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Discussion Starter #1
Gentlemen & ladies, I need your expert opinion. Today I found a .22 kit gun in a red box with the correct serial number in grease pencil on the bottom of the box, 4" barrel, flat latch, period diamond grips not numbered to gun(found no number on either panel), round butt, nickel plating, all tools, no paperwork. Swabs and brushes show use, turn line on cylinder with one small pin head blemish on right side of barrel rib otherwise the finish looks new to me, of course, I'm not an expert. Although this little gun has been fired it shows no abuse and is (Almost)NIB. In your opinion, what is this gun, as described, worth? I tried to trade with the owner but he was sure his gun was worth three of mine, one of my guns is a mod 29-2, nickel 6.5" barrel unfired from factory, S-prefix serial #, wood presentation box, all tools unused. Blue flocking is gone due to S&W & whatever excuse the factory used for the short comings of the time period. I am very reluctant to give him my guns and buy his. Insight please! Thanks for your assistance.
 

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Is it a Pre-War Pattern Kitgun? Look for a non-ribbed barrel and a larger headed ejector rod.

If it is an ANIB, Pre War in nickel, is all origional, correct, and you are confident that the box has not been renumbered, the package could worth upwards of $4,000. Maybe more.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No Sir, I failed to mention the 4th upper side plate screw, none in front of trigger guard. Ribbed barrel, front sight is nickel, rear is blue & adjustable. four digit serial number (10XX) I mentioned the round butt but the grips make it appear to be a square butt. Sorry, I am unable to be sure if the main spring is a flat or a coil spring. Would this be an "I" or improved "I"frame or are you able to determine by the serial number? What are the tell tale signs I could look for, please? Really appreciate your help.
 

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Looks like a 1953 build/ship a first year gun. It is a Model of 1953 22/32 kit gun. It is an improved I frame with a coil spring.
SCSW lists $750 ANIB, but I think a bit more is the reality, based on your description.
 

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No problem.... Glad to help.

This is a Model of 1953 made a short time after that date.

As such it is likely an Improved "I" Frame.... the dead giveaway is the lack of a strain screw in the front grip strap. The coil spring does not require one.

While a nickle early 1953 as new in the box is pretty nice, it is only worth a small fraction of a prewar. I think you would have to hustle to get a grand for it. Normally these guns did not ship in a red box.

Drew
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You guys have been very informative & helpful, many thanks. May I ask what "Sight Adjustment Tool" would have been supplied with this gun? There is a blue knurled sight adjustment tool included. The owner is asking $2,500 for this little gun and I have stated to him that I think he is way too high. From the very good information you have offered I believe his price to be more than double its worth. Is the red box not possible with this gun? The end label is marked as kit gun, nickel 4" barrel and I'm sure I mentioned the serial # by black grease pencil is correct on bottom of the box. Please keep the facts coming.
 

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Usually the grease pencil is white.

Viewed with the end of the box facing away from you, the number should read left to right.

With regard to the Red Box, it is possible that it was remaining residual stock, but the chances are pretty slim. Does the end lable say "Model of 1953"?

The sight adjustment tool from the mid 1950's should be blue knurled.

In my view, even if all is correct and proper, $2500 is more than twice it's worth.

Drew
 

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Serial number range for the model started at 101. I think you'll find in early production, red boxes were correct-note that the first Chief's Specials also were shipped in red boxes at about the same time.
And, yes, $2,500 is WAAAY overpriced, unless the seller can come down to a fair price it's time to walk away.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sebago Son and Geoff40, you do not realize how much you have helped and I do appreciate all the expert information you offered. I will try to negotiate further with the owner but he seemed very firm with his price as we were trying to make a deal yesterday. What you have given may have an influence on my behalf. Again, many thanks for your knowledge and willingness to share. One additional side note, the screw driver (sight adjustment tool) seems correct (blued with knurled handle) and he is of the opinion that it has a value alone at $500.00, is he correct? He mentioned that the previous owner wanted to keep the screw driver and the present owner would not deal without it being included.
 

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This like-new one isn't nickle and doesn't have the box or tools, but it has a low SN. I bought it recently for $500 at a gun show. Ordinary NIB ones are going for ~$600 around here, so I decided to forego the box and opt for a real early production one instead. Some of the "experts" I showed it to said I paid too much - some said I got a real bargain. :lol:



xtm
 

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Discussion Starter #12
xtimberman and Forester, appreciate the photos, very nice 3 digit serial number kit gun xtimberman. The finish type and the stocks are the only difference I am able to see. The stocks on the nickel gun cover the lower part of the back strap and the butt area and give the appearance of a square butt but are not oversize or target size. Serial number is not visible if grips are installed. Were these also a standard type stock or were they special order stocks? The sight adjustment tool is the picture of Number 2(TWO) in the photo you offered of the different styles Forester, thanks for that schooling. Thanks to all who have, so graciously, offered information and photos enabling me to be better informed and more knowledgeable. I shall resume the fight.
 

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Xtimberman from just surfing the net and looking at prices online you got a realy good deal on that gun.I am by far no expert on gun prices but I have in the last few months of being layed off did a lot of combing the guns sites and taking note of what the going rate is on models that interest me a lot.
I have noticed guns go up in spring and summer and down in the winter also.
 

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I would be suspect of those stocks. Without examining them myself I would wonder about their originality.

A couple of quick questions to get the obvious out of the way..... does the box end marking indicate anything at all about the stocks? You say they are not serial numbered at all, but are indeed diamonds? Do the have a 'target' shape that covers more of the frame than a standard magna? Was the frame cut in the backstrap to accept these stocks? Was there any markings at all on the bottom of the stocks such as "Patent Date, June 1917"? Did the gun fit correctly in the box with the stocks installed?

I'm wondering if perhaps the original stocks were somehow separated from the gun and a pair of Regulation Police stocks installed in their stead.

Drew
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Drew, I saw no frame cut on back strap and do not believe there were any markings on the stocks anywhere but I will admit to bad eyesight and less than adequate lighting. The stocks looked factory finished with medallions and the frame back strap gently merged into the stocks. As I stated, they are not oversize nor do they look as though they are cut down "J" target stocks. They appeared normal to me except that they extended lower than the frame bottom and changed the look from round to square. Sorry to be so vague but I may not be able to remember the details as they are and I certainly was not aware to look for all the things you guys have taught me I should be looking for.
 

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I think that you've bracketed the value pretty closely. I asked around and fellows I know said that they might pay $1200 for an early LNIB nickel Kit Gun if everything was righteous. They are suspicious of S&W J-frame target stocks being available as early as 1953. I'm unqualified to comment authoritatively on that. :)

Nickle flat latch Kit Guns are pretty scarce but shouldn't command the sort of premium he desires over a blue one. Not yet, anyway... ;)

xtm
 

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The more you tell us, the more it seems to me that these are early round-to-square J- Targets. These were indeed available as an option and with diamonds until 1967 or so. In my experience however when found on a gun they were usually installed much later than the manufacturing date.

It's an old huckster's trick to slap on a set of easier to find, unnumbered target stocks if a guns' original stocks are missing. The seller then would imply that the package is correct.

If the stocks cannot be verified as original based upon circumstances, then the only way to certify their authenticity would be with a Factory Letter. Cost: $50.

If the grips are not right then it further reduces the value of the package.

As you have aroused my curiosity, I dug out some old, original Smith & Wesson advertising I have from about the same period. It says nothing about target stocks as original equipment on the 1953, rather they are listed as an accessory item for all J's.

A snapshot at this point would be most revealing.

Drew
SWCA 1802
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have sent an "E" mail to the owner with an offer based on the information you guys furnished. will see what kind of response he has. I am thinking about trading my Mod. 51, no box, papers or tools / blue finish but only the turn ring shows it is used, what kind of value should it have. Sorry, no capabilities for photographs. Also could sweeten the deal with a pre Mod. 17/ 5 screw, mechanically perfect but shows wear, may grade to 75%/ 5 digit serial number. No box, papers or tools. Appreciate you guys hanging with me on this.
 

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Three years ago when these guns were really hot and folks had disposible income, I bought a NIB, Complete, Unfired, Diamond Stocked Model 51 for $650. The seller had three at that price. Today, I would say a good, presentable example of a 51 that has been seen some light field use but is still origional and correct, should bring about $475-500.

With regard to the 5-digit Pre-17 in 75% condition, well..... much depends upon how well it presents. If the 25% finish loss is due to abuse or corrosion through neglect then it hurts the gun quite alot. A good 5-screw should bring around $550-600, but these are 92-95% guns which fall into the high end shooter class.

You should PM me with the serial number as K-22's are my collecting weakness and maybe I can be more helpful offline.

Drew
 

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Discussion Starter #20
To finish up on this Kit Gun thread, the owner seems to be very firm on his price and apparently he is through dickering. I made the offer of both guns mentioned above and he turned it down, thanked me for the offer and has not replied to my request for what I needed to do to make the deal work. To each of you, I really appreciate the help you gave and the schooling you supplied. Sebago Son, I hope I did not offend you, did not want to do that, I did send an "E" mail and have received no reply. Again, thanks to all.
 
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