Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Smith and Wesson Model 1905, 4th Change

Wayne __________ put me on to this rather inexpensive Smith and Wesson Model 1905, 4th Change. That is what The Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson calls it. It is a 4", blued steel, 6-shot revolver chambered for the .32 Winchester Center Fire (aka .32-20). This one was made about 1916 before heat treatment of the cylinders began.

This one is particularly "finish challenged". The original blue is missing from most surfaces and it has been replaced with a hopeful mix of bare steel and oil/steelwool removed patches of former rust. What little original blue remains is only a tease to tempt you to think what might have been nearly 100 years ago. The grips, mostly intact but for one split toe, are worn mostly smooth from use. The barrel is loose/can be turned by hand but held mostly in the correct position by the pin.  To look at it it is a real dog of a revolver.

The good part is that nothing is broken, indeed the gun locks up tightly and timing is good. The bore is decent enough even if it is a bit challenged at the throat and the interiors of the chambers are better than just ok. Nobody ever got around to buffing the markings (or, as I once saw, the sights!) off the gun. The single-action trigger pull is crisp by my standards. The sights are fine indeed and hard to see but all there. The self-cocking trigger pull is long and heavy but manageable with practice. 

Last night's rather speedy foray at Mom's shooting facility (her pasture) gave me 3 hits in a row on a 6" square cinderblock face at about 75 yards, manually cocked off-hand. It had me fooled at first, I shot over the target! This thing shoots flat.

The ammunition used was a bonus. Several months ago, I bought several hundred rounds of .32 WCF from Jim ______ when he was moving from Missouri to Mozambique. Among those were a quantity of handloads using pistol primers. I intended to use the ammo in my 1894CL but discovered that the Marlin's firing pin was a hair short to ignite the pistol primers used in these loads. I have no such problem with this gun, and likely all that ammo will be shot up in this revolver.

Recoil is extremely mild as is the report. I bet this is one reason why the .32 WCF was so popular in both pistols and rifles "back in the day". Certainly it was worth what I have in it. I'm well pleased with this "ugly duckling".

Of course, Tam's is much nicer!


Jim's load was 3.0 gr. Bullseye under the Lyman 3118 bullet. It is a mild load that still has oomph enough to deform the cast bullets when fired into a soft dirt bank at 60 yards or so. It is also accurate enough to take on Mr. Groundhog should he come out to play. I was plinking with it some at Mom's today. Not too hard to hit stuff the rather fine sights notwithstanding. The light does have to be right though. Recoil is inconsequential with this load. I've got lots more to shoot!

I then found out that Xavier had a 1905 4th change .32 WCF with some interesting marks.  As you can see my gun does NOT have the "Made in U.S.A." mark and I suppose it should not be expected to.  It certainly isn't worth $400 either!

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