Unusual S&W Revolver - 22LR & 22Jet

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19   0   0
Nov 2, 2005
North Central MA
I was flipping through a book (Machine Design, by Black and Adams) I've had on my shelf for years and noticed a short description of an unusual revolver in a part of the book I don't typically read.

Though some of you might be interested:

This case study was abstracted from a history furnished by courtesy of
Smith and Wesson, Inc. The GOAL was a revolver capable of firing both
22-caliber Remington jet cartridges and conventional, low-cost, 22-caliber
ammunition (short, long, or long rifle) for practice. The jet cartridge,
2,460-fps muzzle velocity, has a necked-down magnum case for a centerfiring
pin, and the conventional cartridge has a cylindrical case for a rimfiring
pin. Figure XVII-5 shows the outlines of these two cartridges.
The idea of a two-cartridge revolver was to provide in one revolver
the economy of the 22-caliber rim-fire cartridge and alternatively the
power of the 22-caliber, high-velocity center-fire cartridge. An unwritten
requirement in the design was that standard parts should be used whereever
possible, instead of special parts, and that special production
processes should be avoided if possible. In this project, few equations
were necessary, with the exception of trigonometric relations; instead,
ideas were required which required analysis and development.
Although some ten ideas were proposed, they were narrowed down
Fig. XV\I·5 Cartridges: (a) jet center-fire;
(b) conventional rim-fire.
Fig. XVII·6 (a) Cylinder arrangement. (b) Center fire. (e) Rim fire.
to the following three basic approaches:
(a) Interchangeable cylinders, one for conventional rim-fire and the
other for high-velocity center-fire cartridges
(b) "Bent-bore" cylinders
(c) Inserted chamber cylinders
The first system, interchangeable cylinders, was discarded because
it did not provide for both types of cartridges in the gun at the same time.
In the bent-bore system, the axis of the 22-caliber rim-fire chamber
was tipped to position the rim for striking by the same firing pin used to
fire the 22-caliber center-fire cartridge. The gun functioned satisfactorily
in test firing but did not have as high accuracy as the straight-through
chamber; also, the machining of the rim-fire chamber with its axis tipped
at an angle to the bullet bore in the cylinder was difficult and appeared
impractical for production.
The idea of chamber inserts was then explored. The cylinder
designed for the conventional 22-caliber rim-fire cartridge was "chambered"
(bored out) for the necked-down high-velocity cartridge, as shown
in the upper chamber in Fig. XVII-6(a), and the lower chamber is shown
1 Data by courtesy of J. M. Olchawa, Manager, Precision Products Engineering,
Foote Bros. Gear Operation, Hewitt-Robins, Inc., Chicago, Ill.
This history presents the predominant features of the system proposal
and the design approach for the wing-flap drive set of the Grumman
Model A-6A Navy Intruder airplane. 1
provided with an insert to accommodate a 22-caliber rim-fire cartridge.
Previous experience with similar cylinders made for rim-fire cartridges
but using high-pressure ammunition indicated adequate cylinder strength;
this was confirmed by high-pressure proof tests.
As soon as the decision was reached to develop the inserted-chamber
system, a firing-pin and hammer arrangement, quite similar to the final
version, was conceived. The novel feature is that the hammer is fitted
with twin firing pins and a selective striker on the hammer, so that, as
shown in Fig. XVII-6(b), the hammer-mounted striker is in position for
the center-fire magnum cartridge. At (c) the striker has been moved
clockwise to bring the rim-firing pin in position for the 22-caliber rim-fire
conventional cartridge. The striker is retained in one or the other position
by the spring-loaded dog which falls into the selected detent on the
back of the striker.
Initial layouts of the arrangement were sketched two-times size on
a revolver-frame print and five-times size on a hammer drawing print;
from these, sketches were made and the parts were fabricated in the
Experimental Department. The revolver was test-fired, using two cylinders.
Although some "bugs" were found, it was apparent that the
system could be refined to function satisfactorily. At this point, a 10times-
size layout was made. It suggested several alterations to improve
the functioning of the dual-firing mechanism and to display the possibility
of improvements to the Production Department.
Next, three sample revolvers were made and tested. Their performance
indicated the need for some modifications in the shape of the
detent and in the heat treatment of parts to reduce distortion.
With some minor alterations suggested by the Production Department
in the interest of tooling costs, ease of production, and service
replacement, the design was considered complete and tooling started.
Lack of space precludes giving a complete account of the details of
this case history which is quite complicated but, in its progress, equally

In service on the testing range, one final trouble appeared: The
22-caliber jet cases were difficult to extract; this was found to have been
caused by excessive oil in the chambers. The trouble was readily eliminated.

I don't know if this revolver ever went to production, but thought some of you might find the information interesting


  • S&W 22LR+22Jet.pdf
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NES Member
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13   0   0
Dec 16, 2006
Toy Town
Interesting. The one thing I noticed was that the firing pin selector appeared to be manually operated. That would be fine if one loaded all cylinders with a single caliber, but mixing and matching would mean the operator would have to remember what was loaded in which cylinder and which cylinder was going fire on the next trigger pull. That seems to run contrary to the apparent design goal of being able to effectively operate the gun with both calibers loaded simultaneously.

Now, if one can come up with a way to mechanically select the right firing pin based on the presence or absence of the chamber insert then it would be interesting. One idea would be to spring-load the selector to the center-fire position and have a either a tab (or cut-out) in the chamber insert that causes the selector to switch to the rim-fire pin.


NES Member
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157   0   0
Nov 11, 2005
Northern, MA
They made it. It's the Model 53 Revolver. It was a K-frame chambered for .22 Jet that could fire .22 LR using inserts that go into the chambers (there is also rumored to be some .22 Magnum inserts out there). You could also special order a dedicated .22 LR cylinder for it.

It was made from 1961 to 1974, and was a collosal failure because the spent .22 Jet cases backed out and locked up the cylinder unless the chambers were kept very clean and dry.

They're collectors items today.
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0   0   0
Jan 20, 2008
22 jet

EDDYS right.another S&W fumble.I have 4 boxes of ammo. one day they go to the owner in Mass.
S&W are great guns,the revolvers. but the company in my opinion made design errors.the scofield was one should have made it in 45 colt.that 53 was another.and dropping the model 41/46 another.to many models seems to be another.I have a mod 10 wife a mod 28 and a 46.I have a safety hammerless.
2nd mod and a 2nd mod 1 1/2. I like S&W
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5   0   0
Dec 13, 2005

Model 53 SOLD for $595

Here's one that went on the auction block.
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