Picked up the S&W .32-20 HE today. Serial number 759XX indicates it was made in 1917 so is NOT heat treated. The previous owner shot it quite a bit with hot loads, so I won't have to repeat that experience to find out what doing so does...
The face of barrel extension shows significant "dishing" and heat checking like a well used .357 Magnum. Cylinder gap has opened to pass 0.010, hold 0.011 and there is about 0.003" end-shake. Timing on a couple chambers is a bit "slow," but the cylinder stop engages as you hold the trigger back, like a Colt.
All of this is fixable, and I trust Sandy Garrett to do a good job of it. I got the gun inexpensively enough that putting it right will bring it up to correct market price for a nice 85% "shooter grade" that hadn't been loosened from hot loads and didn't require any gunsmithing in the first place.
I sort of expected this going in, but the gun was I felt worth the investment, because I would have paid twice as much for a tight, clean collector-grade.
I won't do much shooting of it in its present condition other than perhaps to chronograph a few mild, factory lead loads as a "before" velocity benchmark. I will take it soon to Sandy Garrett at Northern VA Gun Works to have its barrel set back a thread, the crane stretched to correct the end shake, the timing adjusted, barrel refaced and forcing cone recut and lapped, and cylinder gap reset.
Normally this is about a $150 repair if we don't need to replace any parts, or about $200 +- if we do...
73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia