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Mystery Smith & Wesson .22 Revolver

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by benedict1, Jun 12, 2006.

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  1. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    My wife has just received her father's old .22 S&W--but it is stuck at the FFL dealer because they can't figure out what it is--and it's not obvious and it's not on the California approved list. I have not seen it yet but it seems to be the following--

    It is a blued gun.
    It is 6 shot, .22, I assume LR
    4 " bbl.
    Target Sights
    Hand ejection from a roll-out cylinder

    It has no model number but the serial number is 5312XX.

    My wife remembers her father shooting it in the late 40s-early 50s. Probably made around that time, or earlier.

    Absence of model number suggests it was before model numbers. If it can be classified as a Curio/Relic, she can receive it here in CA. If not, back to her brother in NY.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I may be able to get a photo of it and if so, I will post that if it is allowed in the Forum.
     
  2. Huskerz85

    Huskerz85 Member

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    My best guess would be a K-22 Combat Masterpiece--"Pre Model 18"

    It's blued w/a 4" barrel, not sure about the sights.....but is also a 6 shooter.

    Was first produced in 1949, which would correspond somewhat to the time period you've got.....

    Feel free to post a snapshot if you want too
     
  3. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    Did any of the K22 guns not have a model number? That's the missing link. I will get a picture this afternoon.

    If anyone has a S & W serial number book I would appreciate if you would look up a gun in this range.

    Thanks.
     
  4. rbert0005

    rbert0005 Member

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    The number you posted is probably not the serial number.

    You will have to look on the butt of the gun for the real serial number.


    Bob
     
  5. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Member

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    If it looks like this then it is a K22 Combat Masterpiece. This one has a 6 inch bbl.
     

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  6. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    I just talked to our FFL dealer and she says that is the number on the butt and also on another part--she didn't say which because her assistant examined the gun and locked it in the vault and he's tied up right now. Sorry I can't be more specific.

    Does this definitely rule out S & W if there are no letters or a long/shorter number?

    I will get a picture of it later this evening and we are also going to have a gunsmith who's been in the trade for 30+ years look at it at 4:30 PM PST today.

    I am sorry that I don't have this firm. Let's wait 'til tonight.

    Thank all of you.
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    benedict1:

    I believe that you have what is called a "22-32 Kit Gun." Smith & Wesson made these .22 LR revolvers on their small I-frame. They had adjustable sights and a 4 inch barrel. Most were blued. They were targeted toward fishrmen and others that wanted a small, high quality .22 revolver to "tote" on fishing trips or a hike in the woods.

    The particular series in which the revolver you have, were made between 1935-1941 within a serial number range of 525670 through 536684. Serial number 5312xx was probably made in 1939 or '40.

    Production of this model continued after World War Two, and in 1957 is was assighed the model number 34. The model 34 was discontinued in 1991. However as you suspected, your revolver pre-dates the model 34.

    I hope this will help...
     
  8. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    You are absolutely correct. I just went to the dealer and got the same information. It is in beautiful condition, probably 90-95% The dealer's used gun book gives all the pertinent info including the correct serial number for the range they produced from 1935-41. I will post a picture in a few minutes.
     
  9. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    The picture of this Kit gun is attached with grips removed. Serial Numbers match on all parts including the wooden grips.

    Thank you all for your help. Now we have to convince the Peoples Republic of ********** that it is legal to be here. Not a done deal :rolleyes:
     

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  10. 'Card

    'Card Member

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    Well, I can understand their reluctance. With those black grips, it's obvious you have a fearsome cop-killer assault revolver there.

    By the way - nice work, Fuff. Pretty impressive doing that sight-unseen.
     
  11. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    As an inheritance it doesn't need state approval. CA law allows any handgun, on the approved list or not, to be inherited. Even from out of state. Have your FFL check the CA reulations regarding inherited handguns.

    Even if it had not been bequethed it's over 50 years old and therefore has C&R status and these are also legal to import and sell in CA.
     
  12. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    You are right. It comes under the Curio/Relic category and we are in fat city.

    I thank all of you wonderful gun owners for commenting. I, too, think Fuff did a heckuva' job, sight unseen. :D
     
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    benedict1:

    Your revolver is a little unusual in that it has the square-butt stocks. Most of this particular model came with round-butt ones.

    You can confirm what you have by writing Smith & Wesson's company historian, Roy Jinks. Include a description of the gun as you posted it here, and a hardcopy of the photograph. Also a check in the amount of $30.00 made out to Smith & Wesson (not Mr. Jinks).

    Mr. Jinks will then research the company records, and send you a formal letter with both an overview of the model (such as you've read here) and then a detailed description of the history of your revolver as it is reflected in their records. This can be used if necesary to identify the gun for California authorities as well as provide some information I'm sure you will find interesting.

    You can learn more by visiting: www.smith-wesson.com which is the company website.
     
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The Old Fuff's knowledge is only exceeded by (1) his ego, and (2) his good looks... :D

    Actually benedict1's detailed description made the identification very easy. The pre-war .22 Kit Gun was the only model that fit the description, fell into the right time period, and was in the correct serial number range. The only other possibility might be the .22-32 Target model, but it had a 6" barrel.
     
  15. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    Thank you Fuff! I had already found Mr. Jinks name on the S & W website and copied the form letter of inquiry. We are sending the letter and the photo off today.

    Our gunsmith looked it over thoroughly last night. It is in great condition. It also was refinished at some point--he thinks it may have been done by SW at the factory because it is a beautiful bluing job, high gloss, as photo above shows. One curious fact--at the very bottom of the front side of the metal grip there is a five-pointed star stamped in the metal. He thought that might be a factory stamp indicating either the refinish work or a recall/retrofit of some feature/part.

    Any clue about the star Old Fuff?
     
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Best I recall, the star is a factory rework mark, the gun sent in for reblue and maybe other attention. Better than a gunsmith reblue even though not as collector desirable as a lot of original finish.
     
  17. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Jim is correct. The star indicates a factory rework or refinishing job. Be sure to mention the star marking in your letter to Roy Jinks and he may be able to find out what was done, and when.
     
  18. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    I did ask Mr. Jinks to look at the star--sent him a photo with an arrow pointing to where it is on the metal handle frontside.

    I'm aware it doesn't have the collector appeal because of the rework, but that's immaterial. For my wife, IT WAS HER DAD"S GUN!(I'm not shouting, just emphasizing the thrill she had when she saw it last night.)

    I will pass your agreement on to our gunsmith to firm up his database re the star mark.

    You guys are awesome. My wife is thrilled with all this info and so was I. When I was a kid, a long time ago, I always wanted a Kit Gun because every outdoor story I read involving overnight camping or a trip into the mountains had some guy in it with a Kit Gun. I just got finished talking to an old hunting buddy in Connecticut who got it immediately when I said:) "Kit Gun" on the phone. He shot right back "Yep, .22/.32 Kit Gun, I always wanted one when I was a kid!" Seems sort of universal for us old guys(70ish)

    Again, thank you all. I can't wait for the next comments. :D
     
  19. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    The star does indicate a factory rework but not necessarily a refinish (although it's a good bet). They also often stamped the date of the work like 6.81 meaning it was done in June of 1981.

    Roy doesn't have records on service work, only on new guns like when and where they were shipped.
     
  20. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    Posted by mistake
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2006
  21. kjeff50cal

    kjeff50cal Member

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    :confused: :confused: :confused: :scrutiny:
     
  22. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    Oops. Sorry. This was supposed to go into a thread in Handloading/Reloading. Please disregard completely.

    I tried to remove it by editing but it didn't work.
     
  23. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

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    OOps. Still an error. I haven't figured this out yet. Sorry
     
  24. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    To expand a bit on Fuff's post. The gun was called the .22/32 Kit Gun because it was a .22 caliber on the small I frame, originally used for the .32 caliber. It was called the "Kit Gun" because it was intended for packing in a hiker or outdoorsman's "kit bag" rather than being carried in a holster.

    The later K-22 was a .22 caliber on the larger K frame, which was the frame used for the .38 Special. Prior to about 1958, S&W revolvers had names, not model numbers, and many of us old timers refer to the guns by those names. The K-22 was originally called the K-22 Outdoorsman, later the K-22 Masterpiece. The Masterpiece series included the K-22, K-32 and K-38.

    Versions with 4" barrel and ramp sight were made in .38 and .22 and called the K-38 or K-22 Combat Masterpiece. The former was much liked by police and the .22 was a companion/training version.

    Jim
     
  25. dogngun

    dogngun Member

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    IIRC, the only Smith called a COMBAT Masterpiece was the Model 15, a .38 Special, 4" gun. ( I have one under my pillow.)
    The Model 17 was simply the K-22 Masterpiece, as was the Model 14 the K-38 Masterpiece. Both were 6" barrel target revolvers, nearly identical in size and weight so target shooters could have a matched set.Also,the Model 19 .357 was called the Combat Magnum.
    All were based on the mediun size K-frame.
    Smith has a never ending supply of model names and numbers, but in California I'd hesitate to call any gun a "Combat" anything!
    On the other hand, how could anyone object to a revolver designed for hiking and camping?
    Mark
     
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