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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm scrambling for my books. A .44 special Shooting Master serialed as 3144xx in the rare .44 special cal. SM's didn't begin until about 10 years later. Can this gun be legit?

Murphy's book shows the earliest SM serialed at 328,164 shiped in 1931.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
... Can this gun be legit?


[/ QUOTE ]

No . imo

Pic ?
 

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No,I suspect that it is a New Service target that was rebarrelled,and maybe re cylindered if it was not a .44 Special to leave Hartford in the 1920 era.

What is the cylinder release latch like on the gun? Is it the old "L" shaped(ouch!)or the newer rounded type(the S.M. was the only pre war Colt to use a non checkered cyl. latch).

If finish is original,the 1920 or so gun should be gloss blue,including the top strap,unlike the S.M. and post 1928,or so guns that were matte blue(and "stippled"on the fixed sighted models).

Should be a fine shooter,and probably seeing how the internet auctions are attracting many well heeled,but not too well informed collectors lately,the gun might fetch close to 5k,to one of these "newbies" IF passed off as an original S.M. in .44 Special!;probably more if Mr. Wilson,was the "agent"!!

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A forum buddy and I have been talking on the side. Come to find out....

"The seller transposed the 1 and the 4 when he did the ad. The correct serial number is 3414xx which is correct for a .44 caliber SM."

Thanks buddy. I am once again a "potential" buyer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The plot thickens.

"FACTORY LETTER shows shipped on 2/3/38 to Novak & Co., Cicero IL, cal. .44/c, 6", one gun in shipment. The factory letter calls it a "Colt New Service Revolver". However, the 6" barrel noted in the factory letter would not be consistent w/ any .44 cal. New Service model other than the Shooting Master. This revolver has the smooth cylinder release knob & checkered grip straps & trigger of the Shooting Master."

Letters as a "New Service".... I believe this gun is a flat top target model that has been rebarrled. I'll see if I can post a photo that won't give away seller identity. The cylinder release latch is correct but that is easily changed out.
 

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Has the "rounded,smaller butt"of an S.M.(BUT Murphy says this could be special ordered on New Services-just to confuse things!)

Hard to tell with a photo,lighting,shadows etc.,but doesn't the cylinder look a different shade of blue???

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

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the n/s grip frame is different than the shooting master`s, the s/m has a slight rounding. the grip frame cant be changed without leaving some evidence.
 

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sorry, posted at the same time. i will defer to bud who is more experienced on these. /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif
 

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Having not seen the gun or the letter to determine originality, and just using the information given, I personally would think that a one gun shipment from Colt would be a good indication that the gun was ordered in that configuration. Colt was always willing to supply what the customer wanted during the pre-war years. Its a known fact that you could order guns with special length barrels from Colt especially if the barrel length existed already. If the letter looks "rightous", the serial number of the gun matches the letter, and there is no evidence on the gun of "cottage industry" tinkering/reworking, why would you not believe the letter?

Also, if this gun is at the same location as the "1920 Shooting Master", why don't you just call Jim Supica at Old Town Station and ask him about it? His number is 913-492-3000. He already advertised the auction over on the Lounge side... Jim's straight up and one of the most honest individuals I have ever dealt with in the gun world... He already acknowledged he transposed the "1" and "4" in the serial number on the Shooting Master and the serial number is really 341xxx, when I talked to him about it. He has probably already fixed it on his website.

Being an Member of the S&W Collectors Association, a quote from Roy Jinks who worked at S&W for many years... Roy often states "...that S&W was in business to make money and didn't care about making an orderly world for collectors". I think this also applies to Colt from all of the research I have done on the early ones...An occasional error can be found in the shipping records, but for the most part they are accurate! Just my opinion.... Bob Best
 
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