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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 03-25-2020, 04:16 PM
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Default pre model 27 Barrel Lengths

Did a 1950's vintage S&W pre model 27 come in 6 inch, 6-1/2", or both barrel lengths? I know there were 3-1/2", 5", and either 8-3/8" or 8-1/2". I guess I may as well ask that too now!
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:42 PM
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3 1/2, 5, 6, 6 1/2, 8 3/8. The 6 1/2 seems to be harder to find than the 6 inch, and a four inch could be special ordered.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:31 PM
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Nightowl's reply is correct.

As for this:
Quote:
either 8-3/8" or 8-1/2"
After the war the only plus-6 1/2" barrel available was 8 3/8". In the 1930s, when the .357 Magnum was first introduced, it could be had in lengths up to 8 3/4". That length was eliminated due to overall length restrictions in target matches. Forthwith, the maximum length offered by S&W became 8 3/8" and, with a few much later exceptions, it has remained that way ever since.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:48 PM
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Thanks to you both. That is good info. I just bought a pre 27 advertised as 6 inch but have seen some in 6-1/2 inch is why I asked. What is a pre 27 exactly? a 357, a 357 Magnum, a Magnum or what was it called?

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Old 03-25-2020, 05:50 PM
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I recently sold my 1957 4" pre-27.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbrmike View Post
Thanks to you both. That is good info. I just bought a pre 27 advertised as 6 inch but have seen some in 6-1/ inch is why I asked. What is a pre 27 exactly? a 357, a 357 Magnum, a Magnum or what was it called?
We call it now days as collectors- for an easy reference as to its time a pre- 27. But back then it was simply called a 357 magnum revolver. We now reference to registered and non registered 357 magnums which points to the time of pre WW2 up until just after the war. Those still had long actions once they switched to short actions all the way up until 1957/58 when the model numbers were issued they can be called pre 27's. Makes it easier to tell exactly the time frame of manufacture.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:43 PM
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S&W called it "the .357 Magnum." Next was the Highway Patrolman (pre M28), followed by the Combat Magnum (pre M19).
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:32 AM
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As I understand it, the 6.5" length in early 357s and Model marked 27s was never a catalog item. They simply seem to turn up from time to time for reasons not known to me. Maybe an expert has that info. I have seen them as early as (around) 1953 and as late late as a 27-2 from 1972. In my observation about half of the 6.5" guns have Patridge type front sights and the other half have Baughman ramp front sights.

I searched for a 6.5" example with a ramp sight for 20 years before paying way too much for this one. Actually shipped May 5. 1957 to an outfit called Kunkel's in Davenport, Iowa. It letters with the red ramp and white outline sights as original. The Magnas are numbered to the gun.

I find the 6.5" N frames just a bit more elegant looking than the 6" models.

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Old 03-27-2020, 01:51 PM
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A sample of the barrel lengths of the N-Frame .357 Magnum, also known as the Pre-27


8 3/8" (cataloged and easy to find), one of the more common lengths, most with Patridge front sights, but a few of them with Baughman ramped front sights:



The 8 3/8"ers are aslo great canvases for engraving projects. Here's one scratched up by Phil Quigley with some Keith Brown lumber:



6 1/2" (cataloged and not that hard to find) I see them fairly often on Gunbroker and have several in my collection - it seems like about half of them have ramped Baughman front sights and the other half have Patridge front sights:



... a 6 1/2" with a Patridge front sight with an added gold "McGivern" bead and some aftermarket target grips:



6" (cataloged and very common) - although this one has been a bit scratched up... most of them have Patridge front sights:



5" (cataloged and not easy to find) In my experience the 5" pre-27s are hard to find, probably because everyone that has one wants to keep it. I only have one in my collection (its worn and refinished a couple of times), but I don't have any photos of it, so here is a 5" placeholder - a pre-pre-27 (a.k.a. Registered Magnum):



4" (not cataloged and very difficult to find) There are very few of them out there:



3.5" (cataloged and easy to find - but hard to pay for) one of the more common lengths, but they are pricey when you find them, even if they are not all scratched up like this one...

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Old 03-27-2020, 04:05 PM
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Well I got the old girl in the mail today. Very nice condition! Beautiful actually. It is a 6 inch barrel with Partridge sight. I can't take good pics right now; camera is acting up. I gave $850 shipped. I never thought I would ever own one! Thanks for the informative posts.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:59 PM
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Guess I was looking in the wrong place for 20 years. Have a copy of a catalog showing the 6.5 357 as readily available?
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
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Guess I was looking in the wrong place for 20 years. Have a copy of a catalog showing the 6.5 357 as readily available?
Every circular that I have from the 1950s lists the 6.5" Barrel as an option - here are 4 examples 1952-1959.

pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0002-jpg

pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0003-jpg

pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0004-jpg

pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0005-jpg

In addition, the 6.5" pre-27s are regularly available on a large public internet auction sight. I just did a search for "smith wesson pre-27" and quickly found 4 or 5 of them available right now (one of which was listed as a 6"). Lots of the ones that I see, including several that I own have been shot and shot a lot. They really are a delight to shoot.
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pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0002-jpg   pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0003-jpg   pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0004-jpg   pre model 27 Barrel Lengths-img_0005-jpg  
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:01 PM
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No idea why I found them so elusive.
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
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No idea why I found them so elusive.
My guess is that you were looking for them in the pre-GunBroker days... I imagine they were much harder to find then. I'm not sure that I have ever seen one for sale at a gun show or in a local gun shop - only online. I have always liked your 6.5"er - it has just the right amount of wear - still graceful but something you are unafraid to shoot.
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