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  #1  
Old 09-07-2011, 12:17 AM
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Default S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman

Hello guys & Ladies, I would like to share my .38/44 with you. Roy Jinks letter told me it is Pre-War II Special Order Variation, and shipped from S&W factory on Dec. 16, 1931, and delivered to Police Department City of Wichita, Attn: Captain L.G. Dewite.
This was a single unit order and it was billed at $30.69. Mr. Jinks said the engraving was after market and he did not recognize the engravers work.
Can anyone help me with identifying who the engraver is? Or would someone know who to put me in contact with.
Or any comment that may be helpful to me about this Revolver.
It is in very nice condition.
Thank you for your time. Keith Daiely 501-590-3294
P.S. any comments pro or con are appreciated.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:58 AM
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Keith:

Thank you for sharing your Outdoorsman ! What did Roy say about the "Special Order Variation" ?

It seems like I have seen this gun before somewhere. I will have to dig in my notes a bit. If you are willing I would appreciate the serial number for my data base (via email).

Best Regards,

Jerry gllewis@pasadena.edu
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:11 AM
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That very handsome .38/44 Outdoorsman was posted on this forum a couple of years back by a previous owner. Here's the lnk:

S&W .38 outdoorsman?? need help (NEW PICS ADDED)

After some speculation about styles of engraving, I think there was a kind of consensus that emerged around the possibility of an Asian engraver, probably Japanese.

I can't find an SSDI or census listing for anyone with the surname Dewite. I wonder if the name has been misspelled in company records. A check with the Wichita PD might clear that up.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:56 AM
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Default .38/44

Thanks for your time. I read that post and posted new info on it and added a pic. any more info, I can supply, don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:51 AM
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Having read both threads now, I am curious as to where you found this gun? From the original thread it appeared to be a family heirloom and I am surprised that it ended up changing hands. I suppose cash changes all things so one never knows, but the story behind the story would be interesting to hear.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:28 AM
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Keith, I went back and read your other posts from when you acquired this gun. My apologies for having forgotten what you said about it previously; I remember thinking when I looked at previous threads where it was featured, "I'll never forget that one."

I am now more inclined to think that this engraving is not Asian, but was done by Orville Kuhl as you suspect. The multi-colored six-petal flowers seem diagnostic of work associated with his name, and I found other .38/44 OD specimens and .357RMs on which he worked his magic. I see that he was in business with his son; possibly the innovative leaf designs on your gun reflect the son's work rather than the father's; I don't know but just raise the possibility. If the father was the master and the son the trainee, perhaps the sculpted animals on other guns were Orville's, and the six-petal flowers (which I suspect may have been a little easier to execute) may be his son's work.

Unless there were other individuals in Northern California with the same name, Kuhl sounds like he must have been a litigious sort, or a frequent target of others' litigation; there are court cases involving disputes with neighbors, and a newspaper reference that makes it sound as though Orville was no stranger to courthouse proceedings.

The Social Security death records know an Orville Kuhl who was born in 1894 and died in Contra Costa County, CA, in 1972. Another Orville Kuhl is younger and has roots in Michigan. I don't know if that could be the son. I suspect not.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:41 AM
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Keith:

David is much quicker at digging !
I am pleased to see this beautiful gun resurface and know it is in your hands !
Thank you again for the information.

Jerry
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:21 PM
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thanks david for the info, i have always believed that orville kuhl and son was the engraver, because of the other gun engraving i have seen pics of. i sure wiish there was a way to verify.
jsr- it was a family heirloom, but the way the young man explained it to was they were his guns and there were other guns he wanted more. he still had others that had belonged to his dad he wouldn't part with. so i ended up with it. keith
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:07 PM
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No doubt at all that the engraver is Orville Kuhl. I have an email in to his great grandson, and I am hoping I can get more info from him. Any one else have any idea how I could get this verified, if he is the engraver. I have seen enough of his other work, I am now 100% convinced. keith
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:43 PM
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No question that is Kuhl work. His gold work and borders are pretty distinctive. Here is a pic of a Kuhl engraved Parker I use to own.

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Old 09-08-2011, 11:05 PM
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I have seen pics of that shotgun, and it is a beaut. Just wish I had proof of some kind to verify that Kuhl was the engraver of my .38/44. No doubt he is. keith
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:51 PM
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There is an engraving association, and also a couple of engraving forums. While I don't know, I bet there is a way to get a letter from a recognixed authority on engraving authenticating an engraver's work. I'd ask around.

Quite pretty. I like it!

By the way, what does "special order variation" signify?
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomea View Post
There is an engraving association, and also a couple of engraving forums. While I don't know, I bet there is a way to get a letter from a recognixed authority on engraving authenticating an engraver's work. I'd ask around.

Quite pretty. I like it!

By the way, what does "special order variation" signify?
I don't know either. But that is what the letter from Mr. Jinks said about this revolver. Can anyone else explain what it means?
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:30 PM
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The "Special Order Variation" was also my question in post #2 ! I have never seen that before on an Outdoorsman letter.

Jerry
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdailey View Post
I don't know either. But that is what the letter from Mr. Jinks said about this revolver. Can anyone else explain what it means?
Perhaps it has a special front sight (I think I see a McGivern bead?), or the grip adapter - but I think the adapter was a later invention than 1931.
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
Perhaps it has a special front sight (I think I see a McGivern bead?),
Is this the McGivern bead you speak of ?
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Old 09-11-2011, 05:34 PM
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Yes, that's a McGivern bead front sight.

The grip adapters were available in late 1931, but the patent for them was not formally granted until early 1932.

My OD from February 1932 (shipped about six weeks after yours) has an oversize McGivern bead now, but according to the letter left the factory with a Call gold bead; these were flush to the rear face of the sight, not domed above it. The gun also came to me with grip adapters mounted, but they were not referenced in the letter and must be a later addition.



I'm not sure when S&W began offering the McGivern gold bead as an option. Did your letter say your gun shipped with a Call or McGivern bead?
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:23 AM
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I'm not sure when S&W began offering the McGivern gold bead as an option. Did your letter say your gun shipped with a Call or McGivern bead?[/QUOTE]

The letter did not say that it was shipped with either one of them.
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Old 10-01-2011, 06:53 AM
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I contacted the "Firearms Engravers Guild of America" FEGA, and ask about Orville Kuhl. Also sent pics of my Outdoorsman.
Recieved a reply last week, stating they have no information on engraver Orville Kuhl, but would continue to search. I must say that Mr. Kuhl is somewhat mysterious.
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