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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2012 Digital Edition - Page 114
the insider TM roy HUNtINGtoN new S&W 1917 on top with roy’s snubbie project gun below. he built it on a Brazilian contract 1917 in the early 1980s and found it shoots as well as the new one. At 15 yards, the cut-down 1917 shot this 1.85" group with Black hills 230 rn lead reloads. that main group is only 1.25"! targets are Birchwood casey Shoot-in-c. Cut Down i n the late 1970s I spotted a cut-down S&W 1917 .45 ACP revolver in a gun book that really caught my eye. This was long before there were any factory shortbarreled big-bore revolvers, so if you wanted such a thing, you had to make one. Someone had taken a beater military 1917, cut the barrel to about 2.5", then hard-chromed it. They put a set of those early Pachmayr rubber grips on it, and to my eyes, had a perfect serious big-bore revolver for self-defense. Plus, it just looked cool. But in those days, even beater 1917s were hard to come by, and I moved on in life without making that dream come true. Then the angels sang, and in the early 1980s, someone advertising in While you can shoot .45 AcP without moon clips, it’s easier to use Auto rim cases or moon clips so you can eject the empties. Big-Bore Maybe a benefit of the shallow rifling is it doesn’t tend to throw birdshot all over. the 3" gun delivered this tight group from a cci .45 AcP shot round at about 3 yards. Perfect snake, rat or who knows what medicine? Shotgun News started to bring in Brazilian S&W 1917 contract revolvers. As I recall, they were made by S&W for Brazil in the 1930s, but don’t hold me to that. They were cheap too, around $150. They didn’t “grade” them so you took your chances. I bought three. One was fairly nice, one was okay and one was pretty tired, with pitting on the cylinder and outside of the barrel. But, the bore was shiny and the action decent. Looking them over, I decided my gunsmithing skills warranted I experiment on the beater — and save the better ones for later projects. While the gun giving me the idea had a 2.5" barrel, it also meant a good deal of work to make that happen. After measuring, I found if I nipped the barrel off right in front of the front ejector rod locking bolt housing (on the underside of the barrel), it would measure right at 3" to the rear of the forcing cone. Good enough for me, and saved me no-end of work shortening the ejector rod, welding the housing back on and such. A minute or two with a hacksaw and the “pocket” .45 started to happen. I’ve been a life-long hobby gunsmith and have amassed a good selection of tools. Even back then, I had a bead185 hornady FtX 919 977 buff. bore 255 lswC ar 841 887 dt 255 lswC ar 687 761 VeloCitY in Fps theinsider load 3" bbl 5.5" bbl blaster, jewelling tools, drill press, belt sander/grinder and plenty of other hand tools. So, with some judicious thought, and even more careful handwork, it came together. The front sight was a problem, but I scrounged a generic one, filed/sanded it to fit the barrel contour, then silver-soldered it to the barrel. I also put a screw in it to fill the screw hole, just for looks. I also carefully widened the rear groove, squaring it up to fit the front blade width. I slicked up the action (note the amateur jewelling on the hammer and trigger … just had to try that), used different grits of wet or dry paper to work out some of the pitting (but most were too deep so stopped before I got into trouble), then bead-blasted the frame and parts. I was experimenting with doing Parkerizing then, thanks to chemicals from Brownells (it’s actually easy to do — you should try it), so the blasted gun went into the pot. About ten minutes later everything was grey. After reassembling it I hefted it and thought, “Hey, this is just as I imagined it would feel.” I opted to leave the smaller standard grips, but when fired, it does tend to bite at the web of your hand. After some test firing and lowering the front Corbon asYm blk.hills sight some, my new dpX 185 230 FmC 230 lrn .45 ACP pocketpounder was done. 977 716 846 1,049 727 877 Continued on page 112 114 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2012