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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 09-06-2021, 07:18 AM
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Default .38 Military & Police (Postwar) – “Pre-Model 10”

Looking at a .38 Military & Police (Postwar) – “Pre-Model 10”. I go home and try to read up on it in the SWSC and now I'm totally baffled and hoping some of you out there can clear up the confusion.

It's serial number S86746x which puts it somewhere between 1945 and 1948 meaning it's definitely a "Postwar" model. But it has the single line "Made in U.S.A." on the right side and the catalog states very clearly that the Postwar models all have the four line address of “Made In U.S.A., Marcus Registradas, Smith & Wesson Springfield, Mass.” on the right side.

Does that mean this is some kind of weird Transitional Model? Any wisdom you can share will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2021, 07:55 AM
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That’s a post-war .38 M&P long action. You’ll notice that the hammer spur is located near the top of the hammer. The spur is near the center on short action guns. The “Made in U.S.A.” stamp is correct. A lot of people refer to it as a transitional.

The “S” prefix signifies that the gun has a hammer-drop safety. I believe S&W changes to the short action on this model around serial number S99X,XXX
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:21 AM
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The four-line trademark came in 1948. So the S-prefix M&P’s still have the one line.
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:27 AM
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Thanks. What box did the Post-war .38s come in? The red two piece box? Can someone send me a photo of one maybe?
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Old 09-06-2021, 10:34 AM
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.38 M&P revolvers in the S867xxx range were shipping in January and February, 1947.

The box could have been either maroon or gold. The gold boxes were available by that time, but some may still have shipped in the maroon box. These are two piece boxes.

The maroon box.


Gold box.
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Old 09-06-2021, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
The four-line trademark came in 1948. So the S-prefix M&P’s still have the one line.
SWSC says and I quote:

Postwar production frames will also have the four address lines of “Made In U.S.A., Marcus Registradas, Smith & Wesson Springfield, Mass.” on the right side.

So if the one I put a hold on shipped in 1947 has the single line "Made in U.S.A." it must mean in the early years after the war they were using up what they had left of the old frames? Yes? Jack?
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Old 09-06-2021, 02:11 PM
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Bill, right after WWII ended, S&W shipped some M&P's with SV serial prefixes, plugged lanyard ring holes and commercial finishes. New commercial frames with S prefix serials did not have the lanyard holes and I believe that is the only difference. I also believe the single line and 4 line frames are the same except for the stampings.
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Old 09-06-2021, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhfromme View Post
SWSC says and I quote:

Postwar production frames will also have the four address lines of “Made In U.S.A., Marcus Registradas, Smith & Wesson Springfield, Mass.” on the right side.

So if the one I put a hold on shipped in 1947 has the single line "Made in U.S.A." it must mean in the early years after the war they were using up what they had left of the old frames? Yes? Jack?
No. That quote from the SCSW, read literally, is just plain wrong.

Of the M&Ps produced post-war, which started shipping in Feb. 1946, the earliest several thousands used “left-over” Victory frames.

But then there were something over 180,000 guns with newly made frames and with the MADE IN USA produced until 1948. Nothing left over
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Old 09-06-2021, 03:16 PM
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What's that you say? The Bible is wrong? Better watch out for lightning next time you go outside!
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Old 09-06-2021, 03:33 PM
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This is my April 1947 ( S 872388 ) 4" factory nickel M&P. Please click on image for photo clarity.




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Old 09-06-2021, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiregrassguy View Post
Bill, right after WWII ended, S&W shipped some M&P's with SV serial prefixes, plugged lanyard ring holes and commercial finishes. New commercial frames with S prefix serials did not have the lanyard holes and I believe that is the only difference. I also believe the single line and 4 line frames are the same except for the stampings.
There are some M&Ps with just an S prefix that have plugged swivel holes.
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Old 09-06-2021, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhfromme View Post
Looking at a .38 Military & Police (Postwar) – “Pre-Model 10”.

It's serial number S86746x
Also- the long action guns are not considered a "Pre Mod 10". A Mod 10 has a short action. A "Pre Mod 10" would be a short action gun that does not yet have a model number.
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Old 09-07-2021, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhfromme View Post
What's that you say? The Bible is wrong? Better watch out for lightning next time you go outside!
Jim Supica has a thread on the SWCA side of this Forum in which we can post mistakes we find in the SCSW. He was careful to consider those posts when he compiled the 4th Edition, so it contains improvements over the 3d Edition.

I fully expect to see the same thing when the 5th Edition comes out. The SWCA is a GREAT resource and many of us consult it on nearly a daily basis. But no, it isn't perfect. What is, in this life (besides God)?

As with all things S&W, there is always plenty to learn. We help each other do that.
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Old 09-07-2021, 05:11 AM
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There are some M&Ps with just an S prefix that have plugged swivel holes.
Yes. Probably in the neighborhood of 9,000 of them. The highest numbered one that I've found is S820803. It shipped in April, 1946.
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Old 09-07-2021, 08:49 AM
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The S867xxx I'm looking at does not have the lanyard holes.
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Old 09-07-2021, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhfromme View Post
The S867xxx I'm looking at does not have the lanyard holes.
By that time, it would only have one if it had a swivel originally as a special order.

It’s an interesting question to consider:

Were the early S-prefix M&P’s with plugged holes really built on Victory frames that were manufactured and left over from the time before Victory assembly ended in mid-1945?

The factory had produced only M&P frames with swivel holes for the previous four years, since sometime in 1941, for all applications. Did they possibly just keep producing frames like that until it occurred to somebody in early 1946 that nobody wanted swivels anymore and time and labor could be saved?
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Old 09-07-2021, 01:01 PM
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It’s an interesting question to consider:

Were the early S-prefix M&P’s with plugged holes really built on Victory frames that were manufactured and left over from the time before Victory assembly ended in mid-1945?

The factory had produced only M&P frames with swivel holes for the previous four years, since sometime in 1941, for all applications. Did they possibly just keep producing frames like that until it occurred to somebody in early 1946 that nobody wanted swivels anymore and time and labor could be saved?
I think this is a very reasonable question. I've never been able to fully buy in to the idea that all the SV and early S guns were actually "leftover frames" from the period 1941 up to August, 1945. There certainly is no proof of this theory.

The period from September, 1945, until February, 1946, was a time of transition from the wartime practices to full-on civilian production and sales. The company had much to do: the supply chain had to be reorganized, the sales force redeveloped, machine tool reconfiguration accomplished, production lines established, engineering changes implemented, other models reintroduced, and the list goes on. It would seem that reconfiguring the M&P production line would be the least of their concerns. After all, except for the bluing process, nothing urgent really had to change to address the pent-up demand for the M&P. That demand is illustrated by the M&P constituting the first large postwar shipment of revolvers to Cleveland PD in February, 1946. Also by the resumption of shipment of many hundreds of M&Ps in March of the same year.

Therefore, I tend to believe that many of the SV and especially the S prefix guns that shipped in the first few months of 1946 may well have had frames that were produced after the production of Victory Models had ceased.

I'm not sure we will ever know the answer with any certainty.
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Old 09-07-2021, 01:25 PM
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I'm inclined to believe there were LOTS of frames on hand when the War ended. Remember- the Gov't had been real testy about getting orders on time, and S&W REALLY wanted to avoid having the plant nationalized AGAIN. Also, remember that the last contracts of the War were cancelled when Japan surrendered. So, I'm thinking they had parts!
Think about it for a minute- do you really think they were building frames, drilling a swivel hole AND crosspin hole, then making plugs, installing the plugs, and sanding them smooth? Duhhhhhhh...............don't you think somebody would have been smart enough to yell "YOU GUYS QUIT DRILLING SWIVEL HOLES!!!!!" ????
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Old 09-07-2021, 04:23 PM
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….
Think about it for a minute- do you really think they were building frames, drilling a swivel hole AND crosspin hole, then making plugs, installing the plugs, and sanding them smooth? Duhhhhhhh...............don't you think somebody would have been smart enough to yell "YOU GUYS QUIT DRILLING SWIVEL HOLES!!!!!" ????
Well, if you put it that way …..

On the other hand, just for the sake of argument, if you look at the development of employee numbers since 1941, there weren‘t likely that many people at S&W who had ever seen a K-frame produced without a hole. And for all the blather about old-time craftsmanship that old guys like to engage in, these weren‘t craftsmen, but industrial workers, not paid to think. The guy who drilled the whole is very unlikely to also be the guy to later plug it. So it seems entirely feasible that at least some of Jack’s 9000 hole-y S-prefix frames were produced before your smart guy yelled stop.
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Old 09-07-2021, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
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Jim Supica has a thread on the SWCA side of this Forum in which we can post mistakes we find in the SCSW. He was careful to consider those posts when he compiled the 4th Edition, so it contains improvements over the 3d Edition.

I fully expect to see the same thing when the 5th Edition comes out. The SWCA is a GREAT resource and many of us consult it on nearly a daily basis. But no, it isn't perfect. What is, in this life (besides God)?

As with all things S&W, there is always plenty to learn. We help each other do that.
I certainly meant no disrespect. Tracking the history of S&W firearms over the years has to be incredibly challenging and hats off to Jim Supica and all of the SWSC contributors over the years for publishing such an extremely accurate and entertaining catalog.
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Old 09-08-2021, 12:06 AM
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Well Bhfromme did you get the post war m&p yet? If it’s reasonably priced you certainly won’t regret it. I have both a 4” and 5” from the “S” prefix era, and they have the best action of 38 spl K frames that I’ve owned.
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Old 09-08-2021, 05:12 AM
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No, I haven't bought it yet but have it on hold. It feels like it's only been shot a few times. Grips feel like new. It'll be a nice add for sure. No box though so I'm still debating whether or not to get it.
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Old 09-09-2021, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
….
Think about it for a minute- do you really think they were building frames, drilling a swivel hole AND crosspin hole, then making plugs, installing the plugs, and sanding them smooth? Duhhhhhhh...............don't you think somebody would have been smart enough to yell "YOU GUYS QUIT DRILLING SWIVEL HOLES!!!!!" ????
Well, if you put it that way …..

On the other hand, just for the sake of argument, if you look at the development of employee numbers since 1941, there weren‘t likely that many people at S&W who had ever seen a K-frame produced without a hole. And for all the blather about old-time craftsmanship that old guys like to engage in, these weren‘t craftsmen, but industrial workers, not paid to think. The guy who drilled the whole is very unlikely to also be the guy to later plug it. So it seems entirely feasible that at least some of Jack’s 9000 hole-y S-prefix frames were produced before your smart guy yelled stop.

I don't think you are aware of the of the foreman system that S&W used. A foreman's position at S&W was a coveted job. Each department was run by a foreman. A foreman could hire and fire the people below him. His salary was at least partially based on the production of his department- it could be called a commission. Foreman jobs were sometimes passed on to a son the foreman had hired into his department when he retired. They were that desirable.
However, the foreman was also chargeable for waste, scrapped parts, and other costly mistakes.

We can assume the swivel holes were drilled in the frame department. There was no "swivel department". It is also safe to assume that any swivel holes that were plugged were plugged in the frame department. That's what they did- built frames ready for assembly into guns.
So, how many plugs (plus labor) do you think the frame foreman would want to pay for if he had not been smart enough to look around and say: "My goodness, we're drilling holes and then plugging them the same day, and I'm paying for it!! Perhaps I should stop doing that...."
NOPE- the frames were leftovers that were already drilled.

The plugs are sometimes almost invisible. They appear to be a "press fit"- probably a thousandth or two oversized. Knowing how smart S&W was in setting up machinery, I bet all the plugging operations were done on one machine they built like this-
1- it had a jigged clamp that located the frame exactly and held it securely and supported it.
2- it had a hydraulic cylinder to press the plug in.
3- it probably had an automatic drill to drill or re-drill the cross pin hole through the plug.
4- it probably had a grinder to face the plug off flush with the frame.

That's how I would do it. Average time would be 1 to 2 minutes.
Anyway, no matter how they did the plugs, some kind of machinery had to be set up and some warm bodies had to be designated to do it, so what kind of idiot foreman would be overseeing these endeavors and keep drilling holes?
I rest my case.
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