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.



Ambulance Driver said...


Anonymous said...

Looks nice. Caliber?
Best deal I ever got like that was when I asked my regular dealer if I could look at an old 6".22 Smith he had under the counter glass. Wasn't sure what it was so I did a little research.
Turned out it was a target variant made by/for some guy named Berkhart(sp?)in San Francisco back in the late 20's.
Shortly after, some guy offered me more for the grips then I had paid for the whole gun.
The bargains are still out there.

Again - nice work.

Mongo said...

OOOoooohhh NICE! Good find, and I bet the lunch was good too.

Anonymous said...

Too sweet. I'm also a huge fan of old S&W revolvers- I picked up a nice commerical model 1917 .45 acp for $450 at Thanksgiving.

-Joe Ex PNG

Jerry said...

Very, very nice.

Almost the perfect combat revolver. I say almost due to the fact that if it was .45 ACP you would have the benefit of moonclip reloads. However, the .44 Special is no slouch, and if you hit 'em hard with the first six you don't need a reload.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be the movie geek, but this was the model used by Dr Jones in Raiders, no?

St Paul

Tam said...

If it dates to '39 and has a shrouded ejector rod, it's not actually a Triple-Lock (they were discontinued in '15) but the "Wolf & Klar" 3rd Models are even rarer.

Nice catch! If that's the original bluing, that's about $1500+ worth of wheelgun.

You're right, I'm jealous! :D

HankH said...


Crucis said...

Very nice, Peter. I attended a collector's show last Saturday and vintage S&Ws were all over the place. I saw some pre-K22s that Tam mentioned in her last post on her weapons blog.

I don't remember seeing any .44Spls, but M1917s were all over the place including one in .455Webley priced at $2K.

Very good find. Now get some dies and a simple press and you're set.

ajdshootist said...

Very nice sir im very jealous i always wanted one in 44spl,got a 455 Triple Lock made in 1914 three figure number that i bought back in 1979/80 still got it even although the UK has banned Handguns cannot shoot it but they let me keep it, last pistol i fired on the last day we could shoot handguns.