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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 03-27-2020, 08:56 PM
Drifter Mike Drifter Mike is offline
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Default Factory re-blue??

Is there a marking or way to tell if a revolver was sent back to S&W for a re-blue other than getting a factory letter? I have a .32 Hand Ejector Third Model Revolver with a 4 1/4 inch barrel that was re-blued at sometime in it's past. It was a very nicely done and looks real good but I'm not sure it was done by S&W or someone else. Tho old fellow I got it from said it was sure he had sent it back sometime in the late 40's or early 50's but not sure if it was this revolver or a Model of 1905. He has since passed on to a higher level so no way to ask for any other info. Maybe a stamp on the grip frame under the grips?? Thank in advance
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:10 PM
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Yes, look under the grips for a date stamp on the left side. If it went back in August 1954, the stamp would read 8.54. Sometimes, you will find a star stamped next to the serial number on the butt.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:22 PM
Drifter Mike Drifter Mike is offline
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I will pull the grips off in the morning and post a couple of pics
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:56 PM
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PS: Letter won't reveal repair work.
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:10 PM
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Depending on the vintage of a factory refinish, you may also see R-B (refinish-blue) in a rectangle in the same area as the date code.
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
Depending on the vintage of a factory refinish, you may also see R-B (refinish-blue) in a rectangle in the same area as the date code.
Or B in a diamond which preceded the rectangular stamp

<B>
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:35 PM
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Mike,

If you look at the finish and question if was reblued somewhere other than the factory, it clearly was!
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:36 PM
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Do people see a factory re-blue as detracting from the over all value?
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
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Do people see a factory re-blue as detracting from the over all value?
Only speaking for me- If its a common gun easily found for sale, yes its a detractor. If its a rare gun or one with unusual history (provenance), then not so much of a detractor.
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Old 03-28-2020, 01:52 AM
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Most purist collectors would consider a factory re-blue to be detrimental to its value. A non-factory re-blue would be even more detrimental.
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Old 03-28-2020, 03:41 AM
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Most purist collectors would consider a factory re-blue to be detrimental to its value...
Which makes it a real advantage for those of us that don't mind a factory refinish.
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:08 AM
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sometimes a star is stamped on the ejector end of the cylinder
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AManWearingAHat View Post
Do people see a factory re-blue as detracting from the over all value?
the 4th edition of the Standard Catalog states if S&W did the refinishing it wont decrease the value nearly as much as if someone else did the job
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:23 AM
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It depends on how well the work was done and who did the work. For example some shops do finish work that is arguably better than factory:

Turnbull Restoration Company, Inc.

Others not so much. If you see rounded edges then it was subject to lots of sanding and polishing by an amateur or simply to remove deep pitting. That sort of thing hurts value a lot.



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Do people see a factory re-blue as detracting from the over all value?
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
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Do people see a factory re-blue as detracting from the over all value?
In general, a factory refinished gun is worth about 85% of that of a similar Smith & Wesson revolver with an original finish.

If not factory refinished, then it is just a refinished firearm with zero original finish. Of little interest to me, and the value is a fraction of a Smith & Wesson revolver with an original finish. I know some will reach deeper than I ever would for a Turnbull gun but, in the end, it's just a refinished firearm. Bad enough to buy a Turnbull refinished firearm, worse yet to actually pay to have your firearm refinished by him.

I'm not knocking the quality of his work, just the "value" added. or lack thereof, by purchasing for a Turnbull refinished firearm, or employing his services to refinish a revolver in your possession.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:55 AM
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Here is the catch with refinished guns. One can not be certain if a 100 year old gun has had one, two, or more refinishes during its active life. A gun could have gone back to the factory early because it was broken, barrel bulge, or other reasons and the factory would usually refinish the gun, especially if there was an external part replaced. After another 50 years of use, an owner could very well have dropped it off at a local gunsmith and it was refinished again. So just because it has a star on the butt or factory return date stamp under the left stock on the butt-frame, does not mean you are looking at a factory refinish.

As Jim stated, most collectors can tell a factory refinish from a gunsmith project. There will be no rounded edges anywhere and no blurred stampings visible on a factory refinish. Most all vintage factory refinishes included re-stamping, later style extractor rod knob, or even with updated stamps if the originals were not available. I have seen a WWI refinished 455 HE with a post-1947 four line address struck on the frame. Barrel roll stamps on the top barrel rib that were much newer than the gun's birthday.

Having said this, we are talking about a 32 Hand Ejector, which has a relatively low value not matter what condition it is in, a fine refinish may not detract at all for anyone who wants to take a nice 32 to the range. There were over a half-million made, so unless a very high grade finish, $200 will take one home. If I saw a pristine factory refinished 32 HE, I would pay more than that to take it home.
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:57 AM
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Here is a good example of factory rework marks. This gun went back twice. I lettered it, shipped 12/1940 to a hardware store in Fort Smith AR. An order of 10 4” Blue Heavy Dutys all with Humpback hammers. I need to submit to S&W Historical Foundation to see if there are records from the reworks.

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Old 03-28-2020, 12:29 PM
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Here is an example of a later rework. I am not sure what this M48-3 started out as but it has a numbered cyl. and bbl. Also the date the work was done on the frame. Red ramp sight and W/O rear, and later period stocks that appear to be Rosewood. Also an 8 3/8" bbl. Target hammer and trigger too. It does appear someone put a lot of $$ into a plain Jane M48-3. The rework date is 10-82 and the serial number is 10K 0228. It remains as shipped from the factory and doubt it has been fired since. Big Larry



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Old 03-28-2020, 02:18 PM
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The only thing I found on my pre-27 (1953) is a single B on the grip frame and on the inside of the ejector shroud. So would this mean factory blued or a reblue at sometime...……………………………….M*
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Old 03-28-2020, 05:46 PM
Drifter Mike Drifter Mike is offline
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Here are a few pictures. I defer to those with more knowledge than I on this. No matter the consensuses, it is a sweet shooter and will be used as such!
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
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The only thing I found on my pre-27 (1953) is a single B on the grip frame and on the inside of the ejector shroud. So would this mean factory blued or a reblue at sometime...……………………………….M*
No it wouldn't.


B for blue or 'N' for nickel stamp locations and no B or N stamp for nickel (only applies to commercial guns):
ahead of pre war serial #s on the barrel flat (or in shroud),
rear face of yoke looking thru a chamber with cyl swung open,
on rear face of cyl separated from serial #,
behind the extractor star,
and by itself on right side grip frame (only on left side grip frame on post WWII models*), indicates an original Blue finish or an original Nickel finish based upon the corresponding letter.

However, the absence of either the 'B' or 'N' (more prevalent after 1930) also indicates leaving the factory nickeled.

*The post war 1950s period was one of much evolution. There was the usual transition when finish code letter stamp usage changed. Towards the end of the 1950’s we start to see nickeled guns stamped with an N on rear of cyl, under the extractor, and on the heel of left side of grip frame.
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
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Here are a few pictures. I defer to those with more knowledge than I on this. No matter the consensuses, it is a sweet shooter and will be used as such!
It has been reblued but appears to be a fine job in the photos you show.
I would have no problem with buying that gun as a shooter.

The dead giveaway, is the flattened rebound slide stud just in front of the top of the grip and flattened hammer stud under the cyl release thumb piece w/o a factory rework date:

Factory re-blue??-img_2933-jpg

Or after WWII it could be a factory refinish IF it also had a rework date.
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:04 AM
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Interesting that those two studs were worked flat but the nearby logo is fairly intact.
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Old 03-29-2020, 02:20 AM
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Interesting that those two studs were worked flat but the nearby logo is fairly intact.
The studs were proud of the surface, but the logo is a roll stamped impression which is below the surface.

But notice the bulged or upset metal around the impressions that we see on un-refinished logos, have been polished flat and are missing.
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:29 AM
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"But notice the bulged or upset metal around the impressions that we see on un-refinished logos, have been polished flat and are missing."

Excellent observation. I tend to focus on the side plate seam ; I have not paid sufficient attention to the upset/raised metal you spoke of - but I will in the future.
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Old 03-29-2020, 10:04 AM
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Default "Angel rings" or "Halo's"

Bucoo years back when I was into Milsurp, I came across a 41 byf Luger, deemed a "black widow" by Luger collectors because of its grips.

I bought the gun and during further research I discovered that a lot of Collectors (at least over in Jan Stils' Axis Powers Forum) referred to the "disrupted area" around numbers and logo stampings as "halo's" or "angel rings".

It seems that stampings after finishing will actually displace metal (not remove...just displace) and it remains that way forever, unless polished before refinishing.

The pics below are of my old Luger (long since sold) and are bad quality lighting (or lack thereof), but you plainly see the "halo". I even could spot it one the "FXO" of the magazine and the mag is not heavy thick metal, rather sheet (gauge) steel.

Question for Hondo44 and other experts: One would think that the same "halo" would be present of Nickel or even stainless finishes but would be very hard to detect, even with brilliant light. Do you feel the same or is the halo just as evident on nickel as like blue?
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Old 03-29-2020, 10:28 AM
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When I cleverly bought that 686 with the wrong side plate, I had to send it to Springfield.
I sent it without side plate or grips.
They fitted a side plate and charged me for a ‘refinish.’
It didn’t need any, and didn’t look like it actually got much.
When it was returned, I don’t recall any new markings on the gun.
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:41 AM
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. . . When it was returned, I don’t recall any new markings on the gun.
I recall that Roy was responsible for the factory to stop stamping returned S&Ws many years ago. I know they stopped using "updated stamps", but not sure if they continued to use any age appropriate stamps they may have still had?

I wanted to add that the latest factory return stamp found to date was mid-1983 on a K frame. My guess is that they stopped using them around that time-frame. The earliest found so far is 1911.
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