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Old 05-18-2018, 10:01 AM
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CptCurl CptCurl is offline
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Location: Alleghany County, VA
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Ok, back to some serious collector education questions. This is not criticism. I only want to learn more about "reading the tea leaves."

First the butt swivel:

This is an unusual feature for a .44 TL. To me, this one looks irregular. Let's have a look to compare.

On top is the gun we are studying. Below it is a photo of the grip frame of my .455 TL. My gun bears serial number 12787 and letters as a ".44 Hand Ejector First Model (Triple-Lock), caliber .455 Eley." It shipped to Shapleigh Hardware on 29 Dec 1917 and letters with the butt swivel, so here we see factory work.

Does the swivel on the gun we are discussing appear to be factory work? I think probably not. Here's why.

* It appears to be blued. A normal butt swivel from the factory is color case hardened. The butt swivel on my .455 is color case hardened, though my photo is so poor it's hard to see. Every factory butt swivel I've ever seen has been color case hardened.

* The mounting hole is drilled through the original serial number, and an alternate serial number is stamped on the left side of the grip frame. The alternate serial number is misaligned, and the "1" looks to be larger font than the rest of the numbers.

* The mounting hole is located in a different position to the rear of the "factory" location.

* The retaining pin is all clobbered up.

Consider these possibilities of factory installation.

* If it was ordered with a swivel, the factory may have pulled aside a frame in current production and proceeded with installation of the swivel. In that event the original butt serial number would not be drilled. The butt serial number would be offset to accommodate the swivel, like on my .455:

* On the other hand, it's possible the gun was ordered with a swivel, and a completed gun was taken out of inventory and sent to the shop for installation of the swivel. In this event, would the shop drill through the existing number and leave it like that, or would the original number be removed and an alternate number be stamped on the left side of the frame? This I don't know. Perhaps somebody can help.

* Likewise, it is possible the gun was sent back for a swivel after its original purchase. What procedure would that entail? Would they drill right through the original number, or would it be removed for a neater job? What kind of a re-work stamp would be applied?

The serial number stamped on the left side of the grip frame is all higglety-pigglety. Wouldn't the factory do a better job? I don't know, but maybe somebody has insight on this.

How did the swivel get blued? I don't think the factory did it.

Why is the swivel in a different location? I know nothing about manufacturing techniques, but I am confident that the factory installs swivels in the same location every time. They use a template or a jig of some sort. This swivel is not in its correct location.

How did the swivel retaining pin get clobbered up? Surely the factory didn't do this ham-fisted work.

A letter would tell us if this revolver was special-ordered with the butt swivel, but we don't have that information.

Next the satin blue:

It's safe to say this revolver was originally finished bright blue, and I doubt anybody has a .44 HE Triple Lock with original satin blue finish. In February 1952 the factory was capable of doing a bright blue finish. Perhaps the standard was satin. That doesn't mean to me that the factory would receive a TL for refinish at that time and just decide to do it in satin. I would think they would do it in bright blue. Also, I really can't imagine the factory having this refinish job and ignoring the deplorable finish condition of the hammer and trigger. They certainly would have re-done the colors on those parts. Perhaps they would have put proper colors on the butt swivel too. So I'm just not convinced on the satin blue argument presented in earlier posts.

The various re-work stamps:

There is a star on the butt. Why?

There is a diamond on the left grip frame. Why?

There is a diamond on the barrel. Why?

There is the date stamp "2.52" on the left grip frame. Why? This stamp is all askew and sloppy. Is that typical of a factory stamp? I don't know, but perhaps somebody can give insight.

It's interesting to take note of what stamps are not present. There is no rectangle with R-S. There is no diamond with the letter B or S. This may be explained by what is said in SCSW 4th, on page 24: "Usage of this marking is believed to have followed the star on the butt."

So if we accept that a factory refinish in Feb. 1952 would be marked with a star on the butt and the date stamp on the left grip frame, what the heck do the two diamonds mean? We don't know, but they are there for a reason.


In the end, and speaking only for myself, I am skeptical that this is a factory refinish at all. I'm skeptical the factory would polish the rebound spring retaining pin flat, even in 1952. I don't believe the butt swivel is factory work. It's a nice TL, but these are the impressions it gives me.

I say these things as though I am an authority, and I'm not. I have learned a tremendous amount from the people on this forum. Please give me your thoughts of where I am right and where I am wrong. We can all learn.

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