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S&W .32 Hand Ejector (Old Fuff?)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by PRD1, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. PRD1

    PRD1 Well-Known Member

    I recently cleaned-up a .32 Hand Ejector built in 1917, by serial number.
    It was beautifully made, of course, nickel plated and with mother-of -pearl grips, but internally had a feature I hadn't seen before:
    There were 2 pins through the hammer body - about 1/8" in diameter, hollow, with fairly thick walls, and extending just a few thousandths past the thickness of the hammer on either side. They were almost certainly factory installed, and the only purpose I can envision for their presence would be to control sideways motion of the hammer in the frame, though there was no evidence of loose fit of the hammer in the frame, or of contact between the ends of the pins and the interior of the frame or the sideplate.
    So: what were they intended to do? Were they factory installed? Is their presence common in S&W revolvers of that vintage? Any other comments?
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
  2. PRD1

    PRD1 Well-Known Member

    If not Old Fuff...

    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    The Old Fuff is here, but these days he's a bit slow.

    The quality seen in earlier Smith & Wesson revolvers make more modern ones look like... (Well you know but Art's Grandma might be around). :neener:

    Those pins are called chafing bushings, and the purpose was to keep the sides of the hammer and trigger from rubbing on the frame, and in so doing mess up the fine colors in the case hardning. :what:

    Notice that the sides of the hammer and trigger were highly polished before they were case hardened.

    At the time no competitor would even consider doing such a thing, and today there is no reason to because MIM parts can be hardened, but not color-hardened. But back then S&W was so proud of the colors in their case hardning that the tried to patent them.

    You will also find chafing bushings in K and N frame revolvers made around the same time.

    Now don't tell nobody, there are actually folks out there that believe that newer is better, and it's best that we don't upset them. Ignorence is bliss you know. :evil: :D

    Your little revolver is one of the last, as they discontinued the feature shortly after World War One.
  4. PRD1

    PRD1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, OF

    That's what I thought.
    The finish on all the internal parts makes modern revolvers look like they were gnawed-out by rats, by comparison.
    Shot the little revolver yesterday: it shoots extremely well.
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    Like this?



  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Yup.... Like that. :cool:

    Notice lack of tool marks on the inside of the frame behind the hammer, and the little screw in the back of the cylinder bolt so that the little spring and plunger won't get lost, and the polished sides on the hammer and trigger under the case hardning.

    These are but a few of the little touches that made Smith & Wesson's claim for "best quality," in a long-gone era and are unlikely to be ever seen again.

    But I sure do hope that nobody finds this out... :evil:
  7. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Wrong. It's "Ignorants is bliss." I was a English major.
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I wasn't, and the software that runs this forum doesn't have a spelling checker. I sometimes draft a post using a word processor, and then cut & paste. In this case I didn't bother.

    Oh well... I stand corrected. :confused:
  9. PRD1

    PRD1 Well-Known Member

    Standing Wolf:

    Well, no.
    The quote is: 'Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise'. From 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College', by Thomas Gray, 1742.
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Thank you for the quote, PRD1! I never realized there was more to the old saying.
  11. spillit

    spillit New Member

    Driftwood Johnson:

    Any chance that hammer is for sale?

  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Be aware that these kinds of hammers won't work in revolvers made after about 1914, and don't just "drop in" to earlier ones. While the Military & Police series of K-frame revolvers have been made from 1899 to current day, engineering changes were made along the way.
  13. spillit

    spillit New Member

    Thanks for the advice. I've already bought a couple of incorrect hammers trying to find a replacement for one with a broken spur. The hammer pictured above appears to be a perfect match. The exposed action in the pistol on the left is identical to mine, most notably with the rebound slide with a patent date on it, but also the trigger and other parts.

    I'm only trying to fix an old family heirloom for looks, not to shoot it again.
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Post the serial number of your revolver (should be found on the butt, rear face of the cylinder, and bottom of the barrel above the ejector rod).

    The last 3 patent dates stamped on top of the barrel would also be helpful, as would the cartridge it's chambered in (.32 S&W Long, .38 Special, etc).

    From that I may be able to determine exactly what hamer you need.
  15. spillit

    spillit New Member

    SN 96432 - same in all 3 places

    Oct 4 98, Oct 8 01, Dec 17 01; .38 Special (38 S&W Special)

    The internal mechanism looks exactly as that picture above by Driftwood Johnson, including the rebound slide with the patent date Feb 6 06.

    Thanks for your help.
  16. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    FWIW, S&W did not actually patent the color case hardening, but they did register it as a trademark (same office - the patent office is also the trademark office). They did that when they were getting beat up by the importation of cheap Spanish copies. With the color trademarked, the Spanish makers had two choices. If they colored their own parts, as they had been doing, the guns would be seized by U.S. customs and destroyed. If they didn't use color, the guns wouldn't look as much like S&W's.

    It was just one battle in a serious trade war that almost destroyed S&W and seriously hurt Colt as some Spanish makers copied their revolvers.

    And trademark protection is the reason S&W still uses color on their hammers and triggers, though case hardening is not needed with MIM parts.


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