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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 11-09-2020, 12:10 PM
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Question 5 inch barrel

This is my first S&W, an M&P from the 20's. I keep seeing auctions highlighting how uncommon/rare/desirable the 5" barrel is on these. Any truth to that, or is it pretty much just fluff to drive up the bids? I was thinking of polishing the Cordial Rhythm And Poetry out of it. (Was going to use the acronym instead, but evidently that word is censored...?)
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Old 11-09-2020, 12:29 PM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Folks like the balance of the 5" barrels, but it doesn't seem to factor heavily in added value. The Standard Catalog doesn't give a premium to 5" over 4 or 6". Is yours a round or square butt?
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Old 11-09-2020, 12:41 PM
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Welcome to the forum, nice revolver! seems to me that 5" was rather common on the early M&P
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Old 11-09-2020, 01:03 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.

I'm really fond of 5" barreled revolvers.
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Old 11-09-2020, 01:10 PM
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The 5" barrel is as people have noted, pretty common fixed sight M&Ps.

It is however uncommon on target sighted guns, and very desirable. You might be mixing up N and K frames however, as 5" N frame target guns are considered by many to be about the most desirable of all Smith & Wessons and very scarce (especially pre-war).
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Old 11-09-2020, 03:10 PM
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Not an expert but I think 5" barrel M&Ps have always been less common than 4 or 6. Bought this 10-7 new in 1979. Paid $133. It's had exactly 6 rounds fired through it.



Wait, this is pre 62 forum. Here's a 1942 VM 38 Special with a 1939 commercial 5" barrel swapped on. Total investment $65.

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Old 11-09-2020, 03:43 PM
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Not an expert but I think 5" barrel M&Ps have always been less common that 4 or 6.
I think that is generally true. But, it does not appear to be the case in the brief S prefix period (1946-1948). My research shows the 6" to be the least common among those M&Ps. The highest count is of 4" barrels (naturally), with 5" being the second most common.

It is an interesting period to study, for lots of reasons.
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Old 11-09-2020, 03:55 PM
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Welcome Tac.

That is a nice old M&P you have there. Hard to tell much from the one image , but it looks as though there is a fairly nicely developed patina to the finish.

Your gun , not mine but --- PLEASE do not rush into polishing that revolver! You would quickly eliminate the patina that was many decades in the making , and then you would have exposed steel.
I own a 5" M&P from about 1909 - and I wish the finish looked like yours.

Elsewhere , those target grips look way out of context with the gun , but I bet they shoot function real well for shooting. FITZ , by any chance? If you wish to go more original , period appropriate grip panels can be found , check E-bay. Lots of repros out there too , but the newness would stick out sharply.
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Old 11-09-2020, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
I think that is generally true. But, it does not appear to be the case in the brief S prefix period (1946-1948). My research shows the 6" to be the least common among those M&Ps. The highest count is of 4" barrels (naturally), with 5" being the second most common.
With the OPs gun being from the 1920s, I am not sure that this applies.

I have no data to back this up, just some years of observation. The 4, 5, and 6 were always available, but it is my impression that the dominance of the 4 barrel is a phenomenon of the post-WW II years. The longer barrels were at least as common, if not more so, prior to the four years of nobody manufacturing .38 Special revolvers with anything but a 4 barrel (disregarding the minuscule number of 2 models).

Obviously, that could be a misperception; one would need to collect some data to confirm it.
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Old 11-09-2020, 05:03 PM
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With the OPs gun being from the 1920s, I am not sure that this applies.
Agreed. I was just responding to, 5" barrel M&Ps have always been less common than 4 or 6

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it is my impression that the dominance of the 4 barrel is a phenomenon of the post-WW II years
This could be correct. As you say, we lack sufficient data to know for sure. But it is easy to get that impression. Available evidence shows a large number of 5" examples hanging around from the 1910 to 1930 period.

Less common are 5" target models, like this one from 1904.
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Old 11-09-2020, 05:06 PM
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I have to say that I enjoy this sort of speculative discussion. I'm grateful to Art Doc for bringing it up. Unfortunately, all we can do is ponder available evidence, since we do not have exhaustive knowledge of the past.
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Old 11-09-2020, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
With the OPs gun being from the 1920s, I am not sure that this applies.

I have no data to back this up, just some years of observation. The 4, 5, and 6 were always available, but it is my impression that the dominance of the 4 barrel is a phenomenon of the post-WW II years. The longer barrels were at least as common, if not more so, prior to the four years of nobody manufacturing .38 Special revolvers with anything but a 4 barrel (disregarding the minuscule number of 2 models).

Obviously, that could be a misperception; one would need to collect some data to confirm it.
I agree. Before 1940, I would call the 5" M&P a very common barrel length, perhaps more common than 4". Also remember that it was a popular cop gun length, like the Louisville PD guns we see turn up here.


On another note-
I find it laughable that every 5" Pre 27, 27, and 27-2 on GB has the "RARE" 5" barrel.
I worked in a gun shop in the 70s and actively traded guns on the side then, and ever since. MOST of those models traded at the time were 5". The 3-1/2s were TURKEYS- loud, smoky, twisting, firebreathing little ______ that nobody wanted. You got beat to death when you traded one. The 6s, 6-1/2s, and 8-3/8s were too long to pack handily, so they were less common. Again, MOST of the 27 family floating around back then were 5s.
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Old 11-09-2020, 06:41 PM
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I asked an RCMP official why their Model 10's were fivers after police guns had trended toward four-inch. He didn't know, but guessed that someone in the Regina depot thought a good compromise, or that maybe recruits shot the longer ones better.

Overall. I think four-inch replaced longer barrels as cars replaced walking beat officers. Shorter barrels drag less on car seats for most cops.
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Old 11-09-2020, 07:34 PM
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I agree. Before 1940, I would call the 5" M&P a very common barrel length, perhaps more common than 4". Also remember that it was a popular cop gun length, like the Louisville PD guns we see turn up here.


On another note-
I find it laughable that every 5" Pre 27, 27, and 27-2 on GB has the "RARE" 5" barrel.
I worked in a gun shop in the 70s and actively traded guns on the side then, and ever since. MOST of those models traded at the time were 5". The 3-1/2s were TURKEYS- loud, smoky, twisting, firebreathing little ______ that nobody wanted. You got beat to death when you traded one. The 6s, 6-1/2s, and 8-3/8s were too long to pack handily, so they were less common. Again, MOST of the 27 family floating around back then were 5s.
And the reason they aren't floating around now is that no one is willing to give them up!
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Old 11-09-2020, 09:40 PM
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I have 3 5 inch revolvers. I have a1899 M&P a S&W 27-2 and a Colt Official police. I cant remember if I have any others. I think the 5 inch guns were often carried in plain clothes and on duty so one gun served 2 purposes. Remember back in the day Cops did not make much money. people dressed more dressed up the today. Coats Hats Ties and those baggy dress Pants were the norm.
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Old 11-09-2020, 10:58 PM
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Remember back in the day Cops did not make much money. people dressed more dressed up the today. Coats Hats Ties and those baggy dress Pants were the norm.
Interesting point. Recently, I watched the 1960 World Series on YouTube. The scans of the crowd showed most of the men wearing white shirts and ties - at a ballgame! I grew up in the 1950s and ties were standard wear for men, just about everywhere. I rarely saw my grandfather when he wasn't wearing a tie. Most of them were wool and I have a few of his that I still wear occasionally.

My grandfather passed away from a heart attack shortly before I left for 'Nam. When I returned two years later, they were just finishing up settling his estate and dad gave me a few of his ties. I have his picture on my dresser, and he is wearing his WWI American Expeditionary Forces uniform. No tie, but the uniform is woolen.
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Old 11-10-2020, 12:30 AM
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Not the most pristine example, and a much newer version than yours (1957), but I love the way my 5 K38 shoots, and to my taste its almost a perfect length, at least for me.

While this version of the K38 is not nearly as common as the 6 Masterpiece, it didnt seem to increase the value very much, if at all when I bought it.

Having said all that, Im not a great pistol shot, even with an extra inch, but it sure is fun trying!
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Old 11-10-2020, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiregrassguy View Post
Standard Catalog doesn't give a premium to 5" over 4 or 6".
Ah well. It sparked some discussion, anyway.

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Is yours a round or square butt?
Square.

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Originally Posted by SixgunStrumpet View Post
You might be mixing up N and K frames
This is entirely possible.

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Originally Posted by Art Doc View Post
1942 VM 38 Special with a 1939 commercial 5" barrel swapped on. Total investment $65.
Wow, what a steal! I paid $220 for this one.

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Originally Posted by Waveski View Post
Welcome Tac.
That is a nice old M&P you have there.
Thank you!

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PLEASE do not rush into polishing that revolver
Ok, point taken. I was thinking about it from a "rare antique" standpoint, (i.e. none to speak of) but hadn't considered the protective aspects.

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Elsewhere, those target grips look way out of context with the gun , but I bet they shoot function real well for shooting. FITZ , by any chance?
Took them off and on the inside they are marked "POINTER By W. Murad, San Carlos, CA, S&W 303"


I think I'll go for function over form in this instance - might look a little wonky, but I'm planning on taking it to the range as opposed to keeping it a shelf piece.

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Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
I have to say that I enjoy this sort of speculative discussion. I'm grateful to Art Doc for bringing it up.
And I will take full credit for providing the platform from which he could expound on said discussion

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Coats Hats Ties and those baggy dress Pants were the norm.
I guess they would have considered me a hobo, then. I've never liked wearing a tie, and probably wouldn't have even back then
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Old 11-10-2020, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by NavySCPO View Post
I love the way my 5 K38 shoots, and to my taste its almost a perfect length, at least for me.
Good to know, seems like there are a few who prefer it

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Im not a great pistol shot, even with an extra inch, but it sure is fun trying!
Very much agreed
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Old 11-10-2020, 01:30 PM
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Looking at this new picture I have a bit of a question, probably just due to the pictures but I still feel like I should ask; is the barrel bulged?

It looks like something is a bit odd about the barrel right behind the end of the extractor.
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Old 11-10-2020, 01:34 PM
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I have this one from somewhere in the teens, pre heat treat
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Old 11-10-2020, 01:34 PM
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I’ll wear a tie when they bury me
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Old 11-10-2020, 02:17 PM
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I have this one from somewhere in the teens, pre heat treat
Nice looking old Smif. What happened to the screw heads? They are supposed to be round.
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Old 11-10-2020, 02:41 PM
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As for barrel lengths, there are enough guns in the SWCA database to make some valid observations.

38 M&Ps from 1910 to 1930 have the following percentages listed in the database:
3% - 2"
35% - 4"
20% - 5"
41% - 6"
1% - 6.5"

"S" prefix K frames from 1946 to 1948 have the following percantages:
2" - 18%
4" - 25%
5" - 33%
6" - 24%

Nothing seems to be scarce in the S prefix guns, while the 2" (3%) and 6.5" (1%) guns in the early K frames are likely scarce and the 6.5 might even be bordering on rare. It is my understanding that only a few early 38 M&Ps, 3rd Change revolvers were made with that long barrel, probably leftovers from pre-1910 2nd Change inventory.
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Old 11-10-2020, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
I agree. Before 1940, I would call the 5" M&P a very common barrel length, perhaps more common than 4". Also remember that it was a popular cop gun length, like the Louisville PD guns we see turn up here.


On another note-
I find it laughable that every 5" Pre 27, 27, and 27-2 on GB has the "RARE" 5" barrel.
I worked in a gun shop in the 70s and actively traded guns on the side then, and ever since. MOST of those models traded at the time were 5". The 3-1/2s were TURKEYS- loud, smoky, twisting, firebreathing little ______ that nobody wanted. You got beat to death when you traded one. The 6s, 6-1/2s, and 8-3/8s were too long to pack handily, so they were less common. Again, MOST of the 27 family floating around back then were 5s.
Lee, I can almost see the sarcasm dripping 😉, but Im still learning so Ill bite. From my limited observation, the Model 27 (or pre) in the 3.5 barrel seems to be the most desirable and highly valued. Every time I see one offered the price seems to go up, and they dont last long.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by glowe View Post
"S" prefix K frames from 1946 to 1948 have the following percantages:
2" - 18%
4" - 25%
5" - 33%
6" - 24%
Thanks, Gary.
I'd be interested in knowing how big that sample size is. My database accounts for more than 6,000 examples, and I get a different set of data.

Quote:
Nothing seems to be scarce in the S prefix guns
Generally speaking, I would agree. The only caveat is if you break down the 2" guns into RB and SB. The RB examples seem to be far less common.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:30 PM
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Thanks, Gary.
I'd be interested in knowing how big that sample size is. My database accounts for more than 6,000 examples, and I get a different set of data.
....
Sometimes perceptions guide reality

Considering that the SCWA database was accumulated based on input from active members/collectors, there is a good chance the numbers are skewed by what was/is being considered more desirable/collectible.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:41 PM
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Lee, I can almost see the sarcasm dripping 😉, but Im still learning so Ill bite. From my limited observation, the Model 27 (or pre) in the 3.5 barrel seems to be the most desirable and highly valued. Every time I see one offered the price seems to go up, and they dont last long.
Now, yes.

Then, no.

In the 70s, I would decline a trade on a 3-1/2" gun.

A friend brought one into the shop in 75 and wanted to trade it for one of my guns. I declined. He came back with it 3 or 4 days later. I still had the gun he wanted. He'd been trying to sell his 3-1/2. He was a cop and knew how to move guns. He said "Get me out of it." I said "I'm gonna hurt you." He said "Hurt me" and we traded. That was in Atlanta, which is not a small gun market. They were actually that hard to move back then. Anybody wanting to pack a 357 wanted a 2-1/2" 19 or 66.

The publicity given to 3-1/2 Reg Mags packed by G-Men and Lawmen before WW II, to a large extent done on this very board, have added the mystique to the 3-1/2" guns. BUT, don't forget, they didn't have a choice of a smaller, lighter magnum. How many would have chosen a 3-1/2" N frame to wear with a suit if a 2-1/2" K frame had been available?
The Mod 19, a smaller, lighter 357 came about largely through the recommendations of Bill Jordan, just about the LARGEST man that ever packed a gun all day, every day.
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Old 11-10-2020, 04:09 PM
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I handled a five-inch M-27 at the Dallas FBI field office on a HS field trip. The tour guide agent said the action hadn't been slicked to his knowledge, but it was a delight , a real step up from my only revolver, a Webley MK VI.

He said few agents wore N-frame .357's unless working an especially dangerous case. But he liked the heavy bbl. M-10, M-10-6.

An agent speaking to my class on a career day left his M-49 in his car, but told me it was his average day gun.
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Old 11-10-2020, 04:46 PM
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The whole exercise is an estimation at best. Whether there were hundreds or a few thousand in the sample size, both offer a small percentage of those models manufactured. It was merely to help the OP with his 5" question and to see if there were any scarce "S" numbered gun barrel lengths.

What is really sad is that people feel they have to keep their own private databases in the first place.
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:01 PM
bondjamesbond bondjamesbond is offline
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Don’t know about the screw heads, never noticed they were flat, it has been refinished, but only paid a couple hundred for it.
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:29 PM
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What is really sad is that people feel they have to keep their own private databases in the first place.
Yeah. I get that. Keep in mind, mine is part of a huge, multi-year research project that is intended to become the basis for a Journal article. Roy agreed to help me with it. Once the research is complete and the article submitted, it is my intent to make the database available to all. Perhaps Lee will provide some space for it here on the Forum, or at least in the members only section.

Making it public now, while the research is ongoing, would simply complicate my work and I don't have enough "spare time" to devote to it is as it is.
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:45 PM
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Agreed. I was just responding to, 5" barrel M&Ps have always been less common than 4 or 6


This could be correct. As you say, we lack sufficient data to know for sure. But it is easy to get that impression. Available evidence shows a large number of 5" examples hanging around from the 1910 to 1930 period.

Less common are 5" target models, like this one from 1904.
Jack, I never thought I'd see another 1902 Target 5" in close to the condition of the one I have. Mine is worse, if you can fathom it.

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Old 11-10-2020, 05:59 PM
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Stu
That is cool. I like the fact it has checkered walnut round butt stocks. The stocks on mine, obviously, are newer than the gun by several years. Roy says mine shipped with hard rubber.
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Old 11-10-2020, 07:31 PM
Walter Rego Walter Rego is offline
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I have a 1946 .38 M&P in 5", a 1964 Model 14-2 with a 5" Special Order barrel and a 1972 Model 27-2 with a 5" barrel. They all have handling characteristics that to me are better than the same models with 6" barrels.

You can be sure that when they time comes for me to sell them, I will definitely be asking a premium for that barrel length on the Model 14-2 and Model 27-2. While I dislike the overuse of the word "scarce" the Model 27-2 has a Patridge front sight and judging from all the examples that I have seen on this site of other 5" Model 27's, it certainly isn't as common as the Baughman ramp front sight.
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Old 11-10-2020, 09:20 PM
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Looking at this new picture I have a bit of a question, probably just due to the pictures but I still feel like I should ask; is the barrel bulged?

It looks like something is a bit odd about the barrel right behind the end of the extractor.
Hmmmmm ... I zoomed in and now I see it too.
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Old 11-10-2020, 11:15 PM
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Hmm, good catch. It actually is, when i run my fingers over it i can feel it slightly.
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Old 11-10-2020, 11:40 PM
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Hmm, good catch. It actually is, when i run my fingers over it i can feel it slightly.
I personally don't have much experience with bulged barrels, but I did want to point it out in case its a safety risk. I expect much more knowledgeable people then myself can fill you in on that.

You might break out a flashlight and see if you can spot how big the bulge is inside the barrel in the meantime.
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Old 11-11-2020, 01:39 AM
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Yeah
I have to go along with so many above ...5" is kinda just right
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Old 11-11-2020, 09:21 AM
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I asked an RCMP official why their Model 10's were fivers after police guns had trended toward four-inch. He didn't know, but guessed that someone in the Regina depot thought a good compromise, or that maybe recruits shot the longer ones better.

Overall. I think four-inch replaced longer barrels as cars replaced walking beat officers. Shorter barrels drag less on car seats for most cops.
Agree with the car seat issue. In 1976 when I became a LEO we carried 5" nickel Model 10. Our patrol cars still had bench seats. When we got cars with bucket seats around 1978 not as much a problem as holster could ride down side of seat. In 1979 the department transition to all 4". Much more comfortable. I didn't notice any difference in his they shot as far as accuracy.
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Old 11-11-2020, 02:26 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is online now
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I personally don't have much experience with bulged barrels, but I did want to point it out in case its a safety risk. I expect much more knowledgeable people then myself can fill you in on that.

You might break out a flashlight and see if you can spot how big the bulge is inside the barrel in the meantime.
I have owned a few .32 S&W HEs that had bulged barrels. I had no issues with them and accuracy was fine.

I have a 1899 5" in .32-20, a 1902 5" in .32-20, a 5" M&P in .38 special, a 1st model, a 2nd model and a 3rd model .44 Special, all three are 5". I have a M544 .44-40, which is a 5". I have a M27 converted to .44 Special. It is also a 5". I have a .38/44 Outdoorsman converted to a 5" .357. I even have a 5" Colt Official Police in .32-20.

Can we count my 1917 Commercial, which is a 5 1/2"? And my six single actions that measure 4 3/4"-4 5/8"?
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Old 11-11-2020, 04:10 PM
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So, the question now becomes, who has a 5 inch barrel for sale seeing as mine is liable to blow up in my hand.
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Old 11-16-2020, 04:31 AM
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Crickets...


I called my local shop, they gave me an estimate of $200, but they're completely booked up until the spring. I would like to send it directly to S&W, but they said they couldn't give me an estimate until one of their gunsmiths had it in their hand.


Would anyone be willing to speculate what kind of turnaround time I might be looking at, and whether or not the cost will be in the ballpark of what the local shop quoted me?
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Old 11-16-2020, 06:28 AM
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S&W won't work on it and it'll take them 6 months to tell you that. That's what happened when I contacted them about my K-32 Model 16. It was made in 1959 but they consider it obsolete and refused to work on it. Your guns hasn't been made since around 1930.


Handguns with bulges more severe than yours continue to be shot without safety concerns. I'd relax and shoot it but monitor the physical condition and only stop if I identify deterioration. In the interim, go to some local gunshows and look for a replacement barrel. If your local shop is going to install their barrel for $200, that might be a decent price as you will likely incur around $75 labor charges...depending what area of the country you are in.
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Old 11-16-2020, 11:38 AM
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It will not blow up. I have owned and, unfortunately, put a barrel bulge in a gun I own myself. If there is no indication of a failure or crack, think of that stuck bullet as a pressure proof test. If it was going to fail, it would have already did it when that second bullet pushed out the first one!!! The S&W I once bought with a bulged barrel shot great and with standard loadings, never caused any problems.

Back when I shot Cowboy Action, I bought an Uberti Henry rifle. It was a ball to shoot and the "accident" I had was during competition shooting steel plates, as I was shooting steel plates. All shots were heard, but one must have been a weak one that sent the bullet half-way down the barrel and the second shot sent both bullet on target and everyone heard two plate hits. I quit shooting and immediately discovered a bulge, no failure and no cracks. Those familiar with the Henry barrel/magazine part probably know how expensive it would have been to replace, so I ultimately filed the flats down and refinished, the bulge disappeared. The gun still shoots on target and I have been using it without concern for over 20 years.
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Old 11-16-2020, 12:15 PM
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I can only relate an experience with a Glock 21 I took in a trade...The barrel was found to be not only bulged, but even shaved down afterwards (obviously an older fix from the discoloration present) to allow the slide to operate freely...I didn't want to sell it as-is, but I went and shot a bag of reloads through it myself, and found it not only functioned, but was very accurate...

After mulling it over, I decided to put it out as a rental gun on the range...It never had a failure in the next two years, but a customer liked it so much he wanted to buy it...After taking it apart and showing him everything I knew, he still wanted it...Being the type who pleases a customer, I sold it, and he never had a complaint about it...

In another case, a local constable (not a deputy but the elected official) brought in his very old M&P and said he had a squib while qualifying and still had a bullet in the barrel...He left it with me and I drove out not one, but four bullets...I cleaned it and shot it just to see if it would still function...He picked it up later, and to my knowledge never had a problem with it (except he was probably still dumb enough not to stop on the first squib......Ben
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Old 11-16-2020, 12:24 PM
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... and to my knowledge never had a problem with it except he was probably still dumb enough not to stop on the first squib......Ben
Oh come on, don't say "dumb", he was persistent!.
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Old 11-16-2020, 12:59 PM
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Oh come on, don't say "dumb", he was persistent!.
I think he was lucky it was only a six-shooter......Ben
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Old 11-16-2020, 10:41 PM
charlie sherrill charlie sherrill is offline
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When I started in 1969 we had to furnish our own. Most went with a 4" barrel of some sort and only two officers had 3 1/2" barrels. Both were pre 27's and both officers were motorcycle patrolmen. One of my friends started a couple of years after I did. He had a 1905 4th change with a 5" barrel and a lanyard ring that was once owned by his uncle, who was the town marshall in a nearby small town. The uncle had been sent to prison for manslaughter for killing his brother in law for beating his sister. He did a few years at Parchman State Pen in Mississippi and was pardoned by the governor upon request of the mayor of the aforementioned small town which I see no reason to reveal. The mayor made him the town marshall as soon as he got back from Parchman to clean up the lawlessness that the town had become famous for. Clean it up he did. That old 5" 1905 had seven notches on it by the time he retired after almost 40 years of service. I'm not sure if he counted the brother in law. I saw my friend, the owner of the 1905, a few months ago and asked him if he still had the 1905. He did. I again offered to buy it from him and he again refused. I wasn't expecting him to sell it but I had to ask. This officer had to take an early retirement because of injuries received in a gun fight. He took four slugs from a .380 auto and the perp took two between the eyes with a model 686. I'm guessing he inherited a few of his uncle's genes. By then our department had issued the 686. The perp is no longer with us but thankfully my friend and former fellow officer still is. I love a lanyard ring on the old cop guns and have a few. This 1905 was equipped with one also.
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Old 11-17-2020, 10:33 AM
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... I worked in a gun shop in the 70s and actively traded guns on the side then, and ever since. MOST of those models traded at the time were 5". The 3-1/2s were TURKEYS- loud, smoky, twisting, firebreathing little ______ that nobody wanted. ...
Very interesting comment, which is very seldom addressed here. It begs the follow up question:
If a 3-1/2 inch barrel on a .357 Magnum makes for a most unpleasant shooting experience, how much better, if at all, is a 4" barrel for same?

My motivation in asking is that often seen on these pages are glowing comments on the wonderous properties of an M28, especially its ability to "soak up recoil" from the stoutest loads. Usually in the same breath the poster lets us know how the 4" version is his favorite. I feel like a voice in the wilderness when I comment "Well, for shooting the 6" M28 is a lot better."

I was in my mid-thirties when I bought my first revolver, a 4" M19. I read an article in a gun magazine that this was the best all-around handgun, especially if you only had one. I stuck to .38 Specials for target practice. On occasion I would shoot full power .357 Magnums and just assumed that the recoil, blast and flash were the price you paid. As the old saying goes, you don't get power for nothing.

As my horizons began to expand, the more I came to appreciate the 6" M28. The same rationale applies to the 6" M29.

Naturally, collectors here want all the barrel lengths, especially the rarest ones. I get that. But if you do much shooting, a 5" barrel is pretty much the minimum, and a 6" barrel is better.
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