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meddle
May 17, 2009, 09:46 AM
I am looking for the manufacture date of a lemon squeezer (Safety Hammerless), .32 (1888-1931). S/N 230XXX.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Jim Watson
May 17, 2009, 09:54 AM
Flayderman says that is a third model as made from 1909 til 1937. Late in that period, the end of the run serial number was in the 247,000 range.

Maybe somebody with a SCSW will be along to pin it down closer.

meddle
May 17, 2009, 02:32 PM
Thanks, Jim, I appreciate the response.

It would be nice to know the actual year but right now, the question is in reference to pre or post 1899 for legal ownership.

carguychris
May 18, 2009, 08:50 PM
the end of the run serial number was in the 247,000 range.
FWIW the SCSW says that the last .32 Safety Hammerless was serial number 242981.
Maybe somebody with a SCSW will be along to pin it down closer.
The SCSW says the same thing. During the Great Depression, S&W produced revolvers using frames they stockpiled in the 20s, but they were assembled with little apparent regard to serial number order. There's no way to determine the build date without a factory letter.
...the question is in reference to pre or post 1899 for legal ownership.
According to the SCSW, the cutoff for antique status is .32 Safety Hammerless serial number 91400. OTOH all S&W top breaks except the Schofield Model of 2000 are C&R eligible.

James K
May 18, 2009, 11:10 PM
The query about 1899 indicates the concern is not whether the gun is C&R eligible, but whether it is an antique, made before 1 Jan 1899. The question was answered on that basis.

Incidentally, I don't think a factory letter will give the build date, only the shipping date. IIRC that was the question regarding the antique (not C&R) status of some Schofields that were not shipped until well into the 20th century; S&W certified that all the frames were made prior to 1899. I don't think that was true of other top breaks; many thousands were made after 1898.

Jim

carguychris
May 19, 2009, 09:19 AM
Incidentally, I don't think a factory letter will give the build date, only the shipping date.
This is correct.
IIRC that was the question regarding the antique (not C&R) status of some Schofields that were not shipped until well into the 20th century; S&W certified that all the frames were made prior to 1899. I don't think that was true of other top breaks; many thousands were made after 1898.
Again, correct. IIRC S&W has certified that all Model Number Three (single action .44s and .45s including Schofields) and .44 Double Action (aka New Frontier) frames were made prior to 1/1/1899, so all of these guns are legal antiques even though many of these guns- particularly .44DAs- shipped in the 20th century. I'll double-check this when I have my literature handy.

OTOH production of the .32 and .38 Double Action & Safety Hammerless models continued well into the 20th century, although the 1/1/1899 serial number cutoffs are well documented in the SCSW and elsewhere. According to the serial numbers I posted earlier, S&W produced 151,581 .32 Safety Hammerlesses (say that 5 times fast...) after 1/1/1899, almost 2/3 of the total production. The .38 Safety Hammerless remained popular right up to the beginning of WWII.

carguychris
May 19, 2009, 08:47 PM
OK, just for the record, the following S&W top-breaks qualify as Antiques under US federal law:

All single-action top-breaks, regardless of caliber, with the sole exception of the Schofield Model of 2000
All Model Three large-frame double-action variants; although some models were not even catalogued until well into the 20th century, all frames are pre-1899
.32 Double Action serial number 209301 and under
.32 Safety Hammerless serial number 91400 and under
.38 Double Action serial number 382022 and under
.38 Safety Hammerless serial number 119900 and under

The .38 Double Action Perfected Model holds two unique distinctions: it's the only S&W top-break with a side-mounted thumb-actuated cylinder release, and the only vintage S&W top-break that was produced only after 1898. No .38 DA Perfected qualifies as an Antique.

The only S&W top-break that's not C&R-eligible is the Schofield Model of 2000, a modern reproduction produced by the S&W Performance Center. The last of the regular-production top-breaks, the .38 Safety Hammerless, was discontinued in 1940 and was not reintroduced after WWII.

James K
May 19, 2009, 10:30 PM
The Perfected has an odd story connected with it. Supposedly, Joseph Wesson heard of cases where a police officer carrying the standard top break revolver got into an altercation and the bad guy grabbed the latch, opening the gun. That is supposedly the same rationale that led to the Schofield design; I have to wonder how often, and if, it ever really happened.

In any event the Perfected was the answer since both latches have to be unlocked to allow the gun to open. One would be tempted to think that the Perfected thumb latch was the ancestor of that for the hand ejectors, except that, as noted, the hand ejectors came first; the Perfected thumb piece is the same as that of the M&P of the 1909 era.

Jim

meddle
May 20, 2009, 07:54 PM
Thanks for all the great info. You guys certainly answered my question in excellent detail.