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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 05-25-2012, 01:28 PM
RebelDrummer RebelDrummer is offline
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So i have recently been given a S&W revolver. After looking it over, I found the star. Not sure what that was all about, I went to the all mighty GOOGLE and found out its a Brazilian Contract.

Nice I thought. What a cool and interesting piece.
So then I started looking into in a little deeper.
Wanting to know as much about it as possible.
One thing I noticed is that I all of the ones that i saw were considered imported. So I looked mine over and could not find anything. Took it into a local shop and had them carefully take it apart and look and to their surprise they could not either??
Now, we might all be missing something here, thus why I came to you guys with this.

In your experiences, where are the import marks and what are the variations? I will gladly post pics of anything I need to if that helps. It will be tonight until I can.

About the gun: It has some scratches under the barrel, near the cylinder release, and a few others here and there. It was dirty, I mean....DIRTY. Looked like dust and dirt had settled on it for 5 years! A little but of surface rust in spots as well. I took a cloth and some Hopps and went to town wiping it down nice and carefully. Surprisingly between the Hopps gun cleaner and some oil all of the surface rust wiped right off. However it did expose some minor pitting in a few places. Obviously this gun has had a rough life. It also soaked up the light coat of oil like it was bone dry! The trigger is amazing and everything functions properly. I have not taken it to the range yet however.

i am hoping that you guys can help me. I would really appreciate it.
Thanks
RD
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:45 PM
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If it was imported prior to 1968, the year of the gun control act, then it won't have import stamps. It's also always possible that it was hand-carried by someone, either through Mexico or Canada years ago. It's also possible that it just missed getting stamped upon more recent importation.
The importers who actually care about collectibility will try to stamp it as small as possible, in a spot that is hidden when the cylinder is closed. Others use machines to stamp them as big as billboards.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:56 PM
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Most of the ones I have seen were stamped on the bottom of the barrel in small letters over the SN.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgt4570 View Post
If it was imported prior to 1968, the year of the gun control act, then it won't have import stamps. It's also always possible that it was hand-carried by someone, either through Mexico or Canada years ago. It's also possible that it just missed getting stamped upon more recent importation.
The importers who actually care about collectibility will try to stamp it as small as possible, in a spot that is hidden when the cylinder is closed. Others use machines to stamp them as big as billboards.
a response from a fellow TENNESSEE'N....perfect!
thank you for the info.
Why would the Gun Bible list "non imported" values if the information on imports is all over the place and not factual?
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:28 PM
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If the star is by the serial number on the gun butt, it went back to S&W for a re-blue or repair of some kind and it will have a date stamped on the grip frame under the left grip. Example: 03.51 for March 1951

Or are your talking about the Large star in the Brazilian seal on the sideplate?
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:02 PM
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I have a second batch Brazilian which was shipped in 1938. It does not have the "1937" stamp. I have not been able to find any import mork on it, either. Thecylinder SN does not match the grame and barrel but it times and locks up fine. It has the mid 1930's medallion service grips. It has had a hard life but is a real kick to shoot. Fine bore and action.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:05 PM
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Sometimes the importer's mark is discretely hidden under the stocks. Or the guy making the marks lost his place and let a few slide by. Importer marks are pretty cryptic. For example "NA Rdgfld NJ" is shorthand for "Navy Arms Ridgefield, New Jersey". "CAI" indicates Century Arms, International. There are others.

They often show signs of abuse / neglect. It sounds like yours may be better than average, believe it or not! I removed the stocks on one once and was shocked to see CRATERS, not pits. So as I said, yours sounds positively "cherry" by comparison! Here's hoping it shoots great too.

I think by "I found the star" the OP means that he "found" the very prominent Brazilian Crest. I do not think he means a little star denoting rework.
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:36 AM
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I have a second batch Brazilian which was shipped in 1938. It does not have the "1937" stamp. I have not been able to find any import mork on it, either. The cylinder SN does not match the frame and barrel but it times and locks up fine. It has the mid 1930's medallion service grips. It has had a hard life but is a real kick to shoot. Fine bore and action.
The 1st batch shipped in '38 starting w/# 169740 but most in 181983 to 207043, flattened topstrap over cylinder.
The 2nd batch was in '46, #s 207196 to 207989, rounded topstrap.
Does the number on the backside of the right grip match the frame #?
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
The 1st batch shipped in '38 starting w/# 169740 but most in 181983 to 207043, flattened topstrap over cylinder.
The 2nd batch was in '46, #s 207196 to 207989, rounded topstrap.
Does the number on the backside of the right grip match the frame #?
Hondo44, Thanks for your comment. My Brazilian is a bit of a mongrel. The frame and barrel are SN 20621x and has the flatten topstrap. The cylinder is 185010 and the grips are 199455. I suppose the unit armorers took a bunch pf the 1917s apart, soaked everything in buckets and then randomly reassembled parts as they were pulled from the bucket. Roy gave me a ship date of Sept '38. I thought that was the second order, the first being in 1937 and so mareked with the "1937" on the right side??
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:22 PM
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No, the contract was agreed to in 1937, but most of the guns were not shipped until the following year. The second Brazilian contract (about 15,000 guns) occurred just after WWII.

To make things a little more complicated, the postwar Brazilian contract involved several thousand frames that had been manufactured before 1926 but never assembled. I have a second contract Brazilian with frame number 173159 but a yoke numbered 137997 which would probably have been an original US Army 1917. It has the Brazilian star and 1937 date on the side, but my gun was shipped in May 1946.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:17 PM
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sorry that I did not get pics yet guys...i was swamped this weekend. i will however make it a point to tonight.
and yes, by the star, i mean the crest. I have yet to find a star anywhere else.
please stay tuned for pics as i hope they will help me out.
thanks for all the replies thus far.
RD
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:15 PM
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UPDATE...
import label found...oh well on that! ha ha ha..
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:46 PM
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This thread makes me cry because it is so unfair.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:56 AM
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well here are some pics.
not that great i know, i cannot get my card reader to work so i had to take them with my 5mp camera phone.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:58 AM
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would anyone care to give me an idea of what this is worth, as is, on the current market?? i can tell you that all the numbers are matching. it functions 100%. also, the lanyard loop is missing. thanks
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:09 PM
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would anyone care to give me an idea of what this is worth, as is, on the current market?? i can tell you that all the numbers are matching. it functions 100%. also, the lanyard loop is missing. thanks
The grips are much later than the gun and if I'm interpreting the photo correctly it has no original or less than 5% blue finish left. This will vary geographical location, in the $350-400 range.
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
The grips are much later than the gun and if I'm interpreting the photo correctly it has no original or less than 5% blue finish left. This will vary geographical location, in the $350-400 range.
Yes the bluing is light, however the light from the camera did make it appear much lighter. i would put it closer to 35% or 40%. I did not think that the grips were original after doing some research and seeing much different ones.
I appreciate your comments on this.
thank you
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:58 PM
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For a cell phone, those are pretty good pics.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:44 PM
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you indicated at one point all the numbers are matching.... but earlier you said the cylinder number was not matching. This may or may not affect value depending on who is interested.... would think around $350-400 maybe

is the cylinder matching?
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:03 PM
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you indicated at one point all the numbers are matching.... but earlier you said the cylinder number was not matching. This may or may not affect value depending on who is interested.... would think around $350-400 maybe

is the cylinder matching?
I believe it was Forum member quinn who said his Brazilian had a mismatched cylinder.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:01 PM
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I believe it was Forum member quinn who said his Brazilian had a mismatched cylinder.
OOOppps.... you are right... geeting old.... (already there but hate to admit it )

Thanks for the correction
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:28 PM
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yes all matching....just as extra clarification.

thanks for the imput.
i will prob be putting this up for sale or trade soon.
have not decided yet.
thanks again
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:34 AM
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I think that you may be able to get $450 or so if you find the right buyer. If you take it to a gunshop, I would guess they will offer $250 or less.

This is based on the pictures (from what I see, the condition is actually above average for a Brazilian Contract M1917), and your statement that it functions 100% (or as I would say, excellent mechanical condition).

If it is a good shooter, I would be hesitant to let it go for $400, and even then I would think I really gave someone a good deal. But if you're in a position where you want or need a quick sale, that's up to you.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
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yes all matching....just as extra clarification.

thanks for the imput.
i will prob be putting this up for sale or trade soon.
have not decided yet.
thanks again
that was my bad... sorry about any confusion i might have added....

good luck with the revolver
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cgt4570 View Post
If it was imported prior to 1968, the year of the gun control act, then it won't have import stamps. [...]
Among many other things, the 1968 gun control act stopped importation of military surplus. Importation was allowed again in 1986 under Ronald Regan’s rein by what was sometimes called the gun owner’s protection act. It was that act or the BATF's enforcement of it that required the importers to stamp their name and address on guns.

Last edited by k22fan; 06-01-2012 at 07:40 PM. Reason: grammer
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:54 PM
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I ran across one of these this past weekend, and couldn't pass it up. The serial # is 206xxx. It does not have the original grips, but the serial # under the barrel (above the ejector rod), on the cylinder, under the extractor star, and on the square butt all match. They are all 206xxx. On the backstrap, it has the # 24155 as well.

Someone has installed a windage type sight on it and put it in the screw hole on the upper right side plate. Overall, the gun is probably 60% or maybe better, maybe worse. There are some rough spots and I will try to get some pics up ASAP.

My main question is, can I use modern 45 acp ammo (obviously no +P) or do I need to load lighter lead rounds for her? I am sure there are some folks that have had this question, but I searched in the forum and couldn't find it or I missed it.

It also has the import mark on the left side of the, well under the grip; NA RDGFLD N.J. I read that means Navy Arms Ridgefield N.J. Is this true?

Last edited by Candyman; 10-26-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:31 PM
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Not that it applies to this gun, but you must also remember that S&W didn't always ship all of the guns that they produced in any given run. Many times if they received an order for say 20,000 guns, they might either manufacturer or assemble from parts on hand say 21,000 guns or 20,500 guns. I believe that this was done to make sure that they had at "least" the amount ordered available to ship. In any run, there is the possibility of guns that don't work or don't shoot right, so you always run a few extra.

Any of those "extra" guns that were in good working condition would then be sold off through S&W's normal distribution network.

So, the point that I am making is that it is always possible to find guns that didn't ship to a certain destination and thereofre wouldn't have any import marks upon return. This holds true in the case of sideplates as well. It is possible to find a sideplate floating around and add it to a commercial 1917 to make it appear to be a Brazillian. I believe that this also happened with some guns that went to the middle east. It was possible years later to find a Saudi crested side plate and add it to a gun that never left the country. FWIW
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:35 PM
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"It also has the import mark on the left side of the, well under the grip; NA RDGFLD N.J. I read that means Navy Arms Ridgefield N.J. Is this true?"

Yup. Val Forgett import a bunch of 'em.

"Someone has installed a windage type sight on it and put it in the screw hole on the upper right side plate."

It probably has a Wondersight. If you wish to bring the revolver back to original, all you need to do replace the screw with a factory one.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
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[...] On the backstrap, it has the # 24155 as well. [...]
My main question is, can I use modern 45 acp ammo (obviously no +P) or do I need to load lighter lead rounds for her? [...]
Dave
Standard pressure .45 ACP and .45 Auto Rim loads are safe in WWI 1911s and 1917 revolvers. I've fired a ton of them in my 1917. (maybe literally)
I haven't seen numbers on the back straps of Brazilian 1917s, but that doesn't mean some Brazilian outfit didn't add them.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:09 PM
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Yep, unless it looks homemade, probably a Wondersight; very popular back in the day.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:07 PM
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Well it is definitely a Wondersight. I have never even seen that before now. I don't care much for it and if I had a screw I would take it out now. Anyone wanna send me an extra one? I spent two hours looking for that bugger. Probably on Numrich, only place I didn't look.

Having said all that here are a couple of pics. Not the best but at least I put some of them up. I will try to do better when I get a screw to replace that *&^% sight, and grips that are appropriate to the gun. Why do people do stuff like this guns ? (rhetorical - I know)

Last edited by Candyman; 10-26-2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:37 AM
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Dave, I would be interested in your Wondersight if you are going to get rid of it. Sorry, but I don't have a screw either. Have you tried Brownell's? John
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:00 AM
Frank46 Frank46 is offline
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I just took delivery of a brazilian 45acp revolver from a forum member (thanks Mike) and am very happy with it. Everything works and fit and function are fine. Mine is stamped 1937 under the brazilian crest and was imported by century arms when they were in St albans VT. Where could one locate the wonder sight as shown on the revolver in these posts?. Now I have to buy a bunch of moon clips any suggestions as to who's are better??. And who out there could furnish a set of grips larger than the oned currently on my revolver??. And where would I go looking for a period holster??. Thanks, Frank

Last edited by Frank46; 06-27-2012 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:30 AM
Candyman Candyman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamondtreo View Post
Dave, I would be interested in your Wondersight if you are going to get rid of it. Sorry, but I don't have a screw either. Have you tried Brownell's? John
I think I have located a screw and some grips for it. I dont want to remove the Wondersight until I have a screw to replace it. I am unsure as to what I am going to do with it atm, but thanks for the interest.

edit: here is a link where you can buy the Wondersight for $38 + $2 shipping. I did NOT call them so I am assuming it is still active.

http://www.hollowpointmold.com/wondersight/

Last edited by Candyman; 06-27-2012 at 09:32 AM. Reason: To post a link for the wondersight
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:14 AM
Cavaliere Cavaliere is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank46 View Post
I just took delivery of a brazilian 45acp revolver from a forum member (thanks Mike) and am very happy with it. Where would I go looking for a period holster??. Thanks, Frank
I'd recommend El Paso Saddlery, in El Paso, Texas.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:24 AM
Frank46 Frank46 is offline
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Candyman, thanks for the link. Will call tomorrow. Old eyes need better sights.
Cavaliere thanks for the tip regarding el paso saddlery.

That hollow point mold service company does some great work on bullet molds. Now I have to scrounge up a couple soft lead bullets to slug the barrel. Know where they are just gotta find them.

Thanks for the tips guys, Frank
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