Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > Expert Commentary > Bill Cross
Forum Register Expert Commentary Members List


Past President, Smith & Wesson Collectors Association
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Ampersands Used on N-frame Revolvers, Part I

Posted 10-08-2009 at 12:00 PM by Doc44

This is a difficult subject to discuss because the type of ampersand roll marked on the barrel on N-frame revolvers over the years varied not only with the timeframe when the gun was made, by also by model and barrel length. I will approach the subject by posting a photo of an ampersand type and describing what I know about its use. Readers are encouraged to post their own information in the comments section and ask questions that I will try to answer, or may be answered by another forum member. The period I am covering in from approximately 1951 to 1980.

The first two photos show: (1) the ampersand roll marked on the left side of the barrel from approximately 1951 (possibly earlier, but I don't have any gun in my collection to be sure) to 1963, and (2) the ampersand roll marked on the frame 1950 (or earlier) to 1956.



The third photo shows the type of ampersand used from 1956 through 1959. It is very similar to the earlier one (above), but the loop is slightly different. You can see the difference by comparing the two.



In 1960, a new type of ampersand was roll marked on the frame (this type appeared as early as late 1958 on the 44 Magnum). It is characterized by a much smaller loop. This type of ampersand is also seen on the earliest Model 57s shipped in the first few months of production in 1964 and on the Model 29-1s with a three-screw frame that were primarily shipped in 1962. This type of ampersand is shown in the fourth photo. In 1962, an upright (modern style) of ampersand was used for about a year. It is shown in the fifth photo. Also, in 1961 and 62, Model 29s and Model 29-1s with an 8 3/8-inch barrel were roll marked on the barrel with an upright ampersand that is somewhat similar to the modern style, but a little smaller. It is shown in the sixth photo.




In 1963, the ampersand on the left side of the barrel was modified slightly (see the seventh photo). This style of ampersand was for N-frame revolvers with a 4, 6, or 6 1/2-inch barrel through the end of 1971. In 1970 or 1971, the ampersand on revolvers with an 8 3/8-inch barrel was modified and made smaller (see photo number eight). This ampersand was used on all guns in 1972, and 1973, the modern ampersand on the barrel was introduced and used for the next decade or more (see photo number nine).




In 1966, through at least early 1968, and in the serial number range of S270000 to around S285000, the roll mark on the left side of the barrel was somewhat unusual. The letters were large and the ampersand was the "modern" type. This roll mark appeared on Model 29-2s and Model 57s, but I don't know if it appeared on other models or not (see photo number ten).


In Part II, I will cover the remaining changes in the ampersand used on the right side of the frame.
Views 15255 Comments 15 Email Blog Entry
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 15

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    snw19_357's Avatar
    I would like to add to Mr Cross’ commentary by providing examples of N-frame .357 Magnums to reiterate what he has already said. One thing about some of the .357 Magnums (and .38 S&W CTG for that matter) is that besides the ampersands on the frame and the left side of the barrel, they also have one on the right side of the barrel. I would also like to add that I own no revolver with a barrel length over 4” so I can provide no example of or speak for barrel lengths over 4”.

    What follows are examples of the ampersands on the left side of the barrel of .357 Magnums and Highway Patrolman that match what Mr Cross has stated.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    …ampersand roll marked on the left side of the barrel from approximately 1951 (possibly earlier, but I don't have any gun in my collection to be sure) to 1963…
    .357 Magnum from 1956, same as the ampersands on all other in my collection, 1954-1960

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    In 1963, the ampersand on the left side of the barrel was modified slightly (see the seventh photo). This style of ampersand was for N-frame revolvers with a 4, 6, or 6 1/2-inch barrel through the end of 1971.
    I have a 1964 Model 27-2 .357 Magnum and two 1967 Model 28-2 Highway Patrolman that have the same ampersand. Everything after that has the ‘modern’ ampersand (1973-)
    permalink
    Posted 10-14-2009 at 04:08 PM by snw19_357 snw19_357 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    snw19_357's Avatar
    Now for the frame.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    …ampersand roll marked on the frame 1950 (or earlier) to 1956.
    A Highway Patrolman (pre-28) from 1954,

    and a .357 Magnum (pre-27) from about 1955.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    The third photo shows the type of ampersand used from 1956 through 1959. It is very similar to the earlier one (above), but the loop is slightly different. You can see the difference by comparing the two.
    Here’s a Highway Patrolman (pre-28) from 1956 and a .357 Magnum (pre-27) from 1957.

    permalink
    Posted 10-14-2009 at 04:10 PM by snw19_357 snw19_357 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    snw19_357's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    In 1960, a new type of ampersand was roll marked on the frame (this type appeared as early as late 1958 on the 44 Magnum). It is characterized by a much smaller loop. This type of ampersand is also seen on the earliest Model 57s shipped in the first few months of production in 1964 and on the Model 29-1s with a three-screw frame that were primarily shipped in 1962. This type of ampersand is shown in the fourth photo.
    An example of this ampersand on a 4-screw Model 28 Highway Patrolman from around 1959.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    In 1962, an upright (modern style) of ampersand was used for about a year. It is shown in the fifth photo.
    An example of this from a 4-screw Model 28 Highway Patrolman from the early 1960s

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    In 1966, through at least early 1968, and in the serial number range of S270000 to around S285000, the roll mark on the left side of the barrel was somewhat unusual. The letters were large and the ampersand was the "modern" type. This roll mark appeared on Model 29-2s and Model 57s, but I don't know if it appeared on other models or not (see photo number ten).
    Although the serial numbers are higher than S285000, both of the 4” Model 28-2s I have that shipped in 1967 have this ampersand.
    permalink
    Posted 10-14-2009 at 04:11 PM by snw19_357 snw19_357 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    snw19_357's Avatar
    From “Ampersands used on N-frame Revolvers, Part II”
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Doc44
    In mid- to late 1964, the ampersand on the right side of the frame was changed to the one shown in the first photo. This style was used until around the end of 1971, when it was changed to the modern style that was used for over a decade or more.
    An example of that on a 1967 Model 28-2 Highway Patrolman.


    Now for the right side of the barrel. Although so far I have few examples of N-frame .357 S&W Magnums, I can provide you with these few examples.
    The first two from 1956 and 1957 respectively show the same ampersand and “S.&W..357 MAGNUM” while the third shows a modern ampersand and “S.&W. 357 MAGNUM”.




    In the following days I hope to also provide some examples of the ampersands on K-frames that I own. The oldest K-frame I have is from 1967 so I hope Mr Cross will show us examples from the earlier Combat Magnums he has but I hope I am able to show some interesteing examples from the mid to late 1970s that will add to his commentary.
    permalink
    Posted 10-14-2009 at 04:12 PM by snw19_357 snw19_357 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Doc44's Avatar
    snw19 357...thanks for the post. Your photos and comments add a lot of useful information to the commentary.

    Bill
    permalink
    Posted 10-14-2009 at 04:34 PM by Doc44 Doc44 is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Bill,
    I have this 29-2 with 8 3/8" bbl., that shipped in March of 1969, yet it has the modern ampersand. I can find no evidence that it has been re-barreled either by the factory (no re-work stamps) or in the fact that the barrel pin looks totally unmolested on either side, and the bluing appears all original and uniform over the entire gun. The ampersand on the right side is exactly as you say it should be for the time frame. Also, on a bit of a different note, the front sight is not pinned on, but is a forged part of the barrel. Isn't this a bit early for that? I though that possibly the barrel was one like photo #6, and had been left over from an earlier time frame, but the spacing on the lettering on either side of the ampersand looks just like that in photo #9.
    Any comments would be appreciated.

    permalink
    Posted 12-23-2009 at 04:56 PM by Gun 4 Fun Gun 4 Fun is offline
    Updated 12-23-2009 at 05:38 PM by Gun 4 Fun
  7. Old Comment
    Doc44's Avatar
    Tim...Based on your comments, I would say your 29-2 has been rebarreled. Model 29-2s did not have the ramp forged with the barrel until about 1973, at N71000 or so. All 29-2s with a serial number beginning with the letter S had the ramp and the sight pinned to the barrel with two pins.

    Also, the ampersand is the modern type that appeared around 1973.

    Bill
    permalink
    Posted 12-23-2009 at 06:47 PM by Doc44 Doc44 is offline
  8. Old Comment
    jw-1's Avatar

    new member needs help

    i just both a m29-3, 3inch barrel with magaport, full under lug, unfluted cylinder, monogrips , sn#bdzxxxx, A20 lazer cut on side of grip frame with stamped #31698, gun is excellent.
    i have away learned to measure a revolver by the distance from front of frame to end of barrel then it app. 2".
    permalink
    Posted 03-26-2010 at 12:40 AM by jw-1 jw-1 is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Doc44's Avatar

    Measuring the barrel length

    jw-1...The barrel length of a revolver is determined by measuring from the front of the cylinder to the end of the barrel. If you do this for your 29-3 you will find out its true barrel length.

    Bill
    permalink
    Posted 03-26-2010 at 08:38 AM by Doc44 Doc44 is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Thank you for your information. I am considering the purchase of a Model 29 no dash 4 screw, serial # S192XXX with an 8 3/8" barrel and it is stamped like your picture #6 although it is an older piece. I was concerned that it might be a re-barrel. Can you advise as to whether it might be original?
    permalink
    Posted 10-02-2011 at 01:48 AM by r3captain r3captain is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Doc44's Avatar
    I have seen the style of ampersand shown in photo six only on Model 29s with an 8 3/8-inch barrel. The 29 you are considering probably dates to 59-61, so it is in the same timeframe as when this ampersand was in use and certainly could be original. The other thing to look for is that the ramp base is pinned to the barrel rib with two pins. They will be polished flush to the rib and may be difficult to see, but should be there. If the ramp base has been forged with the barrel and the sight blade (red ramp) pinned to it with a single pin, the barrel is too new for the gun and is not original.

    Bill
    permalink
    Posted 10-02-2011 at 08:21 AM by Doc44 Doc44 is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Thank you very much Bill! I finally got to examine it today and it does appear to be all original. Finish and serial match and it was hard to tell as you sugggested, but there were 2 pins on the front sight. I am very pleased as it is in close to 98% condition! Have to wait the CA 10 days and then I can bring 'er home! Also, the serial # is S193XXX not S192XXX as I had stated earlier.
    permalink
    Posted 10-17-2011 at 08:05 PM by r3captain r3captain is offline
    Updated 10-17-2011 at 08:19 PM by r3captain
  13. Old Comment
    This post is awesome. I was convinced that a 29-2 that i just received had the wrong barrel but it happens to have the unique font used from 1966 to 1968 that Bill pictured above.

    Thanks, Bill.
    permalink
    Posted 06-20-2012 at 08:10 PM by blackdeuce blackdeuce is offline
  14. Old Comment
    I have a Model 28-2, it's stamped NYSP can anyone confirm what this means?

    It's a N54XXXX 4"
    It's a smooth shooter... love it.

    Thanks. Tracy
    permalink
    Posted 02-21-2014 at 02:39 PM by tjmadrid tjmadrid is offline
  15. Old Comment
    Ben op zoek naar de originele Highway Patrolman 357 email: casabruinsma@gmail.com (Europa)
    permalink
    Posted 08-12-2014 at 07:51 PM by ottosr ottosr is offline
 
Total Trackbacks 0

Trackbacks

smith-wessonforum.com tested by Norton Internet Security smith-wessonforum.com tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:24 AM.


© S-W Forum, LLC 2000-2015
Smith-WessonForum.com is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)