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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 05-19-2020, 11:01 PM
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The father of a friend of mine purchased the revolver pictured below from a retiring NYC police officer a few decades ago. As the story goes, that officer purchased it from a patrolman that was retiring around the time of his completion of the academy, sometime during the 1950s or '60s.

They've had the gun for awhile and were always curious about what model it was, its rough era/year of manufacture, and where it could have come from or been. Aside from recommending a historical letter from Roy Jinks, I figured I'd run it by the experts here for a definitive answer.

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Type: Hand Ejector
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Serial #: 6077XX / B(?) 6077XX
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Caliber: 38 S&W Special
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Barrel Length: Unknown, See Photos.
EDIT: 4"
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Sights: Fixed
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Photos:











Last edited by NY-1; 05-20-2020 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:57 AM
Tired Gunsmith Tired Gunsmith is offline
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refinished Military & Police
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:59 AM
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Looks like it dates to about 1940.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:43 AM
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It is a .38 M&P. s/n 6078xx shipped 6/1929. But that ejector knob looks newer.
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Last edited by Targets Guy; 05-20-2020 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:22 AM
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It has a 4" barrel, the most common length.

The butt swivel (lanyard loop) appears factory and may have been installed there.

The barrel shaped end of the extractor rod is correct for a late 1920s gun, as are the stocks. The black grip adapter is a later addition.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:10 PM
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As has been said, all is correct for a refinished .38 M&P from 1929.

For an NYPD patrolman’s gun, there are two things I would not expect:

First, at that time the NYPD’s requirement to stamp the shield number on the gun was still generally enforced and followed, either on the backstrap or squeezed in next to the butt serial.

Second the swivel. While I agree that the thing itself is a factory part, the installation is off-centered not just length-wise (the factory usually just drilled through the serial on a retro-fit), but also sideways, so I think it’s Bubba. And except on the Victorys the department got during the war, swivels were not a NYPD thing.

Of course, there were dozens of different agencies within the greater NY area that fielded armed officers, and used the NYPD academy, so a “NY patrolman” does not have to have been NYPD.

Last edited by Absalom; 05-20-2020 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targets Guy View Post
It is a .38 M&P. s/n 6078xx shipped 6/1929. But that ejector knob looks newer.
Thanks! That serial number range really narrows it down. They'll undoubtedly be thrilled to find out that the gun is almost a century old.

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Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
It has a 4" barrel, the most common length.

The butt swivel (lanyard loop) appears factory and may have been installed there.

The barrel shaped end of the extractor rod is correct for a late 1920s gun, as are the stocks. The black grip adapter is a later addition.
Your input is most certainly appreciated. It's pretty great to hear that the stocks and accessories (minus that anachronistic grip adapter) match up with the era of the gun's manufacture.

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Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
As has been said, all is correct for a refinished .38 M&P from 1929.

For an NYPD patrolman’s gun, there are two things I would not expect:

First, at that time the NYPD’s requirement to stamp the shield number on the gun was still generally enforced and followed, either on the backstrap or squeezed in next to the butt serial.

Second the swivel. While I agree that the thing itself is a factory part, the installation is off-centered not just length-wise (the factory usually just drilled through the serial on a retro-fit), but also sideways, so I think it’s Bubba. And except on the Victorys the department got during the war, swivels were not a NYPD thing.

Of course, there were dozens of different agencies within the greater NY area that fielded armed officers, and used the NYPD academy, so a “NY patrolman” does not have to have been NYPD.
Thanks for the immense insight here. I'll have to ask if the story goes into detail on whether or not the original owner claimed to have purchased or used the gun in a duty capacity, or if he bought it for his own personal use. (Along with if there's any info on what agency he could have been affiliated with if it wasn't the NYPD.) I also wonder how much leeway they would have had at the time to purchase whatever they could get a hold of, provided that it generally matched up with attributes of the department's preferred models (4", 38 special, etc).

I've heard of the gun shield number stamping mentioned before in some NYPD history groups, but it's interesting to find out that they managed to make it a standardized practice for awhile. And the installation of that lanyard ring does look fairly haphazard now that you mention it, haha.

Is it safe to assume the original finish was likely either blued or parkerized?
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:12 PM
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The SN places its shipment probably at 1929-30, but I can't date it any more precisely than that from my SN list. I have several on my list in the 610xxx range which shipped in 1930. Grips on it are of the type used throughout the 1920s. The lanyard swivel is definitely not factory original, nor is the plated finish. The B prefix stamped under the barrel signifies that it was originally shipped with a blued finish.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:01 PM
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"As the story goes..." I think are key words here. Sellers often try to jack the price on a gun by claiming association with a celebrity police agency. Texas Rangers, FBI, and NYPD impresses many buyers. I suspect that gun either never saw NYPD service or it was modified a lot after it was retired. Right now it is a shooter grade c. 1930 M&P that has been poorly refinished. Price accordingly.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY-1 View Post
The father of a friend of mine purchased the revolver pictured below from a retiring NYC police officer a few decades ago. As the story goes, that officer purchased it from a patrolman that was retiring .....

.... Aside from recommending a historical letter from Roy Jinks, I figured I'd run it by the experts here for a definitive answer.
....
From the backstory, it doesn’t sound like this is some heirloom loaded with emotional baggage. So a letter would indeed be overkill unless someone is just very curious and wiling to spend money for a chance to satisfy that curiosity.

The shipping info may or may not confirm a department link. As far as I can tell from known data, NYPD’s practice of buying revolvers directly from S&W and Colt in bulk and then reselling these to the officers did not start until 1946.

Before then, and sometimes still after, officers generally purchased their guns from a handful of police equipment dealers around or near NYPD headquarters, at various times in the 20th century stores like Audley, Herold, Lava, Jovino, and Greenblatt. If the gun letters as shipped to one of those, it’s pretty much a slam-dunk confirmation.

But there were also large distributors in New York. Companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, Sloan’s, and H.D. Folsom had catalog sales and shipped guns nation-wide, so a gun lettering there is a dead-end. No guarantees.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
The SN places its shipment probably at 1929-30, but I can't date it any more precisely than that from my SN list. I have several on my list in the 610xxx range which shipped in 1930. Grips on it are of the type used throughout the 1920s. The lanyard swivel is definitely not factory original, nor is the plated finish. The B prefix stamped under the barrel signifies that it was originally shipped with a blued finish.
I appreciate it, and I'm glad to finally know what that "B" prefix signifies. Probably looked quite nice in blue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Doc View Post
"As the story goes..." I think are key words here. Sellers often try to jack the price on a gun by claiming association with a celebrity police agency. Texas Rangers, FBI, and NYPD impresses many buyers. I suspect that gun either never saw NYPD service or it was modified a lot after it was retired. Right now it is a shooter grade c. 1930 M&P that has been poorly refinished. Price accordingly.
Well said. Whether or not the gun actually saw service doesn't matter all that much to my friend and his father, and they're not going to be parting with it anytime soon. I asked for some clarification and it was allegedly purchased from its first owner, a retiring NYPD highway patrol cop, by its second owner around 1949/1950. They purchased it from the second owner, who was also an NYPD officer, and got the story from him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
From the backstory, it doesn’t sound like this is some heirloom loaded with emotional baggage. So a letter would indeed be overkill unless someone is just very curious and wiling to spend money for a chance to satisfy that curiosity.

The shipping info may or may not confirm a department link. As far as I can tell from known data, NYPD’s practice of buying revolvers directly from S&W and Colt in bulk and then reselling these to the officers did not start until 1946.

Before then, and sometimes still after, officers generally purchased their guns from a handful of police equipment dealers around or near NYPD headquarters, at various times in the 20th century stores like Audley, Herold, Lava, Jovino, and Greenblatt. If the gun letters as shipped to one of those, it’s pretty much a slam-dunk confirmation.

But there were also large distributors in New York. Companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, Sloan’s, and H.D. Folsom had catalog sales and shipped guns nation-wide, so a gun lettering there is a dead-end. No guarantees.
Thanks for the info on how the NYPD handled firearm issuing and the common distributors. It's always interesting to read how things have changed over the years! If they do decide they want to spring for a letter I'll pass the word along. I agree though - they were mostly concerned with what era the gun belonged to.

Last edited by NY-1; 05-20-2020 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:58 AM
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Great old gun
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:52 PM
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That revolver would be known as a 38 Hand Ejector Military & Police, 4th Change. Don't agree that the lanyard ring is factory. Whenever one sees a factory lanyard ring from the factory whether military or a special order, there is no serial number on the butt and it is placed on the front strap of the butt-frame. The lanyard ring is then centered on the butt. Also, don't agree that the barrel shaped extractor knob is newer, since the changeover to the barrel shape took place in 1927, so it is original and correct.

I agree that it is almost certain that the gun was manufactured before 1930 as the stock change to the sliver medallion occurred almost immediately after the turn of the decade. The database shows several very close serial numbers shipped in mid-1929.

It may be the lighting but the gun appears to have received a chrome plating job, not nickel as the factory would have done. S&W did not offer chrome plating in the early decades of the K frame. Usually easy to tell the difference since nickel will give off a slightly yellow tone and chrome will be shiny silver color. The plating really diminishes value, so if in good working order, maybe $300??
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