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  1. #1
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    Default Smith Wesson Military Police model 10

    Purchased a nice five inch Military and Police. It was claimed to me that based on S/N the gun was manufactured in the twenties. Know this is not correct as gun has ramp rather than round front sight. Much to my surprise gun does not show code but only S/N 2025. Can you help me to find correct year of manufacture?

  2. #2
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    A couple of points and questions - if its a Model 10 its post 1957, Smith didn't start the model numbering system until '57. Open the cylinder, look in the frame cutout where the yoke matches up and if its a Model 10 it will be so stamped there,
    i.e. MOD 10-5, or MOD 10-7, etc. The -number indicates the revision change. The other numbers there are assembly numbers and are not the serial number.

    Check your serial number again, on the butt of the revolver, and be sure to let us know if there is a letter prefix, i.e. C 12345678 or S 9876543.

    Can you post pictures? They would really help. Post back and one of us will be able to give you an appox. date out of the SCSW, but a factory letter would be more precise.
    Last edited by will5a1; 02-06-2008 at 12:47 PM. Reason: to add

  3. #3
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    correction.

    the full serial number at the bottom of the frame is 2824XX. there is no letter prefix

    the ramp is 1/16 inch thick and does no taper from top to bottom

    the 2025 visible when you open the cylinder must then be the model number. only problem is not aware of such model in the S&W revolver line.

    your comments on the year of manufacture and correct model number will be appreciated

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mendiepe View Post
    correction.

    the full serial number at the bottom of the frame is 2824XX. there is no letter prefix

    the ramp is 1/16 inch thick and does no taper from top to bottom

    the 2025 visible when you open the cylinder must then be the model number. only problem is not aware of such model in the S&W revolver line.

    your comments on the year of manufacture and correct model number will be appreciated
    Only after 1957 was the model # visible when opening the cylinder, before then the numbers were assembly numbers

    The s/n would be pre-war, possibly 1920's(?)

    Before 1957, it was called a "Military & Police .38" or now referred to as a Pre-Model 10

    It's worth a letter of authentication from S&W for $30
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/wcsstore.../other/LOA.pdf

    Pics please...

  5. #5
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    The SCSW just indicates a range of 1915 - 1942 for that serial number, but as noted above a factory letter would pin it down more precisely. FWIW its a Military & Police Model of 1905, 4th Change.

    Are the grips walnut or hard rubber? Do they have the S&W gold monograms? Carefully remove the grips, if they are original to the revolver you should find the serial number penciled on the right one.

    S&W didn't start heat treating cylinders for this model until serial number 316648, limiting yourself to standard or low pressure ammunition is probably a good idea. As I stated in my first response the other numbers on the frame in the yoke cutout are assembly numbers - these were used to keep components together during the manufacturing process, to make sure the right yoke went to the right frame, etc.

    You should also find the serial number on the flat of the barrel (underside in front of the frame), rear face of the cylinder, the yoke, and it may also be on the rear face of the extractor star.

    Pictures would help confirm this, enjoy your revolver and it is fun getting these old gun lettered, so give that some consideration. I'm guessing a 1916 ship date from the factory, but that's a wild guess only.
    Last edited by will5a1; 02-06-2008 at 05:14 PM. Reason: to add

  6. #6
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    Default Military & Police

    would it be safe to assume year of manufacturing was 1928 based on the first three serial number digits?

    ramp rather than round front sight could indicate early target model, but rear sight is common channel on top of the frame, not adjustable rear sight.

    the grips are walnut with gold medallions in excellent shape. no serial number. not target type either.

    will use only light WC target loads.

    any additional comment you may have will be appreciated.

    will try to get pictures

  7. #7
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    No - I'd bet money its a 1916 or 1917 revolver, this serial number sequence started with #1 with the .38 Hand Ejector, Military and Police, First Model, in 1899, and ended in 1942 at 1,000,000, when the V prefix was added and the sequence was stsrted again at V1. This serial number sequence covered the First Model, the Second Model of 1902, and the Model or 1905, Changes 1 through 4 - I've got Jinks book open in front of me as I type this and he says serial number 241,704 was the first Model of 1905, 4th Change, starting in 1915, so I'd put yours as a 1916 or 1917 ship date but only a factory letter will tell for sure. There are some other possibilities here too, maybe a barrel change, a special order, barrel/front sight, modification by the factory or ???

    Is the front sight pinned to the barrel or is it the standard milled? Does the barrel have the serial number stamped on it? Post back and do get pictures up, nothing like seeing a neat old Smith.
    Last edited by will5a1; 02-06-2008 at 08:05 PM. Reason: add

  8. #8
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    Default Military & Police

    attached are pictures.

    original grips shown.

    you can see it does not look like an eighty years old revolver as S/N would indicate.

    comments are appreciated
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC00796.bmp  

  9. #9
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    wrong picture! will be back later

  10. #10
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    Default Military Police Revolver

    finally managed to reduce the picture to a decent size acceptable to thid site

    here they are.

    original grips shown

    notice ramp front sight

    comments will be appreciated
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Military Police Revolver 001.jpg   Military Police Revolver 002.jpg   Military Police Revolver 003.jpg  

  11. #11
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    I can't expand/magnify the photos, so its a little hard to tell, but that looks like a much more modern barrel - I believe S&W changed the front sight from the half moon to the ramp style in or around 1952; and from what I can see (and my old eyes often don't see that well) it does not look like a filed/cut round blade modified to a ramp, but a ramp milled with the barrel itself. So if the serial number is 2824XX, and based on Jinks book and the SCSW stating 241704 dates to 1915, I think its safe to say its at least a pre-1920 revolver, probably 1917 give or take a year or two, fitted with a replacement barrel.

    Older M&P's, if original, should have a matching serial number on the rear underside of the barrel right in front of the frame, above the ejector rod - if your barrel has a serial number matching the frame I am completely at a loss, at least with the info at hand. If the barrel is a replacement it will be unnumbered or have a mismatch number.

    The grips look to me, as much as I can tell, as correct for that era and also look to be in very nice condition. The target grips you have on it will be much more comfortable to shoot with. Without seeing it in detail I can't say much else except enjoy it and thanks for sharing it, you now own what many of us consider to be the classic American revolver.
    Last edited by will5a1; 02-07-2008 at 07:47 PM. Reason: to add

  12. #12
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    mendiepe, PM me for my email and I'll happily adapt the original photos to Gunboards for you.
    Last edited by CW; 02-08-2008 at 12:13 AM.

  13. #13
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    will5a1,

    you made my day. there is a matching serial number under the barrel. had not notice this before but now the plot thickens. how come the gun ended up with a ramp front sight?

    am far from an expert, but doubt this is a complete replacement barrel even if done by S&W. by the way the barrel is pinned to the frame. does this mean anything?.

    only explanation can come up with is that old half nickel front sight was reworked by S&W or by excellent gunsmith at a later date for target purposes. weak link of this reasoning is why if for target puposes, an adjustable target rear sight was not added at the time.

    the replacement target grips came from another S&W (K-38). just hate to think original grips could get damaged at firing range.

    if you or someone else come up with an explanation or theory, please let me know. this may be a one in a million gun which will take care of me in my old age!!

    again, thanks and hope to hear from you ........

  14. #14
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    The front sight - its was either modified from a halfmoon (most likely), or special ordered that way originally (not likely, but possible) or the barrel was replaced by S&W, and the correct serial number was stamped on the replacement barrel (again, possible, but not likely, and there should be a rework mark on the frame if so).

    These revolvers often had the front sights modified, but without examining the revolver, or seeing detailed photos I am shooting in the dark (pun intended).

    If I have time I will post a photo of a 5" M&P, late '30's production, that has had its front sight modified - I am at work right now and I am teaching this weekend so I may not be able to get to it until Monday. I believe it was a fairly common practice to modify these sights, at least its not all that rare. A lot of guys in the inter-war period shot various types of bullseye matches and also often modified the grips, the rules for these matches may have had a "service" type category that limited entry to fixed sight revolvers only, especially in police competitions. Cost may have been a factor also, modifying a standard M&P locally was probably significantly cheaper than ordering the target variation.

    A factory letter will specify when it left the factory, where it was shipped to, and the finish, barrel lenght, types of stocks (grips) and any special features it had - for $30 you can't beat it. As to its value, I wouldn't count on it as a retirement asset, but it is a neat, interesting old S&W, and well worth having. Now if you should happen to come across J. Edgar Hoover's S&W RM, serial number 1, you may be able to retire tommorrow.

    Edit to add - consider CW's offer to help with the photos, I just can't make out the details enough on the ones you posted.
    Last edited by will5a1; 02-08-2008 at 01:04 PM. Reason: to add

  15. #15
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    Your front sight has probably been altered. That vintage of Smith the front sigth was a half moon shape no flat on it.

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    Halfmoon front sight vs. a modified one, albeit a fairly well done one, this is on a late 1930's M&P.



    The middle revolver is the one with the modified front sight, note the half round front sights on the others, the top one is a post war (WWII, circa 1949) M&P, one on the bottom predates your revolver. See how a shooter back then had the sight modified, then a set of grips made up, and the hammer was modified also, though you may not be able to tell it from the photos - I see these modified revolvers now and then, and think they are as interesting to collect as a pristine Triple Lock or RM.
    Last edited by will5a1; 02-08-2008 at 08:38 PM. Reason: to add

  17. #17
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    Here are mendiepe's resized pics. I use Photoshop's "Save for the web" option. Many programs also have that feature. Forgot to add, it's a great looking revolver!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Military Police Revolver 001.jpg   Military Police Revolver 002.jpg   Military Police Revolver 003.jpg  

  18. #18
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    thanks!!

  19. #19
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    That is a neat old revolver, I'd say your front sight started as a halfmoon and was filed to make it a ramp, I imagine you'll find it to be exceptionally accurate with wadcutters, and fun to shoot, and I still say any Smith that old in decent condition is worth a factory letter.

  20. #20
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    I was getting ready to post what will5a1 did, but he made it unnecessary.

    The outline of the sight in profile and the view from the rear seem to preclude any other likely explanations.

  21. #21
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    Default Military & Police

    after a heck of a lot of detective work was able to confirm that original sight was half moon and was reworked to ramp by a former owner. reason given was it was shooting too low!

    took it today to the range.in every respect is at least as good as my K-38. one big big exception is front sight. it is so thin that makes almost impossible to see it. this is big advantage for the K-38.

    at any rate am darn happy with my purchase and unless Hillary gets elected, will remain in my collection for a long time. again thanks to all of you for your interest and help

  22. #22
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    FWIW:
    The number inside the frame when you open the cylinder is an assembly number used in the factory and has no relation to anything else.
    The hammer shape appears to be pre WWII, as do the grips.
    I have been lucky enough to own several pre war Smiths and they are hard to beat. They have all been excellent shooters, and beautifully made.
    FWIW, shooting +P ammo in it will loosen it up a bit over time-not recommended.
    Enjoy it.

    mark

  23. #23
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    DON'T (repeat DO NOT) shoot +P in your M&P, savoia. Someone else will have to help with manufacture date, but sometime in the 1920 or 1930s, knowing that 1 million was reached c. 1941 or 1942.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    clyde
    i didnt think +p would be a good idea. i have some 130 grain full metal jacket for target shooting but i really havent had a chance to shoot it yet. ill wait on the approximate age if someone can chime in.

    thanks again to all

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    savoia,

    understand S & W will provide manufacturing date but you will have to pay about $30.

    dont you dare to shoot +p on your new gun. ask a friend who reloads for a very mild wad cutter reloads to try your gun. would stay away from FMJ at this stage. hope this helps

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    mendiepe

    hhmmm i thought the 130 gr. fmj target bullets would work fine in this gun although i still havent tried it. why would fmj not be a good choice?

    savoia

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    savoia,

    am being overcautious. dont like using FMJ in these old guns but lead w/c. if gun is in good condition by all means go ahead . let us know how you come out. cheers!

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    Those 130 grain FMJs may be Hague Convention-compliant military rounds - I have shot up more that a few boxes of that I "found lying around" in my military days. Used it in a M&P of WWII vintage. It is quite mild, but was not particualrly accurate in my experience. Adequate for plinking around, bit not nearly as accurate as proper target loads (3.2 grains of Bullseye and a 148 grain HBWC was my choice in 38 Special).
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

  29. #29
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    mendiepe

    well i was gonna say,,,,,,, im no expert but........

    full metal jacket seems to be whats available at the store, .30 per shot for the winchester stuff. i do know a guy who reloads so im going to start saving brass and investigate what my price difference would be. s&w will give an exact date for a fee (30.00) and from what ive read on here it could take a while so i was hoping for a ball park figure. clyde estimated 1920s or 1930s. thats way older than i thought. not that i think hes wrong. i just thought maybe 30 yrs at the most (but i have no reason). the s/n is 5XXXXX.

    the +p question was just for general knowledge. i intend on shooting the model 10 at the range only with the kids. my go to gun at the house would be a 12 gage. although we live in "mayberry" so that has never come into play.

    thanks for the info

  30. #30
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    I've found the Winchester 130 gr. white box to be pretty tame. I think you'll be all right with it, but if you blow up your gun, you'll note I didn't guarantee it.

    I've shot it in some of my .38's and .357's and it's reasonably accurate, though not a real tack driver. I bought it for the price rather than stellar accuracy. My pre-Model 14 Smith likes it real well, as did my Model 14, and a Ruger GP 100.

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    thats what i bought, winchester 130 gr, white box of 100. i doesnt say wad cutter although it has a tapered and then flat tip on it.

    the gun itself looks to be in pretty good condition. i cant imagine it failing or exploding. were the 38s of yester year even whimpier than the modern ones ? or were the loads of way back then way lighter ? i thought it would handle any standard 38 round with ease.

  32. #32
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    "i thought it would handle any standard 38 round with ease. "

    Given that it wasn't abused, it should.

    Smith .38's are fun. Enjoy!

  33. #33
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    well i just finished cleaning it. this model 10 preformed perfectly. my son and i took it out today and shot off 50 rounds. my boy is 12 yrs old and he fired it one handed most of the time. he wasnt very accurate being his first time. i was out of practice but did ok i guess. its been 5 years since i sold my last hand gun.

    this ones pretty nice. (looks indentical to the bottom one of the three shown above) i got it for 180 bucks off a guy who knows his stuff i think. i know there has to be alot of these. i could really shoot the heck out of it unless its worth using sparingly.

  34. #34
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    If it is marked "Model 10" it is post-war. If it doesn't have a model number (be on the frame and visible when the cylinder is opened), then pre-war gun. I was presuming (dangerous sport that) it was a pre-Model 10 and hence pre-war Military & Police - which reached 1 million about the time hostilities commenced for the USA.

    The white box 130 grain FMJ Winchester ammo is a standard pressure load and ANY S&W revolver chambered in 38 Special will be safe as long as it is in good order.
    Last edited by Clyde; 09-28-2008 at 09:56 PM.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    thanks clyde and to all

    it doesnt say model 10 anywhere. s/n 522XXX indicates pre ww2 from what ive read. also it was heat treated judging by the number and what ive read. 5" thin barrel. it has four screws on the side of the frame. one screw where the trigger guard meets the frame. one screw on the front of the grip where the metal is in the middle. smith & wesson on one side of the barrel. s&w 38 special ctg on the other side. some (3) patent numbers on top (newest dec of 24 i think,its not infront of me) and the smith and wesson spingfield mass usa. made in usa on the frame and the s&w stamp with trade mark over and under it. the serial number matches the bottom of grip and under side of barrel. the number 2021 when you open the cylinder. i havent seen many of these wich could indicate a sheltered life {haha}. clyde, what do you mean by~ "(dangerous sport that)" ? are certain ones (mine) rare in any way? if not between me and my two sons it will become very well used in a short period of time. its extremely fun to fire it. my kid was pleasantly suprised by the low recoil and for me ive just been away from handguns for too long i guess.

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    a friend of mine (with a reloader) is suggesting 110 grain jhp for home defense. again i keep this locked and unloaded. i dont even think the police draw there guns around here. from a accuracy standpoint could they be better? (see clydes post above on the 130 gr. fmj) i didnt shoot real good last night but it may be lack of practice..

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    If it is marked "Model 10" it is post-war. If it doesn't have a model number (be on the frame and visible when the cylinder is opened), then pre-war gun. I was presuming (dangerous sport that) it was a pre-Model 10 and hence pre-war Military & Police - which reached 1 million about the time hostilities commenced for the USA.
    incorrect, the model #s came 1957 and after, before 1957 the numbers visible when the cylinder is opened are just for assembly purposes at the factory. I have a 1948 M&P .38 (dated by Mr. Jinks at S&W) and the #s on the frame are not the ser #. Also my ser # is S9785XX so S1000000 was mid to late 1948

    Last edited by MikeH1; 09-29-2008 at 03:54 PM.

  38. #38
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    Savoia:

    Based on other known ship dates for serial numbers in your revolver's range 1926 would be a best guess for a ship date from the factory, as noted in a number of the replies to the OP of this thread when it started only a factory letter will give an exact ship date.

    Your revolver was regulated at the factory to shoot 158gr LRN to point of aim; the lead 158gr SWC, especially the plus P variant HP variant, has proven itself over the years a effective SD load. It should also shoot to point of aim, that has been my experience.

    Plus P may or may not wear out your gun quicker than standard pressure loads, but it is more expensive and you may want to train/target shoot with the cheaper WW whitebox FMJ you already have. There is no magic bullet - shoot placement is much more important, IMHO.

    Enjoy your revolver.

  39. #39
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    I agree with the 158 gr. sight regulation, but the only way to tell if that's what shoots in your gun for you is to shoot different loads. After all, you may be like me and have "weird" eyes and not hold the gun or use the same sight picture as everyone else.

    I personally wouldn't shoot a lot of plus P in it. If I used it, I'd see how it shot and if good, I'd try to find a practice load to shoot to the same point with standard pressure. For one of my J frames that's the 125 gr. Plus P Rem. Golden Saber and a handload with a 158 gr. lead bullet.

    Good luck with finding what works and keep up the practice.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mendiepe View Post
    would it be safe to assume year of manufacturing was 1928 based on the first three serial number digits?

    ramp rather than round front sight could indicate early target model, but rear sight is common channel on top of the frame, not adjustable rear sight.

    the grips are walnut with gold medallions in excellent shape. no serial number. not target type either.

    will use only light WC target loads.

    any additional comment you may have will be appreciated.

    will try to get pictures
    Mendiepe, Your pistol was assembled during WWI and very likely shipped mid-1917 to mid-1918. It would be unusual to have a wartime shipped pistol. Interesting. Hopefully you'll be providing a gift for the answer closest to what you discover from Mr.Jink's history letter. By now you have a clearer picture of the other details. That 4-digit number inside the crane/yoke area should be a matched pair, one on the frame the other on the inside yoke. These are the assembler's numbers used to keep the parts together after fitting and bluing. Nice revolver you have there.

    And do not fire +P ammo in any Smith&Wesson without the Model or "MOD-xx" number stamped inside on the frame at the yoke. The manufacturing methods at the time did not heat treat the metal to handle these pressures generated by the +P loads.
    Good shooting, Dan P.
    Last edited by Berettamen; 09-29-2008 at 09:26 PM.

  41. #41
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    thank you all for the information. ive had a couple pistols and some long guns in the past, but never such a old gun as this that raised questions. i didnt mean to beat it (the subject of my gun) to death. i just considered it a good find and didnt know much about it. this forum is a good resource...thanks again

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    Thanks, your letter from Smith & Wesson gave me the info I needed to date my model 10-5

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    update ~

    my family including myself are lovin' this gun. we have been using it for target and its been fun. we have been using the winchester fmj's and it is very easy to be accurate with little practice. i did get some winchester 110 grain silver tip hollow points. i was going to test them for expansion. any suggestions on how ? water jugs or ?? ive never done it before but we watched some tests on youtube and the kids want to have an experiment of our own.

    thanks

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    I just purchased a "38 S&W Special CTG"(right side of barrel), Victory Model form a pawn shop out of upstate New York. Serial Number is C116XXX. From what I am gleaning from this string it was manufactured between 1948 and 1968. The left side of the barrel has "SMITH & WESSON"
    Is this weapon old or is this a fun gun for my daughter as intended. What ammo is safe to use.

  45. #45
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    After closely examining CW's excellent blowups, it looks as if the original front sight was modified to "ramp" style as the thickness is considerably less than that of a modern Model 10. Look closely at the picture where the gun is propped up by the pencil.

    Also, it is definitely a five screw.

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