Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Fitz-y Favor for Walt...

...Since the photo thingie seems to be working as billed, I thought I would respond to a email from Walt Rauch for pixs of my 1917 S&W Fitz Special. I didn't exactly set up the lights for this — more of a "throw and floor and photo" — but I promise I'll get better.

Also, FWIW, we're looking at another complete overhaul of the SHOOTING GALLERY site, turning it into an online gun magazine. My idea is to incorporate my blog instead of regular columns. Hopefully, I'll be able to entice a couple of more ace gun people to contribute with integral blogs.

All I need is a clone!


Anonymous said...

Mike; the reason for the grips not fitting fully rearward to the back strap is S&W changed dimensions on frames over the years and the grips are for a much later gun.

Re gunzine, count me in.

Walt Rauch

Anonymous said...

Michael, a real Fitz Special would have the trigger guard cutaway, would it not?

-- Cmdr 0

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the real reason for the gap is that the stocks were meant for a round butt K or L-Frame, not a round butt N-Frame.

Michael Bane said... original plan was to go with period-correct faux ivory grips with a black Tyler T-Grip adaptor. Your thoughts?

Cmdr are, of course, correct. I've been lucky enough to handle the original Fitz Special, the Colt New Service that JH Fitzgerald made for Rex Applegate. The trigger guard is cut away, and the old spy carried the .45 in his coat pocket throughout WW2.

The first Fitz I ever built, off a 1917 Colt, hhad the trigger guard cut away. Right about the same time I started "combat" shooting and my gunhandling skills got much better (thanks to the tutelage of people like Mr. Rauch, referenced above). The idea of an exposed trigger in what was, in effect, a big fat pocket pistol started worrying me.

My next Fitz, inexcusably built on a NRA excellent condition S&W M-25 .45 ACP., featured a 2 1/2 inch barrel with the sides slabbed, the butt rounded to K-frame dimensions, the hammer bobbed, the trigger smoothed to the old standard and the trigger guard narrowed on the right side. The gun was built by Ben Jones in Ruskin, FL, and it shot like a house afire. My signature is engraved on the barrel, and my father has it now.

About then it started to sink through my thick head that maybe I ought to stop carving up really nice old revolovers and try getting some modern steel that came pre-cut up. I was able to trade for an S&W M-24 .44 Special Lew Horton gun with a 2 1/2-inch barrel and a round butt. Along the way I've had M-29 .44 maggies (why I let that one go I'll never understand), M-19 and M-66 2 1/2'ers .357s, a bunch of .45 ACPs and .44 Specials, S&W and Tauruses, snubbed out. I'm currently a fan of the little Smith 296 .44 Special ultralite, which may be the ultimate expression of what JH Fitzgerald started.


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