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Discussion Starter #1
I'm beginning to think they didn't, at least not much. I've just been searching the '31, '32, & '33, years of the Rifleman for some discussion of the .38-44 Outdoorsman, introduced late Nov. of '31. Found no mention of it, but maybe there hadn't been time to review it by then.

But what was really surprising was finding NO S&W ads whatsoever in those years! In every issue, Colt, Winchester, Remington, & Peters were running full-page ads (some of Colt's were 2 pages!), & even H&R usually ran a half or quarter page ad. Of course, there were other sporting magazines in which to advertise, but to make no appearance at all in the leading firearms publication of the day seems very strange to me. Any explanation?
 

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make mine 45 acp 馃槑
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cheap.. depression.. until the pre/post ww2 era, they seemed to be very thrifty with their print advertising.. the advertising also seems to be more of a theme - touting the reliability & safety, putting the reader in a vulnerable state..


this is a late 20's campaign

maurader.jpg

tough-customers.jpg

smith_add_wolf.jpg


they also seem to run smaller ad's in more popular magazines (sat evening post, cosmo for example).. versus the 'trade magazines'


Post depression, it seems to open up a bit more..
 

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Never thought about the advertising in the 1930s
but Colt was the dominant police supplier.

Its Official Police and Police Positive, I believe,
were first and foremost choices.

It was not until after WWII that Smith & Wesson
management became aggressive and pushed
for police sales as well as civilian.

Even when Smith came out with the .38/44
models, Colt could brag that its Official Police
already was strong enough to handle the
hotter .38s. And it was handier.

Colt also offered the Super .38
for its Colt Government Model.

Another strong niche Colt filled was for snub nosed
revolvers. While Smith had snub M&Ps the much
more svelte Detective Special with 6 shots really
filled the bill even into the 1970s or later.

Colt's decline, especially in the revolver world, began
in the 1950s. Consider this, the .44 Magnum: Colt
didn't inttroduce a model until the Anaconda in 1990.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
cheap.. depression.. until the pre/post ww2 era, they seemed to be very thrifty with their print advertising.. the advertising also seems to be more of a theme - touting the reliability & safety, putting the reader in a vulnerable state..


they also seem to run smaller ad's in more popular magazines (sat evening post, cosmo for example).. versus the 'trade magazines'


Post depression, it seems to open up a bit more..
Didn't check the '20s, because, as I said, I started out looking for dope on the .38-44 Outdoorsman. But as for the influence of the Depression, Colt & the others weren't immune to its effects, either.

The idea of advertising in general interest mags is an interesting marketing strategy, which Stevens, in particular, also adopted; I've found it rather amazing to find Stevens ads (which I collect) in the Sat. Eve. Post, some of them full-page, which must have been very expensive in such a high-circulation mag as the Post. I suspect that advertising in the Rifleman was comparatively inexpensive.

My thanks to you & Blazermark for posting these examples. I've got hundreds of pre-war sporting mags I'll check out when I have time.
 

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38-44

Don't know about the dearth of advertising during the 30's but the 38-44's were fine guns. I think UncleEd's observations about the ready availability of various Colt models especially the Super .38 auto filling the needs of law enforcement might have been a major factor.

Elmer Keith in his 1961 book,"Sixguns"-pp 45, describes how he fired 500 rounds of 38-44 ammo through each a Chief's Special and a Centennial and found no issues with either gun. (Next time someone asks about +P in a Chief, show them this.) As Keith said, though, S&W didn't advertise this information.

M 38-44 Outdoorsman 1939 pre-war w-mags.JPG M 38-44 Outdoorsman R 1953_01 stamp.JPG M 38-44 Heavy Duty .JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Elmer Keith in his 1961 book,"Sixguns"-pp 45, describes how he fired 500 rounds of 38-44 ammo through each a Chief's Special and a Centennial and found no issues with either gun. (Next time someone asks about +P in a Chief, show them this.)
I fired 5 rounds of Glaser's Super +P through my Chief's Special Airweight just to see how they grouped; no damage to the gun, but I wish I'd had some ice water to pour on my hand.

Love that pre-war Outdoorsman!

PS--Seeing these pre- & post-war models side by side, it appears the S&W medallion is larger on the pre-war grips. Is that a reliable way to distinguish between pre- & post-war grips?
 

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Adirondacker,
PS--Seeing these pre- & post-war models side by side, it appears the S&W medallion is larger on the pre-war grips. Is that a reliable way to distinguish between pre- & post-war grips?
Yes, the medallions are different and the checkering is also far more extensive on the pre-war grips. The pre-war Magna grips are pretty scarce and expensive if you can find them. I got lucky, the grips on my pre-war 38-44 are numbered to the gun. Got lucky again, the price I paid for the gun was close to the value of the grips alone.

Post war...

post war N frame magnas.JPG

Pre-war...

pre war N frame magnas.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Adirondacker,


Yes, the medallions are different and the checkering is also far more extensive on the pre-war grips. The pre-war Magna grips are pretty scarce and expensive if you can find them. I got lucky, the grips on my pre-war 38-44 are numbered to the gun. Got lucky again, the price I paid for the gun was close to the value of the grips alone.
Much obliged for these excellent close-ups, Arkie. Can see that the pre-war pattern is wider at the bottom & squared-off, as opposed to the more rounded corners of the post-war grips.

I think I may have a pair of the pre-wars I can part with. They came on an Outdoorsman I bought over 40 yrs ago, but later replaced with stag grips. (And if you don't know how difficult it is to find a pair of well-fitting stags, you haven't looked for them! Sent back 5 or 6 pairs I had ordered before finding old ones that fit almost as well as the originals.) They are not, however, numbered to gun, otherwise of course I wouldn't consider separating them from it.
 
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