Favorite N frame? You guys might as well ask me to pick my favorite child!
MKII .455 SN 7059 with Canadian proofs (rechambered to 45 colt) which shipped July 8, 1915 (my birthday) to Remington Arms Co. Remington then distributed the finished revolvers to Canada and Great Britain. Still beautiful at 98!
38-44 heavy duty (pre 20) S67560 post war transitional. It probably shipped between 1946 and 1948. These guns are in the post war SN range, but have pre war parts and characteristics that S&W had not used up before WWII. Per the SCSW 3rd ed, only approx 2500 were manufactured before S&W had exhausted the pre war parts on hand. S&W then assembled their revolvers with the newly designed post war parts, among making other small changes. N frame 38 specials are scarce in general. They came about when S&W realized people could load 38 specials hotter if the N frame was chambered for it. Basically, the 38-44 was forerunner to the Registered Magnum.
38-44 outdoorsman (pre 23) S71235 post war transitional which shipped in 1946 to Cleveland, OH. Same classification as the above heavy duty, just a different model. The pre war long action has an incredible feel, and with the post war sights, its a near perfect gun. All of you Python lovers should give a gun like this a spin and tell me what you think, but good luck finding one. Per Roy Jinks, this is 1 of 2326 post war transitional 38-44 outdoorsman revolvers made.
357 magnum model (pre 27) S80398 which shipped in 1951 to Stoeger in NY. I wanted one of these since I started S&W collecting. This was S&Ws flagship revolver, and many people still consider it that. The quality of these older S&Ws is superb, as many of you know. To the people who say a Python is the ultimate, this is my answer, a gun that many have no experience with. They're not rare, but aside from the internet, they're not readily available either. I was fortunate that the gun came with unrelieved target grips and a pre war registered magnum box. It was a lucky find, and my wife's Christmas present to me for 2012. I guess I better keep her!
44 magnum model (pre 29) S130937 5 screw and a first year model as well. The very first regular production 44 magnums were in the S130XXX range, and they started shipping out in Jan 1956. I am hoping this one shipped out in early 1956, which would make it more special. I bought it from the first owner, who decided he had to have one after touring the S&W factory in 1956. While on tour, he witnessed these magnificent revolvers being produced. This revolver has the "coke bottle" target grip type. Be sure to compare the checkering size to the 38-44 and the 357 above to see the difference. This N frame might be my favorite, but its hard to say. One of the most important revolvers in S&W's history.
I thought I was the only one here with a first year 44 magnum! Nice gun you have there. How early is yours? Are those keith brown grips on your gun?