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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a weird story and a mystery. Yesterday I had my house upgraded from 100 amp service to 200 amp service. When the Electrician pulled the old panel off the wall a gun fell to the floor with an envelope containing six bullets. He sent me a picture and asked if I was looking for this. When I got home I called the local police to come out since the gun was obviously placed where it was not accessible I thought it might have been stolen or used in a crime. It was definitely in a spot it could not be easily retrieved from.
My house history is: Built 19 72-73 time frame. I am the third owner. The first owner was a young couple who only stayed here three years. The second family stayed until we bought in 1984 time frame. They did have an older son that lived there with them for a while, not sure of the specifics. After that it has only been my wife and I at the house.
Talking with some of my buddies about it we came up with several scenarios from the husband had it hid because he didn't want his wife to know about it to it was the son of a previous owners and when it fell to where he couldn't get it he could say dad my gun fell behind the electric panel and so on. The area it was found is a finished basement with paneling on the walls and a drop ceiling. It is possible the gun was on the sill of the house and fell behind the panel at some point. Or it was just ditched there, hoping never to be found.
Anyway it was found and I am now trying to figure out about the gun, how old it is and what not.
Obviously it is a Smith & Wesson as it says so on it. It also is stamped with 32 Long CTG on the barrel. Number on the bottom of the gun is 543746. The cylinder also has that number stamped on it as does the underside of the barrel. There is a four digit number stamped where the need help identifying a gun thread says a model number would be. Those numbers are 6339. The barrel is either 2.5" or 3.25" depending on where you measure to. It is in pretty rough shape from sitting so long where it was. At one point there was water dripping in the panel from the sealant on the feed line going bad. I only imagine this gun got wet then.
Is this worth cleaning up? From what I've seen in a quick search there is likely not a lot of value here due to it's condition. I'm just wondering if it could be "saved" and made functional again. I'm assuming it could be but since I am not very gun educated I really don't know.
Thanks
Pictures attached.
Spike
 

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WOW! An old post-war .32 Hand Ejector , built on the Improved I frame. Looks like it 'got lost' early on in it's life. I'd pull those stocks and soak the rust with some Kroil real quick. A detailed clean and lube will have it shooting like new. Cleaned up , it would still bring $400 or more.


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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Police ran the number and it came back clean. He said it looked like a gun you buy off the street. He said they usually come with just enough bullets to fill the gun and that's exactly what it had.
Definitely a mystery. Who knows maybe the builder or one of his helpers stashed it there from the get go?? What is weird is the elastic was in fairly good shape. I have had elastic disintegrate over time just sitting somewhere. Maybe elastics made today aren't up to the same as back then either. The envelope was sealed shut, never opened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
WOW! An old pre-war .32 Hand Ejector , built on the Improved I frame. Looks like it 'got lost' early on in it's life. I'd pull those stocks and soak the rust with some Kroil real quick. A detailed clean and lube will have it shooting like new. Cleaned up , it would still bring $400 or more.

Sounds like a plan. I figured it could be cleaned up but wasn't sure as far as fire arms were concerned if it would be good enough to shoot again. Good to know. Any venture on the year? You say pre-war that sounds before I figured it was made.
Thanks,
Spike
 

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Actually , it's not pre-war , but just post-war. Production restarted in 1946 at Ser.No. 536685
 
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Looking at the gun I would expect it should function just fine. Like MKK41 said a good soaking in Kroil (24 hours) and then a gentle rub down with 0000 steel wool should help remove some of that rust.
 

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You've got a good one there. Clean it up. Since it has been on its own for so long you could ship it to me and I'll let it hang with a couple of post WWII M&Ps and a couple of BSRs I have. They can take him out and introduce him around the county. We even have an outdoor range opening up this summer he could practice at.
 

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welcome01 to the forums from the Wiregrass! Nice find! These little .32's are fun guns to shoot. The guys^ have pretty much identified it for you. The official name is the .32 Hand Ejector. Your gun likely shipped in 1948 or 1949...it is an early post-war production. In 1957, S&W gave it the Model 30 model number. I suggest removing the grips without prying. They may stick due to rusting underneath on the grip frame. Loosen the grip screw and push on the head of the screw to push off the right panel. Once it is off, you can reach through the frame and push off the left panel. Then soak the gun for a day or two in Kroil or auto transmission fluid mixed 50-50 with acetone. Get some brass or copper (pure copper, not copper plated steel) wool and go over the finish to remove the rust. The cylinder charge holes and barrel bore are probably rusty as well. If you have a cleaning kit, use a .32 cal brass brush to clean them up and run some cotton patches through them until they come out clean.

Use an old tooth brush and mineral spirits to clean the grip panels. That may dry them out a bit. I use a 50-50 mix of mineral spirits and boiled linseed oil to restore the outside wood. Don't put any on the back of the panels. While you have the grips off, note the serial number of the gun is stamped inside the right panel. She won't ever be as pretty as when she was new, but she shoot lights out at the range. Congratulations!
 

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Serial number range for .32 hand Ejector is 536685 - 712953 for 1946- 1960 postwar with yours being really close to the start of that time frame. Info from The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson as long as I got it correct.
Looks like Guy got you covered while I was doing my one finger plunking.
 

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I love stories like this! Nice find and I agree that a clean up should produce a fine keeper for you, congratulations! I'd start pulling panels in my own house to look for guns except I'm the only owner and saw the house built! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well this whole event got me searching the county data base to see who lived here previously. There were a couple builders who bought the property and transferred/sold it to one of the builders and his wife in 1970. They likely did the whole neighborhood and split up who got what house to sell. Anyway that same year they sold it to a couple. In April of 1974 the husband had passed away. The wife sold the house in Dec of 74 to another couple. I could not find any information good or bad on either of these owners relating to my town. It was then sold in 1980 to a couple and their son (who was older). Again nothing good or bad showed up with a search on any of them. We bought the house in 85. My guess would be it belonged to the guy who died. Anyone else would have tried to retrieve the gun if it fell there. I'm guessing maybe it was up on the sill where the deceased guy had it hidden and eventually fell behind the panel when the basement was being finished off (hammering vibration it falls behind the panel???).
Guess I'll clean it up and go from there. Thanks everyone for your input.
Spike
 

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Spike,
1st off, welcome to the forum. What a great story!
You're .32 is a very desireable revolver with those of us that like and shoot the .32 S&W cartridge. And the 3-1/2" barrel is one of my favorites.
One of the previous posts mentioned soaking the gun in Kroil. It is a solvent/lubricant that won't hurt your new found treasure. I'm not sure where you can get it. I would guess that O'Reilly's or a NAPA store should have it. You could also soak it in straight transmission fluid or Marvel's Mystery Oil available at any Walmart in the automobile section. Transmission fluid is nearly pure detergent with some lubrication properties, and should work very well getting the rust off.
Use care and a gentle touch with the 0000 steel wool, and it should look good in no time.
For the wood stocks (grips) you can take them off carefully and brush them down lightly with virgin olive oil to get and idea of their condition with any dust or debris knocked off of them. The olive oil won't hurt any of the finish on them, but it will work to help loosen any debris stuck to them.
Just curious, where do you hail from? Odds are there is a member here that lives close to you that could help get this cleaned up, if you need any assistance.
 

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Really finding gun like that are not all that uncommon. people loose track of them . In my law enforcement career I have had a few calls about people finding guns in old houses and barns. Got a call one evening on patrol about 30 year ago. Guy bought a old house from and older couple that were going into a nursing home. He went to remodel the kitchen and found a Browning High Power under the kitchen sink. in another case they were tearing down and old hardware store and found a box ( 5) of Smith Wesson Victory models hidden in the basement. The owner of the store was an air raid civil defense warden during WWII and was issued the gun in case he had to arm people to help defend the town. They are now in a museum still in the original Smith Wesson shipping crate. In another case an electrician was called to wire some ceiling fans in a older home in Tequesta Florida. He reported that there was an AR-15 in the attic in the rafters. I retrieved the gun and traced it through ATF. Found the original owner was deceased so the P.D. kept the gun as a department gun. In another case they were moving a large safe that had been installed in a business . When the removed the safe there was a 1911 Colt .45 ACP Government Issue fully loaded that was between the wall and the safe where it had fallen off the top of the safe. So its not all that rare or uncommon .. You are lucky enough to have found a little treasure. Give it a good cleaning and enjoy your little find. You have a very good little gun there . and the best part is " ITS FREE"
 
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