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Bought old S&W lemon squeezer, safe for modern ammunition?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by MattMaier, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. MattMaier

    MattMaier Washington Member

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    I just bought a Smith and Wesson safety hammerless at Cabela's because why not? It's a gun with an interesting history behind it (being the model of gun used to assassinate President McKinley in 1901). It is chambered in .32 S&W (sometimes known as .32 short to differentiate it from .32 S&W long). My research seems to indicate that up until 1940, this cartridge was loaded with black powder. However, the serial number seems to indicate that the gun is a late production model. Granted this is not a gun I intend to shoot very often, but I do want to shoot it. Therefore I want to make sure the ammunition I use is safe for the gun. Anyone who has more knowledge of these guns than I do, can you tell me which serial numbers should be safe for use with smokeless?
     
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  2. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    safe.jpg
     
  3. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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  4. Brutus57

    Brutus57 Skagit County Well-Known Member

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    G'head, what can it hurt....:rolleyes:

    They are cool. Do more research just to be safe.

    Brutus out
     
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  5. ZigZagZeke

    ZigZagZeke Eugene Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    We went through this with my 1873 Remington rolling block. The gunsmith said that up to about 1905 gun manufacturers were not using nickel steel, which allows for the use of smokeless powder. That's one of the reasons we put a liner in my old barrel. The rifling was gone, true, but he also wanted to add strength to the chamber and barrel so I could shoot .38 spc and even .357 Mag, instead of .38 long rimfire, which was what the rifle was made for. I still don't like shooting .357 Mag in it, but I don't have any qualms about .38 spc at half the pressure. I'd consult a gunsmith who specializes in restoring old firearms and see what he says.
     
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  6. MattMaier

    MattMaier Washington Member

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    Just brought it home. The serial number is 148281 and is is a nickel plated, .32 caliber revolver. Can anyone with some knowledge of Smith and Wesson history help me figure out when this gun was made?
     
  7. Captain O

    Captain O St. Helens, OR Well-Known Member

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    Call S&W at their toll-free line and ask for the S&W historian. They can tell you when the revolvers was manufactured. If you buy standard .32 S&W ammunition, you should be able to shoot it safely. (It's loaded on the 'light side' to preserve these revolvers).

    This revolver is great for shooting garden pests and slaughtering large swine by shooting them at the base of their skull. Don't sell the little cartridge short it can do things that the .22 lr wishes it could. I like it for shooting rats, squirrels and small game. In today's "magnum" and "high-power" revolvers, the little .32 S&W can serve in places not suited for larger bore revolvers.

    Trust me, it still has a place in the world of modern cartridges.
     
  8. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Easy to load your own .32 S&W with black powder. Clean & deprime cases, prime cases, fill with BP(remembering not to leave an air space between powder & bullet), insert bullet and crimp. The Lee handloader(whack a mole)will work just fine. Just slow but then again I don't think this is a gun you are going to be sending hundreds of rounds downrange in one range session. It would probably be alright to shoot smokeless rounds in the S&W providing it is post 1909(this the most quoted date I see). I own 3 other brands of .32 top break revolvers that are like new and will not shoot smokeless in them, because BP is what they were designed to shoot. The only one I have that I will is a later Iver Johnson that was made for smokeless. The best thing is to ask S&W. I have 11 guns chambered in some flavor of .32