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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 11-12-2020, 07:47 PM
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Default Identifying an orphan...

I found this poor neglected little orphan hidden in the corner of a pawn shop...I had seen the little darlin' before, but dressed in rags (read simulated plastic stag grips)...Today the foundling had been redressed in K-frame stocks which were obviously too small for it...I couldn't stand it, I paid the necessary fee, signed the adoption papers and took it home to love...

Trouble is I have no idea what to call the little sweetheart since I am relatively new to the mystical world of S&W...Therefore I'm begging some help figuring out what I brought home...There was no box or identifying papers...It is an N frame with 4" barrel...Forged half-round front sight and square notch rear sight...38 Spl. caliber, 5 screw frame and all numbers on ejector housing, frame and cylinder match...Separate matching numbers on frame and yoke...

Bad stuff: Sideplate screws - some panhead some flat...Copper (?) plated hammer, trigger, ejector rod and cylinder release...Sideplate is uneven with frame...Has horrendous trigger pull, and yet also has push-off...Mainspring arch looks to my eye to have far too much curve...

Finish may be original nickel because the factory markings are still sharp and not polished away...But that's just a guess on my part...Serial number S87XXX...I'm guessing a post-war .38-.44 HE, but that's as close as I can get...Can anyone assist?......Ben
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Old 11-12-2020, 08:14 PM
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It is a .38-44 Heavy Duty from about 1952. The gold/brass plating is aftermarket. Not sure about the nickel, but it seems to be non-original to me. The sideplate doesn't seem to fit properly, which is usually a dead giveaway. I would defer to others who may see it differently.

The flathead screw in the rear sideplate position is correct for an early 1950s Heavy Duty.

This gun won't win any beauty contests among collectors, but once you get the functional problems corrected, I suspect you will find it to be a good shooter. The N frame .38 Special revolvers are rather cool. I only own one and it was made in the 1930s. But they are a joy to shoot. Sort of like shooting .38 Special ammunition through a 4" Highway Patrolman.
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Old 11-12-2020, 08:31 PM
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Yeah the oddball plated parts are definitely not factory, and the more I look at it the more I agree it's been refinished...There are polishing marks in the frame even though the stampings are intact...I'll get the innards fixed, see if I can get the sideplate to fit...SCSW dates the S/N to 1952-53 as you suggested...At $300.00, I don't think I'll get hurt......Ben
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Old 11-12-2020, 08:52 PM
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I would be dying to get the extractor star plated the same copper color as the hammer, trigger, thumb latch, and extractor rod! (Assuming it wouldn't jack with the tolerances too terribly much.)

Instant $300 BBQ gun assuming it won't cost you much more to get the action ironed out.

Since you live in Conroe you need a nice looking prison guard rig for it................and some white longhorn bullhead stocks.

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Old 11-12-2020, 09:00 PM
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Yes a Heavy Duty, it is gaudy Heavy Duty but I see that you are up in Conroe, this may have come from down South, they liked to jazz these up a bit. I have two post war HD's, 4" and not as flashy as yours, they are great shooters. Personally I would put some attractive grips on it and call it my Tex - Mex Barbacoa gun, find a cool holster for it and have fun!
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Old 11-12-2020, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tenntex32 View Post
Since you live in Conroe you need a nice looking prison guard rig for it................and some white longhorn bullhead stocks.
I am going grip hunting this weekend, and as luck would have it in your neck of the woods, the gun show in Canton...

Glashaus, The extractor might even look better in copper, but then almost anything would improve the looks of my orphan child here...What am I suppose to do when a gun speaks to me - I had no choice but to give it a home...In the case next to it was a set of grips that I think would have looked good, nicely colored sambar stags...But they were attached to a S&W 29-3 in nickel with a price tag of $1450!...

If I don't find anything in Canton Saturday, or Belton Sunday, there's always the Houston Gun Collectors show in December...There's always a wide selection of overpriced grips there......Ben
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Old 11-12-2020, 09:29 PM
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At $300 you did not get hurt at all, and probably could double your money pretty easy...
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Old 11-12-2020, 09:34 PM
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If I don't find anything in Canton Saturday, or Belton Sunday, there's always the Houston Gun Collectors show in December...There's always a wide selection of overpriced grips there.
Stop in at Collectors Firearms in Houston, on the off chance they have some N frame stocks hanging around. Before I retired, I was in Houston frequently on business. I would always try to pay a visit to that shop in company with a Houston friend who is a Winchester collector.
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Old 11-12-2020, 10:52 PM
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Ah, I miss the shop on Richmond Avenue. I always thought of it as a museum for me, since the prices were often very high.

I have a strange attraction to this gun. To me it has kind of a chrome appearance and pretty sure the other plating is copper, which is quite unusual. I would be proud to take it to a TX BBQ, but no longer travel in that direction. Put some N frame cow horns on it and it would be even better!
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Old 11-12-2020, 11:46 PM
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I knew you lived near the Mexico border. Popular look with our amigos down south. Either the gun spent some time in Mexico or it fell into the hands of a pistolero immigrant.
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Old 11-13-2020, 12:21 AM
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Hey Truck: it seems some folks don't understand the meaning of "Heavy Duty". Get the mechs right...may be just gunk inside or may need a little gunsmith attention. Heavy Duty never had anything to do with pretty...had to do with getting the job done the first time 'round. Get some pretty grips for Sundays and some nice leather for the cookouts. Go to work the rest of the week. As you know, that is the Texas way...
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Old 11-13-2020, 12:21 AM
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Good buy and a nice project.

1. Check for a B in front of the barrel shroud serial #. If no B it was originally nickel plated from the factory, although it has been redone. However the factory protocol was followed by not nickel plating the hammer, trigger, and extractor star. The thumbpiece and extractor rod should be nickeled.

I suspect the sideplate doesn't fit flush because of the two layers of nickel plate; on the edges of the side plate and on the edges of the frame opening. That's fairly simple to fix by careful sanding. The gun may also have been copper plated before nickeling which the factory doesn't do but some aftermarket platers do.

I would take all the copper parts to a plater and have the copper removed by reversing the polarity of the electrolicis process. Brownells also sells a kit to do that. Then have the extractor rod and thumbpiece nickeled. Leave hammer and trigger natural.

2. I also suspect the mainspring has had a longer tension screw added to make it stronger and overcome the push off, which of course it didn't. If you need a replacement hammer and/or trigger, and you find replacements with some case hardening coloring on them, that'll solve the missing finish problem on the ones you have.

Have fun and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:34 AM
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I would take all the copper parts to a plater and have the copper removed by reversing the polarity of the electrolicis process. Brownells also sells a kit to do that. Then have the extractor rod and thumbpiece nickeled. Leave hammer and trigger natural.
I rather like it as it is.

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Old 11-13-2020, 03:32 AM
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I rather like it as it is.
There's something for everyone.

Since the finish is no longer original anyway, I'd kinda like the copper parts blued, except hammer and trigger of course.
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Old 11-13-2020, 04:25 AM
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All good thoughts from all who responded...I'm grateful for the comments and suggestions...I bought this with a fast flip in mind, but the gun is starting to grow on me...I'm beginning to think of a BBQ gun in a nice leather crossdraw holster...But first I'll attend to the mechanicals, and find some grips...As I've mentioned before, some guns just speak to me......Ben

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Old 11-13-2020, 10:45 AM
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There's something for everyone.

Since the finish is no longer original anyway, I'd kinda like the copper parts blued, except hammer and trigger of course.
The closest thing I have to anything remotely being considered a BBQ gun is a bone stock factory nickel 10-5.....so I found it appealing from a conversational standpoint. Any oddity is destined to be a conversational piece.

You know when visitating with others while sampling what yer a grillin'............

But he's gotta get the stocks just right.

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Old 11-13-2020, 09:25 PM
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I have a set of factory S&W N-Frame Magnas from 1969, walnut with black washers with screw that I would sell you for $35.00 shipped. There is some finish (not wood) wear on the right grip above and around the S&W medallion. Other than that they are pretty nice and matching.
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Old 11-13-2020, 10:17 PM
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Default Sounds Interesting

I can't quite visualize the nickel & copper description. Sounds a bit gaudy! If a "barbecue gun"; perhaps "pimp on the barbie?"

As five inch barrel guns seeming about the standard in that model, your four inch a bit unique bonus itself! Acquisition price sounding really good too! Thanks for your pawnshop "rescue & adoption"!

Have fun with that worthy sounding bit of restoration candidate!
Best & Stay Safe!
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Old 11-14-2020, 04:35 AM
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I have a set of factory S&W N-Frame Magnas from 1969, walnut with black washers with screw that I would sell you for $35.00 shipped. There is some finish (not wood) wear on the right grip above and around the S&W medallion. Other than that they are pretty nice and matching.
Sold!...I'll PM you...Thanks......Ben
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Old 11-14-2020, 07:08 AM
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Im with Hondo44 on repairs. Short action Case colored .375 Hammers and and stock nice .265 triggeres and mainsprings are plentiful on ebay. You can remedy the lock work for not much moneys. Get the sideplate off and clean
out the plate fitting and innards. Get a set of stainlessz frame screws polished to match.
With the afore mentioned grip buy a shooting and carry knock a round for a fun gun..
And its a throwback neat old Smith N Frame!
Edited to add🤣why cant I find 300$ 38/44
N Frames??? Lucky Dog😊

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Old 11-20-2020, 01:03 PM
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Update on the BBQ gun...The trigger pushoff issue was resolved by my gunsmith without resorting to changing any parts, thereby saving the treasured copper plated trigger and hammer...He also shaved a bit of the bumper chrome down on the sideplate allowing it to fit flush again, and also polished the entire gun as well as thoroughly cleaning and lubricating all the working parts......And thanks to Sbrmike's generosity, it now wears a proper set of grips more befitting the old vaquero's sidearm...

It's growing on me, and now my inclination is to find a nice set of cowhorn or stag grips at the gun show tomorrow, and maybe a crossdraw holster to complete its return to those thrilling days of yesteryear......Ben
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Old 11-20-2020, 01:07 PM
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A new home and TLC. What’s not to like about a happy ending?
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:29 PM
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Update on the BBQ gun...The trigger pushoff issue was resolved by my gunsmith without resorting to changing any parts, thereby saving the treasured copper plated trigger and hammer...He also shaved a bit of the bumper chrome down on the sideplate allowing it to fit flush again, and also polished the entire gun as well as thoroughly cleaning and lubricating all the working parts......And thanks to Sbrmike's generosity, it now wears a proper set of grips more befitting the old vaquero's sidearm...

It's growing on me, and now my inclination is to find a nice set of cowhorn or stag grips at the gun show tomorrow, and maybe a crossdraw holster to complete its return to those thrilling days of yesteryear......Ben
Glad it's now working as it should.

I have to say that the magna stocks look much better on it than I was expecting them to.
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:33 PM
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Copper (?) plated hammer, trigger, ejector rod and cylinder release...

Looks more like 10k gold to me.
Gold plating those parts was a typical dressup for a cop gun in the 60s and 70s, and probably before and after that.
Cops in small departments often furnished their own guns, or were allowed to carry their own guns. I'm a native Georgian, and I've seen many, many cops carrying guns with the gold treatment in my lifetime all over the South. It must be an infectious virus, because after one guy did it, it was common to see others in the same dept. do it. I have not seen Mexicans do it.
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Old 11-20-2020, 08:29 PM
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...It's growing on me, and now my inclination is to find a nice set of cowhorn or stag grips at the gun show tomorrow, and maybe a crossdraw holster to complete its return to those thrilling days of yesteryear......Ben...
Ben,

Here is a suggestion for you, stag magnas, a grip adapter and a proper Sunday holster.

Kevin
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Old 11-20-2020, 08:41 PM
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Ben,

Here is a suggestion for you, stag magnas, a grip adapter and a proper Sunday holster.

Kevin
Mmmm, Daddy like...But I've really got my heart set on a crossdraw...The grips are cool though...Maybe I'll get lucky tomorrow at the gun show......Ben
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Old 11-20-2020, 08:46 PM
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That old timer is finer than frog's hair.



That should be a heck of a shooter and git you into any BBQ anywhere.
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:32 PM
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Don't mean to hijack a thread, but since it was mentioned all the way down this thread, what is "trigger pushoff". Thanks
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:46 PM
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Don't mean to hijack a thread, but since it was mentioned all the way down this thread, what is "trigger pushoff". Thanks
I'm thinking he meant to say "hammer push off".

Hammer push off is where you can push a cocked hammer forward and it will release without actually pulling the trigger. It should not happen if the revolver is properly functioning.

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Old 11-21-2020, 02:41 AM
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I'm thinking he meant to say "hammer push off".

Hammer push off is where you can push a cocked hammer forward and it will release without actually pulling the trigger. It should not happen if the revolver is properly functioning.
Sometimes.... 'Limited to once per owner'! Also termed "Estate Specials", passing through so many; so quickly!

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Old 11-21-2020, 08:01 AM
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I'm thinking he meant to say "hammer push off".

Hammer push off is where you can push a cocked hammer forward and it will release without actually pulling the trigger. It should not happen if the revolver is properly functioning.
You are correct, sir...The misnomer is my error......Ben
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Old 11-21-2020, 09:48 AM
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Thanks for the clarification and answer. I did not know what hammer push off was either. I am guessing that in older guns with a hammer mounted firing pin this is a very bad thing.
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:01 AM
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Push off is a very bad thing on hammer mounted AND frame mounted firing pins. In the vernacular, it is termed a "hair trigger."
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:11 PM
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You know, I like it. Wish I had found it. Good lookin revolver. Have you shot it yet?
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mod57 View Post
You know, I like it. Wish I had found it. Good lookin revolver. Have you shot it yet?
I have not...I took it to the gun show today trying to find some decent stags or better yet giraffe bone grips for it (no joy there)...Naturally all I kept hearing was "Are you selling your gun sir?" and "What'cha got stuck in yer belt partner?"...I saw two other .38-44 HD's there...One 6" (kinda ratty) blued for $1500, and a 4" better looking and priced more moderately at $1200...

Maybe my $300 orphan child is more valuable than I thought, but I'll continue the search for fancier grips...And I really want a crossdraw holster to fit for inexplicable reasons......Ben
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