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Thread: .22/.32 Heavy Frame Target (Bekeart Model)



  1. #1
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    .22/.32 Heavy Frame Target (Bekeart Model)

    Prior to 1911, the only .22 hand ejector that S&W cataloged was the tiny "M" frame, known as the Ladysmith (naming a handgun to appeal to the fairer sex is nothing new). In that year, San Francisco dealer Philip Bekeart convinced S&W to produce a target-sighted .22 rimfire on the larger, heavier I-frame. 1044 were made in that first production run, with 292 going to fill Bekeart's order, the rest shipping to other dealers around the country. Both Bekeart and the other dealers placed additional orders as the revolver gained popularity until S&W introduced the .22/.32 Target as a regular catalog item in 1915. Their production continued until 1941 when the factory converted to wartime production.

    This past weekend I was fortunate enough to find this very nice example of a .22/.32 Target. It's serial number puts it's date of birth in the early 1930's, far too late to be considered a true Bekeart, but never-the-less a welcome addition to my modest collection.



    This eighty year old revolver is in excellent shape, has all matching serial #'s, along with the original, numbered grips. The I-frame this revolver was produced on is marginally smaller than the current J-frame and with it's 6" barrel weighs a feathery 23 ounces, nearly a pound lighter than the more common K-22 (Model 17).



    It appears this old pistol had not been fired in many years and I was very curious to discover what it could do. Unfortunately, time has not permitted a thorough shakedown but a few rounds did manage to find their way down that vintage barrel. Today we met with dear friends from the UP who were in northern lower MI to deal with an estate, and when a brief opportunity arose, I gave my buddy the honor of the first shots. His first trigger pull from 15 yards centered the makeshift target I cobbled togethor and I'll see his priceless grin reflecting in the bluing every time I handle this old Smith.



    Roe
    Last edited by Barenjager; 04-22-2012 at 10:39 PM.
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    Thats a Sweet looking revolver Roe, WOW it looks new, Congrats

    BG4570
    Ray


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  3. #3
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    Nice, I probably would have picked that before a CA too, that is a piece of firearm art from an era long gone. Beautiful, and it looks like it might shoot ok too...

    james

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    Wow..........when you said it was a 98% gun you weren't kidding! That thing looks better than most of the newer guns in my accumulation. I've always wondered about those stocks, the way they jut out away from the backstrap looks odd these days. I guess it was their way of setting the grip angle.

    I wish I could have been there when you spotted it............just to hear your breath catch in your throat, and watch your eyes bug out!
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    Gun Wizard
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    what a beauty that is Roe...congratulations. Fine story too! Check out those twin grip screws, boy that's racy!

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    Once again you stumble across a true classic in excellent (well better than excellent) condition! Very, very nice! Congratulations!

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    Quote Originally Posted by papajohn View Post
    I've always wondered about those stocks, the way they jut out away from the backstrap looks odd these days. I guess it was their way of setting the grip angle.
    The first use of these extension grips, as far as I've been able to determine, were on the 1891 Single Shot target pistols. On the small-framed hand ejectors like this example, they serve two purposes. The .22/.32 was built on the I-frame which...in keeping with it's original purpose, that of a concealment piece...carried a round butt grip-frame. As is common with current S&W's, these grips converted the round butt to a more hand-filling square butt.

    The extension covering the backstrap served to change the grip angle a bit, but are most effective in extending the trigger reach, a welcome addition on these diminutive revolvers. I always thought they looked a bit unusual (maybe distinctive is a better term) but after handling and shooting the gun, the excellence of their design becomes readily apparent.


    I wish I could have been there when you spotted it............just to hear your breath catch in your throat, and watch your eyes bug out!
    NEVER...NEVER at a gun show!

    Poker face.


    Roe
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    Roe
    I gotta tell you, i keep coming back to look at this little beauty, ive never done that on this forum with a handgun, theres just something about this one that i love. Its not flashy or the latest and greatest {which im Not into}, But it just Screams quality and craftsmanship to me. I really really like the looks, its got perfect lines and looks tough for a small framed gun. I sure wish i lived closer to you, i would love to handle that little sweety and maybe even shooter a lil'bit
    Boy i have a hard enough time with other guns, i best keep outta the Handgun section....
    I will be looking for these now when i hit the gunshows, just to handle of one course , which reminds me, May 5th is the next.......

    Congrats again!!!
    BG4570
    Ray


    ...................The Right to Keep and Bear Arms!!!................ Molon Labe........Shall NOT BE Infringed!


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