SOLD FOR: $12,525.00
Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: The .357 Registered Magnum
Serial Number: 50859, Registration #2221
Year of Manufacture: 1937 (“Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson”, Supica & Nahas, P133, 397)
Caliber: .357 Magnum
Action Type: Single & Double Action Swing Out Cylinder Revolver
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “SMITH & WESSON” and the right side is marked “S.&W. .357 MAGNUM”. The sideplate has a S&W trademark logo, the right side of the frame is marked “MADE IN U.S.A.”. The ejector-rod cut in the barrel’s under lug is marked “B” and “50859”. The crane cut is marked “REG. 2221 / 8137”. The crane flat is marked “8137” and the rear face of the crane is marked “50859”. The rear face of the cylinder, the underside of the ejector-star and the butt are each marked “50859”. The left of the grip frame is marked “S” at the grip-index pin, the right is marked “K” at the pin and “B” just forward of the mainspring notch. The rear face of the hammer is marked “REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.”. The right of the front sight blade and base are each marked “KING / PAT.PEND.”.
Barrel Length: 6 1/2” Pinned Barrel
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a King Ramp Reflector White Post sight with a white insert on the blade screwed to a finely checkered, ramped base with an inset angled piece of polished chromium (stainless steel) which is intended to illuminate the front blade. The front sight base is pinned to the finely checkered barrel rib. The rear sight is a King #112 square-notch white-outlined leaf in a base screwed to the topstrap, adjustable for windage and elevation. These sights match the registration certificate.
Stock Configuration & Condition: None.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 92% of its metal finish. There are spots of scrubbed-out surface oxidation on each side of the front sight base at the rear, the front-left edge of the frame and crane, the left of the frame over the front of the trigger guard, the right of the frame over the “MADE IN U.S.A.” marking, along the edges of the trigger guard and along the top edge of the sideplate next to the hammer. The barrel has a few other scattered light marks. The cylinder has a thin turn line, with some of the line not through the finish. The serrations on the trigger and grip straps, checkering on the topstrap, rib, hammer, and thumbpiece are sharp. The knurling on the ejector rod is mostly sharp with a few spots of slightly blunted knurling. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good-plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The double action trigger is smooth and the single action is crisp. The cylinder locks up with almost no play on each chamber. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes in a two-piece blue exterior, red interior cardboard Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum box with metal-reinfoced corners and a label on the bottom of the tray which has the serial number “50859” barely legible. Also included is the Registration Certificate with matching serial and registration numbers, barrel length and sight configuration still in its original shipping tube addressed to the same Robert Imse listed on the certificate. The box has scattered light wear, light fraying at corners and discoloration from age and oil on the exterior with light wear on the interior from the gun, in about Very Good condition. The certificate is intact with clear lettering, stamp and design but does show discoloration from age and oil, in about Very Good condition. The shipping tube for the certificate shows scattered wear, fraying at the ends, a couple of tears and losses to the label, a legible post-mark and discoloration from age and oil, in about Good-plus condition.
Our Assessment: The S&W .357 Registered Magnum has a special place in the history of Smith & Wesson, revolvers and cartridge design. In the late 1920s, as Prohibition had created a thriving element of organized crime, law enforcement was pressing for the development of more potent cartridges than the .38 Special for duty revolvers. Police needed something which could punch through car doors while still retaining enough energy to take out gangsters firing back at them. Smith & Wesson’s initial response, the .38/44 Heavy Duty, was capable of firing hotter loaded .38 Special but still fell short of expectations. The grandson of Smith & Wesson co-founder Daniel Wesson, Col. Douglas Wesson, collaborated with Phil Sharpe and Elmer Keith, both renowned handloading experts, and set out to develop a cartridge that could propel a projectile at 1400 fps with muzzle energy of more than 700 ft. lbs. and the .357 Magnum, the first of the magnums, was born. Smith & Wesson developed a revolver around the cartridge on their N frame with initial production being entirely on a special order basis. The revolvers could be ordered with barrel lengths from 3 1/2″ to 8 3/4″ avialable in 1/4″ increments, choice of sights, grips, finish, and even hammer profile. Early production guns were presented to luminaries such as J. Edgar Hoover, John Olin, Phil Sharpe, George S. Patton and Ed McGivern. These early .357s would be built to the customer’s specifications and shipped out with a registration card which could be returned to request a registration certificate, giving the new firearm the name “Registered Magnum”. This is a fine example of the Registered Magnum, with 92% of its original finish, a bore as near to pristine as can be, its original box, registration certificate and the certificate’s shipping tube. The certificate itself is quite rare with only about half of the revolvers shipped having a subsequent request for the certificate, and the shipping tube is even more rare, especially more than 80 years later. In many ways, the Registered Magnum is the holy grail of Smith & Wesson collectors, with the custom features offering endless variations which can be confirmed as original when accompanied with their original registration certificate. This is a beautiful example of one of the rarest and most sought-after revolvers ever made by the world’s premier revolver manufacturer, Smith & Wesson. Please see our photos and good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This C&R eligible revolver CAN be transferred as a dealer sale in California. This handgun CAN be sold as a Private Party Transfer (PPT) at our Simi Valley shop. All cartridge firing handguns (even C&R’s and antiques) sold to a California resident must be DROS’d. This does not apply to out of state residents.