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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 03-05-2016, 03:38 PM
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Default .38 Military & Police early postwar S prefix....

I have a soft spot in my heart for early M&P's. When I saw this one I knew it was fairly early, it has the long throw hammer, large ejector knob, hole drilled and plugged for a lanyard ring, lets not forget those great looking pre war K frame magnas,that number to the gun. Serial #S815348.

Could this be called a post war transition? Enjoy!










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Old 03-05-2016, 03:46 PM
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The term "transition" is somewhat unpopular, since undefined and imprecise, but what you have could probably lay claim to the term with the most justification, namely a Victory frame finished as a commercial M&P right after the war and likely shipped around March 1946. Nice one.
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:59 PM
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Oh man, those grips are killers. I like them also.
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:26 PM
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S815348 would indicate an early postwar M&P which likely shipped around April-June 1946. Yours does have the prized pre-war style Magna grips. There has been some discussion that those grips may have been manufactured for a short while just after WWII concluded, others think that they may have been left over from before WWII. I don't know which is correct - maybe both. Some like to use the term "transition" for those revolvers made within the first few years (until early 1948) after the end of WWII, but I believe that just calling them "Postwar" revolvers is a more apt description, as there is no precise definition of "transition." The big change which essentially ended what is considered the postwar production period occurred in early 1948 when the M&P action was changed from the prewar "long" style to the "short" (high speed hammer) style. That occurred at an approximate SN of slightly over S990000. Yours has the older long action. It is in no way a Victory, despite the plugged lanyard loop hole in the butt. Production of Victories ceased at war's end, but some leftover Victory (SV series) frames and parts remaining in factory inventory were finished as civilian revolvers and sold on the domestic market in the early months of 1946, before the S series started.

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Old 03-05-2016, 05:53 PM
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That is very nice indeed I bought one last month S/N s900xxx. Mine came with original box but I did not get the pre was K magnas..those are stunning! Great find.
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
........ It is in no way a Victory, despite the plugged lanyard loop hole in the butt. Production of Victories ceased at war's end, but some leftover Victory (SV series) frames and parts remaining in factory inventory were finished as civilian revolvers and sold on the domestic market in the early months of 1946, before the S series started.
We may be splitting hairs here, but if I understand you correctly you contend that, because it is an S and not SV prefix, this frame cannot be a Victory frame, but must have been produced early post-war, then drilled for a Victory-style lanyard loop, but then had that hole plugged? This seems a bit far-fetched, but I'm happy to be convinced otherwise if there is evidence of that happening. Anything is possible with S&W.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:05 PM
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gjamison
You have a very nice looking postwar .38 Military & Police revolver. Based on the serial number, I believe it very likely shipped in March, 1946. I show several in that serial range that shipped during that month. There are also some in the S815xxx range that shipped to the Cleveland PD in February of that year. Those have slightly higher serial numbers than your gun.

Your stocks are among the very highest serial numbers that I have found that have the prewar checkering with the machined steel washers and blue finish. In the serial range just above yours, we find stocks with the postwar checkering pattern that have the machined steel washers with a blued finish. Those peter out at about S820xxx. After that, they all seem to have the stamped steel washer.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:08 PM
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M&Ps in the S812xxx to S816xxx range will still have the swivel hole in the butt. And even later ones. Back in that period, S&W made lots of revolvers with swivels for police.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:25 PM
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Absalom
Here is the way I look at this, for whatever it is worth.

The late Victory Model (after December, 1944) and the early postwar .38 M&P clearly used the same frame and inner lock works. It is very difficult to know when the frames were actually forged, but that really doesn't matter for nomenclature purposes. After the last wartime gun shipped to the Navy on August 13, 1945, there were no more military Victory Model revolvers. Two days later, Japan's surrender was announced.

S&W then began tooling up to return to civilian production. Of course they used up revolvers and parts that were on hand and many of those had the SV prefix. I have no doubt that there were racks and racks of forged frames waiting to be used. There were also barrels and other parts left over. These were redirected to civilian demand, including the demand for revolvers from stateside police departments. SV prefix guns were used to fill those early orders. Eventually those were used up and subsequent assembly began using revolvers marked with a simple S prefix. I don't think of any of those guns as Victory Models. I tend to use that term only for revolvers that were sent to the military or the DSC.

A revolver that was sent to a PD or a civilian distributor would be considered a postwar Military & Police revolver, even though the gun itself is largely indistinguishable from a Victory Model. Those civilian shipments seem to have begun in February, 1946, although a much larger number began shipping the next month.

Anyway, that is how I compartmentalize these guns in my own mind, and I tend to think most collectors who concentrate on this period feel the same way. I don't think it matters that they were essentially the same gun.

Edited to add: I've located quite a few SV revolvers in the SV769xxx to SV774xxx range that shipped to the civilian market. They went out the door in March, 1946. Clearly, these were left over from military production but were never sent to the military.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
M&Ps in the S812xxx to S816xxx range will still have the swivel hole in the butt. And even later ones.
Yes. The highest S prefix gun I've found with a plugged lanyard swivel hole is S829071. But the heavy concentration of them stops around S819xxx. Coincidentally, that is about the same point at which the threaded hammer pivot stud disappears.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:35 PM
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George,

That's certainly a gorgeous specimen in both condition and features.

Without an SV serial prefix, it's clearly not a "Post war Commercial Victory Revolver" and "pre model 10" is certainly premature. And although "post war" is very generally accurate does it really embody the uniqueness of your gun? It certainly doesn't indicate the presence of all these features:

One line frame stamp instead of the four line address,
pre war/wartime barrel style extractor knob,
long action, flat sided hammer pre 4/7/48 & S990184 "short cocking action",
pre war Magna stocks with square cornered checkering border and flat silver medallions with machined retainer washers,
offset serial # and factory plugged lanyard swivel hole (pg 142, SCSW),
and of course sliding bar hammer block safety.

Therefore, and although "Transistional model" is not normally associated with M&P models, yours has all the "ear marks" listed on page 153, SCSW 3rd.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duct, it's a duck.

"Post SV Com'l/pre short action" accurately describes your M&P but is there a more succinctly descriptive term than "War-time transitional"?

Now there's no S&W police so we're all free to use whatever term we choose for our own guns without redress, but personally I choose that which most accurately describes what I have w/o pulling out my wallet to show a portfolio of photos.

Your M&P is one of a small and unique production niche and deserves a term instantly in recognition of that IMHO.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:40 PM
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I own one that I thought was close but upon checking it does not have the S. It is 802544 and according to Roy it shipped in July of 1941. It has a 6" barrel and a lanyard ring but did not ship to the military.

I also have S 937988 that shipped on 9/9/1948 (my birthday minus 2 years) and S 955509 that shipped in November of 1947. Again showing that serial numbers and dates mean nothing.
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:50 PM
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I also have S937988 that shipped on 9/9/1948
James - are you sure of that? I have that one recorded as shipping on September 9, 1947. That fits perfectly with numerous other revolvers in the same serial range. Would you check your letter and let me know? If my database is incorrect, I want to amend it.

Quote:
S955509 that shipped in November of 1947
Several other revolvers in the same serial range shipped in that month. So that date tracks with what appears to be the normal pattern of shipments, based on my accumulated data.
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:10 PM
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Interesting perspectives. And not necessarily contradictory, since it just defines terms based on preferred criteria.

I prefer to stick with the one physical characteristic that actually distinguished the Victory frame from the post-war M&P frame: the lanyard hole as a standard feature. (Features such as finish or stocks don't count here as they are external to the frame). Just like the lanyard hole serves to distinguish a pre-Victory from a pre-war commercial M&P, at least as I use the term, so it can best serve here as a handy waypoint to separate a transitional gun like the OP's, one with features of both Victory and civilian M&P, from the true commercial post-war M&P. Of course there is the possibility that this might be a post-war frame drilled for a police order and then plugged when someone changed their mind, as DWalt seems to suggest, but I've always been a fan of Occam's razor and favor the simple explanation in the absence of evidence to the contrary. That does not mean that I am calling this a Victory in any way, but it is a truly transitional model.
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:57 PM
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Absalom,

I agree it's a true transistional model.

But that's a little contradictory with Occam's razor and may not be a valid application of it, when applied as you suggest to S&Ws by just considering the frame. Because there is evidence in the form of features rather than assumptions. Plus just considering the frame creates an entire plethora of inconsistencies, because there would be no distinctions between many, many S&W models to wit:

M&P "change numbers" we use that did not require different frame machining,
2nd and 3rd model pre war 44 N Frames,
post war transistionals, pre models and numbered models,
Many dash number changes, just to name a few.
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Old 03-05-2016, 10:32 PM
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"Of course there is the possibility that this might be a post-war frame drilled for a police order and then plugged when someone changed their mind, as DWalt seems to suggest..."

I wasn't suggesting that, but it is possible. What I would suggest is that even though the frames are of early postwar manufacture, S&W continued to drill swivel holes in the butt of every frame as a standard practice for a brief period, possibly in the expectation of many large police orders at that time, and so that practice would have been logical and justifiable. If they received orders for civilian non-LE sale, they simply pinned plugs into the holes. I would say that it is very unlikely that any frames of the S-series were made before the end of the war. S&W typically serial numbered frames during frame manufacture for future assembly, and the S-series frames were then necessarily of postwar manufacture.

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Old 03-06-2016, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
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[B][I]...... What I would suggest is that even though the frames are of early postwar manufacture, S&W continued to drill swivel holes in the butt of every frame as a standard practice for a brief period, possibly in the expectation of many large police orders at that time, and so that practice would have been logical and justifiable. If they received orders for civilian non-LE sale, they simply pinned plugs into the holes. I would say that it is very unlikely that any frames of the S-series were made before the end of the war. S&W typically serial numbered frames during frame manufacture for future assembly, and the S-series frames were then necessarily of postwar manufacture.
This explanation of your thinking makes it clear that we're really just quibbling over what to call it. I never meant to suggest that I believed the OP's gun to be built on a frame "left over" from Victory production before August 1945. I simply suggested that S&W did what you describe in your last post: continue to build Victory frames for a while, which is the simplest term for a 1945/46 M&P frame with a standard lanyard hole.

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.....
But that's a little contradictory with Occam's razor and may not be a valid application of it, when applied as you suggest to S&Ws by just considering the frame. Because there is evidence in the form of features rather than assumptions. Plus just considering the frame creates an entire plethora of inconsistencies, because there would be no distinctions between many, many S&W models......
Hondo, while I appreciate your point, I believe in this case it is acceptable to focus solely on the frame, since the model is not in dispute and the entire discussion seems to be about people taking issue with how I label the frame of the OP's gun. Since this is just a matter of practical nomenclature, conclusions from other features you allude to as to the gun as a whole are not precluded or affected.
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:05 AM
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This is serial S 986841 shipped March 1948 per Roy not as nice as original posters. No lanyard hole.
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:11 AM
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Absalom,

Agreed. There's no argument on what it is whatever we call it, it's a none too common and unique early model. And anything postulated is as fair as anything else, at least till we learn more.
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:29 AM
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Thank you all for the education.

Not to add more fuel to the fire but don't we have 38/44 transition models? Why can't this be considered a .38 M&P Postwar transition model?

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:41 AM
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Someone help me here-

I thought "transitional" was specifically attached to the post war guns, N or K frame, which were produced with any of these three pre war characteristics, being long action, single line address, and lerk.

Is that false? That will be a hard habit to break. It always seemed like a very good and useful term. With that definition, this gun is easily that, meeting all three criteria.

To the OP- I am pretty sure I watched that one sell and almost bid on it. Good snag!! The grips are uber cool.

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Old 03-06-2016, 01:32 PM
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....
I thought "transitional" was specifically attached to the post war guns, N or K frame, which were produced with any of these three pre war characteristics, being long action, single line address, and lerk.

Is that false? That will be a hard habit to break. It always seemed like a very good and useful term......
When it comes to collector terminology, using words like "false" (or "correct") doesn't really capture the spirit of the discussion. It's all about the most useful application of the term.

Your definition is certainly used by quite a few people. Personally, while I have no interest in N frames and can't speak to those, for M&P's I find it a bit too broad to be very helpful; I prefer to limit the label "transitional" to "fish with legs" like the OP's gun that truly have features and parts from two consecutive iterations of a model.

One can have endless fun nit-picking terminology. Take the long action and single line address. People keep calling them "pre-war" features. Why? They're not. They are pre-1948 features. The war has nothing to do with them. If you call them the latter, much of the "transitional" rationale for the S-series goes away.

But as Hondo said above, there is no S&W police, and if the term works for you, it is certainly not false.

Last edited by Absalom; 03-06-2016 at 02:42 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:50 PM
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hmm.. nice one OP, and an interesting discussion, call/classify what make sense to you they are S numbered M&P's and I like 'em..

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Old 03-06-2016, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
James - are you sure of that? I have that one recorded as shipping on September 9, 1947. That fits perfectly with numerous other revolvers in the same serial range. Would you check your letter and let me know? If my database is incorrect, I want to amend it.
Jack, either fat fingers or bad eyes but good catch. You are correct, 9/9/1947
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:19 PM
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Thank you, James!
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:35 PM
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gjamison, beagleye and Absalom,

I agree, it's clearly a "transistional". Usually this refers to a post war model with pre war parts which aptly describes N and I frames because they had no regular production during the war.

As you point out Absalom, this doesn't really apply to K frame M&Ps (.38 Special or S&W cartridge) which were obviously produced all thru the war and mostly for the war.

That's why in my post #11 I referred to it this way:

"Post SV Com'l/pre short action" accurately describes your M&P but is there a more succinctly descriptive term than "War-time transitional"?

That's the kind of transistional model you have IMHO George. A "War-time transitional". It's a transistion from the wartime model, with war period features; not a transistion from a pre war model with pre war features.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
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Thank you all for the education.

Not to add more fuel to the fire but don't we have 38/44 transition models? Why can't this be considered a .38 M&P Postwar transition model?

Thanks again everyone!
Yes, we have transistionals for all models. They are pretty straight forward; how they were first configured post war, in their transistion from how they were configuered before the war.

The K frames transistioned from their military configuration during the war to their commercial configuration after the war.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:15 AM
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Perhaps we could call them post war transitional veterans children since many of their parents served in the war.....
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:23 AM
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As someone also mentioned, there are the .38/44's that can really confuse the new S&W collector. I own S 69847 (8/46) and S 67706 (8/46) an OD and a HD. These really confused the heck out of me when I was trying to understand the M&P's with numbers like S 955509 from 1947 and then 38/44's with numbers like S 69847 and S 67706 shipped a year later.

I have been doing this for 45 years and I still learn every day. Imagine what it must be like just starting out trying to understand S&W's with all of the little nuances with serial numbers and shipping dates.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:12 AM
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" Imagine what it must be like just starting out trying to understand S&W's will all of the little nuances with serial numbers and shipping dates."
That's why GCA-68 requires unique alphanumeric SNs for each gun, as for many years SNs were duplicated among different product lines from the same manufacturer, as well as among different manufacturers. One of the most puzzling S&W SN conundrums for me is why M&Ps in .32-20 were numbered in a separate series from those chambered in .38 Special. This leads to the ridiculous situation that there were actually two different M&Ps having identical SNs up until about SN 144000.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:11 PM
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Actually, until 1968, guns weren't required to have any serial numbers by law. Remington used the same serial numbers at least three times on their .41 O/U derringer over the years, and I understand that they did the same on other guns. Many cheaper guns like the Winchester M67 that was my first rifle had no SN at all.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:23 PM
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Recently got a 5 inch like that-1946-and man the trigger on it is velvet-great gun-enjoy!
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:52 PM
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I picked this up a few weeks ago (S 9053xx). It came to me with slightly newer PCs.

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Old 07-30-2016, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
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This is serial S 986841 shipped March 1948 per Roy not as nice as original posters. No lanyard hole.
Glad I read this thread and this post. I just purchased S/N S976xxx. Nice to know it is a 1948. I'll check for a plugged hole but doubt it has one.
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:54 PM
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I'll check for a plugged hole but doubt it has one.
Did you read post #10 in this thread?
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:57 PM
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Did you read post #10 in this thread?
Yep. That's why I said I doubt there is one. It would make the gun more interesting - yes?
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:07 PM
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Sure. But it is highly unlikely . . .
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Old 07-31-2016, 08:21 AM
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This gun has turned out to be my favorite purchase of 2016 so far. I normally wouldn't shoot a gun like this but I have taken it to the range several time this summer. Great old gun!!!!
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Old 07-31-2016, 11:50 AM
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Yep. That's why I said I doubt there is one. It would make the gun more interesting - yes?
S&W was shipping revolvers to agency customers with lanyard swivels at all times as a special request feature; I've seen specimen from as late as the 1970s. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if there are some true commercial S-prefix M&P's with swivels. But finding one of these then with the professionally plugged and nicely finished butt surface (like on the immediate post-war frames) would indeed be very unlikely; although, as with all things S&W ....
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
S&W was shipping revolvers to agency customers with lanyard swivels at all times as a special request feature; I've seen specimen from as late as the 1970s. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if there are some true commercial S-prefix M&P's with swivels. But finding one of these then with the professionally plugged and nicely finished butt surface (like on the immediate post-war frames) would indeed be very unlikely; although, as with all things S&W ....
The latest S&W revolvers that I've seen with lanyard rings were 6" Model 66s that went to the Rhode Island State Police in the 1970s.

Just to throw another wrench into the works, the C series guns started appearing circa 1948. I have C 64xxx that went to the Policia Nacional in Colombia South America in that year. So, the the SV & S didn't last very long.
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
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.....
Just to throw another wrench into the works, the C series guns started appearing circa 1948. I have C 64xxx that went to the Policia Nacional in Colombia South America in that year. So, the the SV & S didn't last very long.
The SV and then S prefix just continued the numerical V sequence up to 999,999; then the C prefix started in 1948 at about, but not exactly the time when the new short action was introduced; that actually began in the high S-numbers. That has led us having some (a bit esoteric, but fun) discussions over whether an S-prefix gun should be properly called a pre-Model 10 if it has the new action or whether that term should be limited to C-prefix guns. Then one could look at the elimination of the MADE IN USA stamp in favor of the four-line, which also occurred around then, but not exactly concurrent with any of the other changes.

As with many things S&W, neat cut-offs are not a thing here .
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