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Old May 3, 2013, 06:37 PM   #1
BoogieMan
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What is a registered magnum?

I did a little search and it basically says that its the first 4 years of model 29 .357's. I see these things often for sale. 7 of them on gunbroker as I type. Are they special because they are less common or are they of particular high quality?
How does someone identify a registered mag?
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Old May 3, 2013, 06:47 PM   #2
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It was essentially a custom, made to order .357 Magnum handgun (the first .357 Magnum by the way) that was issued with a certificate, hence the "Registered", stating the name of the customer that received that particular serial number along with the build specifications of that gun. It was available in a variety of barrel lengths and was a pretty darn pricey revolver. It proved to be very popular despite the cost, though. It eventually turned into the Model 27.
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Old May 3, 2013, 08:04 PM   #3
James K
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When the .357 Magnum was first issued, S&W hyped its super power (like the .44 Magnum later) and part of the hype was the addition of a special number (the Registered Number) stamped on the frame under the yoke, and an accompanying certificate with the same number. The registered number was not the serial number, which was applied in the normal places. Some 5500 registered guns were made.

The certificate was issued to the first purchaser, and had his (I know of no women certificate holders) name and home town, as well as the trigger pull weights (SA and DA), and the range the gun had been targeted at (AFAIK, always 25 yards, with a 6 o'clock hold).

Registered Magnums were not specifically custom guns, although they had to be specially ordered and options could be ordered as with all S&W revolvers of the time. They were specially tuned, but there were no "registered Magnums" as distinct from "regular" Magnums; all .357's were "Registered Magnums" up to about 1939, when the registration practice and marking was discontinued as both too expensive and too time-consuming due to the increased demand for the .357, plus the factory gearing up for war contracts.

A LNIB registered Magnum with certificate can run to well over $12K, much more if the certificate was issued to a celebrity, but be warned that both the number and certificate have been counterfeited, so both a serial number check and an S&W letter would be advisable before purchase. (.357 Registered Magnums were serialized in the N frame series, so there is no "block" of .357 serial numbers.)

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Old May 3, 2013, 11:45 PM   #4
Mike Irwin
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The original .357 Magnum was prior to model numbers being assigned.

It was advertised and cataloged as "The .357 Magnum."

After 1957 it was the Model 27, NOT the Model 29, which was the .44 Magnum.

S&W dropped the registration certificate process in 1938 or 1939.

The "unregistered" magnums made from then until when production shifted to a war footing are actually rarer than the registered magnums.
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Old May 4, 2013, 07:29 AM   #5
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Here's an example of the original order form. Notice the recipient:

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Old May 4, 2013, 07:38 AM   #6
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Darn, wish I could find one for $48.
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Old May 4, 2013, 07:40 AM   #7
Mike Irwin
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Roughly $800 today.

Still a pretty good deal.
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Old May 4, 2013, 09:24 AM   #8
Tom Servo
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Quote:
Darn, wish I could find one for $48.
The plain production models retailed at $35 IIRC. One of the reasons the Highway Patrolman was introduced was that $35 was too steep a price (roughly $577 in 2012 dollars) for the average working stiff.
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Old May 4, 2013, 09:29 AM   #9
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The RM (S&W called it simply "The 357 Magnum") got its name from being "registered" to the original buyer. Many registration cards were never returned to S&W and they are now valuable collector items.

The guns were total custom jobs with buyers specifying barrel length (in 1/4" increments), stocks and sights. The registration program ran 1935-1939 then was dropped. The gun kept being made as pre-war magnum, post-war magnum, then in 1957 it became the Model 27.

Many if not most RMs went to police. I have one inscribed for the Utah Highway Patrol. It is one of 50 they bought (mine is #27). The S&W historian doesn't count these when he figures the number of RMs that were factory inscribed and I'm not sure why he doesn't include them.


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Old May 5, 2013, 07:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Roughly $800 today
If you can find them for that Ill take 2. lol
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=339437002
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=339787756
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Old May 5, 2013, 08:45 AM   #11
Mike Irwin
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That would be the equivalent price today based SOLELY on the progress of inflation.

That doesn't take into account 70+ subsequent years of collector interest and wear and tear on the limited number of examples that are in circulation.
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Old May 5, 2013, 08:46 AM   #12
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That first one is in nice condition, but it's not worth $8,000 with no box, papers, and especially no certificate.
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Old May 5, 2013, 09:06 AM   #13
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And here I was thinking a registered magnum was some kind of fancy champagne.
Thanks for this very interesting, and new to me, info on a rare S&W.
One of the reasons this forum is a favorite.
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Old May 5, 2013, 10:55 PM   #14
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Heres a couple more for you to look at. Between different barrel lengths you could choose from along with sights, finish, grips etc the possibility exsists for many many variations.

a 4"



And, a 5"

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Old May 6, 2013, 07:43 AM   #15
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That first one is in nice condition, but it's not worth $8,000 with no box, papers, and especially no certificate.
I think the old saying, "the devil is in the details" applies here. This RM does not need a box papers and the certificate to be worth $8k. Mike, I'm not sure if you were implying that THIS example isn't worth it due to what its missing, or if you were implying that a RM in general is not worth $8k without the box papers and certificate.

So, whats the difference between the $5k approx that this one is worth (based on features and condition) and an actual $8k example? Try a 1/4 in. If this barrel was a 5.75in or a 6.25 in gun, both of which are rare, it would probably be a fair price despite the fact that it does not have the certificate, box, etc. Keep in mind, aside from the papers, the original sight adj tool aka SAT aka screwdriver is worth approx $500 today. The SAT for this gun is a standard pre war S&W SAT, but they're rare and sought after today. Reg certificates are rarely found with these. IMO, I'm not sure if the gun would be worth it even with the box papers and certificate, because it is still one of the most common barrel lengths for these, and it does not have the original grips. Although, someone would probably pay the money, because condition and it originality wise, this gun is great IMO. The original grips would SN to the gun, either style, magna or service grips. Factory wrap around targets did not exist before WWII. Original nickel would add significantly to the gun as well. Early examples were sometimes ordered with a factory grip adapter, which if it still had would be of interest. The gun also has a common sight option, and the gun lacks the optional "humpback" hammer. All of this can drastically alter the value, aside from box papers and registration certificate.

This gun does have two interesting things going for it, which are rarely found in RMs: no rework star with original finish (many RMs have been back, at least once) and it has IMO 95%+ of its original finish. Few RMs are in that high of a condition and original finish today. It has its original, yet common barrel length and no one changed the sights either. This much originality is great, putting this one towards the top of factory 6in examples BUT the gun is still a blued 6in example, with no appealing options and its of course without any accessories.

I actually spoke the seller about this gun, before he got the paper work on the gun. I think at the time he wanted $6k or $7k. Early this year I was in the market for a RM, and I liked the originality and condition of this one, but I couldn't pay such a premium for a basic pedestrian RM, if there even is such a thing. RMs are in demand enough to where if he priced more appropriately, it would have been snapped up by now. Despite the times, and the common features, its nice and original, and some collector with deep pockets would have bought it by now, if the seller didn't add 20%+ just because its a RM.
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Old May 6, 2013, 08:10 AM   #16
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It would not be worth 8k even if satan himself came with it.

Maybe if it came with one of the mythical factory compensators...
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Old May 6, 2013, 11:05 AM   #17
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Or maybe if it came with the auxiliary 38 special cylinder...
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Old May 8, 2013, 04:28 PM   #18
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So I just paid $850 for a 27-2, 5.5" barrel and nice condition...
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Old May 8, 2013, 04:33 PM   #19
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I think you actually have a 6in barrel and measured from the frame to muzzle instead of cylinder face to muzzle. 5.5 in barrel on a 27-2 would certainly be a collectors item IF its a factory original barrel length.
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