Help ID a S& W


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emjimb
June 18, 2006, 01:52 PM
Your help please -a friends relative recently died and gave him a S and W serial #772xx -by my looking around I am guessing a K-38 or a M+P ........can someone tell me about it and maybe if of any value -it is in beautiful condition ,blue ,5 inch brrl.and virtually perfect in appearance and silky in trigger pull -----I am a Colt guy and I would compare the trigger to a Python

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Old Fuff
June 18, 2006, 03:15 PM
First of all, welcome to the High Road... :)

I'm sure we can help you and your friend, but more of a description of the revolver is needed. The serial number 772xx could have been used on more then one model.

The most likely candidate would be a .38 1905 Hand Ejector/1st change. In that case it would have been manufactured around 1907, and given your description of the condition I have some doubts.

The serial number should be stamped on the bottom of the butt. Double check to be sure that there isn't also a letter, such as "S", "K", "C" or "D".

Other details that would help: The patent dates stamped on top of the barrel (if there are any), The shape of the butt - round or square? What material are the stocks made of?

Last but not least, posting a picture would be a great help.

emjimb
June 18, 2006, 03:25 PM
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f33/emjimb/nook006.jpg
Brrl 5 inch fixed /rounded blade sight on front -none on rear/non-shrouded ejector rod/38/Serial # on yoke/no prefixes /as to markings .... SMITH AND WESSON on brrl.,trade mark below latch on opposite side under cyl.is made in USA and on brrl it says 38s.& W.special CTG.....on top of brrl.smith and wesson springfield mass.usa and below that ..patented feb.6.06.,sept.14.09dec.29.14-----------

Old Fuff
June 18, 2006, 03:45 PM
Excellent picture!

In this case the number on the yoke, and I presume on the frame across from it, is an assembly number, not the serial number. The serial number should be located at the following places:

On the bottom of the butt.
On the back face of the cylinder.
On the bottom of the barrel on the extractor rod cut (the flat area).
On the inside of the stocks (one side or both).

The last patent date (Dec. 29 .14) identifies the revolver to be a S&W .38 1905 Hand Ejector (Military & Police) 4th change. The style of stock indicate it was made between 1917 through 1929. I can narrow that a bit by knowing if the rear sight notch is "U" or square shaped. Last but not least, I would expect a serial number above 241704.

emjimb
June 18, 2006, 04:01 PM
u -notch and yes --you are great -under the rod is 592 901:o------------so what do you think it might be worth ???

XavierBreath
June 18, 2006, 04:14 PM
Old Fuff certainly hit the nail on the head. As usual. I hardly ever get a chance when he's around. :scrutiny:

All that is left, that I can do, is give you a ballpark value on your revolver. Assuming your revolver looks as good on the right as the left, and it is functional, in Louisiana it would bring around $200-250 in a private sale to a dedicated collector. A dealer would likely offer $100-150 for it as he would be looking to make a profit. If it were on a gunstore shelf, I would be pleased to buy it at any price under $200.

The five inch barrel and pre-1929 stocks make it a less common revolver.

Smith & Wesson prices vary widely around the country. Prices are rather low in my area, with lots of guns to choose from. In a S&W poor area, your revolver could possibly bring as much as $50-100 over my estimate from the right collector.

The good thing is, after being checked by a qualified gunsmith, your revolver can be used as intended, and is a very accurate handgun. Stay away from +P ammo.

One thing for Fuff....... Isn't the ejector knob a later knob? As in after 1930?

One thing for emjimb......Is there a star marking beside the serial number or possibly on the grip frame under the grips?

Old Fuff
June 18, 2006, 04:25 PM
Your revolver dates from about 1930 - 1932. To get a more exact date will require a factory letter from S&W's historian, Roy Jinks. This would require a check made out to S&W (not Mr. Jinks) in the amount of $30.00 and a hard copy of your photograph and description as posted here. In exchange Mr. Jinks would send you an official letter with an overview of the model, plus detailed information (including the shipping date and who to) concerning this particular revolver. For more details see the S&W company website at: www.smith-wesson.com

I would estimate its current value to be around $300.00 to $350.00, but they are going up, particularly in that kind of condition.

Yes, the action is very smooth, and will give a Python a run for its money. What you have is an example of S&W's so-called "long action" (because of the hammer's cocking stroke) and the fact it was for all practical purposes hand built at the time, with no cost saving shortcuts.

I can understand your confusion over the location of the serial number because for many years Colt put the serial number on the frame behind the crane (yoke). In recent years S&W has done the same because of wrap-around stocks that hide the bottom of the butt in some cases.

XavierBreath
June 18, 2006, 04:34 PM
http://www.bayourovers.com/Smithandwessonmilitarypolicestag.jpg
Above is S&W M&P #544XXX from 1928-29.
Note the difference between our ejector knobs.
I believe we may be able to pin down the date the ejector knob changed.

FWIW, SCS&W lists the Texas State Prison M&Ps as being purchased between 1927 and 1930 with a serial number range between 500000 and 630000. I'm guessing a little earlier than Fuff, I say a solid 1929 based on the serial, grips and ejector knob. This is, of course, assuming the grips are original, and I suspect they are. Caveat: Fuff has proven me wrong more often than not.....
You can learn more about a factory letter here (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/01/collectors-treasure.html). That Jinks letter is the only way to know for sure when your revolver left the factory.

Old Fuff
June 18, 2006, 04:37 PM
XavierBreath:

Well now, I would be glad to break all the speed limits on the books to give the owner $200.00 for that revolver... :evil: :D

I have to do some research on the different ejector rod heads. The early ones were seperate from the rods and screwed on, but were the same shape as the one on your revolver, and is similar to one I have on an M&P that was made in 1917 or '18. So I know the 1930 date may be off, but it is possible S&W was making different style ejector rods, and/or using up old inventory.

Edited to add: My proposed date of manufacture (1930 - 32) is an estimate. Only Roy Jinks knows for sure.

XavierBreath
June 18, 2006, 04:45 PM
The ejector knob is curious...... It is appropriate for the barrel though, and thus indicates that it is not a replacement. I don't know for certain, but I think that between these two revolvers, we just may be able to ascertain when the change was made.

emjimb
June 18, 2006, 04:47 PM
Hey -I want to thank you for your help in this mission........and I am thrilled to report that as a result of your knowledge ,I have relayed this to my friend -who replied -------:"if that is all that it is worth -KEEP IT ";) ;) !!!!!!!So ,my collection grows and thank you again :) !!!!!!!!!

PS> I am seeking a 3 inch Python nickel or blue ,NIB is the perferred one -but will buy any real one oin at least 98% -------thanks !

Old Fuff
June 18, 2006, 04:55 PM
On that 3" Python...

Be carefull. There are spare 3" barrels on the market, and more guns have been made up by switching barrels onto guns that came with longer ones, then Colt ever built in the short length.

XavierBreath
June 18, 2006, 04:59 PM
if that is all that it is worth -KEEP IT
Another happy ending!

Old Fuff
June 18, 2006, 06:09 PM
Well no.... :(

If it's that worthless he could have sent it to me... I would have gladly paid the postage. ;)

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