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How valuable are Pre-27's?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by InfamousLegend, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. InfamousLegend

    InfamousLegend Well-Known Member

    A local store has two S&W Pre-27 revolvers one is slightly more worn than the other. The one that is more worn is going for $900.00 something while the nicer one is going for just over a grand and looks really nice. I believe they are both 4" variant barrels. I unfortunately don't have pictures but are these guns really worth the price?
  2. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    I have a 5 inch Pre-27 made in 1948 with lots of holster wear. Per the latest blue book it is worth about $1000.00, with a 10% premium for the not so common barrel length.

    Sounds like the prices are about right.

    Just my .02,
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  3. bikemutt

    bikemutt Well-Known Member

    I guess it depends on what your purpose is in buying either gun.

    As a collectible, the pre-27 seems to have the panache right now. As a shooter I don't see any reason to pay extra for one.

    Looking at history, it seems there's a pinnacle which is arguably the model 27-2. If we're to believe the 27-2 was an improvement over the 27-1 and so on, where does that leave the pre-27?
  4. InfamousLegend

    InfamousLegend Well-Known Member

    Not sure if they're 4" or 5" but are 4" variant barrels common?

    What makes the 27-2 one so valuable?

    I should add the gun will be used for HD and going to the range.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  5. pendennis

    pendennis Well-Known Member

    If these are post-WWII, pre-Model 27 revolvers, the barrel lengths will be 3.5", 5", 6", 6.5", and 8.625". The four-inch barrel was not a standard order. Depending on their condition, the 3.5" barrels will bring up to a 25% premium. Serial numbers starting at S75514, the .357 Magnum was fitted with the short throw hammer.

    A few weeks ago, I picked up a very nice condition .357 Magnum, 6.5" barrel, numbered Magna stocks, and the original box for $700; the 6.5" barrel a bit more rare than the 6" model.

    Depending on your local market, it seems that both are a bit over-priced. If you're interested, I'd start at about $700, and try to deal.
  6. InfamousLegend

    InfamousLegend Well-Known Member

    The barrel was short, so unless you can special order 4" variant barrel it was a 3.5" barrel. The gun with an asking price of $1,000 looked to be in very good condition under the glass, although I never handled it.

    Just how much will these guns be worth down the road? Will these turn into collector items worth passing down to children as an investment?
  7. joed

    joed Well-Known Member

    The model 27 S&W has always demanded a high price. This is because of all the hand work and nice features like checkered topstrap and high gloss bluing. Hard to say if they will hold their value though, the world is going auto. In fact I've been thinking of selling off some of my rare S&W's while they are still worth a good price.

    I've owned model 27's and 28's. The 28 is a no frills version without a lot of the expensive addons.

    Everyone wants a model 27 with 3.5" barrel and that is why the price is high on these. I'm not really a collector and would just as soon buy a 4" model 28 to shoot at half the price.
  8. bikemutt

    bikemutt Well-Known Member

    27-2 was the last model having a pinned barrel and recessed cylinder chambers.

    The 27-3 is the first model where they dropped those features, those seem to go for $100-$200 less than a comparable 27-2. I can't recall what the 27-1 added to the 27 no-dash.
  9. jad0110

    jad0110 Well-Known Member

    Value also depends on what pre-27 we are talking about. Values for guns manufactured from 1948 or so to 1957 when they became Model 27s have been pretty well covered by this thread.

    Just for fun, transitional models made from '46 to '48 are worth anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000. Though as only 142 were ever made, it is extremely unlikely the ones you are looking at are one of those. IIRC, the S/N range for these guns is roughly around S71xxx to S72xxx.
  10. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    A 4" pre-27 would be a special order Item. The 4" was not a standard catalog option until 1979.

    Value on early 357s (that's what S&W called it, "The 357 Magnum") will vary with the usual considerations. Barrel length being foremost. The shorter the barrel the more it will fetch.

    I paid $275 for this 1957 example around 2000. That was a good deal even for a gun with lots of holster wear from seeing police duty.


    About 4-5 years ago I bagged this 1950 made revolver in nickel (uncommon on early guns) for around $400 worth of trade material. That was not a bad deal.


    Now days a nice 357 with a 3.5" barrel will bring $700-$1,000 with ease. The 5" slightly less. The 6" drops a little further. The 8" model is least popular and can be hard to sell.
  11. jad0110

    jad0110 Well-Known Member


    Good point about the 4" deal, I'd forgotten about that.

    I love that 3.5" blued example. There is something about a 3.5", worn N Frame that just looks totally menacing. :fire: I do love the 5 inchers too. I currently own a 4" 28, so I guess I'll have to bracket it with a 3.5" and a 5" N. :cool:
  12. Jim NE

    Jim NE Well-Known Member

    Have no experience with pre-27's, but own some other pre-models.

    My approach has been to look at the price difference between a gun from the 40's /50's, and then one from 10-15 years later. If there's a little difference in price, then I buy it, if there's a lot of difference, then I start asking myself what exactly it is that I'm buying with all that extra money.

    Just my approach. Make sure the nice one isn't refinished.
  13. InfamousLegend

    InfamousLegend Well-Known Member

    My family knows one of the gun salesman very well and I'll end up talking to him about it.
  14. CajunBass

    CajunBass Well-Known Member

    I probably paid too much for this one (from 1954) when I got it a couple of years ago, but I was new to the idea of "collecting" Smith & Wesson's and had watched the price on it drop from a high of $1500.00 to just under a grand. The dealer had listed it on gunbroker so I knew it was going sooner, rather than later, so I went ahead and bought it.


    Too much? Maybe. But prices may have caught up to it today, especially with the box (numbered to the gun). I'm not planning on selling it anytime soon, Lord willing, and it is a great shooter. The blue shows wear, but it locks up tight, and the trigger is really smooth.

    I've also got a 27-2 (1978), in the presentation case, with tools and papers, that I paid a couple hundred less for. I haven't shot that one yet, but it's another nice gun.


    How much difference for the price? Well, I suspect the gold/blue box the '54 came in would sell for a big part of the difference by itself, or at least I've been told it would.
  15. bikemutt

    bikemutt Well-Known Member

    Nice 27-2 CajunBass, looks mighty like the one I lost out on, lol.

    I just picked up this beauty online myself, it will be a target gun for me. Set me back 7.5 Benjamins.

    Attached Files:

  16. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    I'm glad my ole' 27-2 dust collector found nice new home. Never got around to shooting that one.
  17. InfamousLegend

    InfamousLegend Well-Known Member

    Does anyone see these guns going up in price and if so how long down the road till they do?
  18. CajunBass

    CajunBass Well-Known Member

    They go up from one day to the next.
  19. oldbear

    oldbear Well-Known Member

    I don't believe that the pre 27 or M-27 was produced with a 4" barrel. Could these be 3 1/2" barrels? If so, and you are not interested in either would you be willing to P.M. me with the contact info of the shop?
  20. oldbear

    oldbear Well-Known Member

    Cajunbass, re your 5" pre 27, remember you did not pay to much you just bought a little to soon.

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