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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a earlier Colt Shooting Master .38 Special from 1933 with no serial number inside the grips. No penciled serial, no stamped serial, nothing removed or altered, just plain wood. The grips are correct style and fit perfect. The gun is original finish, true 99% screamer. But no box. What about the grips? Factory or later change out?

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My 1936 Shooting Master has the serial number stamped inside both grips. I believe that was standard practice on the Shooting Master.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thank you Jackson for that example, but I do already know that all, or most all, Shooting Master's had serials inside the grips. My question is on Early guns, like mine with serial 333,xxx. Anyone have examples in this serial range, or earlier, with grip serials that appear original?

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Truely a beautiful Shooting Master! I think you are on the right track to ask our members if they have any early SM examples with un-numbererd Grips. How 'bout it Guys, lets check our early SM Grips! I've included my SM for reference showing the stamped orginal grips, and sporting a pair of vintage Sanderson Grips, and (partially hiddened) the orginal Box. Thanks for the super photos! Jackson

 

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howdy , My Shootong Master 333.1XX grips are original and are not stamped or penciled , welcome to the club, rj
 

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My "COLT SHOOTING MASTER .38", serial number 3346XX, has the last three digits of the serial number written in pencil and stamped on the inside of each grip panel.
 

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While the majority of my Colt revolvers do have a full or partial serial number written, scratched or stamped on the backside of one or both stock panels, I have a few Colt revolvers of similar eras that have nothing on the backside of their stock panels. I therefore conclude that for some reason some Colt revolvers do NOT have anything noted on the backside of their stock panels.

If the stocks fit perfectly on the gun in question, then it seems likely that its stocks are original to the gun and never had a serial number notation. Whether that occasional unexplained omission is the explanation, or whether the present stocks were sold over the counter as replacement parts is the explanation, is anyone's guess. I know of no way to confirm or deny either explanation.

Why not assume the former and be happy? (That is what I have done with a Shooting Master .38 that has unnumbered stocks!)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks Judge! And I agree, basically I will never know for sure so why worry and believe me, I don't. But I would like to know the patterns here on all the guns, not just mine, (perhaps one assembler did not number his gun's stocks). Your gun makes 3 so far on this one little thread that have correct but unnumbered stocks. So that is a least a small trend. And if there was stock replacement going on, using never numbered stocks, those stocks could only have come from Colt! That means any stock replacement must have been being done real early in the life of these guns. I don't see Colt having a bunch of unnumbered stocks sitting around on the shelf much past the early 1950's, and gun show and ebay stocks would most likely be take-offs with numbers. We need a data base.
 

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Yes, my .38 Special Shooting Master has the last three serial number digits both written in pencil and stamped on the back of the grip panels. The panels show a very good fit with the frame and I'm assuming they are original.
 
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