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Discussion Starter #1
The S&W and Colt's Aircrewman revolvers with the aluminum cylinders; what a dumb arse idea. They knew they had to use special ammunition so they didn't blow up. I can't believe logistics allowed this. Once they ran out of that ammo, you just knew someone would put standard military .38 Special in there (which is a 130 grain +P loading) and blow the things up. I'm just astounded that no one had the forethought to say; "really guys, that extra 1.5 ounces is a deal breaker in a revolver that will likely never be used?"

Personally, if I were a downed aircrewman the last thing I'd want is a small snub nosed revolver...I'll take the extra weight of a real K frame S&W or a 1911, no prob.

Just a hair brained idea if you ask me.
 

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To put it into persepective, at about the same time (I think), someone was proposing a new service pistol to be chambered in .30 carbine. I don't recall the specs off the top of my head, a buddy working at the BRL at Aberdeen Proving Grounds stumbled across the proposal (much, much later) and let me know just how silly certain folks could get.

Since turning the .45 into a 9mm got turned down for excessive expense given the supply of existing weapons, magazines & ammo, someone should have known better. However, some do prize technical innovation over common sense.

I expect the reaction of Colt & Smith was that the check cleared the bank, let's see what can happen. We're not paying for the R&D and we might be able to use it in commercial applications.
 

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Once they ran out of that ammo, you just knew someone would put standard military .38 Special in there (which is a 130 grain +P loading) and blow the things up.
Ball M41 is a +P loading? First I've ever heard of it. Quoted MVs I've seen on it are about 750 fps, more or less, which is well under what I'd expect from 130 grains at +P levels.

As to the gun itself...the aluminum cylinder is an Epic Fail, of course, literally and figuratively, but if Smith would reintroduce the M12 (aluminum frame, steel cylinder M10) in a round-butt 3", I'd be in line for one tomorrow morning. I'd like it even better if they put the 3" heavy barrel on it--all the weight would be out front, and the balance and handling should be simply delightful!
 

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A major reason General LeMay ordered the aluminum guns, including the cylinder, was that it was early days for ejection seats.
Air crews ejecting while armed with .45's or the S&W Model 15 were getting serious injuries from the heavy pistols.

It was also early days for the use of aluminum in firearms.
It was expected that the aluminum cylinders would stand up. The problem was that in the small Colt "D" frame and the S&W "J" frame, the cylinders were just too small. The larger aluminum cylindered "K" frame was good to go.

By the time all this was figured out, ejection seat technology had developed to the point where they had figured out how to do it while wearing a steel gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ball M41 is a +P loading? First I've ever heard of it. Quoted MVs I've seen on it are about 750 fps, more or less, which is well under what I'd expect from 130 grains at +P levels.

As to the gun itself...the aluminum cylinder is an Epic Fail, of course, literally and figuratively, but if Smith would reintroduce the M12 (aluminum frame, steel cylinder M10) in a round-butt 3", I'd be in line for one tomorrow morning. I'd like it even better if they put the 3" heavy barrel on it--all the weight would be out front, and the balance and handling should be simply delightful!
My bad, my recollection was closer to 900-1,000fps.

As to your thoughts on the M12 - I can't for the life of me figure out how S&W hasn't figured that one out. They came close with the Night Guard, but still no cigar. I wouldn't mind a 3" Cobra or Agent either, but I'm not sure if they ever made a 3" in the LW version. I suppose someone could scare up a D frame barrel and just make one himself. I guess now that I have a Cobra that is good and ugly, I could do exactly that...worth some thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A major reason General LeMay ordered the aluminum guns, including the cylinder, was that it was early days for ejection seats.
Air crews ejecting while armed with .45's or the S&W Model 15 were getting serious injuries from the heavy pistols.

It was also early days for the use of aluminum in firearms.
It was expected that the aluminum cylinders would stand up. The problem was that in the small Colt "D" frame and the S&W "J" frame, the cylinders were just too small. The larger aluminum cylindered "K" frame was good to go.

By the time all this was figured out, ejection seat technology had developed to the point where they had figured out how to do it while wearing a steel gun.
Still, I'm betting the weight savings was less than 2 ounces; dumb. There's always the guys who say we can, and sometimes there isn't someone to say, "yeah, but should we?"
 

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Discussion Starter #8
To put it into persepective, at about the same time (I think), someone was proposing a new service pistol to be chambered in .30 carbine. I don't recall the specs off the top of my head, a buddy working at the BRL at Aberdeen Proving Grounds stumbled across the proposal (much, much later) and let me know just how silly certain folks could get.
Yes I recall that one as well. It looks real good on paper, especially since there was some serious though given to using the M1 Carbine as our primary long arm...at least the Air Force was thinking that way at once. So it probably made sense to an academic who didn't know squat about ACTUAL firearms, engineering, or shooting.
 

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I wouldn't mind a 3" Cobra or Agent either, but I'm not sure if they ever made a 3" in the LW version. I suppose someone could scare up a D frame barrel and just make one himself. I guess now that I have a Cobra that is good and ugly, I could do exactly that...worth some thought.
I have a brand-new, shrouded 3" Colt D barrel just waiting to be screwed onto something. Also have a brand-new shrouded 4" Police Positive barrel similarly waiting. Bought them both from Numrich back in the '80s. Price was cheap at that point...I think I paid $30 or $35 for each of them.

I would LOVE to build me up a 21st Century version of Chick Gaylord's "Metropolitan Special." I'd leave off his trigger shoe, and use a tritium front sight. I think I've even got a Tyler T-Grip or too stashed somewhere for it, too. And a set of Herret's grips I've never liked on the Diamondback, but might be just the huckleberry for my MS-21.
 

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There was a high velocity load but the standard ball load... as said... was not hot at all.

I believe the comment about ejection seats is also valid. When the pilot departs rapidly inertia makes heavy stuff want to stay behind.

General LeMay is one of my icons. Had he not created the USAF Marksmanship School I might be selling pencils on street corners.
 

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I distinctly remember that in the late seventies, we started getting issued .38 ammo where the bullet was loaded deep into the brass and heavily crimped. Now, I have no idea just what the ballistics were, but it was definitely a compressed load. I THINK they were designated PGU-12, but that was 40 years ago, and I could be misremembering.

As a matter of fact, we had a young man drive his wife from a suburb of Birmingham to a dirt road just inside our county and shoot her 5 times with a .38, leaving her for us to find. When we tracked him down and served a search warrant on his apartment, I found one of those rounds.

We never fired the round...back then when we qualified with the M-15, they gave us target wadcutter ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I can understand Gaylord’s liking of the trigger shoe, I just don’t think they’re all that safe; but with proper handling, you can make them safer. For serious DA work, I really prefer the S&W Target Trigger over the thin, smooth triggers that are preferred by most. Maybe it’s just that I have had so much time on S&W’s with target triggers that I’m just used to it. Maybe the wider trigger just gives me better leverage. Regardless, when I’m shooting a DA revolver with a wide, serrated trigger, I notice it takes less effort to keep the sights sitting still than when I have gun with a smooth narrow trigger. I can make both work, but the wider trigger is my preference.
 

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Very good Terry... that is the load I was thinking about.

Kevin I really liked the S&W "Combat Trigger". It wasn't quite as wide as the target trigger and was smooth. It was great for PPC. I also ground the grooves off a bunch of standard triggers and then polished them smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Very good Terry... that is the load I was thinking about.

Kevin I really liked the S&W "Combat Trigger". It wasn't quite as wide as the target trigger and was smooth. It was great for PPC. I also ground the grooves off a bunch of standard triggers and then polished them smooth.
Yeah, I've done that modification to a lot of triggers on man peoples guns. One of the reasons I've always liked the wide target trigger is the lack of a hump toward the top of the trigger. Older S&W's have that hump that got smaller and smaller as the years went by. The TT almost completely did away with that hump so I found it to be very comfortable. The hump would always rub the top of my finger a bit raw, especially if it was a thin serrated trigger. Most any revolver I got that had the thin serrated trigger got yanked out, re-shaped and completely polished smooth. I'd rather have a smooth thin or combat trigger than a think trigger with serrations. Honestly, I have to be about the only guy I know that prefers the wide target trigger for DA work; but hey, I'm weird.
 

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My bad, my recollection was closer to 900-1,000fps.

As to your thoughts on the M12 - I can't for the life of me figure out how S&W hasn't figured that one out. They came close with the Night Guard, but still no cigar. I wouldn't mind a 3" Cobra or Agent either, but I'm not sure if they ever made a 3" in the LW version. I suppose someone could scare up a D frame barrel and just make one himself. I guess now that I have a Cobra that is good and ugly, I could do exactly that...worth some thought.
Looking at this project, this may well have been what started S&W on the path to "Scandium" guns and their quest for light weight over the years.
 

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Yeah, I've done that modification to a lot of triggers on man peoples guns. One of the reasons I've always liked the wide target trigger is the lack of a hump toward the top of the trigger. Older S&W's have that hump that got smaller and smaller as the years went by. The TT almost completely did away with that hump so I found it to be very comfortable. The hump would always rub the top of my finger a bit raw, especially if it was a thin serrated trigger. Most any revolver I got that had the thin serrated trigger got yanked out, re-shaped and completely polished smooth. I'd rather have a smooth thin or combat trigger than a think trigger with serrations. Honestly, I have to be about the only guy I know that prefers the wide target trigger for DA work; but hey, I'm weird.
Kevin, personally I have always been a "whatever works for you" kinda guy when it comes to firearms. Even if it seems silly to me, if a person likes it and they are hitting what the aim at, so be it. :D
 

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I can understand Gaylord's liking of the trigger shoe, I just don't think they're all that safe; but with proper handling, you can make them safer. For serious DA work, I really prefer the S&W Target Trigger over the thin, smooth triggers that are preferred by most. Maybe it's just that I have had so much time on S&W's with target triggers that I'm just used to it. Maybe the wider trigger just gives me better leverage. Regardless, when I'm shooting a DA revolver with a wide, serrated trigger, I notice it takes less effort to keep the sights sitting still than when I have gun with a smooth narrow trigger. I can make both work, but the wider trigger is my preference.
I learned to shoot on USAF M15s with the wide Target Trigger and to this day think there's no finer trigger on any firearm (for single action work) than the Target Trigger on a Smith. Never cared that much for it for DA work, though, and the first time I handled a gun with the .312 smooth Combat Trigger, I fell plum in love. I have two 66s with the Combat Trigger and have made a couple more of them by grinding down the wide grooved ones. Most recently I replaced the Target Trigger on my 6" K22 with a homemade Combat. I loved shooting that K22 single action with the Target Trigger, BUT I wanted to get a buttload of DA trigger time in and so it had to be done. Perhaps someday I will reinstall the original wide trigger (I kept it intact).



 

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Remember those were the days of magical high tech. Hey, it was worth a shot, but just didn't shoot well.
Geoff
Who wishes he had a Shell Scott Colt Cobra from that era, to match his Matt Helm S&W shrouded hammer bodyguard.
 

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Nice, Snake!

Geoff, Matt Helm? Man, we might have to start a whole new thread! My Dad started me on Matt Helm books when I was in junior high, and I learned a great deal about guns from Donald Hamilton's writings. I think he was kinda the Stephen Hunter of his day.
 
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