Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > Smith & Wesson Revolvers > S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961

Notices

S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-15-2024, 10:40 AM
RM Vivas RM Vivas is offline
US Veteran
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: ROCK/me/HARD-PLACE
Posts: 418
Likes: 8
Liked 2,949 Times in 381 Posts
Default WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots

In the course of reviewing S&W Victory DSC records I decided to go through the Repair files to see if I could glean some serial numbers. I did manage to find perhaps one thousand or so but their use is questionable because they don’t show who a Victory went to or when but rather simply show who possessed it at the time it went in for repair.

True it helps when you find a repair order for 15 Victory revolvers from Boeing Aircraft, but most are just individuals or gunshops or locksmiths or the like sending in a Victory for repair.

It’s very tempting to skim the correspondence and, upon not seeing a serial number anywhere, discard it and go on to the next letter. However, if you take the time to -try- to read everything, you can find some stories that really flesh out the human experience and how men (it was almost all men) related to and valued their revolvers.

These are some letters that, while short on serial number data in most cases, still speak volumes about revolvers in WW2. It’s absolutely amazing how many private purchase guns went over, not just for officers and such, but a great many enlisted men as well. Based on the Repair orders I’ve seen the New Departure revolvers were surprisingly well represented in the various fields. Not so much the M&P’s and the like, but there were LOTS of requests for ND parts and service!

The Repair files, of course, were not just about Victory revolvers. The search parameters were to pull up all files for the war years that involved repairs to .38 caliber revolvers and that pulled up not just Victory .38 Specials but also .38 New New Departures, .38 Perfecteds, etc. While my initial response was to skip over these, I read them anyway and am glad I did. Found a note for a Tiffany gun!

So, attached are some of the arms bon mots that I thought we all might enjoy. Please remember that these things would not be here without the incredible work of the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation! You’re a member, right?
=============================================

1945 Repair order for a Tiffany mounted .38 Double Action revolver #284640. The question was who was better suited to disassemble the gun and grips for servicing; a jeweler or the factory?













Can you imagine having a Tiffany gun, signed Tiffany?




This letter is interesting. The Curator of Mammals at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and University of California Berkley (!) wants a reamed out cylinder fitted to his -SMOOTHBORE- M&P #359814 that he uses to collect specimens. S&W’s response is really nice in that they state they normally wouldn’t undertake such work but the writer’s logic for needing such a modification makes sense, so they will do it.

Left completely out of the conversation is the NFA issues.










I wonder if the writer got his academic department at the university to cover the charges. That’d be a kick!




LT. O.G. Kane made it home from the Pacific Theater of Operations in November 1945 and brought back a souvenir: S&W M&P 38/200 #818026. The source of the revolver? Taken off a Jap prisoner! LT Kane wanted the gun refinished. I’m a little surprised LT. Kane wouldn’t want the gun in the same condition as when encountered in the field, but….


Note that he wanted the gun chromed and S&W stated they don’t do chrome (they did once, but that is an entirely different post) and so LT. Kane opted for nickel.


Somewhere this gun is sitting in a collection and the owner thinks it is a typical post-war surplus gun that was refinished. If only they knew……
















How far does a mother’s love go? Far enough for her to help find parts for the revolver of her son, a soldier in the Pacific. According to mom, if she can get the parts her boy can “…eliminate a few more Japs, and I guess that’s what we’re all after right now…” Mom was -hardcore-! Get some!


S&W seemed entirely onboard with this and responded appropriately.










J. Neilson Barry of Portland Oregon was part of the sheriff’s militia/posse/reserve during the war and a fan of the Victory revolver. He’s one of the few fellows I’ve come across thus far who really liked the finish. His letters suggest he had some sort of relationship or familiarity with David Murray at S&W, as most correspondence from other S&W owners is of the Dear Sirs/To Whom It May Concern sort of thing.


Mr. Barry expounds on his stateside experiences during the war, including some interesting observations on Japanese balloon bombs. These were supposed to be kept strictly secret so the Japanese would not know if they were effective or not. Mr. Barry describes having encountered these. He also makes some comments about how the “Gnu deal” did not sit well with him.


In one letter he asks for a grip adapter for his Victory and the response from S&W (not shown here) is that they have decided to discontinue the grip adapter because they were not compatible with the new Magna grips.


There are several pages of correspondence which I have reduced down to four pages of Mr. Barrys writing because, quite frankly, he comes across as the sort of character who you’d want to have a couple drinks and shoot the breeze with.
















SGT Lawrence Fischer of the 513 Parachute Infantry contacted S&W about the possibility of converting his .38 revolver to 9mm. An understandable idea and one that I have seen illustrations of when done by partisans. S&W not only described the machining to be done to make it work, they sent him half-moon clips in 9mm from their own experiments!!!

SGT Fischer later responded that he believed his unit was going to rotate back to CONUS now that the ETO was settled but if he was going to the China-Burma-India theater, he’d do the conversion.









So anyway, an extremely small sample of some of the interesting things I’ve come across. I consider these more “human interest” than actual historically relevant material (things like design changes, shipping manifests, etc.), but it does flesh out the end-user side of the manufacturing process.


Support the S&WHF; they make this stuff happen!


Best,
RM Vivas
__________________
RM Vivas
SWCA#1482L, SWHF#837
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-15-2024, 10:57 AM
desi2358 desi2358 is offline
Member
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,124
Likes: 36,263
Liked 934 Times in 496 Posts
Default

Some great historical info in those letters!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-15-2024, 10:59 AM
RM Vivas RM Vivas is offline
US Veteran
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: ROCK/me/HARD-PLACE
Posts: 418
Likes: 8
Liked 2,949 Times in 381 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by desi2358 View Post
Some great historical info in those letters!
Dude, you have no idea!

There are -multiple- doctoral thesis’ in there for a man with the time and drive!
__________________
RM Vivas
SWCA#1482L, SWHF#837
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-15-2024, 11:00 AM
22hipower 22hipower is online now
SWCA Member
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dallas-Fort Worth
Posts: 4,229
Likes: 8,057
Liked 12,116 Times in 2,767 Posts
Default

Now there is some very interesting reading. Particularly interesting that S&W was doing repair/refinishing work before the end of WWII when, presumably, the factory was still focused on the war effort. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

Jeff
SWCA #1457
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-15-2024, 11:06 AM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
US Veteran
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: The SW Va Blue Ridge
Posts: 17,521
Likes: 89,657
Liked 24,872 Times in 8,516 Posts
Default

Well done Robert, well done!

I have a nickel 3rd Model .44 Special that went back to the factory in February 1942 to be refinished.
__________________
John 3:16
WAR EAGLE!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-15-2024, 11:12 AM
RM Vivas RM Vivas is offline
US Veteran
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: ROCK/me/HARD-PLACE
Posts: 418
Likes: 8
Liked 2,949 Times in 381 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 22hipower View Post
Now there is some very interesting reading. Particularly interesting that S&W was doing repair/refinishing work before the end of WWII when, presumably, the factory was still focused on the war effort. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

Jeff
SWCA #1457
The Repair Dept. was quite active during the war. From what i have been able to determine, a decision was made fairly early on that S&W could do repair and refinishing as long as it did not interfere with ongoing contracts AND was limited to parts on hand.

Additionally, there were a number of guns "made' by the Repair Department from "s**** parts" that went out the door to folks who had enough pull to get one. These were almost always M&P variants or .38/44 HD's.

Some target guns were assembled/converted but mostly it was M&P's and HD's.

The Advertising/Accounting office however had numerous memo's for guns that were sent to people and not to be charged against any particular account or set of books. A number of guns to various elites. Ed McGivern got a Victory. A Chinese general got a bunch chromed M&P's from a 1930's finishing experiment. Another score of chromed M&P's went to various military officers and S&W disciples (dealers with strong SW ties).

All in all, S&W was full on into war production but every once in a while, the Repair boys would cook something up on special request.

Best,
RM Vivas
__________________
RM Vivas
SWCA#1482L, SWHF#837

Last edited by RM Vivas; 02-17-2024 at 09:49 AM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Like Post:
  #7  
Old 02-15-2024, 11:50 AM
Truckman's Avatar
Truckman Truckman is online now
US Veteran
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Conroe Texas...
Posts: 4,021
Likes: 0
Liked 9,308 Times in 2,634 Posts
Default

Robert, you already know the historical value of what you have uncovered in your research, but it bears repeating - often...It may even seem insignificant to casual readers, but to someone like me who has already spent many laborious hours over such obscure material in search of details for a WWII US Navy ship, I can appreciate its value for students yet unborn who will treasure what you have done...You have my congratulations here......Ben
__________________
Cogito, ergo BOOM!...
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #8  
Old 02-15-2024, 12:54 PM
ron 57 ron 57 is offline
Member
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Indiana
Posts: 192
Likes: 210
Liked 697 Times in 130 Posts
Default

Absolutely fascinating! The work involved in bringing these to light is very much appreciated.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-15-2024, 01:03 PM
RM Vivas RM Vivas is offline
US Veteran
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: ROCK/me/HARD-PLACE
Posts: 418
Likes: 8
Liked 2,949 Times in 381 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron 57 View Post
Absolutely fascinating! The work involved in bringing these to light is very much appreciated.
I love what I do, so it's not really work. the biggest pain in the butt is re-sizing the images so that they fit the format!

Thanks for the kind words!

Best,
RM Vivas
__________________
RM Vivas
SWCA#1482L, SWHF#837
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Like Post:
  #10  
Old 02-15-2024, 01:30 PM
luvsmiths luvsmiths is offline
Member
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,010
Likes: 2,291
Liked 1,878 Times in 662 Posts
Default

Funny how some things just never change.

This is EXACTLY how Smith And Wesson Customer service handled one of my own work orders just last year, when I had a problem.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-15-2024, 04:12 PM
K Frame Keith's Avatar
K Frame Keith K Frame Keith is offline
Member
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Pike County PA
Posts: 1,046
Likes: 1,757
Liked 2,027 Times in 645 Posts
Default

Thanks for posting!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-15-2024, 10:47 PM
Frieda's Boss Frieda's Boss is offline
Member
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: May 2021
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 127
Likes: 2,775
Liked 239 Times in 80 Posts
Default

Thanks for sharing! Amazing to me how knowledgeable and helpful they used to be with customer service. S&W explaining to someone how to convert their .38 revolver into 9mm, or working on a smooth bore revolver is light years from the world we live in today.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-16-2024, 08:16 AM
S42N8's Avatar
S42N8 S42N8 is offline
US Veteran
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Central FL
Posts: 2,563
Likes: 12,888
Liked 4,198 Times in 1,676 Posts
Default

Excellent post! Speaks to the times, and the quality of customer service. And yes, characters. Fun read. Thanks for sharing!
__________________
50 Years of DSOTM
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-16-2024, 09:25 AM
Heinz Heinz is offline
SWCA Member
WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots WW2 Repair Dept. Bon Mots  
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: South Carolina upstate
Posts: 1,582
Likes: 2,298
Liked 3,005 Times in 1,081 Posts
Default

Thanks for taking the time and effort to post this. In addition to all the time and effort to collect the information.
__________________
Kind regards, Heinz
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Any Dept go with new 2.0 gun????? triaxle Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols 45 10-19-2020 09:05 AM
police dept who used mod 27 3 1/2'' mooshoo S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 30 06-20-2020 07:20 PM
To repair or to not repair, that is the question ISCS Yoda S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 29 09-08-2017 04:05 PM
Dept marked 65-2 Lee Barner S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present 20 12-28-2013 01:11 AM
In the WTB dept. mudcat100 The Lounge 6 12-30-2012 12:25 AM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
smith-wessonforum.com tested by Norton Internet Security smith-wessonforum.com tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:17 PM.


Smith-WessonForum.com is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)