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  #1  
Old 05-13-2011, 09:16 AM
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Default Newbie question on 32-44

New here and know very little about S&W revolvers of any age. I have a trade offer on the table for a combination gun I need $1100 for. I am being offered in trade a decent looking S&W 32-44 topbreak revolver. A little Googling around shows that this is probably a good deal for me. Right now I have one photo (attached) but want more info before I ask for more or commit to trade. What can you tell me? Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:10 AM
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Personally, I think I'd go for that Merwin-Hulbert. At least you can shoot it; you'll have a time finding ammo for that .32-44. JMHO

Larry
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:58 AM
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The top left is the one being offered. I understand that it is a Model 3 in .32-44. Not interested in shooting, but in taking it as a trade and flipping it for cash I need. Since I need at least $1100 out of a trade, I need to find out if the Model 3 in that condition will bring me what I need and [hopefully] then some.
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:11 PM
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10/22, I think you may have misread BigSkyBound's post. There's no mention of a 32-40. BigSkyBound, Welcome to the Forum! I'm also confused by your post. I think it says you have a combo. gun and a trade is being offered of a .32-44 S&W New Model No. 3 Target revolver. What do the two S&Ws pictured, and the Merwin, have to do with the trade? Since you haven't shown us the combo. gun, I don't have anyway of estimating whether the trade makes sense from your perspective. Please clarify what you need from us. Ed.
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:28 PM
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Default confusion rules

Yeah, OPOEFC, you're right. I was so confused by the posting, that I even misread the caliber. Caught it after the fact and dumped it hoping no one would think me stupid. I finally came to the conclusion he had only the one picture and we were looking at the only logical gun, the #3 that would fit his question. Oops! Is it a target model though? Can't tell from pic, but looks like standard sights.
Well, if he's asking is it worth $1100 plus the answer, based on external condition, yes, if it's also that nice mechanically, more. Can he get it? Probably.
10/22

Last edited by 10/22; 05-13-2011 at 01:34 PM. Reason: add
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:49 PM
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Sorry for the confusing wording. Did not say it was a Target Model. Remember, I know little to nothing about these. I was told that the top left revolver is a Model 3 S&W chambered in .32-44. Googling a search for that shows revolvers that look the same. So what I am seeking here is some sense of the vlaue of the revolver if it is what the guy says it is. The owner wants to trade the S&W to me for a scarce combination gun I was selling for $1100. To trade, I need to know I can get my cash out of the revolver. The other two revolvers were just in the photo with the S&W.

Last edited by BigSkyBound; 05-13-2011 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:43 PM
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Having a .32-44 New Model #3 target, I understood.
As for the $1100 value; if it is in good mechanical condition it should be worth more than that. But, they are not exactly in high demand and I don't know how quickly you might turn it. The revolvers in that caliber were only made as target guns and should have target sights (the first S&W revolver with adustable rear sight as standard equipment). Very few were made serial number ranged from 1-4333, .32-44 production 2930, made from 1887-1910.
Mine is #3761 and letters from 1901. It probably rates antique "fine" condition.
No factory .32-44 ammo has been made since around the 19 teens, although it is probably possible to make cases, I'd forget it as a shooter. I would value my revolver at about $2000(?)

Last edited by SDH; 05-13-2011 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:51 PM
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Thanks SDH. I cropped and adjusted the photo some. Since I am awaiting detail photos, I am not sure about sights. Front seems to be a rounded blade. Might have adjustable rear sight, but hard to tell for sure from this.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:32 PM
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SDH hit it about right..32-44 Targets are fairly scarce, but so are people wanting one enough to pay what the gun should bring.
I'm pretty sure I see the adjustable blade on the rear sight. Can't see the front well enough, but it should have a bead on the top. Also can't tell from the picture what the actual condition is. Does the serial number fall in the range SDH posted?
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:54 PM
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I do not have any details as of yet. Guy who owns it is away from home for a couple of days. The more I search for images, the more variation I see in front sights. Admittedly, people modified these things and with a pinned front blade, anything is possible.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:26 PM
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Default .32-44 ammo

You can buy it here if you really want to shoot it.
10/22.
/www.starsandstripesammo.com/cowboy_pistol_ammo.html
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:38 PM
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With a blade front sight I'd be lookin' mighty close for a shortened barrel... Shorter brl lengths are rarer, but not cut lengths.

IIRC, True .32-44 ammo had a wadcutter style load with the case nearly as long as the chamber and a flush seated bullet. I looked for my small cache of genuine cartridges the other day but didn't locate them... I'll take another look as this is bound to come up again.

After seeing .32-44 listed with .32 Long as that cowboy ammo, just for grits and shins I dropped a .32 S&W in the chamber of my .32-44 and it rattled around... No interchangeability there, so none for .32 S&W Long either...

NM#3's are dandy revolvers and I did a custom project with one and a companion Marlin M-94 both in .44-40 several years ago. The revolver started as a .38-44 target with the longer cylinder. I think there are a few pix on my web site in the Lever Action stuff?

Last edited by SDH; 05-13-2011 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:09 PM
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I had a couple of original .32-44 Target cartridges to display with the revolver I had years ago. As I remember they weren't actually wadcutters but were regular round nose or round ball that were seated completely within the cylinder length case. (kind of like the gas-seal Nagants.)

Jinks & Neal and SCSW3 both show that the regular NM#3 also had some chambered in .32-44 in addition to the Target Model. A letter would definitely be in order if you end up with it.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDH View Post
With a blade front sight I'd be lookin' mighty close for a shortened barrel... Shorter brl lengths are rarer, but not cut lengths.
I have located pics of several Model 3s with rounded blade front sights. A couple have what appears to an integral "bead" on top. Others lookalmost like a barb. And some are rounded smooth. Did the Target Models come with different barrel lengths? Based on comparrison with another gun with 7.5" barrel, I would say the one I am looking at has a 6.5" barrel, or thereabouts.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:01 PM
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Default #3 barrels and sights

61/2 inch is a standard barrel length for New Number 3, with a round fixed sight at the front. They made them from 31/2"-8". They also made this model in .44 Russian, .32 S&W, .32-44, .320 S&W revolving rifle, .38 S&W, .38 Colt, .38-40, .41 S&W, .44 Henry Rimfire, .44 S&W American, .44-40, .45 Schofield, .450 Revolver, .45 Webley,, .455 Mark I, and .455 Mark II. All in the standard New Model 3 except .44 Russian are very scarce. I don't think yours was ever a Target Model, which they made two sights for, the one with the bead on top of a rounded blade and the one that is tapered front and back to a flat top. A lot of sights got modified in use, as did mine with a brass bead on top and rear filed lower. So maybe one in .38-44 non-target is not a bad collector piece.
10/22
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:25 PM
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Here are some more (and very poor generally) pics. I also asked these questions:

How long is the barrel? Is it pinned?

What does barrel address say and how far is it from back of front sight?

What is the name carved in grip panels?

What is SN?

How is bore?

How tight is lockup?


Anything else I should ask about this gun? And based on the new info. (so far) what do you think its value might be? The "personalized" grip panels may shoot the value in the head.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:31 PM
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Good questions except there is no such thing as a "pinned" barrel on a top-break. (That's a term used with solid frame revolvers.) The serial number should appear on the bottom of the butt, on the rear of the cylinder, between the "ears" at the back of the barrel extension and on the underside of the barrel latch. They all should match.
The ones on the barrel extension and underside of the latch can be hard to see and are quite small. Here's a picture from a 44 DA that shows the locations: (They should be in the same places on the NM#3. The one on the extension may be in two parts. One part on each "ear")

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Old 05-15-2011, 10:17 PM
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My Bad. I meant to ask him if the front sight was pinned. Here are his answers and I think that shoots it in the head as having the value I need.

"Barrel, is 5.5 " long, front sight is soldered in, curf for front sight runs back into address,
"SMITH AND WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS.USA PATD JAN 17 & 24, '65
AUG 24, '69, APR 20, '75, FEB 20 & DEC 18, '77, REISSUE JULY 25, 1871"

LOCK-UP IS GOOD AND BORE IS 7/10.
Name in grip panels is "Traves Million"
Serial number is 1066".

Seems to be buggered with cut barrel and carved on grips. What does all of that do to its value?
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:09 PM
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The value may be likened to that of a small boat anchor---------in my opinion.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:32 PM
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The carved grips are not a deal breaker as far as I would be concerned. (But I like old guns with names on them.)
However, the cut barrel is a killer. No way the gun is worth $1100.00. From what I can see in the pictures maybe 3 or 400 tops. It's not even a "shooter" unless you want to crawl through a lot of hoops and load for it.

Of course if you can tie "Traves Million" to something famous or infamous and show that he was the one to "modify" the gun, it might be a whole different story...
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:51 AM
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Default .38-44

Walk away. You know what you have and this gun is filled with maybes. Maybe it could be documented to a great tale, but that's about all it has going for it.
10/22.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:57 PM
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Just going to pass on this. He has other trading stock that I am more sure of. Thanks for all of the input.
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