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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This forum seems to be a wonderful place for knowledge and help, I'm really glad I found it and have enjoyed reading and researching, but this is my first post.
I have a 44 Magnum that is in pretty great shape, but I have a couple questions that I haven't found good answers to yet. The Target Hammer looks like it's color case hardened, but the right side has some arcing scratches in it. As if the hammer were slightly offset to the right and drags as it drops. I can't see or hear anything that looks like it is scraping or scratching so I'm not sure if it's still rubbing or not. Is there is anything I can do to repair these scratches? I've never fired it myself, and I'm not sure it has ever been fired much as I see almost no signs of flame cut or other wear. The blueing is really nice, except for a few scratches that appear to be from handling. I'm also curious if I can repair these at all? I have wiped it down with a lightly oiled cloth, but is there other maintenance I should do to preserve this beauty? Finally, sometimes the cylinder release is "sticky". The cylinder rotates very freely and smoothly when out with no sign of wobble. The release also feels fine when the cylinder is free and the cylinder latch pin (is that the right name?) looks flush and the tip of the extractor rod doesn't appear to have any deformation or mushrooming.
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The Hammer and Trigger being case hardened is quite normal .. The rubbing on the side of the hammer is normal also . Most Smith Wessons do that. Sticky opening and closing of the cylinder cold be a cleaning issue. Clean really good under the star. Check to make sure the cylinder center pin is good and tight. Nice Gun enjoy it
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you, jonesy814! I'll try that. I see no damage to the knurling on the extractor rod, which I guess sometimes happens because people aren't aware that the threading of these was reversed, so that's good at least! I have it full of 44 snap caps. Now, just to be sure I don't make a mistake. This is how to twist to tighten in a pre model 29?
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! If your .44 Magnum Hand Ejector is not model marked in the yoke cut, then the direction you show is correct...right hand thread. S&W implemented model numbers in 1958 and gave the .44 Magnum the designation Model 29. In 1961, they changed the extractor rod threads to left hand and changed the model number to MOD 29-1. I can see from your extractor rod that your gun has right hand threads. And I believe your serial number is S132xxx which would put it in 1954-55 for a shipping date. I hope than helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you, Wiregrassguy! The S/N is S152360, my understanding is that it was a 5-screw originally shipped Oct 1956. Sorry it's a bit blurry in the picture.
 

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Ok. 1956 matches up with our tables for that serial. So, right hand threads on the extractor rod. Also, I see some buildup of congealed oil on the side of the hammer. You may need to strip the oil out of the action which may be gumming it up. I recommend removing the grips and flushing out the action with aerosol brake/parts/carb cleaner until the effluent runs clear. Then, relube with no more than 5 drops of gun oil. These guns work better when lightly lubricated. As far as the scratches go, you can't repair them but you may be able to reduce their appearance. Use a light polish like Flitz or Mothers Mag and very lightly rub the scratches with your finger or a soft cloth to blend it in to the surrounding blue. Some folks clean the whole gun with polish. It does remove rust and bluing so don't do it frequently. After cleaning with polish, remove any residue with acetone or the aerosol cleaner. Then, coat the entire surface area with Renaissance Wax. It should look like a million dollars afterwards. Good luck!
 

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Welcome to the forum! Beautiful 44 magnum. One on my list of things to get...once I can get ammo.:LOL:
 
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Royal, what a great way to enter the forum, with a very nice Pre-Model 29, complete with a set of really nice coke bottle stocks and the lazy ampersand in Smith & Wesson!

No, the wear on your hammer is not normal; it is abnormal. The hammer is inappropriately rubbing on the right side of the frame. Maybe you need a shim or two to center the hammer. Maybe the hammer stud upon which the hammer is fitted is bent. Maybe there is a burr inside the frame, which rubs on the hammer. You cannot repair the scratches in the case hardeneing of the hammer, but you could replace the entire hammer. A new hammer is often NOT a drop-in part, and it must be fitted to the particular revolver.

Your beautiful and fine revolver is also filthy, as can be seen in the photo which shows the hammer. I would suggest that you remove the stocks, then, in a well ventilated area, aggressively and liberally spray a CLP ("CLP" means "Clean, Lubricate, Protect:'' I like Eezox.) on and into the entire revolver, including in the openings in front of and behind the trigger, up inside the gun from where the main spring emanates, all over and around the hammer, into the little hole that the firing pin goes through, and generally all over and into the gun. While the gun is coated with the Eezox, rub it all over with a new toothbrush, bruching into all of the nooks and crannies. Make sure to clean under the star extractor, where crud can accumulate. When the Eezox dries, the solvent will have evaporated and the lubrication and rust prevention parts of the Eezox remain. If you use oil (I prefer Eezox or any other CLP to oil), eventually, the oil will coagulate like the oil now on the gun did.

Do not put a pair of pliers or vice grips on the extractor rod; you WILL damage the extractor rod. Use a 3-piece drill chuck, taken from a drill, to hold the extractor rod, or buy a special S&W extractor rod removal tool from Midway or Brownells.

I do not like to use Flitz on blued guns, as it can easily remove bluing. I think you need to learn to live with the small scratches. I cannot even see the alleged scratches in your excellent photos.

Wiregrassguy is right about the final step: wax the gun with Renaissance Wax. This will minimize the small scratches' visibility, make the bluing look really deep, and protect the gun from fingerprints and the elements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Wow! You are all amazing and so welcoming! I will follow your advice the best I can. I’m in love with this gun, and I want to treat it properly. Eezox, Renaissance Wax, and extractor tool are ordered and on their way.
 

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@Royal, you have a wonderful revolver there. You have asked about some scratches and some possible minor repairs to the hammer and ejector rod. Before we discuss that, I want to ask, do you have a sense of what this revolver is worth? Because I believe this revolver is a desirable collectable, and just the value of the stocks (grips) might be surprising. And I think the value of the entire gun is its current condition is significant.

It is hard for me to judge from the pictures, but it appears in very good original condition. And an early S&W 44 magnum, in excellent and unmolested condition, is pretty hard to find.

Any repairs which are less than professional quality are likely to hurt, rather than help, the value of the revolver. My recommendation would be to carefully lubricate it if it needs it, and do nothing else unless you are certain you can do the work at the highest quality. For small scratches, I would just insure that the area is clean, and protected by oil or wax. I would not use a polishing compound on this revolver without practicing on a cheaper gun first.

If the extractor is really loose, you will be able to tighten it with your fingers. If it does not feel loose from finger pressure, I would talk to a professional about the sticky cylinder release. The tolerances related to the cylinder release are pretty tight, and it is not always obvious where to make adjustments when that is necessary.

For the scratches on the hammer, I would admit that they are unsightly, but it seems likely that they have already reached a self limiting point where the surfaces are only rubbing very minimally. I can understand if you find the scratches too unsightly to tolerate. But if you choose to replace the hammer, it is important to find an exactly matching hammer from the same era, or keep things so that the original hammer can be easily re-installed, or both. In my mind, even though the scratches are unsightly, they represent the actual condition that the gun left the factory. So I would probably leave the hammer as is unless it is still actively rubbing. And if it is rubbing, I might just add a thin shim, but otherwise leave things alone.

When I look at the very nice condition of this 60+ year old revolver, I think how amazing it would be if it was still in similar condition in another 60 years. With careful care, and some modest shooting, that is very possible.
 

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sweet gun mate, shoot it in good health..

thewelshm
 
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To the OP, Royal, you've received great advice on your beautiful revolver. I would note StraightShooter Jake and what he's saying as to the potential value it has, you have a winner on your hands! I would follow the cleaning and lubrication steps provided by others, 'finger check' the tightness on the extractor rod, it should be obvious. If it's tight and after a thorough scrubbing and lube, I'd wax it and leave it alone, except to shoot it. Personally I wouldn't fret over the hammer scratches, but if I decided to go further I'd seek an experienced gunsmith that knows Smith & Wesson as a native language because the gun is valuable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Thank you, @Blackcloud2 ! @StraightShooterJake, I suspect it's pretty valuable, so I am very leery of doing anything significant to it myself, as I don't have the experience to do so. I have the original box and tools, a letter, and it looks like it's in great condition just dirty. Everything feels tight, and crisp, including the extractor rod. The timing seems perfect in double and single action and it has just a minor turn line. No flame cutting, and smooth shiny bore and cylinders. The blueing looks excellent to my untrained eyes, and I can't see any difference in the frame finish under the stocks. I believe the stocks are original Goncalo Alves and in excellent condition, with tight seams everywhere except for the tiniest nick in one spot. It has five screws, target hammer and trigger and coke stocks, pinned barrel and recessed cylinders as these old ones all did. Every screw looks new and I'm not sure if there is maybe the tiniest damage around the edge of the side plate, but you have to get the right light and zoom in to see it and I don't know if it's abnormal. I have a pretty good photo set up so I can take more pictures if there are questions or things I should show you all to see if I'm reading the condition correctly and I'm happy to take them. Reading the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson I think that makes it one of about 3100 of these from 1956 and it's in almost perfect condition with those small things I mentioned the only ones I can see that aren't ANIB.
 
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