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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening all,

I am a new member to the forum. My father passed away last August due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. I have inherited what I think is a SW .32 caliber revolver. The firearm had belonged to my grandfather and he always kept it in what looks to be a U.S. Army holster. For some reason, I am thinking Military Police. Pictures are attached. I would welcome any insight as to the age of the gun, whether it might have been military issue....and I guess confirmation that is is in fact a .32 caliber.

One other note...the revolver has various dates engraved on the cylinder. Is anyone out there aware of this practice? The dates don’t seem to line up with anything I am aware of. The years are represented by only two digits, but based upon the length of time that my grandfather and father had the gun, it seems unlikely that the years would represent the 1900’s, but rather the 1800’s....I just don’t think the gun is that old.

Thank you! I am very willing to provide any clarification to anyone eager to assist.
473996
473997
473998
473999
474000
474001
 

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Very cool! Yes they would be referring to the 1890s, not the 1990s!
 
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Yours is a hand ejector model of 1896. It is most likely a 32 S&W Long. It appears to have been refinished based on how faint the stamped S&W logo is on the right side and the pitting on the trigger and hammer vs the condition of the blued portions of the gun. Neat old revolver, and not that many of them still around.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yours is a hand ejector model of 1896. It is most likely a 32 S&W Long. It appears to have been refinished based on how faint the stamped S&W logo is on the right side and the pitting on the trigger and hammer vs the condition of the blued portions of the gun. Neat old revolver, and not that many of them still around.
Yours is a hand ejector model of 1896. It is most likely a 32 S&W Long. It appears to have been refinished based on how faint the stamped S&W logo is on the right side and the pitting on the trigger and hammer vs the condition of the blued portions of the gun. Neat old revolver, and not that many of them still around.
Thank you BC38. Interesting comments and if accurate, it’s much older than I expected. Anyone I can run the serial# by to confirm manufacture date? I don’t mind doing the legwork. Thanks again!
 

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It appears to have been refinished based on how faint the stamped S&W logo is on the right side and the pitting on the trigger and hammer vs the condition of the blued portions of the gun.
The years are represented by only two digits, but based upon the length of time that my grandfather and father had the gun, it seems unlikely that the years would represent the 1900’s, but rather the 1800’s....
This model was in production until 1903, reaching a ser. no. of almost 20,000, so yours was probably built right about the turn of the century--only a factory letter (cost $100) will pin it down more closely; worth it if date of mfg. makes it a pre-1899 "antique."

The "rubbed out" S&W monogram does suggest refinish, but the cylinder markings are remarkably sharp for a typical (sloppy) refinish job.
 

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Very nice revolver. Write up everything you know and learn about it. Do pay $100 for the letter from Smith and keep it all together. Do not keep it in the holster. Keep it clean and lubed to prevent rust. I hope you keep it in the family. Consider yourself the current caretaker.
 
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Thank you BC38. Interesting comments and if accurate, it’s much older than I expected. Anyone I can run the serial# by to confirm manufacture date? I don’t mind doing the legwork. Thanks again!
All of the frames were manufactured and numbered in 1896/97 from 1 to 19712. That's why BATF accepts all guns of this model as antiques under federal law. No FFL paperwork required.

Then they were randomly assembled and shipped from then until 1903 as orders came in. So the serial gives you no clue as to when the gun shipped in that time frame. At one time I owned 2324 and 11057 which lettered as shipped within a few months of each other in 1899/1900. They just grabbed any frame off the shelf.

So only the letter will tell you when it was assembled and shipped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Very nice revolver. Write up everything you know and learn about it. Do pay $100 for the letter from Smith and keep it all together. Do not keep it in the holster. Keep it clean and lubed to prevent rust. I hope you keep it in the family. Consider yourself the current caretaker.
Sound advice 1av8r. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
All of the frames were manufactured and numbered in 1896/97 from 1 to 19712. That's why BATF accepts all guns of this model as antiques under federal law. No FFL paperwork required.

Then they were randomly assembled and shipped from then until 1903 as orders came in. So the serial gives you no clue as to when the gun shipped in that time frame. At one time I owned 2324 and 11057 which lettered as shipped within a few months of each other in 1899/1900. They just grabbed any frame off the shelf.

So only the letter will tell you when it was assembled and shipped.
I appreciate the info Absalom. All responders have provided a wealth of knowledge.
 

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Great looking older classic! Unique for sure. Thanks for sharing the pics.(y)(y) Also, welcome to the forum.
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Did a little research and .32 H. E. First Model serial number 14584 was shipped in March 1899. Model 1896 serial 16871 was shipped in May 1900. Model 1896 serial 16936 was shipped in November 1900. So, that bracket indicates your gun shipped in later 1899 or early 1900. BTW, the dates stamped on the cylinder are patent dates for various features on the gun. The knurled knob on the end of the ejector rod will unscrew if you are not careful. Many of this vintage gun I see are missing the knob. Replica replacements are available but are pricey.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Did a little research and .32 H. E. First Model serial number 14584 was shipped in March 1899. Model 1896 serial 16871 was shipped in May 1900. Model 1896 serial 16936 was shipped in November 1900. So, that bracket indicates your gun shipped in later 1899 or early 1900. BTW, the dates stamped on the cylinder are patent dates for various features on the gun. The knurled knob on the end of the ejector rod will unscrew if you are not careful. Many of this vintage gun I see are missing the knob. Replica replacements are available but are pricey.
I appreciate the info Wiregrassguy. That is great news about the dates....I had no idea what they were going to turn out to be. Also thanks for the warning on the ejector rod knob. I plan to take the advice of previous responders and request the letter from S&W, document the lineage of the revolver, and of course, keep it in the family. Much appreciated!
 

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FWIW, if it were mine I would remove the extractor knob and put a little blue locktite on the threads and then reinstall it. The blue stuff is strong enough to keep it from unscrewing but not so strong that you can't unscrew it intentionally if you want or need to at some point.
 
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