American Rifleman - April 2021 - 60

U. S. MODEL OF 1917 REVOLVER

General John
Pershing reviews
troops during
World War I.
The majority of
soldiers in the
photo have U.S.
M1917 revolvers
in U.S. Model
1909 holsters.

60

In order to reduce supply and logistical problems, it was mandatory that any revolvers produced
under military contract be chambered for the
standard .45 ACP cartridge, but neither company
had yet offered its revolvers in that chambering. To
accommodate the rimless .45 ACP, it was necessary
to devise some method of positioning cartridges in
the cylinder. Otherwise, the rimless cartridges could
not be fired or ejected from the cylinders that were
originally designed for rimmed cartridges. Smith
& Wesson re-designed its cylinders to incorporate
a shoulder to hold the .45 ACP round in place so it
could be fired, but the expended cases had to be
manually extracted. To solve this problem, S&W
devised an ingenious " half-moon " sheet metal clip
that held three cartridges, each properly positioned
in the cylinder. Two of the clips were loaded into
the cylinder and the expended cases could be easily ejected. Unlike the S&W revolver, the Colt gun
did not initially incorporate the shoulder, which
required the " half-moon " clips be used for both
firing and ejecting the rounds. An Ordnance Dept.
report described the " half-moon " clips:

April 2021

" A semi-circular clip holding three
cartridges, permitted the use of the rimless automatic cartridges in the M1917
Revolver. Without the clip, fired cartridges
could not be ejected simultaneously from
all six chambers as with the rim type
.45 Colt Cartridge. By using these clips,
instead of the slower operation of inserting six cartridges singly, the revolvers' rate
of fire was materially increased. "
The Colt and S&W revolvers were adopted as
the " Model of 1917. " As was the case with the
products of both companies, the M1917 revolvers
were well-made and dependable. Except for the
hammers and triggers, the external metal parts
were blued. As an accommodation to an increased
production rate, the final polishing was eventually
omitted on the Colt-made revolvers, and the result
was a " brushed blue " finish. The revolvers made by
both firms were fitted with smooth walnut stocks
and a lanyard ring. The nomenclature markings
and serial number were stamped on the butt.	

american rifleman

U.S. Army photo



American Rifleman - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - April 2021

Contents
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American Rifleman - April 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - April 2021 - 1
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