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Old 07-12-2018, 11:29 AM
Patrick L Patrick L is offline
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Question about "pre" and screw numbers  
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Default Question about "pre" and screw numbers

I'm sorry if this is a silly question.

I own a 4 screw pre 29. How is this possible?

As I understand it, Smith went to model numbers in/around 1957. I also thought that the 5th screw was eliminated in 1959. While I totally understand sometime old parts are slow to be used up, in this case it would seem the reverse would be true; ie any 4 screw would have been built AFTER model numbers were implemented.

Am I missing or misunderstanding something? Or, are my dates wrong?

Just curious, regardless I really love the gun!
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:31 AM
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There's a bunch of em.Mines in the 176000 range.Early '58 I'm guessing
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:44 AM
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The model stamping and deletion of the upper sideplate screw were pretty close together in time. The factory would not use parts in order of production so there are many four-screw frames that are not model stamped, and many that are. Clear as mud .
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:32 PM
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And here's mine, just short of 173000, no model number, 1957 I think.

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Old 07-12-2018, 12:36 PM
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Actually many post-war Smiths are 6 screws when you count the leaf spring tension screw on the front of the grip frame and the screw in the trigger guard. Add those to the four in the side plate and you get six.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:28 PM
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I believe you have the dates incorrect. As I understand it, the top sideplate screw was eliminated in 1956. Model numbers began being stamped in 1957/1958. Finally, the screw in front of the trigger guard was eliminated in 1962. Thus, there was about a 2 year time frame for 4-screw non model marked, then another 4 year time frame for 4-screw model marked revolvers. As with all things S&W, this is an approximation. YMMV.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick L View Post
Or, are my dates wrong?
Yes, your dates are off.

The fifth screw was eliminated in 1956 (that's the upper sideplate screw).

The fourth screw started going away on some models in 1959, but there was a phase-out period. On the Model 29, it was in c. 1962. There are Model 29-1 revolvers (introduced in 1962) with four screw frames.

Model numbers were assigned in 1957, but model marked guns did not go instantly into production. The very first Model 29 shipped went out the door in January, 1958. Incidentally, it may have been the first model-marked gun of any model to ship; at the very least, it was among the first.

So, here is a brief summary:

.44 Magnum: December, 1955 - December, 1957; 5 & 4 screws
Model 29: January, 1958 - c. 1962; 4 screws
Model 29-1: 1962; mostly 3 screws with some 4 screws
Model 29-2: 1962 - c. 1982; 3 screws
Model 29-3: 1982 onward; 3 screws (P&R eliminated)
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:41 PM
Mike C2 Mike C2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
Y
.44 Magnum: December, 1956 - December, 1957; 5 & 4 screws
Model 29: January, 1958 - c. 1962; 4 screws
Model 29-1: 1962; mostly 3 screws with some 4 screws
Model 29-2: 1962 - c. 1982; 3 screws
Model 29-3: 1982 onward; 3 screws (P&R eliminated)

I agree with that except I think you typoed. The .44 prototype/early shipped guns to developers and manufacturers was December 1955 with regular shipments starting in January 1956.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike C2 View Post
I think you typoed. The .44 prototype/early shipped guns to developers and manufacturers was December 1955 with regular shipments starting in January 1956.
Correct. It was a typo. Thanks. Now fixed.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:33 PM
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One 44 Magnum was shipped in December 1955 (to R. H. Coleman at Remington on December 29...it was a regular production revolver, most likely the second one completed). Its serial number is S130806.

The directive to delete the upper side plate screw for N-frame revolvers was issued in September 1956 and 44 Magnums with a 4-screw frame began to be shipped in early 1957 (S167000 serial number range). Model numbers for the 44 Magnum started at approximately S184000 (late 1958), so there is a range of approximately 17,000 serial numbers for 4-screw 44 Magnums with no model number (the 44 Magnum shares serial numbers with all N-frames, so the actual number produced is much less).

Although, I know there were more than two, the known prototype serial numbers are S121836 and S121839. The former is a show and photo sample revolver and the latter was used to complete the development of the 44 Magnum cartridge.

Bill

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Old 07-12-2018, 07:59 PM
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Default Question about "pre" and screw numbers

Another interesting phenomenon related to this discussion that I have personally witnessed (maybe implied but not stated in any of the above comments) is that some 5 screw Pre-Model 29ís have higher serial numbers than some 4 screw Pre-Model 29ís.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:37 PM
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The spring tension screw in the grip frame, a 6th screw, is not counted for description or identification in conjunction with the "screw count" criterion for K and N frames. The reason is that it never changed and was not relevant to the 5 screw count context as opposed to the other side plate screws included in the count even though they didn't change.

However is counted in the 6 screw count of the I frames because it was eliminated in ~early 1952 and separates the Post War Transitional I Frame Models from the 5 screw Improved I frame Models.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:30 AM
Patrick L Patrick L is offline
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Question about "pre" and screw numbers  
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Thanks to all for the education!!

As I said, I was just curious, I love this gun regardless of Model/name or number of screws.
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