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S&W 32-20 Revolver breakdown

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by aofdotcom, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. aofdotcom

    aofdotcom Member

    My grandmother's old SW 32-20 6 shot revolver needs cleaning. Anyone know how to get the cylinder apart. I also need the date of manufacture. Here are the details.
    a. 32-20
    b. 5 " bbl
    c. Round Grip
    d. 6 shot
    e. Permanent sight
    f. SN 45539
    g. OTG

  2. Derry 1946

    Derry 1946 Well-Known Member

    Good chance it's an old hand ejector, but which model, which change...? Pics would help.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    You don't get the cylinder apart!

    It is a factory assembly, and is best left unmolested.

    Soak it or spray it out with WD-40, Gun Scrubber, or other good solvent, then blow dry and re-lube with Rem-Oil or other good light gun oil.

    To get the cylinder assembly out of the frame, remove the bottom front side-plate screw with a properly fitted gunsmith screwdriver.
    The crane will then slide forward out of the frame.
    The crane can then be slide forward to remove it from the cylinder assembly.

    Go No Further then that for cleaning.

  4. gjamison

    gjamison Active Member

    get yourself a book on disassembly and assembly of s&w revolver's. the book
    will give you step my step instuctions. not hard at all and you will learn how your gun works. biggest key is taking your time. clean everything in hoppes except the grips.
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    S&W 1905 .32-20 Hand Ejector, 3rd Change. (Flayderman 5G-063)
    The Third Change was made at SN 45201 so yours is likely from the first year, 1909.

    Oh, by the way, your g. is really "CTG" which is the abbreviation for Cartridge.
    They put it on the guns so big and bold, it completely mystifies modern heirs to the old guns.

    I agree with rcmodel, it takes extra care to get the cylinder apart and is not necessary for any normal gun or use.
  6. aofdotcom

    aofdotcom Member

    Retractor spring broke

    Thanks for the replies. I did find out how to get the cylinder out. The extractor was very dirty, so I took it out to clean it, but getting it out and back in the spring broke. Now the pistol is back together without the extractor. I'll have to knock out the pin that is holding the cylinder and get a new spring. I've tried to find a spring that would fit it, but so far I haven't found one online. I want to eventually have this revolver refinished. The nickel finish is partly gone.
  7. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

  8. aofdotcom

    aofdotcom Member

    What's my revolver model?

    Anyone help me find my model number? I'm trying to find parts for my S&W 32-20 6 shot revolver with 5 inch barrel. I think it is a K type, with SN 45539. It is a nickle plated revolver with Winchester CTG on the barrel. Help would be appreciated.
  9. aofdotcom

    aofdotcom Member

    More info on my 32-20

    I found the patent dates on top of the barrel. They are:

    Smith and Wesson Springfield Mass USA
    PAT'D MARCH 27.94. MAY 21.95.AUG.4.96
    DEC 22.96.OCT.8.01.DEC.17.01.FEB.6.06

    Can anyone tell me the model number?


  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Most of the information you are looking for will be found in posts #3 and #5.

    Apparently your revolver was made around 1909. Smith & Wesson did not use model numbers until 1957.

    Hint: Parts for an over 100 year-old revolver are sometimes hard to find, and expensive when you do. If in the process of disasemblying you are breaking parts, pins, springs, etc. perhaps you should stop...

    Ya' think?
  11. aofdotcom

    aofdotcom Member


    I guess I'm too much of a fix-it person to resist taking something apart. I was hoping that the forum and participants could suggest a source for help, not just criticism for doing something about a rusty old revolver which is a dear heirloom from my grandma.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I think the forum participants already tried to help you.
    And told you not to take the cylinder assembly apart.

    And then told you what S&W model it was.
    And then told you parts are nearly impossible to find.

    I don't know what else this forum participant at least, can try to tell you!

  13. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    For gunsmithing, parts or refinishing consider these folks. S&W refers old guns to them


    The extractor rod on your revolver will have a left hand thread.

    (Editted 11 Jan, 2012) According to Old Fuff, post 15, the thread will be a right hand pitch.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  14. aofdotcom

    aofdotcom Member

    Found a spring

    Thanks to the HighRoad forum for good information on my old revolver. I found a spring at Numrich. I'm looking forward to reassembling my pistol and shooting it again. I appreciate the resources you all mentioned and the good advice. Have a blessed day.
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Uh... No it won't.

    The revolver in question was made in 1909 (give or take). Smith & Wesson K-frame models (including this one) had extractor rods with a right-hand twist until they changed to a left-hand one in or about 1961!

    Should you turn the extractor rod on the 1909 era revolver the wrong way you might strip the threads, and finding a correct replacement would be much harder then finding a spring. If the threads were stripped on the extractor shaft you'd be in double trouble, because the one in your gun is unique to that particular cylinder.

    These are just a few of the reasons that rcmodel, who among other things is a retired Air Force armorer who is qualified to work on S&W revolvers, posted a strong warning to not take the cylinder assembly apart, but rather soak it clean in a solvent bath.

    Having David Chicoine at Old West Gunsmith disassemble and service the revolver is also a good idea, because he has both the tools and expertise to do what ever is needed correctly and not damage anything.

    Having had my say I will now leave this thread, and turn my attention to other things. I hope the revolver survives without further damage.
  16. OldCavSoldier

    OldCavSoldier Well-Known Member

    I learned (the hard way) long ago that I don't take old guns apart...period. I will take off the grips and then dunk and swish the gun in a bucket of diesel fuel, compressor blow dry, and then repeat...a couple or three times...to get stuff outta the guts of the gun. Then, I'll run patches through the barrel and chambers, finishing up with lightly oiled patches through barrel and chambers and light oil on wear surfaces of moving parts.

    So far, I have no problems with any of my old guns and they still look as good as they did when I got them....several of them look even better than when I got them......

    Just my two cents.
  17. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    A man's got to know his limitations.

    I am comfortable taking a S&W apart because I have studied Kuhnhausen's book. By the way, this is the best book in existence for taking a Smith apart, and I recommend the Original Poster buy a copy.


    The first few times, I kept the book right in front of me every step of the way. Now I don't need the book to take a Smith apart, but I keep it handy anyway.

    I have lots of books detailing taking all kinds of guns apart. I am always very, very careful the first time I take one apart that I am not familiar with. And I know enough at this point about just how far to go, and how much to leave to more of an expert than me.
  18. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    I agree about Kuhnhausen, BUT he deals with modern or at least semi-modern guns. The old S&W's, especially the Model 1899, are very different internally although S&W kept the outward appearance the same. So, it is a good idea to know exactly what one is dealing with before jumping into the insides of old guns, whether Colt or S&W or some other brand. There are tigers in them thar woods!

  19. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    I stand corrected. I should have grabbed my 32 WCF and checked before making the statement. Thanks Old Fuff, I will amend my earlier post.
  20. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Well-Known Member

    when you are screwing or unscrewing the extractor rod make sure you have 2 or three fired casings in the cylinder, so you dont twist the extractor/ ratchet and bend the two little pins that align it. If you do, the timing will be messed up, or the cylinder will bind. The little pins will require a trip to a competent gunsmith to replace.

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