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Old 08-04-2018, 04:33 PM
brianfede brianfede is offline
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Default S&W pre-model 40 Centennial

I have a chance to pick up a S&W Centennial, appears to be a pre-model 40. I am assuming its a pre-40 because its not marked inside the yoke. I was looking for opinions on carrying this firearm, the plusses and minuses as well as any IWB holster ideas. Any other tips or suggestions are welcomed.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:19 PM
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That's my favorite gun to carry day to day. There a long list of things I like about it. Mine is actually a 40 no dash with flat latch, it probably dates from the early sixties from the serial number.

-I like the grip safety, based on my habits, I say it is a plus to my safety
-It's a great weight for a 38 spcl, heavy enough for stout loads, light enough for comfort
-I like fixed sights, I don't want extra moving parts on a working gun
-I like the smooth grips and round butt, comfortable carry, good for conceal
-Snub is good for a 38 spcl, less lost velocity than .357,
-Snub is good for conceal
-It's a classy cool S&W

I just love mine! I carry it in a Galco pancake at 3:00 with a baggy shirt, VERY COMFORTABLE. If I can't go baggy for some reason I go IWB but I haven't gotten used to that.
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:08 PM
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I was born in '52, S&W's Centennial year. I had wanted a birth year Centennial to carry till I learned -- I believe -- only one was shipped that year. I settled for a '55, all matching, box and lock pin in the grip handle -- the whole enchilada.

I don't carry it because I really don't want to take the time to become proficient with activating the lemon squeezer safety (sort of a pain in the palm), and I didn't want to use the lock pin so it's become one of those must-have guns that I enjoy care taking. (I had a '52 Baby Chiefs customized, including a bobbed hammer, so it's become my edc.)
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:33 PM
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It's a fine gun, but make sure your hand properly fits and disengages the grip safety. Some hands just don't fit it correctly. If your hand doesn't , you can remove the stocks and "if" the pin is still present, pin down the safety bar, effectively eliminating it. If not present, another pin can easily be made from a piece of drill rod.
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two-bit cowboy View Post
...I really don't want to take the time to become proficient with activating the lemon squeezer safety...
I didn't realize you had to learn it. I have never given it a thought. It just automatically activates when I squeeze the trigger. It could be just the shape of my hand, I don't know. But, I like holstering the gun with the safety because the safety doesn't activate when I push it down into the holster. I am always worried about pushing a loaded gun into a tight holster, I don't really know if there are accidents related to that, but it seems like the trigger could get pushed back. Of course the cylinder probably wouldn't easily rotate, but then again, you never know... So again, I love my 40. It's with me almost every day. I hope I never have to use it in a pinch but I have a lot of faith in it. I was just practicing with it this morning. I plan on wearing the finish off as my finish wears off.
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Old 08-04-2018, 08:30 PM
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Good point to see if the pin is still in the grip. Thank you.
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:06 PM
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I have a Model 42 Centennial. I assume they are fairly similar to the .40 Centennial. I concealed carried mine for several years. It is a good revolver for that purpose and fits my hand well.

I am not recoil sensitive and even with my advanced years have good hand/grip strength. I shoot a wide variety of handguns in everything between .22 up to .45 Colt. I do find that after a couple of dozen rounds through the Model 42, I am ready to stop shooting it.

So for concealed carry, great if you are proficient with it. I would not recommend it as a frequent range gun where you are shooting 50 or so rounds through it.
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:38 AM
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Another aspect of the Centennial that is frequently overlooked:

We all know that there is no such thing as a child-safe gun, but the Centennial certainly comes closest (provided you havenít deactivated the grip safety). In fact, its ancestor, the Safety Hammerless, which shares that feature, was introduced for that very reason.

Other grip safeties, like on the 1911, require no strength at all, and there are certainly ways in which at least hypothetically even a toddler could engage both safety and trigger and fire a gun left on a table.

On the Centennial, the combination of force needed, exerted in opposite directions against each other by one coordinated hand, to compress the strong safety spring and pull though the DA trigger, requires a hand size and strength which few kids reach before age 8 or 10. As I said, no guarantees, but by far the safest around little ones.
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Old 08-05-2018, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beagleye View Post
I didn't realize you had to learn it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by H Richard View Post
... make sure your hand properly fits and disengages the grip safety. Some hands just don't fit it correctly.
I have an XXL paw, and I have to concentrate to activate the grip safety before pulling the trigger. Feels a bit like being a contortionist with one hand. Simply not a "natural" act for me.
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Old 08-05-2018, 11:04 AM
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The seller has a grip adapter (Tyler T?) wonder if that will make a difference as far as engaging the safety.
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Old 08-05-2018, 11:25 AM
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The early Centennials are neat guns,
One thing to be aware of is that the early Cenntennials do not use the same stocks as other J frames so finding a replacement set can be difficult.
Besides the early stocks being taller IIRC the internal disc is much smaller.
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Old 08-05-2018, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianfede View Post
The seller has a grip adapter (Tyler T?) wonder if that will make a difference as far as engaging the safety.
I have a Tyler on my 1953 vintage Centennial and find that it improves the grip quite a bit. My hand size doesn’t have an issue with the grip safety either way, but for me the Tyler does make hand positioning more “natural”. Then again, I have no idea how the effect would be with Bob’s issue of too large a hand. Ultimately, you won’t know until you try yourself.
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:11 PM
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Very cool.

I would pin that safety, but if it works for someone, I could see it's usefulness.
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two-bit cowboy View Post
I have an XXL paw, and I have to concentrate to activate the grip safety before pulling the trigger. Feels a bit like being a contortionist with one hand. Simply not a "natural" act for me.
I'd rather collect the older ones, and if I had to fire from inside a jacket pocket I'd use a much newer hammerless .38 Special. for example a 442 or 642. I like the 642 but have not yet tried the much newer Performance Center version.

I have large "mitts" too, so on the older ones I keep the by-pass pin installed so the rear safety is defeated. I have the same issue with gripping it just right with my large hands to release the rear safety.

For whatever purpose the Hammerless S&W's were originally engineered, I feel sure that in that reasoning was to prevent the hammer from hanging up on a pocket draw and also to prevent someone who may try to take your gun in a grab motion, where a normal revolver the hammer could easily be "webbed" to prevent it from firing the hammerless will still fire.

I recommend using standard .38 Special HPs and not +P just for the control aspect as you will need all the help you need to stay on target.

All Chiefs and Centennials are "up close and personal" CCWs and perfect ( I think ) for that purpose.

In my older age here, I cheated, but just a little with a set of Crimson Trace Laser grips on my Ashland CST Model 60-1. I should have done that years ago. Some days my vision is a bit blurrier than normal from all the heart meds, so, that Crimson Trace was the correct choice for me.

Thanks to Mark Calzaretta (COLT_SAA) for buying a pair of Crimson Traces then coming over the house to install them on my 60-1
Wherever that dot is, if you hold it tight ... that's what you'll hit within a reasonable amount of recoil variance.
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:51 PM
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Brian, I have one (actually two) and I carry it at about 1300 (I'm a southpaw) crossdraw in a Winthrop holster with a safety strap. It requires about any kind of cover garment that way. I also carry it in a pockeyt holster weak side sometimes if my pants are baggy enough. It's really great in a coat pocket, in your hand, and ready to go.
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:27 PM
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I have a 4 digit Centennial that I bought used in the 60s and the grips had been changed to checkered grips. The grip safety was a problem. If I remember correctly there is a piece inside the grip that the outside piece pushes against and I removed that inside piece. I didn't know anything about pinning the outside piece. Even if the grip safety doesn't work it's still as safe to carry as any DA revolver and it's been carried many miles in my front pocket. Larry
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Old 08-05-2018, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt JL View Post
Brian, I have one (actually two) and I carry it at about 1300 (I'm a southpaw) crossdraw in a Winthrop holster with a safety strap. It requires about any kind of cover garment that way. I also carry it in a pockeyt holster weak side sometimes if my pants are baggy enough. It's really great in a coat pocket, in your hand, and ready to go.

You have all the cool toys. Thanks.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:40 PM
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Ended up paying $495 for the revolver. I'll post a few pic's after the obligatory 3 day Illinois waiting period. Thanks for all the input. Will this 40 fit in the same molded holsters as a SW model 640 2 inch?

Last edited by brianfede; 08-06-2018 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:15 PM
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Good job. I hope it fits and works well for you.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:06 PM
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I carry a fairly early 42. I do not find the. Grip safety to be an issue. You really want to have a good hold on it because of the light weight. I had a pre 42 Centennial in about 1960, but I lost it. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:37 PM
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Grips safety worked just fine for me with and without the Tyler T grips. Wasn't an issue at all. It's just such a neat little revolver. Ordered a High Noon holster today, pretty stoked to see how she carries.
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