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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 01-05-2021, 01:33 PM
Jclark33 Jclark33 is offline
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Default .44 sp Triple Lock SN 1054

Hey guys, I found this in my Grandad's bedroom. He has early onset dementia and "doesn't own any handguns". We also were unable to find his Savage 1899 in .303 savage.. I decided to try my hand at restoring some of his rusty guns laying in every corner of the room. This was the most intriguing so I started with it.
I believe I have correctly identified as the "Triple Lock" based on other posts on the site. I plan on sending in for a S&W authentication letter, but I simply can't wait. It appears that everything is original, I think Nickel finish. Although it was not cared for very well. There is one before picture, the rest is after a couple hours of soaking and wiping. I was able to get almost all the surface rust off fairly quickly. I'm debating whether or not to try and get the dark blemishes off, as you can see around the logo they started coming off nicely, I just don't want to potentially lower the value- although I don't plan on selling it.
What are some of your thoughts on this piece? Any insight is appreciated. Pardon my lack of knowledge and terminology.
SN on butt, cylinder, and ejector star: 1054
SN on cylinder arm and frame: 1341
SN in the shroud: 100 (maybe 105 or 106)
I could not see any sign of a penciled SN on the grips.

*Sorry for the upside down pictures, i thought i got them all rotated*
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.44 sp Triple Lock SN 1054-before-jpg   .44 sp Triple Lock SN 1054-after-jpg   .44 sp Triple Lock SN 1054-after-reverse-jpg  
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:42 PM
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Hi JClark33, I am a happy owner of a Triple lock target with serial number 1045 with a ship date of 4/21/1909. Serial number on Butt/Cylinder/under barrel lug need a bright light.

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Old 01-05-2021, 01:42 PM
Keith Brown Keith Brown is offline
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Very sorry to hear of your grandad’s health, terrible to go through.
I wouldn’t do anything else to it at this point other than carefully removing the grips and giving it a good soaking for a few days, and use nothing abrasive on it. Also would get a letter on it. Neat gun, the experts will fill you in on the details.

Best regards.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:22 PM
Jclark33 Jclark33 is offline
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I missed a wee little F and a B stamped on the right side of the frame behind the stocks, right on either side of the bottom tit. I assume this mean it has (had) a blued finish? Also an "X" stamped on the left side, same spot.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:27 PM
mrcvs mrcvs is offline
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It is likely that all numbers match with regards to the serial number, so the number in the shroud which might be 105 is really 1054. The number 1341 is an assembly number.

Your revolver was likely assembled before mid 1910 as it has the non medallion stocks, which were used mid 1910 or before. The ship date could be years afterwards as I have a similar Triple Lock with non medallion stocks and it shipped September 1913.

I would keep your Triple Lock well oiled and wouldn't hesitate to shoot it from time to time.

As for valuation, it has no original finish so that hurts it. On the other hand, the days of getting a vintage N frame for $500 are long gone. Therefore, I would conservatively value this Triple Lock revolver in the $750 to $1000 range, maybe, on a good auction day. On the other hand, the Triple Lock market has been a bit strong lately and if someone wanted this one badly enough, it might creep past a grand.

Your revolver is a standard model in .44 Special and has a 6 1/2" barrel.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:57 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.

The small letters stamped on the grip frame are assembler's marks. Blued revolvers have a small "B" stamped in front of the serial number either under the barrel or inside of the shroud.
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:03 PM
Jclark33 Jclark33 is offline
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Thanks. I was hoping it had a nickel finish with rust stains and blemishes that i could shine up, but alas, not the case. I found 3 or 4 tiny patches of blue in the shroud and behind the grips.
I plan on using this as my woods sidearm. Along with my other great-grandads 30-30, just seems more natural than carrying a Glock.
On the finish note, with no factory finish left I would think re-bluing can't further degrade the value?
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:09 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jclark33 View Post
Thanks. I was hoping it had a nickel finish with rust stains and blemishes that i could shine up, but alas, not the case. I found 3 or 4 tiny patches of blue in the shroud and behind the grips.
I plan on using this as my woods sidearm. Along with my other great-grandads 30-30, just seems more natural than carrying a Glock.
On the finish note, with no factory finish left I would think re-bluing can't further degrade the value?
I wouldn't re-finish it myself.
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:28 PM
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Nice TL Jclark33! When I acquired a well-seasoned TL a few years ago I took it to my gunsmith for thorough cleaning, inspection, and service. It's now a reliable and accurate shooter. DON'T even think about refinishing your TL. Just clean it, preserve it as-is, and thank your ol' Grandad every time you shoot it.

.44 sp Triple Lock SN 1054-gilas-el-paso-tl-13823-jpg
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Old 01-05-2021, 04:27 PM
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Keep it well fed, never put it away wet and it should serve you well for the rest of your life as well as your dear old granddad.
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Old 01-05-2021, 04:42 PM
mrcvs mrcvs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jclark33 View Post
On the finish note, with no factory finish left I would think re-bluing can't further degrade the value?
Oh, yes it can!!!

If you were to sell this one to me as-is, at the right price, I would buy it. If refinished, I would have no interest in it whatsoever.

They are only original once, even with no original finish. Plus, it looks good for what it is, with no finish. They never look right when reblued.
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Old 01-05-2021, 04:55 PM
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That revolver earned every nick, ding and no finish! Leave it alone! It ain't the Mona Lisa. Here is a picture of my Triple Lock. The reason I got it was it was offered to a dealer who spent 10 minutes telling the owner it was apiece of ****. The owner got mad and refused to sell it to him. I was at the right place at the right time.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:15 PM
mrcvs mrcvs is offline
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Don,

What's wrong with your Triple Lock? The front sight has been filed, but it doesn't look refinished to me.

Do you have a factory letter for it?.

Edit: I should mention the obvious: It's a coveted Target Model.

Last edited by mrcvs; 01-05-2021 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
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Don,

What's wrong with your Triple Lock? The front sight has been filed, but it doesn't look refinished to me.

Do you have a factory letter for it?.

Edit: I should mention the obvious: It's a coveted Target Model.
It's a Club Gun, serial number 088, shipped in 1906, the first of 12 shipped.
As far as I've seen they all shipped with the high front sight.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:26 PM
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And a Club Gun, and the dealer didn't want it?!?!?!
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:30 PM
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I had given a valuation on this one based on today's prices and not noticing the significant corrosion at the end of the barrel. Still, how low could something like this go these days.

Below is a thread I created in early 2019 which references a fairly decent Triple Lock revolver I purchased at that time for under a grand. Even for that time, it was a very good price.

Proof you can still get a decent Triple Lock in 2019 for under a grand
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:52 PM
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Here is one that sold just a few weeks ago:

Smith & Wesson 44 Hand Ejector Revolver .44 s&w |




Firearms & Military Artifacts

Firearms

Pistols

Revolvers

| Online Auctions | Proxibid
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:41 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Jclark33.

Sorry to hear of your granddad's Alzheimer's condition.
I would like to echo the members who urge you to not refinish his/your Triple Lock. Personally, I would be proud to own any gun my granddad owned; for it to be a TL... even more so!

In original condition, it speaks volumes of having seen some history; as a refinished piece, it would lose its "voice."
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:28 PM
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Welcome aboard!

My best regards to you grandfather.

That's a nice "find" that shows all the character of it long life but it's un-monkeyed with and being grandpas a priceless heirloom to keep in the family for future generations, Don't be afraid to shoot it with any off the shelf standard .44 Special loads or current .44 Russian ammo.

SERIAL # LOCATIONS: To confirm all parts are original, one can check for the 6 (or 7 - Triple Lock models only) matching serial # locations for fixed sight pre war Hand Ejectors and all post war Hand Ejectors thru ~1956 and a few as much as 3 years later.
NOTE: Observing serial #s with accuracy or even existence, especially on penciled stocks, requires magnification, bright light, and an attitude that it is there!

1. Grip frame butt (prefixed by a letter(s) following WWII) - or fore strap on I frame Regulation Police models and single shots with grips that cover the butt

2. Barrel - bottom of barrel or in extractor shroud, (Triple locks have tiny #s stamped in front end of the shroud; sideways/vertical if over 3 numerical digits, otherwise horizontal).
3. Yoke - on rear face only visible thru a chamber with a flashlight (except the .32 Model 1896 and no doubt a few others)

4. Extractor star – backside (which is actually the side facing the muzzle).
5. Cylinder - rear face
6. Right stock only - on back, scratched or penciled depending on vintage and stock material, stamped after 1929, (except most post war target grips because individual fitting not required.)

7. .44 TL models only: rear side of middle lock cam plate (Triple Lock models only)

Pre war serial #s on the butt read with barrel to the right and are centered, or offset if produced with a lanyard swivel (factory installed swivels are drilled with a jig and always 1/10” forward of center). Post war #s read with barrel to the left and are all offset to the rear.

ASSEMBLY (factory work) #s: These multi-digit numbers of 3 to 5 digits, are on the yoke at the hinge, in the ‘yoke cut’ of the frame opposite the yoke near the hinge (usually accompanied with the inspector’s letter or # code stamp of approval, but not always), and inside of the sideplate, for the pre war and early post war period thru ~early 1958.

After the 6/22/1957 change order, Model #s were assigned and eventually stamped on the frame in the yoke cut. The serial # was soon after added in the ‘yoke cut’ as well and the assembly # moved to the left side of the grip frame parallel to the butt. More currently beginning in the 1980’s we see non-matching multi-digit numbers parallel to the butt left or right side, and inside the side plate. Once the gun is shipped, the only use for the assembly # is to confirm the three parts it's stamped on, are original to the gun. These are still in use to this day.
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:56 PM
Jclark33 Jclark33 is offline
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It seems there is a general consensus against refinishing!!
Correction, although my Grandad can’t remember a whole lot, he was correct he doesn’t own any handguns. It’s my Grandmothers.. It was her dads, and he carried it everyday on the family’s rural plantation in Arkansas that she still owns from afar (she assures me they paid everybody that worked there). She guesses that it was her Grandads before her Dads-Since her dad was born in 1903. With that much backstory I’d have to agree there is more worth to the story than cosmetics. I’m also much closer with her, so it adds a little extra personal connection for me, added bonus.

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Old 01-06-2021, 12:24 AM
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Wow, potentially this TL belonged to your great great Grandfather who passed on to your great Grandfather? I hope that you can locate photos of one or both of them to keep with the TL. Wow, quite the family relic!
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kryten67 View Post
Hi JClark33, I am a happy owner of a Triple lock target with serial number 1045 with a ship date of 4/21/1909. Serial number on Butt/Cylinder/under barrel lug need a bright light.

Regards
Just for info, my TL Target is SN 1047! No letter. If you'd care to share where yours shipped and solely or in group... I'd be obliged.
Best & Stay Safe!
John
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Old 01-09-2021, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jclark33 View Post
It seems there is a general consensus against refinishing!!
Correction, although my Grandad can’t remember a whole lot, he was correct he doesn’t own any handguns. It’s my Grandmothers.. It was her dads, and he carried it everyday on the family’s rural plantation in Arkansas that she still owns from afar (she assures me they paid everybody that worked there). She guesses that it was her Grandads before her Dads-Since her dad was born in 1903. With that much backstory I’d have to agree there is more worth to the story than cosmetics. I’m also much closer with her, so it adds a little extra personal connection for me, added bonus.
That is a priceless family heirloom! And a working gun to boot!! No safe queens back in the day.
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