Serious Smith & Wessons
Deluxe First Edition, 2015
Serious Smith & Wessons is the third volume in our ongoing series on S&W revolvers. The series began with in 2012 with our 282-page title MAGNUM - The S&W .357 Magnum Phenomenon, followed in 2013 by the 502-page Volume II, titled The K-Frame Revolver. In order to facilitate reference within the series, the chapter, page and figure numbers run sequentially throughout all three volumes.
We begin with the small series of pre-production N-frame prototypes chambered for the rimmed-case version of the experimental Frankford Arsenal "Model 1906" .45 caliber cartridge, known at the factory as the ".45 S&VV Special". These were followed by another pre-production N-frame series of twelve .44 Special "Club Guns".
The First Model .44 Hand Ejector (the "New Century" or "Triple Lock"), introduced commercially in 1908, has long been considered by many to be "the finest double-action revolver in existence".
In 1915 the Triple Lock was superseded by the Second Model Hand Ejector, which did away with the third locking feature and the enclosed ejector rod. Most of these were procured for military use during WWI, in the British and Canadian ".455 Government Model" configuČration, or as the .45 ACP U.S. Model 1917.
The Third Model (the "Model of 1926") resurrected the distinctive ejector rod housing, and formed the basis for N-frames chambered for the beefed-up .38 Special High Velocity (.38/44) cartridge and the .357 Magnum, introduced during the nineteen-thirties.
The story continues with the military use of the Model 1917 during WWII, followed by the introduction of the new short-action N-frames (circa 1950), and the .44 Magnum, introduced in the mid-1950s.
Mention of the .44 Magnum and the later .41 Magnum, developed in 1963, introduces Elmer Keith, who was a main driving force behind both programs. From the March, 2015 auction of items from the Elmer Keith Estate we depict a number of Keith's personal N-frames, as well as his highly-modified "Number Five", the ultimate Colt Single Action.
The watershed change from model names to numbers was announced in 1957, and the firm has since introduced an ever-increasing array of new N-frame models, many constructed from stainless steel and lightweight, space-age alloys.
Most recently the N-frame lineup has been augmented by the bone-crushing S&W .460 and .500 Magnums, built on the mammoth stainless steel X-frame, the firm's largest.
Serious Smith & Wessons concludes with a comprehensive Index of all three volumes in the series.
The K-Frame Revolver - The S&W Phenomenon, Volume II
Deluxe First Edition, 2013
This book is a follow-on to our 282-page title MAGNUM - The S&W .357 Magnum Phenomenon, published in 2012.
Beginning with an introductory thumbnail history of Smith & Wesson, including all the changes in corporate ownership to date, the book follows the K-frame through the decades since its introduction in 1899, with chapters on Developments Prior to World War I; Contemporary Evaluations, taken from the author's extensive collection of early arms-oriented periodicals; The Scourge of "Those Spanish Imitations" during the 1920s; and The Depression of the 1930s, when the first K-22 was introduced. A full chapter on The K-Frame During WWII includes new material on the 9mm Light Rifle, the .38/200 Revolver, made in unprecedented quantities for British and Commonwealth forces (including an experimental 9mm version), and the U.S. Victory Model. The short-lived prewar short-action K-22 "Masterpiece" was introduced, while later, in 1944, a fatal accident involving a Navy Victory Model mandated the crash development of a new, more positive hammer safety.
Demand from police and civilian shooters alike surged in the "K-Frame Boom" after WWII, and many ex-wartime .38/200s and Victory Models were converted for civilian sale, or were specifically marked for issue to police forces in Occupied Germany. New commercial target models and the alloy-frame "Airweight" were introduced, and a little-known copy of the M&P was produced in limited numbers in Israel, in 9mm Parabellum caliber.
Numbers Replaced Names in 1957, with the standard M&P leading the way as the Model 10. The Airweight Model 12 was used by the Swedish Air Force, and a special version was produced for the French police with a manual safety on the sideplate. The .357 Magnum chambering was added, first in the Combat Magnum (Model 19) and then in the fixed-sight Model 13. Stainless steel K-frames were introduced in 1970, and the special Model 547, in 9mm caliber, was produced for the French Gendarmerie. Many other recent K-frame models are depicted and discussed, including the Scandium-alloy Model 315 Nightguard.
A multi-chapter Retrospective includes Features of the K-Frame; Competitors of the M&P from U.S. and foreign makers; Famous Users (including, among others, Elmer Keith, Ed McGivern, Herrmann Goring, Col. Rex Applegate, Bill Jordan, and Ian Fleming); Postwar Military Use of the K-Frame, including the USAF M13 "Aircrewman" and military cartridges and accessories; Unusual Variations and Rarities, including some spectacular engraved examples; Custom Features (stocks, sights, barrels, revolver safeties, etc.); and Commercial Accessories (ammunition, holsters, boxes and cases). The book concludes with a Bibliography and a comprehensive Index of this book and our earlier title MAGNUM.
MAGNUM - The S&W .357 Magnum Phenomenon
Deluxe First Edition, 2012
Today, the most sought-after versions of the Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver are the pre-war Registered and non-registered models, and these are given pride of place in the first 16 of this book's 24 chapters, plus a detailed, 28-page serial number Database.
The .357 Magnum was the result of the two-pronged development of a new revolver and a new cartridge. The .38 S&W Special cartridge was developed to counter the shorter, weaker .38 Colt round, which was the government issue handgun cartridge at the turn of the 20th century.
Then in 1929 the Colt .38 Super automatic threatened the long-established popularity of the .38 Special M&P revolver as an arm of choice for law enforcement. This led to the introduction of a pair of new .38 caliber S&W revolvers called the Heavy Duty and the Outdoorsman's, both built on the massive N frame used for the .44 Hand Ejector series, and firing a more powerful cartridge called the “.38/44 S&W Special”.
The next step was a cartridge with even more pressure, velocity and power, which could well have been hazardous to fire in ordinary revolvers. The solution was to lengthen the .38 Special case by 1/10", resulting in a new round which was christened the .357 Magnum. The N-frame 357 Magnum revolver was announced, with deliveries beginning on April 8, 1935.
Coverage of the modern S&W .357 Magnums begins with the rare post-war long-action “transition” model. The new short-action Magnum was introduced in 1950, and numbers replaced names in 1957, the Magnum becoming the Model 27. K-frame Model 19 “Combat Magnums” were introduced in 1956; the first stainless steel Magnums in 1970; the new stronger L-frame Magnums in 1981; and finally, Magnums with cylinders made of titanium and frames made of exotic scandium-aluminum alloy. Today, tiny lightweight J-frame Magnums are available, weighing well under a pound.
Custom Magnums from the S&W Performance Center, and some interesting Magnums of other makes, both domestic and foreign, are also discussed and depicted.
German Universal Machineguns, Volume II
Deluxe First Edition, 2012
Ten years ago, almost to the day, the First Edition of Folke Myrvang's MG34 MG42, German Universal Machineguns was published, following a long period of research and writing. This book was well received and favourably reviewed, and the hefty first printing sold out in a gratifyingly short period.
Volume I has been reissued as it was, and is now accompanied by this totally new and even larger second volume full of previously unpublished information. The two volumes together contain nearly a thousand pages and over 1,600 illustrations. The pagination and figure numbering have been arranged to run sequentially, which means that Volume II picks up exactly where Volume I left off, and there is a comprehensive Index in the back of Volume II which covers both volumes.
Volume II includes documented information about Dr Werner Gruner, the inventor of both the MG42 and the MG45, and the other German weapons specialists who were “invited” to live and work in Soviet Russia for several years after the war. Some of this material, which is of great interest to all students of small arms, was apparently stolen from the secret weapons factory in Izhevsk many years ago. Also included is a transcript of the interview which Dr Gruner granted to the Dresden Military Museum in 1991, only a few years before his death.
As an aid to collectors attempting to avoid the rising tide of fakes and “reproductions” we offer in these two volumes the most comprehensive and authoritative study of German machinegun models, components and accessories ever published, a study of which will materially aid in the search for genuine artefacts of lasting value.
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