View Full Version : S&W model 1 1/2 ????

Alex Johnson
December 19, 2001, 08:37 PM
Hi everybody, I stopped by the gunstore today and saw a gun that I thought was pretty neat, so I bought it, but I'm wondering exactly what it is. I believe it is a S&W model 1 1/2 as it has birdshead wood grips and is 32 caliber. To load the thing you have to pull the cylinder out of the frame and there is a pin that goes halfway up the barrel. Is this a 1 1/2?

I assume the caliber is 32 rimfire. The gun is tight, has a good bore and is sitting with about 90% original blueing and the serial number is 512XX. Anybody have any idea when it was made and what its approximate value would be. I paid $250 for it, did I do OK?

Any information would be appreciated. Thanks


December 19, 2001, 11:39 PM
Sho sounds like a 1½. .32 rimfire tip up barrel. To pin it down would have to know exact markings, barrel length, barrel round or octagonal.

From ser # looks like a second issue 1½ tip up. If barrel 2 3/4 or less, books at 550. If barrel 3½ books at 300......both numbers for ninety percenters.

Sounds like you did OK on price at worst and great otherwise.


James K
December 19, 2001, 11:49 PM
Hi, Alex,

Sounds like a 1 1/2 second issue. It should have a fluted cylinder and a 3 1/2 inch barrel with a rib (see below). The last patent date should be 1865. The caliber is .32 rimfire Long. Ammunition is (last I heard) available from Navy Arms and many dealers, or from Old Western Scrounger (www.ows-ammo.com).

The pin under the barrel is the ejector. After firing, tip up the barrel, remove the cylinder and push each chamber backward down over the pin to eject the empty case.

I have shot a goodly number of those and the Number 2 and found them quite accurate, though with atrocious sights.

You did OK on the price. S&W's don't bring the big bucks that Colts of the same era do, but one like you describe should go for around $375-400. If the barrel is 4", the value goes way up to around $2400.


Mike Irwin
December 19, 2001, 11:54 PM
Ok, two possibilities here.

It could be a 1 1/2, or it could be a 2.

The birdshead grips make me think it's a 1 1/2, but supposedly there are some No. 2s out there that were made with birdshead grips.

Caliber is probably .32 Long Rimfire.

If it's a 1 1/2, that's an OK price.

If it's a BHbutt No. 2, it's extremely rare, and could be very very valuable.

December 20, 2001, 12:59 AM
Whoops......saw that ser # right for 1½ and didn't look at the 2s. Darn serial could fit a 2 too.

Thanks for the tweek Mike. Larned sumpin on that one.


Mike Irwin
December 20, 2001, 01:53 AM

The Birds Head No. 2s are apprently NOT confirmed, and could actually be foreign copies. The No. 2s were pretty heavily copied overseas, apparently, even down to the markings.

It's one of those "holy grail" revolvers for an S&W collector, not unlike the 1896 Model Hand Ejectors in .32 S&W. Supposedly there were fewer than 50 made.

Alex Johnson
December 20, 2001, 11:28 AM
Thanks for all the great info. I found a picture of the 1 1/2 and I'm pretty sure that's what it is, I'm guessing it has the 3 1/2 barrel on it, but I haven't had a chance to measure it, I'm pretty sure it's not any shorter than that. I'd been watching the pistol for quite awhile at the store and when they dropped it down I knew I had to have it, so I guess I'll have a new toy. If I can find some of the reproduction ammo I'll probably shoot it a bit, does anybody know if it would be legal in any of the side matches in Cowboy Action Shooting?

Alex Johnson
December 20, 2001, 11:33 AM
I just checked out the Old Western Scrounger and they have 32 Rimfire short ammunition for sale. Will the shorts work in this pistol?

Mike Irwin
December 20, 2001, 12:47 PM
If the gun is chambered for .32 Long rimfire, yes, the .32 Short rimfire will work.

James K
December 20, 2001, 02:52 PM
It is sighted for the .32 Long. I shot one at 7 yards off hand and put all the shots in less than an inch, so it is not a toy.


December 20, 2001, 06:06 PM
Just because a Smith is old doesn't mean that one can't be a tackdriver. Shooter does their part with one in good condition, the gun will do the job.