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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 10-11-2021, 05:50 PM
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Default “Shooter Grade” M1917

I attended a gun show this weekend, and after a couple of hours wandering the aisles and not seeing anything I couldn’t live without, I stumbled across something I’d been wanting for some time: a “shooter grade” S&W M1917 at a semi-reasonable price. It has been refinished (fairly well to my amateur eye; all markings remain legible), and the side plate has been replaced (it bears a large S&W logo). Nevertheless, the bore is excellent, and it locks up tight, with zero end shake. I had some free time this morning, so I took it out back to ring some steel. The 103-year-old girl quite literally shoots like a brand new revolver. A militaria collector probably wouldn’t give it a second look, but I’m very pleased indeed.

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Old 10-11-2021, 06:03 PM
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Some items are truly timeless. With what seems to be some refreshed blueing, and those probably 70s grips, it looks much more modern than 1917. And the fired cases show that it still really has the goods. A very handsome N frame!

Many will be envious. Well done!
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Old 10-11-2021, 06:08 PM
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Talking 1917 45acp

Well done! One of my favorites (i have 5). When she barks it gets attention.
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Old 10-11-2021, 06:36 PM
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You must have some young eyes to see those ittybitty little sights.
I got mine recently and wonder if I'll be able to hit the broad side of a barn.
My old eyes can hardly tell when the sights are in alignment. :-)
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Old 10-11-2021, 06:42 PM
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Great looking 45. I have one except mine is a Brazilian model. It has been Parkerized. Great shooting Revolvers.
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Old 10-11-2021, 06:48 PM
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You must have some young eyes to see those ittybitty little sights.
I got mine recently and wonder if I'll be able to hit the broad side of a barn.
My old eyes can hardly tell when the sights are in alignment. :-)
My eyes are far from young. Nevertheless, I have an excellent optometrist who writes me an “everyday” prescription and a “shooting” prescription (with my dominant eye optimized for arm’s length and my non-dominant eye optimized for distance). I can shoot modern guns with my ordinary spectacles, but when shooting vintage guns my alternative specs work like a charm.
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:02 PM
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45acp revolvers are really fun shooters. I have 1917's from S&W and Colt that are in my regular range rotation. It's really fun to shoot a piece of history. Enjoy it.
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Old 10-11-2021, 09:16 PM
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45 acp in an N frame is a joy to shoot. Just the perfect blend of recoil, muzzle blast and boom! Nothing to be shy about with that purchase, especially if it shoots good and makes you happy!


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Old 10-11-2021, 11:52 PM
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Great looking 1917. Mine is also “shooting grade”; my ‘37 Brazilian
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:39 AM
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All my 1917s are shooters!

Would really like to see more photos of yours, especially the side plate. Hard to imagine fitting a new one during a non factory refinish. Are there any dates on the grip frame? A star near the serial number?

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Old 10-12-2021, 07:20 AM
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Very nice!
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:18 AM
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All my 1917s are shooters!

Would really like to see more photos of yours, especially the side plate. Hard to imagine fitting a new one during a non factory refinish. Are there any dates on the grip frame? A star near the serial number?

Kevin
Happy to oblige. I didn’t include a photo, but there are no dates on the grip frame.




Last edited by Frailer; 10-12-2021 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:25 AM
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Nice looking revolver. I have had one at one time and a collector wanted it, (really it was to nice to shoot and had a history with it, that is another story). I have three large frame revolver (two N Frame and one Colt New Service famed) all are in .45 of some flavor. I enjoy mine, enjoy yours.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:30 AM
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Whoever fitted that side plate did a pretty good job.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:45 AM
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Whoever fitted that side plate did a pretty good job.
You mean it is not a "drop in" part???😁
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:55 PM
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Nice find.

Yep the large logo on side plate (post 1936) is not consistent with a military marked version of 1917 manufactured in 1919. It can't be but it sure looks original!

First thing to check are the assembly #s:

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 side plate, for the pre war and early post war period thru ~early 1958. 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 10-12-2021, 07:26 PM
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Love those big old martial .45 DA revolvers, Webleys, Colts and Smiths. You found a nice one. A couple of those NS’s are .38s.
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:41 PM
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Three nice representative collections!

What year is your commercial model with side plate logo?

-75f8cccf-df06-4f88-8ddc-784cc7030841-jpg
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:45 PM
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SS396…Three nice representative collections!

What year is your commercial model with side plate logo?…
Jim,

Didn’t the Commercial Model 1917s have the small logo under the cylinder release and 5 1/2” barrels? I am thinking these are 455s, one a 2nd Model and the back one a New Century.

Kevin
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:03 PM
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Happy to oblige. I didn’t include a photo, but there are no dates on the grip frame.



That appears to my eye as a factory fitted side plate. They are forged to fit the frame and nearly impossible to fit accurately after the revolver leaves the factory.

What makes you think the revolver is refinished? Or at least refinished outside of the factory?

Kevin
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Old 10-12-2021, 10:11 PM
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Hondo, That HE revolver is a .455 Webley [rebated to .45colt] I think built in 1918, sn 11964. Has the usual British stampings and ‘Notenglishmake’ on it. Shoots good, locks up tight. One of my favorites.

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Old 10-13-2021, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by StrawHat View Post
That appears to my eye as a factory fitted side plate. They are forged to fit the frame and nearly impossible to fit accurately after the revolver leaves the factory.

What makes you think the revolver is refinished? Or at least refinished outside of the factory?

Kevin
Well I might learn something here. The refinish was an assumption on my part based solely on its appearance to my inexpert eye. After doing a bit more reading it seems this might be factory work. There is a diamond and an “S” stamped on the barrel flat (photo below) and there is an “R-S” in a rectangle on the grip frame.

Any additional information would be appreciated.


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Old 10-13-2021, 12:52 AM
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I've got a virtually new S&W 1917. Given its condition, it stays in the safe as a collector.

For shooting, I use a Brazilian 1917. The photo is a group at 20 yards from a Weaver stance using a 200 grain cast SWC over Bullseye powder.
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Old 10-13-2021, 05:10 PM
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Well I might learn something here. The refinish was an assumption on my part based solely on its appearance to my inexpert eye. After doing a bit more reading it seems this might be factory work. There is a diamond and an “S” stamped on the barrel flat (photo below) and there is an “R-S” in a rectangle on the grip frame.

Any additional information would be appreciated.
Those marks tell the entire story! The S under the diamond indicate a factory barrel change in the "Service Dept". The replacement barrel # matches the frame # because it was stamped at the factory to match when replaced. It's likely the barrel is no longer rollmarked "United states Property" under the front end of the barrel. Or it might be if WWI surplus barrels were still in inventory.

The “R-S” in a rectangle was stamped by the factory when it was 'Refinished-Standard' at the time of the barrel change.

Obviously your side plate was replaced as well for whatever reason. Hence why it's a perfect fit! And I bet there's no assembly # on the inside. But if there is, it'll be factory stamped to match the other two locations. And since the side plate has the large newer logo, your gun went back to the factory sometime after 1936.

I'm surprised there's no date code on the left side of the grip frame at the toe like this:


Photo credit: Rick Bowles

That one actually has two dates for two trips back to the factory: Oct 1975 and Nov 1964.
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Old 10-13-2021, 05:26 PM
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Jim,

Didn’t the Commercial Model 1917s have the small logo under the cylinder release and 5 1/2” barrels? I am thinking these are 455s, one a 2nd Model and the back one a New Century.

Kevin
The 1917 Comercial models did have the smaller logo on left side until 1936.

And you're right again, my mistake, they're 455s which did have a small logo on the side plate as did the New Century triple lock .44s and .455s.
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Old 10-13-2021, 05:38 PM
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I took my 1917 down to the range today to try out some 260 g. trash can slugs I poured this past weekend. They are full wadcutters and cut a perfectly round hole in the right spot. Had a blast...



I have a another 1917, its an early model with concentric ringed hammer. It doesn't get hammered with like the modified model does.

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Old 10-13-2021, 05:43 PM
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Hondo, That HE revolver is a .455 Webley [rebated to .45colt] I think built in 1918, sn 11964. Has the usual British stampings and ‘Notenglishmake’ on it. Shoots good, locks up tight. One of my favorites.
Yes, you're right! It's a beauty. But that's a very early # from 1915 and none were made after 1917.
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for the info. Older than I thought.
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:15 PM
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Those marks tell the entire story! The S under the diamond indicate a factory barrel change in the "Service Dept". The replacement barrel # matches the frame # because it was stamped at the factory to match when replaced. It's likely the barrel is no longer rollmarked "United states Property" under the front end of the barrel. Or it might be if WWI surplus barrels were still in inventory.

The “R-S” in a rectangle was stamped by the factory when it was 'Refinished-Standard' at the time of the barrel change.

Obviously your side plate was replaced as well for whatever reason. Hence why it's a perfect fit! And I bet there's no assembly # on the inside. But if there is, it'll be factory stamped to match the other two locations. And since the side plate has the large newer logo, your gun went back to the factory sometime after 1936.

I'm surprised there's no date code on the left side of the grip frame at the toe like this:


Photo credit: Rick Bowles

That one actually has two dates for two trips back to the factory: Oct 1975 and Nov 1964.
Sincere thanks!

While I said there was no date under the grips, perhaps I was mistaken; is that was this “271” is?



I saw no assembly number on the sideplate when I opened it up, but I wouldn’t swear to it. BTW, this barrel is “United States Property” marked. I had wondered why this marking remained so clear; a NOS replacement would explain this.

Thanks again for the info!


Mark
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Old 10-13-2021, 10:06 PM
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My memory may be foggy but believe at one point revolvers returned to SW for work had a new logo applied to the sideplate if one was not present. Roy Jinks put a stop to that.
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Old 10-13-2021, 11:08 PM
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Sincere thanks!

While I said there was no date under the grips, perhaps I was mistaken; is that was this “271” is?



I saw no assembly number on the sideplate when I opened it up, but I wouldn’t swear to it. BTW, this barrel is “United States Property” marked. I had wondered why this marking remained so clear; a NOS replacement would explain this.

Thanks again for the info!


Mark
271 would indicate it was worked on by the factory in February, 1971. Back when they still cared about and had the craftsmen to work on older guns.
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Old 10-14-2021, 06:31 AM
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Sincere thanks!

While I said there was no date under the grips, perhaps I was mistaken; is that was this “271” is?



I saw no assembly number on the sideplate when I opened it up, but I wouldn’t swear to it. BTW, this barrel is “United States Property” marked. I had wondered why this marking remained so clear; a NOS replacement would explain this.

Thanks again for the info!


Mark
So, if we accept that it went in for an overhaul in February of 1971, that doesn’t explain the logo on the side plate. Roy put a stop to out of character stamps before that time didn’t he?

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Old 10-14-2021, 06:35 AM
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My memory may be foggy but believe at one point revolvers returned to SW for work had a new logo applied to the sideplate if one was not present. Roy Jinks put a stop to that.
I am not sure about the logo but he did put an end to the practice of adding the four line MADE IN U.S.A. etc to revolvers that did not have it.

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Old 10-14-2021, 06:36 AM
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…I took my 1917 down to the range today to try out some 260 g. trash can slugs I poured this past weekend. They are full wadcutters and cut a perfectly round hole in the right spot. Had a blast...
Would love to see some photos and more information. Perhaps a new thread in the reloading section?

Kevin
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Old 10-14-2021, 02:25 PM
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Would love to see some photos and more information. Perhaps a new thread in the reloading section?

Kevin
Kevin, I posted some info as requested.

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Old 10-14-2021, 07:11 PM
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So, if we accept that it went in for an overhaul in February of 1971, that doesn’t explain the logo on the side plate. Roy put a stop to out of character stamps before that time didn’t he?

Kevin
Hi Kevin,

OP said he didn't see an assembly # on the inside, and you do have to look for it usually, like in a groove. But if there actually is no number, it's a replacement (or even if the ***. # was restamped it could be a replacement). It may have been too marked up, dented, etc., to refinish so if there was a replacement in inventory, albeit already roll marked with a logo, it was likely replaced; it only needed to be an N frame 4 screw plate, not specifically a 1917.

Anyway, one of those trivial mysteries we'll never know the full story about. Unless the owner gets a letter and then asks for the archived work order.
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Old 10-14-2021, 07:42 PM
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Hi Kevin,

OP said he didn't see an assembly # on the inside, and you do have to look for it usually, like in a groove. But if there actually is no number, it's a replacement (or even if the ***. # was restamped it could be a replacement). It may have been too marked up, dented, etc., to refinish so if there was a replacement in inventory, albeit already roll marked with a logo, it was likely replaced; it only needed to be an N frame 4 screw plate, not specifically a 1917.

Anyway, one of those trivial mysteries we'll never know the full story about. Unless the owner gets a letter and then asks for the archived work order.

Thank you Jim.

I was under the impression the sideplate was a rough forging that was placed in the frame and swaged to fit prior to finishing. If they had piles of them stamped with logos they must not have needed much swaging.

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Old 10-15-2021, 01:48 PM
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It wouldn't be the first side plate replacement post production. So they have a process for replacement that differs a little from original plate fitting during regular production. I notice there's no raised edges around the logo imprint so it was polished level with the frame after installation.

It would be very interesting to see a replacement side plate installed.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
The S under the diamond indicate a factory barrel change in the "Service Dept". The replacement barrel # matches the frame # because it was stamped at the factory to match when replaced.
Maybe. Maybe not. The S and diamond might have been stamped merely to make sure that barrel was sent to the Service Dept after bluing. It might be the original barrel. The pic is a little fuzzy, but the font of the numbers looks like the old font to me which was not used in 71.


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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
it only needed to be an N frame 4 screw plate, not specifically a 1917.
Wrong.
It had to be a long action sideplate. The hammer studs are located differently on long and short actions.


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Originally Posted by StrawHat View Post
So, if we accept that it went in for an overhaul in February of 1971, that doesn’t explain the logo on the side plate. Roy put a stop to out of character stamps before that time didn’t he?

Kevin
No, it was later than 71 as I recall. I've seen a refinished 44 TL with a four line address and a 72 or 73 date.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by handejector View Post
The pic is a little fuzzy, but the font of the numbers looks like the old font to me which was not used in 71…
Hopefully this photo will help. I have not yet upgraded to a phone with good macro capabilities.



And while we’re at it.



The frame doesn’t bear an address stamping.

Again, sincere thanks for everyone’s interest and assistance.


Mark
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:41 AM
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I read this tread with a good deal of interest.
Earlier this year, I ran across my Shooter grade....
I'm quite please with its acquisition
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1917 R.jpg (19.5 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg 1917 L.jpg (19.5 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg 20210709_155602.jpg (214.0 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg 20210821_172840.jpg (132.5 KB, 15 views)

Last edited by Major 2; 10-16-2021 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by handejector View Post
Maybe. Maybe not. The S and diamond might have been stamped merely to make sure that barrel was sent to the Service Dept after bluing. It might be the original barrel. The pic is a little fuzzy, but the font of the numbers looks like the old font to me which was not used in 71.

Wrong.
It had to be a long action sideplate. The hammer studs are located differently on long and short actions.
I agree about the S stamp, regardless of a replacement or not, it was for getting the barrel back to the service department. Good eye on the # font style. And the diamond could just mean refinish, not necessarily a replacement.

Agreed, the side plate had to be a long action plate of course, it could have been old inventory from the 14 years of 1936 to ~1950. I guess it could be the original newly marked with logo. It’ll help to know for sure if the owner confirms the existence of an assembly # or not.
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Old 10-17-2021, 04:30 PM
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The frame doesn’t bear an address stamping.
Mark
Yeah there’s two clues that seem to conflict: if the plate was stamped with logo, why not the address block stamped on frame if it was before Roy put a stop to non-original roll marks on pre war guns when factory refinished?

That’s what leads me to believe the side plate was replaced.

It would really help if you confirmed the assembly # existence; it would be in the slot cutout for the cyl hand on the back of side plate.
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Last edited by Hondo44; 10-18-2021 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 10-18-2021, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Yeah there’s two clues that seem to conflict: if the plate was stamped with logo, why not the address block stamped on frame if it was before Roy put a stop to non-original roll marks on pre war guns when factory refinished?

That’s what leads me to believe the side plate was replaced.

It would really help if you confirmed the assembly existence; it would be in the slot cutout for the cyl hand on the back of side plate.
Mystery solved (I think). There is an assembly number (6 8 55 0) on the side plate; it does not match anything else on the gun.

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Old 10-18-2021, 05:54 PM
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Mystery solved (I think). There is an assembly number (6 8 55 0) on the side plate; it does not match anything else on the gun.
Open the cylinder and tell us what number is on the frame behind the yoke. The same number will be stamped on the yoke.
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:20 PM
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Open the cylinder and tell us what number is on the frame behind the yoke. The same number will be stamped on the yoke.
45322 on both frame and yoke.
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