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Old 04-16-2018, 11:34 AM
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As some will know from my previous Thread; I'm in need of some kind of Documentation to show that my Pre 1900 Top Breaks were not (strictly speaking) Designed or Manufactured to fire Nitro Loaded Cartridges.

Our Laws (here in Tasmania, Australia) are actually better than our Mainland States in that we dont face any restrictions on Guns made pre 1900 and for which no Ammunition is Commercially available

i'm having problems with the local Constabulary who are trying to make out that my .38 top Breaks were made to fire Modern .38 S&W Ammo Which, if not effectively disputed; would open a major can o' worms for me with Registration, licensing, Storage requirement, etc, ad infinitum.

Here's what one of our Razor Sharp Members suggested:

Originally Posted by opoefc
"S&W Safety Hammerless models made and shipped circa 1900 era contained a flyer in the box stating that the gun was designed for blackpowder ammo. & it could be harmful & unsafe to fire smokeless powder ammo. for which the gun was not designed. As you know, blackpowder .38 ammo. is no longer made. Perhaps a Forum member could post a photo of that flyer ( I don't currently have one ). Ed."

So, what i need; if anyone can help out here; is a nice, clear picture of this 'Flyer' as it could well be my Silver Bullet (pun intended) to get the Gendarmes off my back for good.

Also; some way of maybe verifying it's Date..

if anyone has one of these; they will be on my Christmas Card list for life!!!

Fingers firmly crossed.....
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:48 PM
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I would contact Roy Jinks or Don Mundell (club gun fan) as the S&WHF Historian and Asst. Historian respectively. Don also has one of the largest S&W paper collections in the collecting world and if anyone has that brochure or flyer, he might. Roy being the S&W Historian for something like 50 years probably also has a copy.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:23 PM
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Can you own original or modern reproduction firearms using percussion caps and black powder, like the Colt or Remington revolvers used in the US Civil War?

Single-shot flintlock pistols or rifles?
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
Can you own original or modern reproduction firearms using percussion caps and black powder, like the Colt or Remington revolvers used in the US Civil War?

Single-shot flintlock pistols or rifles?
Anything made after 1900 attracts all the Licensing, Registration and Secure Storage Requirements in all States Here.

All States have exemptions for some Pre. 1900 Firearms and those exemptions and which Guns qualify for them vary from State to State.

For example; an original 1851 Navy Colt in my State is completely exempt from any restriction, unless I want to Shoot it; but the same Gun in the closest Mainland State has to be Registered, Stored in a Safe and requires a Pistol License. which is not easy to get or keep. you have to be a Pistol Club Member and shoot Comp. at least 6 times a year in each Discipline that you use each Gun for.

Single Shot Muzzle Loaders are generally exempt, as are most Military Rifles (pre 1900) Like Martini Henrys and Enfield P1853s.

Cartridge Revolvers is where it gets tricky in my State. Generally; if you cant buy Ammo over the counter; its kosher. Trouble is, a few bad eggs in our Police Firearms Service have this idea that if any Cartridge you can buy will fit in the Chamber; your exemption is out the window.
The result is a Witch Hunt that is making Collectors lives hell.

Dawn Raids on old Boys with 50 year Collections and all the dirty tricks you could think of have become the norm.

See, we dont have anything like your 2nd Amendment and this is what can happen when you have no rights.

So we are putting together a test Case to sort it out.
This is why i'm looking for material to prove the pre 1900 Smiths which i have a clutch of; are exempt.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:33 PM
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Does it help your case to be a member of an International Collector's Organisation? S&WCA
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S&W ucla View Post
Does it help your case to be a member of an International Collector's Organisation? S&WCA
Hint taken!! Yes, I've no doubt it would; not so much as it would add to my 'Cred' but for the wealth of Info and resources they have.

At some point, I will join; my biggest hurdle right now is my financial resources are stretched to the limit with Legal Fees and the fact that our Economy here is flat as a tack. Due to Foreign Investors buying up Real Estate, Housing has become unaffordable for Aussies and a lot of us are actually living rough, in cars, shacks, sheds, tents, etc.
Govt is bringing in tens of thousands of Immigrants from the Middle East and Africa also and they are given priority for jobs and Housing. Us White Boys finish last and if we're Gun Toters, we are treated like lepers. The Neo-Libs have a grip on this place like you wouldn't believe. At least things arent as bad here as in Europe, not yet anyway.

But yeah, I will join up when i can...
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:26 AM
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Get an application and fill it out and send it to me and I will pay your first years dues. My email address is listed under my handle or at least a link is. Or you can PM me for my address.

I have been fighting for our gun rights for over 50 years so if I can do even a little to fight for yours, I'm in.

Besides, being new to antique S&W's, I love reading your posts and enjoy hearing your stories from down under even though they are sad to hear at times.
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Old 05-07-2018, 12:21 AM
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C'mon Guys; somebody must have one of these flyers or know who has one!!
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:45 PM
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I have seen boxes for S&W top breaks that have a large red overprint on the inside of the box top that reads "N.B. - We do not guarantee our revolvers when used with smokeless or nitro ammunition". In fact, S&W didn't approve any of its revolvers for use with smokeless ammunition until 1909. Try googling "Smith Wesson smokeless warning" and you should be able to view some auction listings that clearly depict these boxes.
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:15 AM
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The James D. Julia auction site has an auction listing as follows. Maybe this will help somewhat: Note the descriptions indicate a warning stamped regarding the labels. You might check out the revolvers here and see if they would compare to yours and use this as a reference.

*LOT OF 6 SMITH AND WESSON REVOLVERS. SN 113831, 377698, 202721, 4667, 242915, 82368,. S & W. no. 1. SN 113831. Cal. 38 S & W. Safety 3rd Model double action revolver. 3-1/4″ Bbl. Nickel-plated. Hard rubber grips. Typical markings and configuration, with release catch protruding from rear of top strap. Collection no. “KM575” is in white enamel on bottom of blued trigger guard. In its orig type red box with greenish paper label for “nickel and 3/4″ bbl”. Interior label is over-stamped with warning not to use smokeless or nitro powders. Number in pencil on bottom of box “113942”. Mr. Howard’s notes indicate that he acquired this item from Jack DuBlou in 1986, ex- Karl Moldenhauer Collection. S & W. no. 2. SN 377698. Cal. 38 S & W. Double action, 4th Model Revolver. 3-1/4″ Bbl. Blued finish. Hard rubber grips. Standard configuration and markings. In what appears to be its orig black textured box, with green label indicating “blued and 3-1/4″”. Interior label marked with smokeless powder warning. S & W. no. 3. (ca 1903) SN 202721. Cal. 38 S & W. 38 Safety 4th Model with “T” catch. Standard configuration and markings. Nickel-plated. Hard rubber grips. Mr. Howard’s notes indicate that he acquired this item in 1983. S & W. no. 4. SN 4667. Cal. 38 S & W. Safety 1st Model with 5″ bbl. Nickel-plated with hard rubber grips. Early Z-bar latch. Standard markings and configuration. In early 1970’s vintage blue box. Mr. Howard’s notes indicate that he acquired this item from Glen Hamilton in 1979. S & W. no. 5. (ca. 1930) SN 242915. Cal. 32 S & W. Safety 3rd Model. One of the last of these famous revolvers produced, it is of standard configuration with simple S & W Springfield Mass address. 3″ Bbl. Nickel-plated, and hard rubber grips. Comes with a mustard yellow pebble-patterned box with white paper label for “New 32 Departure”, in nickel, and 3-1/2″. Interior with 32 Safety label in lid. Mr. Howard’s notes indicate that he acquired this item from Glen Hamilton in 1979. S & W. no. 6. (ca 1900) SN 82368. Cal. 32 S & W. Safety 1st model. 3-1/2″ Bbl. Nickel-plated with hard rubber grips. Standard configuration and markings, with knurled bbl release at back center of top strap. Mr. Howard’s notes indicate that he acquired this item from Dean Williams in 1980. PROVENANCE: Robert Howard Estate Collection. SN 113831 is from ex Moldenhaur collection. CONDITION: S & W. no. 1. Excellent, near new, with only a few very minor, barely noticeable, handling marks. Brilliant nickel finish. Grips are excellent, dark black and shiny. Box is excellent, with only one or 2 minor mars. Exterior label has some slight losses and very slight soiling. Interior is excellent, with a number of chips. S & W. no. 2. Excellent, near new, with some minor areas of light flaking on cylinder and left side of frame. Grips are black and shiny. Case hardening is vibrant. Bore and action are excellent. Possibly unfired. Box is fine with some major chipping at one corner of top lid, slightly crushed with compression crack through interior label. Interior is slightly soiled. Exterior label is very fine with a few chips. S & W. no. 3. Excellent, retaining nearly all of its orig bright nickel-plating, with a few minor marks, mostly on butt. Grips are slightly worn with some deep scratches on bottom of butt. “T” latch and trigger guard are slightly flaked. Case hardening on trigger is strong, thinning on blade. Bore is excellent. Action is crisp. S & W. no. 4. Re-nickeled and retaining nearly all that factory nickel-plating. Star stamp under SN on cylinder and “R-N” cartouche with date stamp 12/72 under left grip. Trigger guard re-blued over considerable freckling, and retains nearly all that blue. Trigger retains traces of case hardening color, but is mostly brown. Grips show considerable wear, a few nicks, and are turning brown. Bore is fine with slight pitting. Box is excellent. S & W. no. 5. Excellent. Retains nearly all its orig nickel-plating, which has toned slightly, and with a few slight pits and drag line on cylinder. Grips are slightly worn, black and shiny. Latch and trigger guard retain nearly all of their orig blue. Case hardening of trigger slightly worn on blade. Bore is excellent. Action crisp. Box is excellent with some minor rubs and lifts. Exterior label is considerably chipped along bottom. Interior is slightly soiled with considerable chipping on interior partitions. S & W. no. 6. Excellent. Retains nearly all of its orig nickel-plating which has lifted and frosted considerably, especially at bottom and right side of bbl, and left side of frame near junction of sideplate. Opening latch and trigger guard retain nearly all their orig blue. Trigger guard is slightly flaked, and opening latch is silvered on thumbpiece. Color case hardening of trigger is bright, slightly silvered and grayed on right side of blade. Bore is excellent. Action is crisp. 4-45505 MGM77 (3,000-5,000)

Have a similar item you want to sell?
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:34 PM
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See this thread: What year did "smokeless" .32 short frames start? Posting #4.

But I don't believe it will help your case much. The S&W catalog pages don't mention anything about design of guns for BP vs smokeless ammunition. In fact, back in the days when the only propellant available was black powder, one could say factually that guns of that time were designed for black powder, not smokeless powder, ammunition. When smokeless powder and cartridges loaded with it first appeared on the scene in the early 1890s, nothing really changed regarding handgun design and metallurgy, especially concerning the commonest top break revolvers available from many manufacturers. A S&W .38 DA revolver made in 1910 remained very much the same as a S&W .38 DA revolver made in 1880, so in that respect the revolver made in 1910 was, technically, one designed around the use of cartridges loaded with black powder. But by 1910, smokeless powder cartridges had largely (but not entirely) pushed black powder cartridges in almost every caliber off most dealers' shelves. What had happened was that smokeless powder cartridges were designed for use in the old black powder era revolvers (as not much else was available to shoot them in at that time), not vice-versa, loaded with smokeless powder to equivalent pressure levels as the same cartridges loaded with black powder, and therefore were effectively interchangeable with them in the existing old guns of the BP era. And that remains true today, as there are still a great many guns which were designed and/or made in the black powder era which are still being fired by their owners with smokeless powder cartridges. None of that discussion helps your argument, but maybe someone else can come up with an interpretation of the the facts which does. Or by finding some manufacturers' (ammunition or gun) documentation specifically stating that older guns were not designed to use smokeless powder cartridges which are too dangerous to be used in them, which would be more convincing. But I have never seen anything like that.

Last edited by DWalt; 05-09-2018 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:14 PM
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I know what you are saying & believe you are correct but I'm afraid it won't help your case reguarding your collectible antique cartridge pistols.
In the earliest days of smokeless powder, one might argue, it was experimental. The powder was not proven science at that point nor were those who loaded it... or reloaded it... adequately knowledgeable to do so safely. Hense the cover your *** warning by Smith & Wesson.
Modern smokeless loads are now mature science. Cartridges are loaded within the pressure limits of the cartridge. Even antique pistols so chambered, in good condition, should be able to safely fire "standard" modern smokeless rounds. Many, many cartridges safely made the transition from BlackPowder to smokeless.
I don't think this would fly under US law, but I understand you are concerned with Austrailian law.
Best wishes!
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:30 PM
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This is not the only forum on the internet which addresses old revolvers. You might look to some of the other forums (such as Colt forums) in seeking information such as you need. You might also check the International Ammunition Association (IAA) forum. It is truly international, and many of the members are foreign nationals and you will find that they are extremely knowledgeable about anything related to "antique" small arms ammunition. If you explain your dilemma on the forum, they might well be able to provide some assistance in meeting compliance with Australian firearms regulations (there are quite a few Australians there) or suggest additional ideas you might follow up.
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:33 PM
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Thanks to HK, DWalt, Flagman and special thanks to mnrivat for that most comprehensive and helpful Post.

Any Images showing the S&W Warning of that Era are Gold to me and any Images people can post will be of great help.

I have been in touch with Roy Jinks who has very kindly offered to help and this will hopefully be my 'Silver Bullet' - pun intended!!

I will be joining the SWCA as a matter of principal as it has been demonstrated just how supportive they are.

So, the Flyer, the Red Overstamp, anything at all that shows that Warning will be muchly appreciated - there is actually a notice on the Front Cover of the 1898-99 S&W Catalogue Warning against the use of NP Cartridges that Roy sent me an image of. All of this is GOLD!! However; this is not a debate about who uses modern Cartridges in old Guns and whether it's kosher or not; so please guys; lets keep it on subject.

Many thanks for all the helpful submissions.
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:41 PM
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"...this is not a debate about who uses modern Cartridges in old Guns and whether it's kosher or not; so please guys; lets keep it on subject."

At one time it was a popular subject of discussion here, about how dangerous smokeless powder cartridges were if used in old BP revolvers. Thankfully, there hasn't been so much said recently about that. I hope it remains that way.
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