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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 04-28-2020, 05:40 PM
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Default Old K Frame Snub Arrives

Took this street urchin in to give a good home. S/N 6940XX. Grips match. Can anyone help with a date of manufacture?
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:45 PM
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Is there a “K” prefix on the serial number?
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:47 PM
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There is no prefix.
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:58 PM
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I "think" you are looking at 1940 for a birth year.
Probably in the summer. But I don't know squat
about prewar M&P's
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:04 PM
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Probably 1941-1942.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:11 PM
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It is quite a prize. Very few of these were made. Probably 1940, but it could well have shipped after the war. Worth getting a letter.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:12 PM
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Thanks gentlemen. Perhaps a letter is in order.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:22 PM
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Beautiful firearm, a museum piece...yes, get that S&W letter. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:29 PM
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It is most likely just the picture but why does the "Smith & Wesson" not look centered on the barrel?
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:01 PM
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Buick

Letter that gun! There is a very high likelihood it was one of the 2" round butt M&P revolvers that shipped in August and September of 1946. An unknown quantity of those units had prewar serial numbers in the 694xxx range.

Contemporary production 2" M&P revolvers were in the S833xxx range. At least 100 were made in that run. What we don't know for sure is how many of that 100 (if any) were actually prewar frames. All we know for certain is that some prewar round butt frames and some postwar round butt frames were assembled with 2" barrels and shipped at about the same time. 10 of the units went to a distributor in Seattle. Others went to various distributors around the country. At least one ended up in service with the Boston Police Department.

If you have indeed located one of these special revolvers, you are a very fortunate man. Early postwar M&P collectors like myself would give our eye teeth to add one to the collection.

By the way, these unusual revolvers were the subject of an article in a recent issue of the SWCA Journal. It was excellent reading, but even the research that went into that article failed to unveil the whole story behind this particular batch of revolvers. My own S prefix research has turned up a few parts of the puzzle. Over time, I hope more of the story will become known.

Once you get a letter on your gun, please share the results with us here on the Forum.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buick View Post
Took this street urchin in to give a good home. S/N 6940XX.
I don’t know how facetious your wording is meant to be. Original pre-war 2” M&P’s more commonly are presented in threads starting with “I fought two other potential buyers to the death at a gun show” or “I bet the kids’ college fund on Gunbroker”.

As others have indicated, the gun is quite valuable; the last one that sold here on the forum (with letter and police provenance) went for over two grand. You will need the letter to confirm the original configuration. Post-war barrel replacements, sometimes hard to identify, have been discussed here.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:16 PM
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Wow very tantalizing tidbits from you, my worthy co-enablers. I will research the lettering process. I suppose it is also a wise time for me to rise to the exalted station of COLLECTOR and join the SWCA!

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Old 04-28-2020, 07:20 PM
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After consulting with my database a bit more, I want to add a tidbit.

You listed your serial number as 6940xx. I have one listed in the spreadsheet at 694074. That has to be very close to yours. That particular revolver left the factory in mid-September, 1946, and was one of the 10 I mentioned earlier that went to a distributor in Seattle.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:44 PM
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My revolver is within 20 of yours.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:45 PM
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Are there patent markings on the back of the trigger and hammer? If not, that would further support JP@AK's thought about it being shipped in 1946. The rebound slide stud being polished flat also supports that position.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:12 PM
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Some edification from the more experienced, but aren't those stocks from an era earlier than 1940? I would have expected to see wood stocks, where am I going wrong?
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:25 PM
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Serious question - Are you going to shoot it? I would have to try out that double action trigger stroke.

You can't make something like that on a 3-D printer.

Last edited by max503; 04-28-2020 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:37 PM
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No patent markings on hammer or trigger that i can see. There is a curious red lipstick looking glob on the hammer internals. Maybe dried grease? Never seen that color before. Very red.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
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Serious question - Are you going to shoot it? I would have to try out that double action trigger stroke.

You can't make something like that on a 3-D printer.
Definitely will be fired. I'll just switch out the stocks. They are just too nice.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:46 PM
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Very nice, thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-28-2020, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
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Some edification from the more experienced, but aren't those stocks from an era earlier than 1940? I would have expected to see wood stocks, where am I going wrong?
Most 1930's shipped snubs had the black hard rubber stocks. I own 5 and 4 of them letter with this style. There have been others shipped in 1946 shown here on the forum with these stocks.

The photo below shows the hammer patent marking I referenced.

Old K Frame Snub Arrives-img_1234-jpg
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:09 PM
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Default No patent marks visible

It does have these stampings on the frame under the grips. A very nice clean snubbie.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:12 PM
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I notice your revolver has the small logo on the left side vice my large right sideplate logo.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
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I notice your revolver has the small logo on the left side vice my large right sideplate logo.
That one shipped in 1939. It has the small trademark on the left and the large one on the sideplate. The double stamping is occasionally seen on guns shipped in the late 30's.

The theory is the frames were made before the order to move to the sideplate. When the gun was actually built, the sideplate was also stamped per the new procedure.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pine_Worker View Post
Is there a “K” prefix on the serial number?
K prefix would be for an adjustable sight model. This is a 2" M&P from before WW II. Pretty rare.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:29 PM
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This gun is stamped matching under the barrel, on the rear face of cylinder, and on the butt.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buick View Post
This gun is stamped matching under the barrel, on the rear face of cylinder, and on the butt.
That’s a good start, but no substitute for the letter on a gun in this value range. A new factory replacement barrel could theoretically have been stamped with the correct number.

Don’t worry, I think the chance is very small, but for one these kinds of guns, collectors love to see the documented package for full value.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:57 PM
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Seems like a letter is a must. Question...is this a safety block gun? There is no rising hammer block as seen in more modern Smiths. Apologies if my terminology is incorrect.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
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Seems like a letter is a must. Question...is this a safety block gun? There is no rising hammer block as seen in more modern Smiths. Apologies if my terminology is incorrect.
The improved hammer block drop safety began on the SV-series Victories in early 1945. It would not have been present on earlier K-frames.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:18 PM
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Ok. I was curious if it would not have been retrofitted to a revolver shipping in 1946.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:22 PM
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I must add that this revolver has one of the most wonderful actions of any i have ever dropped a hammer on. Amazing single and double action pull!
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Old 04-28-2020, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buick View Post
Ok. I was curious if it would not have been retrofitted to a revolver shipping in 1946.
There were some earlier WWII Navy Victories which were converted to use the 1945 improved drop safety, but it was a fairly complicated and expensive operation. If yours was made up on a pre-WWII frame, as it seems to have been, it probably would not have received the conversion. Have you checked to see if there is a SN scratched inside the right grip panel? The black hard rubber grips on it are likely original, but if there is a SN, it would remove any doubt. The letter will say what kind of grips it left the factory with.

Last edited by DWalt; 04-29-2020 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:13 AM
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Okay. Answers to some of the questions that have arisen here:

Most of the postwar snubbies have the sliding hammer block safety that was incorporated into production in December, 1944 (during the Victory period). However, in an oddity that is yet to be fully explained, the run we are talking about has the old style (prewar) drop safety device. This is true whether the gun was serialized in the prewar numbering sequence (no prefix), such as the one that is the subject of this thread, or in the S833xxx range of postwar serialization. I have several examples of both types in my database. None of them have the new sliding hammer block safety.

Black hard rubber stocks were still in inventory after the war. A large number of the S prefix round butt M&P revolvers with the 2" barrel were shipped with these stocks. During that period, they are more common than walnut on that particular configuration. So far, all of the guns from the run in question that have turned up with their original stocks were equipped with the hard rubber stocks. They do letter that way.

Square butt 2" guns had checkered walnut stocks. We have also found some round butt 2" M&Ps with the later C prefix serial numbers (1948 and beyond) that shipped with the black hard rubber stocks. The supply appears to have lasted into the early 1950s.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buick View Post
Took this street urchin in to give a good home. S/N 6940XX. Grips match. Can anyone help with a date of manufacture?
Late to the party, but what a great Smith knocked it out of the park on this one !
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:46 AM
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I might be seeing things, and this photo is from a bad angle and unfocused, but I seem to see the notch for a hammer block on the face of this hammer.

The photo is the one attached to Post #18 above.

Old K Frame Snub Arrives-20200428_181347-jpg



It would be helpful to see a good, clear side photo of the revolver cocked. Then we will see if the hammer is notched.

It's a great revolver for sure. I have one of its later siblings, a 2" M&P, s/n S936150. Mine's a transition and shipped in September 1947 a year or so later.

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Old 04-29-2020, 09:21 AM
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Default Hammer shot

Here is a side view. Hope it shows the needed profile.
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Old 04-29-2020, 09:25 AM
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Default Also of interest

An oddity regarding the grip serialization. The right grip has been lined thru, and the left grip scratched in with the serial number. I dont even know if this is factory. The grips fit very well in any case.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:14 AM
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The hammer is of the pre-1945 style, and the grips are very likely original. Looks like whoever installed the grips at the factory messed up when scratching the SN on the right panel (where the grip SN usually is), and instead scratched it on the left panel.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:23 AM
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Can't wait to see the letter.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:07 AM
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So this thread will probably be of some interest: Pre-War M&P Snub

Very interesting M&P snub, from a particularly confusing period of S&W history. I expect some clarity will be forthcoming
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:12 AM
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I can tell you, with a high degree of certainty, what this gun is. First, it is not a post-WW2 gun; if it were, the serial number would be greater than 811XXX, with an S prefix, which can appear on the butt, or grip frame. 6940XX has a "S" on the grip frame, but this sometimes happens. 6940XX is part of the 1st K-frame serial number series. You should remove the side plate, and confirm the configuration of the hammer safety.

To say this differently, here are the two relevant serial number series for .38 K-frames>
1st series: 1 - 999999
2nd series: V1 - V769000, then VS769001 - VS811119, then S811120 - S999999.
694XXX with no prefix has to be the 1st series, and its shipping information would be recorded in the 1st series shipping records, regardless of when it actually shipped.

Second, the frame, sideplate, and grips were fitted around 1940, and then serial-numbered at that time. One of several things happened after that.

It could have been for an LEO, in which case it would have been completed, finished, and shipped in 1940.

Or, it could have been completed, finished, and then sat on a shelf, in the factory until after the war. The government would not have given the factory permission to ship to a commercial customer, as it was starting to gear up for entry into WW2.

Or, the frame, sideplate and grips could have been put away, and waited until after the war to be completed, blued, and shipped. In 1940, the factory was already back-ordered on commercial 2" .38's.

Finally, the vast majority of these commercial 2" .38's were finally shipped in August, 1946, even though they are pre-WW2 revolvers.

Regards, Mike Priwer

Last edited by mikepriwer; 04-29-2020 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:06 PM
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I love the little snubbie!!!

A few observations to add to the great info given by Jack, Mike and others above (I know that both Jack and Mike have spent years studying the K-frame M&Ps and I always appreciate their comments and wisdom). Personal observations:

1. The rebound spring stud protruded (a domed bump) on the left side of the frame (just above the grip) on the pre-war guns. On the post-war guns that stud was ground/buffed flush with the side of the frame, which is how the left frame looks on this gun, indicating that it was "finished" after the war.
2. The finish looks to be the post war blue (more of matte finish) also indicating that it was "completed" and shipped after the war.

So I am firmly in the "pre-war parts, post-war shipped" camp. And I look forward to seeing what the letter details.

Just a note of caution on the rebound stud - on most refinished pre-war guns this stud is also polished flat on the left side, indicating a refinish... I do not believe that this gun was refinished.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:47 PM
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Default Some additional pics

Took the old urchin outside and tried for some better pics in natural light.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:56 PM
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These latest photos further support the post war assembly of this revolver. The serial number font on the cylinder and barrel are not the pre-war style.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:33 PM
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It is always good when Mike weighs in on a question. Lots of knowledge and wisdom will issue forth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
the frame, sideplate and grips could have been put away, and waited until after the war to be completed, blued, and shipped.
I tend strongly toward this theory. There seems to be some evidence (clear to me anyway) that this was the case.


Quote:
Finally, the vast majority of these commercial 2" .38's were finally shipped in August, 1946, even though they are pre-WW2 revolvers.
Correct, with the sole exception of at least 10 units that shipped the next month; in September, 1946.


That said, I do want to offer a correction on this part of Mike's post:
Quote:
here are the two relevant serial number series for .38 K-frames
1st series: 1 - 999999
2nd series: V1 - V769000, then VS769001 - VS811119, then S811120 - S999999.
then VS769001 - VS811119
This is mythological. In years of research, looking at thousands of early postwar M&P revolvers, I have found absolutely no evidence that there was a series of VS prefix serial numbers. In fact, so far as I can tell only one revolver exists with a VS prefix and it shows evidence of the stamping being a mistake. The sequence mentioned by Mike is all SV numbers with one known error. Even if one or two more show up sometime down the road, it will take more than that to indicate they were purposely so-marked. And there is far too much evidence to the contrary.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:50 PM
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At the risk of being rude, was that an on-line auction find? I looked at a similar gun last week and then got distracted. In any event, congratulations on a fine specimen.
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Old 04-29-2020, 03:27 PM
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This one shipped in March 1947. Non-factory refinish and non-original grips. Serial 625818 and it had a post war hammer though I can't say for certain that is came from the factory that way. It still had the pre-war hammer block in the sideplate.

Old K Frame Snub Arrives-img_9608-jpg

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Old 04-29-2020, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buford57 View Post
At the risk of being rude, was that an on-line auction find? I looked at a similar gun last week and then got distracted. In any event, congratulations on a fine specimen.
Not rude. Yes it was! I try to bid on every half moon front sight revolver that pops up. Sometimes get lucky.

Last edited by Buick; 04-29-2020 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 04-29-2020, 04:47 PM
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That hammer is not notched, so the revolver cannot have the sliding bar hammer block safety.

Old K Frame Snub Arrives-20200429_091204-jpg



It should have the pre-war tilting hammer block in the sideplate.

I would letter that revolver.

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Old 04-29-2020, 04:50 PM
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The closest thing I have is a 5" M&P, s/n S813907. It appears to be made on a surplus Victory frame, as there is a filled swivel hole. Roy says it shipped in March 1946.

Mine's deep in the safe, but the S prefix tells us without looking that it has the sliding hammer block.

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