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The Elusive 28-1

6657 Views 23 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Doc44
Thought I'd share a few things I know about the 28-1 for you gents. And 4-Screw Dash Ones in general....much of what follows is gleaned from emails that Bill Cross and I exchanged. For those that do not know Bill, he is both a extremely knowledgeable collector and a fine gentleman. So much of what follows should be credited to him....

Few general rules from over the years, the -1 model variation would best be described as a 4-screw frame, extractor rod with a left-hand thread as evidenced by a small relief cut behind the knurled tip, "L" stamped on the rear surface of the cylinder, stamped MOD.XX-1 in the yoke cut.

We are only talking about models of revolvers that were stamped -1 when the extractor rod threads were changed from right-hand to left-hand as directed by the engineering change dated December 22, 1959.

The engineering change to implement the extractor rod with the left-hand thread was issued by S&W on December 22, 1959 and resulted in revolvers with the -1 model variation. The engineering change to implement the improved cylinder stop with the elimination of the cylinder stop plunger screw was issued on November 28, 1961 and resulted in revolvers with the -2 model variation. The time it took to implement these changes was substantial as the -1 models were shipped throughout 1962 and the -2 models began in late 1962. Remember, the SCS&W is a general guide and only that.

The change to the extractor rod with a left-hand thread was authorized in late 1959, but -1 models did not begin to be shipped until 1962 and most were shipped in that year with a few carrying over to 1963. The -2 models also appeared in late 1962, so the the -1s were really only shipped for a year plus.

The engineering directive to implement the improved cylinder stop that resulted in the elimination of the cylinder stop plunger screw (i.e. 4-screw frame to 3-screw frame) was issued on November 28, 1961 and was implemented much more quickly as revolvers with a 3-screw frame began to be shipped in early 1962.

Bill Cross believes and has demonstrated that the Model 29-1s can have a 3-screw frame. He also has stated that S&W had old style extractor rods and cylinders, but had made the switch to the 3-screw frame and used up the old cylinders and extractor rods on the "new" frames. Not sure why these guns were actually stamped MOD. 29-1 in the yoke cut, but they were.

Thanks to Bill for much of the above...Hopefully he'll be along to straighten anything I may have inadvertantly "screwed-up" :eek:

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A few random thoughts, the economy was just so-so in the '59-'61 time span but it was not a boom time. The war was well over but the gov't had billions in war bonds coming due. the GI Bill had educated many vets and they were making a fair living but making kids about as fast. 1961 was the year JFK pushed in a big tax break to help the economy {something lost to modern day Dems.} and I can not help but wonder if the then relativly new Highway Patrolman had been sold to all the police forces that were going to buy it. If they had been in use with police but for five years, they may not have been used enough to warrent replacement so an inventory backlog of 28s may have been the key to no production of a 28-1. We also know that some police departments were using the Model 27 and sticking with it for a time and many departments were still using the K frame 38s and others used Colt revolvers.
More questions and no answers and I would like to know others opinions

Thanks for all of your research. I think it needs to be included in this wonderfully new venue. Hasn't Bill also derived a loose serial number range on the -1 based on his observations of the model 29? I seem to remember something like S215xxx-S225xxx. I'll do a little research and see if I can come up with it.

I still wish that I had bought that 3.5" 27-1 I saw in a local pawn shop about 6 years ago priced at $350.
I have been fascinated with the 29-1 for many years. There have been about twenty-five documented by collectors and all but two have three-screw frames and old style extractor rods with a right-hand thread. The one shown below, S220004, is one of two that is a true 29-1 (it does not have the L stamped on the rear surface of the cylinder since it is stamped MOD. 29-1 in the yoke cut). It does thave the extractor rod with the relief cut behind the knurled tip and a four-screw frame. It was shipped in December 1962. There are a couple of other 44s configured in an identical fashion, but are stamped MOD-29 in the yoke cut. Seems like 1962 was truly a "year of transition" for this model and others like the 19 and 27.


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Just for your own M-29 SN reference, I have S211250 which is stamped as a 29 (no dash present), has 4 screws, and the old-style RH extractor rod --- somewhat close to your SN.

I don't have a letter or shipping date, but it's been in the family since it was bought new in early 1962 at Galveston.

xtm...Thanks for the information. I will add it to my database. In 1962 (and a few in 1963), S&W was shipping 44 Magnums stamped MOD-29, MOD. 29-1, and MOD. 29-2 in the yoke cut. Now if Giz could just find that elusive Model 28-1 ;) .

Hey Giz, just joined here and glad to hear from you again.
For the record, I still haven't found a 28-1 YET, nor an authentic nickeled one YET. :D
Welcome Amigo! Good to see an old friend joining in the fun :D

Post often, glad to have you aboard...

And to Doc44, I've only chased the 28-1 for three years now. We've had this discussion before, but I'm trying to remember how many years you collected .44 Magnum's before finding that first 29 dash one of yours?

Giz....Ten to twelve years!!! :shock:

Hey Gents ,
I have a 29-1 that I stumbled across last year . I showed it to Mr Jinks in Sturbridge this summer . He pretty much told me it was a 29-2 that was stamped wrong . It has all the new changes for the 29-2 but its still stamped 29-1 .
It has a 5 inch barrel but according to his letter it shipped as an 8 3/8s . His letter also went on to say it had a four screw frame according to its serial number .

Go figure !!
Hi Ralph,
There is one explaination that could be possible. That it might be a factory replacement for an earlier gun. I believe that was not completely unknown for the factory to replace a frame and put the original serial on the new frame.

What was the shipping date on the letter? And is the cylinder marked with an L?

Well , like I said the gun has all the characteristics of a 29-2 . No L stamp and it has the newer thread direction .
I wish i could get more info on the gun but its a dead end . If the bbl were changed , they did a heck of a job . One tell tale nsign is the front sight base , the two pins are`nt level with the finish . They were`nt ground down . It has a few very slight handling marks but the gun has been shot , but not much .
According to the serial number , it falls in the right range . I believe its S 229777 . Giz , I`m not sure , I have`nt looked at it for a while but I think it was 11/ 61 but I`ll check tonite when I get home .
I`ll keep you posted .
Ralph...Did I see your 29 in Sturbridge? I know I looked at a 5-inch 29 that sounds like yours. The pins not polished flush to the rib suggest the barrel was cut and the sight/ramp attached to the barrel after that. The serial number you quoted would be correct for a revolver with a three-screw frame.

Someone earlier (back in those days) suggested that sooner or later, a 28-1 will be found. Thats the sort of optimism I go by. Much has been speculated about how many of certain guns are out there, "waiting for discovery" so to speak. Or how many of a given model have survived to this day. We all certainly know that on a fairly regular basis, someone comes out of the woodwork with a knock out rare gun, asking us what they have inherited for example. Those are the ones we see, I think there are more we don't. Personally, I think a very large percentage of the total S&W revolver production is still out there, in a drawer or safe, waiting to see daylight again. God only knows whats going to turn up in the next 25 years, but its going to be great fun watching them emerge.
What I think Giz, being the optimistic sort, is that the 28-1 will prove to be among the rarest N frame ever made, if not the eventual occupant of the numero uno spot in that category. Maybe one of those "a dozen or less" kinds of guns. Never say never, you get bit in the butt too often when you do.
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Hi Bill ,
Yes you did see it . I was hanging around with Kurt "aka Hammerdown " at the show .
I think you were on the fence as far as the barrel being cut down or it being re- barreled . I`m guessing , S&W did it but without a date Mr Jinks can`t tell if it was actually done there . So thats why I have a dead end .
Thinking about my letter for it , I`m wondering if I should have Mr Jinks do a new one for it ?? I`m kind of puzzeled why he would say it was a 4 screw frame etc . I know from reading things from you guy`s , that was a busy year for all the dash guns and nothing was really set .
Either way I look at it , its still a 29-1 , so I guess thats a good thing .
Ralph...Maybe he said that because a -1 has a four-screw frame. Your revolver is a typical 29-1 that has a three screw frame and assuming it has the small relief cut behind the knurled tip of the ejector rod then it is really configured like a 29-2. I can't remember the ejector rod configuration. I once owned a 29-2 that was really configured like a typical 29-1, so S&W was not too particular about how they stamped frames with dash numbers.

Per Roy's book, the three-screw frame was implemented for the Model 29 at serial number S227149.

Hi Bill ,

I`m sorry to take over Giz and his elusive 28-1 !! :oops:

Bill the letter states a Dec 7 1962 ship date . I also check the threads and it appears not to have the relief cut on the ejector rod and there`s no L on the cylinder .. I forgot to mention that this gun also has a gold bead front sight too . There`s no markings on it like an SDM would .

His letter also says that in mid summer of 1957 the frames changed from four to three screws , is that correct ??
Ralph, I'm not sure if Roy is speaking to the date of that engineering change or it's implementation. There are examples of 4 screw's after 1957 in the Model 28's....

Here's something I worked on a couple of years ago with the 28's that might the 29's were being run at the same time, but in different assembly runs...

Highway Patrolman 5 Screw 1954 start at 4-15-54 # production at ser. #103500
Highway Patrolman 4 Screw 1957-1958 Top sideplate screw eliminated
Model 28 Marked Highway Patrolman 4 Screw 1958 around S1821xx
Model 28-1 4 screw If it exists! Sometime between 1961/62
Model 28-2 3 screw Starting Late 1962 to early 1963
Model 28-2 3 screw N-prefix started in about 1970
Model 28-2 3 screw NYSP RR, WO, Smooth Trigger, possible Target Stock
Model 28-2 3 screw Rare Brushed Nickel Finish Made in 1972
Model 28-3 3 screw 1983 Non recessed cylinders, Barrel is not pinned

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