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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 09-02-2016, 05:13 PM
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Default Added a Terrier to My Accumulation

I recently acquired a S&W .38-32 Terrier, I-frame, serial #61057 to my group of Smith HE's. It appears to be post-war, but if anybody out there can get me a date, I'd appreciate it. This is my 2nd Terrier; my other one has the Improved I-frame, so I'd like to add a Pre-war model, a Model 32 and a Model 32-1 and make a small collection.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:37 PM
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Great little guns, those Terriers. Nicely done.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:40 PM
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I'd put it from sometime in mid 1951.
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by LaVistaBill View Post
... so I'd like to add a Pre-war model...
Bill:

Your Terrier is a beauty. I have a well-used one (not nearly as nice as yours) of that early post war vintage and it is one of my favorites. Congrats and thanks for sharing!

Your quest for a Prewar Terrier is well justified as the pre war Terriers and their bite sized boxes are way high on the cool meter...

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Old 09-02-2016, 08:18 PM
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Nice find Bill.

The highest numbered Transitional that is lettered in my database, # 585XX shipped May 1951.

If yours is a Transitional it will have a spring tension screw in the fore strap under the grip adaptor. If it does, it will be the new highest numbered Transitional Terrier.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:51 PM
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Thanks Richard and Jim! They had a beautiful pre-war Terrier on GunBtoker.com 2 weeks ago, it even had the hard rubber grips! Wish I could've bid on it...
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:59 PM
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That's one I looked for long and hard, but "settled" for a pre-War Terrier. I still would love to find a post-War example with leaf mainspring... the "real" I-frame. Call me crazy, but I just think they feel better through the trigger pull than what you get with the later, coil spring versions. Good find!

Froggie
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:27 PM
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Bill, here are my two. The top one is probably a little later than yours, as it has the Magna stocks.



I'm looking around for the serial number and approximate date right now, I'll post them when I can find them. I'm at the cabin, and don't have the guns with me. Let us know about whether yours has the leaf or coil mainspring. Both of mine are "improved" I frames, with the coil spring, but still have the smaller I frame. I'm like Froggie, I'd love to find a post war Terrier with the leaf spring.

Edit: Found some notes, top one is serial 66487, and Hondo44 estimated that it probably shipped around May or June of 1952. The other is later, serial 744XX (not being secretive, just don't have it with me right now) and probably shipped late 1954.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:43 PM
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I have a Terrier 63663 Shipped October 1951.

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Old 09-02-2016, 10:54 PM
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I'm envious--I'd love to have one of those little beauties.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Nice find Bill.

The highest numbered Transitional that is lettered in my database, # 585XX shipped May 1951.

If yours is a Transitional it will have a spring tension screw in the fore strap under the grip adaptor. If it does, it will be the new highest numbered Transitional Terrier.
Hondo44,

I know you have posted the answer to this question before, but I can't figure out how to search it out easily. Would you please tell us again the serial number range where the break occurs between pre-War and post-War? I know there was a fairly small window of SNs for the post-War with a lot of blending at the end, but I can't remember where the post-War series began. TIA, my friend. Also, am I correct in thinking that there was essentially no difference pre- and post-War except the addition of the improved hammer block the post-War run?

Froggie

Never mind... I found your reference to it in another thread. Looks like the "window" is just as small as I had feared.

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Old 09-03-2016, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
Also, am I correct in thinking that there was essentially no difference pre- and post-War except the addition of the improved hammer block the post-War run?
Froggie:

I know I'm not Jim, but I also note the following changes (mostly cosmetic) in my sample of two: 1) the finish changed to the low luster blue post war, 2) the TM roll mark "migrated" over to the left side, 3) the ".38 S&W CTG." barrel roll mark "migrated" to the right side of the barrel, 4) change in checkering pattern on stocks (rounded post war corners) 5) shape of the thumb piece, 6) less pronounced barrel "ring" flush with the frame, and 7) flush hammer stud and rebound spring stud on left side.

Pre-war 53558 (same gun as above)




Post-war 56004

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Old 09-03-2016, 07:13 PM
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Sorry to be late to the party.

Richard nailed it. Also the one line MADE IN U.S.A. will be changed to the four line address on the right side front frame.

Now, having said that, recognize that early Post war Transitional models have been found with every one of the pre war characteristics, including the flat silver medallions in the round top service stocks!

In these cases, the only distinguishing differences between a pre war and post war is the sliding bar safety. Even the one line MADE IN U.S.A. has been observed after the war!

I refer to Richard's Post-war #56004 as a "pure" Post War Transitional. The most confusing aspect of these is that these "pure" examples are found with lower numbers and earlier ship dates than examples with pre war characteristics which I refer to as Pre war/Post war Transitionals!

A note about the logo:

By the change order dated Dec. 1936, the small logos on the left side frame and some that were already on the side plate at this time were all changed to the larger logo and all placed on the side plate. This is true of I, K and N frames. Frames have both logos if stamped Dec 1936 and assembled early 1937.

But post war, I frames went back to small logos on left side due to difficulties roll stamping the large logo on the small I frame side plates without bending them at the new post war sliding bar safety groove milled on the inside of the side plates. The small left side logo on I and J frames continued at least into the 1980s.
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Old 09-03-2016, 08:30 PM
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"Found some notes, top one is serial 66487, and Hondo44 estimated that it probably shipped around May or June of 1952."

Closest on my list is 636xx which shipped in 10/51. 1952 is certainly likely.
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Old 09-03-2016, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
"Found some notes, top one is serial 66487, and Hondo44 estimated that it probably shipped around May or June of 1952."

Closest on my list is 636xx which shipped in 10/51. 1952 is certainly likely.
Thanks, DWalt. I sometimes think I'm going to letter some of my Smiths, but then I'll find another deal on a new (new to me, I usually don't buy "new" ones) gun, and I'm broke for a while!

Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-04-2016, 12:36 PM
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Default Terriers

Les B., Hondo, Green Frog and all...excellent responses, I love this forum! My two Terriers are both coil spring versions. The older of the two #61057 has the regular thumb latch and the newer #78327, the flat latch. Both have the 4-line address and the older one has a smooth trigger face, while the newer one has serrations. So maybe you can tell me what I have, since I'm not sure my previous assumptions are correct?
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:57 PM
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Hi Bill,

The newer top gun #78327 is an early "Model of 1953 Terrier" built on the NEW I frame (Larger trigger guard, 1/8" longer grip frame, and 4 screws). I know it has 4 screws rather than the slightly later 3 screws because it has a left over Improved I frame finely checkered hammer.

The # puts at Nov/Dec 1955.

The bottom gun is an Improved I frame from its serial # with coil mainspring as you say and is therefore a 5 screw; Sept/Oct 1951.
It's an early version Improved I frame with round sight, and not the standard latch, but the 'single pinch' style before it. There are four post war 'standard' latch styles.

The later 2nd version Improved I had ribbed barrels and ramped front sights exactly like your Model of 1953 above, and occasionally the flat latch as well.

In 1935 the Serrated trigger was introduced on the I frame only on the .22/32 Kit Gun & replaced the .22/32 Target smooth trigger.

The smooth trigger continued on non-target I frames until a long transition to grooved triggers began in the early 1950's which was completed by the introduction of the Models of 1953.

For the excruciating detail on the I frames, click on the yellow 3 above right.

Hope this is helpful,
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:08 AM
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Thanks for the info Hondo!
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:05 PM
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Default Another terrier

This gun was purchased by my father in 1953 (I think) at Leonard's department store in Fort Worth, Texas. This is a Terrier, .38 S&W, coiled mainspring 5 screw frame, round front sight, serial no. 69997 (why do we not post the entire serial number???) It came in a red box, price tag says $56.95. This was the first gun I ever fired, I was 8 years old (1959), and it will be the last one to go if Hillary takes them all away. It is still a really fun gun to shoot, and even a .38 S&W can kick a little if the gun is small enough. From all the great info I found on this forum, I've concluded that this is an improved I frame gun, and one of the last with round front sights. The serial number seems consistent with a 1953 shipping date which would fit with my recollection of when my Dad said he bought it. If I've got any of that wrong, please let me know.

Steve
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:24 PM
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Excellent gun! Looks like it was well kept.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:50 PM
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Welcome to the forum Steve.

It's a thing of sheer beauty, a screamer. The way many prefer to find them and with the package, box (with matching serial # on the outside bottom)and paper. And a family heirloom to boot!

Did you find the cleaning tools that came with it? That would be the icing on the cake. Check dad's cleaning kit if he has one.

The tools to look for; yours would have the paper work, an aluminum rod 4" long, brush, mop, and eyelet patch holder. It wouldn't have the SAT (sight adjustment tool), i.e., screwdriver because it doesn't have adjustable target sights:



You are correct about your Terrier identification. Likely shipped in April 1953.

Some post the entire serial # some have security issues and don't post the entire #, I don't understand the security issue. If it's a stolen gun I understand, but if not, I don't.
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:55 PM
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Unfortunately the tools and book are long gone, I don't remember ever seeing them even as a kid when I'd go to his hiding place (he never found out that I knew where it was), open the box, and admire the gun. There's no visible number on the box bottom, although it's pretty scratched up. There may be a faint remnant of some printing in one corner but if the number was ever there it's gone. Thanks for confirming the date. I edited my post to show the serial number.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:26 PM
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Steve:

Welcome to the forum. Even after your questions are answered, stick around!! This is the finest forum on the Internet.

Sorry for the thread drift Bill!!


Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:46 PM
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Man they are sexy little revolvers.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:57 PM
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Man they are sexy little revolvers.
Yeah, and like LaVistaBill said in post number one on this thread, there are enough variations to make a nice little collection. And once you get all of those, take a look at the little "Pre 30", or 32 Hand Ejector in the 2" bbl. They basically look just like a Terrier, but are a 6 shot .32 S&W Long caliber. You could start on those. I have one, a pre 30, improved I frame, but it has the ramp front sight. Now I need one with the half penny sight. Post war. And then...... But you see where this is headed. There is no end to the trail.

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Old 09-16-2016, 04:40 PM
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Default Terrier

Very nice Steve; thanks for sharing!
Bill


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Originally Posted by oldgray View Post
This gun was purchased by my father in 1953 (I think) at Leonard's department store in Fort Worth, Texas. This is a Terrier, .38 S&W, coiled mainspring 5 screw frame, round front sight, serial no. 69997 (why do we not post the entire serial number???) It came in a red box, price tag says $56.95. This was the first gun I ever fired, I was 8 years old (1959), and it will be the last one to go if Hillary takes them all away. It is still a really fun gun to shoot, and even a .38 S&W can kick a little if the gun is small enough. From all the great info I found on this forum, I've concluded that this is an improved I frame gun, and one of the last with round front sights. The serial number seems consistent with a 1953 shipping date which would fit with my recollection of when my Dad said he bought it. If I've got any of that wrong, please let me know.

Steve
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Old 09-16-2016, 04:43 PM
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Oh Les, don't get me started on anything else! I have a 4" Regulation Police 32, so hmmm...

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Yeah, and like LaVistaBill said in post number one on this thread, there are enough variations to make a nice little collection. And once you get all of those, take a look at the little "Pre 30", or 32 Hand Ejector in the 2" bbl. They basically look just like a Terrier, but are a 6 shot .32 S&W Long caliber. You could start on those. I have one, a pre 30, improved I frame, but it has the ramp front sight. Now I need one with the half penny sight. Post war. And then...... But you see where this is headed. There is no end to the trail.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:09 PM
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Bill:

Just to show you how addictive these I frames are, I took a break from my big N frame project that I've been working on for the last few weeks, (New to me Highway Patrolman...Next to the Last, Almost Final Update, Sept. 10th, 2016), and after posting on your thread above, about my little .32 hand ejector 2", I did a little action work I had been putting off. The trigger rebound slide had a burr on it that was causing the trigger to feel gritty returning to rest. So while I had this little fellow out, thought I'd snap a photo for you:



Other than the cylinder with the extra chamber, it could be the twin of the Terrier!!! This one is on the "improved I frame", but one could also look for an early leaf spring post war version, and a pre war version, and a later model 30 version, and a 30-1 version, and somewhere around there, they moved it to the J frame, and off the top of my head, I think it finally went to the 30-2 version, but I don't have my SCSW here at the cabin, so I'm not sure.

These would make a nice compliment to the Terrier collections that we seem to be heading towards!! I think that Hondo44 and Green Frog are also into these little guys.

Well, and then there are the Baby Chiefs, but I digress.....

Here it is with the hood up, before I scrubbed the insides, and lightly relubed, and polished the rebound slide:



Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-16-2016, 10:03 PM
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Bill, congrats on your new "Terrier" ! They are probably one of my favorites!

Here are a couple of pics of mine... improved I frame, coil mainspring, smooth trigger, logo on left side.

Serial number 60,833 shipped Oct. 9, 1951 to the Charles Greenblatt Co. in NYC.




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Old 09-16-2016, 10:12 PM
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Linda:

What a beautiful Terrier. Of course your world class photography doesn't hurt either!!! I love these little guys, problem is, I love their big brothers, and cousin Colt, and who knows what all. I really admire your photography skills.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-16-2016, 10:30 PM
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Les, thanks for the kind words!

You're right... these little guys are so nice... as are their big brothers, and cousins, etc. etc.. ! One is never enough!

I think this "Terrier" is one of the first S&W's I bought.
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Old 09-17-2016, 02:52 AM
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Other than the cylinder with the extra chamber, it could be the twin of the Terrier!!! This one is on the "improved I frame", but one could also look for an early leaf spring post war version, and a pre war version, and a later model 30 version, and a 30-1 version, and somewhere around there, they moved it to the J frame, and off the top of my head, I think it finally went to the 30-2 version, but I don't have my SCSW here at the cabin, so I'm not sure.

These would make a nice compliment to the Terrier collections that we seem to be heading towards!! I think that Hondo44 and Green Frog are also into these little guys.

Well, and then there are the Baby Chiefs, but I digress.....

Best Regards, Les
Hi Les,

"Hello, my name is Hondo44, and I'm an I framecoholic."

Thx for the great photos of your "screamer".

You actually have a "Model of 1953 New I frame .32 Hand Ejector" early 4 screw version, two models later than digi-shots' "Improved I frame - Early Model" below.

Yours does have the coil main spring of the two Improved I Models, but also has the ramp front sight and barrel rib of the Improved I - Late Model, and Model 1953 New I frame forging with larger trigger guard and 1/8" longer grip frame.

Here are examples of the pre war .32 Models and each of the post war evolutionary models with brief feature changes for quick reference:

LEFT SIDE:
.32 HE pre-war I frame Model 1903 (2nd Model)-5th Change, 3 ” produced Oct. 16, 1913,

.32 Regulation Police Transitional Post war I Frame, with leaf spring, Rd sight, 3 ”, 6 screw, ‘double pinch’ thumb piece, rebated sq butt, c. 1949, next;

.32 HE Pure post war ‘early’ Improved I Frame w/coil spring, Rd sight, 2”, 5 screw, ‘single pinch’ thumb piece, rd butt, c. late 1951, bottom. This version of the I frame has the same features as the early round sight Baby J/Chiefs.

RIGHT SIDE:
.32 HE ‘late’ Improved I w/ramp sight & barrel rib, rd butt,3”, 5 screw, 2nd style flat latch, shipped late 1952, top;

.32 R.P. Model of 1953 New I frame sq butt, (the true Pre Model 31), 3”, 4 screw, 2nd style flat latch, c. 1954, (became the Model 31) next;

.32 R.P. Target Transitional I, rebated sq butt, 4”, 6 screw, 4th (final type) thumb piece, one of 196 from 1957 only, next;

.32 R.P. J frame sq butt, Model 31-1 (ending with the Mod 31-3), 3”, 3 screw, 1980, bottom.

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Old 09-18-2016, 12:13 PM
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So how do you tell an I frame from a J frame?
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:29 PM
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Hello Linda, My ensemble is just not complete if I do not wear my pearls to the range to shoot my Terrier. It just seems so right. Best, Mike
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Old 09-18-2016, 05:47 PM
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Hello Linda, My ensemble is just not complete if I do not wear my pearls to the range to shoot my Terrier. It just seems so right. Best, Mike
Mike, I try to keep the pearls for evening wear! And, believe it or not, you can wear white after Labor Day.

I do need to find a set stags for everyday use.
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Old 09-18-2016, 06:26 PM
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So how do you tell an I frame from a J frame?
Colonel:

As you can see from Jim's post above, there are many subtle variations to be accounted for, but the main difference between the I and J frames is that in 1950, when S&W wanted to chamber the 38 special in a small frame snub nose, the I frame was just a little too short. So they had to lengthen the frame just a small amount in order for it to hold a slightly longer cylinder. This became the J frame. If you look at his photo above, you will see an example of a J frame on the lower right, and several examples of I frames. Notice the longer cylinder. Of course, this is just a quick comparison. There were many more evolutionary changes in both I and J frames.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:50 PM
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So how do you tell an I frame from a J frame?
All vintages of J frames have an 1/8" longer cyl window than I frames, and therefore the frame as well.

By 1961 I frames were eliminated. Before 1961 when the I and J frames coexisted, J frames are only chambered in 38 Special, and the cyl completely fills the cyl window. There are no I frames with cyls that fill the cyl window.

You cannot tell by trigger guard size or grip frame length:

Baby J frames and Pre model 1953 I frames have the same size.

Model of 1953 New I frames and New J frames again, both have the same size trigger guard and grip frame length.


Pre 1953 I frame:


Photo by SDH


Pre 1953 J frame:


Photo by bmcgilvray


Post 1953 I frame, left, post 1953 J frame, right:





Click on the yellow 3 above right for much more detail.
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Old 09-19-2016, 09:37 PM
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Picked up a pre-WWII Terrier myself at the beginning of the summer. Its pictured here along side my 2" 38 M&P Model of 1905, 4th Change. They just seem to go together. BIG difference though between the I frame and K frame.

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Old 09-19-2016, 10:55 PM
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Late to the party but here are two post war Terriers just for fun,
older one has the leaf spring


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Old 09-20-2016, 01:14 PM
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Wow, I think this is the best thread I ever started! Les, besides my .32 Regulation Police I-frame, I have this Model 31-1 with a 3" barrel. It's a J-frame if I'm not mistaken and I believe dates from the early 70's with a serial number of 804467.
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:50 PM
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Wow, I think this is the best thread I ever started! Les, besides my .32 Regulation Police I-frame, I have this Model 31-1 with a 3" barrel. It's a J-frame if I'm not mistaken and I believe dates from the early 70's with a serial number of 804467.
Bill:

We must have similar tastes... Here is my 31-1 (31 was the number assigned to the Regulation Police when they began the numbering system, if I remember correctly, the -1 change designated the switch to the J frame) with a 3" barrel, but it must be a later one, the serial is H58480:



I also have a pre war 32 Regulation Police, I'll see if I can find a picture....Edit: here it is...



If you enjoy these sorts of guns, check out my old thread at this link...and post some of these guns there if you like, I was looking for guns of the "Roaring Twenties"...Slick Shooters from the "Roaring Twenties"!! I think you'll like it.


Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:14 PM
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Wow, I think this is the best thread I ever started! Les, besides my .32 Regulation Police I-frame, I have this Model 31-1 with a 3" barrel. It's a J-frame if I'm not mistaken and I believe dates from the early 70's with a serial number of 804467.
The H prefix serial # series began in 1969, so yours is likely from 1969 but could have shipped in 1970.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:53 PM
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Jim:

This stuff makes my head spin. I've been up and down this page dozens of times, trying to drum into my head some of the basic I and early J frame lore that you and others are gracious enough to share with us. Just because I have a number of these little beauties doesn't mean that I fully understand the development and history behind them, and the evolutionary detail that I should know.

But I'm learning...slowly!

So just a little while ago, to clear my head and go from the theoretical to the practical... I took that little "Model of 1953 New I frame .32 Hand Ejector early 4 screw version" that I posted above, and went out to my backyard range and ran half a box of factory .32 S&W Long and half a box of my reloads through it. Now that I've smoothed out that sticky trigger return issue, it shoots like the wonderful little sweetheart that it is!!!

Thanks again for being patient with us (to borrow a metaphor from Froggie) tadpoles!!! I think I'll still be learning years from now.

And Bill, thanks for the great thread. I'm afraid that some of us have drifted it a bit here and there, but I feel like you'll probably forgive us!!

Best Regards, Les
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:35 PM
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My pleasure Les.

There's no doubt that the post WW II thru the 1950s I frames have the most complicated evolution of any Hand Ejector models.

Someday if you haven't already, and ever feel like being a real gluten for punishment, click on the yellow 3 above right for all the nitty-gritty details of the I frames from this period. Then have a nice stiff bourbon.
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Old 09-20-2016, 10:02 PM
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My pleasure Les.

There's no doubt that the post WW II thru the 1950s I frames have the most complicated evolution of any Hand Ejector models.

Someday if you haven't already, and ever feel like being a real gluten for punishment, click on the yellow 3 above right for all the nitty-gritty details of the I frames from this period. Then have a nice stiff bourbon.
Jim:

I just took a gander at that post. I'm going to have to wait til I have more time than I do tonight to even begin to delve into it. But I can see that you have really presented a through history of that particular evolution. I have the 3rd SCSW, and Jink's book, but in the first place one is big and heavy, and not really complete in this area, and in the second place I am much more likely to have my iPad with me when I'm trying to figure things out.

Thanks for pointing me to your commentary!!!

Best Regards, Les
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