire ever produced. That was Registered Magnum #1591 (out of 5224) produced with a 8-3/8" barrel.
    That would have been somewhere around 1936.



    There were TWO alloy N-frame .22 Hornet CENTERFIRE revolvers made as an experiment in 1955.

    Did the gun you recall have fixed or adjustable sights?
    There is the rare Model 45 .22 M&P. A fixed sight 4" barrel K-frame. Now they have a rather large look to them.
    They were primarily made for the US Post Office but offered for sale to Police Departments as a traing gun.
     
  14. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I have discussed doing this just for fun. Since there is only one 22RF N frame, why not make it 2?

    The problem is the costs. You can either take a nice OD (I would not dare kill a Registered for such a lark) and then either sleeve it or have a new cylinder made and then sleeve the barrel. Not cheap by any stretch. The few smiths I talked to about the concept said it would be "quite" expensive.

    I keep looking for a really nice prewar 38/44 Outdoorsman that has some cosmetic problems which needs a refinish then maybe I will blow my bonus some year just to make one.

    I keep thinking about it....
     
  15. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    The firearm I mentioned was indeed the old 38/44 frame .

    Viewing the responses from the knowledgable people here it was apparently a sleeved conversion rather than a factory made firearm. The other notable part of this gun was the short barrel where the under lug came right to the end . Looking at the 38/44's I would say it was likely the scarce 3&1/2 inch barrel length as well.

    It was an impressive .22 RF revolver and I have never seen another . I don't recall ever seeing the short barrel standard 38/44 in the 40 years since.

    Anyway - a curiosity I thought I would share.
     
  16. kel

    kel Member

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    Maybe this is the beer speaking, but imagine how cool this would be.
    An X-frame .22 or .22 mag revolver, but have multiple barrels, 2 or 3, and stagger the chambers in the thick cylinder so the action of pulling the trigger lines up one of the 3 barrels with one of the rows of chambers in the cylinder. Find some way to angle the firing pin differently so it points to the correct cylinder. Whammo, 30 shot .22LR revolver! The cylinder notches would be tiny I'll bet.

    The only catch, is how do you synchronize the angle of the firing pin (so it points to the correct chamber) with the chamber that is actually lined up a barrel at any given point. There would need to be some mechanism on the end of the cylinder that would angle the firing pin towards the correct chamber.

    Lots of small parts, and hellishly complicated, but cool to think about.
     
  17. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    kel,

    Actualy you frame mount the firing pin for each barrel and then make the indexing mechanizim simular to the Remington/Davis (O/U derringer) system to fire one barrel and then the other.

    But I agree - maybe it is the beer talking , and hope your hangover is mild ! LOL !!
     
  18. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    Kel, did you mean something like this?
    [​IMG]
    We discussed it in this thread.

    If you were designing a rimfire version from the ground up you could use a rectangular firing pin located in a position that it would strike the bottome edge of the rim for the cartridges alligned with the upper barrel and the upper rim for those firing through the bottom barrel.


    The problem with converting an existing N-frame revolver into a .22 rimfire is the location of the firing pin. You'd need to plug the existing hol and machine a new firing pin hole and corosponding channel.
    You'd also have to make a new firing pin/hammer nose but that would be the simple part.

    If course you could convert it to a dual frame mounted firing pin setup like S&W used in the old Model 53 and also make a .22 Jet cylinder for it.

    And don't forget that an N-frame converted to .22 rimflre, even using a .38 tapered barrel, would weigh a considerable amount.



    mnrivrat, have you uncovered more information that caused you to revise your recollection of the mystery revolver?
     
  19. VonFatman

    VonFatman Member

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    My Model 53 with it's .22 RF cylinder sure looks large!

    Bob
     
  20. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    The Heavy Duty 38/44 was never made with a 3.5" barrel. So if this is what you saw, somebody had the revolver's barrel and cylinder sleeved to 22 and the barrel shortened. The rim fire cartridge also requires relocating the firing pin and this means welding the frame and drilling a new firing pin hole and reshaping the pin of the hammer for a quick fix or milling the frame for a frame-mounted firing pin (like the factory does it). And then after all this trouble and expense he kept it under the seat of his pick-up truck.

    Ooooooo K.

    PS: Can you imagine how much this gun would weigh? An N frame with only 22 caliber holes through the barrel and chambers would be a real hefty gun.

    PPS: I became enamored with the idea of having a K frame M&P in .22 Long Rifle (the rare Model 45) and discussed such a conversion on a .38 M&P with a talented gunsmith. He said it would be about $1500 over the price of the gun used for the conversion. I had to pass but there are guys with money to make dreams come true so maybe somebody spent 5 times the value of a 38/44 to create a one of a kind 22 but I still think it doesn't make sense and I am sure you recall incorrectly. It happens to all of us.
     
  21. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Alright - it's been a long time and I am not going to dance on a stack of bibles that it wasn't a 4 inch rather than a 3&1/2 inch. With that said you might want to be careful with that word "never" as S&W did indeed make some of the 38/44's with a 3&1/2 inch barrel length. You just have to look behond the bluebook of gun values to find that information.

    Not sure where you got that from other than another poster who also didn't read my original post very well.

    I don't have to imagine it - the weight was strikingly memorable , as well as the small chambers in that huge cyclinder.

    I'm guessing here but I think the cost would have been much lower during the depression of the 1930's - you think that might be right ? & yes I know, money was hard to come by for most then , even if it was a lot cheaper.

    Perhaps , but then again my recall is pretty good , and like the 3&1/2 inch barrel model that S&W "never" made , just perhaps , out there somewhere ,is an old S&W 38/44 converted to .22 RF. :)
     
  22. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Model 10 M&P 22 caliber.

    That would be no big thing, unless you have a yen for a fixed sighted 22 K frame. The K22 Model 17 - 617 already exists. Same as a .38 - .357 in 22 caliber, with adj sights.
     
  23. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    You're right about my misreading the storage aspect. For some reason I thought you said it was under the seat. Mea culpa.

    The dollar amounts I cited would be relative. Sure the gunsmithing would be less back then but so too would be the price of the gun. But I think the ratio of maybe 4 or 5 to 1 versus gun value is about right. How many people would spend 4 or 5 times the value of a revolver to have it converted to a .22 caliber? A heavy, fixed-sight .22 at that? How useful would such a gun be to justify the expense?

    If you are relying on the Bluebook of Gun Values for info please be aware that this publication is famous for its many goofs. I personally notified them of the error when they printed that the S&W M19 with the 2.5" barrel was never made in nickel. I've never seen nor heard of anyone who has seen an HD with less than a 4" barrel but I did check some other sources and apparently some special order HDs were made in 3.5" so I stand corrected. Roy Jinks calls them "extremely rare." Lucky you for running into so many rare guns. First a .22 N frame of which only one was previously known to exist and then an extrememly rare 3.5" HD. Wait, these were the same gun, weren't they? Wow.

    So we have an extremely rare 3.5" HD in a one of a kind caliber riding around in the door panel of a pick-up truck? I guess stranger things have happened (like Paris Hilton actually graduating from high school) but you can understand how one might be just a tad incredulous, no? I still think it highly unlikely that anyone would create such a pistol and it's more likely that you simply remember the gun as something it wasn't.

    But if there really is a 3.5" .22 caliber HD out there it would be really cool to have.
     
  24. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    The only N frame .22 S&W ever made was an experimental alloy framed N frame in the .22 Jet cartridge.

    No N frames chambered in .22 LR were ever factory production.

    Colt did produce some .22 LR guns in their larger frames.

    You may want to ease by the S&W forum and ask there though.

    tipoc
     
  25. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    Tipoc,

    One Registered Magnum (registration number 1591) was made in 22 LR with a 8 3/8" barrel. It was a mate to another one in 357 magnum.

    Please refer to the top paragraph, page 98, 2nd edition of the S&W standard catalog.

    So yes, a 22 long rifle N frame has been made, and frankly I want to make another. It is understood that this gun still exists and is the hands of an S&W collector currently.
     
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