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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 06-26-2020, 08:15 PM
trevorsworth trevorsworth is offline
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Default N-frame identification

Hi all. A coworker gave me this gun. I have a Model 29 and two Model 10s but this is the first pre-number-designation gun for me so I just want to make sure I have it right and try to get a manufacture date.











I believe this is a .44 Hand Ejector, 2nd Model, dating to the late 20s? I believe the nickel plate may be an aftermarket job.

If anyone can provide a manufacture date based on the serial number (#27381) I would appreciate it, as well as any other relevant information.

Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2020, 08:38 PM
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Yes, 2nd Model HE 44 S&W with original stocks; nice! Yes, a refinish in nickel as the B on the barrel flat indicates it left the factory in blue. You'll need a letter to get the exact ship date but probably mid 1920s. I have SN 21146 which is 1923.

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Old 06-26-2020, 08:47 PM
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Not a bad gift! How does it shoot?

I agree with 22hipower, and in addition:

If the top strap is rounded with a tiny U shaped notch for a rear sight, it's pre 1926. If the top strap has been partly flattened with a large square notch rear sight, it's likely after 1926.
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Old 06-26-2020, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Not a bad gift! How does it shoot?

I agree with 22hipower, and in addition:

If the top strap is rounded with a tiny U shaped notch for a rear sight, it's pre 1926. If the top strap has been partly flattened with a large square notch rear sight, it's likely after 1926.
Sorry, I kind of lied. All of my prior S&Ws came to me as projects, and we got to talking about those, and after showing him the work I had done on mine he asked me to take a look at his. I am actually just going to be cleaning it up for him and giving it a general servicing but I was trying to keep it concise so I just said it was given to me so I could get to the point. In retrospect that wouldn't have added much length to the post... Unfortunately that does probably mean I won't get to shoot it.

Thanks for the tip about the sight. Based on that, I think it is probably pre-1926.

Last edited by trevorsworth; 06-26-2020 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 06-26-2020, 09:04 PM
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It is shame the nickel is a refinish. Looking at the gun, whoever did the nickel did a really good job- the rebound stud is still dome shaped and sticking up. I have not seen a refinish outside the factory that had this trait (at least any gun I knew was a refinish). Some immediate attention is needed on that butt. It will probably clean up pretty nicely with some elbow grease after a soaking. Certainly will make a very nice shooter. Price was definitely good. Good luck cleaning her up and enjoy it afterwards.
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Old 06-26-2020, 09:12 PM
trevorsworth trevorsworth is offline
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It is shame the nickel is a refinish. Looking at the gun, whoever did the nickel did a really good job- the rebound stud is still dome shaped and sticking up. I have not seen a refinish outside the factory that had this trait (at least any gun I knew was a refinish). Some immediate attention is needed on that butt. It will probably clean up pretty nicely with some elbow grease after a soaking. Certainly will make a very nice shooter. Price was definitely good. Good luck cleaning her up and enjoy it afterwards.
The nickel job was really well done indeed. I was looking for the usual tells like flattened pins and wiped out markings and none of them are there. I knew the B stamp meant it was blued from the factory, but I was almost wondering if it was somehow wrong until I saw the sideplate screws are still blued. Even the inside of the sideplate is polished nickel. The real shame is that some old-school gunsmith did such an excellent job on a custom finish and his work was subsequently left to rot.

As an aside, the lockup on this gun is a little looser (side to side play) than my later guns. It's not dangerous, but it's noticeable. Is that normal on earlier Hand Ejectors?

Last edited by trevorsworth; 06-26-2020 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 06-26-2020, 09:55 PM
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By side play I presume you mean when hammer is cocked you can rotate the cyl from side to side a small amount. Its not as critical as sometimes made out to be.

By the time your gun was built (after 1920), S&W introduced a forcing cone in the end of the barrel. This design requires side play to allow the bullet to align the cyl chamber with the barrel bore as it transitions from chamber mouth to barrel forcing cone.

If you think it's excessive, there's two simple fixes to tighten it up:

1. Slight ratchet tooth peening and,
2. Confirming the cyl lock bolt is touching the bottom of the cyl notches and in the center of the notch with a felt tip pen. It can be raised easily if needed.
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
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By side play I presume you mean when hammer is cocked you can rotate the cyl from side to side a small amount. Its not as critical as sometimes made out to be.

By the time your gun was built (after 1920), S&W introduced a forcing cone in the end of the barrel. This design requires side play to allow the bullet to align the cyl chamber with the barrel bore as it transitions from chamber mouth to barrel forcing cone.

If you think it's excessive, there's two simple fixes to tighten it up:

1. Slight ratchet tooth peening and,
2. Confirming the cyl lock bolt is touching the bottom of the cyl notches and in the center of the notch with a felt tip pen. It can be raised easily if needed.
Thanks - that's what I meant. I have tightened up my Model 29 in that way, as that gun was excessively loose. I was just wondering if a little slop is normal for this generation or if it's wear-related.
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorsworth View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by daddio202 View Post
It is shame the nickel is a refinish. Looking at the gun, whoever did the nickel did a really good job- the rebound stud is still dome shaped and sticking up. I have not seen a refinish outside the factory that had this trait (at least any gun I knew was a refinish). Some immediate attention is needed on that butt. It will probably clean up pretty nicely with some elbow grease after a soaking. Certainly will make a very nice shooter. Price was definitely good. Good luck cleaning her up and enjoy it afterwards.
The nickel job was really well done indeed. I was looking for the usual tells like flattened pins and wiped out markings and none of them are there. I knew the B stamp meant it was blued from the factory, but I was almost wondering if it was somehow wrong until I saw the sideplate screws are still blued. Even the inside of the sideplate is polished nickel. The real shame is that some old-school gunsmith did such an excellent job on a custom finish and his work was subsequently left to rot.

As an aside, the lockup on this gun is a little looser (side to side play) than my later guns. It's not dangerous, but it's noticeable. Is that normal on earlier Hand Ejectors?

I do not want to set a precedent for folks believing that the B mark on a nickel gun is often wrong, but it sometimes is!
That gun looks like it has a FACTORY original nickel finish to me. Only a letter could tell us for sure.
It is believed that the Factory occasionally pulled a blue gun from the vault and nickeled it to fill an order when they had none in stock and were not currently running that model.
It is also possible that a gun which was already marked "B" was diverted from the blue batch to be nickeled. MAYBE they forgot to leave the B off of some of the guns currently being built, or MAYBE they received orders for more nickel guns than they had planned on building.
REMEMBER- this is a RARE occurence. MOST guns marked with a B left S&W as blue guns, and there are only rare exceptions!

Want some proof?

L@@K----
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:30 PM
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5" 2nd model .44 Specials handle nicely.

This is one of the very, very VERY few times that a Dremel tool could be used on a firearm. I would cover the grip straps with numerous layers of aluminum tape, as well as the sides. Then, slowly, SLOWLY, take a wire wheel and clean off the corrosion. Wear safety glasses or googles. Use a very soft touch.
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:33 PM
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I forgot to add a couple of more points-
The sideplate screws are almost certainly replacements.
Since the original grips still fit about perfectly, it is very unlikely that the gun was buffed after leaving the Factory.
There are no Factory rework marks and the finish looks like a Factory finish, so I think it is a very good possibility that the gun originally shipped in nickel.
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:38 PM
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This is one of the very, very VERY few times that a Dremel tool could be used on a firearm.
True if one is careful and uses a soft brush.
A good, safe way is to pound the mouth of a rifle cartridge case flat on a flat steel surface. Get it really flat and square the end and put a chisel edge on it with the finest file you can find. It will scrape rust right off and I then clean the pits with a bronze toothbrush after soaking.
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:50 PM
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Here's where I'm at on the grip frame. Pretty severe pitting down here, but it's coming along.
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Old 06-26-2020, 11:23 PM
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Dealt with all the active rust, serviced the inside (so much gunk packed in there...) and gave it a sympathetic polish. I don't think I can do anything about the patchy nickel, which was already rubbed thin in some places and covered in microscratches, but it does look a damn sight better.

I'll probably be returning it to him tomorrow along with the knowledge of its model and window of production. Thanks everyone for the insight and especially thanks Handejector for the information about the finish.

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Old 06-27-2020, 01:11 AM
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2nd models and 3rd models were been sold at the same time, starting in January 1927. SN 28363, a 3rd model, shipped in that month and year.

Anytime someone asked me a clean up a firearm, if it was interesting enough, I took it to the range to "Make sure it will fire." Then I cleaned it again before the owner got it back.
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:19 PM
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I have a 5" 2nd model .44, blue, serial 24432, with dimple rear sight and lanyard loop, shipped 12/8/1926 to Belknap Hardware in Louisville KY. I would think yours shipped in 1927, based on the serial number alone, but have no idea how long the old-style round tops lingered in inventory.

Nice shooter. Tell your friend to go experience that old .44 with some mild loads!

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Old 06-27-2020, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
5" 2nd model .44 Specials handle nicely.

This is one of the very, very VERY few times that a Dremel tool could be used on a firearm. I would cover the grip straps with numerous layers of aluminum tape, as well as the sides. Then, slowly, SLOWLY, take a wire wheel and clean off the corrosion. Wear safety glasses or googles. Us a very soft touch.
Brass Wire Wheel ( actual Brass, not plated steel ) is okay.

Steel Wire Wheel, please, "no", never...
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Old 06-27-2020, 10:34 PM
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Is it just me or possibly the angle of the photo, but the ejector rod looks to be canted down somewhat from the barrel, possibly bent or the yoke is bent???
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Old 06-27-2020, 10:53 PM
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Good eye Gary!

Yeah, there's too big of a space between the mushroom knob and the bottom of the barrel. And the knob alignment doesn't look centered with the front locking bolt. So if the rod's not bent, the barrel is canted upward.

And if it is the barrel, that's likely why the front sight looks filed down a bit.


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Old 06-28-2020, 12:43 AM
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"Sorry, I kind of lied."

"A coworker gave me this gun."

All you had to say was " A coworker gave me this gun to clean"

I have done that for a number of friends and co-workers.
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Old 06-28-2020, 04:48 PM
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Good eye Gary!

Yeah, there's too big of a space between the mushroom knob and the bottom of the barrel. And the knob alignment doesn't look centered with the front locking bolt. So if the rod's not bent, the barrel is canted upward.

And if it is the barrel, that's likely why the front sight looks filed down a bit.


I noticed this myself but the ejector rod isnít bent. The cylinder crane might be slightly crooked - there is a slight gap between the top of the crane and the frame. However the cylinder sits square in the frame and thereís no gaps or lips between the crane and frame anywhere else. Like you I concluded the barrel is probably slightly canted. How that happened, Iím not sure.

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"Sorry, I kind of lied."

"A coworker gave me this gun."

All you had to say was " A coworker gave me this gun to clean"

I have done that for a number of friends and co-workers.
I donít get enough sleep for that kind of fancy wordcraft.

Last edited by trevorsworth; 06-28-2020 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:42 PM
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"Like you I concluded the barrel is probably slightly canted. How that happened, I’m not sure."

Could it have been a "club gun"?
Ha!
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
"Sorry, I kind of lied."

"A coworker gave me this gun."

All you had to say was " A coworker gave me this gun to clean"

I have done that for a number of friends and co-workers.
I don’t get enough sleep for that kind of fancy wordcraft.


How is adding two words and telling the truth "fancy wordcraft?"
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:31 PM
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The given SN range for 1926 production is 25000 to 28500. That this one shipped in 1927 is very possible.
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