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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently “re-acquired” a pair of early 5 screw Smiths after having last owned my prior Model 10 over a decade ago. Of the two, one is a M1917 I’ve previously posted on, and the latter is what appears to be a 1905, 4th change.

Since acquiring them back in November, I’ve not yet shot them, but have thoroughly inspected them in all of the necessary places typically done in external exam for condition and safety.

Yesterday I went through a thorough cleaning of the 1917 from the frame up, and double and triple checked all of the mechanical functions to ensure the gun is well timed and safe to fire, as neither of these guns has been shot, cleaned or oiled in the last 8 years, but instead have sat just in a soft case with the remnants of their last oiling all those years prior.

After reviewing all the key points, the 1917 will definitely be retained, however, I’m having second thoughts on the practicality of retaining the 1905 being that it’s chambered in 32-20.

Going through the 32-20 today, the timing seems fair and shootable, although I feel the cylinder timing may be lacking slightly, due to either a worn hand, or one that was cut slightly short. The cylinder stop engages the cylinder in a fair manner depth wise, but seems it could be a bit narrow for its indention as at full lockup there is a small amount of rotational play. Otherwise everything appears to be in good working order. All safety measures are functioning as they should. The trigger engages the cylinder stop well, if not even slightly tight. Sear to trigger engagement is all appropriate.

The one downside is, after removing the side plate, there appears to be damage in areas that to me seem strange.

On the corner of the cylinder catch ahead of the hammer (side facing the side plate) there is a ding/dent as if something hit it internally. Also the side of the sear, facing the side plate has a worn leading edge where it appears to be sheering metal from the leading edge of the sear, to the side adjacent the side plate.

There are another number of small wear spots internally in the frame that have dinged edges.

All around, the gun seems functional, but in need of timing work to be flawless, and could use some TLC and potentially parts, although I feel the portions with slight dings could be dressed with a stone, without any concern of effecting safety, as neither areas are a portion that have a function involving trigger and hammer mechanics.

Long story short, the 1905 is a battle worn gun that at some point was parkerized, without the appropriate refurbishing prior to. The chambering is undesirable for myself, as I don’t reload, and don’t like the idea of having to buy specialty loads for fear of frame integrity. A chambering conversion to .327 Fed, intrigued me initially, but for value of current gun to cost of conversion, there isn’t much desire to endure such a heavy undertaking.

In your humble opinion, what is the potential value of the gun in the stated condition? Is it to be sold as functioning but in need of work, or as parts only?

(Side note: overall finish is fair, with minimum marking, gun is serial and part no. matched.)

Initial picture is of damage to pieces mentioned. 85C65880-3312-4875-95F6-2E69F8CB78F3_1585177886649.jpeg
 

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I would have a gunsmith inspect it and if OK, shoot some of the 32-20 ammo.
Would you really? Gunsmiths don't work for nothing. He's already inspected it & found nothing grievously wrong. Maybe (worst case), there may be some lead shaving, but there's no reason to think it's going to blow up in his hand.
 

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They generally traffic at what a comparable .38 brings in this area. Conversion of any kind in a gun of this class is off my radar.

^^ agreed, send it to a new home.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I would have a gunsmith inspect it and if OK, shoot some of the 32-20 ammo. I find it a very desirable round.
Jeepnut: I’ve been over the gun extensively, I’ve reviewed The S&W Revolver Shop Manual (Sixth Printing) by Jerry Kuhnhausen, multiple times (it’s always been my go to.) There is minimal gas cutting in the top strap, there are no signs of leading on the forcing come, nor is it cracked. There is light leading in the bore, and signs of carbon, but I was the last to shoot this gun 8-10 years ago, and shot downloaded, flat nose wad cutters in it. (Approximately 18 rds.) I am 100% confident in its fit and function and condition of safety. The small timing issues are just that, small. The gun makes it to full lockup in both single and double action, and cylinder endshake, while not actually measured is likely well within spec and not likely in need of remediation.

Again 32-20, just is not a go to cartridge for me as I am not any longer an avid recreational shooter, and want a gun I can plink with occasionally, but more frequently be able to walk into any shop and grab a box of ammo without having to second think it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you really don't want it, send me a PM with a price. I've been looking for one (in a low-priority way, but opportunity at a good price can change the priority).
BB42, I will absolutely consider that proposition, or would even be willing discuss potential trades for something I’d feel more in tune with. My only issue is, here in LA we still have third part to third party sells, and it’s the only way I’ve ever conducted business in the handful of purchases and sells that have occurred. I’ve never shipped through an FFL or received to an FFL, so that is a new step I’d have to figure out, but I’m not at all opposed to finally properly learning that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'd inform potential buyers what you found inside & sell it as a shooter. You already have a nibble.
I absolutely agree, and is the only means by which I did business. Years ago when I bought the first Smith, I was an uneducated young adult with no guidance, I bought a model 10-6 that had been lightly worked on and featured a 4.5” ppc style bull barrel and a cheap red dot. As time went on I learned more and more about that gun, and all of the tale tell signs of the work that had been done that wasn’t 100% in quality of execution.

Going forward I would always want all parties informed an in agreement of condition, as I would never want someone left feeling as I felt as time went on after that transaction.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
They generally traffic at what a comparable .38 brings in this area. Conversion of any kind in a gun of this class is off my radar.

^^ agreed, send it to a new home.
Waidmann,

Thank you for your input. Prior to now I had always felt that the market on these was weak. I’ve seen everything from bottom dollar to “that’s really what they’re asking, but surely they’ll never have a buyer.” I have a general idea of where it would be priced all things considered, but still I am slightly unsure. Was considering seeing if a local shop/smith might take it in on trade towards something I’d find more useful, but that was prior to BB’s comment.
 

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\Again 32-20, just is not a go to cartridge for me as I am not any longer an avid recreational shooter, and want a gone I can plink with occasionally, but more frequently be able to walk into any shop and grab a box of ammo without having to second think it.
.32-20 is commonly available, though it's not exactly a plinking cartridge, esp. in a handgun. Maybe you should set it free.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
.32-20 is commonly available, though it's not exactly a plinking cartridge, esp. in a handgun. Maybe you should set it free.
Adirondacker: I know 32-20 can be had at most places. The reason I keep bringing it up as an issue is; I had previously been told/read, that this era of Smith (or at least during the earlier production of 1905 chambered in this cartridge) these frames and cylinders were not heat treated or fully case hardened to the same degree as say my 1917. And that to shoot them safely without fear you’re well advised to go into speciality loads like cowboy action specific loads that are burning a slow rated blackpowder and mainly shooting lead cast bullets, commonly cast slightly oversize to account for changes in bore size after years of them being shot through. Having the ability to walk in to a big box sporting goods store and pickup a box of Remington 32-20, and having to specifically purchase things like Black Hills specialty loads, just don’t seem the same to me in this instance.

Possibly I’m wrong. I could be misinformed, but I’d feel much more comfortable shooting something more modern (if only by 30 years) chambered in any of the following rimless rounds: 38 super, 9mm, 40 S&W, 10mm or 45acp, or any of the rimmed rounds like .38/.357, .41, or 44 special, or even .45 acp with moon clips like in the 1917 which I plan on shooting when able.
 

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Jeepnut: I’ve been over the gun extensively, I’ve reviewed The S&W Revolver Shop Manual (Sixth Printing) by Jerry Kuhnhausen, multiple times (it’s always been my go to.)
I've a copy of that on my shelf - next to the Ruger Single Action Revolver Shop Manual combined volume from the same people!

And the Cabela's near me carries Cowboy Action .32-20 on the shelf!

Its mostly to assuage the case of .32itis I seem to have contracted... caught it early last year when a Mauser Model 1914 (.32ACP semiauto made in 1921) followed me home... followed by that Model 30-1 in 32 S&W Long (3", 1970), then the Single Six in .32 H&R (6 1/2", 1985), the Henry Carbine in .32 H&R/.327 Fed (ordered from Henry) - and most-recently the Model 632 in .327 Fed (3", ~2011-13).

That last actually prevented me from buying a 1905 Hand Ejector in .32-20 (early 1930s production date, so WITH hardened cylinder)!

Sigh - what's a fellow to do? ;)


And I have been manfully resisting that old (but in rather good condition) break-top in .32 S&W (short) that's been at the gun shows here for a couple of years - I even sold that dealer 2 boxes of .32S&W (short) for him to put with that revolver, to improve the chances of someone ELSE buying it!
 

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Here are my notes for heat treated cylinders.


N frames first heat treated cylinder was in the Model 1917.


K frame 32-20 heat treating began in 1919 at approximate serial number 81,287.


K frame 38 HEs had heat treated cylinder that started in September, 1919, at about serial number 316648. Most other model cylinders were heat treated after 1920.

Kevin
 

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And I have been manfully resisting that old (but in rather good condition) break-top in .32 S&W (short) that's been at the gun shows here for a couple of years - I even sold that dealer 2 boxes of .32S&W (short) for him to put with that revolver, to improve the chances of someone ELSE buying it!
THAT is the one you should have bought! Not only because .32 S&W is more pleasant & cheaper to shoot, but because loading & unloading any top-break is effortless compared to a side-swing. What would be the advantage of a .32-20? More noise?
 

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TNot only because .32 S&W is more pleasant & cheaper to shoot,
I have only seen 3 boxes of .32 S&W(short) in over 20 years of gun shows*, and have never seen one in a store.


* That includes the 2 I had sold - I had stopped by an older guy's house to buy it while on my way to the other end of the state for my job - his add on-line hadn't included a pic, and I felt I had to go through with the sale, after the way he had gotten excited about finally being able to sell them!
 

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I have only seen 3 boxes of .32 S&W(short) in over 20 years of gun shows*, and have never seen one in a store.
Well, gun shows aren't the only source. I bought some new more recently than that, but if it's now unavailable, there's always .32 Long & a trim die.

PS--https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1657146909?pid=176720

Backordered, as usual, but indicates, at least, that this cartridge isn't completely obsolescent.
 
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