The days are long gone where S&W would "refurbish" (meaning restore to "as new" condition) which ceased sometime in the 1970s as far as I could trace. Even in the 1970's S&W's in house work on older guns started to get sloppy, likely because of the WWII Craftsmen, retiring out, which is my opinion alone with no supporting facts other than my 30 years of collecting old S&W's.
Shortly after S&W stopped repairing and / or refurbishing older guns they excllusively referred Dave Chicoine, who (unfortunately) can no longer do these restorations or Charles Duffy ... a master gunsmith "par excellence" who's standard refinish was someone else's restoration. Sadly, Charles Duffy passed on a few years back.
Over the years I have never passed a nice deal on a S&W "Factory" refurbished Model 3 which strongly depended upon "when" the repair or refurbish was done (prior to the 1970s, OK. 1960s better, 1950s and back even better than that). Further, the examination of the refinished or refurbished piece to determine if there had been excessive pitting or was in excellent conditions prior to the repair / refurbish .... actually examining the gun "through" the repair / refinish / refurbishment.
Factory S&W refurbished guns usually hold a higher regard and respect by collectors than others that were repaired or refinished by some unknown.
Purists of the time, would not even consider a refinished "collectible" gun while the going trend seems to show a wider approval for S&W Factory repaired / refinished / refurbished guns.
Some older collectors and gun owners would simply send their favorite baby to the factory for a refinish if she started to show thinning blue, SOLELY with the highest regards and respect to keep their cherished S&Ws in fine tune and maintenance. Back then many of those guns had not yet become "collectible" or scarce.
The choice is yours alone.
But, as they Knight in Guard of the Holy Grail would advise: "Choose wisely".
Last edited by model3sw; 03-19-2017 at 04:16 PM.