Rarity and value of a Model 34-1 square but circa 1981

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Dec 26, 2002
Delaware home of tax free shopping
The title says it all, Rarity and value of a Model 34-1 square but circa 1981?
Blue finish, Like new condition 2" barrel square but frame.

I see them online for varying prices, the square but seems to be rarer than the round.

Do you have one and like it? the one I saw has a pinned barrel and the serial number puts it at about 1981, a good time for S&W production as they had recently udated all of their tooling.

What is the current going rate for these revolvers in 2016?

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From what I've seen they are in the $500-$700 depending upon condition, box, tools etc.
Mine is pretty mint, a square butt and I consider it worth around $600, no box, no tools.
I do have the original numbered grips, just prefer to shoot with the Pach compacts.

1.) As I remember 1981 was not a good era for S&W; back then, everyone was longing for quality products of the Sixties. During the eighties they did away with the pinned barrel and the recessed cylinder, (a catastrophic event) amongst other cost saving short cuts.
2.) I think it can be generally stated that the 34-1s have extraction issues, in my limited (4) experience. The solution is to Flitz polish the chambers.
3.) What’s “rare”? 1 of 10? 1 of 100? 500? 1000? 1 of 259,000; I wouldn’t place a premium on it coming or going. That being said, I would rather see more people over-paying for a P&R gun and the quality inherent thereof, than satisfying themselves with the instant gratification of a current production GSO.

S&W was still producing decent guns in the 80's. The 34's all have recessed cylinders, you must on a 22. Extraction issues, yeah, every S&W revolver ever made in .22LR has extraction issues. The chambers have to be reamed to SAAMI specs as they are almost always slightly undersized and reaming fixes that. This has been heavily discussed on the S&W collectors forum. I've reamed my 34-1 and it now extracts as one would expect instead of having to hammer the ejector rod on a table. Same with my pre-18 made in 1953. Model 34's are not a rare gun. There were tens of thousands of them produced starting with the improved i frame kit gun in 1953 up until 1991.

Pinned Barrels and recessed Cylinders??

I've only owned S&Ws manufactured in the 1990s and thereafte without the mystical benefits of a pinned barrel and recessed cylinder. They've all shot quite well. I'm not sure what a pinned barrel does for accuracy or function.

An experienced gunsmith who worked on many SW revolvers and my SW 625s said that the pinned barrel was necessary only because in those days SW couldn't cut the barrel threads precisely enough to line up the front sight properly.

He also said the recessed cylinder looked nice but non-recessed cylinder functioned just as well.

So my 625-8 45 acp. (manufactured in 2004 or so) with the internal lock and titanium cylinder tuned by Mike Carmoney has shot over 8,000 rounds in practice and competition flawlessly. And the internal lock has never engaged.

My SW 625-3 (no internal lock) shot quite well and was my USPSA revolver for many years. Over 10,000 rounds fired. It got a new frame courtesy of SW in 2006 because the firing pin bushing had peened back into the frame and couldn't be fixed. It continued to fire well until the cylinder stop notches wore out and it skipped over chambers. I bought a new cylinder and it will go back to SW for refitting.

My 638 Airweight (with the internal lock) runs fine in over 1,000 rounds fired in practice and in training sessions at Blu-Core.

Moral of the story. - Enjoy your SW revolver. There might be something "better" out there, but its your gun and you can learn to shoot it well.
Just sold one for $580 last month.
It was POA/POI with Remington Thunderbolts (cheap lead).
It didn't like plated ammo.

What I didn't like was that the chambers were very tight.
3-4 rounds per chamber (total 18-24 rds) & it stuck.

I'd have to clean it to continue firing.
I bought this 4" barrel Model 34 a couple of years ago for my wife. I think I paid around $400+ for it LNIB from a local gun shop. Added the Hogue MonoGrip because my wife didn't like the feel of the factory grips.

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