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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2 colt 1917's one is an army model, the other is some later new service model, both are basically identical except for the lanyard rings, grips and markings.

Should either or both of these require half moon clips? Both seem to hold the bullets in the right place without them and fire with or without, but the extractor thing doesn't punch the spent shells out without the clip to hit.

Also the bullets are an absolute pain in the ass to get in and out of the clips, the clips dont stretch enough to easily clip on the bullet, but are loose enough when on that any filing on the clips would make the bullets fall out I think. Is this a minor issue with the brand of ammo or the clips or is there a trick or something?

Also one of the guns has the little metal doughnut that the firing pin goes through getting bashed out every time the hammer comes down, didn't even know it was removable till it go cocked funny and blocks the cylinder when theyres a round in it.
Plus the main pin inside the gun that everything revolves around either isnt pressed in well enough or isnt gettting enough support from the hole in the cover because it keeps getting crooked and gumming the action up, if i take the cover off and give it a whack back into its hole itll work fine for a little bit then get crooked again.
That gun also has a rusted barrel, I got the rust out but have to use a steel bore brush to do it, and the rust pitted the bore badly enough that though iam sure it would shoot, id like to find a better barrel for it. Assuming I do find one does this barrel unscrew or is it pressed into the frame, the diagrams either show threads or a ring shaped knurling but I cant tell which. Is it possible to redo the inside of a barrel? I'm sure it would cost but the gun has some sentimental value and it was free so anything less than the total cost is worth it.

And one last question it says in my book that serial 150k-301k were the army 1917's and 335k-336k were the 1000 civilian ones made from leftover military parts and 325k-356k being the late model new sercive with the checkered walnut grips and internal improvements.
Those serials fit for the army gun, but the other one I have has the checkered grips with the little metal horse emblem (original numbered grips) and no army markings and yet has a number in the 124,7xx range (forget exactly, i'll get it later if its important) so whats the deal, is the book just wrong or approximating about the start number of the later ones, and this is just a really early one?
 

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I have about a score of new services,but after seening those on the auction,I am glad that I am a "shooter",and getting on in years where I rarely buy an additional gun.

First,the moon clips should not be that hard to load. Don't pusing straight on,but use a 'rolling' motion to twist them in. There is a toll to help remove the empty cases from the clips,but a pencil end in the cases works well. BUT,I use the .45 Auto Rim cartridge,as I don't like the "clips")except on my S&W M-610,10 mm,which is "my companion gun"!

That gun NEEDS major gunsmithing. The firing pin busing needs to be replaced and "pressed in" to the frame professonally. Have no clue as to what you mean by the thing that every thing turns on,unless you mean the cylinder latch,that you can get at by removing the "cover",or the correct name, sideplate. This part and/or the cylinder ratchet needs replacing. TAKE IT,to a ginsmith-WHO IS EXPERIENCED on OLDER COLTs!!! dfariswheel can give you the name of a place in Pittsburg. I don't think Colt will work on older guns at their factory.

Your gun is NOT a "commercial 1917",and the book is not wrong about the serial numbers. This gun was made around 1916,and was 'reworked".I suspect that is was originally one of the over 55,000 N.Services made in 1914-16 in .455 Cailber for the British in W.W. One. The "true" Commercial 1917s have a barrel that are roll marked,"COLT MODEL 1917 .45 AUTO CTGE. but do have the wooden stocks."L shaped latched,no lanyard(or hole in butt) and the older style frame with narrow rear sight groove(not serrated on top strap).

Probably not what you wanted to hear!

Good Luck,and get that gun fixed,correctly.

P.S. New Service bbls. in .45 caliber frequently show up on eBay-BUT this too is a job for a gunsmith to replace it.

Bud
 

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In order:

The early Colt Model 1917 had straight through chambers, and you couldn't shoot .45 ACP ammo at all without the clips.
To correct this, the later production guns had "steps" in the chambers so that the .45 round could be fired, BUT the ejector won't eject the fired cases.

For many years, the cartridge companies made a special round for the Colt and S&W Model 1917 revolvers. This was th .45 Auto Rim cartridge.
It was just the .45 ACP with a rim to allow shooting in the 1917 without the half-moon clips.

To help in using the clips, Brownell's gunsmith supply, and other sources, sell a "De-mooning tool" that helps remove the cases from the clips.
http://www.brownells.com.

You need to have your revolver repaired by a Colt qualified gunsmith.
The firing pin bushing (the metal donut) MUST NOT be movable or fall out.
It's supposed to be secured with a special staking tool, and firing your gun with a loose bushing is dangerous to you, and could wreck the gun...... GET IT FIXED, or stop using it.

The main pin that everything revolves around is the cylinder latch pin.
This too MUST be repaired, or the gun can be damaged.
Again, GET IT FIXED, OR STOP USING IT.

Revolver barrels are screwed in.
THE BARREL IS NOT A HOME REPLACEABLE PART.
Revolver barrels MUST be carefully fitted and adjusted by a pistol smith with the RIGHT tooling.
The old trick of using a hammer handle to twist the frame off WILL ruin the gun.

Barrel replacement REQUIRES a special barrel vise, a special frame wrench WITH the correct inserts, a lathe to cut the barrel shoulder so the front sight is orientated correctly, a special (expensive) tool to set the barrel-cylinder gap, a special(expensive) tool to re-cut the barrel's forcing cone, a special gage to gage the forcing cone, etc.

MANY good revolvers are destroyed by trying to change out a barrel without the right tools and the know-how of exactly what needs to be done, and how to do it.

Finding a good 1917 barrel is "almost" impossible. They are all used up, and all you can get these days are after-market replacements from Gun Parts Corporation.

On grips, I'm no expert on the New Service or the 1917, but the real military issue 1917 had smooth walnut grips and NO medallion.
Commercial New Service guns had either hard black rubber (Gutta Percha) grips with molded-in checkering and the COLT name at the top, OR checkered walnut grips with Silver medallions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry I was unclear, I mean the pressed in pin that the hammer and a bunch of other junk dance around inside the gear case itself when the little side cover is off, the hole in the side cover isnt supporting it correctly and it keeps getting outa whack.

The gun probably wont be used, the other one shoots just fine. Since I got it ive stripped it down to the bare frame and barrel and replaced several small parts inside some of which were so rusted they came out with a punch and hammer and the latch pin and stud which were rusted into the cylinder, had to bust off the stud, and drill a hole where it went into the latch pin, then screw in a screw and grab it with a vice grips, then whack the vice grips with a hammer and out came the stupid stuck latch pin. Action all works now except for those pressed parts that keep trying to come out. Odd that they came out by accident (didnt try taking those out) when the rest was such a pita to get out.
I could probably shoot through the pitted barrel, its not that bad, but I just dont need to, just figured oh what the hell why not get it working. In retrospect I think this gun was originally dumped in a drawer and neglected because of those 2 parts coming loose. I remember seeing the doughnut half out when I got it.

Professional work is safer but seems to be highly over used, for the barrel, yes if I found one thats a gunsmith thing simply because I dont think I could get a proper gas seal between the cylinder and barrel and maintain barrel alignment at the same time (though I would probably check the old clearance with a feeler gauge and give it a shot anyways /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif ), but for all the small stuff its idiotically easy to fit used parts from the parts guys into them, most of the time they just fit without any fiddling at all.
If most people weren't so mechanically hopeless id reccomend more people do at least the little work themselves.
 

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Let me know when you're at the range so I can head the opposite direction /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
 

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if the hammer pin is loose in the frame i would retire the gun,use it as a wall hanger if it holds sentimental value. fireing the gun as it is sounds very risky, remember you can get another gun but eyes, fingers ect are hard to come by and quite expensive. good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am agreeing, with the barrel so pitted inside its not worth it, outside is still really nice, would be collectible condition if the inside was good, almost all the blue and really good original grips are still there. If another barrel turns up some day ill take it in and have everything done at once.

I have two after all and the other is cosmetically wore out and mechanically pretty good so its a better shooter.

And i'm not as terrible as I sound with safety, I just love saying things in such a way as to give people fits I think.

Relax, its only a gun. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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I have an after-market barrel for a 1917 New Service that has never been put on a gun. I bought it off e-bay, then found an excellent original barrel, so used that instead. I'll check what I paid for it and let you know, if you are interested in it.

I'm lucky - my brother is a gunsmith so he put it on for me. My 1917 is simply a shooter, so he is also reblueing it for me.
 
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