PDA

View Full Version : Regulation Police 38 S&W CTG


Beerdude
July 18, 2009, 09:55 PM
Hello all, recently my father-in-law passed away, and when his belongings were looked though by the family, my wife presented me with what I think is a jewel but would like to pick you guys (and gals) brains about it. It's nickel except for the trigger and hammer, and in very good condition. The date on the bottom of the grips, which are in excellent condition, reads Pat. June 5, 1917. From what I can gather these guns were at one time issued to peace officers in the 1920's and 30's, were discontinued and were produced again I believe, in the 40's. If I'm looking at the right spot for the Serial number, on the frame when the chamber is swung out, it is 345. I haven't taken the time to take photos but will if that will help. Also it appears to have the original holster which is quite worn of course but is shaped perfectly to the gun. I would appreciate any feedback.
Thanks in advance,
Beerdude

mpd61
July 18, 2009, 10:20 PM
The .38 Regulation Police (pre-war) was an I-frame revolver made from 1917 to about 1940. The serial number range was from 1 to 54474 (54,000+ made)
They were 4" barrel with a rare 2" version made for the U.S. Postal Service in 1938.
This nickel gun in excellent condition would be worth between $350-500 dollars to the right person. (that's as a starting point, whatever the market will bear)
;)

Beerdude
July 19, 2009, 08:28 PM
Thanks. I appreciate the information.
:D

Jim Watson
July 19, 2009, 10:11 PM
The real serial number on a Smith & Wesson is on the bottom of the butt of the gun. It might be covered by the grips. On some older guns it is also on the bottom of the barrel under the extractor rod and on the rear face of the cylinder. The number under the crane is an assembly number used only for tracking inside the plant.

Factory nickel plated Smith & Wessons do not have the hammer and trigger plated, they are case hardened, yours is correct, although not guaranteed original.

Dated grips are getting you into interesting S&W territory I am not qualified on.

carguychris
July 20, 2009, 08:55 AM
To the OP...

FWIW if the gun has an adjustable rear sight, it may be a Regulation Police Target Model, which are rare and are worth about 3x standard value. :cool:

You are correct that these guns were discontinued for a while. The .38 Regulation Police was made from 1917 until 1941, when S&W discontinued production of all revolvers on the I and N frames to concentrate on K frame guns for the US and British military. The British military actually received a few I frame .38 Regulation Police guns early in the war but evidently decided that they were not suitable for use as a service handgun.

IIRC the gun was reintroduced in 1948. In 1957, it was given a model number along with every other S&W product, becoming the Model 32. It was discontinued in 1972 along with all of S&W's other revolvers chambered in .38S&W, the .38/32 Terrier (Model 33) and .38/200 Military & Police (Model 11).
The real serial number on a Smith & Wesson is on the bottom of the butt of the gun. It might be covered by the grips. On some older guns it is also on the bottom of the barrel under the extractor rod and on the rear face of the cylinder. The number under the crane is an assembly number used only for tracking inside the plant.
Prewar Regulation Police guns have a rebated backstrap and extension stocks that cover the bottom half of the backstrap and the butt. This gun is one of the exceptions to the rule that S&W serial numbers are on the butt; the serial number of a Regulation Police is normally located on the frontstrap beneath the trigger guard.

Prewar S&Ws that were normally sold with extension stocks usually have the serial number on the frontstrap; the same goes for prewar .22/32 Target Models aka Bekearts.

Except for a handful of early-production guns made from stockpiled prewar parts, postwar Regulation Police revolvers were built on a conventional square-butt frame without the special extension stocks. They have the serial number in the normal location on the butt.

You are correct, however, that a prewar gun should also have the serial number repeated on the barrel flat and the cylinder. On some prewar S&Ws, the cylinder number is under the ejector star, but IIRC it should be on the cylinder face of an I frame. You are also correct that the "345" inside the crane is a meaningless assembly number.
Dated grips are getting you into interesting S&W territory I am not qualified on.
.32 and .38 Regulation Police revolvers normally have "PAT. JUNE 5, 1917" stamped on the bottom of the extension stocks.

Spray & Pray
August 27, 2010, 12:16 PM
The .38 Regulation Police (pre-war) was an I-frame revolver made from 1917 to about 1940. The serial number range was from 1 to 54474 (54,000+ made)
They were 4" barrel with a rare 2" version made for the U.S. Postal Service in 1938.
This nickel gun in excellent condition would be worth between $350-500 dollars to the right person. (that's as a starting point, whatever the market will bear)


mpd61, do you know of any place this is officially documented? I need to verify the manufacture year of a .38S&W Regulation Police with a serial number of 532XX.

It doesn't matter so much as to what the year is, but that it falls before 1946 to adhere to Canada's gun laws (surrounding inheriting a 4" barrel handgun).

Thanks.

James K
August 28, 2010, 09:37 PM
That statement on Regulation Police serial numbers is from the authoritative Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, (Supica and Nahas), Third Edition. Production stopped in 1940 as S&W devoted its resources to the war effort, but resumed in 1949 with serial No. 54475 and a number of changes.

Unfortunately the exact year of production cannot be determined except through a factory letter, but 532xx would certainly have been made before WWII.

HTH

Jim

Spray & Pray
August 29, 2010, 08:04 PM
Thanks Jim. Knowing where I can find the info on that revolver if I needed is a huge help.

As long as it was made before 1946 (which from the sounds of it, is definitely the case), I'll be good to go.

Thanks again.