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I have a O.P. nickle in fine condition .38 . Last date on the barrel is 1926. Was there supposed to be a serial # on the Butt? The serial number I can find is on the frame and the cylinder 565965.
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Sir, 565965 is your s/n and you have a 1930 model. 1926 is the patent date. The "crane" and frame are the 2 correct locations for the s/n.
Could even have been "assembled" after the war. Colt had to use up those 32/20 bbls. and cylinders!(although some were still for sale in the 60's surplus scene)
Frames were often serialed upon being forged/finished,then would lanquish in the parts racks until "needed". Then assembled and shipped several years after the frame made.
We have discussed this on the S&W Forum,as S&W did this too. Can really "throw you off",if you go just by the published years,especially for guns a little out of the ordinary as far as caliber,bbl. length etc.
BOTH Colt & S&W dropped the 32/20 chambering after W.W. Two. Hard to believe,how popular this caliber had been in the World War ONE era. I've read that in the 30's,the 32/20,was the leading selling caliber for Ideal/Lyman reloading tools. Of course,this includes the probably the more numerous rifles. Late 30's factory ammo tended to be a compromise for pistol and rifle,and did poorly in BOTH;1250 fps rifle and 950 fps. in most revolvers. Of course there were hi speed loads FOR RIFLES ONLY,that no doubt some morons tried in their revolvers. Might have been "OK" in a late smokeless powder SAA,but would hate to fire one in a Police Positive Special.
"Too weak for deer,too strong for edible small game" in a rifle,I think its tiny recoil in rifles made it a good farm gun,as the "smaller" members of the farmstead could use it to protect the livestock.
Only with careful,meticulous hand loading today,are 32/20 revolvers capable of their mechanical accuracy.