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Old July 9, 2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 7,224
AFAIK, only the RP had the serial number on the front strap, the reason being that the standard RP grip covered the butt. But on other guns, the serial was on the butt.
FWIW I used to own a .22/32 Heavy Frame Target aka "Bekeart". It had the serial on the frontstrap. Then again, this model came with extension stocks as standard equipment, like the Regulation Police did.

I've also seen a ~1930-vintage .32 with target sights, extension stocks, and a frontstrap serial; however, the target sights probably put the gun in a different category.

I'm simply not enough of an expert on these old .32's to definitively tell you where the serial number should be on a 1906 fixed-sight gun with factory extension stocks. As stated above, I believe that .22/32's, later .32HE Targets, and .32RP's had frontstrap numbers, but I've never personally examined a pre-1920ish .32 that was wearing a pair that appeared original to the gun. Actually, I've never personally seen any in black hard rubber! (IIRC they were walnut after the early 1920s.)

Somebody on the S&W forum may be able to answer this question.
...generally ALL of the round butt guns in those days had the hard rubber grips. The wooden round butt grips were earlier (model 1899 K frames for example) AND later (post war).
FWIW late prewar round-butt Third Models were available with wood stocks. I've closely examined a late 1930s 3-1/4" Third Model (high 400,000 serial) with walnut stocks that were numbered to it.
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