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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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Old 08-17-2010, 01:08 PM
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Default Pre Model 24 markings

Went to the local gunshow last weekend to look for a Model 617 or 17-6 when I noticed a 6" N frame with diamond grips hiding in the back of a case.

Closer examination revealed it was a 5 screw pre Model 24 ,
Lock up was tight as a drum with barely any noticeable wear or use,
Except for a large gap at the bottom of the backstrap/grip fit and a trigger shoe it looked to be in excellent shape.





The dealer claimed to have no knowledge except that it was a trade in.

Finish is a beautiful high polish blue am guessing it probably was refinished as it has 10 1967 stamped on the left side grip frame.



The serial is " S 855XX " early 1950's ...?
The diamond target grips have ink numbers NT-430 5912 and 5913


Maybe were part of the refinish work?
Paid $535 out the door.
Any observations would be appreciated...
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:29 PM
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A couple of comments...The 5 stamped on the grip frame suggests the revolver was intended to be, or was shipped as a 1950 Target 45. A 1950 Target 44 would have a 4 stamped in that location. The stocks date to 1968 or very early in 1969, just before the diamond around the escutcheons was deleted. Based on the serial number, it is quite possible the revolver was shipped before target stocks became available for N-frame revolvers.

Thge 10 1967 indicates something was done at this time, but I don't see any refinishing marks. Possibly a caliber change with a new barrel and cylinder? If the 44 was shipped in 51 or in early 52, the target hammer is probably a replacement for the original. It may be original if the gun shipped in late 52 or later.

Bill

Last edited by Doc44; 08-17-2010 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:49 PM
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Thank you for your observations Doc,
Interestingly the barrel and cylinder when held in certain light appear to be very slightly darker than the frame.
Additionally there are no serial numbers stamped in the barrel ejector shroud, cylinder or ejector star.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:09 PM
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Hey Engine49guy,

Good for you!

And at anytime,

If'n ya don't want her, I do!!!

Su Amigo,
Dave
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:14 PM
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Engine49guy...The lack of a serial number on the cylinder, ejector, and ejector rod shroud further suggest they are replacements. Normally, these parts would be numbered to the frame of the revolver. Still, you have a great shooter in one of my favorite calibers!!! Also, you may know this, but NT-430 is the S&W factory's internal designation the the Model 29 or 44 Magnum and the number stamped on the stocks is the part number for the right and left stock panel.

Bill

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Old 08-17-2010, 04:00 PM
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As the owner of a pair of factory modified 1950s I agree it looks like that is exactly what happened. Somebody decided a 44 sounded better and S&W rebuilt it for him. I think the markings on the stocks may indicate they were sold as replacement parts rather than shipped on a gun. In 1967 he sent it in with orders for a barrel swap (one of mine was swapped and now has no serial) and cylinder change. While he was at it he put on a set of Targets he bought at the gun shop. Or maybe S&W put them on from parts inventory.

Collector value is destroyed but still a cool gun.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:05 PM
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This is the kind of thread that has so much information in it that it makes me feel glad that I got out of bed this morning. That is a great gun, and I thank everybody who had something to say about it.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:12 PM
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Saw a Pre Model 24 this past weekend for sale. Refused to ask to hold it. Price was around $1900, but there was a small bit of corrosion near the front sight. I would have grabbed the one you have for that and think you have a good gun, no matter how it is put together.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:04 PM
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Thanks everybody for all of the information!

Putting all of the facts together it makes sense the previouse owner had it converted to .44 special.

Two things I am curiouse about,

If S&W did the conversion work,
Would a factory letter give any details about the conversion,
Or just tell how the gun left the factory originally?

Also,

If it did start out life as a .45 and the conversion was done by S&W in 1967,
Would the previouse owner have had the option of converting to .44 Magnum instead of .44 Special?
Or are Non Magnum frames not up to the task of handling Magnum pressures?
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:50 PM
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The letter would most likely state what the revolver was when it left the factory. Rework/repair records are about impossible to access and of little value to collectors at this time.

44 Magnum caliber would have been an option, uless S&W would not do it because of the frame issue. I doubt if the heat treatment of the frames was different, but most gun manufacturers are quite conservative and don't want to do conversions that "may" cause a problem.

Bill
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
This is the kind of thread that has so much information in it that it makes me feel glad that I got out of bed this morning. That is a great gun, and I thank everybody who had something to say about it.
All of the threads like this one are invaluable to someone like me trying to learn the nuances of S&W revolver models. Now if I could just remember one tenth of what some of you know! When I'm focused on a particular model line I cut & paste some of these tidbits into a cheat sheet that I carry around at the gun shows!
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:46 PM
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DCWilson, plus one for me on getting out of bed.
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:47 PM
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To start with that is a nice looking revolver.
I do have 2 questions about it though. I was under the impression S&W would not do a caliber change,so I assume a gunsmith did it?
Also from what I recall reading here before when S&W marked a date on the frame that they would stamp it as 10 67. Did the gunsmith who did the work stamp the complete year 10 1967?
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:39 PM
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First, get that trigger shoe off of it and leave it off. Rust may occur under those. They may also loosen at an inconvenient time. In extreme cases, I've read that they can catch on a holster and fire the gun, although that seems a remote liklihood.

The price makes me think that the seller knew that the gun wasn't original. I'd have a gunsmith check it out to be sure that headspace, etc. is as it should be, but the parts do look to be genuine S&W ones.

I think the factory did maintain that their Magnum frames were of a special "chrome-nickel steel" and that other models couldn't be converted to fire Magnum ammo. Maybe Roy Jinks will say. I am quite sure that extra and different heat treatment was given the cylinders (and probably, barrels) of .357 and .44 Magnum guns; not sure about frames. But unless the frames were of the special steel, they might have stretched. I KNOW that some .38's have stretched frames when fired extensively with Plus P ammo. Writer Massad Ayoob said that he did that to a Bodyguard .38 within 500 rounds!

If the work was indeed factory done, that gun should be a fine shooter. I think that Federal still makes a 200 grain lead HP load for .44 Special. I presume that you're familiar with the famous handloads for it. I think that Skeeter Skelton was on the right track with his .44 Special loads pushing a 250 grain Keith bullet at some 950 FPS. Really hot loads will exacerbate wear. Even Elmer Keith once told me that he didn't fire his hot loads very frequently. He reserved them for occasional practice and occasions when that level of power was needed.

Looks like an interesting gun with a good story behind it.

T-Star
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:10 PM
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"I doubt if the heat treatment of the frames was different, but most gun manufacturers are quite conservative and don't want to do conversions that "may" cause a problem."

Bill,

I asked Mr Jinks about adding a .44 Magnum cylinder to my M544 and he advised against it, as the heat treatment was different. And as we know, the M544 came out in 1986.

The date stamped on the frame doesn't look like the ones I've seen, which admittedly isn't all that many. The numbers are uneven, and as noted, the ones I've seen only did the last two digits of the year.
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Last edited by Muley Gil; 08-18-2010 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:16 AM
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I echo the thoughts of several others in that this thread has been a wealth of information. I had never heard of the "4" or "5" stamp meaning or the NT430 designation for the mod 29.

Thanks Doc and all the others for the great info.

Craig
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327, 44 magnum, 617, bodyguard, ejector, gunsmith, jinks, model 24, model 29, n-frame, shroud, skeeter, skelton

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