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Original finish on S&W Model 40

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Benton, Mar 24, 2003.

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  1. Benton

    Benton Member

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    I have a S&W Model 40 produced between 1971 and 1974 that wears a finish with the appearance of the electroless nickel found on some Colt Combat Commanders from around that time. It has a sort of brushed silver/gold look all over, including the grip safety. The only parts finished otherwise are the case-colored trigger and the blued ejector star. Was this finish ever a factory option, or is this a refinished firearm? It is difficult to tell from the lettering on the barrel and frame.

    Thanks
     
  2. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I'd say that it's an original S&W finish.

    I've seen quite a few factory-plated handguns from that period with a brushed finish look with the "silver-gold" look.

    I don't know what they were doing to them at the time, but I'm pretty certain that they weren't using electroless in that time frame, but I may be wrong.
     
  3. BADSBSNF81

    BADSBSNF81 Member

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    The Model 40 came in a blue or nickle finish. The nickle finish is usually very bright. If the SN starts with an L, it was made from 71-74. If it was a factory refinish from blue to nickle look for a N inside a rectangle or an R-N under the grips. Only way to know for sure is to get it lettered.
     
  4. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Bad,

    I've seen any number of original finish S&W revolvers from this time frame with more of a brushed look to them and the "golden" color to the frame.

    A few years ago I almost bought a Model 19 S&W so treated. For some reason it caught my eye, but someone beat me to it.
     
  5. Benton

    Benton Member

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    Thanks for the replies. My copy of Supica and Nahas' Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson does not offer much information on varieties of finish used on Models by the factory. It only states blue or nickel.

    This Centennial does have an "L" serial number, but that is one series absent from the year of manufacture identification tables in the Standard Catalog. I have yet to remove the grip panels from the revolver, so I can't say about the presence of factory refinish markings. Perhaps I can find some more information in old advertising, National Rifleman issues from the era, or from a collector. I used to have a copy of the Blue Book. Does anyone know if this finish is mentioned in there?
     
  6. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I've never seen the finish mentioned specifically, Benton.

    All I know is that I've seen the guns.

    I don't know if the golden hue is something that cam about over time, or was apparent from the factory.
     
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