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Discussion Starter #1
Wandering around the show during set up on Friday I spied this old Prewar Heavy Duty. When I 1st saw it I thought it was a Outdoorsman. Anyways after inspection I put it back down and walked away. Getting old s u c k s as my eyesight isnt what it once was and I thought the serial # was 55747. Slept on the decision to buy it over night and went back the next morning and bought it. On further inspection I decided the serial # was 35747 and sent an Email to Roy asking for a shipdate and made a statement that the gun had a 6.5" barrel. He responded back that the gun was shipped in June 1930 and that it originally had a 5" Barrel, Bummer I think I cried on a few shoulders Saturday Morning right Chris? Well after posting a few pictures on the other forum It was apparent to some that I still had the serial # wrong. It is 33747. Now I have a gun that is earlier than the range Heavy Duties were made. I resent an email to Roy and he reported back that the gun shipped as a heavy Duty in April of 1930. A 1st month gun. I have been looking for a April Gun as my Birthday was last Sunday. this one fits the bill :mrgreen:

here are some pictures

Dan










 
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I'd say that one gun made the trip a success! Good for you Dan. You should start shipping those kinda' guns out East to either Drew or Myself, in anticipation of your arrival for next years RNS....trust us to take good care of them until then. :mrgreen:

giz
 

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I can see what you mean by the first couple of numbers being unclear - even in your excellent photos, some are sharp and some are not.

Gun shows are not known for their good lighting - and someone turns down the rheostat a little each year. :D

xtm
 

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Dan,
A nice clean example, and you're to be commended for doing some research before you 'pulled the trigger'.
I've always felt the entire 38/44 line was the best Smith & Wesson ever offered, perticularly as a regular-production gun.
Congratulations to you!
Don
kfjdrfirii
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys,

Well after a few more Emails with Mr. Jinks I find out the gun is not a Heavy Duty all he would say is that it will blow my mind :shock: when I find out what the gun was shipped as. hmmmm he asked me to call him this afternoon. Cant wait to find out.......

Dan
 

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Very nice, can't wait to hear the news!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well it is a 45 USA Revolver according to Mr. Jinks it was 44/40 Smoothbore when it was shipped from the Factory on April 30th 1930. Was probably converted by the Factory to 38 Special due to Smoothbore handguns being outlawed by Federal Law :(
It had a 6.5" barrel and smooth stocks.

Dan
 

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Dan,
An outstanding gun, and noteworthy!
Would I have it 'reconverted'?
Absolutely not.
The gun AS IS, along with the provenance (factory letter) make it a one-of-a-kind specimen.
Even as a licensed collector, the questions surrounding leaning on a gun's C&R status to produce a (now) illegal configuration would scare me FAR away from any reconversion.
Also, at that point the factory work becomes moot, and you would be trying to replicate something long-gone.
Keep it, show it, have fun with it.
That front sight alone is a winner on any of the fixed-sight N-frames.
You made a great snag, my friend.
Don
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Hi Dan,
You can never guess what you may find as there are things out there even some with questionable origin or legal statis. I remember going into a gun shop in the early 1960s and seeing a N frame revolver Post WW2, and the tag said 44 Special. I asked to see it and a quick look at the barrel told me that it had been smooth bored. I immediately handed it back and told the owner that I did not think it was legal. "It was made to shoot snakes." was the reply "of course it is legal". I did not see it again but I have always wondered what happened to it and where it was. I would hope that whoever got it had the foresight to get it registered during the 1968 amensty period. Your gun is a great find just as it is. I do not think that there will be any amensty periods in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well knowing what I know about restored guns :mrgreen: I will probably leave this one just like it is. I find it interesting that someone would have deliberatly ordered a gun in this configuration in the 1930's. What would have been its purpose?
To restore the gun to a smoothbore would require a permit from BATF, after discussion with a few of the more knowledgable Smith experts, they believe it would be possible due to a Factory Letter showing that configuration. My feelings are that after much time and expense it would be a Non factory altered gun at that point and would actually loose value except to maybe, and I say maybe, to a few collectors. It is a great gun with a great history just like it is and for as long as I own it it will remain like it is.

thanks guys

Dan
 

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One of Mrs. xtm's New Jersey relatives has a Colt SAA in .44 smoothbore. Her two spinster great-aunts bought it used in the early 1930s to serve as a big bore companion to their .22 rifle. They bought it - very cheap - primarily to use as handy vermin eradication in the barn (wouldn't destroy the siding and shingles when shot inside), but also as a nightstand gun to protect themselves from undesirables wandering onto their farm from nearby NYC - sort of a 1930s version of "The Judge"! One of the Aunts told me that it came to them with a shoebox full of shot cartridges and she gave me a handfull to take home. (They bought it cheap because it was smoothbore and nobody else around there wanted a revolver with no rifling in the barrel!)

Back in the 1970s, I took it out and shot it with some regular .44-40 cartridges, and was amazed at how accurate they were at close range. Those slugs would slide straight out the bore and do the deed - even out to 25 yds. Some were going sideways by then, but could still be counted on to hit a man-sized target with a good aim! Beyond 25 yds. the bullets began to scatter like shotgun pellets.

I explained the BATF problem to the cousin who ended up with it - and just how scarce and valuable it is - but he doesn't take advice from hick southerners. My prediction is that it will eventually be destroyed in a New Jersey privately-owned weapons grab.

xtm
 

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I thought that I would post a photo of some .44-40 Smoothbore cartridges for those who have never seen any.

The center pair are for .44-40 (.44WCF). The one on the left which is contoured to fit the chamber is the WRA version, and the one on the right with the wooden sabot filled with shot is the UMC version. Both are quite effective at close range.


For comparison, I placed a couple of modern Speer/CCI shot cartridges with the plastic shot capsules for .44 Mag./Special on the left side, and a couple of "normal" .44-40 cartridges with lead/jacketed bullets on the right side.

xtm
 

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XTM, that is very cool. Thanks for the info.
I had never heard of one of these guns until I started following this thread and saw the gun in Dans hand out in Tulsa.

Dan, that is a heck of a birthday present!!!

:D

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #20
WoW!!! thanks XTM for the great photo, I have it saved off already.

Chris thanks, it turned out to be a good one didnt it :mrgreen:


Dan
 
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