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Old 07-06-2009, 04:06 PM
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Default Anyone know Evaluators Limited Quantico ?

I ask because I am researching a pre 29 that was shipped to them June 12,1956 per Roy's letter. It left as a blue 6.5" with checkered goncalo alves target grips. At some point it was altered to a 5" nickel,and has has rosewood cokes now. But it does have some unsual markings under the grips (R-63,a 0 above the R and an N) left grip frame, the right grip frame has the following (an L,a 2 and a large 5 stamped over a small 6 by the grip pin).
I almost forgot the serial # S1652XX. Any information about these folks or insight to the markings would great.
Thanks in advance Bob

Last edited by bob in texas; 07-06-2009 at 05:41 PM. Reason: misspelled
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:34 PM
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Evaluators, Ltd., was a gunshop near Quantico, VA, owned by retired USMC Gen. George Van Orden and his wife, Florence (Flora).
They sold a lot of guns to federal agents and military personnel in the area, and were big S&W distributors. Flora Van Orden was related to the President of S&W.
The shop is no longer in operation.

Here's an interesting story about the Van Ordens:
http://www.bobrohrer.com/sea_stories...y_d_culver.pdf
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:44 PM
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Default Markings on pre 29

JayCeeNC thanks for the link, now maybe I can get some help as to the markings.
Bob
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:05 PM
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Default Markings

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Originally Posted by bob in texas View Post
JayCeeNC thanks for the link, now maybe I can get some help as to the markings.
Bob
Bob
your markings seem to indicate a trip back to the factory in 63 for refinishing. The R N indicates it was refinished to nickle, and it is a good possibility the factory fitted the 5" barrel. Unfortunately, work orders are next to impossible to get so one can only speculate, but I believe 1963 would have been in the era when H H Harris was having 5" guns made up.

Is your front sight still blue??? Pictures would be nice.

BTW
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:00 PM
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The front sight is nickel with no insert,rear sight is white outline,I am not sure if the barrel is a replacement or if it was shortened, Smith & Wesson is centered on it and the serial number is the only marking in the ejector rod housing. All serial numbers match that I can see. I will take photos tomorrow and try to upload them.
Bob
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:08 PM
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Curtis is correct. Take a good look at the R-63. It should be a digit instead of an R. Something like 8.63, which would be August 1863. ahowever if it's an R, it just means the stamper picked up the wrong stamp, it should be a digit. As he said the R N stands for refinish/Repair and Nickel. the stamps on the right grip frame are fitters/assemblers/inspectors stamps.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opoefc View Post
Curtis is correct. Take a good look at the R-63. It should be a digit instead of an R. Something like 8.63, which would be August 1963. ahowever if it's an R, it just means the stamper picked up the wrong stamp, it should be a digit. As he said the R N stands for refinish/Repair and Nickel. the stamps on the right grip frame are fitters/assemblers/inspectors stamps.
Fixed it for you Ed
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:09 AM
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Oh yes, I remember Evaluators Ltd very well! There is a Model 19 in my gun safe now that I bought from them in about 1966 or thereabouts. Nice folks to deal with.
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:58 PM
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Default Evaluators, Ltd.

New to this forum.
I delt with Evaluators, Ltd. of Quantico, VA (actually Triangle, VA) in the late 1950's and into the late 60's. it was run by retired BGEN Van Orden (not sure of the spelling).

My first gun was a K-38 Combat Masterpiece.

Would love to talk about my experiences in Quantico and with Evaluators, ltd.

Robert L. Murphy
HMC, Retired

device6@sbcglobal.net
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:31 PM
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My mom and dad were originators of Evaluators, Ltd., in Triangle. The old office has been torn down and all of the old records were either burned up or picked up by certain agencies. My mother, Flora Mitchell Van Orden, wife of Brig. Gen. George O. Van Orden, USMC, designed the S&W K-38, Combat Masterpiece, and took her drawing to Tiny Helwig at the main S&W offices. She wanted the barrel to be 4", with adjustable sights, to be used with a grip adapter and a spring loaded holster that would minimize the time expended on drawing. They are both dead now, and the only person who might be able to answer your question is my brother, George Mason Van Orden. a retired USMC Col. in VA, lifetime member of the NRA, writing something about the making of a national champion, which he was. He lives west of Richmond with his wife Rina and two puppies. If you google him, or give me your email address, I would send it to him.

Last edited by Flora Van Orden; 11-25-2012 at 10:54 PM. Reason: complete the thought
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:44 PM
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Flora,
Thanks for joining us Flora. You will find a lot of interest in your parents business around here as our Mr. Jinks send us many research letters of guns shipped to Quantico, or Triangle, VA. As was this Chief Special revolver, the catalog and pamphlet.
Your Combat Masterpiece information is especially interesting as it is one of my favorite revolvers. Any other info, anecdotes or memories would be very welcome.
Steve Hughes

Last edited by SDH; 11-25-2012 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:48 PM
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Sorry, my mom was not related to the President of S&W; they were just close personal friends and business collaborators after she designed the S&W K-38 combat masterpiece. Her name was Flora Mason Mitchell Van Orden, not Florence, from Jarratt, Virginia and my dad born in Pensacola, was the son of Col. George Van Orden, who was on the board of 3 that chose the site of Quantico for the Marines and established the Marine Corps Institute.

I got the honor of being named the 3rd Flora in the family, after her mother, Flora Fleming Farley Mitchell. She taught over 2,000 FBI agents how to shoot, and helped correct the scores of many other thousands of shooters at the small office in Triangle, which has now been destroyed. I posted at another link that I now often stand on the foundation of the old Evaluators and remember how dedicated they were to saving their 'boys' lives when their M-16 would jam in combat conditions, wanting to supply them with Hoppes gun oil and going over every single weapon that was shipped out of there or sold in there, to make sure it was in perfect working condition. I am very proud of them; yes, I admire them both for their dedication and time spent. I would love for anyone who knew them to write to me, drflora3rd@netzero.net and share their memories because they were so busy in the office my brother (a Col. in the MC by the same name) and I didn't get to know them very well.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:51 PM
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It to bad the records no longer exist. I would love to know who the original owner of my Model 19 was. I've not letter my 19 but the "Ready For Service... EVALUATED...Evaluators, Ltd. ... Quantico, Va" sticker on the box leads me to believe that is where it came from.



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Old 11-25-2012, 06:10 PM
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Mr. Helstrom was on the phone on and off almost daily with my mom as she pursued the shipment dates to her customers with the zeal of a mother hen watching over her chicks. She believed in going to the top when it was a matter of life and death. She once showed me how her Burns Martin adjustable holster could be worn by a parachutist so it could be drawn from the back. A little Swiss Army knife like gadget had a compass on the top that also came from her ever creating mind, trying to keep her boys safe. The home that she and dad bought in Triangle next to where the office stood, is now needing some repairs, and if anyone has some extra time around Christmas time, and who knows about plumbing or carpentry, we'd (my eldest son Mason lives with me too and helps in ways he can) be happy to help by getting out of the way or doing what we can to help! I can hammer like crazy but can't lift. I'm handicapped because an xray tech pulled a plate out too fast and moved my sacroiliac out of position, and on Social Security ($640 a month) and I have lots of stories to share if there are some skilled muscles out there who have a little time on their hands! We wanted to turn the office into a museum, but the roof was too far gone and there was not enough money to save it. But, we have pictures.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:11 PM
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Every weapon that was evaluated by my mom had that sticker on it.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flora Van Orden View Post
My mom and dad were originators of Evalators, Ltd., in Triangle. The old office has been torn down and all of the old records were either burned up or picked up by certain agencies. My mother, Flora Mitchell Van Orden, wife of Brig. Gen. George O. Van Orden, USMC, designed the S&W K-38, Combat Masterpiece, and took her drawing to Tiny Helwig at the main S&W offices. She wanted the barrel to be 4", with adjustable sights, to be used with a grip adapter and a spring loaded holster that would minimize the time expended on drawing. They are both dead now, and the only person who might be able to answer your question is my brother, George Mason Van Orden. a retired USMC Col. in VA, lifetime member of the NRA, writing something about the making of a national champion, which he was. He lives west of Richmond with his wife Rina and two puppies. If you google him, or give me your email address, I would send it to him.
I have never heard of your mother's involvement with the Combat Masterpiece, but I had read that your mother suggested the name of the then-new economy 357 Magnum, the "Highway Patrolman."

I wish you would post pictures of your parents or the store or whatever you have. We would all love to see such. I have done various searches on Google, to no effect, save the Model 19 seen in this thread and previously in other threads on this forum.

Nice to have you.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:32 PM
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Ms. Van Orden, it's a real pleasure to see you on here. Thanks so much for passing along information on your esteemed parents and their business.
Many of us consider Evaluator's a unique company, frequented by spies, Federal agents, military heroes, and other secretive characters. If only the walls of that place could talk...
I seek out Evaluator's holsters and other paraphernalia. I own a couple of the "Quick Draw" rigs which I believe were designed at Evaluator's for consideration by the US military.
I bought a gun a few years back complete with the receipt signed by your mother. Here's a copy of it:

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Old 11-25-2012, 06:37 PM
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If you knew my parents, would you share your memories with me, please?
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:23 PM
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Ma'am, I did not know your parents.
I may not have been clear, but the gun to which the above receipt belongs was bought by me as a used gun from a gentleman a couple of years ago. He was not the original owner, either, and he's younger than I. I was still in diapers when that gun was sold!
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:24 PM
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Is this the spring loaded holster your mother designed ?



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turnerriver
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:08 PM
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It certainly looks like it but my brother would be able to verify it absolutely. I watched my father use it too. He and another man had an article in the American Rifleman magazine, was it, and it showed both of them squaring off in a drawing match. Even though my dad was way heavier than his opponent, he easily outdrew him.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:10 PM
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When I looked at her signature, I was mentally & emotionally back in Guam in 1945, being home schooled. Dad was the commanding officer of the Naval & MC detachment, trying to find a cure for dengue fever, malaria & all of the other tropical diseases that the men (and dad) had gotten in Samoa & in other areas of the world before & after the war. The Japanese prisoners were there in a compound & they broke out because they wanted to be killed in honor by battle. They attacked our (the CO's) quonset hut & everyone who survived was loaded on a troop ship, whereupon, to a man, they jumped overboard. That was so scary for me, I blocked it out. Mom was on top of a chair, pistol blazing, aiming at the attackers through the cracks in the top of the walls & the roof of the hut. Dad had 2, blazing from the hip, protecting his family as people broke down the front door. My brother, who remembered it, was under a bed.

All this from looking at a signature. She taught me how to write in Guam. One of the Japanese prisoners, Nagaji Sakata, taught me how to paint & draw. His son in Japan now has his paintings. I gave them to the Japanese Embassy in D.C., asked them to find his family, & they did. I'm so grateful that mom & dad both knew how to protect us.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:39 PM
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I've sent an email to my archivist son & brother & we'll see what we can come up with as far as pictures is concerned.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:27 PM
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Wow! What a privilege to have Miss Flora share her memories!
I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to bring history alive for us. Completely fascinating!
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:46 PM
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Sometimes, I really love the Internet.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:51 PM
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Sadly, I have been informed by Dr. Flora Van Orden that her brother, LtCol George Mason Van Orden, USMC Ret., died on March 30, 2013 as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash with a fleeing felon. He was 73.
My sincere condolences to the family and friends.
Rest in Peace, Sir.


Lt. Col. (ret) George Van Orden USMC

Obituary For: Lt. Col. George Van Orden, USMC (Ret) | Bennett Funeral Homes

Richmond man faces murder charge in crash that killed retired Marine - Richmond Times Dispatch: City Of Richmond
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:29 PM
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What a tragic shame.
My condolences to the Van Orden family, and best wishes for the speedy recovery of LtCol. Van Orden's wife.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:10 PM
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This email from Flora Van Orden gave me the news:
Quote:
As you all may know, my brother George (Col. George Mason Van Orden) was killed by a 'high' driver in a stolen car being chased by the police in Midlothian, VA the day before Easter.
I would like to invite you to come to Arlington National Cemetery at 1 p.m. on June 19 to share our grieving and our celebration of his life, his accomplishments with a S&W, his family, his dedication to his country, and his legacy of bravery calling for a congressional investigation in order to get the M-16 into a shape where it would not jam in combat conditions. It made him really depressed when he saw his dead men in Vietnam have their boots and watches stolen, but no enemy wanted our M-16 because they knew their Russian weapon was superior. Now, the M-16 is safe, but he sacrificed shooting in the Olympics and being the captain of the MC rifle and pistol team in order to stand up and be counted as the requestor of the investigation. We are all proud of him. It takes cohones to give up the glory for the lives of your men, but he gave the act no second thought because he's part of a 125 year tradition of putting safety first, starting with George Mason from Virginia, for whom he was named, who penned the Va. Articles of Declaration, which turned into the Bill of Rights. He wrote, "All men should have life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and safety" and George Washington took off the word "safety" and prevented Mason from passing any more bills because Mason and other men who believed in safety boycotted the signing of the Constitution. Hope to see you there

Whereupon, I asked her:
"Would it be permissible for me to post the memorial service and M-16 data on the forum?"


Her reply:
Quote:
Thank you so much for doing so. Anyone who wishes to come will be welcomed. I hope they identify themselves to me and to my brother's wife, Mimi
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:34 PM
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Lee:

This is terrible news, and I appreciate you taking the time to post it for us here. May he rest in peace.

Shawn
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:21 PM
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Mr. Jarrett: thank you for doing this difficult task.
No words.
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Old 05-30-2013, 08:42 AM
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Very very sorry to hear that.

Semper Fi
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:48 PM
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Smile Invitation to Funeral in Arlington: Col. Van Orden:

I would like to invite the Vietnam and Korean veterans with (and without!) their motorcycles and make this a real rally of pride and independence to Col. George Mason Van Orden's funeral in Arlington on Wednesday, June 19, at 1 p.m.. My brother was a Vietnam veteran, and I helped in the 70's also, as an Army National Guard member in the Public Information Office. We are going to try to get the band to play the General Van Orden march written by Leo Denena, Jr. because I really think, with all of the bad press recently about weapons and the military, that we need to have something local to focus on that will relax the civilians and build a sense of unity of purpose and I think in a small way this might be one of those somethings. He gave up his opportunity to shoot in the Olympics and his captaincy of the M.C. Rifle Team to call for a congressional investigation to fix the M-16 so it wouldn't jam in combat conditions. He's a hero and we need to show that we believe in standing up for safety by a show of numbers. What do you think?
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flora Van Orden View Post
If you knew my parents, would you share your memories with me, please?
==========================
I still have the S&W 2 inch .38 Chiefs Special I bought from Mrs. Van Orden in 1970, along with the box and all the original papers and sales slip. I also bought a Tyler T grip adaptor and an S&W embossed holster with it. Some time later I went back to her and got a set of oversize S&W target grips for it, which fit my hands much better. It has been my trusted companion on many road trips, and when not in the car or my overnight bag, it resides in the gun safe.
I also used to buy some reloading supplies from your Mom, and it was always a hoot to hang around and listen to her stories of the old days. She was a great lady!
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:14 PM
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This is /was an unbelievably interesting thread. I am sorry to hear of the untimely death of Col Van Orden. In my short time as a S&W collector I already have a pre model 42 Centennial Airweight that was shipped in Sept 1954 to Evaluators in Va.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:19 AM
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Default Evaluators LTD

Just now found this thread, and just today, my good friend Jim sent me some very interesting sheets that were put out by Evaluators, LTD.
They apparently did these spec sheets on several different models.
Tom
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:39 AM
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wow...I am new to this forum and it is like reading a history book in some of these threads...this thread was fascinating
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:33 PM
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Default Sorry I'm late to this thread

Here's my K38/Evaluators holster purchased from Flora in 1951. Col. Stratton and my father were Marine Company Commanders in the Pacific, in fact my father and General Van Orden made the Bougainville landing together on 1 November 1943. I have memories I would be happy to share with Flora's daughter. Semper Fi, Captain Don Weiler USMCR O104971
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:52 PM
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I remember being w/my father-in-law in the early '70's when he purchased a 3" Chief Spl. from Evaluators. I'd go by from time to time but never had enough money to buy anything back then (wife, two small kids on a cops salary). Wish I knew what happened to that Chief Spl.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:59 PM
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I have a Pre 27 3.5 that shipped to Evaluators...and a Evaluators Heiser Holster that was bought around the same time frame..

sold By Evaluators LTD and Possibly was sold with this Gun...pretty cool to match them up..Its Marked Evaluators LTD on the Back and Mag 3 1/2..

Pre 27 3.5 Shipped in Feb 1950 to Evaluators LTD..





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Old 02-24-2014, 07:41 PM
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Dear Flora, in the late 60's early 70's I visited your mother frequently, purchased a number of Smith's over the years but enjoyed her stories the most. She loved police and military and once you set down to talk she wouldn't let you leave. As I recall there was a lady that lived with her at that time.
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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 Thread, Anyone know Evaluators Limited Quantico ? in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; I ask because I am researching a pre 29 that was shipped to them June 12,1956 per Roy's letter. It ...
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