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Old 12-02-2015, 04:21 PM
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I have been photographing this 3rd model .22 Ladysmith today. While searching the forum I see that George (aka Model52guy) received a letter on his a few weeks ago. I guess I should order a letter on this one too.

.22 Ladysmith 3rd model with 6" barrel

S/N 22264

22 S&W CTG
SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A.
PAT'D AUG.4.96. OCT.8.01 NOV.10.03 FEB.6.06 SEPT.14.09
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:36 PM
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Dana,

You not only have a very nice 3rd Model with a scarce 6" barrel, but it's also a Target Model!

I seldom get letters on newer guns, but the older guns can have very interesting letters from the days when guns could be shipped to individuals.
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:47 PM
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Dana,

You not only have a very nice 3rd Model with a scarce 6" barrel, but it's also a Target Model!

I seldom get letters on newer guns, but the older guns can have very interesting letters from the days when guns could be shipped to individuals.
Thanks Hondo44.

I had read in my price guide that the 6" barrel was rare and added 50% to the value. Other than the 6" barrel can you tell me what makes this a Target Model?
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Old 12-02-2015, 05:10 PM
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Yes, the adjustable rear sight, not the 6" barrel. Targets are very rare. Found with more 6" barrel models but not exclusive to the 6" barrel guns. An 85% adder, but that's probably low. A 6" barrel with fixed sights is actually more rare with a 95% adder.

Here's a fixed sight 3rd model:

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Old 12-02-2015, 05:13 PM
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Yes, the adjustable rear sight, not the 6" barrel. Targets are very rare. Found with more 6" barrel models but not exclusive to the 6" barrel guns. An 85% adder, but that's probably low. A 6" barrel with fixed sights is actually more rare with a 95% adder.
Thanks for the info Jim. That is very helpful and much appreciated.
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Old 12-02-2015, 05:17 PM
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Target sights are added just like any other frame sizes of S&Ws. Standard fixed sights would have been half moon front sight and a slot for a rear sight, while yours has a pinned Paine style front sight and an adjustable rear sight. Target sights could have been added to any barrel length gun for around $4.00 in the teens.
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:05 PM
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Before you order a letter, because you are assuming the gun is an original target model, I would suggest that you make sure it is and left the factory as a target gun. You do that by removing the read sight & sight base and see if the gun's serial number is stamped on the bottom of the base. If so, it's left S&W in target configuration. If no serial number, then the target sights were added later and you may also find a date code on the left grip frame for the month & year that the alteration was done. Ed.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:21 PM
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Dana,
Nice looking lady smith. I took mine to the Tulsa gun show a month ago and did a little show and tell with the bigger S&W collector/dealers. Also showed it at the S&W forum booth. The biggest dealer there said he had seen very few 6" target models. Interesting yours has smooth grips and mine has checkered. Did you check for a SN on the right hand grip? Should be in pencil. Mine was hard to read with my old eyes. Took pictures of mine, then played with the brightness and contrast with microsoft picture editor. The serial number was fairly clear in the enhanced pictures.
Be careful if you remove the rear sight to check for a serial number, I ended up using a jewelers screwdriver as the screws are small.
My Ladysmith SN 236XX was shipped Feb 1914. yours 222XX probably before that. Definitely worth a letter after the first of the year.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by opoefc View Post
Before you order a letter, because you are assuming the gun is an original target model, I would suggest that you make sure it is and left the factory as a target gun. You do that by removing the read sight & sight base and see if the gun's serial number is stamped on the bottom of the base. If so, it's left S&W in target configuration. If no serial number, then the target sights were added later and you may also find a date code on the left grip frame for the month & year that the alteration was done. Ed.
Thanks for the suggestion opoefc.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:26 AM
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Dana,
Nice looking lady smith. I took mine to the Tulsa gun show a month ago and did a little show and tell with the bigger S&W collector/dealers. Also showed it at the S&W forum booth. The biggest dealer there said he had seen very few 6" target models. Interesting yours has smooth grips and mine has checkered. Did you check for a SN on the right hand grip? Should be in pencil. Mine was hard to read with my old eyes. Took pictures of mine, then played with the brightness and contrast with microsoft picture editor. The serial number was fairly clear in the enhanced pictures.
Be careful if you remove the rear sight to check for a serial number, I ended up using a jewelers screwdriver as the screws are small.
My Ladysmith SN 236XX was shipped Feb 1914. yours 222XX probably before that. Definitely worth a letter after the first of the year.
George
I looked Model52guy, but couldn't detected a penciled number on the grips. When / if I remove the rear sight, I'll post some photos here.
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Old 12-03-2015, 12:03 PM
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Unfortunately there seems to be no serial number under the rear sight.
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Old 12-04-2015, 02:57 PM
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I have a "small" selection of S&W Ladysmiths. Should I letter them all? What is the best way to choose what is worth lettering?
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Old 12-04-2015, 03:44 PM
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I bought my Second model in Rhode Island... not far from Springfield, Mass My SN was stamped on the hard rubber grip... same size as the butt stamping.




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Old 12-04-2015, 03:58 PM
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I bought my Second model in Rhode Island... not far from Springfield, Mass My SN was stamped on the hard rubber grip... same size as the butt stamping.
Wow! That sure looks nice.
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Old 12-04-2015, 08:01 PM
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Dana,
My 'rule of thumb' for getting a letter is:
Gun is probably worth more than $1500, is older than 50 years and the ship date cannot be certain of the year, by the guys on this site. The serious collectors keep data bases on a lot of the more popular models and can bracket the ship date pretty close. I think most of your Ladysmith collection should qualify for letters.
Did you look under the grips of the target model for a S&W repair date? Should be a month.2 digit year with a symbol, indicating the date it was returned for refit/repair. If the target sights were added by the factory, it should have a date on the frame.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:36 PM
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Dana,
Did you look under the grips of the target model for a S&W repair date? Should be a month.2 digit year with a symbol, indicating the date it was returned for refit/repair. If the target sights were added by the factory, it should have a date on the frame.
Regards,
George
Hi George, thanks for the advice on factory letters.

I see no markings on the frame underneath the grips. Using the scanner some pencil markings on inside of the right side's grip can be seen, but I can't decipher them. I'll attach an image.
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:25 PM
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Dana,
Yup, that's the serial number, now, just have to figure out how to read it. I did try a "black-light". The second one I tried "an automotive one for detecting leaks", I was able to see it better .
The best luck was using the digital photo and playing with the brightness and contrast using Microsoft office picture manager.
Going to gun shows over that last 40 years, I have never seen a Ladysmith collection like yours. You have quite the rare collection. Most people have never seen a Ladysmith much less a collection like yours
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Old 12-07-2015, 09:15 PM
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Hi George, thanks for the advice on factory letters.

I see no markings on the frame underneath the grips. Using the scanner some pencil markings on inside of the right side's grip can be seen, but I can't decipher them. I'll attach an image.
Most read the other way, so it's upside down. Turn it over/around and see if it 'looks' like the gun's serial #.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:14 PM
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Dana,
Yup, that's the serial number, now, just have to figure out how to read it. I did try a "black-light". The second one I tried "an automotive one for detecting leaks", I was able to see it better .
The best luck was using the digital photo and playing with the brightness and contrast using Microsoft office picture manager.
Going to gun shows over that last 40 years, I have never seen a Ladysmith collection like yours. You have quite the rare collection. Most people have never seen a Ladysmith much less a collection like yours
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try to find a black-light. I have access to VERY powerful software tools, but in this case the lack of contrast makes pulling the pencil information out of the background difficult. Give it a try.

I can't take any credit for the collection. These were part of my Dad's extensive collection. Here are a few shots from his museum in St. Augustine. They were taken in the early 70's.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:20 PM
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Most read the other way, so it's upside down. Turn it over/around and see if it 'looks' like the gun's serial #.
Here you go Jim. I've flipped the grip around 180 deg and played with the contrast.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:55 PM
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I believe it's oriented correctly now. Reading these scribbled #s can be a bit of an art form. I looked at a few of my ladysmith stock #s to refresh my "reading familiarity".

It's fairly easy to pick out repetitive digits like the 2s, but unfortunately I don't see them and am afraid the stock #s appear to be non-matching to your gun.
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:00 PM
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I believe it's oriented correctly now. Reading these scribbled #s can be a bit of an art form. I looked at a few of my ladysmith stock #s to refresh my "reading familiarity".

It's fairly easy to pick out repetitive digits like the 2s, but unfortunately I don't see them and am afraid the stock #s appear to be non-matching to your gun.
You could be right Jim. I am trying to find someone with a black-light to see if that helps make the writing more legible.
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:07 PM
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You can also sometimes pick up the numbers using a bright white light held at an angle to the stock surface. Obviously, never try to clean away the crud in an attempt to reveal the numbers. (Don't ask me how I know this)

That's one hell of a museum. Is it still there? If not, did you get all of those fine guns?
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:19 PM
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You can also sometimes pick up the numbers using a bright white light held at an angle to the stock surface. Obviously, never try to clean away the crud in an attempt to reveal the numbers. (Don't ask me how I know this)

That's one hell of a museum. Is it still there? If not, did you get all of those fine guns?
I have very good lighting options, but none of them helped. There is just too little contrast, and the pencil marks in this case don't reflect light.

The museum closed in the 80's. Most of the collection was sold over the years, but I still have some of the things Dad Loved the most. Most of these items predate the war of 1812, and many are are hundreds of years older than that. If Lee says it is ok, I'll post some links.
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:02 PM
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Wow, what a collection!!!
Looking at the grips. I could see the first digit maybe a two, but the second and third look to have a different angle. So, I would guess, probably not matching. It would still be very interesting if you are able to come up with something to be able to read the numbers. I think this is an ongoing issue for collectors. You would be a hero on this site if you get it figured out!
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:09 PM
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Wow, what a collection!!!
Looking at the grips. I could see the first digit maybe a two, but the second and third look to have a different angle. So, I would guess, probably not matching. It would still be very interesting if you are able to come up with something to be able to read the numbers. I think this is an ongoing issue for collectors. You would be a hero on this site if you get it figured out!
Thanks Model52guy. I have a few more interesting S&W to post and many common Lemon Squeezers.

The photos above were made on a flat bed scanner. I have a much higher resolution scanner that I haven't tried yet, but I also want to try the black-light as suggested by George (aka Model52guy)
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Old 12-11-2015, 03:59 PM
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I was lucky enough to find a really beautiful 6" target some years ago.....



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Old 01-07-2016, 04:19 PM
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I have a "small" selection of S&W Ladysmiths. Should I letter them all? What is the best way to choose what is worth lettering?
While trying to decide which one of these Ladysmiths I should request a factory letter on, I notice one has a S/N the number 977 followed by a Star.
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Last edited by weaponscollector; 01-07-2016 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:53 PM
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The star usually indicates that it was returned to the factory for some kind of service.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:30 PM
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The star usually indicates that it was returned to the factory for some kind of service.
Thanks DWalt. It looks like a first model Ladysmith. I've added photos to the post above so people can see the star. The barrel appears to be blued. Maybe it was factory replaced.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:29 PM
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I have received my factory letter for the .22 Ladysmith 3rd model with 6" barrel that opened this post. It seems the pistol did ship with the adjustable rear sights, and it shipped to Van Camp Hardware & Iron Company, in Indianapolis In, on March 24th of 1914.

Thanks Mr. Jinks.

Van Camp Hardware Photos from W.H. Bass Photo Company Collection, Indiana Historical Society.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:47 PM
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Your Ladysmith with the 977 SN shipped late 1902 or January 1903. I have one a few numbers higher that shipped Jan. 1903.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:19 PM
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Your Ladysmith with the 977 SN shipped late 1902 or January 1903. I have one a few numbers higher that shipped Jan. 1903.
I have a factory letter for that Ladysmith too.
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Old 01-30-2016, 07:38 AM
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Dana
It definitely was worth getting the letter on the target model. Nice to know it was shipped that way.
You have a very interesting collection, not that many survivors from 1902.
George
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:52 PM
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User H Richard notice a dark spot in one of my photos and asked me about it. He has a great eye, because I hadn't noticed, but there is a notch at the top of the force cone. It looks like it may have happened when the hole was drilled for mounting the adjustable rear sight, but my factory letter suggest the sights were installed at the factory.

That area, the cylinder and the barrel are so clean this Ladysmith couldn't have been used too much.
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