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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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Old 02-14-2020, 08:49 PM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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Default K Frame Snub Nose? Detroit Police Department

Hi all, I was perusing some old pump action .22s at my local gun store today (and playing hookie from work), when I spotted what appears to be a K Frame snub nose Smith & Wesson revolver that was marked "Detroit Police" on the back strap.

I have never seen a snub nosed revolver on this size of a frame. The barrel is marked .38 Special, so I assume it was not cut down? The barrel is mostly worn of its bluing, but not pitted.

I look forward to hearing the consensus on whether this is normal based on everyone's collective wisdom.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:57 PM
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If the stocks are original to the gun, it is likely an early (1945-'47) .38 M & P. It was a rare barrel length before WW II but much more common afterward.

More modern (1970s) Detroit PD guns were 5" nickel model 10s, but I have seen 2" examples also. Based on the backstrap stamping I have no reason to doubt this is an earlier example, before they went to all nickel guns. Others here know more about these and should be along shortly.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:00 PM
peter-paul peter-paul is offline
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Thank you for your prompt reply. I did forget to mention that the serial number is (if memory serves) in the S 950,000 range.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:46 PM
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peter-paul

So, what you found is a relatively early postwar .38 Military & Police, 2" square butt revolver. Alan wrote: If the stocks are original to the gun, it is likely an early (1945-'47) Actually, we have more to go on than the stocks, although he is correct in that those are the style of Magna stocks used from early 1946 until about the end of 1952. But the real tell here is the hammer. This is the old, long action that was superceded in about Jan/Feb of 1948, high in the S prefix range.

As Alan stated, after the war these snubs became quite common, especially with the square butt. This one will have the S prefix on the serial number. I'd like it very much if you could revisit this gun and procure for me the exact serial number (I saw the S950xxx you just posted). I've been conducting a research project on these for about 6 years and I would like to add this one to my database.

Just checked and there were several runs of the 2" square butt guns in the S950s; specifically in the S950, S952, S953, S956, S958 and S959 ranges. They were shipping from October through November, 1947.

Here's a picture of one from my collection in the S935xxx range. This gun left the factory in September, 1947.


If you are interested in buying that revolver, the price shown isn't too far off the mark. You might see if they will budge a little, but you won't get hurt if you pay that price.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:52 PM
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Jack, thank you so much for your informative and educational post! I would be happy to go and get the serial number for you. I am probably not going to pick this pistol up, but I can provide the store details to any member here if they so desire.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:32 PM
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That was a pretty common model for command officers and other housecats.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:15 PM
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Jack has good information backed by research as usual.

What I meant by "original stocks" is the long action example pictured may have been one of the prewar 2" .38 M & Ps (that would have originally had smaller service stocks). Yes, I know that would make it a unicorn.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
Yes, I know that would make it a unicorn.

the long action example pictured may have been one of the prewar 2" .38 M & Ps
Alan

I don't usually even think about those revolvers from the 1930s. So your point is well taken.

Here's a question for you though: Did any of them have square butt frames? I can only recall seeing round butt 2" guns from before the war.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:58 PM
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Price is a little high , but the back strap marking helps support it.
If I came across that one locally I'd be scraping funds together.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:06 AM
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There is a mention of one in this old thread:

UPDATE with letter--Rairity and Value - PreWar 2" M&P
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:29 AM
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Peter-Paul

Here is my Detroit PD snubby purchased from the estate of Detroit PD lieutenant Baglaj who bought it from the department on his retirement. According to factory records, it shipped in Feb. 1948. The Serial is C440xx. It is factory nickel and has the same markings on the backstrap. It is pictured with the original hoslster and period --though not Lt. Baglaj's--chest and hat badge. According to Mr. Jinks this Detroit PD shipment left the factory while the earlier "S" serial prefix was still being shipped.

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Old 02-15-2020, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter-paul View Post
.... when I spotted what appears to be a K Frame snub nose Smith & Wesson revolver that was marked "Detroit Police" on the back strap.

... The barrel is mostly worn of its bluing, but not pitted.
.....
Detroit bought mostly nickeled versions of the M&P, so a blued one with the backstrap marking is less common.

And that lovely old gun has obviously seen many years of actual use, a real value enhancement for serious police collectors. If I were still buying, Iíd pay the 475 without much haggling.

Many of the Detroit-marked revolvers, especially the nickeled ones, are in suspiciously pristine condition given their age. There have been claims posted in various threads about these over the years by people purporting to know that many officers drew a nice shiny department gun as issue, but since the department also allowed personal choices within defined limits, carried something else on duty. That would explain things.
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
I'd like it very much if you could revisit this gun and procure for me the exact serial number (I saw the S950xxx you just posted). I've been conducting a research project on these for about 6 years and I would like to add this one to my database.
S950990 and standing by on a ship month/year from Roy. All the metal parts match but the stocks are not original.





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Old 02-22-2020, 06:34 PM
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Very cool revolver. I love old police service revolvers! The font of Detroit Police on the backstrap is so satisfying.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:28 PM
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Recently I have seen a couple of well-used pre-war M&P snubbies on GunBroker. They didn't go for all that much, as I remember in the $1000-$1500 range, or close to that. Just goes to show that condition is paramount to high valuation even for a relatively low-production and seldom seen gun. I remember seeing a high condition pre-war M&P snubby some years ago, that also had some documented military use history attached to it. Seems to me it sold somewhere in the $10K+ range but I don't remember for sure.

"S950990 and standing by on a ship month/year from Roy."

The closest SN for a postwar M&P snubby I have listed is S950824 which shipped on 10/13/47.

Last edited by DWalt; 02-22-2020 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLOYD17 View Post
S950990 and standing by on a ship month/year from Roy. All the metal parts match but the stocks are not original.
Thanks. Yes, I saw your request in the ship date section. Flagged it to see Roy's reply.

Thanks for the clarification on the stocks. That is also something I track, although this late, it doesn't really matter. I track it because in the very early days (Feb-April, 1946) some had the prewar style stocks. And for a short while after that, the retaining washers went through a transition period.

In any case, you have a nice looking 2" square butt there. Enjoy it.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:46 PM
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Never seen a 2" K frame? You need to get out more often.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLOYD17 View Post
S950990 and standing by on a ship month/year from Roy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
The closest SN for a postwar M&P snubby I have listed is S950824 which shipped on 10/13/47.
It turns out I have a bunch listed in that general serial range. Most of them shipped in October, 1947. These include S950824, which shipped to Chicago on October 13, 1947 as DWalt stated. I also show S950830 shipping in October.

But here's the one that jumped out at me when I looked through the database:

S951380, square butt, 2" bbl, October 22, 1947, Detroit Police Department markings.
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Old 02-23-2020, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
S951380, square butt, 2" bbl, October 22, 1947, Detroit Police Department markings.
Thatís a great entry. Do you have noted whether they shipped directly to the DPD?

Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-23-2020, 12:59 PM
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Were the backstrap Police markings done at the factory or after shipment? Thanks.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:48 PM
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So did you get it? How does it shoot? Be Safe,
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:50 PM
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Default The shortest barrel.....

The shortest barrel available when I got my model 10 was 1 7/8". Is this barrel shorter than that???? It looks like it is.
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:38 PM
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I own S935583. 2", SB, Long Action. Shipped 9/4/1947 to Warshall Sporting Goods Co., Seattle.
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Old 02-23-2020, 06:22 PM
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I believe that the 1 7/8" barrel was on a J frame?
The 2" barrel on a Military & Police looks really short due to it's proportional relationship the the K frame. To some eyes it may appear shorter than a J frame 1 7/8" snub , ala Chiefs Special.
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
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So did you get it? How does it shoot? Be Safe,
I did purchase it and picked it up Saturday. Getting to the range is a little tougher but it will definitely get a workout the next chance I get.
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Old 02-24-2020, 01:41 PM
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just for reference Goodmans guns in Montana has a nickel Detroit police snubby on his website for $850. It is a C prefix gun.
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