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Discussion Starter #1
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!





 

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Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, Condition1! When I pull that up in a Google search the results it brings up look identical to what he has. :D
 

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

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gnwelch,
I thought you had a .32 Hand Ejector, Model of 1896 (Model 1) or a variation, but your pics show a couple features that don't seem to match exactly.

- The barrel on your gun has a top ridge that runs its length. (Did you find images of 1896 Models that had the ridge?)

- The rear sight sits in a raised groove and is pinned in pace. It appears to have an adjustment screw (some sort of target model?, but the front sight should be squared off if this were the case).

There is no locking lug on the barrel bottom protecting the front of the ejector rod. The lack of the lug would indicate a Model of 1896. Is the cylinder stop located on the inside of the top strap, or is it on the bottom? From your one photo with the cylinder swung out, I don't see the cylinder stop on the bottom. If it is on the top strap, that's another plus for a Model of 1896. Are there any barrel markings? Most 1896 models don't have barrel markings.

Based on serial number, your gun was made between 1896 and 1901, inclusive.
 

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I put this over on the S&W forum, fellas.

Added:
From Hondo44 and a member of the SWCA

Yep, that's what it is. An early one with the extra long hammer spur. The only I frame with a cylinder hold open device like all of it's pre war big brother K and N frames.
 

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As noted previously, it's a Hand Ejector, First model. That odd placement for the rear sight is normal for this model.

It's also probably a good thing you weren't able to find ammo for it. It's chambered for the 32 Long in Black Powder. That means the using a modern smokeless cartridge poses the possibility of the gun blowing up. Note, there are sources on the net for these antique calibers, however I haven't saved any links to them.

As for value, considering the condition it's actually surprizingly high. My 2003 edition of the SCSW lists it at 135 dollars. While that doesn't sound like much, a 10 year later edition of the 38 caliber M&P is only worth about 75 dollars in similar condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the replies. Sorry that I wasn't able to reply again until just now.

- The barrel on your gun has a top ridge that runs its length. (Did you find images of 1896 Models that had the ridge?)
I did see a few like the ones seen here.

... Is the cylinder stop located on the inside of the top strap, or is it on the bottom?
Yes, the cylinder stop is located on the top strap. There is a plate running down the center of the top strap that actually raises to disengage the stop as the trigger is pulled. Unfortunately I don't have a very good picture of it except for the side view of one of the cylinder pictures I posted above and the picture below taken from the top. The shadow in the picture with the cylinder open is hiding the cylinder stop.



... It's also probably a good thing you weren't able to find ammo for it. It's chambered for the 32 Long in Black Powder. That means the using a modern smokeless cartridge poses the possibility of the gun blowing up. Note, there are sources on the net for these antique calibers, however I haven't saved any links to them.
Good point, that's good to know. I'll make sure to look in to those sources for more information.


Thanks again to all of you for the help. Now that I know the model, I have emailed Smith and Wesson customer service to see if I can get a specific manufactured date based on the serial number (if possible). I am thinking filling out the request for information form and getting an interesting history sheet sent to him like the example shown here: http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore/SmWesson2/upload/images/sample.gif
 

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Ive just started recently getting into S&W's. The first and only one Ive got is a 38spl Victory Model that someone was nice enough to cut the barrel down to maybe 2 inches.

It may be something you can give your own hand at refinishing and keeping in a display.
 

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