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Happy New Year to all!

I have a beat-up old Brazilian Contract S&W 1917. It's got about 80% of its finish left, with about a half-dozen dings and scars. It's also a great shooter - the bore isn't perfect, but it's still pretty darn accurate for a nearly 70 year old revovler.

I would like to turn this into a trail gun, for hiking and horseback and such. I'd like to have the barrel shortened to 4 inches and the action improved, but frankly I don't care about cosmetics. It's likely to get a few more "beauty marks" from being used, so I don't want to bother restoring it.

So my question is simply this: Is it worth it, or would I end up spending as much as a new GP100 or Tracker?

Thanks for your time,
-- Larry
 

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If it's a good shooter why spoil it? Get a used GP 100. You should be able to find one for around $250.00.
 

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This depends on your skills, and the availability and pricing of local gunsmiths.

The barrel shortening and re-crowning shouldn't cost a fortune, but replacing the front sight may be "costy".

Tuning the action is a matter of buying a copy of Jerry kuhnhausen's S&W gunsmith's manual.
With a minimum of tools and the book, most people can improve a S&W action themselves. Tuning a S&W action with Kunhausen's instructions ain't rocket science.

A refinish can be as simple as one of Brownell's bake-on gun finishes. Some of these are tougher than any bluing, and are do-it-yourself jobs.

So, If you can get the barrel cut, crowned, and a front sight mounted at a good price, this is do-able at a low cost.
 

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I think I would polish up the action, cold blue the marks, and get a holster to carry the 5.5" barrel. A good job of barrel shortening is not cheap.
 

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LMLarsen,

I have (had) a revolver just like yours. I got the "bug" to turn it into what Skeeter Skelton called a "belly gun".

So, I had my friendly gunsmith shorten the barrel to 3" and crown it, add a new front sight, correct a little end shake, and re-blue it. It turned out great and I was really pleased with the work and with my "new" belly gun.

As dfarriswheel said, the trickiest part is the new front sight. After a couple of trys & trips back to the gunsmith, I now have a red fiber optic front sight.

I also have added Crimson Trace Lasergrips to it. Just as your revolver does, mine shoots great also.

Good shooting.

Rod.
 

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I also have one of these guns (except mine is a Colt 1917 in .45 ACP). It belonged to my Grandfather. I have been wondering how to put it to use but never thought of a trail gun. What a great idea. Until now it has been relegated to occasional plinking.

My question is could it be converted to .45 Colt? I think this would be a much more useful round for a trail gun. The barrel in mine is not in great shape either (pitting from rust and those old corrosive primers and never being cleaned in the decades before I got it from my father) but it still shoots pretty good. I dont really want to make any permanent alterations to the barrel so I wonder if I can just change out the cylinder and be good. Does anybody make cylinder in .45 Colt for the 1917?
 

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Larry, if you can do it you probably would save the most money. If you can't and would have a gunsmith do it I would say buy the used GP100s or Trackers you want because the labor involved would be the same as buying either of those at a good used price.
 
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