Any Swenson Owners? - Pistolsmith

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Old 03-31-2001, 03:32 PM   #1
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I have been trying to put together some photos of Swenson pistols for a section we are thinking about adding here. If any of you have any pics or even just some stories about Armand to share, we would appreciate you posting them.

1973 Colt Series 70 Gold Cup Customized by Armand Swenson


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Desert Dog on 2001-03-31 15:35 ]</font>
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Old 03-31-2001, 08:43 PM   #2
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Hello. No, I've never owned one, but did get to shoot a 5" gun he'd put S&W sights on. Man, did it group. Sorry, but that's it for me on 1st-hand information on Swenson's guns.


Old 04-01-2001, 05:26 PM   #3
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That's a beautiful peace. Swenson sure knew how to build them didn't he? I've had the pleasure of shooting one, but never had the luck of purchasing one. No one seems to be willing to give up their's. Oh well, one can dream.
Old 04-01-2001, 05:49 PM   #4
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Yes indeeed, people tend to hang onto their Swensons. Interestingly, when I bought mine, my phone call was followed by Walt Rauch trying to buy the very same pistol. The Gun God's must have thought Walt owned enough Swensons' already and decided to spread it around some. :smile:

Stephen is correct about the Swenson guns grouping well. Accuracy was important to him and he made it point only to ship guns that met his standards for accuracy. Given that most of his guns were factory barrels that he accurized himself, it is all the more noteable. BTW, according to the original shop receipt that came with my Swenson, he did the accurizing for the princely sum of $75.

Here is a photo of the barrel from my Swenson, which shows the Prussian blue still visible from the barrel fitting. The only rounds that have been fired in this pistol, are those Armand Swenson fired into the test target.

Old 04-01-2001, 08:31 PM   #5
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DD, are those welded or brazed fitting pads in the rear lug slot with the Prussian blue? Looks like it but hard to tell for sure from the pic.
For those that don't know, that was a standard fitting technique used by the old masters, along with welding the hood, to create a match grade performer from a stock barrel. It's amazing how accurate a stock barrel can be when fitted by someone who knows how. With the proliferation of match barrels today, not really worth the effort though.
Old 04-01-2001, 08:43 PM   #6
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Good eye Bill! You are seeing it correctly. Ditto on the methods used by the old masters. Do note, this is a National Match barrel, so he was starting off with something pretty darn good. Swenson just made it fit better.

I dunno if I agree with not bothering to do this anymore. Brian Bilby used to save customers money, by not always recommending they automatically switch out barrels. Dane has also commented that some of the Kimber barrels are really pretty nice from the factory. It would be nice to see these skills not lost to the next generation of smiths.

Old 04-02-2001, 12:34 AM   #7
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Well there I go being guilty of the same thing I've mumbled under my breath about so often. I was just regurgitating the same old line I've heard so often. I myself have had a good welder add material to the hood, bottom lugs, and top rear lug so that I could refit it. I'm not capable of welding like that myself and I've just gotten accustomed to putting in match barrels. I always pride myself at not taking anything at face value and I just violated that rule. Thanks for reminding me.
I've coveted a Swenson for 25 years. Passed up an opportunity for one at a gun show across the state line due to the logistics of the transfer. I kick myself every time I think of it. We need to get some examples of Clark, Behlert, Sabo, Dinan, etc. up to look at. The Pachmayr Combat Specials were nice too. Used to drool over them quite a bit.
Old 04-02-2001, 02:47 PM   #8
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This is exactly the type of exchange that makes these forums so valuable.

Question. Did these smiths, Swenson, Behlert,
Jim Clark, Sr,, etc, do mundane work...
just trigger jobs, replacing grip safeties, etc. or were they so highly sought after
that they only built custom guns. I'm
referring to their period as big name smiths.

If one had, say, a Swenson worked gun, but
not a Swenson built gun, would it have any colloctors' value?
Old 04-03-2001, 01:18 AM   #9
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Can't reply re: the others, but about Mr.Clark Sr...

I do have a 629 that he did a service action and tune job on and he did a similar tune-up of a Model 66 for me...
I know the shop does all kinds of things...Mr. Clark made Ruger 22 pistols sing, and I hear the shop is doing 10/22s and Mini-14s now...

The actions on the S&Ws( these are older revolvers BTW) are nothing special...I think breaking glass might be a little dull compared to the 66 though...I have yet to have anyone shoot the 629 that didn't want it after the first shot...The cases don't really feel like they are touching anything...Tilt the barrel up and out they come...
I think I remember 140. on the 66 and 120. on the 629...It's been quite a while...

Seems like I remember racks with all kinds of customers long arms on it...Shotguns, Rifles, etc...and I have a cousin that had some things done on his LEO weapons...




<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: gyp_c2 on 2001-04-03 01:19 ]</font>
Old 04-03-2001, 05:19 PM   #10
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Posts: 79
I thought I would add this after reading some of the posts about Swenson. I noticed someone
mentioned Grip Safties. Beavertail or wide grip safties weren't common until about 1980-1981. Just for the hell of it I went back into my old records and found that I started installing Wide Grip safties in 1980. I used the ones that were made by Jim Hoag. I still have some. Fact is Dane talked me out of a couple. The other more common one was made by MS Safari Arms.
How many Swenson Pistols have you seen with a beavertail Grip Safety?
Many of my early Pistols used the Factory Barrel. You would either weld up the hood or Silver Solder small pieces of Tool Steel to the Hood. Another thing you will see in a Swenson Pistol is a Barrel Positioner. This is a small piece of metal Silver Soldered in the Slide opposite of the Ejection Port. This limited the Barrel from locking up high in the lugs.
Maybe this post should be in a different place, but I thought some of you may be interested, since you were talking about Swenson.

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