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Old October 4, 2008, 10:43 PM   #8
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
Both S&W and Colt made DA swing cylinder revolvers chambered for .32-20 (.32 Winchester Center Fire). It was and is a good caliber in a revolver.

The chambering came about an odd way in the Spanish revolvers. In WWI, the Spanish made revolvers for the French, chambered for the 8mm Lebel revolver cartridge. When the war ended they, like other gun makers, had a lot of guns and parts left over. There was little demand for revolvers in 8mm Lebel, but the U.S. market was wide open and the 8mm chambers needed only a little work to accept .32-20, a popular U.S. caliber. Accuracy might not have been the best, but for $2.95 or so, no one cared except S&W, whose revolvers were the ones most copied and who were hurt by sales of Spanish guns that were "just like a popular American brand." S&W took legal and other action, and eventually the Spanish revolvers were banned from import.

Of course, customers sometimes cared when the Spanish guns, mostly made of "pot metal" (cheap cast iron from which cooking pots were made) blew up, as most have by now, or at least those that were not tossed in the trash when they broke in other ways.

(Just FWIW, one of the steps S&W took was to trademark the color case hardening on their triggers and hammers. If the Spanish did not do that, their guns wouldn't look like S&W's; if they did, the importer could be sued for trademark infringement. And S&W uses that coloring to this day to keep the trademark protection in effect, even though there is no need to case harden MIM parts.)

Jim K
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