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Old 05-16-2017, 09:43 AM
Dino44 Dino44 is offline
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Default S&W Model 1905 32-20 WCF

I picked this beauty up a few months ago from a local gunsmith. He was doing a trigger job on my S&W 325NG. I went to pay him and saw it sitting on the shelve under his glass counter top. I asked if it was for sale and he said yes, so I bought it. ($485 out the door) Any help with ship date and perhaps identification with the rear sight would be greatly appreciated. Serial number is 59339
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:53 AM
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That is called a Wonder Sight. It is attached by using a longer screw. I would date it to the 19 teens.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:42 AM
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That is a 32-20 Hand Ejector, 3rd Change that would have shipped around 1915. The finish looks too good to be true, so my guess is that it is likely refinished at some point in its life, but more detailed examination would be needed to be certain one way or the other. The good thing about the Wonder sight is that it is probably more accurate than the slot in the top of the frame, but I am not sure if the top sideplate screw hole is modified or if the sight just screws into the existing hole. If the later, it is easy to remove if desired.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:32 AM
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"The good thing about the Wonder sight is that it is probably more accurate than the slot in the top of the frame, but I am not sure if the top sideplate screw hole is modified or if the sight just screws into the existing hole. If the later, it is easy to remove if desired."

According to everything I have read, the Wonder Sight uses a screw with the same pitch as the standard S&W bug screw, only longer. Other revolvers, like Colts, require that a hole be drilled and tapped to use the Wonder Sight.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:50 PM
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Dino44, beautiful 32-20 M&P. I believe that finish could be original. The pins have not been polished flat and the hammer and trigger remain case hardened.Another tell is if the beveled edge of the mushroom shaped ejector rod tip is still in the white. If it has been blued than it is a refinish and a very good one. Check under the grips and see if there is a rework date like 10-52 which would be October,1952. I'm not sure when the high polish was changed to a brushed blue but my 32-20 M&P has a high polish and it was shipped in 1911. The caliber on mine is .32 Winchester. It was changed to 32 WCF around 1914. Very nice revolver at a very nice price. The seller might have thought it was the more common 38 M&P.Mine is a 5".
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:41 PM
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I am not saying it was refinished for certain, but with no visible edge wear, but an obvious turn line, and no raised metal around the serial number, it just looks "too" good. I hope it is original, but . . . ??
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:59 PM
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Dino44
As they say, "Ya done good, kid!" That's a very nice .32 Winchester Model from before WWI.

I show serial number 51988 shipping in August, 1912. Again, number 72535 shipped in October, 1917. With the .32 W.C.F. cartridge stamp, it seems likely yours is from c. 1914, when that changed from 32 Winchester CTG. However, there is anecdotal evidence that some barrels got the new stamp earlier than 1914. In any case, yours would date to that early period, 1913-1914, in my opinion. That style stocks came into use in 1911.

Comparing the nice blue with the condition of the stocks, this gun is either still in its original state or someone (maybe the factory) did an outstanding job of restoration. I tend to favor the former over the latter. No matter what, you bought a heck of a nice revolver for less than $500. Congrats!
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowe View Post
That is a 32-20 Hand Ejector, 3rd Change that would have shipped around 1915....
I have 60677, just a little later than 59339, which shipped in December 1913. It has, like yours, already got the 32 W.C.F CTG stamping rather than the 32 WINCHESTER CTG that was in use into 1914. There was a transitional period from late 1913 to mid-1914 where both caliber stampings shipped. The factory did not ship in strict serial sequence.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:10 PM
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Thank you, Absalom, for illustrating my point. You also now gave me a new data-point for my notes. Excellent!
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:33 PM
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Congrats, Thats a very nice looking 32-20. Wondersight is still in business, the owner manufacturers other items of interest including screw sets for other firearms. I bought one to install on my Brazilian Model of 1917, you simply remove and carefully set aside for posterity the top screw, install the Wondersight base which has a base that allows for elevation adjustment. A tip I received from the manufacturer was to put a piece of black electrical tape cut to the size of the base on the revolver side of the base in order to eliminate any possible scratching of the revolver. Once the base is aligned and in position the provided screw is tightened into the top screw hole. This screw is only loosened for adjustment in elevation. I think they are great and cause no problems associated with alteration of a firearm.

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Old 05-16-2017, 03:48 PM
Dino44 Dino44 is offline
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Thank you all, for the great information and education. I have only been shooting and collecting for the last six years, so my knowledge and experience is limited. I was thinking the gun may be original because I see no evidence of pitting under the blue and no sanding marks or buffing un-evenness. I do have a 38/44 outdoorsman that has a beautiful bluing job but the side plates are wavy, pins are flush with the frame, and screw heads are flattened. It is a great shooter though! I will check for dates under the grips and take some more up close photos for inspection.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
Thank you, Absalom, for illustrating my point. You also now gave me a new data-point for my notes. Excellent!
Always happy to be of service!

Hers's a picture and the letter if that is of interest. I got the last digit wrong.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:12 PM
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I guess since we are doing letters, here is mine.
Bill
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:58 AM
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Here are some more photos for examination of finish.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:01 PM
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That gun is amazing! It looks like it just walked out of the factory. Even the grips are perfect. And, you stole it, you criminal!!

I wonder what time capsule that has been in for over 100 years?
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Old 05-17-2017, 04:29 PM
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Do the grips number to the gun? I'm willing to bet they do.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:56 PM
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Beautiful...can't see how it could be much prettier and not be unfired, the cylinder line can happen without being fired. I remember back before I knew any better how an old-timer jumped in my "sierra" for functioning the action on his prized SAA.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:54 AM
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Do the grips number to the gun? I'm willing to bet they do.
Unfortunately, neither grip panel is number stamped.
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino44 View Post
neither grip panel is number stamped.
Well, they would not have been stamped at that time. The serial number would have been written with a pencil. It may be there but either be obliterated by age or be very faint. Try shining a bright light on it and looking at it at an oblique angle. It might still be visible.
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:44 PM
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Sometimes a blacklight or U.V. light will show the number better than a white light will.
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:31 PM
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Thank you gents for the advise. I will look again. One thing I thought was odd is, the 38/44 outdoorsman I mentioned above has a SER # 40319 with identical grips, just N frame size. The right grip is stamped in that same fancy script as the butt serial number.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:29 PM
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The .38/44 revolvers were not available until the 1930s. By that time, the practice was to impress the serial number into the wood. Pencil marks were no more.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:36 PM
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SER # 40319 is in the range of 1932 manufacture, and it probably shipped sometime in 1933. And grip SNs would have been stamped, not penciled, at that time.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:36 PM
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Well, they would not have been stamped at that time. The serial number would have been written with a pencil. It may be there but either be obliterated by age or be very faint. Try shining a bright light on it and looking at it at an oblique angle. It might still be visible.
Thank you, JP@AK ...You're the man! I did what you said and the serial number is clearly visible and it matches # 59339.

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Old 05-19-2017, 01:53 PM
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I would go on record saying I don't think that one has been re-finished. Just beautiful.
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