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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know, another thread on information about a revolver.

I got this revolver from my sister who lost her son many years ago, and he had been given the weapon from my father. My father had purchased the revolver and rifle both being a 32-20. He sold the rifle and gave the revolver to my nephew. I can only assume my father had purchased the weapons sometime around 1993-1994.

Many years ago I got some information from Hank, but have since lost it in a couple of moves.

I will include pictures if I can get them posted on here.

It looks to be a K frame with the Made in USA stamp, the 32 20 stamp on the barrel. The serial numbers match on both the frame and barrel.

the serial number is 110982.

thanks. Neal
 

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32-20 Hand Ejector Model of 1905 4th change , probably shipped in 1923 or so.

i have one I lettered sn 104xxx that shipped 1922, it did not have the 'Made In USA' stamp. A slow mover for S&W, they made the frames thru the 1920's and continued to ship until WW2 - when the chambering was discontinued..

It is a K-frame, and the grips are correct for the timeframe (1920's)
 

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The serial number falls into the vague 1919 - 1940 range but some features help to date the gun.
With other guns I'm interested in, the serial number alone is generally enough to identify date of manufacture within a year or two; in fact, there are date of manufacture charts available for almost every make I've familiar with, except S&W. What was it about S&W's serialization procedure that led to this "vagueness"?
 

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With other guns I'm interested in, the serial number alone is generally enough to identify date of manufacture within a year or two; in fact, there are date of manufacture charts available for almost every make I've familiar with, except S&W. What was it about S&W's serialization procedure that led to this "vagueness"?
In general, the serial number can give you a reliable date range, but there is no guarantee - not uncommon to see guns with close sn shipping years (and even decades) apart..

Additionally, the SCSW - which has shipping date Serial Number tables, often gives a wide range for many guns.. many of us have augmented the tables with notes from historians letters we have seen..

In the specific case of the 32-20, demand was slow and many guns were made, and just put into inventory and pulled off the shelf over a number of years until the inventory was depleted..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this. Thinking about getting a box of the 100 gr rifle ammo and give it a try.
 

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Additionally, the SCSW - which has shipping date Serial Number tables, often gives a wide range for many guns.. many of us have augmented the tables with notes from historians letters we have seen..

In the specific case of the 32-20, demand was slow and many guns were made, and just put into inventory and pulled off the shelf over a number of years until the inventory was depleted..
So what the ser. no. records show are shipping, not manufacture, dates?

Winchester, with which I'm more familiar, manufactured receivers (and other parts of course) in batches, put them into storage, but didn't serialize them until the receiver was pulled out of stock for assembly--which is considered the DOM of the rifle, though not necessarily the receiver.
 

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There's a reason it's branded as rifle ammo. Your gun was built before cylinders were heat treated. Stick with pistol ammo. I've heard that all modern manufactured ammo is the same but I would advise checking before buying/shooting.
 

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Thanks for the info. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this. Thinking about getting a box of the 100 gr rifle ammo and give it a try.
series guy told ya right................I also strongly advise you do not shoot "Rifle" ammo from your revolver.
 

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Thinking about getting a box of the 100 gr rifle ammo and give it a try.

100 gr or thereabouts is pretty much the standard bullet wt, but I've never seen a box labeled specifically for "rifle" only. Only (old) box I currently have is labeled "rifle & handgun." Is that something new, like +P loads in .38 Spl?
 

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I can offer a few observations. One can observe certain characteristics such as trademark size and location, sight widths and ejector rod ends and of course if they match serial number of the grips. Then compare them to 1905 .38's. To date I have only seen one silver medallion grip/1929-1948 ejector rod example. Caliber markings, starting in 1899 were .32 Winchester, .32 WCF and .32-20, presumably someone knows something about the shifts. The caliber took a down turn after WWI but fell out of favor well before WWII. How long a particular gun sat between manufacture and shipment is anyone's guess.

I doubt anyone in the modern era made high velocity rifle only ammo, except specialty suppliers.
 

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Caliber markings on the barrel changes:
1899 - 1914 = 32 Winchester CTG
1914 - 1922 = 32 WCF CTG
after 1922 = 32-20 Win CTG.

I may be out on a limb here, but wasn't all of the original High Velocity rifle ammo loaded with jacketed bullets? I have never seen any of the original HV ammo without.

John
 

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.

I may be out on a limb here, but wasn't all of the original High Velocity rifle ammo loaded with jacketed bullets? I have never seen any of the original HV ammo without.

John
Never seen any HV .32-20, but HV loadings for .32-40 & .38-55 were produced by the major ammo makers before WWII, maybe somewhat later in Canada (Imperial), but they were always labeled as such--wasn't necessary to check for jacketed bullets, though that's what was used. Recently, I learned that one of the specialty ammo makers (maybe Corbon) was again producing HV loadings for use in modern rifles, like Marlin's 1895 model, but the packaging has warnings on it against use in BP guns.

The major ammo makers, however, load BP cartridges like .45 Colt, .45-70, etc., to be safe in original BP guns--they don't need the lawsuits that would result if somebody's Trapdoor Springfield blew up when fired with their ammo.
 

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According to experts who collect old ammo catalogs, the last year that the high-velocity “Rifle only” ammo was offered was 1967. Any boxes still around are collector items; buy if they’re priced cheaply, but don’t shoot. You’re not going to find them on your LGS shelf unless the guy took a 50-year lunch break.

Modern cowboy action loads of the .32-20 are sometimes listed under the rifle category because in fact it is a rifle cartridge. But unless the box specifically says “rifle ONLY”, they are safe for handguns. Of course, there may be some custom ammo maker out there playing around with higher pressures, but that should be made clear on the box.
 

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So no recommendations for this ammo?
I recommend that you sell it to me for use in my M. '85 Winchester. (Not kidding.) Basically, I reload for everything I shoot, inc. .32-20, but I obviously need to investigate what's available off the shelf, as this is a big surprise to me, if it's recent production.
 

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i shoot Black Hills out of mine - bought a case a while back, good solid ammo says its 800 fps , lead rounds.. little bit smoky but not as bad as lots of other cowboy loads..
 
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