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View Full Version : .32-20 WCF Hand Ejector (Model of 1905)


Brush511
March 10, 2013, 01:22
After seeing Temp's thread on model 10's, I thought some of you might like some pictures of my 6" .32-20 K Frame.

The first part of Feb. a year ago, a friend and I went to the Ag Show (farmer stuff for you city folk) in Spokane. After going through the show we hit a few gun shops. At a pawn shop out in the valley I saw this .32-20 K frame. They wanted ~$400 for it. I offered $300, thinking we could settle some where in the middle. The guy behind the counter said, "no, all prices as marked". I thanked him and left. No way was it worth $400 to me in that condition. This Feb. we went to the same Ag Show and went back to the same pawn shop and there it was, the same K frame (the blueing wear on the left side is kinda distinctive), priced at $290. I offered $275 and he didn't even hesitate. I probably could have got it for $250.:uhoh: Oh well, I'm happy.:love:

I haven't shot it yet, but it will be fun to compare with my Colt Army Special. I am thinks its a "4th Change" model made in the mid to late 1930's. The serial no. is 1137XX, if one of you guys with a copy of "The Book" would be so kind as to look it up for me. Buff? Retired Bum?

http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa131/brush511/102_3603_zps8f18b842.jpg

http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa131/brush511/102_3604_zpsab9866bc.jpg

BUFF
March 10, 2013, 11:59
The .32-20 and the .38 Special M&Ps were each numbered in their own series.

Roy Jinks' (factory historian) book says s/n 65,701 to 144,684 ran from 1915 to 1940. These moved slowly towards the end, I would guestimate yours shipped about 1930 or so. My other main S&W book doesn't get any more specific than Jinks.

Retired Bum
March 10, 2013, 19:37
My 3rd issue of the S&W Standard Catalog isn't very helpful. The info that BUFF has provided is the same as I would have given you.

At one time I owned a five inch 32-20 Hand Ejector and shot it with my handloads. A 100 gr LSWC that I cast for use in the .32 H&R Magnum round. I kept the velocity down around the factory level which was about 800 fps with the Winchester 100 gr lead load. The old Smith was a decent shooter but I got the hots for one of the new S&W Model 16-4 .32 Mag's with the six inch barrel and sold the old M&P to help pay for the new piece.

A few years later I acquired a last year production (1927) Colt Army Special six inch in .32-20. A more robust revolver than the old Smith IMHO. I loaded that 100 gr LSWC over 4.4 grs Bullseye in R-P cases and chrono'd that load at just over 1000 fps. It shot to point of aim in the Colt and gave good accuracy in single action fire. I ended up selling the Army Special to a Colt collector who just had to have it. But I still have one .32-20 in the safe. A limited edition Ruger "Buckeye Special" .32 Convertible NM Blackhawk with the 6.5 inch barrel. This is the biggest and strongest revolver ever made for the .32-20 as far as I know. But I use the same load as I shot in the old Army Special. There is no point in abusing the thin and relatively weak .32-20 cases with hot loads. New .32-20 cases are hard to find and pricey at that. The 500+ I have on hand is gonna have to last me for the rest of my life.

And so it goes.


The Retired One

FUUN063
March 10, 2013, 22:12
I, too, had the hots for the old .32-20 pistolas. I have had the same Smith, the Army Special in near new condition and the Ruger. I since have sold them off for other ventures, but my shootin' buddy has the Dan Wesson in .32-20. Very robust and you can load 'em up as hot as the cases can handle.

Leland
:fal:

Timber Wolf
March 11, 2013, 07:40
I'll jump in, I too have a S&W and a Colt Army Special in .32-20, I guess a fellow must have one of each? The Colt shoots good but I have yet to shoot the S&W. I will try and get some pics of mine.

Brush511
March 11, 2013, 22:38
Thanks guys. I was hoping "The Catalog of S&W" would of narrowed it down a little. I found the same basic info in the "Bluebook of Gun Values". Buff, it never occured to me that sales would have tapered off towards the end and thats why they ended production for that model. It makes perfect sense, though and I suppose with the depression, all firearm sales decreased.

K. Funk
March 12, 2013, 17:38
I am starting to see some nice Smith's come out of the woodwork. I have this .32-20 WCF 1905 for sale now on Gunbroker. A little rough, but has a cool factor:



http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=331860577

Thanks,

krf

GSP228
March 12, 2013, 19:06
OK, I gotta jump in here. I have a S&W like the one on Gunbroker, but with a 6 inch barrel, SN 325xx. The SN on the butt and on the barrel under the ejector rod match, but the 5 digit number stamped on the frame when you open the cylinder is different. BUFF, Retired Bum, can you furnish any more info on these wonderful old pistols? Thanks.

BUFF
March 12, 2013, 19:15
The serial number on your gun is the one stamped on the bottom of the grip frame. The number you see stamped inside the frame, in the yoke cut-out, is called an assembly number. The same number will be on the yoke or crane and inside on the sideplate. They were used to keep the fitted parts together during final finish, before final assembly. If original, you will also see the serial number on the bottom flat of the barrel, on the rear face of the cylinder and a couple of other places. Lots of S&Ws get sold with the dealer thinking the assembly number is the serial number, often when the gun has grips on it that cover the frame's bottom.

The .32-20 Hand Ejector (S&W's name for these guns) was introduced in 1899, and along with the .38 Special, were the first guns built on the then-new K frame. They were 'discontinued' in 1940, but according to the factory historian, they had become slow sellers before then and actual manufacture had stopped a few years before that. S&W considers their shipped date to be the "made on" date. There were 144,684 of them made, according to the books, most fixed sight but there are target sight guns out there. The .32-20 was made with 4, 5, 6 and 6-1/2 inch barrels. Yours was made between 1906 and 1908 (22,427 to 33,500) and would be classified as a Model of 1905, First Change.

GSP228
March 12, 2013, 20:06
The serial number on your gun is the one stamped on the bottom of the grip frame. The number you see stamped inside the frame, in the yoke cut-out, is called an assembly number. The same number will be on the yoke or crane and inside on the sideplate. They were used to keep the fitted parts together during final finish, before final assembly. If original, you will also see the serial number on the bottom flat of the barrel, on the rear face of the cylinder and a couple of other places. Lots of S&Ws get sold with the dealer thinking the assembly number is the serial number, often when the gun has grips on it that cover the frame's bottom.

The .32-20 Hand Ejector (S&W's name for these guns) was introduced in 1899, and along with the .38 Special, were the first guns built on the then-new K frame. They were 'discontinued' in 1940, but according to the factory historian, they had become slow sellers before then and actual manufacture had stopped a few years before that. S&W considers their shipped date to be the "made on" date. There were 144,684 of them made, according to the books, most fixed sight but there are target sight guns out there. The .32-20 was made with 4, 5, 6 and 6-1/2 inch barrels. Yours was made between 1906 and 1908 (22,427 to 33,500) and would be classified as a Model of 1905, First Change.Much thanks. A bit of history that I didn't know about Grandpa's revolver.

BUFF
March 13, 2013, 01:42
It's a great plinking round. I find it odd that way back, especially in a lever action rifle or carbine, it was considered a deer cartridge. Nowdays, we think that a .30-30 is underpowered for deer! It was fairly popular with cops in the south and mid-west, before WWII, too.

I have had a few. Most rare one was a Colt Bisley, badly refinished. I had a really nice Marlin lever 30 years ago. The only one I have held onto is a S&W in the 99,xxx range with a 4 inch barrel in pretty nice shape. I don't shoot .32-20 much anymore, having gotten really lazy and confining most of my pistol shooting (and thus handloading) to straight-wall cartridges, like .32 Long and H&R. But I am hanging onto my dies as long as I keep the S&W.

Retired Bum
March 13, 2013, 15:25
At one time the ammo companies produced a high velocity .32-20 round. This was before WW2. I have a Rem-UMC round with a 80 gr JHP. This load would do about 2000 fps in a rifle such as the Winchester Model 1892. As I recall the 92 was designed by JMB as a replacement for the old M1873. It was made of a decent grade of steel and therefore could handle the higher pressure loads such as the Rem-UMC I noted above.

Winchester also produced a bolt action rifle called the Model 43 chambered for the .32-20 rond. This little beauty could handle the hot factory load and it was used for varmit shooting with those 80 gr JHP's.

My old copies of COTW don't give a date but I believe that the high velocity loads were discontinued after WW2. Too many shooters just weren't reading the warning labels on the HV boxes and wrecking old Model 1873's and Colt and S&W revolvers with those hot loads.

Interestingly enough I have the Hodgon's #26 handloading manual and it does have data for high velocity .32-20 loads. But the manual stresses that these loads are for use in the Ruger NM Blackhawk only. I loaded up a small number of rounds using the Hornady 85 gr JHP and H110 powder. The first six rounds I fired over the chronograph did 1525 fps in the 6.5 inch barrel. In a 20 inch rifle barrel I feel that it would have done close to 2000 fps. I inspected the fired cases and the primers were quite flat but not cratered. I used a set of channel lock pliers to crush those fired cases as a precaution against their being used again. As I mentioned earlier the .32-20 is an old round designed to operate at black powder pressures. The thin walled cases take a real beating with hot loads.

And so it goes.


The Retired One

GSP228
March 13, 2013, 16:05
I rummaged around this morning and found the box that Grandpa's .32-20 was in when it was given to me. It was an old shoe box filled with tissue paper. Inside was an old, worn brown leather holster and 25 loose rounds of Remington RNL ammo. Don't know how old any of that might be.