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


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Old 02-07-2012, 10:45 PM
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Default Final Update: I DID buy this rare Model 56

UPDATE 2/11/2012: After thinking carefully about all the points raised in the very thoughtful comments on my initial post, I went ahead and bought the gun. The price was VERY good, much less than I thought it would be, and less even than some of the more conservative valuations suggested.

I'm going to tear the gun apart, clean it up, and reassemble it. It needs proper early '60s PC Magna stocks, but I'll get those somewhere. Then it will go in my shooting rotation. For reasons offered in the thread below, this may be a rare gun but it is not necessarily a guaranteed high-value collectible because of the uncertainty over possible erasure of a stamp asserting government ownership. I have no doubt that it is a legitimate model 56, as the frame contains metal that would have been milled or polished away if this was a fake based on some other model. It's a 56, period. I will letter it to document what can be said about it from the company records. (The price was so good that I didn't feel the need to demand a letter from the seller before I agreed to take it.)

Thank you all for your comments. Even if you think I didn't listen to you, I did -- then made my decision based on the totality of info available to me.

= = = = = = = = = =

UPDATE 2/8/12 : After all the good responses generated by my original post, I have decided to toss the ball back in the owner's court. I will continue to be interested if he letters it and sets an opening price that reflects the gun's condition and lack of government marking, but otherwise I expect I will move on and look for something else.

= = = = = = = = = =

(This is where the original post of 2/7/12 started.)

The owner of this Model 56 is willing to sell it and has invited me to make an offer. He declined to put a price on it himself, but knows that the Blue Book values these guns at $7500 NIB down to $2200 in 60% condition.

Apologies for the sort of basic photos and harsh lighting. I used a cell-phone camera under shop lights.











About 15,000 of these were made for the Air Force in 1962-1963, and apparently all but a very few were crushed. SCSW quotes prices that are consistent with the Blue Book scale, which makes me think the Blue Book used SCSW for value assessment, SCSW reports that guns in the 80-90% range have sold for $4000-5000.

I think his gun is about 70%, and I am tempted to offer $2500 for it. It seems to be a righteous Model 56. The only thing at odds with the standard definition is the lack of a U.S. stamp on the smooth backstrap. Perhaps it was once there but was polished off; the backstrap seems to my eyes to have no blue on it at all; it is down to bare steel. But the steel does not seem dished or flatter than it should be, and there are no ghost impressions where a stamp might have been removed.

The serial number is in the right range, the sight and rib configuration is correct, the barrel looks right compared to photos in SWCA. I don't think this is a fake.

The stocks are obviously wrong. The gun would have shipped with diamond magnas, not the post-1968 wood on the gun now.

The gun is mechanically sound -- tight action, no push-off, timing fine, lock-up fine, barrel and chambers slightly frosty but not neglected.

I am not usually a collector of military models, but I am attracted by the rarity of this one. Also, I think snubnose .38s are inherently cool, and adjustable sights just make them cooler.
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Last edited by DCWilson; 02-11-2012 at 11:13 PM. Reason: Add final update, and correct bad abbreviation for the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:28 PM
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This is where "collector crazy" comes into play, because the ONLY reason you would consider paying that much it is because it is stamped "MOD 56" instead of "MOD 15". Other than the stamp (and presumed history) this gun seems identical to an M15 snubby. Why does S&W do this to us?

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Old 02-08-2012, 12:46 AM
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David,
Amoskeag had the following sell for $4,025 on 3/26/11
Smith & Wesson Model 56 KTX-38 U.S.A.F. Revolver

serial #K506803, 38 Special, 2" barrel with an excellent bore. This pinned and recessed revolver has 95-97% of the original blue finish remaining with mild silvering on and around the muzzle, edges of the frame, and along the front and rear faces of the cylinder. Additionally, the "U.S." marked smooth backstrap has some mild freckling along its length which is also on the frontstrap. The hammer and trigger have bright color case-hardening with some minor freckling visible. The checkered, diamond-center PC grips are numbered to the gun on the interior and are in near excellent overall condition with some mild handling marks around the butt and some flattening of the points. These revolvers were manufactured in the early 1960’s on special order to specific U.S.A.F. requirements and are a true rarity with almost all of the 15,205 gun production run destroyed by the government. This example is in fine overall condition and would make a great addition to any U.S. military or Smith & Wesson collection. (74108-15) {C&R} (3500/5000) SOLD FOR $4025.00
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:08 AM
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RLingo, thank you. That's exactly the kind of comparable I was hoping to hear about.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:22 AM
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DC , without the presence of the U.S. marking I would personally
value it at 1/2 of a comparable marked and condition gun.

I don't know where this puts you money wise.
But without the proper markings I would want a factory letter before any money changed hands.

In my brief experience the U.S. property mark is almost as valuable
as the gun itself.

Good luck
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:55 AM
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Just out of curiosity, why we're the majority crushed/destroyed by the government?


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Old 02-08-2012, 08:48 AM
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Just out of curiosity, why we're the majority crushed/destroyed by the government?


chuck
I don't know and don't want to speculate. I am trying to find out.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:05 AM
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If the owner is not going to place a value on it, then I would "low ball" an offer and see what he counters with, and then go from there.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:13 AM
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I collect some US military and am troubled by the lack of proper markings. Should the gun also have a small bursting bomb cartouch somewhere? Add in the aftermarket grips and I'm losing my nerve fast. Perhaps a guarantee of a factory letter stating it was indeed shipped to the USAF as a condition of sale?

I also do not understand what made this a model 56 as opposed to a M-15? These were certainly not the ones withthe aluminum cylinders. So what "specifications" did the AF demand?
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:19 AM
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I'd have to agree with Allen-frame and Retired LTC.
If I had a gun with that kind of value it would have been lettered already, and I would not consider spending any money over what a similar model 15 would be worth UNTIL I, me, myself got a factory letter. I'm not calling it a fake and you should not call it a fake either, I'm just saying protect your investment. You might even tell the seller you want it lettered and if it letters as what he says, you will pay for the service and if it does not letter as a 56 it is on him.
All of this is easy to say from here as I do not have the fever.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:35 AM
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We're all aware there are fakes out and about. I wound't call it a fake, but I'd sure call Roy and see if he thinks its real or not. I'm just a bit put out by the lack of serrations on the backstrap. I don't have access to a known real one, but the vast majority of target revolvers from this time frame have them. Failing that, call Lee or David Carroll and have a chat with them. Once you start paying collector grade prices for a gun in well worn condition, you need to be sure (or really loaded with $$$).
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:53 AM
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I'm really uncomfortable with a dealer who wants me to get into an auction with myself. I think if you bid first you loose. It's his gun he should know what he needs for it. Just my opinion and the way I like to deal.

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Old 02-08-2012, 11:22 AM
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In general I won't make an offer on something if the seller won't establish some sort of asking price. The lack of the U.S. stamp and him not setting a price on it would make me a bit paranoid of it. If you really want to consider buying it, I would offer him a conditional lowball; a VERY low price as is, and then a higher, more reasonable price if he would get a little from S&W verifying it's provenance. You might offer to split or pay the cost of the letter if it proves to be a legit 56.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:30 AM
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Just my opinion, I think that kind of money could be put to better use somewhere else. Lots of "issues" with this one. Best wishes for a successful outcome for you.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chud333 View Post
Just out of curiosity, why we're the majority crushed/destroyed by the government?


chuck
Chuck;

Depending on the prevailing political winds, there is a USG policy that no guns will be sold to civilians. Sometimes this means surplus firearms are put into storage. With certain administrations, they are destroyed. Obviously, full-auto gun sales are out of the question, but look at the long history of 1911s, M13 Aircrewmans, etc. found chopped or torched into little pieces. Apparently the CS-1 686s of the 1980s met this fate also, but I've never heard of or seen these in little pieces. Sad but true.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:32 PM
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Thank you all for the wise cautions. My enthusiasms have kind of run away with me for the last couple of months, and it's good to have people bring me up short.

I will explain my (that is, your) concerns to the seller and see if he is willing to document the gun and set a price that reflects the realities of condition and lack of proper marking. So with both caution and hope I am keeping the door open; I will report back if a deal breaks out at a later date.

I trust the seller, by the way. I have bought several guns from him in the last three years, including other uncommon revolvers and boxed high-condition early specimens -- often at very good prices.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:33 PM
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I think your decision to put the ball in his court makes sense. It's alot of $$$ for a average gun except for it's rarity unless it's absolutely authentic. IMO
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:59 PM
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The model stamp looks correct.
The butt number looks correct.

Is the rear sight smooth?

I can't tell about the backstrap from your pic. I will say that it is easy to grind a mark and re-contour the backstrap.
See my pic of a 38/44 that once had "Washington State Patrol" on the backstrap.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:25 PM
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Yes, rear sight is smooth, not grooved. What I observed on the gun is completely compliant with the Model 56 description except for the wrong stocks and the missing government stamp.

I also noted that the gun has a grooved trigger. I don't remember reading a specification for that but guessed it was correct. I still need to do a lot of work on smooth vs. grooved standard-width triggers. I never know which models have them and which models don't.
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:52 PM
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I did not see the original post, and I know very little about the model 56, just what Ive read as I have not seen one in person. I would definetly have him get it lettered before giving any money. If he is reluctant because of the $50 cost, I would offer to pay for the letter, or go ahead and order it yourself if really interested in acquiring it. This is done on Colts all the time before large purchases are made, and you've already got the serial number/info. If he refuses to order the letter with your money, that gives you the answer in itself. I personally would rate the gun about 50%-60%. If the above revolver with original numbered stocks, is 95-97%, then I would think this gun would be worth about 35-40% of that gun IF it letters, jmho. Of course the above gun might be worth more now than what it sold for.

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Old 02-09-2012, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
Ye
I also noted that the gun has a grooved trigger. I don't remember reading a specification for that but guessed it was correct. I still need to do a lot of work on smooth vs. grooved standard-width triggers. I never know which models have them and which models don't.
I don't know a lot about "New Era" guns- guns without pinned barrels.
I'll claim safety in stating I know a lot about the guns of the period that interests me-
Hand Ejectors 1896 into the mid/late 70's.
Generally speaking, you can assume that a standard width trigger will have shipped with grooves once they started grooving them on K and N frames in 1929. (into the late 70's)
You already know that the last one built with a smooth trigger in 29 could have sat in the vault till 35, so no absolutes apply.
I'm not sure when I frame triggers were grooved.
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:58 PM
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Thanks, Lee. That helps.

Chud333, I have learned that a 1968 law prohibited sale of any military firearms deemed surplus materiel. With no way to sell the guns legally to the private sector, surplused guns were simply consigned to routine destruction. What a waste.

I believe it is also the case that there were NO commercial units produced in the Model 56 class, though of course the Model 15-2 (which met many of the M56 design specs) eventually filled the space that a commercial 56 might have served.

Minor differences between the 56 and the 15-2 include barrel weight (56: heavy) and whether the rear sight foot is smooth (56) or grooved (15-2). There is also a smooth/grooved distinction for the ramp of the front sight.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
Chud333, I have learned that a 1968 law prohibited sale of any military firearms deemed surplus materiel. With no way to sell the guns legally to the private sector, surplused guns were simply consigned to routine destruction. What a waste.
Hi David:

Well, that is a correct statement for the most part, but as always there are exceptions. First, since the adoption of the 1968 GCA the US government has from time to time sold or outright given small arms formerly in use by the US military to other Federal Agencies (US Customs is one example) and to state and local law enforcement agencies. Over the years some of those agencies have traded those weapons to FFL dealers/distributors for new equipment. Those traded in weapons have thus leaked into the civilian marketplace in a legitimate and legal fashion. Examples that I am aware of include Winchester Model 12 trench guns, USAF Model 15s and Army round butt Model 10s. The second exception is those weapons that were issued to General Officers and, upon retirement, were purchased by the retiring officer. Examples that I am aware of include the USAF Model 39, USAF Model 15, the RIA M15 .45 and the Beretta M9. Some of those guns have passed into civilian hands now as well.

I applaud your caution. I have had the good fortune to have owned two Model 56s. The value in these guns lies in their relative scarcity and originality. A Model 56 that does not bear the US marking on the back strap is, almost certainly, a gun that has been scrubbed and is, thus, no longer original. Regardless of whether it eventually letters as a legit Model 56 it is still a modified gun that will always have to be "explained", and there is no good explanation available on this one. To my thinking a permanently modified gun has lost almost all of its collectibility/value and has been relegated to shooter class. There is nothing wrong with owning a shooter, as long as you pay what it is worth as a shooter and not as a collectible gun.

If you really want a Model 56 my advice would be to wait for an unmodified one to show up and then go for it. Don't buy a modified gun that will, I'm sure, always be a headache and tough to unload when the time comes. Even if the price on this one is cheaper than most legit Model 56s, it won't be a bargain.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:56 PM
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Charlie, thanks for taking the time to expand on my superficial characterization of a larger reality. I appreciate the further information. I kind of knew when I posted that I was giving a dime answer to a dollar question, so I'm glad you showed up with the other 90 cents.

I suspect that the Model 56 would not be the sort of gun the Air Force would trade off to qualifying agencies or in permitted exchange programs, and I further suspect the scarcity with which they are encountered indicates that there just aren't that many of them that escaped the furnace, hammer or band saw. I do understand the general principle that some forms of interagency transaction are "leaky," as any complex body of regulations will contain exceptions or permissions for a favored class of consumer. As a simple example, guns that are not on the California DOJ-certified list, and thus presumably barred from entry, can still make into this state under LEO exemptions or double-action/single-action modifications that can be reversed once the gun is in-state and registered. But it just doesn't seem from observed data that the M56 benefited from that kind of "leakiness."

I know the gun with which I started this thread is a mutt. But I think I have come to terms with the seller and will be acquiring it for MUCH less than some of the numbers mentioned above. I am approaching it in the same spirit you described -- as a shooter-grade gun whose collector appeal is severely constrained by its thin finish and deliberate erasure. I plan to document it fully on this forum and for the SWCA data base so that after it leaves my hands (when my estate is settled, for example, because I plan to own all my guns for a long, long time) it will not be possible for a faker to acquire it and restamp the backstrap so he can pass it off as an unmodified specimen.

In the meantime, I will simply keep it as a roughed-up conversation starter when I take it to the range. In my mind, it will be in the same category as my refinished N-frame .45 Colt target revolver that started life as a Second Model .455 Hand Ejector -- inauthentic and devalued by its modification, but still interesting as a thing of its kind.

And nobody else in the room will have one like it.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:24 PM
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Wait for the letter. Because there is no Gov stamps/markings doesn't mean it didn't start life with them. LOTS of Gov weapons have found their way off Military bases and been 'cleaned up.' Been happening forever.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:16 AM
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Neato gun. lt looks my 15-2 snubby, My frame is grooved tho. Grips are smooth. sn K6159xx. A bit away from M56 sn
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:41 AM
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This is why i joined this forum. Great advise, information, from people
hoping to help a guy out who's in a pickle. Thanks to all contributing.
I learn something new on here every time i log on. Great bunch of
gun owners.


Chuck
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:50 AM
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I've never seen a M-56 in the flesh, er, ah, steel either.

As for the grooved/non-grooved backstrap, Roy Jinks' book "The History Of Smith & Wesson" has 2 photos of one, next to a 2 inch Model 15 to illustrate differences, one of which was taken from above. You can clearly see the backstrap of the M-56 is smooth, as is the rear sight body, while both are grooved on the M-15. The front sight base runs from the frame/barrel junction forward, and it is smooth, but the base is also smooth on the M-15, as well. The U.S. marking on the backstap isn't visible in the photo, possibly because of the angle the photo was taken and the curvature of the round butt backstrap.
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:10 AM
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Hmm, I just got a piece of information that doesn't quite upset the apple cart, but it does invite further thought about markings on these guns.

I was privately informed by a S&W collector who served in the Air Force when the M56 was issued to pilots that he saw/handled around 150 of these guns during his term of service. He reports that not one of them had service markings, so the gun we have been discussing here may in fact be unmodified.

The collector also provided information showing that the initial production statistics of this model were understated. It now appears there were over 20,000 of them, with serial numbers ranging from 500001 to 520800. MAJOR CORRECTION HERE: Apologies. I misunderstood what I heard. Total production remains 15,205; the serial number range is 500001 to 520800. Model 56 production was intermixed with some Model 15 production within this block of serial numbers.

The number of known survivors is quite small. One collector who tracks serial numbers of existing M56 specimens told me he has fewer than three dozen recorded in his data base. Another collector said he doubted there are more than 50 in circulation. I don't know what sort of statistical process could let us estimate from low-level observation how large a population of the guns may actually exist, but if the survivor rate of this model is one percent or less, there cannot be more than about 150 units for collectors to chase.

I'll try to keep reporting on the M56 as new thoughts, information or conclusions come to me.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:57 AM
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David,

I'd certainly like to know more about the source of the information that indicates there were more than the 15,205 that Roy consistently reports, if possible.

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Kevin Williams
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:00 AM
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Kevin, PM sent. I was mistaken.

Everybody please note the important correction in post no. 29 above. My apologies for posting a confused interpretation of what I heard.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:08 PM
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Does anybody frequenting this site have a Model 56 or have access to one? I would be interested in knowing if other M-56's do or don't have the service U.S. marking on the backstrap.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:33 PM
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I have one (shown below under a USAF Model 15). The database David refers to is mine and I have quite a few pictures and several factory letters on others. In most of the letters Roy mentions that they left the factory with the U.S. marking on the (smooth) back strap. In the one or two letters where he doesn't mention it I believe it to be an oversight. I know of 2-3 other Model 56 revolvers that have had the U.S. marking removed. This is quite common with Colt M1911 pistols, Aircrewman revolvers and others.



Shameless plug: I keep databases on all post-war S&W martial handguns, not just the Model 56, and welcome any and all information, letters, pictures, etc. on U.S. handguns. There is little information published and I hope to produce a book someday on post-war military handguns.

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Old 02-10-2012, 02:37 PM
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The Model 56 is in the center of this picture:
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
I also noted that the gun has a grooved trigger. I don't remember reading a specification for that but guessed it was correct. I still need to do a lot of work on smooth vs. grooved standard-width triggers. I never know which models have them and which models don't.
David,
Well I'll be wondering about the final outcome. This thread has been very educational on the relatively obscure M56. Since we're on hold for the present, a word about grooved triggers.

Lee pinned it down: "....K and N frames in 1929. (into the late 70's). You already know that the last one built with a smooth trigger in 29 could have sat in the vault till 35, so no absolutes apply."
Although there is an engineering order, 8/14/23 that the target K38 & K32 WCF will have serrated straps and trigger.

And I've been observing I frame triggers. There are no engineering change orders re: grooved triggers. However it appears that pre war target I models received grooved triggers coincident with the introduction of the 22/32 Kit Guns c.1935 which all seem to have grooved trigs. I'm interested to know if your more extensive collection of pre war targets supports that.

The standard I model has the smooth trigger before the war which continued on the earliest post war transitionals but were changed to grooved during the pre war/post war models preceeding the "Improved" I Model. This is based on my meager collection, forum and in-person observations.
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  #36  
Old 02-11-2012, 08:09 PM
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Please see update note at the beginning of the original post. Once I get the gun cleaned up, I will try to get some good documentary photos and show how it differs from the standard Combat Masterpiece on which it is based.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:50 PM
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What a great thread. I have learned a ton. Thanks
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  #38  
Old 02-16-2012, 04:09 PM
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Default As promised, a few more photos...

This gun came with the ill-fitting and inappropriate post-1968 magnas you can see in the photos in the first post, but it needs PC diamond magnas to be consistent with the original shipping configuration. I had some non-PC diamond magnas in the woodpile and put them on as better-looking placeholders until I can get the stocks the gun really needs. And because I don't like the basic K-magna handful, I added a grip adapter for comfort.






The entire top of the gun is dulled down and pretty featureless -- a slightly textured matte black on everything, no grooves in the front sight foot or the rear sight base, but a few discreet grooves on the angled surface of the front sight ramp. This is different from later versions of the Combat Masterpiece two-inch revolvers, which had a grooved sight base and smooth ramp.




The 56 is a heavy barrel gun with a wide rib.




The heavy barrel required that the front part of the frame not be chamfered. Otherwise parts of the barrel would overhang parts of the frame, an ugly and unacceptable proposition.






I cannot see a filed-down spot on the backstrap, but if I close my eyes and run a fingertip over the steel I think I feel a slight flat spot or even slight dish in the contour that is probably where the U.S. stamp was once to be found. (These are the old stocks in this photo.)




And anoher pic of the serial number after I got some crud out of the numerals and replaced it with the dust and fibers that are hallmarks of my photographic technique.




The Model 56 designation has so powerful a claim on the minds of collectors that it is possible to focus on the number and look past a couple of interesting aspects of this configuration. The gun is clearly in the K-Masterpiece family, basically K-frame revolvers with adjustable sights. Before this snubnose design was put into production, the company made the standard K-38 Masterpiece, or Model 14, and the Combat Masterpiece, or Model 15. This gun is a lot like the Combat Masterpiece, but with a two-inch barrel. With the possible exception of some prototypes, the company had not produced such a configuration before the Air Force provided specs for this revolver, which S&W decided to identify with a separate model number. In this, they followed past practice of distinguishing some models based on barrel length, for example dividing the Combat Masterpiece from the original K-38 Masterpiece with a different model number.

The Model 56 is the first adjustable sight two-inch K-frame the company produced. Fixed sight two-inch M&Ps had been produced since before WWII; it was the presence of the adjustable rear sight that made this gun different.

As soon as the Model 56 became a known configuration, public demand began to be heard for a commercial version of the gun. In 1964, a year after completing the Air Force contract, the company introduced a two-inch barrel option as a variety of the Combat Masterpiece. No new dash number was created, and the gun was marketed simply as a variety of the Model 15-2. The Model 56 designation was never used again.

I have not yet had this gun to the range, but hope to sometime in the next month. It is mechanically sound with good bore and chambers, but the backstrap erasure and worn finish limit its value as a collectible. I have no qualms about taking it out for a run.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:10 AM
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Glad that you got it. Military guns can be a pain to document.

I stumbled into a 1941 Pre Pearl Harbor WWII Winchester Model 12. I posted Pictures on a Military Collectors website. I am no Military collector, and had no idea how a WWII Militray M12 was supposed to be marked. The first comments back from Military collectors were that it was a faked Military M12, and the person doing the fake stamping did not have any idea what he was doing. About the same time a second one surfaced on a different forum. Over a period of about a year we managed to locate 6 on the internet. All are 1941 production and within about a 3000 gun serial number block. All marked alike. One had the U.S. stamp buffed off the recevier, but still had the stock stamps intact, as well as the Closed Flame WWI style Ordinance Bomb on the barrel. One Riot Gun had the stock replaced and had no stamps on the buttstock. Of the 6 we have 4 that are 28" Full Choke (Aerial Gunnery Training), and 2 Riot Guns.
With a lot of research we found that the Government had 30 Military Bases under crash construction in 1940-1941 that were to be accepting troops by the Summer of 1941. The WB (Waldemar Bromberg) Inspector Stamp puts them between July 1941 when Waldemar Bromberg was assigned as the Winchester Military Inspector, and June 1942 when he was replaced my Guy H Drewry who finished out WWII at Winchester. All this information would suggest an early previously unknown Contract run for the 30 new Military bases coming on line in 1941. They may have even been ordered under what was refered to as an "Educational Contract" to get manufacturers spooled up on doing War time Military Contracts before the United States officially got in the war.
You would think finding 6 previously unknown WWII Military Model 12's that are marked totally different than any known to exist before would be great news. Guess again, this messed up the Collectors Book. No interest in adding a new chapter covering the rarest WWII Model 12's known to exist.
Just ranting a little, I feel the pain in documenting Military guns.

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Old 02-18-2012, 08:06 PM
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David, Congratulations and thanks for the great photos that let most of us, who'll never see a Model 56 in person, see one up close.

Jerry
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:17 PM
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I will agree with j38 and say thank you for the pics. A very unusual piece of history.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chud333 View Post
Just out of curiosity, why we're the majority crushed/destroyed by the government?
By the early '80s, the rejection rate on the frames of USAF revolvers at depot level rebuild was something like 60%. They had to buy something or go unarmed. The USAF and Army did manage to buy some Ruger Service 6 pistols but I have no idea how many.
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:07 PM
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"You would think finding 6 previously unknown WWII Military Model 12's that are marked totally different than any known to exist before would be great news. Guess again, this messed up the Collectors Book. No interest in adding a new chapter covering the rarest WWII Model 12's known to exist"

Perhaps they're just being cautious, as good researchers in any field should be. Until things are verified, you may have a rare exception, or you may have one that someone bought a bunch of as surplus, and modified - or one of many other possibilities. Research, done by fellows like the ones here who have chimed in about the model 56 under discussion, nailing down the details as much as possible, are what defines a true collector; at least to me.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:45 AM
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I reviewed this thread after being shown a Model 56 by the owner of a local gun shop. He knew it was a very rare revolver and would not put a price on it. This thread concluded in 2012. Does anyone know of a public sale of a Model 56 since 2012? This revolver was in remarkable condition but no box. Very light drag mark and few handling marks. It did have the incorrect grips. Being a "pistol" guy I did not inspect it for authenticity but would should I decide to make an offer. Thank you, D
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:59 AM
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Actually, YES. If you scrolled further down this page you would see the thread where I found, researched & ultimately purchased a US marked S&W M56 last week. Between these 2 threads, you can see the different details.
Sighting @ LGS: Military Model 56 w/ US marking
There are about known 50 survivors of 15,205 made, in the database. SN range is random between K500001 - K250800. They were made 1962-3.
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Old 07-19-2015, 09:29 PM
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Thank you flagman1776. I don't know how I missed it. I appreciate your response. D
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