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View Poll Results: Anyone have first hand knowledge of K-32 Reg. target models?
I believe I have alimited edition 34 oz. model, is this rare? 0 0%
Trying to verify information in 36th edition of Gun Traders Guide? page 167 1 100.00%
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:34 AM
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Question K32 Regulation police target mystery, please help!

I've got myself a hand ejector, DA, 32 ctg Winchester, with pre-war rear sight and fixed front target sight, 6" barrel, weighing in at 34 ozs. From what I can tell, this gun is rare, produced 1938 to 1940 and one of 98! I inherited from a relative that is unknown exxcept that my father told me where to find it as he was dying
Perhaps you guys can help verify the facts. SN is 367XX

If picture aren't clear, I can try again.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:42 AM
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I'm not smart on the 32's or the early 1905's but base on the stocks (pre-1910) and the ejector rod knob, this is well prior to 1938. I don't have the SCSW handy but more like 1906-1909.

Targets are always relatively rare, someone will tell you how rare.

Ref:How do I find out ship year for my S and W 36xxx
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:10 AM
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Hey thanks, the post you referenced wasn't too helpful. I appreciate your assistance.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:11 AM
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The K32 Target gun that was made just prior to WWII was in .32 S&W Long caliber, not .32-20 (also known as ..32 WCF or just .32 Winchester). The gun shown is a M&P target in .32-20 caliber, made from 1899 until 1940, and is identical to the .38 M&P target except for caliber. Also the gun pictured was made in 1928 or earlier as indicated by the mushroom extractor knob.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:18 AM
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Great info., I still am at a loss to understand the serial code system itself. I found a chart online yesterday but the codes were not matching.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:22 PM
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The K frame .32-20s (aka .32 Winchester and .32WCF) were in their own separate serial number range. By the way, that's NOT a 'Regulation Police'. The RP was the much smaller I frame in .32 S&W. Your gun would be called a .32 Military & Police Model of 1905. And yes, as mentioned above, it was made sometime between circa 1906 and 1910. Target sights on any .32-20 are quite scarce. This one justifies buying a factory letter.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:36 PM
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Serial numbers on S&W revolvers are confusing because until recent years the same number could be found on different specimens from different product lines.

Collectors would call your revolver a .32-20 Military & Police Model of 1905/Second Change. Serial numbers of this configuration run from 33501 to 45200. One of these with the serial number slightly over 36000 was shipped in early 1908, so that's an approximate date for your gun as well. In all, about 145,000 units of all varieties of all models of the .32-20 K-frame revolver were made between 1899 and 1940. They were numbered in a serial number range of their own. Most of them were fixed-sight revolvers, but maybe five percent of them were configured as target models with adjustable sights.

The rare K-32 target models you inquired about were actually numbered in the .38 M&P serial number sequence for reasons that may have made sense to somebody at the factory at the time. I haven't recently looked at the serial numbers found on these uncommon revolvers, but I think the lowest was somewhere in the 663xxx range and the highest perhaps 10-12,000 greater.

Just to start a conversation about value, since that was one of the implied questions in your poll, I would think a .32-20 target revolver of that age and in that condition might bring $1000-1200 from a collector. Others here may put lower or higher values on it, so average whatever answers you get and you will probably be pretty close to a reliable number.

EDITED TO ADD: Ah, while I was typing slowly Chris got in with much of the same info.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cgt4570 View Post
The K frame .32-20s (aka .32 Winchester and .32WCF) were in their own separate serial number range. By the way, that's NOT a 'Regulation Police'. The RP was the much smaller I frame in .32 S&W. Your gun would be called a .32 Military & Police Model of 1905. And yes, as mentioned above, it was made sometime between circa 1906 and 1910. Target sights on any .32-20 are quite scarce. This one justifies buying a factory letter.
So how does one go about getting this factory letter?
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by tat719 View Post
So how does one go about getting this factory letter?
If you look near the top of the page you will find a tab marked down loads.
Click on that.

Are the stocks/grips numbered on it ?
Would be on the right hand panel in pencil.
I was thinking they look like 1920's ones but I'm not as advanced as a couple of the previous posters.

BTW like your ammo too.
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
Serial numbers on S&W revolvers are confusing because until recent years the same number could be found on different specimens from different product lines.

Collectors would call your revolver a .32-20 Military & Police Model of 1905/Second Change. Serial numbers of this configuration run from 33501 to 45200. One of these with the serial number slightly over 36000 was shipped in early 1908, so that's an approximate date for your gun as well. In all, about 145,000 units of all varieties of all models of the .32-20 K-frame revolver were made between 1899 and 1940. They were numbered in a serial number range of their own. Most of them were fixed-sight revolvers, but maybe five percent of them were configured as target models with adjustable sights.

The rare K-32 target models you inquired about were actually numbered in the .38 M&P serial number sequence for reasons that may have made sense to somebody at the factory at the time. I haven't recently looked at the serial numbers found on these uncommon revolvers, but I think the lowest was somewhere in the 663xxx range and the highest perhaps 10-12,000 greater.

Just to start a conversation about value, since that was one of the implied questions in your poll, I would think a .32-20 target revolver of that age and in that condition might bring $1000-1200 from a collector. Others here may put lower or higher values on it, so average whatever answers you get and you will probably be pretty close to a reliable number.

EDITED TO ADD: Ah, while I was typing slowly Chris got in with much of the same info.
Ok, that's great info., however, what do you make of the fact of the weight of the gun as comapred to others similar or exactly like it? This one weighs 2 lbs, 2 ozs., the others are only 20 ozs.
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:02 PM
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As far as the weight goes, any all-steel K-frame revolver with a long barrel could not weigh less than two pounds. A 20-oz prewar gun would necessarily be a smaller I-frame model. S&W did make a model called the Regulation Police Target Revolver between 1917 and 1940, but it chambered the .32 Long cartridge rather than the more powerful .32-20. It was built on the smaller I frame, and even with a six inch barrel that gun had a shipping weight of only 20 ounces. I suspect you are comparing specs between these two different guns. The .32-20 Military and Police is a completely different model from the .32 Regulation Police.

If you search the forum archives for ".32 RP Target" or ".32 Regulation Police Target" you should find some threads with pictures of this smaller handgun.

Just FYI, the picture of the revolver at the top of this page above the "Smith & Wesson Forum" heading is one of the rare late-'30s K-32 First Model target revolvers that are so hard to come by. I just checked the 1941 catalog and that model is said to weigh 34 ounces, as any long barrel K-frame revolver should -- allowing a variation of an ounce or so for the extra or absent steel associated with different chamberings.
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:05 PM
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Tat, you are comparing apples to oranges. Your .32-20 K frame is larger than the .32 Reg. Police targets. What it weighs is typical of the K frame 6" barrel guns. The 4" barrel guns weigh 30 oz.

If the gun is being stored in the holster, don't. That might be why I see so much surface rust. You need to soak that for a day or two in auto trans fluid, Kroil or some other good penetrating oil, then take some brass or copper wool and go over the finish to remove the rust. Alternately, Blue Wonder Cleaner (available at a LGS or online) will remove the rust without affecting the remaining finish.

<David posted while I was ponderously typing.>
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:58 PM
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One more clue that this is NOT a Regulation Police is that the serial number is on the bottom of the grip frame, like almost all other S&Ws. However the Regulation Police had its serial number on the front strap of the grip frame, a feature shared with a few other models such as the .22/32 Heavy Frame Target. The RP would typically also have an extended grip that encloses the bottom of the grip frame, and a rebate in the back strap that the grip was fitted into.

You definitely have a prewar K frame .32-20 Target which is uncommon, but not rare.

And for what it's worth, weight is about the least common and least useful characteristic for identification among S&W revolvers. All else being equal though, a .32 will weigh more than a .38 just because of the smaller holes in the cylinder and barrel. One of the few times S&W worried about weight was when they created the Masterpiece series of target revolvers and tried to make .22, .32 and .38 guns weigh the same by varying the rib thickness on the top of the barrel to compensate. However that was not until the '50s.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weatherby View Post
. . .
I was thinking they look like 1920's ones but I'm not as advanced as a couple of the previous posters.
Model 1905 Military & Police revolvers made between 1905 and 1910 had what was called concave walnut service stocks. The square butt stocks of the early Model 1905s all had that style with a sunken top section, so what we are seeing looks correct. In 1910, the stocks were changed to add a large gold washed medallion at the top and in 1920, they changed to a convex rounded top service stocks.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weatherby View Post
I

If you look near the top of the page you will find a tab marked down loads.
Click on that.

Are the stocks/grips numbered on it ?
Would be on the right hand panel in pencil.
I was thinking they look like 1920's ones but I'm not as advanced as a couple of the previous posters.

BTW like your ammo too.
First time I've ever seen another box EXACTLY like my ammo.!

The pencil number is 6750, I think, very faint.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:52 PM
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Tat, you are comparing apples to oranges. Your .32-20 K frame is larger than the .32 Reg. Police targets. What it weighs is typical of the K frame 6" barrel guns. The 4" barrel guns weigh 30 oz.

If the gun is being stored in the holster, don't. That might be why I see so much surface rust. You need to soak that for a day or two in auto trans fluid, Kroil or some other good penetrating oil, then take some brass or copper wool and go over the finish to remove the rust. Alternately, Blue Wonder Cleaner (available at a LGS or online) will remove the rust without affecting the remaining finish.

<David posted while I was ponderously typing.>

Terrific advice, I'll definitely clean it up asap and leave it out of the holster, which by the way, needs some tlc. The stitching is coming apart. not sure if I should fix that or leave as a feature?

The "rust" you see over the S&W trademark seems eerily like a bloody fingerprint. I really want to get this into a condition of feeling safe to fire the handgun. I think the old rounds I have should be preserved, I have new 32-20 115 grain long rounds I purchased recently. Is this the correct ammo.? I've had so-called gun shop personnel say it is. I had one knucklead actually sell me 32 Auto ammo. that was supposedely suitable to fire in it! Will it work ok? Is it similar to a .22 short versus long cartridge application?
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:56 PM
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If it says ".32 S&W Long" on the box, it is the WRONG cartridge. You typically can't buy .32 WCF (.32-20) cartridges at a gun store. The ammo is obsolete but lingers on in cowboy loads. It can be purchased over the Internet.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Wiregrassguy View Post
If it says ".32 S&W Long" on the box, it is the WRONG cartridge. You typically can't buy .32 WCF (.32-20) cartridges at a gun store. The ammo is obsolete but lingers on in cowboy loads. It can be purchased over the Internet.

Thanks, I did buy the 32-20 WIN , 115 grain rounds onn the internet. The gun shop sold me the 32 AUTO ammo.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:55 PM
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Well anyway, I'll be checking out a "Blue Book" tomorrow that a colleague is bringing in to work for me to see. Perhaps it will help narrow down this mystery quest which you all have helped a great deal with.

He has a friend who works with a local auction house that evaluates, trades and sells vintage firearms. Before I meet with the likes of him, I'll surely want to know as much about this one as possible, and clean it up nicely also.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
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. . . The pencil number (on the inside of the right grip) is 6750, I think, very faint . . .
I'm guessing it is 36750 . . . likely the serial number of the gun . . . which would make them original . . . good show!

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Old 09-13-2017, 08:14 PM
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I'm guessing it is 36750 . . . likely the serial number of the gun . . . which would make them original . . . good show!

Russ
Right on target Russ.
I meant to go back and check after Gary's post and got busy.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:15 PM
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Just so it gets said, NO ! .32 Auto (ACP),.32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 Short Colt, or .32 Long Colt are NOT suitable, correct or safe for your .32-20. The only proper ammo will be marked .32 Winchester, .32 WCF, .32-20 Winchester, or simply .32-20. The .32 Winchester Special is a rifle cartridge, and will be quite obviously wrong.
BTW, we will expect a range report.

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Old 09-13-2017, 08:23 PM
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Your gun being 367XX and seeing 6750 on the grip panel makes me think they are original if your gun is #36750. The 100 year old pencil marks can be tough to read. Very nice gun BTW.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:44 PM
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As for the local gun store..don't go there again. Ever.
I have a similar 32-20, but its newer being in the 125000s range. Its commonly thought that all those guns were produced in the 1920s, but shipped as they had orders. Yours clearly was much earlier. And I tend to agree the value is in the $1000-1500 range. Probably the lower end since it does have a big rust spot on the sideplate. But the target models are beyond scarce. I don't agree with Davids guess as to 5% of the total production. I'm thinking even less. The fixed sight models sell for significantly less.

There are products you can use to try to clean up the finish. Nothing harsh. Just to remove the obvious rust. Mostly oil based with a soft cotton cloth. You can even try the poor mans trick. Pull out the dipstick on your automatic transmission and use a few drops you harvest to gently rub the bad spots. ATF is an amazing product and will probably work for you.

Open they cylinder and look down the barrel, yes from the business end. Hopefully you'll see bright rifling twisting its way along. One problem with guns that vintage was there was corrosive priming or even black powder loads available then. Both are nasty. If you see corrosion, pitting, or even fuzz growing there, you'll need a bore brush to try to clean it up. Often those guns can be cleaned and made to work. Some with good accuracy.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:05 AM
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Glad you are buying new ammo. The .32-20/.32WCF was made in two loadings. The jacketed bullet was frequently a hotter load, intended for rifles. The lead bullet was a revolver round, but also for use in rifles.

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Old 09-14-2017, 08:58 AM
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Tat, The story of how you got the revolver is interesting. May I make up a scenario to go with it. Someone "needed" killing. Someone in your family had to do the killing. The gun was hidden so that a weapon could not be found.They could not bring themselves to destroy the gun. Bloody fingerprint and all. All of the people involved are now dead. You might say they got away with it. Your Dad knew all of the details. He may have shared that with you on his death bed. It could have been his father or brother. He wouldn't have done this for anyone else.
Either way it is over. No longer matters.Your Dad preserved this gun all this time. Don't get rid of it. He couldn't. Keep it. Record what you know.
Or there was a suicide. A more likely matter.

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Old 09-14-2017, 09:22 AM
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There is some good information on this site, but also some bad info, like post#25. Back when .32-20 ammo was more readily available, I bought it in gunshops. The high velocity loadings were discontinued even back when I was a kid, 60 years ago, but there was some still around on store shelves. All the HV ammo that I have seen has a full jacket hollow point bullet that weighs 80 gr., while the Remington standard ammo had a jacketed flat point bullet of 100 gr. and the W-W had lead flat point bullets of 100 gr. I have fired (before I knew any better) some of the HV ammo in a very late model S&W M&P with no ill effects, but don't recommend doing it, especially in an early gun. All modern ammo will be marked as rifle ammo, but is standard pressure and velocity.
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Last edited by Skeetr57; 09-16-2017 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 09-16-2017, 04:29 PM
tat719 tat719 is offline
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K32 Regulation police target mystery, please help! K32 Regulation police target mystery, please help! K32 Regulation police target mystery, please help! K32 Regulation police target mystery, please help! K32 Regulation police target mystery, please help!  
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Hatboro, PA
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Default scenario of interest

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Originally Posted by jhnttrpp View Post
Tat, The story of how you got the revolver is interesting. May I make up a scenario to go with it. Someone "needed" killing. Someone in your family had to do the killing. The gun was hidden so that a weapon could not be found.They could not bring themselves to destroy the gun. Bloody fingerprint and all. All of the people involved are now dead. You might say they got away with it. Your Dad knew all of the details. He may have shared that with you on his death bed. It could have been his father or brother. He wouldn't have done this for anyone else.
Either way it is over. No longer matters.Your Dad preserved this gun all this time. Don't get rid of it. He couldn't. Keep it. Record what you know.
Or there was a suicide. A more likely matter.
Yes, I've always been suspicious of this gun for those exact reasons. Points well taken, thanks. My geneology is rather well documented but has several missing links. I have received some resistance when I inquired about some lesser known figures who coincidentally may have been owner's of or had access to the gun.
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