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


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  #1  
Old 01-26-2009, 07:19 PM
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By now, I am sure you are aware of the new breakdown of the Revolver categories. I want you to know that an extreme amount of thought and effort went into this endeavor.

Before I explain further, I wish to extend a hearty THANK YOU to Thiokol and SmithNut for service above and beyond, OVER a WEEKEND, without regard to personal safety or well-being. The three of us (mostly them) sorted through about FOURTEEN THOUSAND threads, sorting them for the right categories.

The categories you see were developed after much contemplation, mixed with consultation with advanced shooters, noted collectors, and some of the leading dealers in vintage S&W's. They are far from random or arbitrary, and have been made with the easiest usability in mind.

The guns of the late 40's, 50's, and 60's were generally hard to discuss in the forum that ran from 1945 to the Present. Usually, the only guns which could spend much time at all on the first page were something like Doc 44's spectacularly rare and/or engraved Pre-29's and his early/rare Model 57's and Combat Magnums. They are spectacular, and deserve that acclaim, and will retain that acclaim in the current categories they fit. It has come to pass that interest in the Post-War 5-Screw and 4-Screw Revolvers lies mainly with the people also interested in Pre-War Hand Ejectors, and seldom have as much interest to the people shooting more modern variants.

The former divisions in this board into the Pre-War and Post-War were made along a traditional line which definitely stems from the first notable collector reference on S&W by Messrs. Robert J. Neal and Roy G. Jinks: Smith & Wesson 1857-1945, the well known "Neal & Jinks Book". However, this monumental work first appeared in 1966, only 21 years after the cutoff date, the end of World War II, and when the first 44 Magnums and Combat Magnums were only 10 years old! The oldest K frame Masterpieces were only 20, and we were only 5 years into the 3-Screw era. Many discontinued models avidly sought after by collectors today were still listed as standard production when the book was being written. The 41 Magnum was THREE years old. Though revised in 1975, it still pertained to only the Pre WW II guns. While a monumental point in History, 1945 is not truly a good dividing line for today's collector of Hand Ejectors.

In Mr. Roy Jinks' next monumental work, History of Smith & Wesson, the guns were divided chiefly along frame sizes. While this made an excellent continuum on the printed page, flowing through a given model's chronological history, it is now dated by some 31 or more years. It not a logical division, for this forum, because there is rarely an individual that is interested in any frame size from inception to present.

The latest significant reference for the general collector/accumulator, today's "accumulector", or "colleculator", is that milestone work by Messrs. Jim Supica and Richard Nahas, Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson. This very in-depth work splits the Antiques into three categories consisting of Tip-Ups, Top-Breaks, and Single Shots, dividing Hand Ejectors into named Models and Model numbered guns. Again, while it is easy to flip between pages in a printed work that cover your Pre-29's and 4-Screw Model marked 29's, flipping between two forums here, and then chasing threads is not the easiest way to study in my opinion. The same people will likely be interested in both, so I made it easy for them. While a case was often made for splitting at the Model number, this was an illogical division for our format, since it splits the 4-Screw guns into two forums. I can assure you that the person interested in Pre Model-marked 4-Screws is very often interested in Model-marked 4-Screws. There are also a few runs of various guns built after 1957-58 WITHOUT model numbers, like variants of the Mod 45 and the Chief’s Special Target.

This brings us to the current divisions we have settled upon here. In the final analysis, it appeared logical to split the antiques off. At first, I was reluctant to do so, fearing they would receive little interest or traffic. Upon more contemplation, and with the input from Antique collectors, I decided that it might actually inspire more interest to separate them, aided by putting them at the top of the list.
So, we arrive at S&W Antiques
S&W Lever Action Pistols, Tip-Up Revolvers, Top-Break Revolvers, and ALL Single Shots

The first Hand Ejector category would have to begin with the first hand ejector- the Model 1896. Though some qualify legally as antiques, some of the production does not, so it is illogical to split them here. By extending to 1961, we include all the 5-Screw and the vintage 4-Screw eras. These are increasingly valuable collectibles, only seeing much use when in “shooter grade”.
So, we arrive at S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896-1961

Our next category logically had to be Hand Ejectors: 1961-1980, the 3-Screw guns which, for all practical purposes, were built the same as their preceding 5-Screw and 4-Screw ancestors. They have Pinned Barrels, and Recessed Chambers on applicable models. Many of us on this board grew up, and lived our lives shooting and coveting this era’s guns. They are the most affordable, and therefore the most shootable, of the ‘Classic’ models, yet this nostalgia for the ‘new guns’ from our youth which we could not afford to acquire in quantities has given these guns in high condition their own collector field, which is constantly growing. These guns may one day become too valuable to shoot and carry, except for the occasional gentle nostalgic range session, if they retain much original condition at all.
So, we arrive at S&W Revolvers: 1961-1980

Finally, we arrive at the last division. The more modern manufacturing methods really began with the Crushed Thread method of attaching the barrels, eliminating the barrel pin. We see many other “firsts” this year as the L frame appears with the full underlug, three-letter serial number prefixes, and the one piece cardboard box. The next two decades see a plethora of variants of hand ejectors, and we dealers used to joke about “the gun of the week”. Evolution into many different features, the Heritage Series, titanium models, two piece barrels, MIM parts and different mechanical designs, and the internal lock make this a truly interesting period for today’s current shooter and collector. Of course, the internal lock was advocated by many as an obvious breaking point, but it really is not. With the factory entering again into production of some guns without the lock, those guns get left in limbo, so the lock is not a logical breaking point.
So, we arrive at S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present

Will these categories remain unchanged for decades to come? Perhaps they will, especially in the first two. Will the latter category evolve into still more divisions? Perhaps.
Perhaps we will one day have to divide by caliber or frame size. I can assure you that not many decades will pass before a man seeking a nice collector grade 44 Triple Lock will also be seeking a mint example of a Thunder Ranch 44 with the lock for his collection, complete with the keys unmarred in the original baggie! Of course, he will be seeking all variants of the 44 in between. You must remember, I have watched S&W collecting evolve through many stages in the 5 decades I have been active in it. When I was young, and chasing 5-Screws around gun shows in the 70’s, many older collectors would not even consider Post-War Hand Ejectors as a legitimate collecting field. Most collectors focused on the Antique S&W’s. Just as the Post-War 5-Screws have advanced into a serious collector field, today’s very different designs shall advance into having their own collector following as evolution makes them the guns of yesterday, the guns of a bygone era.

Whether you agree exactly with these divisions, or had different breaking points in mind, I have given you a very workable system. As the lines become clear to everyone with a little use, you will probably also see a more balanced usage of the categories, particularly the two later ones. This more balanced usage allows topics to move slower down the page, and get more exposure and discussion. Give it a chance, and a little time, and I think this system shall provide you with much utility and pleasure.

Give me some time, and we shall also build a Frequently Asked Questions section for each category that will make it easy for anyone to identify the category for their revolver.

Lee Jarrett
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:50 PM
olretiredgunney olretiredgunney is offline
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Heck of a job!Thanks
Bob
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:10 AM
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Thanks to all three of you for your hard work and dedication!
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:10 PM
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Sounds very good to me and thank you much for your valuable work.

tipoc
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for all of your work and time.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:30 AM
Driftwood Johnson Driftwood Johnson is offline
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Howdy

I like it. Great job too, particularly in preserving all the old threads. Must have been a monumental task. Thank you for all your hard work, it is appreciated.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:49 AM
H P Bushrod H P Bushrod is offline
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Well done! Thanks for your dedication.
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:38 AM
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I like it. Thanks for all of your thought and effort into improving the forum.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:39 PM
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Thank you for all the work it took to put this together! I like the new format.
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Old 04-18-2009, 12:08 PM
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Thanks for all the hard work in revising the revolver section. It looks great to me.
rfo1
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engraved, heritage, jinks, k frame, l frame, lock, model 57, recessed, sig arms, supica, titanium

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