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S&W Model 17

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Smith & Wesson Model 17

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Smith & Wesson Model 17
Flickr - ~Steve Z~ - Smith ^ Wesson K22 Pre 17.jpg

Smith & Wesson Model 17 K-22 revolver
Type Double-action revolver
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designed 1947
Manufacturer Smith & Wesson
Variants Model 617
Barrel length 6 in (150 mm)

Cartridge .22 Long Rifle
Action Double-action revolver
Feed system 6 round (Model 17 or earlier 617), or 10 round (Later model 617) cylinder

The Smith & Wesson Model 17 is a six-shot double-actionrevolver chambered for .22 LR. It is built on Smith & Wesson‘s medium-sized K-frame.


Smith & Wesson’s Models 16 and 17 have their origins with the company’s Pre-World War 2 Hand Ejector series in the 1930s. These two revolver models debuted as companion pieces known as the Models K-32 and K-22 after World War 2. The K-32 Masterpiece (Model 16) debuted in 1935 and was chambered in .32 S&W Long caliber. Production ceased during World War 2 and the revolver was reintroduced in 1947 along with the K-22 Masterpiece (Model 17) in .22 Long Rifle caliber.[1]
The Model 16 was dropped from production in 1983 due to the declining popularity of the .32 S&W Long caliber and the Model 17 was discontinued in 1998 as the company focused less on blued steel revolvers at the time.[1]


The Model 17 has an adjustable rear sight and an un-pinned, fixed ramp or Patridge style front sight. It was designed as a target revolver and could be ordered from S&W with “The Three T’s” : Target Trigger, Target Hammer and Target Grips. Standard barrel lengths were 4″, 6″ and 8 3/8″. The 4″ model 17-6 is infrequently seen, as S&W produced the almost identical, 4″ barrelled, Model 18. The Model 18 was a Model 17 copy- except the 4″ barrel was tapered where the Model 17 4″ barrel was not. Many collectors believe the Model 17-6 with the 4″ non-tapered barrel was a bit of a production oddity, most probably put together from 6″ and 8 3/8″ barrels that were cut down to 4″ at the factory.[2]
In 1990, S&W also shipped the Model 17 featuring a 4″, 6″ or 8 3/8″ full under lug barrel. The “under lug” was a solid, blued steel, circular rod, cast as part of the barrel, and running under the barrel from the front of the cylinder yoke to the muzzle’s end.. The under lug not only enclosed the ejector rod, it also added considerable weight to the gun itself. The under lug model shipped with a special round butt wood grip that featured inletted finger grooves. The 4″ Model 17 Under Lug is infrequently seen and quite possibly manufactured as an afterthought using factory shortened 6″ or 8 3/8″ under lug barrels.


Model 18 & 617[edit]

The Smith & Wesson Model 18 (or the 22 Combat Masterpiece) was built on S&W’s “K” Frame, (Smith & Wesson’s designation for ‘medium frame’ firearms.) It was a tapered, 4-inch-barreled, double-action revolver, with adjustable open sights, chambered for the .22 long rifle Many believe the Model 18 was designed as a training weapon for law enforcement officials and others who primarily carried Model 10’s, 15’s and 19’s-.38 Special and .357 caliber revolvers. The Model 18 (like the Model 17) operates and handles in a similar fashion to these law enforcement models of the day; and closely shares the size, weight, grips, internal mechanism, and operation of several popular “K” framed revolvers like the Model 10 (.38 Cal.), Model 13 (.38 & .357 Cal.), Model 14 (.38 Cal.), Model 15 (.38 Cal.) and Model 19 (.38 & .357 Cal.) The only significant difference was the Model 18’s .22 caliber.
Model 617 – At the same time S&W introduced the Model 17 full Under Lug, (discontinued in 1998) they also began production of the .22 caliber Model 617. This is the stainless steel version of the blued steel Model 17 .22 LR, however all Model 617’s have full, Under Lug barrels. Offered in the same three barrel lengths as the Model 17, the 617 is still in current production and is shipped with rubber grips. The Model 617 is found with a six-shot or ten-shot, steel .22 LR cylinder. The only exception is the early production Model 617-2 which was made with a ten-shot, aluminium alloy .22 LR cylinder. Later “dash 2” 617’s were shipped with stainless steel cylinders.[3]

Model 53[edit]

Photograph of Model 53 with cylinder inserts.Model 53 in .22 Jet with cylinder inserts to use .22 Rimfire
The Smith & Wesson Model 53 was introduced in 1961 in the .22 Jet caliber. It is a revolver of six round capacity built on the small K frame using a double action trigger. The .22 Jet cartridge had a listed velocity of 2460 fps using a 40 grain bullet, but actually reached 1700-1800 this in the revolver.[4] The Model 53 can also fire the .22 Short, Long, and Long rifle cartridges using chamber inserts. The hammer had a two position firing pin to allow it to be switched from rimfire to centerfire as needed.
The handgun came with target handgrips and sights an in barrel lengths of 4, 6 and 8.3 inches.[5]
In the late 1950s there was considerable interest in the shooting community for revolvers chambered in various .22 caliber wildcat cartridges. Smith & Wesson sought to take advantage of this by unveiling a cartridge known as the .22 Remington CFM (Centerfire Magnum) cartridge or the .22 Remington Jet and chambered a version of the Model 17 in this caliber designating it the Model 53.[6]
The Model 53 was manufactured from 1960 to 1974.[6]

Problems in Use[edit]

Due to the tapered design of the .22 Jet cartridge there were problem with case setback. It was advised that the cylinders and cartridges be kept absolutely dry to prevent this. Note: lubricating cartridges results in a pressure increase. Cartridges should always be dry.

Present State[edit]

The Model 17 was discontinued in 1998, but in 2009 was reintroduced as the Model 17 “Masterpiece” due to a resurgence in the popularity of vintage Smith & Wesson revolvers. The company chose approx. fifteen previously discontinued models to produce once again. This was done under the “Classics” category of S&W’s current offerings

S&W’s New Model 17 Classic

by Joel J Hutchcroft   |  September 23rd, 20100 Comments

Pinned Front Sight, Target Hammer, Key Lock, Cylinder Latch
Thumbpiece, Laminated Grips, Smooth Trigger, Recessed Muzzle Crown.

If you’re like me, you probably have at least one gun that just feels like it’s a part of you. It might be your 1911 that feels like a natural extension of your arm when you raise it and aim at the target.
Or maybe it’s a .22 rimfire rifle that you shot so much while you were growing up that now it just seems to effortlessly point exactly where it needs to and you simply can’t miss each and every time you squeeze off a round.
Or maybe it’s a shotgun that comes to your shoulder and moves to your focus point so easily that you don’t even realize you’re mounting it.
I feel attached to a lot of my guns, but if I had to pick the one that just feels right to me every time I handle and shoot it, I wouldn’t have to think long or hard. I’d pick my old Smith & Wesson Model 17.
Some of you know what I’m talking about, but for those who haven’t experienced this fantastic revolver, after about a 10-year hiatus in production, S&W brought back the traditional six-shot, bright-blue, non-lug-barreled Model 17 last year as part of its Classics line, and now you can experience it firsthand.
Shooting Times has a long and well-established history with the Model 17, also known as the K-22 Masterpiece. ST writers the likes of Skeeter Skelton, Bob Milek, Dick Metcalf, and Mike Venturino have written about the classic K-Frame .22, detailing just about every significant mechanical change and many of the less significant configuration changes that were made to the Model 17 and its stainless-steel brother, the Model 617.
So, since we are celebrating our 50th anniversary, it is fitting to report on this newest version.
The new model is called the Model 17 Masterpiece Classic, and it is stamped “17-9″ inside the cylinder yoke. My old Model 17 is stamped “17-4,” and it was produced in 1980. It was my first brand-new store-bought handgun, and I’ve been shooting it for 30 years.
It’s one gun that has never been sold off or traded, and I can’t see myself ever parting with it. But let’s get back to the new one.
The new Model 17 carries on the tradition of S&W’s medium-frame, square-butt, double-action revolvers, but it has a few differences. For one, the square-butt, service-style stocks are laminated wood instead of walnut.
For another, the new barrel’s muzzle has a recessed crown, whereas my old one doesn’t. And the new barrel itself is slightly larger, measuring .611 inch in diameter at the muzzle, while my 17-4’s barrel is .590 inch at the muzzle.
Also, the leaf of the Micro adjustable rear sight of the new gun is rounded and entirely recessed into the topstrap; my old 17-4’s Micro adjustable rear sight leaf is squared off and the end is not encased by the topstrap. The rear sight blades on both models are plain black.
My old 17-4 has a pinned barrel, whereas the new one’s 6-inch barrel is compression fitted. The top rib on the new barrel measures .240 inch wide, and the one on my old 17-4 is wider, measuring .425 at the frame and slightly tapering down to .333 right in front of the front sight.


Model: Model 17 Classic
Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson | 800.331.0852
Type: Double-action revolver
Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
Cylinder capacity: 6 rounds
Barrel: 6 in.; rifling : 6 grooves, 1:15 RH twist
Overall length: 11.25 in.
Width: 1.45 in.
Height: 5.4 in.
Weight, empty: 40 oz.
Grips: Checkered laminated wood, square-butt, service-style
Finish: Bright blue
Sights: Micro adjustable rear; primed Patridge front
Trigger: 4-lb., 6-oz. pull (single action, as tested)
Price: $1,051

My 17-4 came with a target-style hammer,
as does the new model, but my old gun has a serrated, .495-inch-wide target trigger, whereas the new model has a smooth, narrow, .312-inch-wide trigger. Both models have a Patridge-style front sight, but the new gun’s is .240 inch longer and pinned in.
The new revolver has the S&W trademark stamped on the left-hand side of the frame, whereas my old Model 17’s frame is stamped on the right side. The lettering on the new model’s barrel is larger in size but not as deeply set. The new model’s cylinder latch thumbpiece is virtually the same size and shape as the thumbpiece on my old 17-4, but the new one’s checkering is finer.
The new model comes from the factory with its topstrap drilled and tapped for a scope mount. My 17-4 is also drilled and tapped for a scope mount, but I had to do that myself. Back when my gun was made, that feature was not a standard offering from the factory. And lastly, the new model has the S&W key lock located on the left side of the frame; my old 17-4 has no such integral locking device.
As for the new model’s accuracy, well, it is just as accurate as my old 17-4. I installed a Burris 3-9X handgun scope on the new model, set it on 9X, and fired six different .22 LR loadings at 25 yards from a benchrest. The details are listed in the accompanying chart, but suffice it to say, the Model 17 is head-shot accurate on tree squirrels and cottontail rabbits at that distance. In fact, I used the new 17-9 this past fall to do a bit of Fox squirrel hunting at home here in Illinois, and last summer I fired another Model 17-9 while on a prairie dog and ground squirrel shoot in Wyoming. The new model feels almost as good in my hands as my old 17-4.
Quoting from a 1939 Stoeger catalog, former Shooting Times Handgun Editor Skeeter Skelton once referred to S&W’s K-Frame .22 as being as accurate as a watch and as sturdy as a tractor. That rings as true today as it did back then.

S&W Model 17 CLassic Accuracy

Ammuntion Velocity (fps) Standard Deviation (fps) Extreme Spread (fps) 25 Yard Accuracy (in.)
.22 Long Rifle
CCI 32-gr. Stinger 1305 29 65 2.65
CCI 36-gr. Mini Mag HP 1134 26 62 2.08
Winchester 36-gr. Xpert HP 1145 25 48 2.75
Federal 38-gr. Game-Shok HP 1171 33 64 2.58
Federal 40-gr. Gold Medal Solid 1009 32 67 2.65
Winchester 40-gr. Power Point 1180 21 44 1.63
Notes: Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from sandbag benchrest.Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 15 feet from the gun’s muzzle.

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