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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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  #151  
Old 02-04-2016, 08:15 PM
MrGED05 MrGED05 is offline
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Default Shrouded/hammerless I frame?

I have owned a shrouded hammer/hammerless S&W 38 for many, many years. Based on the information found on this excellent forum, I now believe it to be an I frame model. The model number listed on the cylinder pivot is 5163. It has a four screw right hand side with the screws arraigned as on the five screw type pistol but without the trigger-guard screw and one of the screws is covered by the wooden grip. The barrel is 1.75" from front face of cylinder to muzzle. The barrel is marked "38 S&W SPL". It has fixed sights front and rear. If it is an I frame S&W, does anyone know of a Pachmayr type grip that will fit it? I'd like to see how the little gun shoots with better grips than the original smooth wooden ones. I'm also very curious about its age - the serial number is only four digits on the butt of the grip: 28XX. Perhaps the revolver has some collector interest? Any guidance or help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
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  #152  
Old 02-04-2016, 08:46 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Welcome to the forum.

You have a .38 Special chambered "hammerless" model which were all built on J frame of necessity for the longer cartridge. Please see page four, my post 131 for a photo of the difference. The model is the Cenntennial, no model number until after #s were introduced in mid 1957 at which time it became the Mod 40 or 42 if an alloy frame, the Airweight version. I can't tell which your is from the photos. With four screws I know it was made prior to 12/13/55.

The serial number is on the butt of the grip frame. I can give you a good idea of the date your gun was shipped by your serial # if you wish to share it. The # you refer to in the yoke is merely a factory assembly matching # and no longer of any consequence.

It should have a small pin stored in a hole in the grip frame. It's to lock out the grip safety by depressing the safety and installing the pin in the upper most hole to keep the grip safety disengaged.
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Last edited by Hondo44; 02-04-2016 at 09:11 PM.
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  #153  
Old 02-05-2016, 11:23 PM
MrGED05 MrGED05 is offline
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Default Grips?

Jim,
Thanks for the reply. Based on the photos shown in the forum under "I" frame S&W, mine looks a lot more like an "I" frame than a "J" frame.
I purchased and returned a "fit's all J frame S&W revolvers" set of grips from Pachmayr and they weren't even CLOSE to fitting my gun.
Regarding serial number, as I posted with the original post, my weapon's serial number is only four digits, 28xx. I also provided the assembly numbers from the cylinder pivot on the off chance they'd be helpful.
If you know of a source of a Pachmayr type grip for an old "I" frame, I'd be delighted to buy one, if for no other reason, just to try it out.
Thanks again,
Gary
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  #154  
Old 02-05-2016, 11:50 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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It's a J-frame gun. The fact that it's a 38 Special settles that once and for all. There are NO 38 SPL I-frame revolvers. End of discussion.

The reason you can't put J-frame Pachmayr grips on it is because of the grip safety that extends from the rear face of the grip frame... all of the regular Pachs are for the standard grip frame that lacks that extension. Perhaps Pachmayr made some grips specifically for the Centennial, but I don't know... I've never had much interest in that particular model.

There is a fair amount of interest in all of the early small frame S&Ws and those who like the hammerless models tend to do so enthusiastically. It will very likely be more valuable than a Chief's Special of similar age and condition, but how much so will depend on the interest the buyer has.

Regards,
Froggie
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  #155  
Old 02-06-2016, 01:14 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Hi Gary,

I guarantee it's not an I frame.

Believe me, there were no I frame 38 specials ever made. A 38 special
will not even fit in the I frame cyl window with any bullet but a semi-wad cutter. Although one would not have to see your Centennial to know it's a J frame because there were no Centennial models made on the I frame or the Baby J frame. And the lead pipe cinch indicator that yours has the Model of 1953 size New J frame, not a Baby J, is the large egg shaped trigger guard.

And frame size cannot be determined by grip frame size: Pre 1953 I and J frames both have the same size grip frames while post 1953 I and J frames both have larger grip frames of the same size.

Mistaking the difference between the Model of 1953 larger trigger guard New I frame with the Mod of 1953 New J frame is very common, and difficult to "see" without a side by side comparison. This will help you discern the difference and compare to yours:

This photo is a comparison of a .22/32 Kit Gun "J-Frame" (Model 63 stainless Kit Gun, top), and a Model of 1953 "New I-Frame" 22/32 Kit Gun, bottom). Same size trigger guards and grip frames, but note the 1/8” difference in frame length in front of the trigger guard and top strap, also compare the cylinder length and cyl window length.



Here's another comparison. Top gun is an I frame, with small grip frame, same size as the Baby J grip frame. Bottom Gun is a Model of 1953 "New I frame" with the New frame forging trigger guard size and round butt 1/8" longer grip frame length, the same as yours and the New J grip frame. Compare the amount of un-checkered wood below the checkering field on the stocks.




Your 4 digit serial number indicates 1952 production, the very 1st year.
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Last edited by Hondo44; 02-06-2016 at 01:21 AM.
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  #156  
Old 02-08-2016, 02:05 PM
MrGED05 MrGED05 is offline
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Default Enthusiastic and deeply appreciative thanks

The participants in this forum are exceptional people! It's rare to find in-depth knowledge and expertise combined with a generous willingness to help out a stranger. I'm indebted to both of you for helping me figure out what kind of S&W pistol I've had all these years. Nice to know!
Thank YOU BOTH very much
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  #157  
Old 03-06-2016, 03:37 PM
bookdoctor1 bookdoctor1 is offline
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I have just inherited a 32 long, what appears to be a 5 screw I frame with the serial number 85434 with a 4 1/2 inch barrel. There is a number of patent numbers on the top of the barrel of which the last one dates July 7, 1903. This was my wife's uncles gun (ex Detroit cop) who wore it until the day he passed. Any info would be appreciated
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  #158  
Old 03-06-2016, 09:24 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookdoctor1 View Post
I have just inherited a 32 long, what appears to be a 5 screw I frame with the serial number 85434 with a 4 1/2 inch barrel. There is a number of patent numbers on the top of the barrel of which the last one dates July 7, 1903. This was my wife's uncles gun (ex Detroit cop) who wore it until the day he passed. Any info would be appreciated
bookdoctor1,

Welcome to the forum!

You have an oldie but a goodie! And what a terrific family heirloom to pass down thru the family with a written record of it's provenance and history for future generations.

Your serial number identifies it as a ".32 Hand Ejector Model of 1903 -2nd Change" and your correct, it's built on the 5 screw I frame. This version was made from 1906 - 1909. Yours is likely from the 1908 time period.

The standard barrel length close to yours is 4 1/4". So unless it was shortened in the past, it should measure at that length.

Your gun is worth anywhere from $200 to $400 if it functions and depending on the amount of original finish left.

The first thing I always recommend for old guns is a thorough flushing and wipe down with a modern spray CLP (Cleaner-Lubricant-Preservative) like Breakfree, M Pro-7, etc.

No need to take it apart, just remove the grips and let it drain well after spraying.

Current ammunition in .32 Long is perfectly safe to shoot. It's very accurate and comfortable to shoot. Don't hesitate to shoot and enjoy it!
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Last edited by Hondo44; 03-06-2016 at 09:26 PM.
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  #159  
Old 03-11-2016, 03:06 PM
jward01 jward01 is offline
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Default ser. 538342 pre 30

what you think.
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  #160  
Old 03-11-2016, 08:52 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Welcome to the forum!

You have a very nice first post war version, a ".32 Hand Ejector Post War Transitional Model" with 6 screws and leaf spring.

Not a pre model 30, two versions earlier than a pre model. With a serial # I can give you an approximation of when it was shipped.
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  #161  
Old 03-12-2016, 05:29 AM
jward01 jward01 is offline
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Default got it.

Hondo44, thanks for info. ser. # is 538342 curious to when it shipped. and where is 6 screw? james

Last edited by jward01; 03-12-2016 at 05:40 AM.
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  #162  
Old 03-12-2016, 05:40 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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James,

Your gun likely shipped the last quarter of 1951 or early 1952. But no guarantee because they did not ship exactly in serial # order, only generally and occasionally not even that.
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  #163  
Old 03-12-2016, 09:38 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jward01 View Post
Hondo44, thanks for info. ser. # is 538342 curious to when it shipped. and where is 6 screw? james
"6 screw" is a sort of verbal shorthand some of us use to indicate (on I-frames only) the presence of a strain screw near the bottom of the front grip strap. This immediately identifies the gun as an UN-improved I-frame with leaf spring like the larger guns rather than coil spring like the J-frames. I believe your pictures display a shadow of that screw, right?

Froggie
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  #164  
Old 03-12-2016, 08:36 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jward01 View Post
Hondo44, thanks for info. ser. # is 538342 curious to when it shipped. and where is 6 screw? james
The leaf spring tension screw, bottom of front grip strap. I see it in both photos.

The '6 screw' screw count is only relative to the I frame and only included in the screw count because with the coil spring Improved I frame as Froggie posted, it's eliminated as are the 5th and 4th screws later on. The 6 screw count terminology distinction was first recognized and initiated by Froggie. And hopefully included in the edits to SCSW 4th edition due out this spring.

The tension screw (6th screw) is never eliminated on the K & N frames, therefore not included in their screw count; only the 5th and 4th screws are eliminated on those frame sizes.
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