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I Have This Old Gun...


Dutch Wheeler

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I recently came into possession of what I believe is a Smith & Wesson I Frame Model 1903 revolver, chambered in 32 Long.  As you can see, it is in pretty rough shape, but I am interested in determining the age.  The serial number is 125XXX.  Any S & W experts out there with research books handy that could determine the year of manufacture?  Would greatly appreciate any information.

 

 

0131181740b.jpg

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That appears to be what you have.  Built on the I frame with 3 1/2", 4 1/4", and 6" barrels.  This is the second model. Notable characteristics are: first S&W hand ejector with with a pinned barrel, and the cylinder latch has been moved from the top strap to the bottom of the frame (where it is to this day).   There were 5 production changes and your serial number falls in with the 5th change models, made 1910-1917, sn range 102501 to about 263000. 

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Shotgun Clay...

 

Thank You!

 

For taking the time to research my question and post a response so quickly.  I sincerely appreciate it! :)

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Completely dismantled it, removed all the surface rust, and re-blued it.  

Turned out pretty good for a 100 year old revolver that was mis-treated!

 

Before and after...

 

 

20180204_224516-COLLAGE.jpg

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1 hour ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

Looks nice!  Are the internals and bore good enough to shoot?

 

The internals are crisp, tight, and really didn't show any signs of wear.  Goes to show how well they were machined back then.

The cylinder chambers cleaned up, but are a bit rough.

There is still rifling in the bore, but it is quit pitted. 

Probably "could" shoot it, but not so sure if I should.

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10 minutes ago, July Smith said:

I have the standard catalog at the house, I will have to look the serial number up later.  Does your I frame have a flat or coil mainspring?

 

The mainspring is flat with a hooked end.

Shotgun Clay thought that it was made between 1910 - 1917.  If you could narrow down the year of manufacture, that would be great!

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The Standard Catalog 3rd Edition is where I got my numbers.  Probably the only way to narrow it down is to get it lettered.  I don't know if Roy Jinks is still doing them or has moved on to a much deserved retirement,  but the S&W Historical Foundation has a process. 

 

http://www.swhistoricalfoundation.com/info.htm

 

I got one S&W lettered years ago, turns out it was shipped to a gun wholesaler in NYC in 1908.

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17 hours ago, Dutch Wheeler said:

 

The mainspring is flat with a hooked end.

Shotgun Clay thought that it was made between 1910 - 1917.  If you could narrow down the year of manufacture, that would be great!

Shotgun Clay is right.  I have the 4th edition, but the information on your particular revolver is the same.  The only way to narrow down the date of manufacture or shipment will be a factory letter.

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Okay, I went through my Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson 2nd Edition and found a little more info...maybe.

 

S&W 1903 5th Change 1910 - 1917

IMG_1509.thumb.jpg.cebbf33870c5b21dab7f2c1451fd5068.jpg

 

 

This makes it look like yours was made in 1910.

5a7ba1b4b92ca_IMG_1506-Edited.thumb.jpg.fbf42bda0763ee07221414c41ecab0af.jpg

 

This page puts your revolver, by serial number, as a 5th model between 1910 - 1917 as Clay said.

I would say yours was early in the series and from the info above it was made in 1910 or 1911.

5a7ba1dcbbc45_IMG_1507-Edited.thumb.jpg.a74a96c34ed2ab1c064662b74f3df95f.jpg

 

I hope this helps.

 

I got all excited and thought I found a discrepancy and then realized I ws chasing the .32 Double Action...not the Hand Ejector model.

Boy that would have caused more confusion...

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Pat,

 

That is great information and a big help!  I appreciate your time.

 

THANK YOU!

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