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Old September 10, 2013, 12:14 AM   #1
Ducksnbucks
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Old s&w 32 special

Got this gun 20 years ago from my grandpa. Smith and wesson 32 special serial # 142xx the serial is only on the butt and the tumbler is in graved with dates from as early as 1884. I would love to get an idea of the year and value. Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Old September 10, 2013, 12:25 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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Show pictures.
Especially where it says on the gun ".32 Special." (Hint, I don't think it does because there is no such thing as a .32 Special revolver.)
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Old September 10, 2013, 05:26 AM   #3
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nope

As noted ".32 Special" is probably not correct - though it is possible that a gun manufactured outside the USA could be mislabeled.
The only .32 Special that I know of is the .32 Winchester Special - a rifle cartridge.
S&W makes two .32 cartridges....the .32 S&W and the .32 S&W Long.
A pic of the gun would be nice. Solid frame or break open?
Does it look like this:

Those are .32 S&W cartridges.
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Last edited by darkgael; September 10, 2013 at 05:39 AM.
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Old September 10, 2013, 07:54 AM   #4
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Probably .32 S&W. Value = invaluable (you got it from your grandpa).
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Old September 10, 2013, 09:19 AM   #5
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.

I can't help w/o a pic ot three, since the OP's revolver could also be a Colt .32 Police Special (so marked "Special" ).



There's more than a few folks who've looked at the chambering marked on the barrel (.32 S&W or .38 S&W, say) and thought the maker to be S&W, when it was actually another maker.

The OP's gun could also be a S&W, IJ, or a H&A top-break revolver.



.
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Old September 10, 2013, 10:36 AM   #6
Mike Irwin
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"The OP's gun could also be a S&W, IJ, or a H&A top-break revolver."

Or one of a dozen or more other, smaller, makers that made guns for a few years and either went bust or were bought up.
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Old September 10, 2013, 01:15 PM   #7
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It sounds like an S&W Model 1896, also called the First Model Hand Ejector. It is the only S&W I know of with patent dates (including July 1, 1884) stamped into the cylinder. It is chambered for .32 S&W Long (not Special) but the caliber is not actually marked on it.

19,712 were made from 1896 to 1903; values range from over $1000 for near new condition down to around $300, with an average of $400-500.

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Old September 10, 2013, 01:36 PM   #8
Mike Irwin
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Was the patent information engraved on the cylinder on the Model 1896?

I can't remember if it was or not...
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Old September 10, 2013, 01:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
It sounds like an S&W Model 1896, also called the First Model Hand Ejector. It is the only S&W I know of with patent dates (including July 1, 1884) stamped into the cylinder.
+1; good catch.

This revolver has several other unique features that distinguish it from every other S&W Hand Ejector (swing-out cylinder) revolver.
  • The cylinder stop engages the cylinder at the top rather than the bottom.
  • The barrel has a top rib with a convex cross section, and the front sight is attached with a round-headed pin driven through the convex rib. This type of barrel was used on all sorts of S&W top-break revolvers and numerous copies from other gunmakers, but was not used on any other standard-production S&W Hand Ejector.
  • The cylinder is released by pulling the ejector rod towards the muzzle, rather than pushing a thumb latch forward (almost all other Hand Ejectors), pushing a button inwards (Ladysmith 1st Model), or pulling a knob on the front barrel locking notch (Ladysmith 2nd and 3rd Models).
Of course, we're still fundamentally just guessing here.
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Old September 10, 2013, 02:08 PM   #10
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The Model 1896 cylinder is marked over the chambers 1) SMITH/&/WESSON in three lines, 2) SPRINGFIELD/MASS. in two lines, 3) U.S.A./PATENTED in two lines, 4) JULY 1, 84/APRIL 9, 89 in two lines, 5) MARCH 27, 94/MAY 29, 94 in two lines, and 6) MAY 21, 95/JULY 15, 95 in two lines. All the lettering is in a back slanting font that I have never seen on any other S&W. Other than the serial number on the butt and the S&W logo on the right side, there are no other markings. The cylinder stop is in the topstrap and is a slightly modified version of the ones used on the old tip-up revolvers.

Jim
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Old September 10, 2013, 08:50 PM   #11
Ducksnbucks
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Thanks

You all have been so helpful! Where is the best place to concider selling it?
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Old September 10, 2013, 09:50 PM   #12
Mike Irwin
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Yep, that's a Smith & Wesson Model of 1896.

Unfortunately, it appears to be in VERY rough shape.
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Old September 11, 2013, 09:49 AM   #13
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Even though that gun is in poor condition, if it is functional it should bring about $250-300 at retail. They were S&W's first swing out cylinder revolver and are always of interest to collectors.

But note that I (and most others on these sites) will give retail prices; what you get from a dealer is naturally less. If your state allows direct sales between individuals, you can put an ad in the paper or sell it at a gun show. Alternatively, you can put it on consignment at a gun shop, which will usually get you more than a sale to the dealer, but you have to wait until the gun sells to get your money.

On line sale is also a possibility, but that gun is probably not an antique (they were made up to 1903 and an antique had to have been made before 1 January, 1899) so you would have to ship only to an FFL dealer.

Jim
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