What model Smith & Wesson is this?

Discussion in 'Wheelguns' started by gnwelch, May 15, 2011.

  1. May 15, 2011 #1
    gnwelch

    gnwelch XDTalk 100 Member

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    My grandfather-in-law has this old, six shot .32 Smith & Wesson revolver that has his dad got from a family friend MANY years ago. There are several dates printed on the cylinder but nothing indicating a model number or manufactured date. The gun has a 5 digit serial number beginning with 15___. I was hoping that with the pictures below, a wheelgun aficionado here on the forums might be able to ID this gun so we might be able to figure out some of the history. Thanks in advance for any clues!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  2. May 16, 2011 #2
    Kelevra0903

    Kelevra0903 XDTalk Member

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    Does it still function properly?
     
  3. May 16, 2011 #3
    gnwelch

    gnwelch XDTalk 100 Member

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    Functions properly? Yes.
    Fires properly? Unknown at this time. :shock:

    Aside from the dings, scrapes and some surface rust it seems pretty solid but he hasn't shot it since he got it from his dad ~40 years ago. We were considering shooting it when we went to the range not too long ago, but could not find any .32 ammo so neither of us had to make that ultimate decision of whether or not to shoot it anyway.
     
  4. May 16, 2011 #4
    Gulftanker

    Gulftanker XDTalk 500 Member

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    Looks like my Model 10. Check inside the frame where the cylinder pivots out. The model number should be stamped in there.
     
  5. May 16, 2011 #5
    gnwelch

    gnwelch XDTalk 100 Member

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    Unfortunately, no model number there. Just the serial number again.

    I don't believe it is a Model 10 as there are some design differences between it and this gun. One unique one is that there is no thumb switch to release the cylinder. You actually have to manually pull the end of the ejector rod forward to release the cylinder.

    Another unique difference with this gun is the top strap. As the trigger is pulled, a plate built in to the top strap actually raises just enough to release the cylinder catch. I am not sure if I am using the proper term but I'm referring to the little piece of metal that catches the notches in the cylinder to lock it in place. On the few revolvers I have experience with (all modern), this piece was located below the cylinder. This plate raising is the reason that the rear sights are so far forward on this gun. This plate can be seen in a mostly raised position in the second picture in the second column, as the cylinder was between locking notches at the time the picture was taken and the plate was being held up.
     
  6. May 16, 2011 #6
    Frenchy

    Frenchy <b>Cat Herder</b> Staff Member Founding Member

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    You won't find a model number on the gun. Those didn't start until 1956. This is a pre-war gun.
    I don't have my Smith bible handy, but I'll look.
     
  7. May 16, 2011 #7
    Condition1

    Condition1 XDTalk Member

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    Ill give it a shot. This is just from trolling around google and the online book of gun values.

    .32 HAND EJECTOR FIRST MODEL (MODEL OF 1896) - .32 S&W Long cal., 6 shot fluted cylinder, 3 1/4, 4 1/4, or 6 in. barrel, blue or nickel, black rubber grips, round butt, cylinder stop is mounted in frame top-strap, patent markings are on cylinder, rather than on barrel. 19,712 mfg. 1896-1903. Serial range 1-19,712.
     
  8. May 16, 2011 #8
    Shemp

    Shemp XDTalk Newbie

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    Looks correct to me - Here is a longer excerpt from the Standard Catalog of Firearms:

    .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1896 or .32 Hand Ejector 1st
    Model
    This model was the first time S&W made a revolver with a
    swing-out cylinder. Interestingly, there is no cylinder latch; but
    the action opens by pulling forward on the exposed portion of
    the cylinder pin. This frees the spring tension and allows the
    cylinder to swing free. Another novel feature of this model is
    the cylinder stop location, which is located in the top of the
    frame over the cylinder. This model is chambered for the .32
    S&W Long cartridge, has a 6-shot fluted cylinder, and is offered
    with 3.25", 4.25", and 6" long barrels. It is available with
    either a round or square butt, has checkered hard rubber grips,
    and is blued or nickel-plated. Factory installed target sights
    were available by special order. The company name, address,
    and patent dates are stamped on the cylinder instead of on the
    barrel. There were approximately 19,712 manufactured between
    1896 and 1903.
     
  9. May 16, 2011 #9
    gnwelch

    gnwelch XDTalk 100 Member

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    Thanks, Condition1! When I pull that up in a Google search the results it brings up look identical to what he has. :D
     
  10. May 16, 2011 #10
    Frenchy

    Frenchy <b>Cat Herder</b> Staff Member Founding Member

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    Yup...That's it alright. Cool little guns.
     

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