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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My SM does not have checkering on the front or back strap nor does it have a checkered trigger. It does not fall under the serial number range of 333,000 thru 350,000. My serial number is 3284xx and that's close to 333,000 so it is possible.

As I look through my BOCFA, it almost appears to be a cross between a New Service Target and a Shooting Master. Shooting Masters did not have the lanyard ring/swivel. Mine has the lanyard, 6" barrel (not the 7 1/2"), no checkering. The barrel says shooting master but that could have been easily changed out.

I'm also confused about caliber. The barrel says .45 and the large hole in the cylinder goes in about 3/4". I first thought .45LC but isn't a .45LC is going to be longer?

Let me know if detailed pic's would help and what feature maybe helpful so see in the pic.
 

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Any chance you can post some detailed photos ?

Caliber I assume is 45 acp since 45 Colt won't fully chamber .

Does the polish and bluing look uniform over the whole revolver ?
Anything is possible , but it sounds like a barrel and possibly the cylinder was added at some point in time . imo
Factory letter would most likely confirm a special order .
 

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It's not a Shooting Master or a New Service Target. The matted top of the frame was only used on fixed sight guns, so someone has milled the frame to accept the new rear sight and has replaced the barrel with what looks to be a correct SM barrel. On the Target models, you are correct, the gripstraps (stockstraps? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif) would be checkered. Plastic stocks are not correct, either. Interestingly, it looks like a strain screw has been added to the front strap, something Colt's discontinued with the New Army and Navy. Cylinder must be ACP. I don't have my serial # list in front of me, but someone here will be able to ID your frame - probably regular New Service. HTH

B.W.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As I read on in the BOCFA everything points that this gun is a 1928 model. i.e. trigger, plastic grips, roundish rear sight notch, rounded cylinder latch and serial number.

From BOCFA: "It is difficult to pinpoint a precise period for all the features, which were introduced over a period of a few years, primarily in the late 1920's and 1930's, commencing approximately in the 325000 serial number range."

So what's the possiblity of this gun being a factory SM proto?
 

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I noticed when you posted a not so clear photo of the SM, the other day,that it didn't seem "correct",the checkered latch stood out;SMs had smooth latches,the only pre wars to do so. But this was no big deal,as it could have been changed by an owner who preferred it.

A prototype-NO. The SM was originally a .38 Special gun. I have a very early one in the 32x,xxx range.

The plastic stocks were NOT used until after World War Two,and then only as replacement grips and on the few New Services assembled from parts at the factory,either special order or "lunch pail" guns.

Looks like a well done "gunsmith special",on a late model standard frame,a SM bbl. and the ,45 acp. cylinder.

It looks like the prior owner was a serious target competitor

Bud
 

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I can't see proto being made on a fix sighted frame. The NST would be the logical choice. Also shouldn't the ejector star be cut for moonclips if it's a .45acp revolver? Could it possibly be chambered in one of the .45 caliber English cartridges?
 

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Hi Addicted,
It's hard to tell from the photos, but it looks possible that your rear cylinder gap is large enough to take a 45 acp with half moon clips or .45 autorim cartridges... Also check the markings on the inside of the frame in the crane cutout for the assembler's markings. All were hand fitted and marked by the assembler. Is there a square or "M" present in this area or on the bottom of the barrel? You might also invest in "Colt New Service Revolvers" by Bob Murphy if you don't already have it. You might find what it has to say about Shooting Masters interesting. You can order it from the Gun Report Magazine... A subscription to this mag is also worthwhile... A Colt Letter to authenicate the gun is what it would take to know for sure about your gun. Just out of curiousity, What is the significance of the dates you picked to collect between??? 1905 to 1965??? Bob Best
 

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I have to agree. It's unlikely Colt would have chosen a fixed site frame with a lanyard ring, to convert to a prototype of what would be it's premier target revolver, when much better options, requiring less modifications, were available. Too many things don't match up for the time frame, and the odds are against it being authentic, but if you're still uncertain, the only way to be absolutely certain is to letter it.
 

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Addicted - I doubt that you have a prototype. The grooved trigger was not used until post-war, about 1948. The stocks are WWII era. As Bud pointed out, the SM was introduced as a .38. Most Colt prototypes were given a unique serial #. So I'm guessing it was built by a gunsmith. But, spring for a factory letter and get it straight from Colt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm in denial.

I'll look at the gun closer this evening and advise.

Isn't it amazing....my most liked gun may be dropping down to my least liked gun.

There's always a uneducated fool out there and this time it was me. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif I've got a lot to learn.

I can say that I've learned a lot about SM's in the last 24 hours. Thanks to all that have responded.
 

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Hey, don't feel bad. Most of us have been educated at the School of Hard Knocks. It takes a lot of guns through your hands to be able to tell when something doesn't look right, and there is no one source of information to go to. Most of the regulars on this board are rock steady and ready to help ID a gun. Posting pics is a big plus, too. We're all "addicted" and all still learning.

Now where did I lay that 7th Cavalry SAA?? /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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Thanks for the detailed photos . I agree with the consensus , it appears you have a nice shooter , but not a rare prototype .imo

Any time you find a model that doesn't fit the "mold" , beware . In rare instances , you might score . In most cases , it's not right . As already stated , we've all made mistakes . The best plan is to study books and look at guns for sale at gun shows , gun shops & internet . Study , study . /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Here's a 38 Spl Shooting Master . Not a common gun , but .38 was the majority of production .


.357 Shooting Master's like this one are quite a bit more unusual . If you find any gun in a rare variation , look it over much more closely .
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bob, I have a H under the s/n shown on the frame.

All, It's for sure not calibered as a 45 ACP. The cutouts in the star is the same radius (matching diameters) as the bores in the cylinder. I placed a 45 ACP bullet in the cylinder and the star won't pull the bullet out.

On the inside of the stocks, both are marked 637. Probably nothing but worth mentioning.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
Bob, All, It's for sure not calibered as a 45 ACP. The cutouts in the star is the same radius (matching diameters) as the bores in the cylinder. I placed a 45 ACP bullet in the cylinder and the star won't pull the bullet out.



[/ QUOTE ]

That would be correct for a 45acp chambering. The moon clips are required for the exractor to work with the rimless 45acp cartridge.
 

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H by the serial # in the crane recess is one of the assemblers-inspectors mark(so they know who to blame if gun isn't "right"!)

A little "Colt Tidbit"; During the thirties,Colt double actions often carried a "T" or an "L" besides an inspectors letter in the crane recess. Those with a T were factory targeted and the time taken to line the fix sights up correctly. Those marked L,were just eyeballed as far as front and rear sights being in line.(and IMO,they did a helluva lot better job than the later post war Colts!) Usually,target models do not have the "T",as it was matter of policy to line them up & test fire. T fixed sighted 1930's Colts sure can shoot! Have a 6" O.Police with wider front sight(factory) that took out a racoon at 45 yards,head shot. '**** going for neighbor's small dog tied up in yard. A .38 Special N.S. also has the T,and is a great shooter,with either its .38 cylinder or a .357 cylinder.

There was only ONE documented N.S. Target made after 1920,in .455 "Eley",or Webley. Even the "Mounties" switched to .45 Colt on the next batch of New Services they ordered after World War One.The caliber was"dead",as the Brits foolishly switched to the .38 S&W round(don't want to injure that wrist in reoil,need it for the polo match!) So,your cylinder is most likely .45 acp.which was a lot more popular target round than the .45 Colt,and I suspect that the prior owner of your "Shooting Master" had the gun built up for this,probably shooting 185 or 200 gr. wadcutters in .45 Auto Rim cases to get more consistent ignition/accuracy.

Wonder how he did against the factory S& W Models, 1950 and 1955, or M-26 and M-25?? Rapid Fire part of the matches doomed the revolvers when the .45 M-1911s got accurized by th emaster gunsmiths.

Bud
 
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