View Full Version : S&W Fans..Look What Followed Me Home.... UPDATE!!

K. Funk
November 08, 2010, 22:18
Transitional Pre-Model 20 Heavy Duty .38 Sp made in 1946. The finish is a bit beat, but it just called to me.


This is one hefty revolver. Can't wait to get it out.


November 09, 2010, 09:54
Excellent! That big N frame just soaks up the recoil.

November 09, 2010, 10:12
Sweet! If you put it on the auction block let me know.


November 09, 2010, 18:29
What to do? Leave it as is. Ummm, sure kinda beat lookin. Reblue? Maybe tooooo newish lookin then. What about some dark old english polish on the grips and just a oxpho cold blue rub down and oil. If ya don`t likee, then 4/0 it back off. Just a few thoughts for a nice old piece. Hope ya got it for a good price...Best..

K. Funk
November 09, 2010, 19:33
I am happy with what I paid for it. I have considered a fine bead blast and satin re-blue. The guy in the local gunshop almost puked when I suggested it. I will be keeping this and handing it down. I am of the opinion that I would like to have it look really nice as well as shoot well. I have enough safe queens, I do not have a problem fixing this old girl up.

Opinions welcome.


November 09, 2010, 20:06
Well--purists say it would be forever re-blued---but since I call BS on the purists--

Contact S&W and see what they would charge for a reblue. I'd throw it in the purists faces because it would be done by Smith. And I've seen some of their work and it is indeed classy. May cost a bit more but at least the pedigree would stay intact.

November 09, 2010, 21:44
I agree-money well spent especially if its gonna be handed down- fine looking S&W by the way- love S&W wheelguns!


K. Funk
November 09, 2010, 22:15
I put a few feelers out this evening to some wheelgun restorers. I will call S&W in the morning.


November 10, 2010, 02:43
Be careful who you get to do it--if you do it. A good job goes a long way but a bad job is forever and can ruin a gun. I have had them and it makes me sick. Anyway, I have it's brother I purchased on GB a while back. It is a 5" pre-27 that is as smooth as a baby's butt. Finish is about the same as yours. Original grips, too. I likey the S&W's.


November 10, 2010, 07:40
Purists say a refinish will eliminate the collector value, while in reality, collectors don't collect guns in that condition unless they are really rare, which a Heavy Duty really isn't. While a quality refinish is costly, and you won't ever recoupe the money spent if you resell it, if you want it nice and shiney, go ahead. In your shoes, I probably wouldn't worry what the critics say.

Google "Ford's Refinishing." They do great work and lots of old S&W's.

K. Funk
November 10, 2010, 09:11
I think I am going to send it to David Chicoine. He seems to be what I am looking for.


November 10, 2010, 17:35
I only ever had one re-BLUED gun.

Goddam finish would NOT STOP RUSTING. :mad:

I traded the gun. Then it was stolen. I hope the thing is a mass of rust.

Nice six-shooter you got there.
I do loves my six-shooters.

November 10, 2010, 19:21
Pics Please, When ya get it back. I`ve also read good things on Ford`s for refinishing S&Ws.

November 10, 2010, 21:11
One of my pre-20's was a victim of a poor refinish job. It was peeling and looked terrible. I sent it to Fords and they did a great job on making it look presentable. Your gun is what is called a transitional model, one of the last "long action" ones made before the change to the "short action"mods. Here's a quick pic of mine. http://i397.photobucket.com/albums/pp60/combat10/033.jpg

November 10, 2010, 22:31
My opinion isn't worth spit, but I'd keep it as is. I find good honest wear on a firearm........ well......... charming! I will probably never refinish any of the FAL kits I am building as I like the "battle rifle" look.:biggrin:

K. Funk
November 11, 2010, 07:03
I understand your passion for the natural look completely. I too have many that I would not touch the finish on. For some reason, this one speaks to me a little different.


November 11, 2010, 07:16
I love "N" frames. I have a 5" 27-2 that is in reasonable shape that I have considered getting refinished. The only reason I haven't is I am afraid I wouldn't ever use it again.

Karl, $400 strikes me as an incredible amount of money to spend on that gun(nothing rare or historically significant). It looks like they do great work but damn. S&W was getting $2-250 when I checked a while back.

November 11, 2010, 08:02
There is another way to look at the situation.

A first class refinish/restoration will cost you $250-$500 or more, depending on any mechanical repairs needed and cosmetic work you want done (say, if you want thinned roll marks re-cut). You could take the money you intend to spend on that, sell the gun you have, and for the combined sums, you can probably find a much nicer example that won't need all that reworking done and will hold it's value better.

Right now I have 3 .38-44 Heavy Duties, which came with fixed sights, and a variant of the same gun with adjustable sights and 6-1/2 inch barrel called a .38-44 Outdoorsman. The oldest is a 5 incher made about 1933 and has the old long action. It has an unusual, special order stepped-face half-moon front sight blade called a "Military Target" sight by Roy Jinks. Original service stocks and a Fray-Mershon grip adapter (looks like a Tyler). Smooth trigger pulls, was doublessly owned by a shooter.

A newer 4 inch one I have was owned by Boeing Aircraft Company and has markings and Boeing toolroom inventory stickers on the gun and it's box indicatiing it was purchased with USAF funds and was a plant security guard's weapon. 4 inch barrel, stocks like on yours. I lettered it and it was bought by Boeing from Warshal's Sporting Goods in Seattle in 1959. Fired hardly at all, but obviously carried a lot with the right wood grip panel beat up.

The nicest is the .38-44 Outdoorsman. Made 1954-1955, ribbed barrel, original gold picture box. Unfired, probably, pristine except for a slight amount of blue wear on the front edges of the muzzle from rattling around in the box for 55 years. I haven't shot it yet.

My favorite Heavy Duty isn't a .38 Special any longer. I bought a really nice 4 inch blue gun made about 1946-1947. I sent it to Hamilton Bowen who rechambered it to .45 Colt and bored and re-rifled the barrel to 0.452" He made a new rounded, serrated front sight blade, tuned the action, lockwork and cylinder/yoke/extractor to perfection. He had the hammer and trigger recolor case hardened by Doug Turnbull, and then had the caliber markings recut from ".38 S&W SPECIAL CTG" to ".45 COLT CTG". The gun's old process reblue is flawless. I am trying to save up the funds and decide on the workman to make up a set of elephant ivory stocks for it. Then it will be perfect!

S&W manufactured twelve Heavy Duty revolvers chambered for .45 Colt in March, 1938. S&W Collectors Assn members have 2 of them.

The .38-44 Heavy Duty cartridge and gun combo was a leap forward. The getaway bank bandits of the Roaring Twenties used the biggest and fastest automobiles of their day, armed themselves with Thompson submachine guns and BARs stolen from National Guard armories. Many wore primitive body armor made of steel panels and ceramic plates. Cops needed handguns with more power to penetrate these guys and their gear than they got from the then-standard .38 Special revolver throwing a 158 grain round nose lead bullet at a hoped-for 855 fps that was usually only about 750 fps. Many cops also carried Colt semiauto pocket pistols in .32 and .380 ACP. The .45 Auto-loaded 1911 was good on unarmored people but not a great barrier penetrator, so Colt took the .38 Auto, also used in the new 1911, pumped it's 130 grain fmj bullet up from 1,040 fps to over 1,280 fps, and called it the .38 Super Auto. It was hoped that the hotter ammo throwing bigger, faster bullets would help.

S&W's contribution was to take their largest N frame, which had been used for .44 Special, .45 ACP and .455 cartridges and rechamber and rebarrel it to the standard .38 Special cartridge. The big gun was far stronger than the smaller K frame Military & Police revolver that S&W usually sold to cops in .38 Special and .32-20 Winchester. In 1930, S&W, Remington-Peters and Winchster collaborated on a new, high speed, high pressure loading of the .38 Special, elevating it's 158 grain bullet from it's usual 855 fps to a whopping 1,150 fps. Many of these hot new loadings carried flat-faced semiwadcutter bullets while others had pointed, cone-shaped metal tips to penetrate armor and getaway cars better. These big .38-44 sixguns from S&W had 4, 5, 6 and 6-1/2 inch barrels and became the high speed/bad boy cop gun of the day.

Outdoors guys and hunters wanted to get the new mid-bore power, too, and a year later, in 1931, S&W released a deluxe .38-44 that had adjustable sights in place of the Heavy Duty's fixed sights. Most of them had 6-1/2 inch barrels. They were called Outdoorsmen.

S&W didn't rest on their laurels with these new, more powerful guns and cartridges. In 1935, S&W took the Outdoorsman, lengthened the chambers of the cylinder to hold a new cartridge that externally seemed to be just a .38 Special with a cartridge case one-eigth of an inch longer. The gun had better steel and heat treatment, because the new, longer cartridge was loaded to much higher pressures, producing higher velocities. We saw the family of cartridges boost the velocity of the 158 grain bullet from the .38 Special's 855 fps, to the .38-44 Heavy Duty's 1,150 fps, to the longer cased .357 Magnum's 1,515 fps.

In addition to the more powerful, longer cartridges it fired, the new .357 Magnum was a deluxe gun finished to higher levels and features. It was a cusotom ordered gun. The buyer could specify any barrel length from 3-1/2 inches to 8-3/4 inches, in 1/4 and 1/8 inch increments. The barrel gained a top rib for extra weight and the barrel's rib and the top strap of the frame, and even the rear sight body on top of the frame, were very finely checkered. The customer could order his finish, an incredible deep blue or a gleaming nickel, a choice of grips styles and grip adapters and a choice of front and rear sight blades.

These new .357 Magnums were expensive, costing $60 1935 dollars compared to the $45 the second-most expensive S&W cost.

Shooters soon discovered that they could take their much less expensive .38-44 Heavy Duty and have it rechambered, cutting the .38 Special chambers 1/8 inch deeper as to accept the longer .357 Magnum cartridges. These big heavy hunks of steel handled the extra muscle just fine. Re-chambered Heavy Duties are not rare. I have owned at least 2, one of which I shot several thousand handloaded .357 Mag rounds through while going to college in the 1970's. I sold it to an older guy at the range where I usually shot and saw him there often shooting his own hot .357 handloads by the coffee cans full.

The Heavy Duty was made from 1930 until 1941, when wartime production dropped this gun. S&W had made 11,111 of them during that time. Production resumed in 1946. The new guns got a new rebound hammer block and an S prefix added to their serial numbers. In 1948, the short throw hammer was added. In 1957, the .38-44 Heavy Duty was designated the Model 20. Other changes were made to the guns leading to their designations being Model 20-1 and then 20-2. S&W discontinued the Heavy Duty in 1966.

Altogether, Smith & Wesson manufactured 11,111 Heavy Duty prewar guns and another 20,604 guns postwar, for a total of 31,715. During the same time period, S&W made 4,761 pre-war Outdoorsmen and another 8,365 post-war. Outdoorsmen made after 1957 became the Model 23. The Model 23 also bit the dust in 1966. By then, S&W was making 2 N frame .357's, the Model 27 and the Model 28 Highway Patrolman, which were bulit on the same frame and could shoot any loading the .38-44 guns could as well as the .357 Magnum loading. Also being made were 2 K frame .357 Magnum revolvers, the fixed sight Model 13 and the adjustable sight Model 19 Combat Magnum. So the Heavy Duty and Outdoorsman went quietly away.

Their popularity has resurged recently and their values have climbed as people find out how much fun it is to shoot hot .38's through the brawny 40 ounce revolvers. Big, tough, with fixed sights, it's maybe the perfect rough duty revolver. Plus it drips class and nostalgia from skilled workmen hand-fitting parts in a simpler time.

Mr. Funk, you did good so far!

If there is any encouragement at all, I can probablu be persuaded to yack about my handloading and custom gun work with the .38-44 Heavy Duty in the next couple of days. I find my experience entertaining.

K. Funk
November 11, 2010, 10:52
I called Smith & Wesson, they will not work on guns made before 1958. Now about that $400...I once sent a Winchester 1886 to Doug Turnbull for an estimate to restore. He came back with $5300!! I sold the gun for 1200 and doubled my money. I think this $400 will be money well spent. I don't have that much into the gun and I think this one deserves a little something. As far as re-sale, I don't plan on it, but if worse come to worse, professionally restored guns seem to sell well, at least in the auctions I have been to. I figure if the wife needs money, she'll get more out of the restored one than she could with it the way it is. I'll post results, but it may be a while.


November 11, 2010, 13:13
I guess if I were going to do something radical ? to an old S & W I might consider going with a high rep shop like Hamilton Bowen's.
Hamilton Bowen's catalog of services (http://bowenclassicarms.com/NEW/SWrev.htm)
I would think work certified as done by such a shop might not hurt the value of the revolver(as much) and you might actually recoup some of the investment when you sell it.

Timber Wolf
November 16, 2010, 11:28
I know Smiths' gotta eat and send their kids to college and stuff but my vote is to leave it alone and enjoy it just the way it is. That is a great old shooter right there. Of course it will be a much better looking great old shooter when you are done! :D Nice piece, thanks for sharing. I have its' slightly younger non-transitional brother at home now and just finshed loading up some scrounged "+P" brass with some warmish loads just for it. All that needs to be done now is some shooting (and grinning)!

TideWater 41009
November 16, 2010, 20:55
I would definitely leave it as-is.

charles isaac
November 20, 2010, 20:33
Nice old Smith, thanks for posting it.

Looks fine to me-all's it needs is some of this-

K. Funk
November 21, 2010, 11:56
There ya go!! The report from David Chicoine is encouraging yet dissapointing. Mechanical inspection revealed that bubba had gotten ahold of it with an attempted action job that did not go well. In addition, the timing is off slightly, there is some end play and the cylinder gap is excessive. All can be corrected but there is a price tag associated with it. I have decided to suck it up and have the revolver restored to like new condition. It will not be cheap, but the die is cast. It will be 6-8 months before I see her again.


November 21, 2010, 16:07
You are a brave man, Mr. Funk! But you couldn't have found anybody better than him.

Did he give you a cost estimate?

K. Funk
November 21, 2010, 19:43
Yes he did, but I am not at liberty to discuss lest I get shamed off of the board for being excessively stoopid. But hey, it's only munny.


Timber Wolf
November 22, 2010, 12:44
Originally posted by K. Funk
Yes he did, but I am not at liberty to discuss lest I get shamed off of the board for being excessively stoopid. But hey, it's only munny.krf

Yep, and it is somebody else's money (yours) too!:biggrin: I would like to know what it would be like to be able to say what I heard Jay Leno say the other day "I have more in this Duesenberg than it is worth.":eek:

D P Six
December 16, 2010, 19:39
Originally posted by K. Funk
but it just called to me.

I can't imagine how many guys have gotten into big trouble because yet another gun just 'called to me'. Good luck with your Heavy Duty.

December 18, 2010, 16:49
you gotta love the S&W revolvers, a few months back i got my Dads Model 28 Highway Patrolmen in .357 from the late 50s or early 60s.

I plan on leaving it just the way it is , holster wear and all.

December 23, 2010, 18:12
Those old Smiths just call to you.

I just snagged a 6" Model 14, no suffix on the model number, K marked on the bottom of the frame, finish is app. 90%, hardly fired, very little flame cutting on the top strap, very well taken care of. The shop also has a model 17-4 in just as good condition, if I had the funds, that would have followed me home too.

TideWater 41009
December 23, 2010, 18:36
Originally posted by bill3542
...I plan on leaving it just the way it is , holster wear and all.

Very wise decision!

December 24, 2010, 06:26
"I just snagged a 6" Model 14, no suffix on the model number, K marked on the bottom of the frame, finish is app. 90%, hardly fired, very little flame cutting on the top strap, very well taken care of."

The K is part of the serial numbe, like "K123456." The K-38's that were model marked but no "dash number" like yours were made just from 1957 (when S&W assigned the model numbers to their guns) to 1959 when they changed the extractor rod to a left-hand thread to keep them from unscrewing when shot and dry-fired; they were them marked Model 14-1. They are sweethearts to shoot,

December 24, 2010, 14:18
Originally posted by BUFF

The K is part of the serial numbe, like "K123456." The K-38's that were model marked but no "dash number" like yours were made just from 1957 (when S&W assigned the model numbers to their guns) to 1959 when they changed the extractor rod to a left-hand thread to keep them from unscrewing when shot and dry-fired; they were them marked Model 14-1. They are sweethearts to shoot,

I pulled out my copy of the S&W reference book before retiring for the night, and the info you stated is exact, however, the serial number range for the year isn't listed, so I'm going to try to find the year when I have more time.

The shop has an indoor range, and I just had to run a few rounds through it before I left, you are right, they are sweethearts to shoot. Too bad current production Smiths don't have action as smooth as the older models.

K. Funk
November 05, 2011, 17:33
Remember this???? I got a call from David Chicoine Jr. The revolver was supposed to be done in June, but Dave Sr. had a stroke and set things back a bit. The revolver is ready for bluing and should be here this month yet. I will post pics when it gets here. Funny how I forgot completley about this with everything that has been going on!! Will be about 1 year to the day.


November 07, 2011, 19:48
Dave Sr. had a stroke? Crap. Hope he's OK. I have an I-frame with a broken hammer stud I was going to send to him. Guess I'd better wait to find out the status of their backlog...

November 08, 2011, 16:38
Hot Dang! Didn't notice this was an old thread, figgered I wouldn't get to see your re-newed six gun for a year or so.
Waiting to see the pics.

Got to shoot a 38/44 some years ago. Nice gat, but it didn't shoot to the sights and I couldn't hit the proverbial Barn with it.
I like them old S&W's, but I need em with sights! :(

K. Funk
August 19, 2013, 18:47
I just realized another summer is gone and Mr. Chicoine is still not done with this revolver. The last time I was in contact with him was in December (I think) and he stated it was 60% done. 2-1/2 years since I sent it!! Wowzers.


August 19, 2013, 18:59
Damn Buff, I could throw away all these books and just have you sitting on my shelf.

August 19, 2013, 23:06
My fat arse would bust that shelf.

Timber Wolf
August 20, 2013, 07:48
Keep us informed, and of course post pics of that beast when you get it back. I have "shooter grade" 4" HD myself. Bought cheap at a pawn shop years ago whe it was just a too-heavy/bulky .38 nobody wanted.:wink: Somebody filed down the front sight some but I have not shot it enough to tell if it is on or not. A shame I know but maybe someday.

K. Funk
December 03, 2014, 19:58
Take a good look at the photo, I will probably never see it again. Just found out that David Chicoine has gone belly up and a bankruptcy court has taken control of everything. I am currently out about 1k cash and the revolver. I have no contact info for him and I understand from the S&W board that the bankruptcy court has control of his e-mail accounts. At least I am fortunate, there are others over on the S&W boards out many more thousands than me.


December 03, 2014, 22:09
You need to get in touch with the bankruptcy court. You may never see the money again but there's no reason that you should expect to lose the revolver. It's yours,....not his. Depending on how much work has already been done and how close to finished it is you might even be able to consider the money recovered. Good luck, but work quick. You have to get your claim in before the court wraps things up.

December 03, 2014, 22:20
Call the ATF. The S&W is yours. Get them involved.

Nomad, 2nd
December 05, 2014, 12:13
Take a good look at the photo, I will probably never see it again. Just found out that David Chicoine has gone belly up and a bankruptcy court has taken control of everything. I am currently out about 1k cash and the revolver. I have no contact info for him and I understand from the S&W board that the bankruptcy court has control of his e-mail accounts. At least I am fortunate, there are others over on the S&W boards out many more thousands than me.


Contact the court, you COULD turn the ATF loose on them.
It's YOUR gun, if they don't return it when you ask it's theft.... (and I believe federal)

Sorry about your money, mightor might not get that back.

December 05, 2014, 14:38
Don't waste your time with ATF,......they couldn't care less. It's a civil matter.

I called 'em once when some bar bitch poured a drink over my head(alcohol, tobacco and firearms), but they din do nuthin.

December 05, 2014, 16:26
If the entity has filed a bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy court will assign a "trustee in bankruptcy."

You will deal with the trustee for so long as the bankruptcy is active.
There is a complex set of rules pertaining which creditors have priority to receive payment during a bankruptcy.
This sounds like it is not a payment issue, but rather a bailment issue. This should put the issue of the return of your property outside the priority-schedule of the bankruptcy. If you can convince the trustee that this is a bailment issue, you may be able to achieve the return of your property promptly, and before your property becomes listed on an inventory of assets by the trustee.

To learn the identity of the trustee in bankruptcy, contact the court where the bankruptcy was filed - this will be a federal bankruptcy court - not your local pigs-and-chickens court.

Typically, bankruptcy petitions are filed in the federal bankruptcy court serving the jurisdiction where the business is physically located, or where the corporate entity is registered. A call the clerk's office of any federal bankruptcy court may suffice for them to look up the contact-info for the trustee in bankruptcy. You will need to know the correct corporate name. If the registered corporate identity of this guy ACME, Inc., the clerk's office might not be able to pull up the records unless you know that.

The State Corporation Commission of the physical location is a good place to start for discovering the correct corporate name of an incorporated business.

Some might say showing up at the place in person with several friends and an assortment of Louisville Slugger "persuaders" might put you WAY AHEAD the order of priority of creditors, but I can't recommend that.

K. Funk
December 05, 2014, 19:02
I have some leads I am pursuing. My understanding is that a filing has been made asking for bankruptcy, but it has not yet been officially declared. I have dug up all my records as far as the check numbers, dates and bound book log entries. I'll keep digging.


December 06, 2014, 08:26
Crap, just read entire thread closely. I would report it missing with my local P.D. and see what happens when the serial number enters the system.