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25/17 45ACP Revolver


jmax
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I have a S&W 1917 Army that I had a gunsmith install adjustable sights many years ago. The job was rough and is why I took gun smithing classes at Trinidad State Junior College but that is another story. I will return to TSJC when the "Virus" problem is past next year to take a bluing class to refinish it. The original barrel had very shallow rifling and did not cast cast bullets at all. the barrel shank and threads are the same as a 1950 or 1955 target 45 ACP revolvers. Additionally modern triggers and hands can be fit to these old war horses. I found a 1955 6 1/2" barrel and fit it the the 1917 hence the name 25/17. The forcing cone needed to be recut, barrel cylinder gap was not square but the barrel indexed up just fine. I turned down the bulb end of the original ejector rod (RH Threads) and started load development. The chambers and throats were slightly pitted from WWI and were touched up wit a match reamer.This particular revolver does not like bullet shoulders in the chamber mouth but will shoot 230 gr RN bullets, a Bear Creek Supply 200 gr RNHB and the LEE 200 gr RNFP bullet well. Powders tried included TiteGroup, Unique, Clays and 231 with 231 yielding the best performance with both 200 gr bullets. The 200 gr RNFP is cast soft to improve barrel fit when the bullet strikes the forcing cone so it will distort and better fit the lands and grooves. 

 

Auto Rim brass yields a slightly better DA and is used for casual shooting but moon clips also work very well and are used when reloading becomes important. . This is due to headspace is at minimum of .093" and B/C gap is .006". The front sight is a bit low so it shoots high. I installed the lowest Smith rear sight blade but it prints alloy 1-1/2" high at 15 yards. If i hang half liter water bottles at 50 yards and sit the bottom go the bottle on top of the from sight I can hit them. 

 

 

25-17.jpeg

Edited by jmax
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Nice looking gun.  When I was a kid in the '70's I had a 1917 455 Webley that had been converted to 45 LC.  Great fun shooting the old cannon, even though it split every 5th case!  Much preferred it over a new S&W M28 I had.  Still have the M28, but traded the 1917 in for another gun I think it was a M27 3" barrel.  Traded the M27 off a month later also?  Ahhh Youth where was my mind then?

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This particular revolver was carried by my Grandfather in WWI where he was company scout in the First Expeditionary Force so I wanted to make it a good "modern" revolver for shooting. 

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1 hour ago, jmax said:

This particular revolver was carried by my Grandfather in WWI where he was company scout in the First Expeditionary Force so I wanted to make it a good "modern" revolver for shooting. 

That is even more inspiring and special.  Good Job.

Hope you can get the bluing done in the near future!

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On 5/10/2020 at 3:22 PM, jmax said:

I have a S&W 1917 Army that I had a gunsmith install adjustable sights many years ago. The job was rough and is why I took gun smithing classes at Trinidad State Junior College but that is another story. I will return to TSJC when the "Virus" problem is past next year to take a bluing class to refinish it. The original barrel had very shallow rifling and did not cast cast bullets at all. the barrel shank and threads are the same as a 1950 or 1955 target 45 ACP revolvers. Additionally modern triggers and hands can be fit to these old war horses. I found a 1955 6 1/2" barrel and fit it the the 1917 hence the name 25/17. The forcing cone needed to be recut, barrel cylinder gap was not square but the barrel indexed up just fine. I turned down the bulb end of the original ejector rod (RH Threads) and started load development. The chambers and throats were slightly pitted from WWI and were touched up wit a match reamer.This particular revolver does not like bullet shoulders in the chamber mouth but will shoot 230 gr RN bullets, a Bear Creek Supply 200 gr RNHB and the LEE 200 gr RNFP bullet well. Powders tried included TiteGroup, Unique, Clays and 231 with 231 yielding the best performance with both 200 gr bullets. The 200 gr RNFP is cast soft to improve barrel fit when the bullet strikes the forcing cone so it will distort and better fit the lands and grooves. 

 

Auto Rim brass yields a slightly better DA and is used for casual shooting but moon clips also work very well and are used when reloading becomes important. . This is due to headspace is at minimum of .093" and B/C gap is .006". The front sight is a bit low so it shoots high. I installed the lowest Smith rear sight blade but it prints alloy 1-1/2" high at 15 yards. If i hang half liter water bottles at 50 yards and sit the bottom go the bottle on top of the from sight I can hit them. 

 

 

25-17.jpeg

That is awesome!  I have an old shooter war horse with a 50k # that I'm about to start shooting in Bolt Action Military and ad hoc Wild Bunch with the local Cowboy Action group.  The first run is this Saturday.   The action is smooth but heavy.  Do you know how well these function with a lightened Bang spring ( when I can find one)?  Also, is it feasible to insert a brass bead into the existing  front blade?  Every so often I lose the front blade in the shine either side of the rear trench.   How much modifying was required to fit the hogues you have installed? All my other revos have an X frame Tamer,but the 1917 has a presentation grip:  the difference in feel is disconcerting.   

Thanks for sharing!

Jason

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Hammer and rebound springs are the same so no fitting should be required. Basically the only things that don’t fit in the lock work are the cylinder stop (5 screw design with a spring and plunger) rebound, thumb piece (split to fit the rear bolt), rear bolt and possibly the hammer that I have not checked. 

I had to take off the lanyard (drift out a pin) and no fitting required for the grips as the frame shape is the same.

I have been shooting black on black sights for a long time but a good  Gunsmith should be able to to install a brass bead for you.

 

Have fun with it as I have with mine. In fact I just got back from the range shooting it.

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