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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, 05:10 PM
delta-419 delta-419 is offline
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I recently won this S&W 32-20 on GB and it has some interesting features. It does not have a "made in USA" stamp, however it does have all matching numbers (76028). The grips that came on it were a nice set of Victory plain wood with serial number 982822. The hunt is on for a nice set of stags or jigged bone. Bore and chambers are bright without pitting or frosting. The finish is good with lots of blue. Action is tight and timing is excellent. The barrel is 4" in length with no end shake or side play. The price was $376.00 plus freight. A bargin!!!? The question I have, please look at the front sight and the stampings on top of the barrel. "Smith" begins at the base of the front sight!? Is the barrel cut and sight reattached? Please express your thoughts.
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Old 09-06-2021, 05:19 PM
delta-419 delta-419 is offline
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The question, does this photo show a cut barrel and were these early guns so stamped this close to the front sight?
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Old 09-06-2021, 05:59 PM
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Yes, the barrel has been cut. At $376 you did not get hurt. Shoot it and enjoy it.
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Old 09-06-2021, 06:59 PM
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It is not a collector piece, so shoot it and don't worry about what you paid for it. The barrel was roll stamped, so you need enough space behind the forged front sight to start the roll. There were a few ways that the short barrel guns received their stampings. 4" guns could have had a 3 line address, the address placed on the side of the barrel, or the patent list shortened. The image below shows a two line address with fewer patents that fit on a 4" barrel from 1920. Your revolver would likely have shipped around 1917 so it would have had gold medallion stocks. They show up on ebay quite often and would be appropriate for your era revolver.

32-20 Timeline-pb060021-jpg

32-20 Timeline-p1010001-jpg
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Old 09-06-2021, 07:33 PM
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Show us a closeup of how the front sight is attached to the barrel, both sides and from the muzzle, please.

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Old 09-06-2021, 08:26 PM
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More photos of the front sight as requested by StrawHat.
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:25 PM
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Looks factory to me. That sight appears to have been forged when the barrel was made.

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Old 09-07-2021, 07:41 AM
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Hey, Jim! Nice .32/20!
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Old 09-07-2021, 08:08 AM
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An expert job if the barrel was shortened, nice gun.
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Old 09-07-2021, 09:17 AM
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I’ll just add that something looks a little out of place about that front sight, but I can’t put my finger on it… regardless, it looks very well done if it’s not original. It looks like a gun that would be nice to own and fun to shoot, and at the price you paid for it, you did very well IMHO.

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Old 09-07-2021, 09:22 AM
StrawHat StrawHat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
Iíll just add that something looks a little out of place about that front sight, but I canít put my finger on itÖ regardless, it looks very well done if itís not original. It looks like a gun that would be nice to own and fun to shoot, and at the price you paid for it, you did very well IMHO.

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Frogging,

I believe it has been lowered, perhaps to accommodate a certain load.

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Old 09-07-2021, 09:43 AM
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All front sights of 32-20 revolvers are lower than 38s. Just because 32-20 caliber shoots lower in a K frame than 38s. Some replaced sights were welded on to the barrel and rounds finished to allow for bluing, but that one looks particularly well done?? I just do not know how a roll stamp could be applied that close to the sight???
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Old 09-07-2021, 09:47 AM
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Very nice, and chambered in .32-20 would be a bonus for me. The price you paid seems to be a smoking deal.
On one hand the barrel does look shortened, but then it just looks so good it makes you wonder. If it was shortened I wish that gunsmith lived near me, I have a few projects that I need to talk to him about. 😎
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Old 09-07-2021, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowe View Post
I just do not know how a roll stamp could be applied that close to the sight???
After 49 years in metalworking shops and supervising roll stamping about a million parts, there is no way that stamp was put on with that front sight where it is.



Edited to add OK, after seeing the closeup of the S partially in the radius of the rear of the front sight, I agree it may be an original barrel and front sight. The stamping must have been applied with something other than the types of roll stamps with which I am familair.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delta-419 View Post
ÖThe hunt is on for a nice set of stags or jigged bone...
We have two forum members who make elk grips, bigmtnman and Pat Grashorn. Both do wonderful work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delta-419 View Post
Ö The question I haveÖIs the barrel cut and sight reattached? Please express your thoughts...
There are several disagreeing comments on this question. The only way to know for sure is to letter that one.

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Old 09-08-2021, 11:08 AM
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In the .38 series, the latest serial number I've seen, for 4" revolvers with the patent date roll markings on the right side of the barrel is 264XXX. It may have continued for a bit longer. They were placed there starting in about 1903, when the shoulder was added to the barrel. In the 32-20 series, that should be somewhere around your serial number. Some time after 264XXX they made a new roll marking die for 4" barrels for the patent date roll markings that would fit between the shoulder and the rear of the front sight base, and leave some room at each end. Your's is too close to the front sight base, indicating that the barrel has been cut.

Here is a picture of the right side of 264XXX, that will help visualize the issue. Notice that there is a mark at the beginning and the end of the roll marking, which is missing on the subject gun of this thread.





Regards, Mike Priwer

Last edited by mikepriwer; 09-08-2021 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:01 PM
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Slips73 just sold a really nice M&P in the classifieds. Here is a picture off the ad. Looks pretty close. This barrel wasnít shortened. Not as close as this revolver though.
Just stirring the pot. 😁 donít know how they would do it.

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Old 09-08-2021, 09:36 PM
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Real stupid question here… Could the factory have been using a roll die that was not a complete disc for the four inch barreled guns? Picture a pizza with one or two slices missing. Just a guess.
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:47 AM
Model19man Model19man is offline
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Don't know the answer but had to put the two photos together for comparison sake. A is the OP's gun.
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:53 AM
mikepriwer mikepriwer is offline
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The 'new' die is a shorter two-line die, compared to the earlier longer three-line die. Using a 270 degree roll die might get the marking into tight spots. It might be possible to roll a die sideways across the barrel, instead of forward/backward. This would take a lot more pressure.

Again, getting a factory letter might show the original barrel length.

Mike Priwer
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:04 PM
delta-419 delta-419 is offline
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Talking More Photos

I have had a bit more time to take a few more photos, but I think a letter is the way to go. It looks to me that the S in Smith was stamped into the base of the sight with a ripple/wave effect for the camera. I took 4 more photos to see if it would revel the small space between the sight and the barrel. I also found a period correct set of grips in my stash of grips for a perfect fit.
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:16 AM
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I'm no machinist, but that front sight looks like it grew there and was not transplanted.

If somebody moved it, it's the best job yet.

At the OP's price, I'll take it!

Curly
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Old 09-11-2021, 01:37 PM
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That's the best re-attachment job on a cut barrel I've seen.
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