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1940s-build Model 10?

Discussion in 'Smith & Wesson Club' started by the perfesser, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. the perfesser

    the perfesser

    368
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    Jun 24, 2007
    First -- my caveat: I own a S&W 442, but I am very ignorant re revolvers in general.

    I came across a 5" or 6" Model 10 at a shop in another city last week an hour away: blued finish in good shape, otherwise cosmetically good, with thin barrel and firing pin on hammer. The unshrouded ejector rod does not have the bulbous tip of -- I am told -- pre-war guns, but a semi-bulbous rod tip more prominent than the more modern exemplars. This -- again I was told -- is the mark of a 1940s build.

    In any event, I was running out of time -- had to get across town to make a layaway payment on a used Kimber -- and so I was unable to do the basic checks on barrel and cylinder bores, cracks in frame, cylinder wobble, number and condition of screws, etc.

    First -- am I even on the right track regarding what I think or was told re this gun?

    Second -- if the basic checks alluded to above show no concerns -- is this a $350 gun?

    Please remember my ignorance re revolvers. Any info on offer would be helpful.... Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    5,237
    1
    Jul 14, 2008
    1a) More or less, but a lot of details are missing from the 'picture.' To cut to the chase, you would need the S/N to be sure.

    1b) You will find numbers all over the place on older S&W revolvers, but one thing is "always" true: The S/N appears, among other places, on the butt of the revolver. (I mention this because the other numbers on S&Ws are frequently mistaken for the actual S/N, sometimes even by dealers).

    1c) If made post-WWII, the S/N will have an alpha prefix (S, C, or D, depending on age; S or C for 1940s). If prewar, there will be no alpha prefix.

    2) Possibly, but everything depends on condition. I would probably compare it to similar specimens on GunBroker.com or GunsAmerica.com to get a better idea of its value and proceed from there. Auction site prices are sometimes high, but old M&P revolvers are still common, so you should be able to arrive at some kind of "average."

    HTH :wavey:
     

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011

  3. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    ArtCrafter,

    Thanks very much for the helpful reply. I will check this out next week perhaps when I am in that town where the shop is located. That is, if the revolver I saw a week ago is still there!
     
  4. the perfesser

    the perfesser

    368
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    Jun 24, 2007
    ArtCrafter,

    I got a second look today. I guess that it is a pre-1957 because there is no Model 10 designation to be seen. 5.5" or 6" barrel. Unshrouded ejector rod.

    Number on grip heel/butt is 3402XX.

    I had just picked up a used semiauto pistol (my first 1911) across town (=a town 50 miles from home) and arrived for my second look just before closing time (2 July) as they were readying the shop for the holiday. External finish looks very good; busy salesclerk mentioned something about it having been reblued at some time. Forgot to count screws, still did not have chance to shine a bore light (which I did not have) down the barrel, was in too much hurry to get on road, and anxious not to annoy clerk preparing for his holiday and with whom I might have to bargain should I make an offer.

    Do you have any idea of year of manufacture?

    And you are right -- I must do more internet price comparisons.

    Have a great 4th! I hope to celebrate while exercising my 2nd amendment rights.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  5. Bill Keith

    Bill Keith

    3,211
    369
    Jan 3, 2006
    Humble, TX
  6. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    5,237
    1
    Jul 14, 2008
    First, the gun was made prior to WWII. It is known as a ".38 MILITARY & POLICE MODEL 1905 4TH CHANGE." It would also be a "5-screw" gun.

    My reference books are a little vague on mfg date vs. serial number for this model, giving only a range from 1915-1942, so I did a quick Google search of the S&W forum and found this post by one of the better-known members there.

    That source puts the mfg date at around 1920, which is at least a little closer, and is almost certainly reliable (IMO).

    HTH :wavey:
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  7. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    ArtCrafter,

    Thanks! I had just posted a new thread over at that S&W forum and got an answer that dovetails with your info from the linked thread. I am amazed that reblueing could make a 90-yr.-old pistol look so good. I am going to commission a friend with more S&W- and refinishing knowledge to check the revolver out in person. If I do anything, I'll post again.
     
  8. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    Folks,

    Back in circulation after surgery -- left knee replacement -- and felt that I deserved a present . So I put that 1920 Hand Ejector on layaway -- no box or papers -- for $320. I had checked the barrel bore with a light six weeks ago and it looked good.

    I look forward to picking up this shooter in 90 days or so. Then I will try to post pictures.
     
  9. G33

    G33 Frisky! Millennium Member CLM

    28,010
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    With G29
  10. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    Just took delivery on that 1920 -- not 1940s -- 6" 1905 4th change Hand Ejector in .38S&W Special. Have not had chance to shoot or clean or photograph it yet. Have just dry-fired with snap caps to observe cylinder movement, hammer operation, and trigger feel/function. Visited a second shop across town, where a friendly asst.manager gave it the once-over, lubricated it, and removed the stocks for inspection. SN# scribed on inside surface of one of the stocks, which I am told indicates hand-fitted originals.

    At that second shop I saw a not-yet priced cosmetically very worn Hand Ejector with the SN#4308XX. With the "expertise" gained here and over at S&W Forum, I volunteered that it was probably a late 1920s build. Am I close?

    I haven't even shot mine yet, but these old revolvers can get addictive......
     
  11. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    5,237
    1
    Jul 14, 2008

    Congrats on your 'new' 4th Change M&P!

    The friendly Assistant Manager at the second shop was right: The stocks are original and were fitted by a skilled factory artisan to your revolver.

    Even 'way back when,' S&W was really cranking out those K-frames, so #4308XX falls a bit earlier than the 'late' 1920s.

    My 'semi-educated' guess would be 1923 on that one, with the following caveats:
    • You might get a better 'WAG' from someone at the S&W Forum.
    • Even they will probably tell you that the 'best' bet is a factory letter.

    The principal reason a factory letter is 'best' is that S&W often shipped guns 'out-of-sequence.' As a matter of fact, they still do (e.g., various Performance Center models have used alpha prefixes from the 'future').

    IMO, you are wise to use snap caps in your gun; replacing a prewar hammer nose ('firing pin') could prove very difficult.

    On a related note, the' very best' snap caps (IMO) are made by Freedom Arms; theirs are virtually indestructable (which is definitely not true of others').

    As for shooting the gun, I say 'go for it,' with the following caveats:
    • The old steels were pretty soft, so I would avoid jacketed bullets if practicable. (A few might not hurt it, but a lot most certainly will.)
    • The cylinder on your gun is heat-treated, but I would nonetheless avoid shooting '+P' ammunition. (No exceptions, IMO.)
    • Probably the kindest thing you could do for the gun would be to shoot only mid-range/target wadcutter ammunition. (e.g., Federal Gold Medal Match 148-gr LWC @ Midway.com).

    Regarding your new 'addiction,' I'm afraid I can't offer much help there: The only known 'cure' is more of 'em. :supergrin:

    HTH :wavey:
     
  12. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    ArtCrafter: Thanks very much, again, for your expertise re probable shipping dates.

    I have no intention of shooting +P ammo out of this revolver.....

    Will chime in again after first range visit.
     
  13. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    5,237
    1
    Jul 14, 2008
    Perfesser: Just to be clear, I didn't think you were the '+P' type; I only mentioned it for 'the record.' :thumbsup:

    I look forward to reading your 'range report.'













    PS: Here's hoping the 'treatment' works! :supergrin:
     
  14. the perfesser

    the perfesser

    368
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    Jun 24, 2007
    And now for the first range report regarding my recent acquisition.

    Indoor range (with shop). Ran about 80+ rounds through it: 50 Georgia Arms 158gr. "Cowboy" ammo and some light target reloads from a reputable -- and reliable -- reloader friend. All lead bullets.

    The original wood grips make it painful to shoot repeatedly at moderate speed after about fourth round in cylinder -- middle finger repeatedly slammed by rear of trigger guard. I had to use highest hand hold and death grip to minimize this, which meant trigger contact on second finger joint, which is not optimal. After first 5 rounds I taped-up the middle finger to cushion it.

    Shot mostly single-action for comfort's sake, although DA trigger pull is fairly smooth. Occasional cylinder drag as revolver is cocked, which is solved by lowering hammer slightly in mid-arc (muzzle always downrange) before pulling forcefully to full cock.

    Am generally well-pleased at first outing. (And it's good prep for subsequently shooting my Airweight snubbie.)

    Bang every time, revolver shoots consistently a few inches high at 15 yrds, cartridges eject smartly, good firm primer strikes visible on spent casings.

    While perusing the shop afterwards, I showed the revolver to the owner and asked his advice re aftermarket grips. He tried out several sizes of Hogue rubber monogrips before fitting the right ones; $20 well spent, I think. The Hogues feel great and I can't wait for next range outing to see if they solve the recoil problem!

    One cosmetic observation that might partly explain -- besides the good refinish job -- the modest price that I paid. A previous owner altered the front sight blade, removing metal from rear of sight -- presumably to create a kind of target sight. It was done well enough that I did not notice it at first. Maybe I can have some sort of insert made to make the blade more visible to aging eyes.

    In summary: I am very pleased; I should be in such good shape when I'm 91 years old!......

    Am still working on getting pictures......
     
  15. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    Took revolver on another range outing. Shot 80 rounds single action, two-handed hold at 12 yrds, offhand standing and sitting with side of support hand resting on table. POI 1" - 2" high of POA, large fist-sized grouping. Ammo: lead bullet handloads made by friend, undetermined (by me) bullet weight, and Winchester 130 gr. jacketed ball ammo. No failures to fire, occasional cylinder drag when cocking hammer. Hogue rubber aftermarket monogrips eliminate recoil bruising of middle finger by trigger guard.

    Still very happy with my new tool; figured that the carved-on front sight and my deficient shooting technique answers for the POA/POI discrepancy. Maybe a tall brass bead or fluorescent plastic bead on the front sight's carved-in flange might help?
     
  16. the perfesser

    the perfesser

    368
    0
    Jun 24, 2007
    Third range outing -- outdoors, just like the second. 20 rds. Winchester 130 gr. jacketed ball ammo and fifty rounds Georgia Arms 148 gr. wadcutters. Still shooting a bit high at 12 yards; still having cylinder drag occasionally. Once the whole cylinder froze up entirely until I unloaded and reloaded it. I think that the act -- when cocking the hammer to shoot single-action -- of manually lowering the hammer slightly when encountering the drag and then vigorously cocking the hammer back may have thrown the timing off (if that is the the proper term). Revolver was lubricated before I ever shot it the first time; maybe it is a bit gunked up by now and needs another cleaning. Any suggestions on what to look for or what to do?

    The Hogue monogrips are very comfortable. For bringing my POI down, I still need to try out my "quick-fix" of sticking a bright-colored bead on the sharpened-to-a-rearward- facing-point front sight blade.

    In any event, I am enjoying this revolver very much.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  17. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    Or --as I am guessing from my fourth range outing -- shooting 158 gr. bullets, like, uh, the gun was designed for, might help my accuracy problem!
     
  18. the perfesser

    the perfesser

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    Jun 24, 2007
    Doing lots of scrubbing with Rem oil and brush on the cylinder face and the barrel end where it meets cylinder has eliminated cylinder drag when dry-firing Pachmayr practice rounds. The fifth range outing will confirm whether it was merely a dirty gun problem.
     
  19. What? All these posts and all this time and NOT ONE picture?

    That's just WRONG...:whistling: :supergrin:

    Congratulations on the M&P. I'm a sucker for them myself. I'm up to four now. :D

    BTW. $320.00 is a good price around here. I almost never see them for less than $300.00 and those are rough.

    I paid $350.00 for this one from 1947/48. I'm looking for a set of period grips for it (but not real hard). The target grips look nice so I'm not really worried about it.

    [​IMG]