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Old October 19, 2013, 02:35 PM   #1
beaverguy
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S&W 32-20

Hi Guys
I picked up a super nice S&W 32-20 revolver today at a local gun show. I don't see a model number but I do have the serial number 85238. I was wondering when it was made, possible value and if there is a model number for this gun??
Thanks for any info. Oh it also has two sets of grips, the originals and the others look like fake Ivory ??
John

Bluing is about 90%, bore looks great and cylinder is tight.
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Last edited by beaverguy; October 19, 2013 at 04:22 PM.
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Old October 19, 2013, 04:00 PM   #2
sgms
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Your pistol is a pre-numbered S&W. By serial number it is likely a model 1905 hand ejector 4th change and made before 1940. Need pictures and some condition information for any idea as to value.

See the pictures now. Looks like a 1905 5th change as far as I can tell, being a standard sight and not the target adj. sight and the fact I haven't seen one sold for a year or so I would guess $400-550. range but check the gun auction sights and see what they have sold for(don't trust the asking for price) might give you a better idea.

Last edited by sgms; October 19, 2013 at 09:09 PM.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:20 PM   #3
beaverguy
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Thankyou very much for the information. What year would you guess it was made in?
John
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:39 PM   #4
SaxonPig
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The 4th Change starts in 1915 at 65,000 something. So yours is fairly early. Be advised the cylinders are not tempered until around 165,000 IIRC so no hot rod loads. I have a 3rd Change from 1910 that has the 6.5" barrel like yours but with the round butt. The 32s are a hoot.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:42 PM   #5
James K
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That is the .32-20 Hand Ejector, Model 1905, Fourth Change. (There was no Fifth Change.) It was made from 1915 to 1940 when most civilian production was dropped for British Contract production of .38-200 British Contract model.

Serial numbers began with 65,701 in 1915 and continued to 144,684 in 1940. Neal and Jinks say that cylinders were heat treated starting 9/2/1919 with serial 81287, so that would date your gun to sometime in 1920.

FWIW, the .32-20 Hand Ejector is the same as the M&P of the same time in everything but caliber, but S&W reserved the term "M&P" for the .38 Special caliber, so the .32-20 had a different model name and its own serial number series.

Jim
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Old October 19, 2013, 10:02 PM   #6
beaverguy
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You guys are great. What a wonderfull place this is to tap into so much knowledge. Thankyou all very much !!
John
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Old October 20, 2013, 10:44 AM   #7
sgms
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Thanks for the catch James, fat fingers wrong key yes to 4th not 5th as in bottom of post. Someday I will learn to proof read.
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Old October 20, 2013, 01:57 PM   #8
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I thought tempering started later. Oh well, go for it, then.
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Old October 21, 2013, 09:20 PM   #9
James K
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There are other sources, but I have found the Neal & Jinks book to be correct right up to its cutoff date (1957). The X-ray photos of various models AFAIK can be found nowhere else. They were S&W employees and had full-time access to the records, unlike some writers who spent little time in actual research.

The only area of confusion is in the M&P-Victory Model-.38/200 area where they go by the factory designation, confusing those who use common collector terms. (For example, the factory called only those guns made in .38 Special "Victory Models"; guns made for the British, even with a "V" serial number prefix, were called the ".38/200 Model.")

Jim
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Old October 22, 2013, 01:10 PM   #10
carguychris
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I feel obligated to give a quick warning statement should you choose to fire this gun.

During roughly the first half of the 20th century, prior to the advent of small-bore spitzer-bullet cartridges like the .223 Remington, .32-20 was a very popular varmint rifle round. Since most late 19th to early 20th-century centerfire rifle designs are capable of handling pressures far in excess of what standard .32-20 dishes out, ammo makers started offering hot-rod overpressure cartridges to enhance its performance at long range- .32-20+P+, if you will. Older reloading books sometimes contained recipes for such loads.

The ammo packaging or load book would generally have big warning statements reading "FOR RIFLES ONLY", "NOT FOR REVOLVERS", or something like that. It is recommended that you heed these warnings!

FWIW all of these loads were taken off the market decades ago, and ALL current-production .32-20 is safe. However, .32-20 is one of those cartridges that tends to linger on gun store shelves for a long time.
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Old October 22, 2013, 01:20 PM   #11
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In addition, the headstamps on cartridges so loaded were different and hinted at higher velocity.
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Old October 22, 2013, 07:16 PM   #12
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You test ivory by heating a pin and poking it into a no visible section of the ivory. If it's real it smells like dentist office when you're getting a cavity drilled, if it's plastic it smells like plastic.
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