S&W Model 40 Centennial Value?


April 2, 2010, 06:19 PM
I've wanted to add a S&W Model 40 Centennial to my small collection ever since shooting my good friend's "lemon squeezer". He didn't want to sell, and neither the money or the gun came together at the same time from any other source.

Now my friend is having some financial difficulties. His M 40 (built in 1974) has become surplus in his collection. He wants to sell - and I have the money to buy it.

I haven't inspected it very carefully, but I remember it had a slightly sticky cylinder. Since my friend almost NEVER cleans his firearms (I know...what can I say?), I suspect the problem is no more then that. I know he has only shot a very few rounds through it.

The blue is in real good shape, and so are the smooth walnut stocks. Assuming it is mechanically sound - what is the "just right" price between friends?

Not too little...not too much...just right.

Anybody familiar with current prices on these?

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April 2, 2010, 06:31 PM

I sold one a couple of years ago for (I think) $500.00, perhaps $550.00, but no more than that.

My model 40 was in excellent shape, but not pristine, or "like new" at all.

I notice where S&W has come out with a new "Centennial" grip safety model just like the old model 40, and if it were ME and I wanted a carry gun, or a gun to shoot much I'd buy a new one...

If all you want to do is just collect one, or even get one to shoot every now and then the old grip safety 40's/42's are neat.

I think my particular model 40 was of 1950's manufacture, and it came with the neat "high horn" wooden grips, and still had the grip safety "pin" in the little pin holder under the grips.

Best Wishes,


April 2, 2010, 07:04 PM
Thanks Jesse. $500 is about what I was thinking. I don't understand your personal preference for new. My thought is they don't make 'em like they used to, and I would prefer an older revolver in very good condition over new. Prices are better also.

April 2, 2010, 07:51 PM

Well, it's not that I have a "preference for new" as opposed to appreciating the classics..

In fact I have a pristine Colt Detective Special (nickel), two Cobra's, and a model 49 S&W nickle Bodyguard...


When I chose to carry a revolver I always pick my 638 Airweight Bodyguard because it has Crimson Trace Lasergrips, and comes from the factory with a great "smooth" target trigger. The old model 40 has the narrow serrated trigger which is much less comfortable to shoot.


For practical cc purposes the Airweight Bodyguard is just light years easier to shoot accurately than all of my other snubby's and accepts all modern ammunition to boot, something that I worry about in any older firearm such as the 60 yr. old model 40.

I love old things... Heck I must, I have a wife who is a senior citizen! ;)

I'm not trying to rain on your parade regarding the model 40, heck I wanted one for years too... The only reason I sold it is that I'm an old fart, retired on a fixed income and some new firearm "lust" overwhelmed me. (HK P7 fever I think).. I had to sell something I had to finance the purchase of something I wanted...

Oh yeah... HK P7's are neat too..


Best Wishes, and I'm sure you'd like an old grip safety model 40 if you got one.



April 3, 2010, 05:22 AM
Great pics! Nice collection.

April 3, 2010, 09:01 AM

I think between $500 and $550 would be a decent price to pay for a Model 40 as you described it. I recently had my collection appraised and my Model 649, in like new condition, was set at $390. I've seen them go for more on some auction sites, but supply and demand can factor into it as well. And I agree with you; I would rather have the older Model 40, as is, than a currently manufactured one.

April 7, 2010, 03:53 AM
I bought the Model 40 from my freind for $500.

It's filthy and has some lead fouling that is probably the cause of the sticky cylinder. I'll remove the yoke and give it all a good scrubbing.

I'm considering sending it to S&W for an action job to smooth it up and perhaps have them lighten the trigger (if they do that?).

Other than that, it's hardly been shot, locks up tight, and the blue is near perfect!

April 7, 2010, 06:42 AM

Good deal; you got the gun at a fair price and your friend got the cash he needed. Sounds fair all the way around. The only other thing I used to add to any deals that I made with friends, is that the seller has the right of first refusal if the new owner wants to sell it someday. That way they at least have a chance to get their old gun back if things turn around for them eventually.

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