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Thread: 1917 S&W half moon clip problem........

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



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    1917 S&W half moon clip problem........

    I have a 1917 S&W that accepts .45 auto rim rounds with aplomb. Full moon clips work also, but are a pain to load/unload without a tool. I found some original half moon clips and to my astonishment, they will NOT let the cylinder close. There is a small lug on the frame at the lower right rear of the cylinder opening, and the clips are hitting it. The half moons are straight and undamaged.

    I've shot many a S&W with half moons in the past, but I've never seen this. Before I do something stupid, like grind/file, can anyone tell me the purpose of that little lug?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Numrich sells a frame lug which looks like mine.
    https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/374260

    It's mentioned on the Smith and Wesson forum. It looks like it's there to keep the cylinder in place when it's open.

    That's if it's the same part you're talking about.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Sounds like the frame lug on your gun was replaced at some time with an incorrect one.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Yes, indeed! Do not mess with the little lug, or when the cylinder is open it will move back to the rear and require manual pushing forward and wiggling and jiggling to close.

    If you load the half moon clips into the cylinder with the muzzle pointed straight down at the ground, do you still have trouble closing the cylinder?I have 2 Smiths and 3 Colts of the 1917 persuasion, and all work well with half-moon clips. Since their introduction many years ago half moon clips have been made and used in many other revolvers using rimless cartridges such as the 10mm, and I wonder if perhaps you have the wrong clips?
    Perhaps thicker than the originals.

    Personally, I prefer the full moon clips, and a de-mooning tool is easy enough to make from a piece of tubing, or to purchase ready made from Brownell's.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    AHA! In all the years I've owned Smith and Wessons, I've never paid any attention to that little lug or knew its purpose. The lug DOES look like it's slightly battered......either an original or badly replaced part. I'll try the muzzle down test as suggested. In any case I'll get out my shop manuals and see how to replace it.
    Oh, and yes, they are the correct clips. Thanks guys!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Try the RIMZ moon clips. Made of a polymer and according to what 45 acp revolver you have all you have to do is file away the small projections where the extractor star is, no moon tool is needed but the loaded rounds in with your fingers and remove with your fingers. Frank

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



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    Hey, thanks for that tip on the Rimz clips..........had no idea they were out there. I'll be ordering a set.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    When I got a couple of 1917's I went about loading up all the moon clips I could get my hands on. Load 'em, shoot, take the brass out, repeat... Then one day it occurred to me that moon clips of any kind aren't at all necessary for general shooting. Save yourself much time and trouble by just loading the ammunition directly into the cylinder and plucking the empties out with your fingernail. Heck in some cases they'll just drop out.

    35W
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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master



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    35 Whelen;
    Some modern S&W's will not headspace properly without moon clips. There has been much discussion regarding this.
    Of course, the 1917's will headspace properly without clips but the newer ones will not. I have owned both and have seen this first hand.

    Frankly, it is not an issue for me as I have no intention of using ACP's without clips. I have tools for the full moon clips but for range use typically use the polymer RiMZ clips which do not require tools.

    FWIW,
    Dale53

  10. #10
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    I bought some 1/2 moon clips at a Gun Show about 35yrs ago that wouldn't let the cylinder close.
    I compared them to the old clips I had and noticed that they had a sharp edge on the outside of the outer 2 "cutouts".
    I filed them down to match the originals.
    Fixed the problem.

    Haven't used clips of any type in years. Have 7-800 AR cases of REM or WIN. Just don't need them any more. But nice to have around.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3006guns View Post
    AHA! In all the years I've owned Smith and Wessons, I've never paid any attention to that little lug or knew its purpose. The lug DOES look like it's slightly battered......either an original or badly replaced part. I'll try the muzzle down test as suggested. In any case I'll get out my shop manuals and see how to replace it.
    Oh, and yes, they are the correct clips. Thanks guys!
    The lug DOES have some cuts on it to provide clearance for the cylinder and the rims of cartridges in the cylinder.
    When the cylinder is fully out of the frame that lug is what prevents the cylinder from falling off the yoke. It is an amazingly simple engineering solution.

    I would focus on the clips before I started messing with that frame lug.

    And BTW, that lug is fitted from the outside through a hole in the frame and the "tail" of that lug is peened over (riveted) on the inside of the frame to retain it. It's not a fun part to replace.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Groo's Avatar
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    Groo here
    Go to Ranch Products [ look up on web and call].
    They have 1/3 moon clips [2 round] that can be loaded and unloaded by hand and fit a pouch and some loop carrers...

  13. #13
    Boolit Master 35 Whelen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale53 View Post
    35 Whelen;
    Some modern S&W's will not headspace properly without moon clips. There has been much discussion regarding this.
    Of course, the 1917's will headspace properly without clips but the newer ones will not. I have owned both and have seen this first hand.

    Frankly, it is not an issue for me as I have no intention of using ACP's without clips. I have tools for the full moon clips but for range use typically use the polymer RiMZ clips which do not require tools.

    FWIW,
    Dale53
    I can't imagine S&W mis-chambering cylinders like that. I would be inclined to send the revolver(s) back and make the factory correct the problem.

    35W
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    1/3 moon clips fit right into a cartridge box.
    If you want to spend your time removing empties and inserting loaded rounds.
    I used to do it while watching TV.
    Remember it's 25 clips to a box of 50.

    Money better spent buying brass.

    I use a completely different AR load for My 1917 then any ACP load.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master



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    35 Whelen;
    The newer revolvers that I speak about are not "mischambered" but they changed the spec's. They have a "normal" ball seat. It raised quite a stink when they did it from those who MUCH preferred the "old way". Frankly, seeing as how my newer .45 ACP revolvers shoot (I have shot a number of them), I have no problem with the new specs. I have no problem using moon clips with .45 ACP cases (both steel and polymer). I use tools with steel full moon clips and my fingers with the polymer RIMZ clips. I also use Auto Rim brass.

    There was a discussion in the Handloader when the newer revolvers hit the market about the changes.

    FWIW
    Dale53

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I think I got my first Colt 1917 revolver back around 1959. Several half moon clips came with it, and the metal, which appeared to be steel, was very soft. They were "in the white", never had been blued, and would bend very easily. Sometimes, after several uses, I would put them on the anvil part of a bench vise and tap them back to flat with a ball peen hammer. After several such treatments they spread open and would no longer hold the rounds securely, so almost all of them found their way to the trash container. Eventually I obtained some hard clips, and when full moon clips came along I seized on them as being a great improvement, as loading/reloading now only involved one movement instead of two. Very honestly, I've never encountered the polymer version(s) as the full moon clips make me very happy. In addition to owning several S&W and Colt 1917s I own two S&W 625 Mountain Guns in .45 ACP that have been completely trouble free and will accept anything marked ".45 Auto". I've been retired for a long time now, but my last "get up real early and go to work" job was in the armored truck industry. We had to qualify with our handgun of choice periodically, and I carried a cut down S&W M-1917 (see below). The range officer would insist that I fire at the left end of the firing line so as not to be hit or distracted by the hot shots Glock brass. One exercise involved shooting 15 rounds in (I forget) a certain amount of time. So for me, that was two moon clips and one half moon clip. One moon clip, reload with another, reload with a half moon clip. I'd always finish before at least two of the Glock shooters finished their string, and usually had the highest score. In the hands of someone who really knows what they're doing, like the phenomenal Jerry Miculek, a nicely tuned M-1917 takes a back seat to no semi-auto. But-- few of us will ever attain his proficiency, and I'm not claiming that I did, but it was good enough for my purposes.

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    First 1917, a Colt -- S&W 625 Mtn. Gun-- S&W 1917 cut down

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    I checked the TK & Ranch websites. They only offer full moon clips.

    I guess the days of 1/2 & 1/3 are past.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    Numeric still lists 1/2 moons . SKU 252670B $4.75 a pair.
    Bill

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