What do you think this S&W's history is?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Jboy, May 21, 2012.

  1. Jboy

    Jboy Member

    77
    Apr 17, 2010
    http://www.*********.com/Auction/Vie...Item=284783646

    I think this is a 1905 M&P Model of 1905 as the serial number lacks the V serial prefix of the 28/200 British Service Revolver. It has been converted to 22 LR by having inserts installed in the chambers. The firing pin has been adjusted for rimfire.

    The rear sight is interesting.

    From the pictures the markings show it to have been in England and then I think in Silesia, a part of Poland/Germany (depending on the year).

    I can guess it went from the USA to England in WW2 and then to Silesia, but then returned to England where the 22 conversion was done and eventually back to the USA? OR was it converted by the English into a training revolver and then shipped to Silesia and then made its way here?

    The workmanship of the conversion is excellent. The depth rifling in the barrel is slight. To see the grooves one has to hold it to the light just right.

    The markings and the trip from the USA to England to Silesia and then probably back to England (marking on barrel) and then to the USA (?) make me wonder if anyone has any idea what the story might likely be.
     
  2. Jboy

    Jboy Member

    77
    Apr 17, 2010
    and yes the deleted part of the web address is the auction site starting with a gun and ending with ker.

    Please take a look at the listing and try to help me figure out what the history of this is.

    Thanks
     

  3. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    Beats me. Silesia is a very unlikely destination for a WWII S&W revolver - it was occupied by the USSR after they drove the Wehrmacht out.

    The British are better known for rebuilding .38/200 Victory Models after the war, but I think that was done in Germany too. A number of Western German police departments received Victory Models in 1945-46. (As I understand it, they did not like them much, and traded them off for whatever 32 automatics they could find.)
     
  4. Jboy

    Jboy Member

    77
    Apr 17, 2010
    It is actually a bit more interesting as it lacks the letter prefix for a Victory model and is more likely a M & P Model of 1905. I am thinking it was converted to 22 LR prior to being shipped out of England to Silesia. The rear sight is interesting and unlike any I have see previously. The quality of the gunsmithing to make it into a 22 is very good.

    How it got to the USA is beyond me.
     
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    First, Silesia is a district in Europe, once part of Germany but now almost all in Poland. But the Silesia stamped on that gun is on the map right beside the state of Cabela; it is the name of a German gun and sporting goods dealer. All the marking tells us is that at some time, probably before conversion to .22, the gun was sold by Silesia.

    The proof marks are English, put on in Birmingham, and show the caliber as .22, indicating the proof was done after conversion, probably because of the conversion.

    There is no indication whatsoever that the revolver is a Victory Model, was Lend Lease, was used by any military service, was taken from Hermann Goering, or any other story that might be concocted.

    But, in the interest of adding to a story, it might have been purchased in Germany by a Brit, maybe a British serviceman. The conversion MIGHT have come about in the period when UK law allowed HM subjects to own .22 caliber handguns, but nothing bigger. Later, of course, all handguns were banned, part of an ongoing campaign by U.K. anti-gunners to ban all firearms, all air, gas, and spring guns, all gun replicas, or any object that resembles a gun in any way. Needless to say, the U.S. is next on their agenda.

    Jim
     
  6. Jboy

    Jboy Member

    77
    Apr 17, 2010
    Thanks Jim.
     
  7. Jboy

    Jboy Member

    77
    Apr 17, 2010
    Jim, I think we agree it is a Military & Police Model of 1905 - 4th Change.

    The problem with the way you have described it is that the model was manufactured between 1915 and 1942 with serial numbers between 241704 and 1000000. This one is about 2/3 through the production run which I am guessing is 1939 to 1941 vintage. They must have been making them as fast as possible after Pearl Harbor or to fill British demand. Shall we say 1940 give or take a year?

    If it is 1940 or 1941 or 1942 it is hard to believe it was not a military weapon at some point. Even more so if it came to market after Pearl Harbor or was not given to the Brits.

    So what we seem to have is a pistol built prior to 1942 that made its way from the USA to England or Germany/Poland and then either back to England or the USA and definitely back to the USA eventually. Interesting life even if Herman did not have this one.

    My dates and serial number information comes from the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson 3rd Edition page 139.

    Was it even possible for a civilian to bu a new pistol in the USA in 1942 or had all supplies been delegated to the military? A part of history I was around for.

    Seems the story is a bit more complex than the pistol was exported to a German arms dealer and eventually brought back to England for conversion to 22 LR and then back to the USA unless it made its way to Germany prior to the war and was manufactured a bit earlier than I think.
     
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