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Old February 21, 2013, 12:59 AM   #1
Jkady
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Can I get an ID on this mystery S&W?

Found this in the barter section on craigslist and got an e-mail off before the ad was flagged down. Guy doesn't seem to be a "gun person" or know much about the thing, so all I have is some cell phone pics to go on.

I can make out that it's a Smith and Wesson from the grips and the only part of the lettering I can see, but after that I'm at a loss as I'm not well versed in the handgun world. It would appear to my untrained eye that it's some manner of j-frame but I'd like to know just what I'm looking at before i make the guy an offer.
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Old February 21, 2013, 01:30 AM   #2
James K
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Not the greatest picture but the marking seems to read ".32 LONG CTG" which would make the gun a .32 Hand Ejector. The .32 frame, beefed up and lengthened, became the J frame of today. If my reading is correct, that gun is chambered for .32 S&W Long, which some folks feel is not powerful enough for serious work, though I would not want to be shot with one.

It appears to be nickel plated, a common finish at that time. The gun is definitely pre-WWII, probably around 1920, but a serial number would be needed for better dating. If it is in good working condition, it would be fine with .32 S&W or .32 S&W Long ammunition.

They made a lot of those guns, and value depends almost totally on condition, so I won't do any guessing on value until I see better pictures.

Jim
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Old February 21, 2013, 07:27 AM   #3
Mike Irwin
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The grips don't appear to be correct. They don't seem to fit well at all.
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Old February 21, 2013, 10:43 AM   #4
carguychris
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I have a few things to add:

This gun MAY be a Spanish copy. Many of these were sold in the USA prior to WWII. A bona fide S&W will usually have an intertwined S&W trademark on the LH side of the frame behind the cylinder, and "MADE IN U.S.A." lettering on the RH side above the trigger guard; this area is washed out by glare in the picture. Spanish copies of S&W .32's have very little value- typically in the $50-$100 range- and are sometimes unsafe to shoot, or wear out very quickly if you do so.

The serial number is on the butt. This number, or the last few digits of it, should be repeated on the underside of the barrel above the ejector rod, and on the rear cylinder face OR under the ejector star on some older versions. If the numbers do not match, these parts are not original. Ignore any numbers on the frame under the cylinder yoke; these are meaningless assembly numbers.

I've seen a few of these guns that had damage to the ejector star, ejector rod, or cylinder as a result of trying to eject stuck .32ACP aka .32 Auto cases. This ammo is much more widely available than .32 S&W and .32 Long, and some shooters unfortunately believe that it's interchangeable, but it has a much smaller rim than the correct cartridges and can get stuck in the chambers when it gets whacked by the firing pin.

Some of the prewar versions of the .32HE are not safe to carry with a live round under the hammer, and/or are very hard to get parts for. As James K said, a serial number is needed to correctly determine its age.
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Old February 21, 2013, 10:56 AM   #5
Mike Irwin
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""MADE IN U.S.A."

Off the top of my head, I don't think that marking was added until after WW I, when the Spanish revolver flood REALLY started in earnest.

Also, unlike a LOT of the Spanish copies, it appears that all of the screws are in the correct places, with no extras, and the proportions appear to be correct.

I think this one has a pretty good chance of being the real deal.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:53 AM   #6
carguychris
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Quote:
"MADE IN U.S.A."... I don't think that marking was added until after WW I, when the Spanish revolver flood REALLY started in earnest... Also, unlike a LOT of the Spanish copies, it appears that all of the screws are in the correct places, with no extras, and the proportions appear to be correct.
The key words in my prior post were MAY and usually. IIRC most prewar .32HE's do not have the "MADE IN U.S.A." marking, and many lack the S&W logo as well.
Quote:
I think this one has a pretty good chance of being the real deal.
+1. In addition to the screws and proportions, another hallmark suggesting that this is the Real Deal is that the barrel lettering, front sight shape, and ejector rod knob appear correct. I've seen Spanish copies with subtly misshapen front sights and ejector rod knobs, and barrel lettering with incorrect typeface and/or queer non-standard content (e.g. .32 S&WL CTG. rather than *.32 LONG CTG.*).
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Old February 21, 2013, 07:32 PM   #7
Jkady
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Any ideas on a value? Not something that holds much interest for me outside of possibly being cheap but for the right price I'm always buyin.
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Old February 21, 2013, 10:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
This gun MAY be a Spanish copy. Many of these were sold in the USA prior to WWII. A bona fide S&W will usually have an intertwined S&W trademark on the LH side of the frame behind the cylinder, and "MADE IN U.S.A."
You guys need to look at more S&Ws and more Spanish copies. This gun is not a Spanish copy, it is a S&W. Look at the profile of the frame, the barrel profile, the ejector rod, the cylinder, etc. None of the Spanish copies were exact, and often they are square butt. This gun is a round butt.
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Old February 22, 2013, 02:10 PM   #9
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Ditto Win 73. It would appear to be a Hand Ejector model from the early 1900s, but we need more info to identify an S&W. First, is a .32 or a .38? I am guessing it is a .38 (chambered for the .38 S&W cartridge). The original was intoduced in 1905 and here were four changes in years following, which brings about the need for a serial number.
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Old February 22, 2013, 03:52 PM   #10
James K
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As I said, the picture is poor, but the lettering on the barrel appears to be ".32 LONG CTG." which would be correct for an S&W and quite unusual for a Spanish copy, most of which were in .38 or .32-20. It is an S&W.

Beyond that, it is not possible to say much about it, or assess a value, without better pictures.

Jim
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