SW clone?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by thomasray, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. thomasray

    thomasray Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Columbia River
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    T.A.C. is Trucaola, Aranzabal y Cia., Eibar, Spain.

    Spanish copy of a Smith from the late 20s to early 30s. Sold for 2 to 5 dollars where a real S&W cost 20 to 40. Cheap piece of junk then, and has not improved with age.

    I see the current bid is 95 bucks, and it's worth about 50, as a display piece, or maybe as a prop in community theater.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I just read the description.

    "Not sold for shooting". Good idea.
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    What a write up for a piece of soft Spanish steel. Rare classic, OK, one of a kind. minty, rare 5 screw. :Thanks thomasray for posting, I needed a good laugh to brighten my day:D
  5. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    thomasray, as has been said above, this pistol was made in Spain by one of many companies that flourished there by making cheap knock-offs of other people's designs from about 1890 to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. It is more or less a copy of the Smith & Wesson Military & Police, or K-frame, but the trigger mechanism is usually a mixture of S&W and Colt features.

    These manufacturers were mainly in a region of northern Spain called Eibar, which is ethnically Basque. For that reason, their names are often unpronounceable - even by people speak Spanish, I think.

    This industry expanded rapidly during the First World War, because the French and Italian armies bought large quantities of 32 automatic pistols from virtually anyone in Spain who could produce them. The French, and to a much lesser extent, the British also bought some revolvers in Spain, and Trocaola y Aranzabal is best known as a supplier of revolvers to both of them.

    This suggests that their quality was at least slightly above average. It actually took a bit more skill to make a cheap revolver than a cheap automatic, because a DA revolver had more parts, and the timing of the cylinder had to be good enough to pass some sort of military acceptance test.

    But the Spanish were well known for using soft steels to ease manufacturing - the 32 automatics they made for the French Army were massive compared to a Colt 32. I guess the French required them to use enough steel to take the strain...for the duration of the war, at least. The French revolvers were S&W K-frame sized, like this one, but the French revolver ammunition was about like 32 S&W Long in power, not .32-20.

    As Alpo says, Trocaola revolvers of the style in this auction are post-WWI products, intended for export to the civilian markets in North, Central, and South America. Their import into the USA dropped after a new import-tax act was passed about 1930, and even more when Smith & Wesson won a sort of trademark infringement suit against their importers in the US Supreme Court. The Spanish Civil War swept away nearly all of these companies.

    There are people who like these Spanish pistols, for their novelty (the Spanish copied everything) and for the strange chapter of firearms history they constitute. Also, they are an area of gun collecting that is still relatively inexpensive. Because they were cheap guns, they were often abused, but unlike, say, wristwatches, many people buy pistols and then never use them, so nice specimens are far from unknown.

    Few people shoot them any more, and most recommend not shooting them at all. The seller is obviously aware of this.

    Just my $.02. HTH!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    "A VARIATION OF A S&W MODEL 10 WITH SEVERAL VARIANCES..." Like calling a Yugo a "variation" of a Rolls Royce.

    I will get into trouble (again!) because Wikipedia is wrong, but those guns were mostly made of pot metal. No matter what Wikipedia, or your cousin Jed, says, pot metal is not zinc alloy melted in a pot - it is the cheap, low quality cast iron that cook pots were made of. Those guns tend to be not soft, but hard and brittle. When fired with an overload, or when they just decide to give up, they break into pieces. If the load is hot enough, the pieces fly around and hit things, including people.

  7. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    Jim K, how can a person who owns one of these guns determine if it is soft or brittle? Is there some common, non-destructive test that can be performed? I realize that most tests will mar the gun somewhat, but most guns have some inconspicuous places that can be tested - and most of these guns are far from mint anyway.

    Decades ago I knew a mechanical engineer who threw around terms like "Charpy V-notch test", and I have heard of something called Brinell (Brinnel?) numbers, and Rockwell hardness, but I have no idea if there is some simple way to find out, at least in a general way, if the steel in a gun is lead-soft or cast-iron brittle. I do realize that different hardness's are used in different parts of a gun. Thanks!

    PS - you quite right to point out that calling the gun in question a "variation" of an S&W is utterly misleading. It pretty much the same attempt to mislead that S&W took to court back then!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
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