Saturday, July 02, 2016

Mea Culpa

I misspoke…I called a Smith and Wesson M21 a M24 on FaceBook…I'm sorry.

This is an S&W M24 .44 Special…it is a wonderful gun. Note that it has adjustable sights. I had one just like it, but in a moment of weakness I swapped it for…something else. I'd like it back, please, and am willing to deal.

This is an S&W M21 .44 Special, essentially a fixed sight version of the M24. Sort of a modern version of the old 4th Model Hand Ejector 1950 Model, which became the Model 21 until it was discounted in 1966. The big N-frame sprang from the finest revolver ever made, the Triple-Lock, more correctly the .44 Hand Ejector First Model "New Century." and remains the quintessential Old Skool big bore blaster. I got mine as soon as Smith and Wesson started making them again…here's the review from 2005. Mine has a set of Bear Paw grips I got off a cut down 1917 .45 ACP I got from a local gun store. Somebody had put a lot of money in the 1917, re-roll marked the barrel, grips numbered to the frame. Grips are almost black, a dark walnut or ebony. Amazingly, the grips were almost a perfect fit on my M21. Here's an interesting discussion on the Smith and Wesson Forums.

I didn't buy one of the Heritage color-case hardened editions because I was busy playing IDPA at the time and had all my gun money sunk in competition stuff. God knows how many of the .38 versions, .38/.44 Outdoorsman, have been turned into .44 Specials (and .45 Colts) over the years by custom gunsmiths.

I have never owned a Triple Lock, although I have shot several. I've handled two that I would have killed to own, but in both cases the numbers ran up just too fast too fast.The first was an old one with just flecks of a nickel finish, but a butter smooth action. It was owned by a Hollywood guy, who'd got it in a consignment of old cowboy guns to be blanked for the movies. The story was it'd been found in the desert in Mexico, ended up in a San Antonio gun store and eventually made it's way to California. I found it on the dirt floor of a storage garage, but couldn't get him to set a price. The second one Marshal and I found at his brother-in-law's gun store in Kansas, where he'd gotten a shipment of seized police gun from heaven knows were. All the good guns had been sorted out and Marshal and I had been given the green light to see if there were any gems hiding in the bottom. I fished out a gunked-up Smith N-frame I figured was an Outdoorsman, but a quick examination showed a nickel Triple-Lock under the grunge. Cleaned up, it was like it had just rolled off the assembly line around 1910. I made an offer, but a gun like that is slated for a big dog Smith collector's safe. Sigh. I do have a .455 Webley WW1 British Contract 1917; it's  been refinished, but markings indicate it's a factory refinish job from the early 1950s. It's a darn beautiful gun…far too many of the WW1 guns were "converted" to .45 ACP of .45 Auto Rim or just generally trashed by backyard gunsmiths (hand raised here).

Last week when I noted that Mr. Stupid had broken his wrist and was having a bit of trouble manipulating a semiauto. I mentioned I'd given it some thought and decided to go back to a revolver while I dealt with this crisis. Actually, I've gone back to 2 revolvers, since with a broken left wrist it's easier and faster to go to the second gun than reload the first (what Mr. Cirillo referred to as the "New York reload").

The big 21 carries amazing well in a Hoffner's Holsters rig. The LCR 9mm is in the Null shoulder holster or the right front pocket. Yesterday I made the LOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNGGGGG hike downhill to my range for the first time since my left knee was replaced.  I think it took about 2 hours…well, it felt like 2 hours. I did get the Care Package from Buffalo Bore, so I had a bunch of 200-grain wadcutter Anti-Personnel loads, sort of lead softballs. The Buffalo Bores are dead-on with my 21, and recoil is negligible (important, since I've gotten The Lecture on touching off Boomers until my wrist is 100%…you can see the effect of all those recoil on the bones in my wrist). I didn't have a 25 yard head plate on this range, but I center-punched the 20 yard plate easily double action.

Not to anthropormorphize too much, but the pre-Magna grips and the various iterations of rounded butts on the N-frames always felt just about perfect to me. They make the big gun come alive. In fact, it took me a long time to "settle into" Redhawks…the first one I really liked was the 4-inch with the weird looking Hogue grips. The new round grip versions — the .45/.45 ACP and the short barrelled .44— really remind me of the round butt Smiths.

Anyway, I've only got the cast for 3 weeks, then it's back to the Glock. Unless I fall and land on my frickin' head!


Anonymous said...

Don't they just feel so right in the hand, those N-framed grips? I have a first-gen' 610 10mm with round-butt wood "finger-grips" and it just kind of grows to your paw. Compared to the Redhawk's "woodies", it is just about perfect and the Redhawk's ain't too bad for me, but pretty they ain't.

Here-abouts, near the "Motor City", way back in the early '70s, they had a lot of "gun turn-ins" sponsored by the "DPD". A buddy's dad was an "LEO" there and he told me about all of the collector pieces he had access to that unsuspecting widows often turned in just to make things "safe". It was "just drop 'em in the box and go", with no paper-work. Many a fine piece was saved from the electric furnace by the cops, but, too many became "Toyotas".

My aunt let my late uncle's World War II war-relic get away that way. It was an old S&W #3 that he carried in his "Mae West", just-in-case, while he manned the tail-gun in a Douglas Dauntless "dive-bomber". When I was a kid, I remember my dad, a South Pacific vet and him shooting it into the ground at "New Years". I asked her for it when my uncle died young and she said "when she's ready". Next thing I knew, it was gone to the DPD! Biggest "gun heart-ache" of my life. This "Maker's Mark" is for him! Good gun memories,; better ones of them!

Life Member

Unknown said...

Ah....N frame .44 Specials.
I had a chance at a .44 Triple lock back before Christmas but the. I fell off a ladder and broke my damn ribs, so that one got away...

I did finally, after looking for a long time, find and buy a 24-3 just like the one in your photo. A 3" Lew Horton from 1985.

It's beautiful and perfect and a work of art.

Keep looking Micheal! You will find another one.

Overload in Colorado said...

Might this be a good time to carry a five-seven? Lots of shots, no recoil.

Michael Bane said...

Overload…it has crossed my mind…ditto a .22 TCM, which I've shot into jello…