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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be picking up a S&W model 17 soon and will return to serious target shooting. The revolver was manufactured in 1969 and appears clean and sound mechanically and with a very clean bore. Overall condition is rated at 99%. This firearm has a target hammer and trigger with magna grips.

Some years back I had a 1962 High Standard Supermatic Trophy. I was often able to acquire half inch groups at 25 yards. I never shot a S&W model 41. Can anyone give me any insight on how the model 17 would fare in accuracy compared with the aforementioned semiautomatic firearms? Also, what grips would one suggest for target shooting concerning the model 17 revolver?

LeverLover
 

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It sounds to me like you are the proud owner of a beautiful, desireable revolver. Model 17s are among the very best that S&W has to offer.

With regards to the semi-autos, my experience shooting NRA bullseye .22 matches had the Model 41s, High Standards, and a few customized Rugers as the most popular guns on the line. True, revolvers were present but this was the age of the semi-auto that needs no thumb-cocking during the sustained fire stages. In order to remove as many variables as possible, IMO, fired from a Ransom Rest with compatible match ammunition, there is little reason to think that the Model 17 would not do as well as the semi-autos. Bear in mind though, that the revolver contends with lining up the rotating chambers with a fixed barrel so the timing needs to be spot on for best results.

As for grips, you are on your own as what fits my hand may not be suitable for yours. Correct grips are a matter of personal choice.
 

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I agree with Marshal as far as the grips go. I have several model 17's and 18's, and I like the S&W target grips for both comfort and looks. A lot of people like rubber grips, and while they can be comfortable, they are ugly as sin IMO. YMMV
I have two different model 41's as well, and in my experience the 41 tends to be more consistently accurate than the revolvers just due to design. Again, as Marshal suggested, cylinder alignment is a big one, and has a huge effect on accuracy. If you get a model 17 tuned however, there is no reason why you can't shoot in the same league as a 41. It will probably need a little more maintenance to stay competitive. Good luck, and let us know what you decide. We like pictures!
 

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I haven't shot a Model 41, but I used to shoot a High Standard Victor and a Ruger MkI bull barrel rather extensively. I now own a S&W 617 that I find to be outstanding. I would say accuracy is in the same league as the target automatics, maybe even better for me. How well you like the grips and such is a matter of personal choice, but with big effects on how well you shoot the gun.
 

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Accuracy

With a tuned gun and good ammo, accuracy should be just fine. Your scores, however, will probably suffer compared to what they would be with a semi-auto.
There are people who shoot revolvers VERY well (Art Monahan comes to mind) but they shoot semis even better, that's why you don't see revolvers on the line very often any more.
Pete
 

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I have Models K22, 17, (2) model 41's and a custom Ruger Mark II and all shoot really well. It's been my experience that all 22 pistols end up liking a particular brand and specific round of ammo that they are more accurate with and usually not the same as the other 22lr you have. My Model 17-4 has an 8 3/8 inch barrel and it's scary accurate as is the Custom Ruger Mark II. The Model 41's are accurate and very reliable but not quite as accurate as the Model 17 and Mark II.

The Model K22 pre model 17 has a 6 inch barrel and is my blast away and just plain have fun 22 pistol and it goes to the range everytime I do. I put more ammo through it then any other gun I own. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I want you all to know that I appreciate the information given. I am considering my next step to be a trip to Smith and Wesson (about 15 to 20 minutes away) for tuning advice or find reputable gunsmiths. What suggestions could anyone give me?

LeverLover
 

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I saw an old article in Gun Digest that compared then available .22 target pistols. From that I would tend to conclude that with ammo matched to the gun, the Model 17 or 617 would probably be able to shoot into about 1.5” at 50 yds. from a Ransom Rest, while the Model 41could probably do around 1”. If you are shooting indoor gallery events, that difference may not matter.

Tuning either a Model 41 or 17/617 is mostly a matter of grips and balance for your personal preference. I like a 6” 17 but a 5” 617 due to the underlug. In a 41 I actually prefer the 5” Sport barrel. As purely a target pistol, I also tend to prefer the ergonomics of the 41. If the 17/617 and 41 both have good triggers, picking one will be mostly personal preference.

With the revolver there is also the matter of alignment of the chamber with the barrel. With cylinders currently being made on CNC machinery, the quality and consistency of the cylinders is better than it has ever been. I look to check chamber alignment by looking at the fouling pattern in the barrel forcing cone. If the fouling is consistent right and left, you are doing as well as you can mechanically. If you get a new revolver, it will probably still have a little residual roughness in the bore. That roughness can be smoothed by shooting the copper wash HS stuff. I try not to use HS stuff in my 41. It likes Federal Gold Medal Match (711B). After break in, the revolvers do too.
 

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My preference is the Model 41. I use the 5in. barrel for targets and the 7 1/2 with 2.5 to 8 Weaver scope for squirrels. Both barrels shoot around 3/4in. at 50yds off of sandbags. Another aspect is the ability to change barrels quickly. At a recent gun show I found a .22short kit with a muzzlebrake and 3 magazines for the Mod 41,very cool. It also shoots very well.
 

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I found a .22short kit with a muzzlebrake and 3 magazines for the Mod 41,
Now that is a find. How's it work?

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I apologize for taking so long to respond. The model 17 works great. I used to own a model 34 some years ago and as good as that revolver was its action was nothing like my present model 17. The double action is smooth and the single action even smoother and oh so crisp and light.

I found some Smith&Wesson walnut target grips. The grips feel comfortable and I was able to noticeably tighten my groups as soon as I used them. I am truly enjoying this revolver and hope to for many years to come and then pass it forward to my son or daughter.

LeverLover
 

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Glad to hear it! I like my 34-1 for plinking and for a camping / carry gun, but it's not as easy to shoot accurately as the K frames are. Just too light IMO. That 17 should make a great heirloom for the next several generations with a minimum of care.
 

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I have a ’58 vintage 17, a couple of 617s, and a 5” 63. While the 63 is an accurate gun, I can’t shoot it as well as the K frame 17 and 617s, and that old 17 is probably the most accurate of the bunch.
 

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I don't think that a K22 will give you as good accuracy as a
Model 41 Smith & Wesson. It will come darn close. We have
a machine rest at our club and have put lots of them in the
rest and shot them. Of all the guns we have shot over the
years (many) The Hi Standard target .22s and the Smith 41s
have shot the tightest groups of anything we have shot. We
always use 10 shot groups at 25 yards.
 

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I have owned a Model 17 for many years. When I shot 3-gun, however, my .22 was a High Standard Supermatic Citation 107 Military.



The purists will scream, but I would not have even thought of using the Smith in a match.

Of course, YMMV
 

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... with ammo matched to the gun, the Model 17 or 617 would probably be able to shoot into about 1.5” at 50 yds. from a Ransom Rest, while the Model 41could probably do around 1”. .
If you took the time to find out which of the revolver's chambers was the least accurate, I think it would amount to the same thing. The thing is, that's a lot of effort. You find out what load your gun likes, then you mark off your chambers from 1 to 6. Then, single load, and shoot groups out of each specific chamber. One just may prove less-worthy than its siblings. Then, you mark that particular chamber, and shoot all of your 5-shot groups for the record from the other five.

Like I said, it can be a chore. ;)
 

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If you took the time to find out which of the revolver's chambers was the least accurate, I think it would amount to the same thing. The thing is, that's a lot of effort. You find out what load your gun likes, then you mark off your chambers from 1 to 6. Then, single load, and shoot groups out of each specific chamber. One just may prove less-worthy than its siblings. Then, you mark that particular chamber, and shoot all of your 5-shot groups for the record from the other five.

Like I said, it can be a chore. ;)
I wasn’t talking about checking individual chambers. You have to hope the cylinder is made well enough that the chamber locations are pretty consistent. The newer chambers made on CNC machinery are more consistently well made than they were in the past. That cylinder also must align with the centerline of the barrel as well. That can be off due to problems with timing and lockup. While a bad cylinder can only be cured with a new cylinder, lockup can be cured with changes in small parts that will give you a chance for good accuracy by consistently aligning the chambers. All my S&W .22 revolvers align the chambers with the barrel, but my old Model 17 is still the most accurate of the bunch. As good as it is, I don’t think it is quite as good as my good Model 41.
 
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