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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering the purchase of a 6” .357 New Service with a King conversion. The barrel is marked Colt New Service .357, and has the “T” mark indicating it was sighted in. The grip frame is rounded. The backstrap is checked. I have been unable to determine yet whether the front cylinder face is marked with a star -- I have only seen pictures of the gun -- but have asked that question.

Now for the punch line: The frame is marked with an SN that places it in 1930, although the .357 New Service did not come out until 1936.

I do know that sometimes guns were shipped long after their frames were built. (For example, Murphy says he's seen a Shooting Master serialed at 328,164, which is 1928, although it shipped in 1931. That's four years.) But six…..

If it’s a rebarrel, why the “T” marking? (“T” above the SN, “N” and “v” below.) I don’t think the checked backstrap would have come on a .357 New Service that was not a Shooting Master, but, it might have been a special order or it might have been King. I favor the latter explanation as in photos the checking looks a little different from my 1932 .38 Shooting Master.

So, what’s the collective wisdom here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: Calling Lonewolf: Unusual New Service

Okay, Bud. I'm countin' on ya now. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif I note that in a past post you state with strong conviction that any New Service SN below 335000 did not start out as a .357.

You holdin' that position re this baby? 331XXX

I think this gun likely belonged to a serious shooter. (Did "serious shooters" shoot .357?) Provinance reportedly says he was a policeman and carried this gun. If you hold to your position on the SN, what are the odds that it was properly converted to .357, either by the factory or someone who knew what he was doing? Re cylinder heat treatment and whatever else matters. (No answer yet to my question to seller on whether a star is on front face of cylinder.)
 

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Re: Calling Lonewolf: Unusual New Service

Really a confusing gun,Onomea! I guess numbers don't mean much as I have a Shooting Master right now in "my still nicotine stained fingers",with serial number #32827x,just a few past Murphy's,yet Joe,"by the book" Miller told me that these are "too early" for Shooting Masters!!!! Could have been New Service Target frames that were serialed,but not finished,and had grip straps rounded to the S. M profile.

One Colt catalog says .357 Mag New Services,N.S.T.s and S.M.s only had square butts,but we have seen both in "real life".

As far as checkered straps,this was an "special option" even on fixed sighted revolvers(hell,they appreciated the business back then!!!). I have a S&W 2nd Model 6.5" H.E. from 1920,that was factory finished with a checkered trigger and checkered backstrap. MOST accurate fixed sighted .44 Special handgun I own,with its favorite load. Sadly,it was refinished,nicely,by the original owner's("a bull",or railroad cop) son that I got it from.

Who knows with all those frames floating around Hartford,and lets face it,the ,large frame N.S.T.s & S.M.s just weren't big sellers in the 30's,as anyone who has tried to find/priced a nice one can atest to!.

Sounds like a nice gun

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Calling Lonewolf: Unusual New Service

Thanks again, Bud, for your valued comments. I appreciate it, as always. You have sure taught me a lot in the last year or so.

I've asked again about the presence or non-presence of the star on the front face of the cylinder, as I think its presence would be reassuring. I note also in the Murphy book that he says if a gun has been reblued it can be hard to see that star -- I dunno if this one has been reblued or not.

I also asked Joe his opinion. He, too, has been very kind and gracious with eductating me on these prewar guns even though I know he is very busy with his own concerns. He, like you, thinks it is possible that the frame was lying around at Hartford for that length of time, and suggests the only way to tell for sure is to call Colt.

Hmm. Are calls like that a freebe from Colt to nice guys like me /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif, or do they cost? (Not that I am a cheapskate or nuthin' like that, but, guess I'd like to know before I called. Maybe its on their site if there's a charge...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
[ QUOTE ]

I've asked again about the presence or non-presence of the star on the front face of the cylinder, as I think its presence would be reassuring.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am informed that there IS a star on the cylinder face, that the action is amazing compared to the typical New Service, and that it has a lanyard ring. Also comes with a family letter about the man who carried it...

Hmmmmmm.....
 

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What is the significance of the star on the cylinder face? I have found it on several different models ranging from a Bankers Special to Officer's Models in the 1936-41 time frame. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bushwhacker, here is the sum total of my knowledge on the star: In discussing the 357 New Service, Bob Murphy says, "...A small star is stamped on the face of the .357 New Service cylinders, and some other late production New Service cylinders.... The star is believed to denote a special steel or heat treatment, differing from the steel in other cylinders or parts..." p. 43, <u>Colt New Service Revolvers</u>.

So, for me, in trying to understand the gun I am considering, it is an indication, tho not conclusive, that the gun is a true .357 rather than a later conversion.

Interesting what you say, though. The ones you have found must be the "some other" category, but, then again, they aren't even New Services. Hmmm. In my mind this casts doubt on the concept that the star, specifically, denotes special steel or heat treatment. I do believe a factory .357 required special steel or heat treatment, the latter I assume... But now I am questioning whether Murphy understood the mark correctly...

Still, if all known original NS .357s have this mark, and known conversions do not, having the mark is a positive indication (tho not conclusive) of originality.
 

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In my opinion, the star dates the cylinder to 1936 or later. I doubt if it has anything to do with heat treating, as it is found on everything from the .22's on up.
 
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