A Registered Magnum find???


Brian Moore
July 15, 2008, 12:33 AM
Hello. I recently bought a strange looking smith and wesson from someone and was hesitant to buy it when I actually saw it, as I originally thought it was a model 27. It had been carried by an old time police officer and after I paid the price of less than three hundred dollars, I did some research and found that it is one of these registered magnums. I have owned quite a few smiths since I was a teenager back in the early 70's, including several k frame 357s. I have learned that this gun is rather rare and was the first batch of 357s made. I have sent off a letter to find out the date that it was shipped and to whom it went, as some sites suggested. The gun has no box, no certificate, has a 5 inch barrel, and has some ivory looking stag grips that obviously were not original based on the 1950's looking sticker from El Monte Ca, on the inside of the grip panel. Barrel and chambers are bright and clean, the action is tight and smooth. The bluing is holster worn, as the old boy carried it for a number of years and actually worked for the same agency I did, but many years before. I left there over 20 years ago, and he left long before me. Anyhow, it was kinda like finding the tin man in a field, as it hadn't been cleaned since the early 70's and responded well to a little careful degreasing and oiling. Not sure what I will do with it. Would like to get a realistic price of what it is worth. I have a wedding to pay for, so perhaps I may sell it if it is worth enough. If not, I will probably keep it and shoot it and treat it kindly. I'm sure that I will wear out and be gone long before this old warrior does. Thanks everyone for the info on these unusual guns. Brian

If you enjoyed reading about "A Registered Magnum find???" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
July 15, 2008, 12:42 AM

To answer your question best, I would suggest:

1) Opening a new thread instead of resurrecting an old one
2) Really you need to post some photos

The lack of original grips and wear will definitely hurt it in value quite a bit (sounds like you have some unfortunate plastic Fitz grips), but it is still a desirable gun.

An easy photo hosting sight is photobucket; there are others. Taking photos, uploading them to a hosting site, then posting the link here will help people give you better advice and valuation. Regardless, it sounds like you found a very nice deal.


Brian Williams
July 15, 2008, 07:43 AM
Welcome to the Forum and to the realm of great S&Ws, That is a great find. I would like to see some pictures and know at least the serial number and the registration number, Give us the first 3 digits of the serial number and the last ones with xxx for the place holders.

July 15, 2008, 08:49 AM
This is an RM. Note the small rear sight. After WW II S&W used a larger sight. Some pre-war guns have been modified to use the later sight and this greatly hurts value.


This is the left side of the same gun. On pre-1945 S&Ws you see a "dimple" just under the cylinder release. Also note that the front sight stops short of the muzzle by a 1/4 inch or so. Post war guns have the front sight base flush with the muzzle.


An RM will have the registration number stamped under the cylinder crane. It appears as "REG 1234."


If your gun has the features cited above it appears you have an RM. The last two I saw sell at auction fetched over $3,000 each despite being in pretty poor condition. Anyone who sold you an RM for under $300 was either feeble minded or very foolish.

July 15, 2008, 02:40 PM
what is the deal about not bringing back old threads? i think this is better than starting from scratch on every subject.

July 15, 2008, 03:54 PM
Brian, open the cylinder and look and see if it's stamped like SaxonPig's is. If so, it's a registered magnum. S&W may or may not have the name of file of the original/registered owner. If it's not so marked, you have a pre-Model 27 and maybe a pre-WWII gun, just not a RM.

SaxonPig's Registered Magnum

July 15, 2008, 04:03 PM
what is the deal about not bringing back old threads? i think this is better than starting from scratch on every subject.

It appears a moderator has clipped or moved this into a new thread - probably Brian Williams. Brian (other Brian, the OP) originally posted this last night on the back end of a four year-old thread. Just to further confuse things, my name is also Bryan, so maybe we should start a religion or something.;)

1) he had apparently done his homework and searched the forum for "Registered Magnum." Very, very good. MUCH smarter than most people.

2) But, bringing back a six-page, four year old thread discourages new comments as people will often just ignore the new content - that's the main theory.

Brian is new here, so I wasn't yelling at him, just making a friendly suggestion to help him get better responses, like the details, info and lovely pictures SaxonPig and csmkersh posted. They probably would have done that anyway, as any "Registered Magnum" thread is going to raise eyebrows, new or old!

In general, unless a new post is DIRECTLY related to the prior thread, it's best to start a new one after it's more than a few weeks old. Four years is kinda long...

July 16, 2008, 11:47 AM
Yes we need pics for sure. It's probably only worth $800-1500. I'll give you $1600 for it.

Jim Watson
July 16, 2008, 12:02 PM
Note that a pre-war "UNregistered" Magnum is even scarcer than the registered gun.

Might ask over at

July 16, 2008, 12:08 PM
Ok, so can one of you S&W experts explain exactly what a registered magnum is to us un-enlighted ones?

July 16, 2008, 01:34 PM
PCFlorida, back in the old days, a customer could order a revolver and specify such options as barrel length, sights, grips, etc. Much later, these guns became known as "Registered Magnums".

Jim Watson
July 16, 2008, 02:00 PM
There is more to it than simply specifying the configuration of the gun.

When the .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935, the buyer got a certificate with it. The registration number was stamped on the gun, printed on the certificate, and recorded at the factory in the original owner's name. The registration number is distinct from the serial number and the usual S&W fitting numbers. They built about 5500 Registered Magnums. As business picked up, they dropped the registration process. But they only sold 1142 "unregistered Magnums" before WW II and shift of gun manufacture to war weapons.

Even though there were many more Registered Magnums made than unregistered pre-WW II guns, Blue Book still rates the Registered at a higher value.

Either way, Rinspeed is not making you a big offer.

July 16, 2008, 02:05 PM
Thank you both for the knowledge transfer. Neat bit of trivia.

July 16, 2008, 04:01 PM
I found a RM in my back yard as well and I will post a pic later. You should have seen the look on the guys face when I told I could find him some original era grips for $500-600.

July 17, 2008, 09:34 AM
Don't you hate it when a newbie posts something interesting but unsatisfying with his first post and then disappears without providing additional info?

If you enjoyed reading about "A Registered Magnum find???" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!