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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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  #1  
Old 05-03-2009, 09:57 AM
jsmith jsmith is offline
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Here is a find that I just made recently at a gun show in Ohio. It is a .22/32 Kit Gun chambered for the .22 Long Rifle. This one is known as the Pre-Model 34. There is no model number stamped inside the yoke. This gun is a 4-screw, has a flat latch thumbpiece, blued finish with a 4" barrel. The grips are the originals and are so numbered to the gun.

The most interesting thing about this gun is the serial number. It is 2249. That's right! A low 4 digit serial number. And all the numbers on the gun match.

This gun is in excellent condition. Chamber and bore are perfect. No rust or pitting! The rifling is strong and clear. There is just a little bit of wear on the bluing at the end of the barrel. Probably holster wear. No scratches, nicks or any other wear on the surface of this gun. This one has been well taken care of. It appears not to have been used much.

The SCSW3 states these guns were made from about 1953-1969 with a serial number range from 101-135465. My gun would probably be in the 1st year of production.

I paid $500 for it and believe it's well worth it. The SCSW3 list it at $600 in excellent condition. Given the excellent condition and low serial number of this gun I couldn't pass it up.

I'm debating on whether or not to have this one factory lettered.

Any comment out there.

jsmith





This is the best shot I can get of the serial number. My camera just doesn't have the resolution for fine details.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:10 AM
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thats cool,, i have one too also a "pre" 34 and also a four didget 186 away from yours, handy little guns, but the grips were way too small for me,replaced mine with "J" frame target grips

also found in Ohio, but headed out to
Cali...
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:56 AM
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Jsmith, that's a great gun at a good price. Congratulations.

kritter, I like yours too. Before you changed grips, were they numbered to the gun?I hope you still have the original ones.

I have been working on a data base of pre-war and post-war transitional kit guns. I hadn't intended to move forward into the pre-34 class of guns, but with specimens as handsome as these two I am tempted to expand the focus.

David Wilson
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:30 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by jsmith:
The SCSW3 states these guns were made from about 1953-1969 with a serial number range from 101-135465. My gun would probably be in the 1st year of production.

I'm debating on whether or not to have this one factory lettered.

Any comment out there.

jsmith QUOTE]

You have a dandy at a good price. It's a "Model of 1953 22/32 Kit Gun" made on the "New" I frame, the 4 screw made from 1953 to 1961. These have an 1/8" longer grip frame, an even longer new square butt grip frame option, and an enlarged trigger guard from the previous "Improved I Frame". In 1961 they were changed to J frames with 1/8" longer cyls and the barrels went from 4" to 4 1/8". I have one identical to yours #21085 and a Model 34 (pre dash) with sq butt #63983. I lke the J frame targets as well but cut down as shown below.


Get the letter.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:14 PM
ButchG17 ButchG17 is offline
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I have one of those also! I've been told it's a 'Model of 1953', and the serial number is 29681 (can anyone put a date on it for me?).



And here it is next to my J frame Model 34-1
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ButchG17:
I have one of those also! I've been told it's a 'Model of 1953', and the serial number is 29681 (can anyone put a date on it for me?).

And here it is next to my J frame Model 34-1
You have a real pair of "screamers" there. Very nice!
In 1955 production began at #11000 and 1959 began at #52673. So made between the end of '55 and prior to the end of 1958. However we can pin it down a little closer.
Does your gun have 3 or 4 sideplate screws?
Is it stamped Mod 34 in the yoke?
And lastly is the serial number stamped under the barrel, on the rear face of the cylinder, under the ejector star and on the back edge of the yoke looking thru one of the chambers, as well as on the butt?

You're correct, these Model of 1953 New I frames were introduced in 1953 and until they were designated Model 34 and stamped as such in 1957, the factory name for them was the Model of 1953 .22/32 Kit Gun; labeled by collectors as the "Pre-Model 34".
They became the Model 34-1 in 1961 when they were introduced on the J frame.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:08 PM
ButchG17 ButchG17 is offline
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Nope, no model number, three screw, and the only places with serial numbers are the bottom of the grip frame and inside the right grip panel.

It does have one thing I've not seen much though...the letters 'DG' stamped on the inside of the crane under the assembly number.

Thanks!
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:26 PM
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ButchG17:

Based on my observations and study of this model, my estimation would be a late '56 or early '57 production. That's based on serial #, S&W elimination of the 4th sideplate screw in 1956, elimination of muti-serial numbers in '56, and the introduction of Model #s in 1957.

Please recognize, however, that when it comes to S&W production, "the main rule is, there are no rules"! If you haven't heard that before it means that it is not uncommon for guns with later serial numbers to have features of guns that are much earlier in the serial # sequence. The factory did not care one iota whether or not their guns were produced in sequence for us collectors' benefit. It's known for a fact that guns were produced in batches and shipping date sequence had little correlation to feature changes, serial # sequence or actual completion date of the guns.

The DG is typical of an assembler or inspectors stamp/intials and irrelevant to the vintage or features on the gun for all practical purposes.
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:31 PM
ButchG17 ButchG17 is offline
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Thanks Jim, sounds quite accurate to me!
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:09 PM
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I did decide to get my .22/32 Kit Gun factory lettered. Just mailed it out on 6/21/2009. When I get it I will post it here.

When I took my concealed carry class just recently, this is the gun I used. Quite a few people in the class liked that gun, especially it being a low serial number.

jsmith

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Old 06-27-2009, 08:18 PM
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I have a few Model 34s, but this Pre-34, 1953 Kit Gun is my favorite. It's a 4 screw, 2" barrel with 1 1/4" cylinder length. It's SN 8264

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Old 08-02-2009, 03:04 PM
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Default Two-Page Factory Letter - 7/7/2009

My letters arrived in the mail on the same day as the date on the letter. I have been busy of late but finally getting around to posting it here.

An unusual surprise is my factory letter came back as two pages. This gun now resides about 50 miles away [still in Ohio] from where it was originally shipped to in Youngstown, Ohio. It hasn't travelled very far in its life. I bought this gun privately at a small gun show not that far from Youngstown.

To protect my privacy and to discourage any offers on buying my guns, I used a small piece of black paper to cover up my name and address on the letter.

Here is page 1 of that letter:



Here is page 2 of that letter:

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Old 08-09-2009, 08:08 AM
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Does anyone else have any Pre-34's they would like to share?
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:21 AM
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Default Not a pre 34 but...

Here's an early model marked 34. I'm guessing that one is from about 1957 due to the fact that it is model marked, but has serial number 369XX. I've not lettered it.


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Old 08-09-2009, 07:32 PM
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Here's another from 1954, #3185, also in Ohio.


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Old 08-10-2009, 01:34 AM
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Jsmith, thanks for posting the letter you received from Smith. I acquired a 4" 22/32 kit gun about 20 years ago from a collector in Washington State. It is vintage 1938 and while a round butt, has the over sized optional target grips. Your letter helped me confirm a few things I have read but was not sure about. Hearing directly from Jenks is all I need to answer my questions.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:52 AM
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I recently purchased a Model 34 (no dash) SN 387xx. From what I can tell by whats been posted here so far, it looks like it might put it somehwere around 58-59 vintage. I just requested a letter and will post the results when I receive them.

The Mrs. laid immediate claim to this sweet little revolver.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:38 PM
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Default Pre-Model 34

Here is a 2 inch sn 26138

Anyone know value or other info on this one ? Sn is on butt and back of cylinder. 3 screw side plate. DOB perhaps 1956 ?
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File Type: jpg 001.jpg (46.0 KB, 3740 views)

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Old 08-13-2009, 07:58 PM
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mnrivrat - Your guess as to DOB is probably right within a year. The 4th screw was deleted in 1955 and the frames were not stamped Model 34 until 1957. There were over 135,000 Pre-Model 34's built so they are not particularly hard to obtain. What I can add is you have a real nice looking gun in excellent condtion. Value I would say about $500-$600. Nice condition .22/32 Kit Guns seem to always command more money.

jsmith
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Old 09-02-2009, 04:08 PM
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Question Pre 34 I frame

I bought one of the little I frames a few years back and shot it once and put it in the safe and did not really think about it untill I was reorganizing my safe and I pulled it out and was looking at it. I found this thread and was looking at the little pre 34 and found that it is a 4 screw, with matching serial numbers on the bottom of the barrel, the cylinder and the bottom of the frame with no model number stamped in the frame. SN 190XX. I'm guessing it is a 1955 model? The grips that came with the gun were aftermarket plastic grips and the were cracked and taped, so I put a set of j frame grips on it. The double action is real stiff and the single action is great. I perfer the double action of my Smith 34 vs the pre 34.
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smee78 View Post
I bought one of the little I frames a few years back and shot it once and put it in the safe and did not really think about it untill I was reorganizing my safe and I pulled it out and was looking at it. I found this thread and was looking at the little pre 34 and found that it is a 4 screw, with matching serial numbers on the bottom of the barrel, the cylinder and the bottom of the frame with no model number stamped in the frame. SN 190XX. I'm guessing it is a 1955 model? The grips that came with the gun were aftermarket plastic grips and the were cracked and taped, so I put a set of j frame grips on it. The double action is real stiff and the single action is great. I prefer the double action of my Smith 34 vs the pre 34.


Double action operation of these small frame guns can be pretty stiff. I have a couple of prewar Kit Guns (the ancestor of the Pre-34 and Model 34 KGs we're talking about here), and they are not easy to work smoothly in DA. On the other hand, as you note, SA operation is sweet.

The larger square butt or extension target stocks help with hand geometry and smooth out the pull a little on these tiny revolvers, but I think you would get most benefit from opening the gun and cleaning the action thoroughly. In particular the trigger rebound slide and spring could use some attention if oil from decades ago has mixed with carbon residue and dust to become a varnish-like deposit. If the frame or trigger rebound slide is rough where the two surfaces slide on each other, you might want to dress that up too.

Yes, about 1955 for your gun, or early 1956.

My two kit guns can be seen in my album, along with a contemporary .22/32 Target model with extension stocks: S&W Forum - DCWilson's Album: I-Frames
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:05 PM
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My Grandfather left me an original 22/32 grip numbered Beakert.
It has unfortunately seen better days and is retired from active service.


Looking closely you can see grip number 567.


I have yet to have it lettered, But from what I have gathered it appears to fall within the original Beakert SN# range.

On a side note I picked up a J frame 34-1 square butt serialed to 1969 recently.
The weird part is its serial no# at 118XXX is much lower than a J frame model 37 in my collection from 1957 with sn# 177xxx.
Go figure?
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:29 PM
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Very informative thread! Here's some pics of mine SN 217XX.

Mine did not come with the original diamond round butt grips, but has a pair of square butt grips that don't fit too well as you can clearly see. I'm wondering if any round butt J-frame grip will fit (the previous owner said he took some grips off his Model 10 and that they fit fine but he sold it to me with these lol)???




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Old 12-28-2009, 05:09 PM
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I recently picked up a 34 no dash 4" SQ butt flat latch. It seems like most of the early guns were RB. Is this true?

It is a great little gun!
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:23 PM
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Picked this up last week... nice little shooter, very small and handy...



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Old 01-20-2010, 02:02 AM
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Recently acquired a pair of correct grips for the Pre-Model 34. Looks much better, but I still will probably end up buying a pair of round to square conversion grips to fill up my hand better.



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Old 01-20-2010, 11:08 AM
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Default More 1953 Kit Guns in Ohio

Here's two more 1953 Kit Guns. These are both model 34 marked and the 2" was shipped in Apr of 1959.


An interesting side note. As noted by fungunnin, all the "flat latch" guns are round butt guns. He stated he has a square butt gun, where's the pics?
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:39 PM
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Default pre 34

Interesting thread...I recently acquired a 4" Kit Gun and just got the Mr Jinx letter, and yesterday found a Snubbie of the same vintage. I'll post photos of her soon. The 2" is in better condition than the 4". Am in the market for a grip adapter and holster for the little one. Seems the only way to get the real deal info for these guys is to pay the bucks...
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:17 AM
Recoil Rob Recoil Rob is offline
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This has been shown here before but it fits the bill, a pre-M43 Airweight Kit Gun, also known as the 22/32 Model of 1955.

I shoot it with the Herrett's, they fit the hand better. This is what I carry while bird hunting.


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Old 10-27-2011, 12:20 AM
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BTW, anyone else notice the prices some kit guns just brought on GB? Over $5K for a pre-War 4", over $1K for a pre -34 and over $900 for a M43!
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcelect View Post
Here's two more 1953 Kit Guns. These are both model 34 marked and the 2" was shipped in Apr of 1959.

An interesting side note. As noted by fungunnin, all the "flat latch" guns are round butt guns. He stated he has a square butt gun, where's the pics?
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An extremely nice pair jcelet. Just to be clear, what fungunnin actually said is: "It seems like most of the early guns were RB. Is this true?"

"Early guns" do not really equate to "flat latches" which were made all the way up to 1966.

It's true, the early gun RBs (Model of 1953 Kit Guns 1953 to c. 1958) outnumber square butt guns, but they are not all RB. Sq butt flat latch guns became more prevalent on the J frame 22/32s between c. 1961 and 1966.

In my post #4 on the 1st page of this thread you will see my SB Model of 1953 'I' frame, 2nd gun down on the left. Yes, it has target stocks but it's original grips are to the right of it. And no it doesn't have the flatlatch on it in the photo; I had changed it to a pre war "double hour glass" thumbpiece at the time of the photo. But any familiar with Mod 1953 kit guns will recognize it is an I frame which all came with flat latches, either style #2 or #3.

Hope this helps,
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:30 PM
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Wow, am I glad that this thread came back up. I've always wondered if my 1953 kit gun was a birth year gun. Reading over JSSmith's factory letter confirmed that with a serial number only 87 away, 2336, it is indeed a birth year gun, In fact, there is a good chance that it could be a July of 1954 birth month gun! Dare I hope for a birthday gun? Only a letter will tell for sure. I'll have to consider sending for one.
I found mine last fall and without the original stocks.

John
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TIMETRIPPER View Post
Wow, am I glad that this thread came back up. I've always wondered if my 1953 kit gun was a birth year gun. Reading over JSSmith's factory letter confirmed that with a serial number only 87 away, 2336, it is indeed a birth year gun, In fact, there is a good chance that it could be a July of 1954 birth month gun! Dare I hope for a birthday gun? Only a letter will tell for sure. I'll have to consider sending for one.
I found mine last fall and without the original stocks.
John
Wow, that's sweet, I love those (seemingly) period grips. Excuse me if I'm being redundant, but if you look for original grips, you'll need the J frame size.
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:41 PM
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Default 22/32 Kit gun pre-model 34

Mine is a 4 screw with 4" barrel, serial # 11603 that I obtained some years ago from a dealer in Tennessee. It's in very nice condition with all correct serial nos and round butt grips numbered to the gun. I haven't lettered it yet but judging from the posts, mine was made in 1954-55. Great thread.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:49 AM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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My 22/32 pre 34 is a 4 screw 2" serial # 9857 with later J frame grips
and bubba modified front sight. Love it anyway along with my 34-1.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:52 PM
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I discovered this forum today after lots of searching, I have to say it has been the most helpful info as to my curiousity of a 34 i have had for years, its not much on presentation but oh so sweet to shoot. SN12702, ty very much! sorry could not figure how to post pic.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:10 PM
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Welcome to the forum and glad you found us.

Your gun is a Model of 1953 22/32 Kit Gun which is an I frame, a new modelwhose grips are the same size as the post 1953 J frames. It's often referred to as a Pre 34 since it pre dates c. 1957 when model #s were adopted to be stamped in the yoke. It has a 4 screw sideplate. These guns became J frame size in Oct. 1960.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:59 AM
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Pre 34 (1953, three-digit number) and a Model 34 (no dash, 1959):
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:53 PM
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Default The little ones...

As promised, here are my 2 "shooters". However, after seeing some of the asking prices, I may sell them for a fortune (har, har, har). Wonderful field guns, and I do use the 2" for a carry from time to time. SN for the 4" is 20944 and the Smith letter is for it..., and the snubbie # is 22443. Anyway, enjoy!
BTW...I do have the original grips for the 2"...
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:40 PM
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#1653, From 1954






and a correct box i found for it


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Old 04-21-2012, 09:53 PM
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I love pre-model 34 threads! Here is mine again, circa 1955:

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Old 04-21-2012, 11:32 PM
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38-55,

That's certainly a beauty and an early one to boot. In fact the grip medallions look especially nice. Compare to those in other posts in this thread which are standard post war curved, nickel plated brass. I'm not saying they aren't original to your gun.

They look like what we call 'flat silvers' which are chrome plated brass used in the 30's and left overs were used very early post war. I can't tell for sure in just one photo but you're very lucky if they are.

Are they flat or curved? If curved, they could also be and more likely to be left over chrome plated steel medallions from the early 50's when there was a brass shortage during the Korean war. Please check them with a magnet.

They may have been lying in the bottom of the assembler's parts bin for 5 to 10 years and finally got used.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:27 AM
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Good eye Hondo, you caught me!

They are not the original grips. The gun came with square butt conversion target grips. The grips you see I bought from another member of this forum. The medallions have a slight curve to them and are non magnetic.
The serial number stamped on the grip is 284766. My gun is a 4 screw, serial number 216xx, which from what I can gather, dates it to around 1955. I have a possible lead on where the originals are but haven't checked it out yet.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:40 PM
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OK, now that the subject of pre-34s is on the table again, I have a question I haven't been able to have answered adequately. What I would like to know is whether there were any post-War Kit Guns or Heavy Frame Targets built in true I-frame configuration, or were they all coil spring guns? Inquiring minds want to know!

Froggie
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:17 PM
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OK, now that the subject of pre-34s is on the table again, I have a question I haven't been able to have answered adequately. What I would like to know is whether there were any post-War Kit Guns or Heavy Frame Targets built in true I-frame configuration, or were they all coil spring guns? Inquiring minds want to know!

Froggie
Yes, there are post war Kit Guns built on the Transitional pure post war I frame with leaf springs. HFTs are reported but no one has seen one, however I have seen 6" barrels for them in the proper post war serial range w/o notch under the barrel for pre war "barrel" shaped ejector rod knob.

The 22/32 Kits Guns are unique in that they did not go thru the normal evolution of 1950s I frames. From the transitional pure post war they jumped straight to the New Model of 1953 skipping the Improved post war I frame variation. Check my I Frame Evolution for more detail.

22/32 Kit Gun Transitionals w/leaf spring w/ Rd an Sq Butt:







Transitional w/Magnas:



Blue SAT on left especially ground and supplied with post war Transitionals for their pre war sites:

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Old 04-22-2012, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
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Good eye Hondo, you caught me!

They are not the original grips. The gun came with square butt conversion target grips. The grips you see I bought from another member of this forum. The medallions have a slight curve to them and are non magnetic.
The serial number stamped on the grip is 284766. My gun is a 4 screw, serial number 216xx, which from what I can gather, dates it to around 1955. I have a possible lead on where the originals are but haven't checked it out yet.
The medallions are especially nice with sharp detail; must have come from a new mould or die stamp. Those grips # 284766 can only be from a 1962-63 Cheif Special Mod 36 or 37. Totally correct though for your '55 Kit Gun.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:36 PM
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Nice pictures and revolvers, Jim.

My 1953 4-screw round-butt (matching stock):


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Old 04-22-2012, 04:39 PM
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Thanks for the grip info Jim! I was wondering what they might have come off of. I need to check into my lead on the originals; the gun is a shooter not a safe queen but it would be nice to have the serial matched grips. All other numbers match.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:36 PM
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Somewhere in the dark recesses of my gun collection is M1953 Kit Gun serial #666. The Devil's own gun. For a while I also had #237, but I sold it to my buddy Joe. He still has it, I guess. The Devil's gun came to me via David Carroll, thru Lyle Larkworthy, and who knows who's collection before that. Cute little guns.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Yes, there are post war Kit Guns built on the Transitional pure post war I frame with leaf springs. HFTs are reported but no one has seen one, however I have seen 6" barrels for them in the proper post war serial range w/o notch under the barrel for pre war "barrel" shaped ejector rod knob.

The 22/32 Kits Guns are unique in that they did not go thru the normal evolution of 1950s I frames. From the transitional pure post war they jumped straight to the New Model of 1953 skipping the Improved post war I frame variation. Check my I Frame Evolution for more detail.
Great... another gun for my bucket list!

I remembered about the lack of "Improved I-frames" but could not recall what you had said about post-War pure I-frame guns in 22 Kit Gun mode. Now I just gots to get one!!

Just for everyone else's enlightenment, since Jim already knows this, I am in possession of one of those elusive post-War 6" barrels for the HFT (no e-rod knob notch) but it is installed on my pre-War HFT (1920s vintage) with a modified (de-knobbed) e-rod. I figured the originality of that barrel was worth more than the effort to turn down a rod.

Froggie
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