View Full Version : S&W revolver question
August 5, 2009, 03:31 PM
New to the forum. No experience with cartridge revolvers. (I am a cap and ball shooter)
My father gave me a pistol he brought back from China during WWII (the big one). It is visually a dead ringer for a Smith and Wesson Military and Police M10 from about 1935.
It is a five shot revolver with what appear to be at least copies of Smith and Wesson markings but no english anywhere on the pistol. It is of such poor quality that I doubt that it was made by S&W. The top of the barrel (four inch) is marked with a four letter word beginning with an upside down "U" followed by "T O M"
It appears to be in good condition but closer inspection reveals otherwise. Virtually everything is loose on the pistol. I don't think it could ever be restored to shootable condition while I know that gunsmiths can do some miracles.
You knew I was about to ask a question so here goes.
Were copies of U.S. pistols made in that part of the world (China, India, Pakistan) during or before the war and if so, what is a good source of information on them. I would not be surprised to learn that U.S. companies permitted overseas manufacturers to build pistols of American design under license. I do not think this is that case with this pistol. The quality is too poor.
My dad gave a carton of smokes for this pistol in 1943, but I doubt it is worth that much now. It isn't for sale at any price because of its sentimental value. BUT...Any guesses as to what such a pistol might be worth?
August 5, 2009, 07:10 PM
US makers did not grant licenses to off shore companies to make copies of their guns.
Of the few exceptions, Colt licensed copies of the 1911 .45 auto under military contracts to Norway and Argentina.
These were for military use only.
American makers didn't allow foreign makers to make copies of their revolvers and tried to shut down patent infringements by legal action, where possible.
From the 1870's to at least the 1960's foreign copies of most American pistols were made in Spain, Belgium, and in Asian crude workshops. These were always "rip off's".
These Asian guns were usually crude, hand filed one at a time, and are rarely true copies internally.
They are almost always unsafe to fire, since they were made of scrap metal and not heat treated.
It's common to find all sorts of meaningless stamps on them.
August 6, 2009, 07:00 AM
Your information validates what little I know about this pistol.
Traded in China in 1943 for a carton of cigarettes at one of the camp followers' huts.
Fairly good copy from a visual standpoint of about a 1935 vintage M10.
Internal components never worked well and are now worn slam out. Firing pin loose, barrel loose, springs broke, an on and on.
Pistol not fired since it was acquired and I agree that it probably would not have withstood the forces involved.
I am going to assume it has only conversational and sentimental value.
August 6, 2009, 07:42 AM
Those types of firearms were made with what was once referred to as "Chinese milling machines" - aka, hand files. ;)
August 6, 2009, 09:49 AM
American makers didn't allow foreign makers to make copies of their revolvers and tried to shut down patent infringements by legal action, where possible... From the 1870's to at least the 1960's foreign copies of most American pistols were made in Spain, Belgium, and in Asian crude workshops.
+1. FWIW the "four lines" marking on the RH side of the frame of post-1950 S&W full-size revolvers includes the Spanish-language words "MARCAS REGISTRADAS". These words make the S&W trademark binding under Spanish law, thereby making it easier for S&W to take legal action against the numerous small Spanish firms that were producing copies of its guns.
My father gave me a pistol he brought back from China during WWII (the big one). It is visually a dead ringer for a Smith and Wesson Military and Police M10 from about 1935... It is a five shot revolver...
It's probably supposed to be a copy of a .38 Regulation Police, a 5-shot gun produced on the compact I frame, the predecessor of the modern J frame. The prewar M&P and .38 Regulation Police look very similar, but the Regulation Police is smaller. The M&P was built on the mid-size K frame, and all K frame centerfire guns hold 6 shots.
Bonafide Regulation Polices are chambered in .38S&W, a shorter and lower-powered cartridge than the more common .38 Special. (A 6-shot version was offered in .32 Long.) The I frame cylinder isn't long enough to accomodate a .38 Special cartridge, which was the impetus for the creation of the longer J frame. OTOH some copies were made in non-standard chamberings such as .38Spl.
As others have already said, this gun is almost undoubtedly unsafe to fire. My procedure for firing any Asian S&W copy would involve a Ransom rest, a 15' or longer piece of string, and an earthen berm or a pile of cinder blocks to cower behind. :eek: If I were the OP, I would consider cutting off the firing pin or filling the chambers with JB Weld to prevent anyone from hurting themselves with it in the future.
August 6, 2009, 09:52 AM
It's probably supposed to be a copy of a .38 Regulation Police...
Bonafide Regulation Polices are chambered in .38S&W
That makes sense. A lot of British influence in the Far East would make a copy of a gun taking the .38-200 service revolver cartridge very convenient.
August 6, 2009, 09:59 AM
"These words make the S&W trademark binding under Spanish law, thereby making it easier for S&W to take legal action against the numerous small Spanish firms that were producing copies of its guns."
Uhm... not really.
Smith & Wesson was never able to prevent the Spanish from copying their revolvers. The Spanish were completely unresponsive to S&W's claims of trademark, copyright, and patent infringement.
What Smith & Wesson did do, however, was sue the American importers of the copies. They did that successfully and shut down importation into the United States.
They had very limited success suing in other areas where those revolvers were imported, such as Mexico, but that wasn't as big a deal as by far the largest market for the Spanish copies was the American market.
What finally solved the problem was the Spanish Civil War.
August 6, 2009, 11:11 AM
Thanks a million,
"It's probably supposed to be a copy of a .38 Regulation Police, a 5-shot gun produced on the compact I frame, the predecessor of the modern J frame. The prewar M&P and .38 Regulation Police look very similar, but the Regulation Police is smaller. The M&P was built on the mid-size K frame, and all K frame centerfire guns hold 6 shots."
That entry was very helpful in identifying the frame. Thanks.
To Mike, +1
It is easy for me to believe that the Spanish courts were reluctant to punish Spanish companies.
Regarding your advice to use caution in firing such a piece, I am with you about three hundred percent.
I am probably going to cross over to the other side in the next thirty years and when I do, the pistol will go to whoever is around to take possession of my estate. I am not going to take a chance that they will understand how dangerous the pistol can be. So your advice about safing the pistol is also much appreciated.
Roger, your entry on the oriental machine tools. Externally this pistol has a convincing appearance in terms of fit and finish. The bluing is still very good considering it was done 60 some years ago probably over a campfire. But inside is nothing like any S&W I every examined (and as I said, that is not very many).
August 6, 2009, 05:16 PM
during WWII (the big one).
FWIW, The Big One was WWI....
Good luck with your wall hanger. Maybe sell it during the next "gun buy back" :barf: You might get $50...and remember, it's "for the children" :rolleyes:
August 7, 2009, 09:01 AM
FWIW, The Big One was WWI....
Not if you ask my dad.:)
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