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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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  #1  
Old 01-03-2020, 01:29 AM
lonegunman762x51 lonegunman762x51 is offline
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I've been keeping an eye out for my favorite hard to find Model 27's for years. In my area, you never find a 5" barrel .357 anywhere in my area.

I got a call to go check out a few military rifles from an estate and the one revolver sitting there was a lovely pre-27, matching stocks and at least 95% finish, serial number from 1954-55 range.

So I'm making arrangements for it to come home and live happily every after at my house.

It's nice enough and matching enough I was pondering getting a letter for it.
So my three questions are;

1. How hard to find are 5" guns? I've seen far more of every other barrel length than a 5" gun and no one around here seems to think they are rarer than 3.5" guns.

2. Is is worth lettering?
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:15 AM
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5" is great length in the pre-27. I think you will really enjoy it.

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Bruce
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Old 01-03-2020, 08:35 AM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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I don’t know how hard to find 5-inch .357s may be, but it’s nice that you found one that interests you. My own desire along those line was/is for a 6-1/2” model. I’ve seen exactly one, and it had a bulged barrel. I should have sent it back but felt sorry for it and rebarreled it. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a replacemen of that length and ended up with a 3-1/2” gun, just for a fun shooter.

I suppose you could letter it if that interests you. I wouldn’t bother unless I had some reason to believe it belonged to a notorious person. I once ran into a rather interesting .44 Magnum with some nicely done modifications and some writing inside the stocks. The letter for it was unremarkable. Nothing at all of note - just an ordinary gun shipped to a hardware store in Arizona. It’s the chance one takes.

Congratulations on finally finding the .357 you’ve been wanting.

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Old 01-03-2020, 08:48 AM
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Great that you found the 5 inch. I don't know how many 5 inch post war 357 Magnums S&W built but they are uncommon where I shop. We're looking forward to pictures. I think this one may be the only one I've seen for sale (S151820). Had to trade a Python to get it (although did get a couple others too).

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Old 01-03-2020, 09:25 AM
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While I wouldn’t necessarily call them rare, they are definitely uncommon and desirable. A 5” N-frame is the perfect S&W IMO. And it looks like you have a fantastic one. Congrats and I wouldn’t hesitate to get a letter on it.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:32 AM
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I have a 5" 27-2.

I would like to have a 5" pre or no-dash 27.

I recently had to pass on a 99% 5" pre 27 because I had drained my gun fund on a 4" pre 27 and a 8 3/8 27 no-dash.

Hopefully another one comes along when I gun fund is in a little better shape.

I'd get it lettered too.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:44 AM
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5" was one of the standard post-war barrel lengths but I doubt anyone knows exactly how many of each length was made. My guess is 6 (with 6 1/2)" were most common, nearly the same numbers of 5 and 3.5", and fewer 8 3/8". This is all observational, not from hard data.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:52 PM
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Congrats ,
A pre 27 in any length is a great find !

There was a post years ago discussing barrel length and sales numbers.

IIRC the 3.5" and 5" were at the top of the list,
This would make sense considering 4" and 6" Model 27 sales had to compete against the Model 28 after 1954, the Model 19 after 1956, the Model 66 after 1970 and the 586/686 after 1980.

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Old 01-03-2020, 01:18 PM
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Depends on what era you're talking about. 3.5 and 5 in guns were std offerings for the Pre 27's in the 50's, 6 1/2 more rare and 4" special order. S&W standardized on the 4" and 6" models in the late 70's/ 80's, when they dropped the model 28. So most 5" guns are pre models, most 4" guns are later. I like the 3.5, 4, and 5 in model the best. And I like to see pictures too.
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Old 01-03-2020, 01:50 PM
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It is my experience that nice 5" barreled pre-27s are more difficult to find than most of the other pre-27 cataloged barrel lengths (with the possible exception of the 6.5" ones). Note that the 4" barrel was not a cataloged length for the pre-27s. I think the reason that the 5"ers are so difficult to find is that there were probably fewer of them made, and those that have them hang onto them, because they really, really like them.

We are looking forward to your photos.

Congrats,
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Old 01-03-2020, 01:50 PM
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Here's my Pre Model 27, five inch gun. It had a pair of butchered non-relieved target grips on it when I got it. Somebody tried to add a speed loader relief to them and poorly refinished them. I added these Herrett grips as they feel good to my hands.

This gun was shipped in October of 1958, late for a five screw.





Since Charlie likes photos, I'll share a couple of other Model 27's.

No dash 27 with a 6 1/2 inch barrel, shipped in February 1959. It has "coke" grips.





Another five inch, this one a 27-2, Nickel, Florida Highway Patrol gun. (Charlie should remember this one as I got it from him). It came to me with rubber grips so I added another set of Herretts. Shipped in June of 1966



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Old 01-03-2020, 01:56 PM
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It's always nice when you find a "quest" gun after a long search. Congratulations!

Since I have my 6" and now my 8 3/8", I think a 5" one would round out the trifecta nicely. I personally wouldn't want anything shorter, although I certainly do appreciate their beauty. Nothing against anyone who does like them, for sure!
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:12 AM
lonegunman762x51 lonegunman762x51 is offline
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6.5 inch guns are another favorite. My Dad had one he bought new in 1955 and used for bullseye and holster carry for many years. I walked in a gun store a few years ago and they had a no-dash and a pre-27 sitting in the cabinet.

I bought both and got a nice deal on the price, that covered that part of my .357 collection nicely.
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:12 AM
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My favorite revolver and yes, took a bit of searching to find one.

Stu
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Old 01-04-2020, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKmesa View Post
It is my experience that nice 5" barreled pre-27s are more difficult to find than most of the other pre-27 cataloged barrel lengths (with the possible exception of the 6.5" ones). Note that the 4" barrel was not a cataloged length for the pre-27s. I think the reason that the 5"ers are so difficult to find is that there were probably fewer of them made, and those that have them hang onto them, because they really, really like them.

We are looking forward to your photos.

Congrats,




I feel very fortunate to have a 1957 4" pre-27 and a 1960 6.5" 27 no-dash.

This 6.5" is probably my favorite S&W.




As I had mentioned earlier my 5" is a -2.
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Old 01-04-2020, 05:45 PM
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Here's another 5 inch pre 27 that I have posted before. It has the numbered box and shipped Feb. 1958. I thought mine was a late shipped gun but WCCPHD in post 11 shipped even later.
The only serial # is on the butt of the gun and the stocks have a number on each one with the correct number on the left one. The light can really change a pic.
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:43 PM
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5 inch 27 no dash with Keith Brown “Toasted Maple” stocks. Gold bead front sight.
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:12 PM
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Love these revolvers.

Mine shipped March, 1958


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Old 01-05-2020, 03:03 AM
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I think I just posted this 5" on another thread, but here we go again. My only 5" and my only 27-1.
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
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I think I just posted this 5" on another thread, but here we go again. My only 5" and my only 27-1.
Very nice.

I'd like to have a 27-1, just not sure which one. Probably a 6.5" if they made them.
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:44 AM
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Pre Model 27's are probably my favorite S&W revolver made, and finding any barrel length pre 27 locally is not usually an easy thing to do. I've got a few pre 27's and all have come from the classifieds here, or Gun Broker.
In my experience, I see quite a few 3.5" and 5" pre 27's come up for sale on Gun Broker pretty regularly. I know that sometimes buying a gun without seeing it in person can be an uncomfortable thing to do, and taking that leap of faith isn't always easy. I try to deal with sellers that have a proven track record and excellent feedback. I bid on auctions that have a bunch of high quality and clear pictures of all the important areas of the gun that I want to see. Most reputable sellers will also offer an inspection period once the gun arrives. So far, (knock on wood) I have had very good luck with buying guns on line.

Here's my pair of sequentially numbered, 5" pre 27's. I needed a 5" blue to fill a hole in my pre 27 collection and found it on Gun Broker. About three years later, I was looking at Gun Broker auctions when I saw the second one. Thankfully the seller had a picture showing the butt of the gun with the serial number. When I saw it, I knew I had a pre 27 with a serial number that was close. I checked, and it turned out to be sequential with the 5" gun I bought three years earlier. I wasn't really looking for another 5" gun at the time, but there was no way that I was going to pass it up.
I haven't lettered either gun, but according to Roy the earlier gun shipped in January 1951, the later in February 1951.





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Old 01-05-2020, 10:29 AM
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I too really like the Model 27 guns by S & W. In fact I liked them enough to sell a Colt (actually several Colts, incl Python, 1942 1911A1, and others) just to fund my growing curiosity with S&W higher end wheel guns many years ago. I have a 27-2, 3.5" blue (1976), and a 27-2, 6" Nickel (1980), but my personal favorite is the "Pre 27", 6-1/2", blue, w/ short action, high speed hammer, diamond Magna's, Letters shipped to New York, October 16, 1952.

I have heard it said among Collectors (don't remember where or when) that the Pre-27 is second only to RM/Non-RM of earlier eras in high end desirability when talking Smith's.

The pre-27 was only manufactured 1947 to 1957 so any barrel length is desired if and when I find them.

Congrats OP on finding that one, especially when going to look over Mil-surp!
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Old 01-05-2020, 10:47 AM
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I too really like the Model 27 guns by S & W.


Me too.

Top to bottom,
1959 8 3/8"
1960 6.5"
1961 6"
1975 5"
1957 4"
1957 3.5"
1967 6" nickel

edit: I added my 6" nickel to the picture.
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Old 01-05-2020, 10:50 AM
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The 5" 27 has to be one of the most eye appealing S&Ws ever made... I have had three 27-2s in that length and just love the way they look. The last one I bought was badly pitted on the end of the barrel and most of the cylinder and was "changed" into a slim barrel .41 Magnum via reboring the barrel and replacement .41 Magnum cylinder. Would have loved to do a .41 Special with the original cylinder but was just too pitted to save...

A question as to barrel lengths... If during the 1947 to 57 period the "standard" barrel lengths were 3.5", 5", 6.5" and 8 3/8" which is more rare, a 6" or 6.5"?

Bob

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Old 01-05-2020, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
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...A question as to barrel lengths... If during the 1947 to 57 period the "standard" barrel lengths were 3.5", 5", 6.5" and 8 3/8" which is more rare, a 6" or 6.5"?
Bob:

The 6" barrel was also a standard barrel length during that era. I think that the 6.5" barrel is found less often than the 6" barrel, by a considerable margin.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
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Bob:

The 6" barrel was also a standard barrel length during that era. I think that the 6.5" barrel is found less often than the 6" barrel, by a considerable margin.
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:08 PM
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I really like the 5" 27s - they balance well and are a good compromise between velocity and handling ease. You don't see many of them today. I've had this one for many years, and it's one of my favorites.

John
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:37 AM
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In my younger LEO days, 1975, I purchased a 5" pre-27 because that is what Skeeter Skelton carried. I found out it was really heavy and when you had to drag your butt out of a patrol car many, many times each day, you begin to understand why you started out with a 4" 19. I " lived the legend" for a few months and returned to the 19, which I still have.
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Old 01-10-2020, 01:33 PM
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Just got the one.

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Old 01-10-2020, 06:47 PM
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Just got the one.

Looks like you got a nice one too.
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:09 PM
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Here's my old shooter grade 5" Pre 27 from 1954...
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce5781 View Post
5" is great length in the pre-27. I think you will really enjoy it.

Regards,
Bruce
Wow, very nice, the blueing on that is fantastic.
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:42 PM
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My 5" 27-2, c.1965 is a pure beater compared to the ones posted here, but it sure shoots great. It does see quite a bit of field carry.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:27 AM
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Just got the one.

Is this the one that Salt Lake Collectibles sold on Gun Broker a few weeks ago?
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:43 AM
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Is this the one that Salt Lake Collectibles sold on Gun Broker a few weeks ago?
Nope. I've had this a while.

Edit: Looked it up. Wow!
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:49 PM
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Wink

It is my considered opinion (and worth exactly what you are paying for it) that 5" 27's seem more rare is that folks like me that have one aren't willing to part with it. I have a 3 1/2", 4", 5", & 6" and am not selling.

-don
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:57 PM
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It is my considered opinion (and worth exactly what you are paying for it) that 5" 27's seem more rare is that folks like me that have one aren't willing to part with it. I have a 3 1/2", 4", 5", & 6" and am not selling.

-don
I have a 3.5", 4", 5", two 6" (one nickle), 6.5", a 8 3/8" and I'm not willing to part with any of them.

Every time I see this thread I start thinking that I need a pre or a no dash 5" 27 to replace my -2 5". I will never ever sell my -2 5" due to its sentimental value and history.

So, stop it. LOL
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:02 PM
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In an era when lots of cops were carrying 6" 38s.... and 4 inch 27 were special order....... the 5" guns seem like the prefect compromise.
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Old 02-07-2020, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lonegunman762x51 View Post
I've been keeping an eye out for my favorite hard to find Model 27's for years. In my area, you never find a 5" barrel .357 anywhere in my area.

I got a call to go check out a few military rifles from an estate and the one revolver sitting there was a lovely pre-27, matching stocks and at least 95% finish, serial number from 1954-55 range.

So I'm making arrangements for it to come home and live happily every after at my house.

It's nice enough and matching enough I was pondering getting a letter for it.
So my three questions are;

1. How hard to find are 5" guns? I've seen far more of every other barrel length than a 5" gun and no one around here seems to think they are rarer than 3.5" guns.

2. Is is worth lettering?
Guess you don't want mine anymore?
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:37 PM
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[QUOTE=lonegunman762x51;140632468]I've been keeping an eye out for my favorite hard to find Model 27's for years. In my area, you never find a 5" barrel .357 anywhere in my area.[QUOTE]
Very nice nice. Did you give a price? did I miss it? Be Safe,
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:38 AM
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It was part of a package with several other guns. It wasn't cheap, but it wasn't retail but it was a solid offer since the former owner was a good friend.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiranch View Post


Me too.

Top to bottom,
1959 8 3/8"
1960 6.5"
1961 6"
1975 5"
1957 4"
1957 3.5"
1967 6" nickel

edit: I added my 6" nickel to the picture.


Since posting the top picture back in January I'v sold my 1959 8 3/8" M-27, 1961 6" M-27, and the 1955 3.5" and 1957 4" pre-27s.

I kept my 1975 5" M-27-2 for sentimental reasons. The 1968 6" nickel M-27 because its a beautiful handgun and my only nickel.

And my 1960 6.5" M-27 is my favorite gun.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:06 PM
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Default Pre-27

Hello all. I'm brand new to the forum and not up to speed on my Smith collection. The pistol that I'm intrigued most about is my 6" pre-27. I'm trying to find the year it was made. Also, after browsing your amazing photos, I realized that the grips that are on it are not original. The serial number is S 90880. Clearly the grips that came with it are not original. Thanks for you assistance.
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Last edited by Kelroy; 03-30-2020 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Adding photos
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:23 PM
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Your 6" pre 27 would fall into the range of 1952-53.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:28 PM
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Thank you for the quick response. What is the best way to find out exactly? Also, what does it mean to have it "lettered"?
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Old 03-30-2020, 05:15 PM
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Default Factory Letters

Kelroy;

The Letters we refer to on this Forum are from Mr. Roy Jinks who is the Smith & Wesson Historian. He worked at Smith & Wesson for a gazillion years and has access to most all of the old, original factory records and is the author of many famous books.

Look at my post #22 above which has pictures of my pre-27, also an S prefix serial number.

Attached below is the Factory Letter that I received regarding that particular firearm.

There is a cost for these Letters, see the appropriate sub section of this Forum for the form and costs.
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