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Old February 13, 2013, 12:40 PM   #1
x-five
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Picking up Smith & Wesson 40

Yesterday in a local gun shop I saw a brightly polished stainless steel ( The owner of the shop said so) . It is in pretty good condition with few scrathces on the cylinder. Now I'm considering either to buy it or not. I need your opinions about this j-frame S&W. I think it some kind of a predecessor to the Smith & Wesson 642. If I'm not right correct me please. Thanks!
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Old February 13, 2013, 01:26 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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Does it have the grip safety? If it's a Model 40, it should.

How much is the shop asking?

Also, if it's stainless steel, it would be a 640 (and would not have the grip safety).

If it is is marked 40, it would be carbon steel with nickel plating.
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Old February 13, 2013, 03:23 PM   #3
carguychris
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In addition to what Mike said...

FYI the Model 42 is the predecessor of the Model 642. These two guns are "Airweights" with aluminum alloy frames, whereas the frame of a Model 40 is steel.

Also, it should not require an excessively firm grip to actuate the grip safety. The mechanism can get sticky from long-term neglect and cause trigger problems. Dry-fire it a few times while holding it in a normal firing grip, feeling for any hesitation or "hitch" in the trigger. IIRC a sticky grip safety is not necessarily difficult to fix if you know your way around the inside of a J frame, but not everyone does, or wants to.
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Old February 13, 2013, 03:35 PM   #4
Mike Irwin
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If it is a Model 40 (or variation thereof), the original guns with the grip safety also came with a small pin in a hole in the frame and covered by the stocks.

That pin could be used to secure the grip safety in the OFF position, meaning that the gun was simply double action only like the modern series 42/042/640/642/940 etc.

Often the pin has been lost, but it's relatively easy to fabricate a replacement.
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