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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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  #1  
Old 10-27-2009, 07:32 AM
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Default 1902 or 1905

I need help the S&W I bought this weekend was labeled as a 1902 but a friend of mine looked up the serial number and it showed to be in the range for a 1905. How do I know which one it is? It is .38 Special or .38 US Service Cart. marked on the 4" barrel with the Maltese crosses. The serial number is 14753x. It was a good deal either way but I want to tag it correctly.
This makes me feel like such a noobie.
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2009, 07:36 AM
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If it's a 5-screw (with the screw in the front of the trigger guard), then it's a 1905 no change. If it's a pre-5 screw, 4-screw frame, then it's a 1902-1st change. The addition of the 5th screw came with the model of 1905.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:30 PM
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Okay thanks!
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:43 PM
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For the 5th screw are you referring to the one through the trigger guard in the front?
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:55 PM
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Default 1902 vote

East Tx:
Due to it being a round butt revolver, I would consider it a Model of 1902. There have been several threads devoted to this disagreement with mostly good points being made from each side. I think you got a good deal in the trade, although the Romanian SKS is a very dependable weapon.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:04 PM
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Thanks. I liked my Romanian SKS but I also have a Russian one, and didn't really need two. I went for something I didn't already have, and a good classic .38 fit the bill. I really like this S&W, but must admit it is my first S&W.

Are 1905's square butted?

Last edited by East Texas; 10-27-2009 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:20 PM
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Cool

The way I understand it,round butt M&P's are 1902's and square butt's are 1905's.I only have a few of the pre-war M&P's but I am looking for more.There seems to be a lot of different variations and it's been fun finding out info about them.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:35 PM
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I have one similar, SN 221xxx, that shipped in Setember 1902.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:19 PM
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ET

To the factory, that was a 1902, in all of their literature from 1902 through 1940. No doubt about that. To modern-day collectors, its a 1905.

The Model of 1905, according to factory literature, like catalogs,etc, has a square butt. That was/is the distinguishing feature of the 1905. It is an identical gun to the 1902, except for the butt configuration. The Model of 1905 was introduced at serial number 58,000 , of the 1902 series. The very early 1905's are 4-screw frames, exactly like their counter-part 1902's.

The introduction of that 5th frame screw, in front of the trigger guard, came later - 6 months or so, at s/n 62,450. And then, in another few months, the rebound slide for the trigger was introduced, at about s/n 73,000 .

The collectors have decided, more/less, to hang their hats on
engineering changes. They don't consider the square/round butt
difference to be a significant engineering change, but rather the
introduction of that 5th frame screw is their turning point. So, they
withhold the 1905 designation until the 5th frame screw shows up.
That, for them, is the start of the model of 1905.

That is wrong, of course, but that is what they do. They do this
irregardless of the butt configuration, thereby losing the 1902 model.
But, of course, that is wrong, as well. Wrong by factory designations.

There is a method to their madness, and it has to do with consistency
between the two different grip configurations. At the introduction of
the 1905, before the 5th frame screw, there are identical 1902's, but
they are designated 1902 1st change, because they have the heavier
barrel. This heavier barrel is, of course, on the 1905's. So - we have
two otherwise-identical guns; a 1902 1st change, and a 1905.

From the collectors engineering-bent, this would be the start of a mess.
And it gets worse. In 1905, when the 5th frame screw was introduced,
that should have been, to the collectors, the 1905 1st change, and
the 1902 second change. For two otherwise identical guns.

This is not a tolerable situation, and so they redefine these models.
They drop the 1902, and call both grip-configurations the model of
1905. From this point forward, there is consistency, because there is
only one model.

And that is the story of your gun !

Regards, Mike Priwer

Last edited by mikepriwer; 01-01-2021 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:59 AM
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Also, the grips are hard rubber, I figure that you may already know, But most aftermarket K frame round butt grips should fit.
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:17 AM
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Default Cleared up confusion

I had begun to notice the difference in what the factory and collectors were calling it and your posts spells it out clearly!

The man I bought it from had it labeled as a 1902, but once I got it home the books showed it to be a 1905. Now I see why. Thanks again!
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This was another note I had recieved with two pages from the S&W handguns book (which I cant get to attach):

There was no 1902 3rd change. Technically, Military & Police Second Model (Model of 1902 ) (serial#range 20,976-33,803) then Military & Police Second Model - 1st Change (serial#range 33,804-62,449)
Then Military & Police (Model of 1905) (serial#range 62,450-73,250)
Military & Police (Model of 1905 - 1st Change) (serial#range 73,251- unknown)
Military & Police (Model of 1905 - 2nd Change) (serial#range unknown-146,899)
Military & Police (Model of 1905 - 3rd Change) (serial#range 146,900-241,703)
Military & Police (Model of 1905 - 4th Change) (serial#range 241,704-approx. 1,000,000)

All 1905's available in square butt with walnut grips or round butt with hard rubber grips, blue or nickel finish.
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:55 AM
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Yes. The screw that secures the cylinder stop on guns from 1905-1960.

Mike Priwer is always (technically) correct. I tend to forget the 1902-round, 1905-square side from time to time and revert back to what most books say. Personally, I don't care what someone wants to call them. I only have a few that fit that timeframe. Values are pretty close to the same for either model, and dates of manufacture can be estimated within about a year based on serial numbers. If you want more specifics, you can send for a factory letter. (but odds are, Roy Jinks will use the wrong (technically) nomenclature when referring to them, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
For the 5th screw are you referring to the one through the trigger guard in the front?
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Last edited by cgt4570; 10-28-2009 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:40 PM
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:48 PM
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...but a pretty decent flash in the pan.
Ed
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:49 PM
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Default Proper labeling

Well when I bought it, it was labeled as a 1902. Now, I would have still bought it at that price even if it had been labeled as a 1905. I just want to have the data right in case I decide to carry it to a show. Because we all get either nervous or angry when dealing with the guy that is wrong about the gun for sale. Either he is an idiot or a crook. I would rather not be labeled either.
SO, to sum it up if I were to take it to a gun show, should I tag it as a 1902 or a 1905?
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:56 PM
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I would call it one of those transitional guns that S&W is famous for. You know, that 1902-1905 model that comes with round or square butt with 4 or 5 screws.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:01 PM
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Too funny. Well I guess either are at least somewhat acceptable, so maybe I will make a double sided tag, one for each.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:28 PM
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ET

Its a Model of 1902 . Anyone who refers to a pre-WW2 round-butt
K-frame as a Model of 1905 has never read the factory catalogs.

Its just that simple.

Regards, Mike Priwer
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
...but a pretty decent flash in the pan.
Ed

Well - I did say "extended" ! And, to be fair, the 1905's are
identical to the 1902's, except for butt configuration.

Regards, Mike Priwer
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:37 PM
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Hell...just call it a pre-WWI M&P
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  #21  
Old 11-11-2009, 09:14 PM
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Default Finally

I finally got to go out and shoot my 1902. Man it was real nice to shoot. Makes me wish I had an older S&W with a 2" barrel for my CCW. My top break is only a .38S&W and seems a little anemic for CC.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:30 AM
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I do agree with Mike that the original factory meaning for the "Model 1905" was the then new SQUARE butt.

However, the factory got away from that designation in just a few years, LONG before 1940, and considered them ALL 38 M&P's, WITH the option of round or square butt.

Many years ago, the precedent was set for defining variations by mechanical changes when Neal & Jinks was first published in 1966. That's what collectors delight in- MECHANICAL VARIATIONS!!

If Mike wrote me a letter and said he just picked up an interesting 1902, I'd have no idea what he had, beyond it being a 38 M&P with a round butt.
If I wrote back to Mike and said I just picked up a 1905-3rd change with a round butt, he might not like it, but he could pull out Neal & Jinks, and see EXACTLY which mechanical variant I had!

As I said, Mike is correct up to a point. He is correct in calling early round butts 1902's, and nothing else, IF he wants to do that.
However, there is NOTHING wrong with defining the mechanical changes as Neal & Jinks does, if one is interested in those mechanical changes. It's a workable system, and allows the rest of us to quickly and surely categorize a gun.

Below are the pics from Catalog D, issued in 1917, proving that the stooooopid factory could not tell a 1905 from a 1902 by this time. You'd almost think they were the same gun with different butt shapes ...........



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Old 11-14-2009, 12:43 AM
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Here are two of mine. Both are in 38 spl.



Vince
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:48 PM
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:07 PM
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My neighbor just bought one, has square butt with fifth screw , wood grips; the pistol looks identical to Admin's catalog (page 10) photo above. Grips have a metal S&W medallion countersunk maybe 0.040 inch...i cant tell from photo whether it shows metal or stamped wood logo there but sure looks same.

My confusion factor is: serial is 24,0XX not >63,000 and it's stamped on butt and bottom of barrel and cylinder too, so don't think it's counterfeit.
But shouldn't the fifth screw appear after 63,000 not before?

Just another oddwad? Thoughts?


thanks, old jim himself
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:56 PM
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Is there a letter Prefix, like a V, or C, or D stamped on the butt?
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
Is there a letter Prefix, like a V, or C, or D stamped on the butt?

The prefix is C and it's on all three places; butt, barrel, and cylinder.

Thanks for the reply!

old jim

EDIT::: oops, i guess the C means late 1940's,,, ? my face is red... found on other threads enough to date it to 1947 or 48.... half moon front sihgt, four line "Made in USA" & "Marcus Registradas", same hammer as newer marked model 10's.

Great forum guys and THANK YOU for your indulgence of newbies.

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  #28  
Old 02-09-2011, 01:03 AM
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Default So Then....

this gun , RB, 5", serial # 75,xxx would be a model 1905, 1st change?



Ned
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  #29  
Old 12-31-2020, 09:57 PM
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I have a 1905 round butt and I have the letter from Smith & Wesson stating it was made in 1905 and was sold out of their warehouse in 1906 nickel plate with mother of pearl grips 38 special M&P
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pace40 View Post
Just sittin' here with my popcorn
Me too...

I have a few "pre-five-screw-four-screw" Square Butt ones, and when I originally asked about them, it sure stirred things up!

Even when one finally does understand, it is not easy to explain to someone else...
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ccw, jinks, k frame, military, model 10, round butt, russian, sig arms, sks, walnut, wwi

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