The 1915 Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector & The .32-20 W.C.F Cartridge

Hello everyone! Welcome to Michad’s Shooting Bench and today I’ll be reviewing the Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector chambered in .32-20 W.C.F (Winchester Center Fire).

The Smith & Wesson .32-20 Hand Ejector

The Smith & Wesson .32-20 Hand Ejector

The Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector is a classic S&W revolver.  Known as a “skinny-barrel Smith”, the S&W Hand Ejector began it’s life in 1896 with the Smith and Wesson .32 Hand Ejector of 1896.  In 1899, The U.S. Military asked S&W to manufacture their Hand Ejector revolver in the slightly more substantial .38 Long Colt caliber.  It was with this caliber that the U.S. Military replaced their aging Single Action Army revolvers chambered in .45 Colt.  Soon after, the S&W Hand Ejector Model of 1899 in .38 Long Colt was found to be lacking in stopping power, particularly when U.S. troops did battle with the fanatical Moro tribesmen, many of whom were hopped up on drugs. This ultimately led to the Army stopping the use of the Hand Ejector and the .38 Long Colt cartridge, and returning to .45 caliber, first in the Single Action Army, and then with the Colt 1911 Pistol.

This circa 1915 Hand Ejector has a nickel finish.

This circa 1915 Hand Ejector has a nickel finish.

The Hand Ejector Model of 1899 lived on in the civilian world, with S&W chambering the gun in their classic .38 S&W Special cartridge.  The gun then became the Model 10 M&P and was the most popular police issue revolver in the 20th Century.

Side view of the .32-20 Hand Ejector

Side view of the .32-20 Hand Ejector

The S&W Hand Ejector was chambered in a number of other cartridges in addition to the .38 Special.  This particular Hand Ejector that I’m reviewing is chambered in the not-so-common .32-20 W.C.F

The .32-20 W.C.F at left, next to a .32 ACP

The .32-20 W.C.F at left, next to a .32 ACP

The .32-20 W.C.F (Winchester Center Fire) began it’s life in 1882 as the Winchester Cartridge Companies’ first smallbore lever action cartridge.  Typically suited for small game hunting, the round has fairly moderate velocity, and is therefore very useful for small game hunting because it destroys very little meat.  It is a bottleneck cartridge, with the name being derived from the bullet weight and grains of powder in the original loading.  The original loading of the .32-20 consisted of a .32 caliber bullet over 20 grains of black powder.  The cartridge can be reloaded, although it is a somewhat difficult cartridge to load for because of the bottleneck case design, and the fact that the brass around the case mouth is quite thin, leading to cases buckling more often than other calibers.

Data Specs for .32-20 W.C.F

Data Specs for .32-20 W.C.F

Black Hills Currently is one of the few loading .32-20 W.C.F

Black Hills Currently is one of the few loading .32-20 W.C.F

This particular Hand Ejector was made in 1915, and is in pretty good shape given its age.  It has been refinished at some time in the past, and at some point the revolver went back to Smith & Wesson for factory work, indicated by the small star stamped next to the serial number.

The Nickel finish contrasts with the Stag grips nicely

The Nickel finish contrasts with the Stag grips nicely

The Hand Ejector was S&W’s first revolver that featured a swing out cylinder, as all their other revolvers to that point had been either of the tip-up design featured on the S&W Models 1 & 2 or the top-break design as featured on the Model 3 and the Schofield.

The Hand Ejector sports a swing-out six-shot cylinder

The Hand Ejector sports a swing-out six-shot cylinder

The sights on the S&W Hand Ejector are very rudimentary, with a simple notch cut in the top strap for a rear sight and a fine half moon style sight blade for the front sight.  This setup can make it very difficult to pick up the sights, especially in very bright situations where the nickel finish washes out the sight picture.

The fine front sight blade makes acquiring the sights difficult in certain conditions

The fine front sight blade makes acquiring the sights difficult in certain conditions

Another view of the rudimentary rear and front sights.

Another view of the rudimentary rear and front sights.

The S&W Hand Ejector was a double-action revolver which allowed the shooter to cock the hammer back manually for each shot (and a lighter trigger pull) or enabled the user to simply pull the trigger and fire in double-action mode.  The Hand Ejector also featured several safety features, such as S&W’s patented floating firing pin, and their hammer rebound mechanism that allowed one to carry the revolver fully loaded without fear of discharge if dropped.

The S&W Hand Ejector, Hammer cocked back.

The S&W Hand Ejector, Hammer cocked back.

The Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector is truly a classic example of early 1900’s Smith & Wesson craftsmanship.  It is a fine revolver, and it is chambered for an interesting cartridge.  While the .32-20 is not nearly as popular as it once was, it is kept alive by enthusiasts who appreciate its low recoil and its moderate performance when a light caliber is needed.  The S&W Hand Ejector, coupled with the .32-20 W.C.F, made for a excellent shooting revolver, the likes of which we may never see made again.

Here is a short video of me shooting and doing a range review on the above revolver.  Thanks for Reading & Watching!!!!

-Michad

 

 

 

Advertisements

The MP-5 SD 9mm Submachine Gun

In the world of military and law enforcement operations, the submachine gun has a special place in the hearts of operators.  A compact, reliable weapon firing pistol caliber ammunition at a high-cyclic rate is exceedingly useful for their types of close-quarter, in-your-face combat that they experience in their day-to-day training and deployment.  While there are numerous designs of submachine gun, there is one design that stands out above all others and has stood the test of time.  That is the Heckler and Koch MP5. 

Image

 

The H&K MP5 (which stands for machinenpistole 5 or “machine pistol model 5”) is a selective-fire delayed blowback submachine gun which utilizes the NATO standard 9mm Parabellum pistol cartridge.  Developed in 1964 and released to the German Federal Police in 1966, it quickly became the most widely used submachine gun by the worlds counter terrorist and special operations forces as well as those countries in the newly formed NATO alliance.  It used plentiful 9mm Parabellum ammunition, and was very controllable, even on fully automatic.  This use of common ammunition simplified logistics and the performance of the weapon allowed for a high level of precision for the tactical operators that used them.

Image

 

The MP5 uses a type of delayed blowback system as its operating mechanism.  This system, pioneered in the dark days of the Nazi regime in World War Two, utilizes two rollers attached to the bolt carrier inside of the weapon.  Firing from a closed bolt, the rollers on either side of the bolt carrier fit into recesses in the chamber of the weapon, delaying the opening of the bolt and extraction of the spent cartridge until the bullet has left the barrel and the pressures inside the chamber have dropped to a safe level.  The MP5 also utilized a fluted chamber, with shallow flutes inside the chamber that allowed gasses to “lubricate” the cartridge case and prevent it from expanding and sticking to the chamber walls.  These two systems were carried over from H&K’s extremely successful and reliable 7.62x51mm rifle, the G3.  These two systems greatly contributed to the reliability of the weapon and helped to ensure its place in the hands of military forces around the globe.

Image

In 1974, H&K designed a integrally suppressed variant of the MP5, called the MP5-SD.  It utilized a large suppressor that slipped over almost the entire length of the barrel.  Just forward of the threading that the suppressor used to attach itself to the receiver, are 30 gas ports.  These ports are designed to release the propellant gasses into the suppressor, which serves two functions; first, it slows the acceleration of the bullet to subsonic velocity, thereby decreasing or eliminating the supersonic crack of the bullet downrange. Secondly, it allows the gasses escaping the firearm to slow to a subsonic level so they do not produce the characteristic crack of a gunshot when the bullet exits the barrel.  When combined, these ports and suppressor result in a very mild report, one that sounds remarkably like a loud cough.

 

My experiences with the MP5-SD have been extremely positive.  My shooting buddy has a semi-automatic variant with collapsible stock in 9mm Parabellum caliber and it is an extremely effective weapon out to 100 yards.  The report is very mild, and hearing protection is optional when firing the MP5-SD.  While the suppressor is designed to reduce normal supersonic ammunition to subsonic velocities, I’ve found that the suppressor works best when using 147 grain subsonic 9x19mm ammunition. The only caveat I have found is to not use +P ammunition in the MP-5, as the higher pressure 9mm +P ammo will cause the bolt to open before chamber pressures have dropped to a safe level, thereby risking damage to the firearm and/or shooter.

The MP5-SD is truly an iconic submachine gun, and the MP5 and its variants have figured in thousands of special operations performed by the world’s militaries.  In my limited experience, I have found the reputation of the MP5 to be well deserved as it is a reliable and well-designed weapons system that will perform well and be around for years to come.