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I ended up owning this almost by accident; I made a spontaneous offer that was, to my surprise --and to my delight -- quickly accepted. There is a lot going on here. The package might be completely factory original (which I kind of doubt), or some of what you see might be post-shipment enhancement. This one definitely deserves a letter.

Prewar .38/44 Outdoorsman No. 40740: currently sporting ivory stocks with gold recessed medallions; a gold bead front sight that resembles a McGivern sight but doesn't match the pattern exactly; a white outline rear sight that looks like King insert no. 111 (1939 catalog); an original grip adapter; and the appropriate blue picture box. Finish is about 97% in my estimation. There are some light scratches (hard to see in the photos) that hold the rating down.

Interestingly, the gun was tuned up at some point to lighten the trigger pull. SA release is 1.5 lbs., and DA goes at 7. I have not yet checked the internals to see whether the springs were cut down or replaced. The strain screw is tight, but that would be the case if the nose was shortened to reduce tension on the mainspring.

I won't know more about this for at least a month and maybe more. Roy Jinks won't accept letter requests for another couple of weeks, and then I expect he will be bombarded with requests for the foreseeable future. Still, I would hope to know something more about the gun by November 1.





David Wilson
 
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David,

That is a stunning example of the makers' art. I think the guns of the great depression era were simply made better. The folks working on lines at S&W did their very best work and the standards were very high. Shows in your gun. I also think the original grip adapter and those stocks really show that gun off... :)


giz
 

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+1 to Giz.

That is beautiful.
 

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Beautiful!! VERY nice find!
Thanks for posting the photos..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
History update:

I should have posted the details of the factory letter on this one as soon as it came in. Turns out the grip adapter did not ship with the gun, and the original stocks on it were standard walnut service stocks. It did have a Call gold bead front sight, but that is not what is on it now. This gold bead is larger than the ones the factory installed and protrudes like a McGivern bead. The Call beads were flat to the vertical face of the front sight. So the gun was made flashier and definitely tuned up for target shooting after it left the factory. I kind of have the feeling that the current sight represents a modification to the original sight, like the Call bead was drilled out and this McGivern-style bead inserted.

The gun shipped February 4, 1932 to Tuft-Lyons Sporting Goods in Los Angeles. From there it made its way back to the other side of the Mississippi River, where it lived for several decades before coming to me. Since the Outdoorsman model was introduced in November of 1931, this is a fairly early specimen.

Roy Jinks said somewhere recently that the factory did not ship ivory stocks on N-frames. I haven't clarified yet whether he meant in this time period, or at all. Either way, there are plenty of large revolvers out there with ivory stocks and S&W medallions, so somebody was making and installing them. The medallions in these stocks are the gold-colored medallions seen in revolvers from before 1920. There are lots of ways these stocks in this configuration could have found their way to this gun, so I can't be sure exactly when they were manufactured. I like to think they are of pre-1920s vintage and were added to this gun when the opportunity to do so came along.

Now that I know the grip adapter is not part of the original package, I have taken it off and put it on another Outdoorsman where it looks better. I think the ivory stocks look a little dressier without the adjacent grip adapter.
 

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Wow how did I miss this one, a stunning example!
 

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DCW, Beautiful gun, awesome stocks. It's really cool you got the letter and shared the information with us. Sometimes they look so perfect it's hard to imagine one not coming from the factory that way. It is impressive how well some modifications can be made.
Again, thanks for the story, great find!
 

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Really nice arm, and lettering it is a terrific idea.

As to the grips, probably not factory issue. Jinks confirms that in the letter, and all my research agrees (as if I had the same resources as Roy Jinks!)

But have you had the grips off and examined the underside of both frame and grips with a magnifying glass? It can tell you a lot. Often, even a good after-market grip fit will show up with work marks under the magnifying glass.

Other aspect is, the factory-shipped grips on such earlier-vintage guns usually are a perfect fit. If I can take some decent pictures of my transition-era HD with factory grips, then figure out how to post 'em, then the factory fit will be clear. I have a transition HD shipped in early 1947, when the grips were hand-finished and fitted to the gun. Gorgeous work -- and it was factory-standard!

Good thread!

Bill
 
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