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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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Old 02-12-2024, 04:20 PM
TheTinMan TheTinMan is offline
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Default Identifying Factory Nickel pre-WWII

I seem to recall that Smith & Wesson printed an N somewhere on revolvers that left the factory with a nickel finish; however, Im not certain where that mark would be or if it would be true for a pre-WWII example. Are there other clues to look for? (Other than typical refinish issues like blurred roll marks, side plate seam issues, wallowed out screw holes, etc.)

Sorry - Ive never bought any firearm finished in nickel before.
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Old 02-12-2024, 05:04 PM
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My recollection is prewar blued guns were stamped with a B in front of the serial number on the barrel flat, and nickel guns were not.
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Old 02-12-2024, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
My recollection is prewar blued guns were stamped with a B in front of the serial number on the barrel flat, and nickel guns were not.
I believe that's correct. I have one prewar nickel M&P and it has no N stamped anywhere on it. I checked the barrel flats on two blued prewar guns and they both the B.
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Old 02-12-2024, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by OutAtTheEdge View Post
I believe that's correct. I have one prewar nickel M&P and it has no N stamped anywhere on it. I checked the barrel flats on two blued prewar guns and they both the B.
Yes, that is true for early production but later N stamps were applied to the frame under the grips and often to the back of the cylinder. I don't remember when, and perhaps there was no specific date when those changes were made. My nickel 3rd Model HE 44 from 1931 does not have an N stamp so sometime after that. I would definitely be suspicious of any nickel gun from the post WWII period that didn't have an N stamp. I'm sure, as with everything else S&W, there are exceptions though and some escaped without an N stamp.

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Old 02-12-2024, 08:18 PM
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In my collection, I have a nickel 1902 # 348849, shipped 7-20. 100% matching numbers including the hard rubber stocks. I bought this gun off this Forum. I too had doubts about the originality as it was near drippy mint status. Then I found out about the markings or non markings for a nickel gun. This gun had no "N" marking under the bbl. or anywhere else. So, I guess my revolver was nickeled at the factory in 1920. It is truly a beautiful revolver. Big Larry
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Old 02-12-2024, 11:50 PM
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I have a nickel Terrier, shipped 3-1939. It is all matching numbers including the hard rubber stocks. There are no letters on the barrel flat, although on the cylinder under the star there is a "B". There is also a "B" in the grip frame, as well as a "N", both on the right side. It doesn't conform with the markings I have come to anticipate on post-war examples.
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Old 02-13-2024, 12:42 AM
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I have five pre-war guns. One nickel, the rest blue. The nickel gun does not have an N. It is a .44 Hand Ejector 1st Model that shipped in 1916.
All four of the blue guns have a B under the barrel or in the shroud. They are a .38 M&P from 1913, a .44 Hand Ejector 2nd Model from 1926, a .357 Magnum from 1935 and a K-22 Outdoorsman from 1937.
All of the guns have letters. The nickel gun letters as being shipped in nickel. The blue guns letter as being shipped in blue.
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Old 02-13-2024, 02:11 AM
TheTinMan TheTinMan is offline
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Kind sirs many thanks!

I’ve purchased a nickel Hand Ejector 44 2nd Model circa 1930 and will post pics when it arrives.
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Old 02-13-2024, 11:12 AM
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I have 5 pre-WWI nickel K frames from 1900 to 1908 that have no marks on them. Not sure when the N marking started, but am pretty sure it did not start until after WWII. A 2014 post by Hondo44 stated that he saw the "N" stamp on Triplelocks, so obviously before the WWII, may have been factory, or taken out of inventory and refinished before shipping, or factory refinish??
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Old 02-13-2024, 11:36 AM
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I have an nickel HD shipped in ‘36 w N on right side frame
And same with a nickel RM shipped ‘38
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Old 02-18-2024, 04:38 PM
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Would an "N" stamped on the cylinder crane indicate factory or perhaps refinished in Nickel? I've had one person suggest my hand ejector was a cut down originally blue but I don't see it.

Hand ejector/Square butt currently wearing genuine mother of pearl stocks, but no markings on back. S/N under barrel, on cylinder, behind cylinder on crane 904773. Butt s/n first digit too worn to read but 04773 is clear on butt. No caliber markings anywhere but one observer noticed second depth ring apparent in cylinder. Cylinder is 1-9/16" long. May have been 38S&W bored to 38 special. Fires and unloads 38 special without a problem. Barrel length measured from front of cylinder is 2-1/2". Sights are fixed. 5 screw plus strain relief screw on front of gripstrap. Serrated trigger. Textured hammer. Large S&W logo on right cover plate. Made in USA in front above trigger on RH frame side. No other engraving other that assembly numbers on crane and frame. To me the nickel plating looks complete and original but I am not authority on such matters.

I just purchased the weapon from a FL FFL via GB. Described as Model 1905. What do you think I have? I'd gladly trade the pearl stocks for oem or replica walnut or black rubber.
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Old 02-18-2024, 04:43 PM
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Sorry, but there is nothing factory about that gun. Cut down barrel, buffed hard and plated. Probably started life as a British Service Revolver.
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Old 02-18-2024, 04:49 PM
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I just posted pictures of two pre-war guns in other threads. The blued gun has a B stamp, the nickel gun (letters that way) has nothing.
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Old 02-18-2024, 05:03 PM
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That's okay. You aren't the first to advise that. Luckily, I got it cheap and am enjoying it. Appreciate your input and I won't waste ordering a letter on it.
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