Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Gun Fairy smiled on me today!
Oh, boy, Tamara's going to be so jealous when she hears about this . . . she collects, shoots and writes about old Smith & Wesson revolvers, you see.
I dropped into my local gunshop today for a friendly cup of coffee (and promptly got invited to lunch - jambalaya, salad and garlic bread. Ooohhh, the food in Louisiana . . . it definitely helps to compensate for the heat and humidity!) Anyway, he had a .44 Special revolver, model undetermined, and asked if I wanted to see it. When he brought it out, I did a double-take, and with bated breath, asked the price. He named a figure, and my hand probably broke the sound barrier on its way to my pocket to get out my wallet!
What I came home with was a pre-World-War-II (1939 production) Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector, also known as the 'Triple Lock'. This one's an example of the Third Model. Tamara's given a good description of the Hand Ejectors on her weapons blog, so if you don't know much about them, you can read her article for more information. Suffice it to say that a Hand Ejector, any model, in really nice condition, is one of the Holy Grails sought for by US arms collectors - and I have one sitting on my desk as I write this. (Click the pictures below for a larger view.)
The grips aren't original - these ones look like target grips from the 1960's or 1970's. Apart from that, however, the gun's in superb condition. It appears to have been re-blued at some point, but the work was very well done, with the rollmarked letters still crisp and readable. In a way, I'm sorry it was re-blued, as that instantly chops 50%-60% off the value of the gun: but since I got it for a remarkably low price anyway, I can't complain! I'm already getting e-mails from friends, offering three times what I paid for it.
It also has the relatively scarce 5" barrel (most were 4" or 6½"), which makes it a bit more sought-after.
I'm going to enjoy shooting this gun - something I can do with a clear conscience. If it were in original condition, its 'collectability' would probably render it too valuable to be shot! I daresay I'll part with it after that, as I have other things I need, and I have friends out there who'll give it a loving home. Still, I'm thoroughly enjoying having a piece of classic Americana and shooting history on my desk. Luck like this doesn't come every day!
It's my birthday soon, so I think I'll regard this as my birthday present to myself.