View Full Version : S&W DA 45 info needed

NC Rifleman
October 13, 2009, 10:50
Any Smith collectors on board? Went to collect some money last night from a lady I did some work for and after she wanted to haggle on the price I told her I might take guns in trade if she had any. She comes up with a decent looking .45acp Smith that looks just like a 1917 model but there are no US military markings on the butt or barrel like I have seen on some. It did have the provision for a lanyard loop but it was not present. Finish was about 60% deep polished bluing with some pitting on the backstrap of the grip. Cylinder has some rotational play. Serial number in the 181,5xx range. She said it was her father's when he was a deputy in the 40's and 50's. Trying to establish what a fair market value would be on it. Looked at some auction sites but all I found were the military ones. If there is anything else I should look for on it as far as markings or whatever, I'll go back and take another look. I'd be interested in taking it off her hands so if someone can help me put a price on it I'd appreciate it. Thanks

October 13, 2009, 11:30
It will only take you a few minutes to register at the S&W forum


You would really need to include some good quality photos
I would think this would be the best place for an honest appraisal and market. Forum members may get a little high on the appraisal(devout S&W fans) but the expertise and market estimate would be a good starting point.

The price on old Smiths seem to be coming down. It would appear that people are getting a little stretched on finances and starting to sell some of the old Smiths that have been in family for 20-40 years.

A number of Holy Grail Smiths such as the 15-3, 18-3, 34-1 2in and many more are becoming more available. Your Smith is not be in the same category but it is difficult for most to pass up the good shoot able stuff for a collector piece.

If you will go to the S&W forum from above address and go to
"S&W Hand Ejector: 1896 to 1961"
There will be a FAQ sticky that will help date the revolver
You will be able to tell if your revolver is a four screw or five screw
Just as a guess, I would say your revolver would be in the $400 price range

October 14, 2009, 07:55
A second vote for the Smith forum. Lot so info there.

Fr. Vince

October 14, 2009, 09:45
We can probably identify what you have with some small effort.

The first .45 ACP Hand Ejectors were for the U.S. Army and are called Hand Ejector Model of 1917's. They have barrels that measure 5-1/2 inches from the muzzle to the cylinder face. No ejector rod shroud. Lanyard ring on the bottom flat ofthe grip frame, or a hole for one. From September 1917 to November 1918, 163,476 were made for the Army. They have serial numbers running from "1" to "163476." All had smooth walnut stocks.

S&W then made essentially the same revolver for the civilian market. These had checkered walnut stocks with a metal medallion near the top of each side. They usually had a small S&W logo or seal on the left side of the frame below the cylinder latch.

In 1937, Brazil ordered 25,000 1917's for their military. These are like the earlier guns but have the Brazilian national seal on the right side of the frame, on the side plate. They were often delivered with the commercial checkered stocks as well as the smooth type. By the end of the run in October, 1938 the serial numbers got up to 209971.

The gun you are asking about could be a Brazilian gun or a U.S. commercial gun, judging from it's serial number. If it has a large seal on the right sideplate, it is probably Brazilian. If the sideplate is smooth but there is the smaller S&W seal on the left side of the frame, it is probably a commercial gun.

S&W made a lot of parts during WWI that were intended for the U.S. military guns but the war ended the Army's demand, and these parts were used clear up until 1949, to serial number 210872, when the .45 Hand Ejector 1917 was finally discontinued, replaced by a similar gun with a short throw action called the .45 Hand Ejector Model of 1950.

Nice U.S. Army 1917's with most of the original finish and stocks routinely sell for $1,000 and more now, but prices drop quickly as condition declines and alterations appear. A solid shooter, either Army, Brazilian or commercial, can run from $400 to $750 easily. The values take the greatest hist when the guns are badly pitted, barrels are shortened and they are chrome or nickel re-finished.

NC Rifleman
October 14, 2009, 11:20
Thanks for the info. I needed to get paid and didn't want to drag things out so I went back last night and made the deal. Went ahead and threw out a number I felt safe about and got the Smith. Problem is, I kind of like the old gun and may end up keeping it although I really would have preferred an all cash payment. Someone sent me a link to one just like it on Gunbroker - 1917 Commercial (http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=141756195)
Same as this one except that one in the auction has a lot more finish left on it and mine has eagle S34 proofs. Also noticed the one I have has Reg US Pat Off stamped on the back of the hammer and trigger. That one has a ser# 3,000 lower than mine and it has a letter dating it to 1925. Fortunately I'm into this one at a much better price. May try to get a letter on this one later if I hang on to it.