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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 11-19-2020, 11:03 AM
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I love the old long barreled M&Ps, so I picked up another early 38 M&P Target a few days ago and immediately started to clean it up. Auction title was: “Pre-War S&W K-38 Target Double Action Revolver”. Well it was a pre-war gun alright, but I think the auction house was referring to WWII, while this gun was actually pre-WWI. It had those dreaded rubber stocks, which I believe kept the value down at auction, but I quickly resolved that problem. The gun, sn 150057, shipped in 1911 and upon inspection, found that there was very little wear, screws appeared to have been unturned in the last 120 years, plus the action was as super-clean. The 3rd Change was made from 1901 to 1915 in serial number range 146,900 to 241,703.

I pulled the gun apart and found that there was some damage to the finish under the rubber stocks on the rear of the frame. Bluing had thinned and was a little cloudy. Too bad and a BIG reason why people should never keep these type stocks on their vintage guns. I lightly wiped the gun down with Oxpho-Blue and waxed it, which cleaned up the original gloss bluing nicely, but the area that was under the rubber stocks still show a less polished look. Matching numbers, mirror bore and great case coloring on the hammer and trigger. Got out a couple of sets of teens stocks and found one fit the gun well and the other was too short. I need to clean up the stocks a little but for now, I am ready for the range.

One part of the auction description caught my attention. It stated that the gun was a 6.5” barrel, but Roy and other publications show that the 3rd Change was only available in 4” and 6”. The 2nd Change did offer the 6.5” barrel. I dug into the SWCA database to find only four 6.5”, 3rd Change guns, and the last one listed shipped in 1911. Not much of a stretch to make the observation that there were a few long barrels left over after 1910, but the question is how many?? The four listed in the database were all Target revolvers, so there were likely a few long barrel leftovers and maybe set aside to be used with target models in 1910 & 1911 and quickly used up. The gun is likely scarce and maybe rare, so would ask if anyone having an early teens 3rd Change 6.5” gun post some information here?

Before and after images are attached. This is the second vintage revolver that I have bought with really over-exposed images. They were from two different auction houses, so maybe this is something new to enhance any flaws in the guns??? At least most buyers should be pleased with the guns in person, but think it might result is lower sold prices for the sellers. This gun in-hand certainly shows much better than the high intensity flood lights images.

New to Me and Maybe Unusual Early M&P Target-p1010004-jpg
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New to Me and Maybe Unusual Early M&P Target-1-jpg   New to Me and Maybe Unusual Early M&P Target-2-jpg   New to Me and Maybe Unusual Early M&P Target-p1010004-jpg   New to Me and Maybe Unusual Early M&P Target-p1010008-jpg   New to Me and Maybe Unusual Early M&P Target-p1010002-jpg  

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Last edited by glowe; 11-19-2020 at 11:49 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:39 AM
raljr1 raljr1 is offline
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Darn nice...great pick up...

Robert
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:47 AM
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A very nice find, Gary. Congrats.

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Originally Posted by glowe View Post
The 3rd Change was made from 1901 to 1905 in serial number range 146,900 to 241,703.
But, don't you mean "1909 to 1915?"
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:53 AM
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.38 HE Target models with 6 1/2" barrels are cool. This one was my grandfather's. It shipped in April, 1908, serial number 110893.


During the Depression, my grandfather did repair work on a Model T for a man with no money. This revolver was the guy's means of payment for that work.
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:42 PM
mikepriwer mikepriwer is offline
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Gary

Roy's book shows 3rd change's starting at 146899. I don't know exactly when they stopped offering 6 1/2" barrels. And, I don't know when 150057 was really shipped; ie, where did the 1911 date come from?

Here is what I do know. All these are 6 1/2", except the Pope gun, for which I don't know the original barrel length.

150026 shipped 8/29/1910 to Schwabacher in Seattle. I had owned this gun.

150057 shipped ?? - your gun.

150938 shipped 5/3/1910 to J A Baker. I had owned this gun.

Wonder if the 150000 to 151000 was a group of these 6 1/2" gun? Don't know.

I own 0135, shipped 3/23/1910 to Doug Wesson. A pair of these were made together, and 0136 went to Col Stibbs at the Springfield Armory.

I used to own 159654, which was an 8" gun shipped to Harry Pope 6/20/1911.

I used to own 170061, shipped 6/20/1911 to Scoverling Dale & Gale.

Just a tad earlier in serial number, I own 145875 shipped 12/8/1909 to W Bouyton. This was a special order featuring Lyman Ivory front and rear sights, and ivory grips.

Regards, Mike

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Old 11-19-2020, 05:54 PM
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Hey Mike thanks for joining this conversation. The year was from Roy, 150057 actually shipped April, 1911. The four 6.5" 3rd Model guns in the database were shipped in 1910 & 1911. There are also several 6" Targets in the same serial number range from 148,XXX to 158,XXX. My Target fits right into the bunch. The 158,XXX Target is the last 6.5" Target in the database, so the long barrels were gone for good sometime around that serial number. 148,XXX was the first 6.5" 3rd Change listed in the database.

I had a feeling that my gun was made in the heyday of competition target shooting clubs in the country. D. B. Wesson's book Bullet Holes was from 1915. From the records listed in the book, it seemed that in the teens, the 38 won almost all the Military Revolver, Rapid Fire competitions 50 yard US Revolver Association Competitions. There is also a reference to 1911 and 1912 USRA Indoor competitions with clubs from literally all over the country. The book stated that there were 21 clubs entered into the Indoor League and many more in the outdoor league in the teens from coast to coast.

Maybe I should get this one lettered??
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:18 PM
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Gary

Yes - I'd get a letter for it.

As we all know, serial numbers and shipping dates do not have a one-to-one correspondence. Added to this issue is the using-up of old parts, before starting to use newer ones. The decision to not offer the 6 1/2" barrel (maybe only on special order, but maybe not) may have had a hard cutoff date, but I think they would have keep spares on hand, for use by the service department. I'd also think that once the catalogs were updated, to reflect standard barrel lengths of 4", 5", and 6", that was probably the end of ordering 6 1/2" barrels.

My feeling is that, at some point, there were no more 6 1/2" barrels, but it probably didn't happen until maybe 1912 or 1913.

Regards, Mike

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Old 11-19-2020, 07:23 PM
Walter Rego Walter Rego is offline
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Nice gun and interesting to see the action without a hammer block and with the chafing bushings on the trigger & hammer.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:34 PM
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I also think it is the only early M&P I have with a single slot in the ejector star rod and two pins inset into the cylinder. A real belt & suspenders approach to keeping the star in place.

Now those chafing bushings obviously did their job protecting the hammer and trigger case colors for 110 years.
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Old 11-19-2020, 10:02 PM
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Gary

Two of my guns have that combination: 206306, and 0135.

Regards, Mike
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Old 11-20-2020, 03:51 PM
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Gary

I also owned 461297, shipped 12/28/1923. It had a 6 1/2" barrel, but there is no invoice for it, so it's not known if it shipped with the longer barrel.

Regards, Mike
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Old 11-20-2020, 08:23 PM
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I have the twin to your gun. Had it lettered 4 years ago. It lettered to 1910. Mine is one of a pair of 6 and 1/2 inch barrel guns. It was shipped with two consecutive SN but I only have one gun of the pair. Mine is a west coast gun for whatever that is worth.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:28 AM
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DocB

Are you willing to share the serial number of the two guns? You can always x-out the last two digits. And, does it have the two pins in the rear of the cylinder?

Mike Priwer
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocB View Post
. . . Mine is a west coast gun for whatever that is worth.
Looking at the major competitors in the Bullet Holes book in the early teens from the west coast were located in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane. Where was your gun delivered? Mine came from a CA auction house, but who know where the original owner lived?
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:57 PM
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I too, have a soft spot in my heart (head) for the long barrel K frames. Here are some pictures of my Model 16-4, 8 3/8" barrel.
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:20 PM
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Those M&P Target's are so sexy.
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