Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > Smith & Wesson Revolvers > S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961
o

Notices

S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-11-2009, 07:47 AM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

During development of the 44 Magnum cartridge, S&W realized the 1950 style target revolver was too light and recoil was severe when firing this model with the new magnum cartridge. In January 1955, the company built several prototypes. These guns featured a heavy barrel and were built in S&W's tool room. The guns were to be cased and featured S&W's small logo on the left side of the frame (this was later changed to the large logo on the side plate). Several of these guns were used for testing and the one shown below with serial number S121836 was used as a shown sample revolver. It was kept in the tool room collection for many years before being sold by S&W.

Those of you who have factory letters on a 44 Magnum know that Roy indicates in his background material that S121836 is "the first 44 Magnum".

Bill
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #2  
Old 04-11-2009, 07:47 AM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

duplicate post deleted
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-11-2009, 07:55 AM
Landpimp's Avatar
Landpimp Landpimp is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Puget Sound
Posts: 813
Likes: 5
Liked 36 Times in 14 Posts
Default

my goodness....thats an amazing Smith!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-11-2009, 08:09 AM
Gun 4 Fun Gun 4 Fun is offline
SWCA Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 6,027
Likes: 1,061
Liked 762 Times in 368 Posts
Default

That is another great example from your collection, and I appreciate you sharing it with us! What history. If only that gun could talk.......
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-11-2009, 08:28 AM
j38 j38 is offline
US Veteran
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: OR
Posts: 3,500
Likes: 5,185
Liked 987 Times in 340 Posts
Default

Bill,

Yesterday you showed us the "rarest" .44 Magnum. Today it's the "1st" 44 Magnum. I really hope this doesn't mean you're getting to the bottom of your safe!

Thanks for another beautiful gun and interesting post!

Jerry
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-11-2009, 09:01 AM
Pre-64's Avatar
Pre-64 Pre-64 is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 440
Likes: 371
Liked 256 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Bill,
Other than the stocks, are there any differences between this .44 and the eventual ".44 Magnum" released to the public?
Is there any record of the number of "prototypes" made/ utilized?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-11-2009, 09:04 AM
Pre-64's Avatar
Pre-64 Pre-64 is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 440
Likes: 371
Liked 256 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
During development of the 44 Magnum cartridge, S&W realized the 1950 style target revolver was too light and recoil was severe when firing this model with the new magnum cartridge.
Doc44, Have any of the "1950 style target revolvers" ever surfaced or their whereabouts determined?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-11-2009, 09:13 AM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

Pre-64...The prototype revolver was the final design and there are no differences between it and the production guns except for the location of the S&W logo (noted above). It is unknown how many were made, but I believe they made five guns that were either prototype or experimental guns used to develop the 44 Magnum cartridge (probably three prototype, and two experimental, but that is a guess on my part).

S121839 was shipped to Remington Arms in 1954 and given to C. G. Peterson, Manager of Products Services, to develop the 44 Magnum cartridge. This gun was eventually given to his friend, Jack Behn. Jack owned the gun until it was stolen in 1972 and never recovered. Jack discussed this with me at the NRA meeting in 2001 and sent me a copy of the list of guns stolen. S121839 was described as a 1950 Target 44 with a 4-inch barrel and blue finish, chambered to fire the 44 Magnum. It and several other guns that are probably prototypes or experimental guns are open on S&W's records. This is to be expected since the guns were never sold and were made by the tool room staff.

It is interesting that Jack was a good friend of Bill Ruger and eventually worked for Ruger. Jack was given one of the few engraved Blackhawk .357s by Mr. Ruger, serial number 100. It was also stolen, but fortunately it was recovered.

Bill
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-11-2009, 09:15 AM
Gun 4 Fun Gun 4 Fun is offline
SWCA Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 6,027
Likes: 1,061
Liked 762 Times in 368 Posts
Default

Chuck, just to stir the pot a little bit here-

Wouldn't the 4 1/2" be the rarest still, since there were several prototypes, even though this is the first? Never mind, I think I just answered my own question.

The 4 1/2" is the rarest barrel length, while this one is the rarest .44, due to it being the first, and there's only one first.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-11-2009, 09:16 AM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

Chuck..Rarest and the first... ...hard to beat that.

Bill
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-11-2009, 09:21 AM
Gun 4 Fun Gun 4 Fun is offline
SWCA Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 6,027
Likes: 1,061
Liked 762 Times in 368 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
Chuck..Rarest and the first... ...hard to beat that.

Bill
+100
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-11-2009, 09:40 AM
Pre-64's Avatar
Pre-64 Pre-64 is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 440
Likes: 371
Liked 256 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
It is interesting that Jack was a good friend of Bill Ruger and eventually worked for Ruger. Jack was given one of the few engraved Blackhawk .357s by Mr. Ruger, serial number 100. It was also stolen, but fortunately it was recovered.

Bill

Doc44, I'm assuming, I think most of us assume that your heart lies with the S&W .44 Magnum..but you've left hints in past posts that you may have a "Ruger" connection as well?

I find the stories/ histories/ developments of the on-going relationships between particularly the Ruger, Colt's, and S&W companies of that era (1954-1956) intriguing.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-11-2009, 10:07 AM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

Pre-64...I have a parallel interest in the early Blackhawk .44 Magnum and the ones with a 7 1/2-inch or 10-inch barrel and the early Super Blackhawks. I also try and collect factory ivory grips (approximately 600 pairs made) and factory stag grips (approximately 6700 pairs made).

I consider John Dougan a good friend as well as Bill Hamm, who has the best collection of Ruger 44 Magnums there is.

Pictured below is a second month of production Blackhawk 44 Magnum, serial number 475, shipped in early December 1956. It is about new and one of my favorites.

Bill
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-11-2009, 10:34 AM
Pre-64's Avatar
Pre-64 Pre-64 is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 440
Likes: 371
Liked 256 Times in 39 Posts
Default

I knew it! I knew it!

A Beautiful Flat top!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-11-2009, 12:11 PM
Gun 4 Fun Gun 4 Fun is offline
SWCA Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 6,027
Likes: 1,061
Liked 762 Times in 368 Posts
Default

Bill,
Where's that beautiful 6 1/2" SBH at? That is an awesome looking Ruger!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-11-2009, 01:31 PM
JayCeeNC's Avatar
JayCeeNC JayCeeNC is offline
US Veteran
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 3,908
Likes: 17,196
Liked 3,302 Times in 1,048 Posts
Default

Fantastic guns, Bill. I've run out of superlatives to described your unmatched collection.
__________________
John
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-11-2009, 01:43 PM
29aholic's Avatar
29aholic 29aholic is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bolivar, MO
Posts: 6,363
Likes: 3,558
Liked 3,212 Times in 1,093 Posts
Default

OK, Nice...but how do they shoot??
__________________
C M Brier CPA, CIA, CFE
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 04-11-2009, 02:28 PM
Onomea's Avatar
Onomea Onomea is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oregon & Japan
Posts: 12,131
Likes: 37,985
Liked 27,167 Times in 7,492 Posts
Default

Colts. I wanna know if he's got any Colts!
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 04-11-2009, 02:47 PM
29aholic's Avatar
29aholic 29aholic is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bolivar, MO
Posts: 6,363
Likes: 3,558
Liked 3,212 Times in 1,093 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomea View Post
Colts. I wanna know if he's got any Colts!
Oh God Arlo...I dont think I could take it.

Its bad enough when you ask around places for 44 mags....and the tell "Well we had one, but some guy name Bill come through and already bought it"
__________________
C M Brier CPA, CIA, CFE
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 04-11-2009, 02:49 PM
Dan M's Avatar
Dan M Dan M is offline
Moderator
SWCA Member
Absent Comrade
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: PNW
Posts: 2,573
Likes: 2,246
Liked 1,379 Times in 253 Posts
Default

Bill,

I love your Pictorials

Dan
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 04-11-2009, 03:02 PM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

Onomea...I have six Colts...a 1911 reissue, my Dad's 1911A1 he carried in WWII, a Frontier Scout in nickel with case, a 1964 Python (great shooter), a third generation Class A-engraved SAA 44 Special with one piece ivory stocks, and a third generation SAA 44 Special that I shoot.

Really....I rarely have met a S&W, Ruger, Colt, or Sig that I didn't like. Browning is my rifle of choice and Benelli/Browning are my shotguns of choice.

Bill
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #22  
Old 04-11-2009, 03:11 PM
pistolero pistolero is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 1 Post
Default

Bill, was wondering what your take is on the three consecutive serial- numbered pre model 29s at auction at present by wimers in oregon. i suppose you are aware of the seemingly astronomical asking price.
thanks, pistolero
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 04-11-2009, 03:12 PM
Pre-64's Avatar
Pre-64 Pre-64 is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 440
Likes: 371
Liked 256 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Doc44...coincidently...I have my Dad's Browning A-5 he purchased from the factory while stationed in Leige with the 76th General Hospital during the "Battle of the Bulge"..
He paid $29 and skipped the Gold Inlay for an additional $5 - too much at that time....

(Mr. Pistolero: Even Mr. Wimer couldn't put a price on it!)
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 04-11-2009, 04:37 PM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

Pistolero...The three 44 Magnums with consecutive serial numbers would be a nice set, but the guns were not shipped as a consecutive set and are overpriced in my opinion. I can't recall the price, but $15,000 would be tops unless a collector just had to have them. The guns have serial numbers in the S130000 range, but were not shipped particularly early. One was shipped in June 1956, if I remember correctly.

Bill
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 04-11-2009, 04:41 PM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Default

Pre-64...My Dad was a First Sergeant with the Coast Artillery and then transferred to the 28th Infantry Division. He served from 1941 through most of 1945. After the war ended in Europe, he was shipped back to the U.S. for redeployment to the pacific theatre, but before that happened, the Japanese surrendered and he was discharged. He joined the Army in early 1941 with the idea of serve your year and get out, but that year turned into almost five years.

Bill
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #26  
Old 04-11-2009, 04:57 PM
Texas Star Texas Star is offline
US Veteran
Absent Comrade
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 20,376
Likes: 24,283
Liked 16,136 Times in 7,402 Posts
Default

Well, these guns sure look better today than does Colt Peacemaker No. 1!

Fantastic photos, too! Thanks for sharing!

T-Star
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 04-11-2009, 05:25 PM
pistolero pistolero is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 1 Post
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
Pistolero...The three 44 Magnums with consecutive serial numbers would be a nice set, but the guns were not shipped as a consecutive set and are overpriced in my opinion. I can't recall the price, but $15,000 would be tops unless a collector just had to have them. The guns have serial numbers in the S130000 range, but were not shipped particularly early. One was shipped in June 1956, if I remember correctly.

Bill
Bill, wimer's is asking $ 24995 for the set, incredibly enough. that may very well be the high water mark pricewise on a collectible gun (s)he has for sale , best i can recall.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 04-11-2009, 11:30 PM
ElToro ElToro is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 948
Likes: 15
Liked 177 Times in 50 Posts
Default

wow.
just wow.
i cant think of anything else to say but, thanks for being at the front of the pack for this segment of S&W history that many people share with you. thanks for sharing and preserving the knowledge
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 04-12-2009, 05:56 PM
shawn mccarver shawn mccarver is offline
SWCA Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,678
Likes: 3,342
Liked 6,244 Times in 2,465 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
During development of the 44 Magnum cartridge, S&W realized the 1950 style target revolver was too light and recoil was severe when firing this model with the new magnum cartridge. In January 1955, the company built several prototypes. These guns featured a heavy barrel and were built in S&W's tool room. The guns were to be cased and featured S&W's small logo on the left side of the frame (this was later changed to the large logo on the side plate). Several of these guns were used for testing and the one shown below with serial number S121836 was used as a shown sample revolver. It was kept in the tool room collection for many years before being sold by S&W.

Those of you who have factory letters on a 44 Magnum know that Roy indicates in his background material that S121836 is "the first 44 Magnum".

Bill
I am proud to be a member of the S&WCA and this forum, and am always amazed at the quality of the things that members of the association and this forum share with the rest of us. Thank you for allowing us to share these beautiful guns with us!

Shawn McCarver
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 11-11-2021, 12:52 PM
AlHunt AlHunt is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 2,124
Likes: 4,807
Liked 2,422 Times in 1,106 Posts
Default

I bet the pictures in this thread were pretty nice a dozen years ago. This is why 3rd party photo hosting sucks. Looks like they were on fototime.
__________________
Just Say No - To Social Media
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #31  
Old 11-11-2021, 03:04 PM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 8,838
Likes: 1,189
Liked 27,446 Times in 3,877 Posts
Smile

Reposted photo of "Prototype" 44 Magnum, S121836. Click on the photo for a better look.

Bill

Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 11-11-2021, 04:13 PM
AlHunt AlHunt is offline
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 2,124
Likes: 4,807
Liked 2,422 Times in 1,106 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
Reposted photo of "Prototype" 44 Magnum, S121836. Click on the photo for a better look.

Bill
Thank you. Fantastic. I've been trolling the Notable Threads.
__________________
Just Say No - To Social Media
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 11-11-2021, 05:19 PM
series guy series guy is online now
Member
"Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum "Prototype" 44 Magnum  
Join Date: May 2010
Location: The Steel City
Posts: 1,954
Likes: 5,689
Liked 3,921 Times in 1,244 Posts
Default

Back in the development days of the .44 Magnum I wonder if any of those involved could fathom the continued interest and fascination this gun would attract. Even 60 plus years later.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
Reply

Tags
1911, 44 magnum, benelli, browning, cartridge, colt, engraved, nra, remington, ruger, saa, sig arms, stag, wwii

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
.44 magnum prototype... GunarSailors S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 0 11-14-2016 11:17 AM
PC 945-1 Prototype? 18DAI Smith & Wesson Semi-Auto Pistols 9 12-13-2013 06:52 PM
Early/Prototype 44 magnum? gametime S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 7 07-30-2009 09:12 AM
Elmer Keith's Prototype .44 Magnum Ammunition and More!! 29-1 S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 41 01-09-2009 01:25 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
smith-wessonforum.com tested by Norton Internet Security smith-wessonforum.com tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:50 AM.


Smith-WessonForum.com is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)