advice-flat latch j frame...refinish or not?


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Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 12:13 AM
Greetings

I picked up an old J frame...really cheap

The question is do I keep it as a beater?
sell it?
bead blast and blue?
sent to Ford's?

Understand that I am not a J-frame guy.

If it were a K-frame....:evil:

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt82/BillLoeb/left-1-1.jpg
http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt82/BillLoeb/right-2-1.jpg

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Quoheleth
November 10, 2012, 12:25 AM
Everyone, almost, needs a j-frame.

Answer one: Keep it.

Answer two: Leave it as-is. Make it your beater, go to the store late at night gun that you don't care if the keys scratch it up, or the truck door whacks it getting out.

Answer three: If you refinish it, skip the bead blast and go the full monte and get it redone at Smith & Wesson. See the recent thread on the Bud's Model 10.

My two cents' opinion. Refunds given on request.

Q

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 12:30 AM
I guess there is a fifth option

I could let Old Fuff loose and "fitz" it

He has been begging to chop up one of my guns!!! :cuss:

Quoheleth
November 10, 2012, 01:26 AM
If you're going that far, send it here and I'll babysit it until you come to your senses...

:neener:

Q

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 01:32 AM
Everyone, almost, needs a j-frame

I know you say that but...I am trying to figure out what I will use it for...I mean unless you pocket carry...I can use a K-frame instead.

And except for concealment...a K frame does everything better than a J frame

Quoheleth
November 10, 2012, 01:35 AM
Well, it is a few ounces lighter ;)
DOB?
Q

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 01:38 AM
I think 1956

the Standard Catalog of Smith shows 1955 ending at 75000 and 1957 starting at 117770

this one is 948XX

One needs better research sources than I to be sure.

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 01:40 AM
BTW

the Model 19 is a K-Frame therefore perfection

NEVER...EVER pass a K for a J.

ArchAngelCD
November 10, 2012, 01:53 AM
I would either carry it daily as is or send it to S&W for Bluing. (is it really re-finishing if it's done by the original factory?)

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 01:59 AM
Archangel

I understand what you are saying about refinishing...but Ford's does great work.

In your experience, would you chose Smith over Ford's?

ArchAngelCD
November 10, 2012, 02:09 AM
Archangel
In your experience, would you chose Smith over Ford's?
I've never seen any of Ford's work other than pictures but I have seen and held S&W's work. I can not believe how great the S&W work is and the revolver looks like the day it was made when they are done. (not like today's work, like it was back in the 40's) I'm sorry I can't tell you which is a better choice.

As a matter of fact, there is a thread active on the forum right no showing what S&W can do with a M10.
Take a look... http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=684109

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 02:10 AM
yeah...I saw that Model 10.

Looks amazing!!!

skidder
November 10, 2012, 02:31 AM
Is that your phone number on the side :confused:. Gee... are we that desperate for a date. ;)

I would get the bead-blast bluing and use it around the house. I had one done on an old Security Six and it made it look brand new. The bead-blast will cover over a multitude of sins.

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 02:40 AM
are we that desperate for a date.

not me...YOU are the one that lives in Montana!!!

skidder
November 10, 2012, 02:46 AM
not me...YOU are the one that lives in Montana!!!

Dang... That hurt! Now everybody knows :o

Here is the one I had done. Cost $125 and seems to hold up pretty good.

http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc456/exlogger/Security%20Six/BlueSix.jpg

http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc456/exlogger/Security%20Six/BluedTop.jpg

skidder
November 10, 2012, 02:51 AM
I think a bead-blast would look pretty sweet on that J-frame. I would have preferred the high-polish, but the gunsmith told me it would have cost a lot more because of the condition of my gun.

ColtPythonElite
November 10, 2012, 03:21 AM
Bead and blue if it costs no more than 100 bucks.

bannockburn
November 10, 2012, 07:00 AM
I would have it refinished, either by S&W or Fords. I have seen examples of their work and the polishing and bluing look fantastic. Would go with a bright blue finish as I think it would look more period correct versus a matte bead-blasted finish.

Now if I was going to put it into the regular rotation for CCW, I would consider getting it hard chrome plated, probably by Ron Mahovsky of Metalife.

Jim Watson
November 10, 2012, 07:54 AM
For $125, the Skidder Solution looks awful good. Especially if done by a COMPETENT local shop so you don't get eaten up by Fedups.

PRM
November 10, 2012, 08:51 AM
the Model 19 is a K-Frame therefore perfection, NEVER...EVER pass a K for a J. - Gulliermo

LOL - No argument on there being a difference in shooting a K VS the J frame. As an LEO I have owned, carried and shot both since the 70s. They are performers with a slight edge going to the larger K frame as far as smoothness. The flat spring VS the coil spring definitely has a different feel. And for most, the larger K frame VS the J frame with standard grips fits larger hands better.

However, I have also been partial to the smaller J Frame for back-up and off duty carry. There is a difference, especially if your using an ankle holster. Over that time I used IWB, OWB, shoulder holsters, and ankle holsters... The J frame just works for me. With practice it is an accurate piece that will definitely do what it was designed to do.

I recently picked up a like new, 1977-1978 mfg 3 inch heavy barrel Model 36-1. This little gun is a pure pleasure to shoot. The 3 inch barrel carries as easy as the shorter barreled versions and the extra sight radius picks up easier with my older eyes in play.

As far as the OPs question on his flat latch. Looks like what you have is a functional early Model 36. In its condition - it really doesn't have a lot of high dollar collector value. If it was me, I'd have to bring it back to its former glory and do the full restoration from a reputable smith. David Chicoine has been working on my guns since the early 80s and has even custom built a couple for me www.oldwestgunsmith.com He is reasonable on cost and is one of the best. In fact, if you have a vintage S&W and call the factory - Dave is who they will refer you to.

As far as cost - you may save a few bucks on the bead blast over the nicer blue. Over the time you will probably own the gun, that cost will be negligible. I'd get what I really wanted and not worry about that.

Guess it comes down to what you want to carry.

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 10:09 AM
Guess it comes down to what you want to carry.

Almost always it is a Diamondback Snub.

Don't see a J frame changing that

Remllez
November 10, 2012, 11:14 AM
Nice find G....

If its still a tight serviceable gun send it in for Hard Chrome, then if you still don't care for J-Frames I'll take it offin yer hands if the price is right......:)

The Lone Haranguer
November 10, 2012, 11:55 AM
They will have to remove an awful lot of metal to eliminate that scratched-on number. What's up with that? :mad:

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 12:55 PM
What's up with that?

my guess is some old guy went nuts

doesn't seem deep...but won't really know till they get into it...if I go that route

KenW.
November 10, 2012, 03:25 PM
I'm all for keeping firearms as original as possible, but that gun wouldn't lose any value with a refinish.

Some people just can't take good care of their things.

Guillermo
November 10, 2012, 07:32 PM
Some people just can't take good care of their things.

I am a sucker...she needed saving

Rail Driver
November 10, 2012, 07:44 PM
Well, it's obviously been carried and shot - it's not so much a collector as it is a shooter. If you want to have it refinished, go for it. If not... don't. Simple as that.

If it were mine, I'd have it parkerized - I always liked the look of a parkerized revolver.

Old Fuff
November 10, 2012, 08:25 PM
Relatively few serious collectors (the ones who have $$$) are interested in J-frame revolvers, and those that are want "like-new-in-box, with accessories and instruction booklet." Shooters for the most part don't know what a flat-latch is, and care less.

When considering refinishing, consider the price you paid for the revolver, plus the total cost of getting it refinished (shipping, etc.). S&W finishing is generally very good, but afterwards you may keep it as a safe queen because you don't want it marked up. Ford's is good, but not fast, and I will remind you about a certain Diamondback that someone sat on for over a year or so.

Stocks also need refinishing...

The only place I see where the J-frame offers any advantages is pocket or ankle carry - which apparently you don't do.

If I had it and was going to carry it I would leave it "as is" until I decided if I liked it enough to put more money into it. If I wasn't going to use it I would leave it as it is until I decided what the heck I was going to do with it. The last thing I would do is pay big-bucks to get a super refinish that put the total cost higher then I could get out of it, and then leave it in the back of the safe.

And if you want to take a really big loss let me FITZ it, and then get the most expensive reblue available. :uhoh: :eek:

mnrivrat
November 11, 2012, 02:22 AM
I would leave it as is. If you don't want a shooter then sell it as is to someone who does.
If you refinish and add on the cost for a re-sale you won't make any more money than just selling it as is. (maybe even less)

stanmo
November 11, 2012, 09:46 AM
Would it be possible to change the side plate to get rid of the numbers?

Guillermo
November 11, 2012, 11:39 AM
it is scratched up everywhere


Old Fuff,

I do pocket carry in a jacket at times. But since it only gets cold in Austin 3 days every 3 years...

Old Fuff
November 11, 2012, 11:51 AM
Refinishing won't make it any better for that purpose, and if it's jacket pocket carry, why not one of your Diamondback snubbies?

Anyway, why not carry it around for a bit, and go out and shoot it, and then decide if you want to put more money into it for refinishing - and just how much?

Guillermo
November 11, 2012, 12:05 PM
Yeah,

I will probably let it sit.

It was the puppy in the rain, looking in with big eyes...knowing I am a sucker. I figured any S&W from the 50s is worth two hundred bucks.

Will shoot it and see how I like it before I decide.

Old Fuff
November 11, 2012, 12:43 PM
In it's present condition it's worth more then you paid for it. If you go for a high-end reblue (plus refinishing the stocks) it will cost as much as you paid for the revolver and the total would likely be more then you could get if you sold the gun.

On the other hand, if you decide you REALLY like it, the refinishing cost might be worth it, considering you've decided it's a "keeper."

Or you could get a less expensive refinish, but then you'd be lucky to break even.

There is no reason to hurry. Play with it for awhile and then decide.

And while you're thinking I can do something with the trigger guard... :evil:

Guillermo
November 11, 2012, 12:53 PM
while you're thinking I can do something with the trigger guard

ok Fuff,

PM me your address...I will send it to you.

That trigger guard is unsightly as the hammer spur

PRM
November 11, 2012, 08:08 PM
Don't see a J frame changing that - Guillermo

LOL - I wasn't talking K VS J... How about Complete Restoration VS Beater.


Don't know what you have in it - a good re-blue will cost you roughly $200-$250. Properly done, a flat latch will bring in the neighborhood of $400 - $450. Got to figure what you have in it to make a good decision.

Lot of folks say a refinish destroys the value of a vintage gun. I don't necessarily agree with that - there are craftsman who can actually significantly increase the value of a gun. What is yours worth today??? On the other hand - Johnny Jack-Leg at the LGS with his super speed buffer can forever round edges and remove lettering. You will get what you pay for.

Guillermo
November 11, 2012, 09:42 PM
PRM

What I was saying is that my Diamondback snubby is my daily driver.

I don't pocket carry so I have no need for a j-frame. Sadly, being a sucker...I saw an old Smith that needed love.

PRM
November 11, 2012, 10:18 PM
I like the Colts myself. Got a 2nd and 3rd issue Detective Special and an ivory stocked Police Positive Special.

Some days I feel like a Colt others a S&W...

Old Fuff
November 11, 2012, 10:23 PM
Over the years I've had bunches of those, because I see a gun in the shape that one is in as an opportunity. However I only spent more money on those that gave me a reason. That little J-frame is - under the skin - a good one, but only for certain limited purposes. If you spend the extra money for no particular good purpose then you won't have it to spend on something else that, as it turns out, you like more. Use and carry it, and over time you'll decide. At this point if you change your mind you can get your money out of it, and let someone else that likes it better spend the money for a refinish. You have no obligation to save it, unless it fills a need you have, better then something else. The world is full of other neglected revolvers looking for a good home. You can't save them all.

On the other hand if you do decide to have it referbished, do it for a good reason.

wlewisiii
November 11, 2012, 10:37 PM
I'd get it parkerized and keep it in the glove compartment of my car.

Guillermo
November 11, 2012, 10:38 PM
The world is full of other neglected revolvers looking for a good home. You can't save them all.

I have a good start

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=684832

Guillermo
November 11, 2012, 10:39 PM
However I only spent more money on those that gave me a reason. That little J-frame is - under the skin - a good one, but only for certain limited purposes. If you spend the extra money for no particular good purpose then you won't have it to spend on something else that, as it turns out, you like more. Use and carry it, and over time you'll decide. At this point if you change your mind you can get your money out of it, and let someone else that likes it better spend the money for a refinish.

This is pretty excellent advice

Old Fuff
November 11, 2012, 10:49 PM
All of my advise is excellent - without exception... :cool:

Of course there are times that the excellence is extra superior... ;)

And then there are times ... :o :uhoh: :D

Ratshooter
November 12, 2012, 01:02 AM
...I saw an old Smith that needed love.

I would love to have a sound gun with a rough finish like that. I wouldn't do a thing to it except put it to work. Its a perfect truck gun just like it is.

If you have found that the true love you first felt has turned out to be just puppy love send me a PM. I am not opposed to sloppy seconds. :neener:

Guillermo
November 12, 2012, 01:09 AM
I am not opposed to sloppy seconds

This would be sloppy 14ths

What part of Texas do you live in?

lowercase
November 12, 2012, 01:28 AM
I say refinish the old girl and show it off on the forum! :D

I have a flat latch 36 (square butt) and just love it.

Owen Sparks
November 12, 2012, 01:55 AM
No one here is going to live long enough to realize any harm to the resale value by a good refinishing job.
I say get it refinished or Ceracoated and put it back to work. Guns are tools meant to be used. Wear it out.

PRM
November 12, 2012, 08:26 AM
No one here is going to live long enough to realize any harm to the resale value by a good refinishing job.

Agree on that on. Although, there are exceptions - a Model 36 is not one.

I've got a Perfected Model S&W that has been in the family for years. It was made in 1914. Mechanically its 100% with no rust or pits, perfect bore and chambers. Locks up tight as a bank vault. I had a real high end refinish done to it and for me its exceptional. I doubt seriously if collector value was harmed, before VS after conditions - it definitely was not NIB. We are not talking an ultra rare gun either... One last thought: If you will not part with it - then does it really have monetary value???

The extent of the refinish is up to the individual. Kind of like chrome on a HD.

Guillermo
November 12, 2012, 11:14 AM
If you will not part with it - then does it really have monetary value???


quite true

Old Fuff
November 12, 2012, 11:38 AM
If you will not part with it - then does it really have monetary value???

Yes and no.

If one does indeed buy and keep something forever then the resale value becomes a moot point. But the question here is, does he want to invest more money in it - and if so how much.

Should he choose to do so, then whatever money goes to fixing up this particular revolver is cash that can't be spent on something else that might be more desireable from his perspectives.

The point I have been trying to make is that he should play with the new toy (that apparently has no functional problems) to see if it is indeed something he would keep and treasure forever. You need to determine that first, or at least should do so, before going to the next step.

Having been there and done that, I have stung myself on a number of occasions when I did opt to do a full (and expensive) retoration, and then decide in hindsight that I didn't like it all that much after all.

And yes, when I traded or sold I took a beating. :o

Guillermo
November 12, 2012, 11:46 AM
the case in point, this j-frame, is not a valued family member...it is a j-frame.

Since I don't where clown pants I can't pocket carry...and besides...keep too much crap in my pockets anyway

(cell phone, keys, speed strip and have a knife clipped on the edge of one)

Still, lots of folks just swear by the J-Frame. Are they all wrong?

I am going to try to find a use for it and if I can, I will refinish. If not, I will sell it to someone who will love it more than me...and I will have to find solace in my K and D frames (don't throw me in that briar patch!!!)

PRM
November 12, 2012, 03:36 PM
Yep - I've done that too. Started out with a $400 - $500 dollar custom job done on a Bisley. One thing built upon another, last came the elephant ivory grips. I'm still scratching my head how it got to over 2K.

Upside - I love the gun. Won't ever get rid of it unless something seriously bad happens. If I did - I know for sure that breaking even is a long shot at best.

Guns can be a costly hobby.

Old Fuff
November 12, 2012, 08:25 PM
Still, lots of folks just swear by the J-Frame. Are they all wrong?

Not at all. It was designed as a sidearm for law enforcement command officers and administrators who were required to be armed, but unlikely to get into a gunfight - hence the name Chief Special.

It quickly became popular with others that needed a back-up for a larger service pistol or revolver, and it worked well for the purpose.

It was also a hit with those who simply wanted a small but powerful snubby.

With an enclosed hammer (suggested to S&W by Col. Rex Applegate) it became an almost perfect pants pocket and ankle holster gun.

But as you stray away from these purposes it gets harder to justify over other choices that are slightly larger, hold 6 rounds of .38 ammunition, and have longer barrels, wider sights, and smoother double-action trigger pulls.

Ratshooter
November 12, 2012, 10:10 PM
Hey Guillermo I am in Burleson Tx just south of Ft Worth. Home of Kelly Clarkson. She put us on the map.

But after thinking about your gun I am pretty sure it is not +P rated so it may not be what I would want after all.

I like the matt blue option myself. My uncle had a rusted Browning Hi-Power Parkerized and it looked super cool with that finish. With the matt finishes you can warm the gun and rub a coat of Johnsons paste wax on it and it seems like they never rust. I do that on my BP rifles that have been browned. In twenty plus years I have never had rust on these guns.

Guillermo
November 13, 2012, 10:19 AM
Ratshooter,

With all due respect to the talented young lady, one would think that Edward Burleson's service to Texas as a military leader and vice president would put your fine town on the map.

Of course it, being built prior to +P is not "+P rated" but S&W says that it is okay at 20,000 PSI, which is below what +P cartridges run.

All that is academic as I am going to cart it around some and see if I can find a use for it. Maybe I can embrace the ankle carry (although the flatness of the auto seems like it would be better)

Guillermo
November 13, 2012, 10:22 AM
it became an almost perfect pants pocket and ankle holster gun.

maybe I should bob it

Old Fuff
November 13, 2012, 12:00 PM
I wouldn't until you're sure you like it as a pocket-carry revolver, and in-an-of-itself you would pocket carry it or anything else. It does for some (including the Old Fuff) make an attractive option in hot weather when a covering garment is out of place.

Just don't try to make any quick draws while it's in its present configuration, and get a pocket holster that covers the hammer spur.

When (or if) you get to the point of seriously considering refinishing (especially the expensive kind) then take up the question of modifications. Also before you bob the hammer (if you do) see how well you can shoot it in the double-action mode. After you bob it you won't have any other choice, or so I hope. :uhoh:

Guillermo
November 13, 2012, 12:29 PM
Hopefully I will get the chance to shoot it this weekend.

I have shot J-frames a lot but in recent years have been shooting a lot more snubbies (Cobra and DB) so my opinion might have changed.

BTW, I almost never shoot single action. Sometimes when playing at the 100 yard range with "the Queen" (Colt Officer's Special .22) I will shoot single action.

Ratshooter
November 13, 2012, 12:39 PM
[QUOTE]/With all due respect to the talented young lady, one would think that Edward Burleson's service to Texas as a military leader and vice president would put your fine town on the map.[QUOTE]

Yes you are correct but I travel around the state quite a bit and when people ask where Burleson is I ask if they watched American Idol. Most did and remember Kelly Clarkson came from here. Thats why I say she put us on the map.

As far as +P goes there seems to be an ongoing fued that +P is just what the original 38 load was and that it has been toned down and rating loads as +P is just a selling point for ammo makers. Regular 38s have been doing a decent job for many years.

I am glad you are going to give it a chance. I have bought guns in the past that I made a quick profit on and then regreted not shooting them a little before I sold them. I did that with a flawless model 12 snubby that I made a $150 profit on but never fired a single round out of it.:banghead:

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