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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I am still waiting to pick this thing up from the FFL , but I bought this thing as is . It reads "U.S. Revolver Co., Made in USA" on the sight rib. It's got a "hard rubber" grip that has two screws and extends below the frame. That, combined with the ~5 inch barrel leads me to believe that it's a somewhat rare variant. I can only provide photos from the auction.

Serial number on the trigger guard is 48957 (I think). I was really hoping to be able to report if the trigger return spring worked (it should) and the hammer return spring worked (it should) and provide the "true" serial number before posting, but it seems I have to wait until the FFL is ready for me to pick up my firearm.

In my quest to get a little bit of satiation before getting my revolver I'm curious of the following:

How many .32 "target models" were made.

What the grips of the "target models" were made of (So I can try to fabricate reasonable approximations)

If my revolver is fit for smokeless powder. I have read on this very forum that all U.S, Revolver Co. guns were fit for smokeless, then I read more recently that some are only fit for black.

I will update once I get my hands on the revolver and can provide the actual serial number (with prefix) and most likely more photos. I'm looking to conservatively refinish the revolver so as to preserve it for myself and future generations.
 

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The oversize grips, 5" barrel, and blued finish were just factory options. There is no such thing as a "Target" model U.S. Revolver Co.
Additionally, there's no records of how many revolvers were made with a given option or options. The only information available would be "XXXX number of .32S&W (small frame) made in YYYY"

I don't have my book in front of me to look up the year made but I do know your revolver was made in 1918 or later based on the "MADE IN U.S.A." marking on the barrel. I'll look it up tonight and reply.

The U.S. Revolver Co. line was started by Iver Johnson in 1909-10 as a way for them to use up surplus 2nd Model Safety Automatic (black powder) parts after the 3rd Model Safety Automatic (smokeless powder) revolvers were introduced.

Basically U.S. Revolver Co. revolvers are considered black powder guns. There's been debate over the years whether later versions were safe for smokeless ammo or not (I have my own theory but haven't tried it out yet).

Modern factory loaded .32S&W (and .38S&W) ammo is supposed to be loaded to black powder pressures but the problem is smokeless has more of a pressure spike vs. the more gradual curve of black powder. That difference hammers away at the gun over time. I'll admit to shooting some of my Iver made BP revolvers with smokeless but that's only a cylinder or two for function testing when I didn't have any BL loads made up. 5 or 10 rounds of smokeless a couple times a year wouldn't be the end of the world in properly functioning IJ but I wouldn't be running a box of smokeless every trip to the range.

I can't think of the name of the company but there's an outfit that makes aftermarket reproduction grips for many old handguns. I know they offer the regular grips and oversized "perfect" grips with the IJ owl. (just did a quick check, gungrip.com was the site but they don't show the oversize grips with the "U.S." logo. Original grips do show up from time to time on eBay though.
 

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When you receive your revolver you should find the letter "A" as a prefix which would date it to 1922.
In that year 15,700 .32S&W hammer revolvers were made out of a total production of 169,950
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When you receive your revolver you should find the letter "A" as a prefix which would date it to 1922.
In that year 15,700 .32S&W hammer revolvers were made out of a total production of 169,950
Thanks John. I should have guessed at the "factory option" thing, as just about everyone at that time was willing to customize such things for the right price. I have bought "standard" repro grips from gungrip.com. I see "large frame" .32 grips on there I assume they won't fit but I'll ask just in case. Getting "US" marked ones would be nice, but I mostly want to be able to hold the thing with more than two fingers the way the original owners intended.
 

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When you receive your revolver you should find the letter "A" as a prefix which would date it to 1922.
In that year 15,700 .32S&W hammer revolvers were made out of a total production of 169,950
I got it, and the S/N does indeed start with an "A". I'm surprised that even in '22 they were making BP only guns. I suppose for the U.S. Revolvers it makes since being you say they were using surplus parts. I'm thinking if I load for it I'll do black. I read somewhere that it was 9 grains of powder. I'll work my way up to that.

Anyway, thanks for the info and the tip about Ebay for the grips. Sure enough I found someone selling just a right grip.
 

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When loading BP you have to remember that it's done based on case volume not weight. BP needs to be a compressed load. The original load might have been around 9 grains of FFFg but the old cases were "balloon head" and held a little more powder than modern solid head cases.

For loading BP in .32S&W and .38S&W I've made powder dippers out of modified (shortened) cases with a length of coat hanger wire soldered to them. First measure the overall cartridge length you want to use with the bullet you're using (make a dummy round). Next measure the length of the bullet you're using and subtract that number from the overall length to know how far the bullet sits in the case. Add about .020 for powder compression. Trim an empty case to that length (fill the primer pocket with epoxy or leave a spent primer in it). Attach a handle and you now have a powder dipper for the correct amount of BP with a leveled scoop.

For example: If you're going to load cartridges to an OAL of .92" and the cases measure .62 and the bullets measure .45" subtract .45 from .92 = .47 Add .020 for powder compression = .49" That's the length to trim a case down to to make a dipper. I think the one I made for .32S&W actually holds about 7.4 +/- grains of FFFg Pyrodex.

I don't know if you do any BP shooting or not already but remember you have to clean your gun with hot soapy water ASAP after shooting even if it's only a cylinder full!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When loading BP you have to remember that it's done based on case volume not weight. BP needs to be a compressed load. The original load might have been around 9 grains of FFFg but the old cases were "balloon head" and held a little more powder than modern solid head cases.

For loading BP in .32S&W and .38S&W I've made powder dippers out of modified (shortened) cases with a length of coat hanger wire soldered to them. First measure the overall cartridge length you want to use with the bullet you're using (make a dummy round). Next measure the length of the bullet you're using and subtract that number from the overall length to know how far the bullet sits in the case. Add about .020 for powder compression. Trim an empty case to that length (fill the primer pocket with epoxy or leave a spent primer in it). Attach a handle and you now have a powder dipper for the correct amount of BP with a leveled scoop.

For example: If you're going to load cartridges to an OAL of .92" and the cases measure .62 and the bullets measure .45" subtract .45 from .92 = .47 Add .020 for powder compression = .49" That's the length to trim a case down to to make a dipper. I think the one I made for .32S&W actually holds about 7.4 +/- grains of FFFg Pyrodex.

I don't know if you do any BP shooting or not already but remember you have to clean your gun with hot soapy water ASAP after shooting even if it's only a cylinder full!!!
Thanks for all of the info. I have not shot BP before, but I am well aware of the damage an uncared for BP firearm can suffer. It actually looks like someone fired the old girl at some point and cleaned the barrel but not much else. Bore looks good, save for one spot with a pit. I'm going to give a shot at rust bluing it to get it looking somewhat like it did 100 years ago.
 
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