Sunday, April 22, 2007

Going Antiquing!

There's a gun show in town this weekend; I'm off to buy some beef jerky and wander the aisles looking for an old top-break Smith or an antique military rifle. Yay!

3:15PM EDIT: Score! I've been looking for a reasonably-priced shooter-grade .32-20 Hand Ejector for absolutely years, but all the ones I'd seen were either pristine and priced to match or looked like they came up off a U-boat wreck. Today I found a nickel 5" specimen in probably 75-80% condition. The guy had a $350 tag hanging on it, which was really way more than I planned on dropping today, so I passed it by on my first circuit. As I came around the second time, I stopped, stared wistfully for a bit, wiped the Cajun spices off my hand and asked if I could handle it. The guy said yes, so I picked it up, careful to handle it only by the stocks or through the fabric of my jacket, and started peering more closely at the piece, checking the bore and whether all the serial numbers matched.
"I can move a bit on the price," the seller volunteered, unprompted. I kept silently looking the gun over.
He piped up again "I can sell it for $250."
"$250 I can do," I replied, reaching into my pocket.

Now I have a .32-20 Hand Ejector Model of 1905, 4th Change. The serial number looks to place it within the 1920s, but I'll need to get it lettered to find out for sure. Pictures et cetera forthcoming.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm just starting on the Smith & Wesson bug, myself.


Anonymous said...

I see some new reloading dies and some fresh starline brass in someones future.

Reloading for those older S&W's can be a very rewarding experience and it is neat to get some old revolver like that working again.

Anonymous said...

Nice score.
I finally gave up on finding a good'un and bought one with a small bulge in the barrel, figuring I would get it rebarreled.
HA! Good luck on finding a barrel. Still lookng for one a year later. Give us a picture when you get a chance.

Xavier said...

Congrats Tam! I want to see that one!

Tracy said...

Cool! I've always wanted one of those, myself. I've read that the .32/20 was quite popular amongst homesteaders, who used it to dispatch all manner of varmints and small-to-medium edibles.

Jay G said...

Sweet score Tam!

Interestingly enough, I'm going to the S&W plant on Thursday for a tour. I'll tell 'em you said hi...

Ken said...

Very nicely done. I'm thinking about one of the Italian repro top-breaks, down the road.

Matt G said...

I love the old break-tops. Very fast reloads.

For some reason, they fell into disfavor only a little while before modern metalurgy advanced enough to allow making them strong enough to accept more powerful loadings. But for a pistol, there's no flies on a .32-20; kind of an old-school .32 magnum. (I don't know what a factory load, designed to be used in a rifle, would give out of a revolver barrel, but I'll bet it's in the vicinity of a .32 H&R).

Matt G said...

And, I meant to ask, in the first paragraph, above-- what stopped you from getting another break-top as planned?

Caleb said...

And once again I'm jealous. A .32-20 Hand Ejector is high on my list of "Need one of those" C&R guns.

staghounds said...

Ned Cobb (AKA Nate Shaw) smiles on you from the beyond.

When I lived in Connecticut and NY, I'd always stop at any rural or small town gun, pawn, or antique store I'd pass. I often noticed the little .32 and .38 top break Smiths in the show cases, usually in stellar condition, sometimes boxed.

Seems that these little gems walked in all the time as old ladies who had bought them new died, and the guns emerged from bureau drawers. Nobody wanted them, and a $50 bill often bought me another one.

Even then that was stealing, I'd carry them back down south on vacation and triple my money.

It was always Smiths, almost never Owl Heads or Police Positives.
Strange phenomenon.

I've always thought of how well armed America must have been a century ago, when those cheap but serviceable top breaks sold for the price of a restaurant dinner and the gunmakers ran full page adverts in general circulation magazines.

Anonymous said...

Neat! My Granddad's S&W is a 6 inch .32-20, S/N 114xxx. Someone did not clean the bore correctly, so it's some pitted. Shot it a few years ago, still adequate for it's purpose and then some. Al T.

Anonymous said...

I have two 32-20s that belong to my great grandfather and his brother, Can any one here help me to date these guns by the serial # and where in the world can I get ammo for these guns? serial # are 137xxx and 134xxx Chris