I have what I've been told is a model 32 S&W 4" barrel square butt revolver. it has original wood grips with a gold colored s&w medallion on top of each side. It has been graded at a 60% condition. It is numbers matching and solid. the side of the barrel says 32 wcf ctg which I know is 32-20. the last patent date on top of the barrel is 1914. the serial # is 829xx. It's blued with fixed sights. I took it in for apprasil and got one of 1250.00 and he said that was conservative. this seems high to me. what's it's value and what model is it? thanks!
I'm out of state and won't be back to my office until late this week.
However, let me give you a little bit of information to hold you until I can give you more.
First off, this is not a Model 32 or any other number. Model numbers were not applied to S&W hand ejector revolvers until 1957-58, and by that time the company had not manufactured a revolver chambered for the .32-20 for about 28 years! While the .32-20 remained in the S&W catalog until 1940, production actually stopped about 10 years earlier.
I need to check some references, but I believe that serial number and the WCF designation would put the shipping date for this gun in the teens, perhaps before the Great War, but most likely sometime shortly after. The WCF barrel marking was only used from 1914 until 1922. Before 1914, the marking was .32 Winchester Ctg., and from 1922 on, the marking was 32-20 Ctg.
Your serial number, 82 thousand something, is just above the presumed beginning of heat treated cylinders, believed to have occurred at #81287. When I combine that with the barrel marking and the presence of gold medallions on the walnut stocks, I am persuaded the shipping date on this gun must be around late 1919 (maybe very early in 1920). The medallion disappeared from the stock circle in 1920.
To sum up: you have a .32-20 Hand Ejector Model of 1905, Fourth Engineering Change revolver. This is a K frame gun with 5 screws. Assuming the parts (including stocks) are all original, the value estimate you got is within reason, although you also say the condition is only about 60% - I assume you are referring to the state of the original finish. If true, that might push the value down a bit. It's too bad, it doesn't have target sights. That could send the value through the roof.
I hope this helps. When I have had a chance to check on my work here, I'll let you know if anything changes. This has all been off the top of my head - and sometimes my memory isn't so good any more.
Thank you for your reply. Any followup would be greatly appreciated. If I get my wife to man the camera I'll post some photos. Your five screw assumption was right on. This gun was bought used for my mother for home protection by her first husband back in the fifties. When I first layed hands on it in my teens. It was loaded with 32 s&w long ammo We fired one or two rounds through it. After inspection of the deformed brass we decided that wasn't such a great idea. Later I found out the actual chambering but other than those two misguided shots this gun has been unfired since her husband bought it. It was stored under the mattress in a leather holster for about forty years. I don't know if that has anything to do with the degradation of the finish. Seems that I heard something about not keeping you pistols stored in leather holsters. Any way thanks again for the info. TL
Yes, storing a fine revolver in a leather holster over a long time period is a very bad idea.
I look forward to looking at your photos.
We finally got a few photos taken. The plum color is patina not rust.
Thanks for the photos. Everything I told you before pretty much holds. The stocks are definitely pre-1920 and I suspect they are original. The shipping date for this gun is probably late 1919.
The finish has serious problems and your 60% is about right, if not slightly optimistic. I still think you probably have a gun that could bring around $1,000, but it would have to be sold to the right buyer.
The stocks on the other hand, are quite lovely, and may be worth $200-$300 all by themselves.
Anyway, it is a nice gun to own and to shoot occasionally. The modern .32-20 ammunition will be fine in it.
Thanks again for the information. Not that it matters much but the camera seems to make the finish look much worse than it is. I have no plans to sell it but just like knowimg as much about my firearms as possible. It is actually worth about three time what I thought so that's great news. Take care TL