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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 05-22-2020, 01:37 PM
Grimjaws Grimjaws is offline
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Default Do I have the oldest 38/44 HD on the Forum UPDATE

So got bored last night and decided to do some research on my recently acquired 5Ē Nickel 38/44 HD.
Serial number 353xx
Based upon my research they start out at 35037 in 1930. That should put my HD at 1930 first year and within 350 or so of the first one.

So anyone have one that is older?

Sorry I though you werenít supposed to give the full number
I have 35368
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:02 PM
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If you ask that question, you should at least reveal the entire serial number.
I have 35221, April of '30.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:17 PM
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My lettered to August, 1931......
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:22 PM
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1Aspenhill probably has 30 or 40 older than yours. Think he has about 4,000 total.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:25 PM
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On my list (not mine), I show HD 35078 as shipping on 4/15/1930. Posted and pictured here back in 2016.

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Old 05-22-2020, 04:57 PM
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The one on the right is a November 25th 1930 gun. The left is a 1956er.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:00 PM
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Roy Jinks says mine is 1931

S&W .38-44 HD

SN 37058

So yours is older. Gonna have a 90th birthday party for it?
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:06 PM
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Since Art doc invoked my name, here goes: There are 50 older than the first nickel 5" I have in my database which is 35368. Also a lot of people forget that in this serial number range for N frames include 3d Model 44, 2d Model 44, so you can't say that the difference between the first HD and yours is a number because you can't take into it that there are 44 cal models being made at the same time. As time went on you have to add in the Reg Mag to the serial number range. So if you want to PM your serial number or announce it on here, I will see if I have it and any info on it.
I hope this helps,
Bill
PS Art Doc, I don't have 4000 serial numbers but around 2000 which is about 18% of all pre war HDs.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:13 PM
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No, you don't have the oldest HD on the forum. My HD 35527 was a first month gun so you see, you can't go by serial numbers. Guns were placed in the vault and they pulled what they needed and when they replenished, they put them on the stack so your gun with a lower serial number could have languished on the bottom of the stack before it was shipped.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:53 PM
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The knowledge on this forum is amazing.
I posted the full serial.

Love the 38/44 site
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:55 PM
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Grimjaws,
If you reread my post you will see that your serial number is the first one I have in my database that is nickel. I can do some research and see who got some in the first month in nickel. Those I may know but don't have the serial numbers. I used to own TONOWANDA PD #14.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:13 PM
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Thanks so much

Would you have a ship date?
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:15 PM
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...just gotta dig these 38-44 threads. Thank you for sharing the pictures and information. I find 38-44 loads in my 357 Magnums to be most accurate and enough power for my aging hands. I still have to add a S&W 38-44 HD 5” to my modest collection if only I can find one from a reputable source.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:18 PM
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The first nickel HD shipped was 35386 in Apr 1930. Tonowanda PD guns were shipped in June 1930. So you can't go in serial number order to find a guns age-the ship date is what determines age for the most part.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Aspenhill View Post
The first nickel HD shipped was 35386...

Bill, I think the last two digits of that serial were reversed based on what I read above. If not, please straighten me out on what I don't understand.

If you do change the number, I'll come back and erase the content in this reply.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:33 PM
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No the serial number is correct, 35386 was the first nickel HD shipped. I'm looking at it in an email Roy did way back in 2005.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:47 PM
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Ah, now I see -- I'm guilty of the very mistake you were cautioning against. Nickel HD 35368 (the subject of this thread) has a lower serial number than nickel HD 35386, but the gun with the higher number is recorded as the first nickel HD to have shipped.

Clear now. Thank you.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:45 PM
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Default Curious

Since mine 35368 is Nickel but not the first recorded as shipped I am guessing it still has some value. Based upon previous posts it looks like Tonawanda PD got this in June maybe.

I grew up in Tonawanda and was born in June so to think this was given to the PD in my birth month (not year) and my home town makes it even more special.

I am curious what this is worth. It is 95% easy. Some freckles but no rust - some flaking under the grips. Grips are not numbered to the gun however. The rifling is crisp and looks like its never been fired but I know it has. I cleaned off the powder burn rings and the cylinder looks great.

I am not sure I would want to shoot this. But I do want to insure it.

I got this excellent example of a 38/44 for $550 total from a closing LGS who I believe did not know what they had. It was surrounded by plastic pistols and stood out so I took a look and realized what I had.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:53 PM
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Your gun left the factory with service grips and your HD can handle.38 Spl +P even today.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:47 AM
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Better pictures would be nice. Would like to see hi res in focus shots. The one pic we have looks like itís refinished. Made in USA is worn, hammer and trigger look plated.


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Old 05-23-2020, 06:59 AM
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A heck of a price @ $550. Very nice. My earliest is 1931 (SN 37281).
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:21 AM
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Default Some photos

The lettering is sharp on top of the barrel and sides
The serial number stamped inside behind the ejector rod is crisp
I doubt this was refinished. It shows some freckling and some flaking under the grip. I only have my phone for pictures but here are four more. Plus it was noted in an earlier post this was Nickel from the factory. Itís hard to see in photos but the hammer and trigger are not Nickel just really faded.
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:49 AM
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Is it stamped N for nickel anywhere on the gun? I haven't seen it mentioned.
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Old 07-20-2020, 02:23 PM
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Grimjaws,
In reviewing my database, I came across another shipment to TTP in 1938, 22ea in the shipment.
Bill
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Old 07-20-2020, 07:49 PM
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Now we need to determine who’s got the lowest S Serial Number Outdoorsman.
I’ll start.
I got S79810.
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:36 PM
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S69301 has you beat
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:13 PM
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S71218 (transitional) shipped Sept. 1946. I've probably posted it before so it should already be in someone's database.
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Old 07-21-2020, 01:26 PM
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S66842 (shipped 7/18/1946 to Sports Inc. of Chicago) was one of the first revolvers I bought when I fell into addictive S&W collecting about a dozen years ago. A day after mine was shipped, the factory sent S63023 to San Francisco, illustrating the lack of correlation between serial number and shipment date that collectors know all too well.

S62979 was once in the hands of (or at least observed by) a forum and SWCA member who is sadly no longer with us. If I ever learned the lowest known serial on a postwar HD, I have forgotten it. I bet 1Aspenhill could tell you.
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Old 07-22-2020, 10:54 AM
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Yes Dave it does seem strange although there was more demand for the 4" than the 6.5".. The lowest HD serial number I have is S62490 which is a 6.5".
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:38 AM
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[QUOTE=1Aspenhill;140781828]No, you don't have the oldest HD on the forum. My HD 35527 was a first month gun so you see, you can't go by serial numbers. Guns were placed in the vault and they pulled what they needed and when they replenished, they put them on the stack so your gun with a lower serial number could have languished on the bottom of the stack before it was shipped.[/QUOTE


I am befuddled

Can you explain this further? serial number of date manufactured vs date shipped?? Are lower serial numbers not produced before those with higher numbers regardless of how long they sat around before shipping out??
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Old 07-22-2020, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule3 View Post
...I am befuddled

Can you explain this further? serial number of date manufactured vs date shipped?? Are lower serial numbers not produced before those with higher numbers regardless of how long they sat around before shipping out??...
As I understand it, S&W would make things like frames in batches. Forge them and fill the bins. Then the rough forgings would get to the next worker in line who prettied them up. Then someone would do a bunch of machining and fitting things like barrels. At some point they would get stamped with a serial number, in sequence. But, all the N frames could be made to work for all the models. So, stockpile what you have done and when you need a frame for a 1917 Commercial, grab one from the pile. Same for a HD. For an Outdoorsman, grab a frame and machine it for adjustable sights.

You can see how with X number of workers grabbing from the same pile, the numbers did not have a chance of going out sequentially or even being built in order.

Also, S&W did not keep track of manufacturing dates, only shipping dates Hope this helps.

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Old 07-22-2020, 02:16 PM
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As guns were placed in the vault, they were just stacked up and pulled as needed. If a gun went in and was at the bottom of a stack of 20HDs and the order needed 19, they pulled 19. If a new batch arrived in the vault, they were piled on top of the one gun left. When that gun shipped was obviously later than the batch it arrived in the vault with. When you get a letter for your gun, you get a date in which it was shipped. There were blocks of serial numbers, ie the transition 38/44 Outdoorsman were in the S69000-S71000 with a few in S72000. I have only 5 serial numbers for HDs in those serial number ranges. I think you will find the 357 mag and 44 special targets in this range also. If you have looked at any of the correspondence from the factory, some letters have stated that they are not making that particular gun/caliber right now and would advise when they were so the particular order could be fulfilled. S&W did keep track of manufacturing, I don't think they kept track of the serial numbers being manufactured and the date manufactured.
Just my observations
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:01 PM
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something else that i remembered-the HD had started to make changes in the S68000 serial number range-4line address, small ejector rod. Every 38/44 Outdoorsman Transition i have seen have a one line address, large ejector rod knob, which indicates that the factory was not going to make changes to the OD at this time as it would cost time and money to do so, so if you wanted one you got it like it was built!
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by StrawHat View Post
Also, S&W did not keep track of manufacturing dates, only shipping dates
Yes, with rare exceptions. Ownership may not have insisted on having a control calendar for the assembly and numbering of specific firearms, but at least one assembly floor foreman was known to have kept a notebook with a running total -- with serial numbers -- of daily I-frame production over several years in the early 1900s. Forum member opoefc, one of the true experts here, has long provided specific manufacture dates when an early I-frame serial number shows up in one of the familiar what-can-anyone-tell-me-about-this-old-revolver threads that appear here regularly.

It would be nice to think that other foremen's notebooks might still survive for different frame sizes and different eras, but I have heard no assertions that they do, and I think it likely that they do not.
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:30 PM
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Yes, with rare exceptions. Ownership may not have insisted on having a control calendar for the assembly and numbering of specific firearms, but at least one assembly floor foreman was known to have kept a notebook with a running total -- with serial numbers -- of daily I-frame production over several years in the early 1900s. Forum member opoefc, one of the true experts here, has long provided specific manufacture dates when an early I-frame serial number shows up in one of the familiar what-can-anyone-tell-me-about-this-old-revolver threads that appear here regularly.

It would be nice to think that other foremen's notebooks might still survive for different frame sizes and different eras, but I have heard no assertions that they do, and I think it likely that they do not.
Interesting information. Sounds as if each frame size had one (or more) supervisors rather than a couple of supervisors over the whole of production.

Too bad none of the employees that are still alive are members of this forum.

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