Help please... dob on S&W .32 long


November 5, 2006, 03:45 PM
I hope someone here can help me date a Smith & Wesson .32 SW long revolver that I saw in a little shop last week (they are asking $250 for it; 90% ?)

Blued Smith & Wesson 3 1/4" barrel, 6 shot
.32 S&W long
s/n 557,220
Round butt
5 screw
coil spring under grips
NOT a flat latch
no model number on crane/yoke (pre 1957?)

From what I've read on the forum here, it appears to me to be a post war, pre model 30.... improved I frame...

Thanks for your help! :)

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November 5, 2006, 04:35 PM
Supica and Nahas have an unusually vague answer to that:
1946-1960 546,685- 712,953
the model 30-31 range starts at 712,954.

1953 Improved I frame deletes the trigger screw and starin screw

1954 eliminates upper side plate screw at 640, 980. Your revolver would appear to be early 1950s if not late 40s.

November 5, 2006, 04:58 PM
MEC... thanks!

you mentioned: 1953 Improved I frame deletes the trigger screw and stain screw

Would this make it a 1953 ... since it does not have the strain screw that is used for the flat spring (under the grip)?

What makes an "Impoved I Frame"... the coil spring? this little guns are confusing! :eek:

November 5, 2006, 05:07 PM
I don't know. they really are confusing. I've seen early ones with half moon front sights as opposed to the ramps genrally on the model 30s. the absence of the bug screw (top frame) would put it mid fifties or earlier. I don't know the difference or dates of I vs J frames or when they went with the coiled spring. The chief's special of 1950 was a coil spring J frame as I remember.

November 5, 2006, 06:04 PM
Hey thanks!

Maybe someone will come along here and help figure it out!

It's definitely a 5 screw... but does have a coil spring under the grip stock.

Old Fuff
November 5, 2006, 07:36 PM
The "improved" I-frame came about when S&W went to the coil mainspring. It was later lengthened to make the first J-frames. As speculated on, the gun dates from the late 1940's or early 50's and it was discontinued when S&W switched to the J-frame. They then became the pre-model 30. The model 30 came about in 1957 when S&W went to numbers.

Roy Jinks' book covers this issue much better, but I'm not where the book is...

So I'm going by memory. Use the key words "1903 Hand Ejector" in the forum's search feature and you should find a number of previous threads on this gun.

If the bore and chambers were clean and the revolver didn't have any mechanical problems I'd jump at it for $250.00

A lot of the confusion concerning barrel lengths, front sight shapes, etc. is because during this time period S&W was still using up pre-war parts, including frames and barrels. Later barrels and barrel lengths were based on the same forgings used in the Chief Special (pre-model 36).

November 5, 2006, 10:17 PM
Thanks so much, Old Fuff ! :)

I'll do a search right now and do some serious reading of past postings.

I think the dates are going to fall between 1953 and 1955... just based on the coil spring and that it is a "5 screw".

The serial number threw me off a little.... it's only 21,000 or so more from when S&W started back in post war production. I thought they started back in 1946 but now I'm reading it might have been as late as 1949 (for the pre model 30, I-Frames).

Old Fuff
November 5, 2006, 10:34 PM
I used to think 1946 too, but according to Roy Jinks they started post-war production of the 1903 Hand Ejector much later. The trouble here is that my books are in one place, and I'm in another - and it will be that way for about a week to 10 days.

But anyway, a short time back someone else had a revolver like yours, and in a very long thread it got all hashed out.

After the war it took time for S&W to get models other then the .38 Military & Police back into production, and they were looking at a tremendous demand for that revolver. When the .32 Hand Ejectors got started again they begain by using pre-war parts - modified to take the new hammer block.

Anyway, if you find those previous threads you'll learn a lot.

November 5, 2006, 11:14 PM
Old Fuff...

Thanks again... I just finished reading the long thread where you mentioned the start up date of 1949 for the hand ejectors @ s/n 536,685

Also after further reading... it seems that the 4 screw was introduced at s/n 640,980 in 1955. The one I was looking at is a 3 1/4", 5 screw, s/n 557,220.

Prior to 1957 they were offered in 2", 3" 3 1/4", 4", 4 1/4" and 6".

Any idea what these .32's main purpose was? Were private detectives using these "round butts" ?

Thanks again for all your help and past postings!

Old Fuff
November 6, 2006, 08:50 AM
The round butt was a Smith & Wesson "thing" of sorts, and went back to their top-break pocket revolvers of the 1880's. In 1917 they introduced what was called the Regulation Police revolver - same gun but with stocks that converted the round butt to square.

Prior to World War Two the 1903 Hand Ejector (which you have) was popular with many people. It was carried as a police sidearm when guns were carried by patoromen under their coats - usually in a hip pocket. Plain ol' people did the same, and it resided in many a bedside drawer. While not powerful by today's standards it is very accurate and easy to shoot, particularly by those who are not regular or experienced handgun shooters.

Unfortunately too many folks are finding this out... I can't steal ... ah... I mean purchase them for peanuts anymore... :evil:

November 6, 2006, 05:14 PM
Thanks Old Fuff for the great info!

November 6, 2006, 07:00 PM
Old Fuff does it again. Your knowledge and helpfulness on these type guns is always appreciated,sir.

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