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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 12-17-2010, 06:26 PM
ar15ed ar15ed is offline
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nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost!  
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this is a long story, but it is cold, dark winter-time, so i will share it! a few months ago, i went to a gun show out of state. an elderly gentleman who was obviously a seasoned collector of fine firearms had some really interesting stuff there. several very rare old rifles, and a handful of extremely rare and interesting s&ws. my main area of interest is flat latch j-frames, and he had two model 50s that i was instantly intrigued by. one was blue and one was nickle. both had banana grips, and both had the later sculpted latch. he was asking 500.00 each for them. the blue one had some wear and scuffs, but the nickle one was pretty sweet. the nickle one was stamped mod 50, and the blue one had no stampings at all in the crane area. well, i was excited! a nickle 50 has been one of my top-level "lookin' fer" s for a long time. the man was pretty busy, so i tried to wait til i could talk with him peacefully. he was a very nice, knowledgeable man. he very matter-of-factly told me that neither of the guns would "letter" as a 50. he said that in 1976 he was very interested in s&ws and that he had sent 2 old crusty blue model 36s to the s&w custom shop, and told them he wanted white outline/red insert adjustable sights, smooth-wide target triggers, and banana grips, one in nickle and one in blue. these two guns were what he received! he said he had shot them both, and really liked them, but he was selling off some stuff, and they were on the chopping block! man, i was hurting for the nickle one, but i was out of state, so i got his card, and didn't persue it any further. i got home and figured out where he was located, and it was several hours from me, so i just kinda forgot about it.

next chapter! a few weeks later, i am walking around in a gunshow closer to home, (in my state!), and boom! a nickle model 50 (with diamond grips this time). i am thinking: "good grief! 2 nickle model 50s in a couple of weeks! what gives!" so i look this one over. it is the same unit! it has a small scratch on the cylinder that i knew i remembered, and you could just make out the line where the old bananas had been to. so, i gently mentioned that i had looked at the gun a week or two earlier, and eventually that the original owner said it wouldn't letter as a 50. (oh, the price was now $750.00) the new owner plainly said that it was stamped mod 50, and that that was what it was! i gently walked off and went on my way. it would have been nice to buy it for $500, if i could have bought it out of state, but i sure wasn't going to give $750 for it now!

next chapter! a few weeks later, i am helping a friend of mine move a milling machine on saturday, and my cell phone rings. it is my dad. he knows i have been kinda looking for a mod 50 for a long time. he says "you are not gonna believe it, but there is a man at the local flea market with a model 50, and it is nickle. he wants $800 for it. he got the cell number for me, and i called him up. i finished up with the milling machine, and called him back to set up a meeting. he was interested in trading on other smiths, so i took a few over and looked at it. instantly, i recognized that it was the SAME GUN! for the third time! i gently told him the same story about the original man, and he said "it is stamped mod 50! what else can it be?!) so after some hard negotiating, i gave up my minty 1975 vintage 29-2 8 3/8 barrel (we figured $650.00 value), and $150 of hard-earned cash! i told him i had wasted $100 worth of gas chasing it around!

final chapter! well, i instantly fired off a check to mr jinks, HOPING it would letter as a nickle 50. today a large envelope from smith & wesson arrived in the mail. it assured me that i have a 1968 vintage blue model 36, that has undergone a complete rebuild. pretty much exactly what the original man assured me would happen!

all in all, i am a happy camper. it is a sweet little gun, with an interesting history. i am still in a little pain from parting with my beloved 29, and it would have been way less painful to have gotten it for $500 the first time i saw it! but what is really frightening, is how quickly an honest "re-do" can become a "rare unit", as it changes owners. that is kindly why i am posting all this info. i was just very lucky to have got to speak at length with the original owner. i decided that i wanted to own the gun, one way or the other, and i procured it. if i hadn't known the original info, and it came back like it did, i would have, at least, been fairly well agitated! as it is, i am, maybe a tad disappointed. i decided to buy the gun, it was basically exactly what i was wanting. but i had to hold out a tiny secret hope that it would letter as a nickle 50!





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Old 12-17-2010, 06:29 PM
ar15ed ar15ed is offline
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nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost!  
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:44 PM
MSgt G MSgt G is offline
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nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost!  
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How did it get marked as a Model 50? By S&W or someone else? Did the letter say anything about that?

Last edited by MSgt G; 12-18-2010 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:00 PM
perrazi perrazi is offline
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very interesting story. 29's are relatively easy to replace,unlike a nickel 50. the origin of the stamping would be interesting to find out. i will pose a far fetched possibility. when the old man sent the two 36's back to smith, maybe they decided that biulding a model 50 would cast the man less than the extensive work he wanted, or they didn't want to do the work but wanted to make some moneyor none of the above. btw, how does it shoot.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:19 PM
ar15ed ar15ed is offline
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nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost!  
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that is what my glimmer of hope actually was! i figured the amount of work needed to turn a crusty old 36 into a new nickle 50 was more than the cost of a model 50 in 1976, and that maybe they had simply replaced the frame with a new one. but, in the back of my mind, i knew the serial number would probably throw a monkey wrench into that theory.

the large "N" stampings in the frame and cylinder, and the "mod 50" stamping were obviously done before the nickle plating occured, so i have to assume that s&w did them.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:26 PM
ar15ed ar15ed is offline
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nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost!  
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another wrinkle was the blue little sister. it had absolutely no markings in the crane area whatsoever. just slick blued steel. they both went in at the same time, in the same shipment, and came back together. who knows?! it would have been cool if it "lettered" as a nickle model 50 from 1968, but the original owner was pretty adamant that he didn't think it would!

man, i haven't got to shoot it yet. i spent a few days in the hospital, and have been trying to catch back up on missed work, and stuff.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:30 PM
perrazi perrazi is offline
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do you know if the serial# on the gun now is the same as it was when he sent it in? i had a frame replaced many years ago and they stamped the same serial# that i sent in and said they destroyed the original frame.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:37 PM
ar15ed ar15ed is offline
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nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost!  
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i'd say that is highly likely. the old crusty 36 frame was destroyed, and the serial number was stamped on a new frame. when i originally saw the gun and talked to the older gentleman, it had the bananas on it, and i couldn't check for a star or diamond, but when the the next 2 guys had it, it was obvious that it didn't have either. but since then, i have read that the diamond/star stamping by the serial number probably wasn't still being done in 1976.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:09 PM
moosedog moosedog is offline
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nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost! nickle model 50! well, almost!  
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Thats interested that it was stamped model 50. It sure looks like a factory stamp.
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