I have a Smith & Wesson top break 32s&w cal s/n267258. Will someone tell me when this gun was made??
There were three different models of .32 S&W top-break revolvers using the same series of serial numbers, but only one had numbers that ran as high as yours, so it can only be a .32 Double Action 4th Model, manufactured between 1883 and 1909, with a sn range from 43406 to 282999.
According to Wiki, the James gang was most active from 1866 to 1876 but continued their activities for "several years" thereafter, with James himself being killed in 1882, so it's at least chronologically possible (barely), though perhaps unlikely, for the family story to be true.