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Old 09-23-2017, 03:19 PM
22hipower 22hipower is offline
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Default Model 31 or mis-marked 30?

Found this four inch nickel at a gun show today; tag said Model 31 Regulation Police. Didn't think that could be right given the round butt and sn (695837) on the butt rather than the grip strap. However, clearly marked as a model 31 in the yoke area. Stocks numbered to gun. Just a mis-stamp by a tired S&W craftsman or ? Thanks.

Jeff
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Old 09-23-2017, 04:11 PM
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That's the first Model 31 I have observed with a round butt, but others on the forum have told me they exist. Miss-marked? Who knows? I'm sure some with more experience will be along with an opinion.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:02 PM
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Hondo44 is the man on these. I hope he'll be along soon to address the question.
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:30 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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IIRC, this variation was mentioned in the 3rd ed of SCSW although little or nothing else was said about it.

Froggie
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:41 PM
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Whichever is correct, it sure is a nice one! Great find.
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:50 PM
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It's odd. I've seen round-butt guns marked Model 31 but never a square-butt gun marked Model 30, though I think I have heard of those who say they have. Be interested to see if anything new surfaces here.
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:45 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Jeff,

That's a beauty and a good decision to acquire.

The grip frame stamping of the serial # ended with the Improved I frames by 1953 with the exception of the 196 Transitional 32 RP Target models in 1957.

It is as you say, most likely a mis-stamp. We should never rule out the possibility of a simple model # stamping mistake of 31 on a rd butt frame. We've seen no shortage of model # stamping mistakes in all frame sizes.

But this seeming mistake/anomaly is not unheard of in the Model of 1953 New I frames like yours. We've also seen others including 2" sq butt versions stamped Mod 30 and marked as such on the box. I have studied this curiosity.

Although the original distinction of the 32 Regulation Police models at introduction in 1917, was the sq butt stocks over round butt (rebated) grip frames, because they had the same barrel length options as the original 32 Hand Ejectors. Note the 38 S&W models originated with the sq butt RP model in 1917. The rd butt 38 wasn't introduced until 1935 only with 2" barrels and named the 38 Terrier.

With the introduction of the Models of 1953 we begin to see this apparent blending of models in both 32 and 38 S&W New I frames (pre models).
Even though there was a 2" 32 H.E. introduced after the war with round butt, it continued to be available with 3" and 4" barrels as was the 32 RP.
This was easier to do with 32s since the barrel was never marked Reg Police like the 38 model. Doesn't seem to matter however because in this period we also see rd butt 38s with 3" & longer barrels marked Reg Police on the barrel.

This culminated in 1976 when we see the demise of the Model 30 altogether. The model 31 RP continues until 1991 with all barrel length options and both rd and sq butt configurations.

Anomalies like the OP's 32 RP have not yet been identified as a spl order nor confirmed as such in any historical letters to my knowledge. But that doesn't mean they weren't! I would letter that gun. I'm sure the OP's gun is original as it left the factory and has not been modified aftermarket; not with matching stamped # stocks. And it's not been refinished. But I always check the left side of grip frame under the stocks for a rework date(s).

To me these unusual configurations are possibly worth a little to collectors of all 32 configurations, when in collector condition.



In short, I admit to having no definitive answer....yet.
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post

Anomalies like the OP's 32 RP have not yet been identified as a spl order nor confirmed as such in any historical letters to my knowledge. But that doesn't mean they weren't! I would letter that gun. I'm sure the OP's gun is original as it left the factory and has not been modified aftermarket; not with matching stamped # stocks. And it's not been refinished. But I always check the left side of grip frame under the stocks for a rework date(s).
There is no rework date on the left side of the grip frame; just an N I assume for nickel finish. I will letter the gun and update this post then. Thanks much for the info.

Jeff
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:10 PM
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300 words for "I don't know?"
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:19 PM
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Since the distinction between the Model 30 and Model 31 by definition is the Model 30 is round butt and the Model 31 is square butt! A simple mis-stamping doesn't change this although there may be more examples out there! Such mis-markings are not particularly rare with S&W.

There is always the possibility that this is originally a Model 31 that has had the grip frame re-shaped and then re-finished. Take the stocks off and post a photo, the difference in the interior contour of the grip frame would settle the question.
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:03 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDH View Post
300 words for "I don't know?"
How helpful would that be? Only easier for me to type.

Because now you know the full issue and the possibilities.

Those looking for black and white answers for Smith collecting questions are those that frustrate themselves the most.
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:05 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Quote:
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There is always the possibility that this is originally a Model 31 that has had the grip frame re-shaped and then re-finished. Take the stocks off and post a photo, the difference in the interior contour of the grip frame would settle the question.
The butt serial # would have been removed and restamped, a typical give-away. Plus the grip # matches the gun.

And unless someone did a lot of welding, the stocks wouldn't need to be pulled to tell if it was a sq butt modified to rd butt because there would be a huge hole in the bottom of the back strap.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
The butt serial # would have been removed and restamped, a typical give-away. Plus the grip # matches the gun.

And unless someone did a lot of welding, the stocks wouldn't need to be pulled to tell if it was a sq butt modified to rd butt because there would be a huge hole in the bottom of the back strap.
First, not necessarily. Second, that much doesn't have to be removed to round butt the frame! You obviously have not made that close a comparison and are guessing!

And, if you read the post you should have understood this was mentioned simply as a possibility, although improbable.
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:41 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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First, not necessarily what?

Second, Oh but I have, you haven't and are guessing. Exactly 5/32" must be removed from the butt of the sq butt grip frame to shorten it to the length of the rd butt. And rounding at the bottom of the sq butt grip frame to match the rd butt, removes the rear corner opening up a 5/8" gap in the back strap.

And I did read the post as a possibility, and it is more than improbable; it's impossible w/o welding. Now go investigate it instead of guessing.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:16 PM
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Default Update - S&W Letter Received Today

Letter received today; shipped as a Model 30 so according to Roy clearly a factory mistake in stamping it as a Mod 31. Very quick turnaround on the letter! And the invoice and sn shipping number list supporting information is much appreciated too.

Jeff
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