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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 09-29-2011, 09:35 AM
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Default Still confused on what model I have

Good morning. I've searched and read through all the posts I can find trying to figure which model I have. Just when I think I've got it figured out, it seems that something pops up that makes me unsure.

I inherited the gun from my grandfather as is. Rather than trying to describe it, I figure showing you guys/gals some pics and providing the details I've seen asked in previous posts is be my best shot to get it nailed down for sure.

1. I assume the stocks are the originals (emblem vice no emblem)
2. The cylinder is just over 1 1/2"
3. The serial number is 93xxx
4. The serial number is located on the bottom of the grip frame.
5. There is no patent date on the stocks that is visable (but they are in pretty rough shape)

Any assistance with model/change and general age would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Jeremy
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:49 AM
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The Book says that it is a .32-20 Winchester Hand Ejector 1905 4th change. #s 65701 to 144684 made between 1915 and 1940.

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Tam 3
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:50 AM
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Jeremy, From one Kneedeep to another welcome to the forum. Don't have my books in the house right now so I can't tell you the exact model but your Grandfather's pistol is coming up on 100 years old. The 32 WCF is a pre 20s designation, the grips are period correct for a 1910 -20 pistol. Check the rt hand grip and see if there is the s/n marked in pencil on it. Look hard in good sunlight as most are hard to read.
I will go out to the shop after a while and look up the model and get back to you. (Yep 1905 4th change)
Larry

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Old 09-29-2011, 11:08 AM
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I'd make that about 1919, based on the serial number. (Which is a semi-risky game to play, because S&W did not ship in rigorous serial number order.)
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:57 PM
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What you have in layman's terms is a S&W military& police revolver in 32-20 Winchester caliber with what appears to be 5" barrel. These were made up until WWII along with its stablemate, the M&P in 38 Special. Winchester and others made rifles and carbines in 32-20 which was fairly popular around 1900, hence the companion revolver. 32-20 ammo doesn't grow on trees, but MidwayUSA has a good selection. Bob!!
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:09 PM
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I think the big ejector rod head indicates pre-1923 manufacture so the 1919-20 dates being offered are very possible. The tempered cylinders start at around serial 81,000 so your gun should be OK for shooting with proper pistol ammo.

Condition is a little rough but it's a nice gun. The 5" barrel length is a favorite with many S&W lovers.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:07 PM
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Thanks all for the input. I actually have a partial box of shells for it, so I'm curious to see how she shoots.

I think part of my confusion was seeing the different names thrown around for it and those that are very similar (i.e. hand ejector, military and police, regulation police).

Thanks again for the help!

Jeremy
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:17 PM
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jbohn,

Heck, if identifying all the S&W permutations was easy, then even the Colt collectors could do it! (just playin')

Mike
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jbohn28 View Post
I think part of my confusion was seeing the different names thrown around for it and those that are very similar (i.e. hand ejector, military and police, regulation police).
Well, Jeremy, let's straighten this out a bit for you. First, it is definitely not a Regulation Police revolver. That gun was a I frame revolver and was chambered for the .32 S&W Long. Your revolver is built on the K frame and shoots the .32 Winchester Center Fire, aka .32-20.

Now, while it shares the frame size and many other characteristics with the .38 M&P, I don't think it is technically correct to call it an M&P either. There was, of course, a .32 M&P in the post-war period before model numbers were applied, and it was built on the K frame, but was chambered for the .32 S&W Long. The .32 WCF was never chambered in a S&W revolver after the war, nor was it ever chambered in an I frame revolver.

The accepted correct name for your revolver is the .32-20 Hand Ejector Model of 1905 or .32-20 Hand Ejector Third Model. In your case, it is one with the 4th engineering changes.

I hope this helps you.

Regards,
Jack

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Old 09-29-2011, 08:34 PM
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Jeremy,

Don't confuse types of gun with model names. For example, a military & police is a model name but the type of gun is a hand ejector. The hand ejectors are those revolvers where the cylinder swings out of the frame to the side. The very first version of these did not have a thumb latch and the cylinder was released by pulling on the ejector rod. Also had the cylinder stop on top of the frame as opposed to the current style where it is on the bottom.

The regulation police is also a model name and it too is a hand ejector.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:38 PM
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"Now, while it shares the frame size and many other characteristics with the .38 M&P, I don't think it is technically correct to call it an M&P either."

I can't find it right now, but I have an image taken from an early S&W catalog that shows the Military & Police being available in .38 special AND in .32-20.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:04 PM
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Jeremy,

This may confuse you a little more, but it is correct.

What you have is a Model 0f 1905 .32-20 Hand Ejector 4th Change. The .32-20 H.E. was referred to by the factory as the "Winchester Model" (Reference is McHenry & Roper, "Smith & Wesson Handguns"). While being otherwise identical to the Military & Police except for caliber it was designated as a separate model with its own serial number series.

I have been collecting serial numbers and ship dates from factory letters for years and can say that your gun was built before January 1921. SN 9557* shipped on 1-21-1921, so, obviously, your gun was built (put-up in factory parlance) sometime before that date. Your stocks are probably original, at least they are correct as this style was used from 1910 to ca. 1920. The 32 W.C.F. caliber designation was current from 1914-1922.

There should be a serial number written in pencil on the inside of the right stock. Depending on how many times the stocks have been off it could have been rubbed off, pencil is not very durable. You didn't find a patent date on the stocks because no K-Frame (medium size) ever had a patent date stamped on them to my recollection.

While there are several "Named models" the term Hand Ejector refers to any Smith & Wesson revolver that has a cylinder that opens to the side and which you have to eject the cases "by hand" once the cylinder is open. This is in contrast to the hinged frame or top break revolvers previously made that "automatically" ejected cartridge cases when opened.

For the named models, the name referred to a very specific set of characteristics which defined the named model:

A M&P, Military & Police, is a 6 shot, .38 Special, double action, either round or square butt, hand ejector built on the K or medium size frame. (Except for a few very early guns chambered for .38 Long Colt, before the .38 Special was finalized.)

A .32 Hand Ejector is a .32 S&W Long, 6 shot, I-Frame (small) with a round butt. If the gun had a square butt, but otherwise identical, it was a .32 Regulation Police.

It goes on and on.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
"Now, while it shares the frame size and many other characteristics with the .38 M&P, I don't think it is technically correct to call it an M&P either."

I can't find it right now, but I have an image taken from an early S&W catalog that shows the Military & Police being available in .38 special AND in .32-20.
And I have seen old ads for the .38-44 Heavy Duty which read "Also available in .44 Special and .45 ACP" as I recall. All it meant that the otherwise same gun was available in those calibers, NOT that they were all .38-44 Heavy Duty models. We all know the .44 Special is a .44 Hand Ejector or .44 Military, and the .45 would be a .45 Army or Model 1917.

If you look far enough you can probably find an ad for a .32 H.E. that said "Also available in .38 S&W" too. It may even go back to the New Model Number 3 Double Action which was available in .44 American (I believe) .44 S&W Russian, .44-40, and .38-40 (at least). Even though they were identical except for caliber and/or chambering, it would not be correct to call a .44 Russian or .38-40 a "Frontier Model", which was specifically the .44-40 chambering. No one the least bit knowledgible of S&W revolvers would argue this point.

If it were correct, and it isn't, to call either a .32-20 or .38 Spl. K-Frame a "Military & Police", it would be the only occurrence in all the named models where two different, common, calibers shared the same model name!** Even the .38 S&W (.38-200) guns were not called M&Ps. They were the K-200 to the factory, not a .38 S&W M&P!

Basing a definition of a named model based on advertising is not well founded.

I have never seen anyone on this forum reference "Smith & Wesson Handguns" by Roy C. McHenry and Walter F. Roper. Both gentlemen were S&W employees during the period when these models were current production. They gathered the information for their book during their employment prior to WWII. Mr. McHenry was, at least un-officially, S&W Historian during this time, much as Roy Jinks has been for years. They make reference in their book to the .32-20 Hand Ejector as the "Winchester Model", not .32-20 M&P! Unfortunately I have not seen Roy take a stand on this issue. And, yes, Walter F. Roper is THAT Walter F. Roper.

I don't know about any of you, but I would take the word of the S&W Company Historian long before that of an advertising copy-writer who is trying to get the most possible information in the least possible space, and takes the liberty of adding "Also available in....." to a model picture that fairly represents several very specific models that are cosmetically identical instead of writing the full blurb with photo for each separate item. An 8 page pamphlet would turn into a 20+ page book in no time at all if that was done.

**There are two exceptions, maybe. These are the .22 Military & Police (Post Office Model) and .32 Military & Police models. Both extremely rare models. I Would ask, however, did S&W refer to these two models as .22 & .32 M&P, or is that just a collectors term for them? I would expect the designation as the "Post Office Model" really answers it for this one! What did the factory refer to the .32 version as in internal documents?
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:16 AM
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I'd make that about 1919, based on the serial number. Which is a semi-risky game to play, because S&W did not ship in rigorous serial number order.)
David,

Could it be a couple of years earlier or at the end of 1919 since it has a logo on the frame?
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:06 AM
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David,

Could it be a couple of years earlier or at the end of 1919 since it has a logo on the frame?
Yes, good catch. And to introduce another variable, the frame could have been made up and stored, then pulled, numbered and assembled during a period when most frames were being produced without logos.

But I kind of favor late 1919. You can't get into 1920 (or at least not very far) because the stocks still have medallions in them.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:15 AM
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I don't know when this gun shipped, but I believe it was built before the wartime production. You simply don't see the high polish and deep black on the guns that we KNOW are postwar production.

For some reason, S&W seems to have been very slow getting back into production after WW I. Control of the factory was returned to them in Jan, 1919, but I have not seen a gun that letters to 1919. I'm sure there are some, but I haven't had one. If you have one, please tell us about it.

I'm also not convinced Gold medallions were ever reordered by the factory after the wartime production. I'm also not convinced that many, IF any, gold medallion grips were produced after the War. Perhaps the last of them were used up, but I've seen non medallion grips on what I believe are some of the earliest post-war guns.
Again, does anyone have a 1919 or 1920 gun with the duller post-war finish that positively has ORIGINAL, undoubtable, gold medallions? I haven't seen one. Again I'll stress that a high polish gun shipped after the war MAY be a vault gun built before the war.

32/20 Hand Ejector
32/20 Military & Police
The factory used both terms.

McHenry
Roy has always said he was a wealthy attorney that had a vast collection of S&W's. I've never heard anything about him being an S&W employee.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:02 PM
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I have read through a lot of the old S&W publications and the Military and Police term has been used for both the .38 caliber and 32. caliber guns. Attached is a scan of a paragaph from page 143 of Roper's book, Experiments of a Handgunner and hopefully images of 2 .32 WCF HE's from my collection.

The 4" nickel is 91555 and the 6" blue is 108534. Both have non medallion checked stocks. The 4" stocks are numbered to the gun but I see no markings on the 6" gun stocks.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:03 AM
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McHenry
Roy has always said he was a wealthy attorney that had a vast collection of S&W's. I've never heard anything about him being an S&W employee.
Lee,

A little explanation of my earlier comment. You are, apparently, correct. The only Roy C. McHenry I can find reference to was, in fact, an attorney practicing in the state of New York from the 1920s on. I hadn't been able to locate my copy of McHenry & Roper for quite a while and was going on my recollection of comments from the book as I had understood them when I was about 15-16 (a looong time ago) when I first obtained this copy. It may have even been on the flaps of the dust cover that is many years missing.

I finally found the book and skimmed through it. The only direct comment I have yet found is from the "Foreword", where it mentions the information being gathered by Walter Roper as "....collected by him while employed by Smith & Wesson."

I still stand behind all other remarks however. I don't question that advertising lumps models together, what I refer to is what was the official, internal, designation for the models, not what an ad-man wrote or what has become common "Collector terminology or nomenclature".

Never have I been able to find any reference in either McHenry and Roper or Supica and Nahas where the .32-20 Hand Ejector was referred to as a "Military and Police". This is always referred to as the .32-20 Hand Ejector, .32 Winchester, or Model .32-20 (.32/20) Hand Ejector "Winchester Model". Never .32-20 Military & Police.

I see this as exactly parallel to other advertising which I referred to in the post above. Just because a S&W ad for the .38-44 Heavy Duty stated "Also available in .44 Special and .45 ACP", I seriously doubt anyone would argue that a 1917 and .44 Military are, correctly, a Model 38-44 H.D., just a different caliber. What is the difference when the M&P appelation is the subject?
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:12 AM
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Never have I been able to find any reference in either McHenry and Roper or Supica and Nahas where the .32-20 Hand Ejector was referred to as a "Military and Police". This is always referred to as the .32-20 Hand Ejector, .32 Winchester, or Model .32-20 (.32/20) Hand Ejector "Winchester Model". Never .32-20 Military & Police.
see the page from Roper's book above.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:36 PM
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Man, you folks are a wealth of knowledge!

Thanks again for the help identifying it correctly and the history lesson that accompanied.

Jeremy
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:56 PM
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Hello again all. I was happy to find this post and all the detailed input you all provided still existed.

It's been almost 11 years since I posted this and I've still never fired it nor done anything with it besides move it from Texas, to Virginia, to Florida, and now to Maryland. So I think it's time to try and move it on to a good home someplace else.

I'd like to post over in the for sale section, but don't know what a good price would be. Given it's pretty rough condition, would anyone be willing to throw a fair value on it as a starting point?

As always, thank you all for the knowledge and wisdom.

Jeremy
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:22 PM
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A good way to initially value a gun is to go to Gunbroker, click on advanced search, choose completed items,and look up ..32-20 Smith .
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:17 PM
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So you can basically just call it a Smith&Wesson M&P 32-20. You could look on gunbroker under advanced search then type the S&W M&P 32-20 in completed items and will give you all the recent prices but be sure to check they were actually sold. Yours is a descent shooter grade with possibly original grips. You could set a reserve at $250 or $300 and you may get lucky but the $250 to $300 is all it is worth if you ask me. I bought a similar model to yours in 32-20 for $300 and it is in better shape. Try $300 if no bights then you can try $250. The picture is of my all original $300 gun. Good luck
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
I don't know when this gun shipped, but I believe it was built before the wartime production. You simply don't see the high polish and deep black on the guns that we KNOW are postwar production.

For some reason, S&W seems to have been very slow getting back into production after WW I. Control of the factory was returned to them in Jan, 1919, but I have not seen a gun that letters to 1919. I'm sure there are some, but I haven't had one. If you have one, please tell us about it.

I'm also not convinced Gold medallions were ever reordered by the factory after the wartime production. I'm also not convinced that many, IF any, gold medallion grips were produced after the War. Perhaps the last of them were used up, but I've seen non medallion grips on what I believe are some of the earliest post-war guns.
Again, does anyone have a 1919 or 1920 gun with the duller post-war finish that positively has ORIGINAL, undoubtable, gold medallions? I haven't seen one. Again I'll stress that a high polish gun shipped after the war MAY be a vault gun built before the war...
Lee,

Are you including all S&W hand ejectors in your above reference?*

Maybe, (or very likely?) my .38 "RP" was made prior to the government commandeering production for the war effort.

I'd say it has a high blue finish, yet it shipped April, 1919 according to Roy Jinks.

-Bill

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*Edit: Mea culpa. I now see your original post that I quote, Lee, is 9 years old!
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:07 PM
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The op gun is truly a (.32-20 Hand ejector model of 1905 4th change) but I think only us collectors and aficionados would truly boil it down to that. So most people looking for an old shooter and many of local gun stores would just call it a (m&p 32-20). Some would call it a pre model 10 if it was in 38 special and label it rare for the sale. Either m&p or hand ejector in 32-20 works for me as a quick reference.
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Old 09-03-2020, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by handejector View Post

For some reason, S&W seems to have been very slow getting back into production after WW I. Control of the factory was returned to them in Jan, 1919, but I have not seen a gun that letters to 1919. I'm sure there are some, but I haven't had one. If you have one, please tell us about it.

I'm also not convinced Gold medallions were ever reordered by the factory after the wartime production. I'm also not convinced that many, IF any, gold medallion grips were produced after the War. Perhaps the last of them were used up, but I've seen non medallion grips on what I believe are some of the earliest post-war guns.
Don't know if it was a vault relict, but....
Shipped May 1919




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Old 09-03-2020, 11:10 PM
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Don't know how this slipped out the door, but it was shipped March 1918 per Roy. As you can see, it has the duller "WWI" finish. Grips number to gun.



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Old 09-04-2020, 09:44 AM
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FWIW, I just checked my database for the .22/32 HFT's and I have 15 entries for guns shipped in 1919. These start in April and go through December. I only show one gun having shipped in 1918.

Remember this sampling does not reflect every gun that S&W shipped, only those that have come to my attention. I am positive that there are more.
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Old 09-04-2020, 10:10 AM
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I have never seen anyone on this forum reference "Smith & Wesson Handguns" by Roy C. McHenry and Walter F. Roper. Both gentlemen were S&W employees during the period when these models were current production. They gathered the information for their book during their employment prior to WWII. Mr. McHenry was, at least un-officially, S&W Historian during this time, much as Roy Jinks has been for years. They make reference in their book to the .32-20 Hand Ejector as the "Winchester Model", not .32-20 M&P! Unfortunately I have not seen Roy take a stand on this issue. And, yes, Walter F. Roper is THAT Walter F. Roper."
Hold on! Roy McHenry was NEVER an employee of Smith & Wesson. Roy McHenry was NEVER the un-Official historian for Smith & Wesson.Don't put Roy Jinks in the same sentence with McHenry, they couldn't be more different. Ever wonder why Roper left Smith & Wesson, only to leave his next employer soon after arriving? The reason reason you never hear anyone reference "Smith & Wesson Handguns" by Roy C. McHenry and Walter F. Roper", is simple. Read it, then read "History of Smith & Wesson", by Roy G. Jinks", or "Smith & Wesson 1857-1945" by Neal & Jinks". If you don't have either of these 2, I suggest you get a copy. Then you'll see why.
A book detailing all the errors in that book would be about twice its size. It would take up way too much of Roy's time explaining all the errors in that book.
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Old 09-04-2020, 04:59 PM
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Thanks daddio. Yours looks to be in much better condition, but I think it's a good starting point to give it a whirl.

Jeremy
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill-in-texas View Post

I'd say it has a high blue finish, yet it shipped April, 1919 according to Roy Jinks.

-Bill

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That is the Post-War finish.
If you place it beside a high condition gun from before the War or a 1930s gun, the difference will be apparent.
The Post-War guns are not ugly, they just did not polish them with the last grit or two of compound that they used before the War.


By about 1930, they were back to the very high polish. When wartime production was begun for WW II, they again dropped a grit or two.
People here often say that the "Pre-Victory" BSRs and 38 M&Ps had the "commercial blue finish". They did NOT. They were blue, but once the BSRs became the dominant product, at least one grit was dropped from polishing and they certainly do not match the "commercial blue" of the preceding 10 years! Again, it is easy to see by simply putting a 600,000 gun beside a 'wartime' gun, like these-


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