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Old 06-09-2018, 09:22 PM
Jfkidaho Jfkidaho is offline
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Default 5-screw 44 Magnum barrel shortened?

Hello all! I recently purchased a 5-screw 44 Magnum with a 4 inch barrel, S16733x. Another person told me they thought it had been shortened to 4 inches from a longer barrel. Is there a good way to tell for sure? The crown is rounded and not flat. I know this is a shooter grade revolver and not a collector. I will get more pictures up soon, right now itís just the one from the pawn shop where it wasnít even cleaned up!
Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:31 PM
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Yes I do, the stamping is not the same as it should be. Good shooter, as long as the price was right. Here is a four screw 4" as an example of the stamping.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:42 PM
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I like it.Its one a guy can carry in a holster and use!
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:45 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.

Are the markings centered? As you stated, we need more close-up pictures.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:49 PM
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Yes the picture is not that good. 1956 by the serial number, the one in my picture is 1957. Stocks look right but well worn. A nice one to find, but perhaps not in the collectable category. A very nice carry and shooter however.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:52 PM
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I have a 25-2 that was skillfully shortened to 5", were it not for the centered lettering and other obvious alterations like a Behlert rear sight it would easily pass for factory. It is strictly a shooter and Oh what a shooter it is, tuned up for bowling pins.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:38 AM
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Default Cokes?

Are those Coke Bottle stocks? If so, even worn, DWFAN could work his magic on them and then you'll probably have a $500 set of nice stocks. Looks like a good packin' and shootin' iron to me!
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:11 PM
MrG5122 MrG5122 is offline
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For the 44 Magnum experts: Weren't the barrel rollmarks stamped in different positions on the 6.5" guns? Is this also true with the 4"ers?
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:23 PM
rgm36 rgm36 is offline
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Sorry - Those are not cokes - the "checked" area is too small.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg Rider View Post
Are those Coke Bottle stocks? If so, even worn, DWFAN could work his magic on them and then you'll probably have a $500 set of nice stocks. Looks like a good packin' and shootin' iron to me!
I don't think they are. The checkered area looks too small. The first picture below are diamond targets and the second picture are Cokes.



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Old 06-10-2018, 12:28 PM
Jfkidaho Jfkidaho is offline
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I haven’t had a chance to take pictures yet, but the stocks are not relieved on the left side so I was guessing they were target pattern. Either way restoring them would be a great idea! Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:31 PM
MrG5122 MrG5122 is offline
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I pawn shopped a 4-screw back in January in a little worse shape. Fortunately is has the cokes. I've already talked to Fords and I think I may go that route. They are more affordable than I had anticipated. The cokes will go to DWFan for a little freshening.
http://smith-wessonforum.com/attachm...5&d=1516165130
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:40 PM
MrG5122 MrG5122 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jfkidaho View Post
I havenít had a chance to take pictures yet, but the stocks are not relieved on the left side so I was guessing they were target pattern. Either way restoring them would be a great idea! Thanks!
Although not original to your 44 Magnum, nonrelieved N-frame targets are almost as desirable as cokes.
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:06 PM
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I don't know if it is shortened or not, or if it was factory done. I think it is a little early for a 4 inch barrel, but only a letter will tell you for sure. The front sight looks original to the barrel to me. Is there a serial number in the ejector rod housing?
The holster wear matches the frame pretty much, so if it was shortened it was early in its career. :-)
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:21 PM
Jfkidaho Jfkidaho is offline
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Sorry for the fingerprints!
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Old 06-10-2018, 08:38 PM
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It's a beauty! Love the broken in look just as it sits.
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Old 06-10-2018, 08:43 PM
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^^^ Same here!

I wouldn't do a thing to it to "improve" it.
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Old 06-10-2018, 08:55 PM
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Welcome to the forum from Idaho.
Nice gun and if you found it in Idaho you are quite fortunate. The pickins are slim out here.
I would leave that one as is and shoot it.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:48 PM
Jfkidaho Jfkidaho is offline
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Chukar60. Thanks for the welcome!
What part of the state are you in that is so slim? I find far more interesting guns here then I can afford! I will admit there are not many side by sides to pick over. Here is one of my best pawn shop finds, a Remington Sportsman 48 Skeet engraved by Orville Kuhl.


Last edited by Jfkidaho; 06-10-2018 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Picture
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:48 PM
Jfkidaho Jfkidaho is offline
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I should have mentioned that Orville Kuhl did much work for the D.W. King Gunsight Company when a deluxe Colt Woodsman or other project was ordered with engraving. His border patterns are distinctive. I wish I could find out who was the original owner of this shotgun! Most likely they were a person of means enough and lived in California in the early 50’s.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:57 PM
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I would make an educated guess that the 4" started life as a 6 1/2".

If it's mechanically sound and shoots clover leafs it doesn't matter if it's been cut down.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:37 PM
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The serial is not too low to be a factory 4"
I have a four inch 44 mag with a lower serial than yours that shipped in Feb 57 and one slightly higher that shipped in March 57, both have caliber roll stamps that are centered on the ejector rod pin (slightly further back than yours) for what its worth.

If it was originally longer whoever did the work did an excellent job which leads me to believe it was done by the factory,
the big question is how long was the barrel when it originally left the factory.

Have you removed the stocks to look for any signs it went back to the factory as they usually stamped a date on the left side frame if so.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:52 PM
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The barrel stampings appear off center for a 4” but the muzzle crown looks factory to me, at least in the single photo. A letter of authenticity would confirm with what barrel length it shipped but not if the factory modified it; an SWHF document search ‘may’ find that out.

It has a set of early 1950s non-relieved Target stocks on it, desirable but not original.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:29 PM
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I like your gun, a perfect one to carry and use!
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:15 AM
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JFK I live in the Boise area. When I say slim pickins, I am talking about Smiths.
perhaps I am looking the wrong places!!
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Old 06-15-2018, 04:11 PM
Jfkidaho Jfkidaho is offline
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Thanks all! I shot the 44 yesterday and it worked well. I had forgotten how hard kicking factory 44 magnums are in a 4Ē 29! I bloodied the knuckle of my right thumb after about 12 rounds. My shooting was not good enough to get a sense for the revolvers accuracy. I guess I should trade off the target grips for a more hand filling pair of stocks, since they arenít original anyway.

Chukar, good luck down in Boise. I picked of a 16 ga AYA boxlock the last time I was able to cruise through the various gun shops. I also noticed that there arnít too many interesting used Smiths there. I used to live in Idaho Falls and there seemed more common there.
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Old 06-15-2018, 04:33 PM
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i have a pre-29 with a 5 inch barrel I'm 99% sure was cut by the factory but I've not letter it. It has a <> stamp which indicates a replaced or repaired part by the serial number in the ejector shroud and a factory repair date 9 63 under the left grip. It also has a left hand thread ejector and a smooth (not polished) trigger.

I suspect all the work was done in 1963. If the barrel was cut it looks very factory and well done.

jfkidaho you might want to double check your's to see if it is similarly stamped.

BTW mine came from a retired Fish and Game officer from Idaho





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Old 06-15-2018, 04:52 PM
S&WIowegan S&WIowegan is offline
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That's a real beauty, Bill. Is the right side of the revolver as nice as the left? I encourage you to letter this one and also get a search by SWHF to see if work orders and such are in the archives. Herbie Harris in Chicago ordered and sold a batch of 5" Model 29s but I don't think any were pre-29s. Even if you don't sell it your heirs will get more for a lettered gun as nice as yours. That Fish and Game officer didn't carry your gun much!
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Bates View Post
i have a pre-29 with a 5 inch barrel I'm 99% sure was cut by the factory but I've not letter it. It has a <> stamp which indicates a replaced or repaired part by the serial number in the ejector shroud and a factory repair date 9 63 under the left grip. It also has a left hand thread ejector and a smooth (not polished) trigger.

I suspect all the work was done in 1963. If the barrel was cut it looks very factory and well done.

jfkidaho you might want to double check your's to see if it is similarly stamped.

BTW mine came from a retired Fish and Game officer from Idaho





I am pretty sure that is a cut down 8 3/8" gun as far forward as the lettering is. IIRC 4's 5's and 6.5's all had the lettering in the same place. It was moved forward on the longer ones
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
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I am pretty sure that is a cut down 8 3/8" gun as far forward as the lettering is. IIRC 4's 5's and 6.5's all had the lettering in the same place. It was moved forward on the longer ones
I looked at the ampersand on the OP's photo and it's in the same place relative to the front of the shroud as a 5 screw 6 1/2" I have.
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:27 PM
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I looked at the ampersand on the OP's photo and it's in the same place relative to the front of the shroud as a 5 screw 6 1/2" I have.
I was talking about the 5" gun Bill posted
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Old 06-15-2018, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jfkidaho View Post
Thanks all! I shot the 44 yesterday and it worked well. I had forgotten how hard kicking factory 44 magnums are in a 4” 29! I bloodied the knuckle of my right thumb after about 12 rounds. My shooting was not good enough to get a sense for the revolvers accuracy...
Your post made me smile. I have often told folks "I shoot one shot in my 44 Mag well... it is the first shot, as every other time I pull the trigger, I am anticipating that punishing recoil..."

... so I too can relate that "my shooting [is] not good enough to get a sense for [my] revolvers' accuracy."
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Old 06-15-2018, 06:15 PM
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Thanks for the examples Bill! I will take a closer look when I can remove the stocks.
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Old 06-15-2018, 06:20 PM
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Threads about identifying cut barrels:

Was this Barrel Cut? 1950 Target

44 pre-24 Four Inch

WTTSOLD) PRE 24 RARE 4 INCH BARREL 44 special
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:24 PM
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I like it! I love guns with character.

Precisionone has 44 SPL practice rounds (and 44 MAG XTPs) for a reasonable price. You can keep the wood grips if you shoot the SPLs and precisionone loads them hot enough to be fun to shoot without being punishing. I really wish they'd load 44 SPL XTPs. I emailed them about it and they said they were considering it, so if you might want them please send in a request.

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Old 06-16-2018, 05:55 AM
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My first .44 was a 29-2 6.5" in 1973...was a great shooter no matter what the load. Got a 60s vintage 4" in 1978 and regardless of load was miscible to shoot...was stolen in a burglary a few months after I got it and NEVER missed that gun...I did however luck out as the Cokes had been replaced with Pachmayers so I still had the grips...which was long before they became a cult item their self... Replaced that gun with a 4" 57/.41 and have lived happily ever after...

There was a great load for 4" .44s that I used to shoot a few years ago when I had a 629 Mountain Gun...the Speer .44 Magnum 200 grain Gold Dot Short Barrel load. Used the .44 Special 200 grain Gold Dot deep HP bullet at 1080 fps. Bullet expanded every time and recoil was mild. If one reloads the data is in the Speer #14 reloading manual...

Bob
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:41 AM
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I am pretty sure that is a cut down 8 3/8" gun as far forward as the lettering is. IIRC 4's 5's and 6.5's all had the lettering in the same place. It was moved forward on the longer ones
I'm sure it was a cut down 6 1/2 inch barrel from a small run of roll stamp errors called by some collectors as "forward roll stamped barrels". (somebody messed up one day)

I've seen estimates of 100-150 of these barrels. They were roll stamped with the logo and caliber center between the muzzle and forward edge of the frame.

Forward Roll Markings-44 Magnum
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:35 PM
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There was a great load for 4" .44s that I used to shoot a few years ago when I had a 629 Mountain Gun...the Speer .44 Magnum 200 grain Gold Dot Short Barrel load. Used the .44 Special 200 grain Gold Dot deep HP bullet at 1080 fps. Bullet expanded every time and recoil was mild. If one reloads the data is in the Speer #14 reloading manual...
Bob
*
I bought a bunch of the .44 special Blazer load with the Gold Dot a few years ago, and have that in my 296 and my 629-(4, I think) MG. Almost tempted to do my retired qual with it on Tuesday, although my usual revolver for that is my 66 with PR Master Action job and gold bead sight.
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Old 06-17-2018, 07:07 AM
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Problem with the .44 Special when used with that bullet is it isn't fast enough to dependably make it expand. A friend bought a .44 Special Thunder Ranch Special with intentions of carrying it but after testing that load and every other locally available .44 Special load on the market found that none of them expanded to any degree.

He lucked out and found a 629 Performance Center 3" round butt carry gun to replace it. I gave him some of the GD ammo and the extra 200 fps of velocity made the bullet expand EVERY time. The other very very dependable round was the old standby, 240 grain Remington scallop JHP. Last I talked to him he was trying to decide between the two loads.

When reloading, 10.0 grains of Winchester 231 with the 200 grain bullet duplicated the factory load. The 210 grain GD bullet is a much tougher bullet and made to hold together at high velocity. Berry's used to make a 200 grain plated bullet that was a cheap practice round for the Mountain Gun I had. That was sold off and as I am not planning to get any more .44s really need to get rid of the GDs and Berry's I have siting here...

Bob
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Old 06-17-2018, 11:45 AM
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Well, maybe I'll replace it with plain old SCW then - they always work pretty well.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:50 AM
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Your post made me smile. I have often told folks "I shoot one shot in my 44 Mag well... it is the first shot, as every other time I pull the trigger, I am anticipating that punishing recoil..."

... so I too can relate that "my shooting [is] not good enough to get a sense for [my] revolvers' accuracy."
Back when 29's were bringing 3 to 4 times what suggested retail was I found one in small shop in TN for just twice what retail was (~$180). It came with a box of Remington Factory ammo - 49 cartridges and 1 empty case

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Old 06-18-2018, 11:30 AM
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I've read or heard many variants of that sort of report. There were lots of factors that impacted that: the ammo was probably hotter; knowledge of two handed shooting techniques was primitive at best; modern and improved grips made for fighting and other hard shooting were still in the future. It would not surprise me if some number of purchasers were new or even first time shooters, too.
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:50 AM
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Here is a picture of the stamps on the revolver’s grip frame.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:26 PM
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Is there an O stamped inside the barrel shroud? Could be some service work on June 1, 1967 but not sure about that font. Have read that the R was stamped if the gun was reworked before it left the factory. Anyway, someone smarter than I will be along to set the record straight.
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:19 AM
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Here is a picture of the stamps on the revolverís grip frame.
It was in for service June 1, 1967. What that service was is anyones guess.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:41 AM
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The R shown likelt indicates refinish. The serial is just an inspector stamp.

Your photo left out the usual locations of stamps indicating what the service was;

the heel of that side of the grip frame,
the rear face of the cyl, and following the barrel serial in the shroud.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:45 AM
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Problem with the .44 Special when used with that bullet is it isn't fast enough to dependably make it expand. A friend bought a .44 Special Thunder Ranch Special with intentions of carrying it but after testing that load and every other locally available .44 Special load on the market found that none of them expanded to any degree.

He lucked out and found a 629 Performance Center 3" round butt carry gun to replace it. I gave him some of the GD ammo and the extra 200 fps of velocity made the bullet expand EVERY time. The other very very dependable round was the old standby, 240 grain Remington scallop JHP. Last I talked to him he was trying to decide between the two loads.

When reloading, 10.0 grains of Winchester 231 with the 200 grain bullet duplicated the factory load. The 210 grain GD bullet is a much tougher bullet and made to hold together at high velocity. Berry's used to make a 200 grain plated bullet that was a cheap practice round for the Mountain Gun I had. That was sold off and as I am not planning to get any more .44s really need to get rid of the GDs and Berry's I have siting here...

Bob
Seven grains of WST in a Magnum case with a 240 grain cast SWC averages 850 FPS out of my 3” M29, is inexpensive, and is pleasant to shoot.
Nice M29 with just the right amount of character.

Last edited by Kframerbluvr; 06-19-2018 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:43 AM
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Here is a 4" of the same period barrel markings
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5-screw 44 Magnum barrel shortened?-2018-02-24-photo-00000439-jpg   5-screw 44 Magnum barrel shortened?-2018-02-24-photo-00000442-jpg  
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