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Old December 24, 2012, 09:51 AM   #1
Txtrigger
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S&W .44 special ctg- need info on DOB and value

I have a S&W .44 Special CTG that was given to me by a family friend that had passed away. I've wanted one of these since I was a young boy to wear when I was riding, now I finally have one! Would like to know some info about this revolver. I will attach some pictures to this thread. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Serial Number B-34304
Assembly Number A-80746

Looks to be chrome plated with good plated hammer/trigger. Original grips.

Forum won't let me upload the Files from my iPhone because the files are too big. Will try and figure it out.
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Old December 24, 2012, 09:59 AM   #2
DPris
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You have a revolver that shoots the .44 Special CARTRIDGE. You've given a caliber, not a model. CTG is an abbreviation.

It's unlikely to be chrome, more likely to be nickeled, and probably not a factory finish.
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:04 AM   #3
Txtrigger
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Ok well how would I go about obtaining the model number. The research that I have done has indicated that its either a 2nd model 44 hand ejector or a 3rd model that could have been shipped to Wolf & Klar for the western trade. Like I said serial number on butt and frame is #34304
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:17 AM   #4
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Looks like it dates to 1930, I don't know which variation it is.
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:25 AM   #5
Txtrigger
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Wow ok. Yeah I can't find which variation it is either. It looks to have the original checkered grips on with nickel S&W medallions on it. I do know that he was retired HPD (Houston police department) so it's likely that it could have been his service revolver.
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:32 AM   #6
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If it is a 3rd Model (aka Wolf & Klar Model, or Model of 1926) the ejector rod will be enclosed by a barrel lug. If it is a 2nd Model the ejector rod will not be enclosed.

If the hammer and trigger are anything other than case hardened (plated in any way, polished, etc.) it has been refinished outside of the factory.

Give us more details such as the barrel length (measure from muzzle to front of cylinder). Look under the grips for any markings. If it has been back to the factory there may be a number such as 4.41 on the left side of the grip frame which would indicate that it was returned there on April, 1941.

Bob
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:32 AM   #7
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I don't believe S&W plated hammers & triggers on those, which is why I suggested that finish may have been done later on at some point.
If so, that'd affect value, if you were interested.

The gun is built on what's known today as the large N frame, somebody else will probably show up to help decide which variation it is.
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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From the information we have to work with, the gun would appear to be a .44 Hand Ejector 3rd Model, manufactured from 1926 to 1941 in the serial number range 28358 to 61412. The manufacture dates and serial number range overlap with the 2nd Model - the way to tell is that the 3rd Model had a shrouded ejector rod.

The fact that the previous owner served in the Houston Police Department makes it possible that the gun is one of approximately 300 that were shipped to Wolf and Klar for the HPD in March of 1931. It it's one of those, it will have "H.P.D." and an issue number stamped on the backstrap and it should have a 5" barrel (revolver barrels are measured from the rear of the forcing cone, or if you like, the front of the cylnder). The SN is in the correct range for it being an HPD gun. As noted earlier, the nickel/gold finish is likely not factory. If not for that (and maybe even in spite of it), the gun could be somewhat valuable depending on condition.
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:37 AM   #9
Jim Watson
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There is no model number for a S&W older than 1957.

Serial number ranges overlap.
A .44 Hand Ejector Second Model has an open ejector rod, a Third Model has a shrouded rod like a current production magnum caliber.

Did you mean gold plated hammer and trigger?
That is certainly aftermarket plating, a popular dress-up at one time.
The chrome or nickel most likely is, too.
That will knock the resale value down about half or 1/3, collectors don't much like Texas BBQ guns unless owned by somebody famous.
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Old December 24, 2012, 01:18 PM   #10
bettis1
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Txtrigger,

FlyFish is correct that, from what you have told us, your gun might be in the group of 300 M1926's that were ordered by the HPD. Unfortunately, since it has been refinished the HPD marking on the back strap may have been polished off. The only way to find the shipping date and the original shipping destination is to request a letter from Roy Jinks, the Factory Historian. The letter will cost you $50 but is important in documenting a historical firearm.

Even if the gun was not in the original 300 that was shipped to HPD, it very well could/would have come from Wolf & Klar. W&K was a jewelry store/pawn shop in FT.Worth in the mid-20th Cent. and they were one of the most prominent suppliers of handguns to southwestern lawmen, cattlemen, and oilmen. The owner may have ordered it as a private purchase.

The guns are frequently found with a primitive form of engraving and carved pearl grips.

Here is one (sn341xx) that belonged to a man who was the Chief of Police in two different TX towns in the 1930's.




And another (sn345xx)that is unengraved and with the original grips. Yours should look much like this one


Look in the ejector rod cutout to see if there is a very small "B" preceeding the serial number. That would indicate that the gun was blue when it shipped from the factory. Another one in my collection (sn343xx) the same 100 as yours is blue.

I don't think that it has been said but the same serial number that is on the butt should be in the ejector rod cutout, on the back of the cylinder, on the under side of the ejector star (difficult to see...look through the chambers) and on the inside of the yoke (only seen when the yoke and cylinder are removed).

Do all that you can to find out the history of the gun and preserve it. That means getting any documentation from the previous owner or his family, including photos, newspaper clippings, badges, etc.

Bob

Last edited by bettis1; December 24, 2012 at 01:24 PM.
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Old December 24, 2012, 01:27 PM   #11
James K
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I think we need to wait for pictures. AFAIK, S&W serial numbers of that era had no letter prefixes. The serial number is on the butt of the gun; the numbers on the crane and on the frame underneath are assembly numbers, meaningless outside the factory.

Jim
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Old December 24, 2012, 02:23 PM   #12
bettis1
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Jim,

You are correct. There are no letter prefixes to the serial numbers in that period. The Serial Numbers that I referred to in my post above are not to be confused with the fitters numbers that you correctly identified as inconsequential to identifying the handgun.

To see the serial number on the back of the ejector star without removing the star, you have to shine a light through the cylinder chamber. That number is quite small.

To see the serial number on the back (the side facing the cylinder)
of the yoke, you have to remove the yoke and cylinder by removing the yoke retaining screw on the front of the trigger guard. If you do that, be very careful because there is a spring loaded detent in the yoke that assists in holding the yoke open. It is just one of the very fine fitting details that the S&W Factory included in guns of that era and often the detent pin or the detent spring is lost by people who don't know that it is there.

Bob
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Old December 24, 2012, 02:38 PM   #13
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Txtrigger,

I just re-read your original post and see that you mentioned a "B". The "B" that you mentioned in relation to the serial number 34304 is not a part of that serial number. It indicates that the original finish that was applied by the Factory was BLUE.

The fact that the gun has been refinished pretty well diminishes the collector value of the gun. That doesn't mean that it isn't still valuable as a shooter or as a family keepsake. You will be hard pressed to find a better .44 Spl. to wear as you wanted for "riding". Just don't "hot-rod" it or try to make it into a Magnum and it will outlast you by many years.

We still look forward to seeing your pictures. I am in the Dallas area so, if as you are in TX as your name indicates, and have a chance to come to the Dallas Mkt. Hall show on Jan 5-6, I'll be happy to look your gun over and try to give you some more information on it.

Bob
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:23 AM   #14
Txtrigger
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Wow.
You guys have been absolutely amazing in helping me identify such a historical piece. I can't express my gratitude in words. It does appear that the trigger and hammer were gold plated after it was shipped from the factory. Therefore there is no HPD marking on the backstrap unfortunately. Although it did come from a 30 year veteran of the Houston Police Department so it's likely that it very well could be one of the 300. I can imagine that it was original blued from the factory because of the info y'all indicated regarding the preceding "B" before the serial number. The gun looks exactly like the guns in the above pictures, especially the lower one with the checkered grips. I actually went to Gander Mtn and bought some .44 special cowboy loads yesterday and fired 6 rounds through it off my horse, what a Christmas present in itself. I would like y'all's opinion regarding what I su
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:25 AM   #15
Txtrigger
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Wow.
You guys have been absolutely amazing in helping me identify such a historical piece. I can't express my gratitude in words. It does appear that the trigger and hammer were gold plated after it was shipped from the factory. Therefore there is no HPD marking on the backstrap unfortunately. Although it did come from a 30 year veteran of the Houston Police Department so it's likely that it very well could be one of the 300. I can imagine that it was original blued from the factory because of the info y'all indicated regarding the preceding "B" before the serial number. The gun looks exactly like the guns in the above pictures, especially the lower one with the checkered grips. I actually went to Gander Mtn and bought some .44 special cowboy loads yesterday and fired 6 rounds through it off my horse, what a Christmas present in itself. I would like y'all's opinion regarding what I should do about the finish? Leave it as is, get it re-nickel plated or re-blued. What are my options? I know the value will drastically go down, however I never intend on selling it.
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Old December 25, 2012, 10:57 AM   #16
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Txtrigger,

It sounds like you've got a well broke ride there. I'm jealous! It's been many years since I last shot one from a horse. As I recall, it was at a big old west TX rattler and I was carrying my grandfather's SAA .38/40.

Regarding your question about a refinish: Unlike other forms of art (i.e. paintings, furniture, vehicles, etc.) firearms rarely increase in value when they are restored unless they have some significant underlying historical value. There are a few, and I emphasize a very few, artisans who can restore that M1926 to its original shipping condition. (The S&W Factory will not do it.) The value of such a restoration lies in the desires of the owner because the likelihood of ever recouping the cost of the restoration at sale is slim. A "kitchen table" restoration will only lessen the current value.

Here is something that I always try to remember if the gun in question shows only honest use and not abuse; The gun represents the desires of the previous owner and, as such, its condition is a part of its history. In the case of your handgun, the Houston officer felt strongly enough about it to trust his life to it. Remember, in the era in which it was used, an officer's sidearm was as much a part of "Officer Presence" as his badge was. A gun with "bling" like your's spoke volumes to someone who might cross him. If it were mine, it would stay exactly as it is. You have already found its greatest value when you touched off that first round!

I probably don't need to tell you but I would carry it with some form of retention like a thong or strap. They can jump out of the leather when riding in the brush or on a particularly skittish mount...(I can attest that searching for one after a long day's ride isn't fun).

Bob
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Old December 25, 2012, 12:47 PM   #17
DPris
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LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!
You will not increase value by "restoring" it & you'll totally destroy the character that makes it what it is.

As it sits, it reflects the man who carried it, what he liked, and the times it was carried in. It IS legitimate history. It doesn't have the monetary value it would've if it hadn't been altered from its original factory configuration, but it has incalculable "character" value.

Jeeze, man, if you want to fiddle with it please sell it to somebody who can appreciate it for what it is.
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Old December 26, 2012, 11:30 AM   #18
Txtrigger
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Geez man, Denis.

I never said that I didn't appreciate what it is or where it came from or who carried it. I am a USAF special operations veteran and a career firefighter, I think I have a slight hint regarding honor, courage, and character value regarding family heirlooms and service weapons. I was simply asking from input regarding a myriad of different options from forum members. Thanks to all of you have had given your opinions, I truly respect them. This weapon will be in a case along with the letter from the S&W Historian. Semper Paratus
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Old December 26, 2012, 12:11 PM   #19
DPris
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You did ask about re-finishing it, removing the plating, and so on.
My sense was that if you were even considering such things you did not have a true appreciation of the gun as it sits.
You asked for opinions & you got mine.

And I'm an AF Security Police vet & retired career cop.
There would be no options if the gun were here. Aside from making sure it remains functional, I wouldn't do a thing to that finish beyond oiling the gun occasionally against rust internally.

Denis
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Old December 27, 2012, 07:39 AM   #20
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Very cool gun and a GREAT story.

I'm not one of those folks who savor wear on their firearms like some appear to appreciate. But, I've been learning to keep my guns "truthful to their history" and resisting the urge to pretty them up.

Your gun does seem to have ridden on the path less trodden, but the stories it tells through the surface of its skin are not unlike the jewels of wisdom one can get from a cane-totin', grizzle-faced uncle wearin the same overalls as he has for decades. He's been there, done that and the stories he has corraled up into that creakin' rocking chair far exceed the cost he paid in looks and health. He paid them in honest time and effort and now offers them to YOU, if you'll only listen.

I'm "learnin' to listen" more as I get older.
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