Giz et al,
Thanks for the compliments. There are several Heavy Duties that I'm still pursuing and if you have any of them, please send them my way! :mrgreen:
I'm looking for a 4" Nickel Pre War, a 6.5" Nickel Pre War, a 5" Nickel Transition and a 6.5" Nickel Transition besides any barrel length in the 41000 and 57000 serial number range. So based on my still looking for them, you can say these are pretty rare. Do I know if they made any of the above? I do know that there are some 4" Nickel guns out there. You can say that S&W made about 10-11% of the HDs Pre war in Nickel. Based on that one would assume that there are some 6.5" Nickel pre war out there, but I don't know of any. The 6.5" barrel length was never cataloged in S&W literature before the war. Jim Fisher has a perfect 6.5" Nickel 3d Model and those are about as scarce as hen's teeth too! Roy has told me that after the war, S&W was not making too many N frame nickel guns and that is why you don't see many of them. I have a 4" Nickel Transition but do not know of any 5 or 6.5" Nickel transition guns out there. There may be but they were most likely special orders.
I know that there are HDs in the 57000 serial number range, but we do not know of any serial numbers in the 41000 range. There are lots of 38/44 Outdoorsman and .44 3d Models in that serial number range and I expect there are some HDs but none have turned up yet.
I would say that pre war, the 5" was the most popular followed by the 4".
I think that the original 100 4" barrels were used and more manufactured. Why do I jump to this conclusion? When one looks at the barrel length of transition guns, you see a lot more 4" than the other barrel lengths and I think this was because they were getting a lot of requests for this barrel length before the war and cataloged it and after the war when they were assembling frames and parts, there were a lot of them available and they built them and sold them quickly to a public who wanted new guns after the war. I will tell anyone who will listen that when you take a starting point after the war on N frame serial number, say S62496 and subtracts it from S75000 gives you 12,504. When you subtract the 3d models, 357s and 38/44 Outdoorsman, the only thing that could be left are 38/44 Heavy Duty's! I don't have the numbers in front of me but there are about 8700+ HDs in this group! The HD continued strong until the Highway Patrolman and Combat Magnum came along.
Even looking at post war barrel lengths, the 6.5" is the scarcest of the 3 lengths. An original nickel gun in this length is very scarce and I own the only one I know of.
I know of no pre war guns shipped with a grip adapter nor do I know of any pre or post war HD Pintos, even though I had Gene Williams make me one!
One Heavy Duty variant is the "Police Target" which we know 2 were made in the first 2 months of production. Both had 5" barrels in blue finish with Call Gold Bead front sights and adjustable rear sights. One was special ordered with grooved trigger and tangs. Here is the other one that I "rescued" and had restored by Gene Williams:
So, one day I may get to look at the records and find answers to all of our questions. I hope you all find this interesting.