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libbinre
July 6, 2010, 12:03 PM
I am looking for information on a very old 38 S&W Special CTG with matching SN 297475 on butt, cylinder and barrel. Walnut checkered grips with S&W logo, round butt. No logo on either side of the receiver. No numbers in the crane.
Barrel Markings: Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass USA
Patented October 8, 1901. Dec. 17, 1901.
Feb. 8, 1906. Sept. 14, 1909. Dec. 29, 1914.
4” barrel. Fixed half-moon front sight. Action is good with a clean bore and cylinder locks tight. Blued finish I'm guessing perhaps 75%. Attached is a picture.

Any info would be appreciated...age, history, value. Thanks !!

Jim Watson
July 6, 2010, 12:25 PM
It is a Smith & Wesson Military and Police, long time standard revolver.
Somebody with the book will be able to tell you when it was made.

PetahW
July 6, 2010, 04:23 PM
IMHO, w/o a S&W DOM list, your M&P dates from around 1920.

S&W made over 458,000 of that particular M&P, a Model of 1905-3rd Change [EDIT: 4th change - typo, fat fingers/no coffee - my bad], from SN 241704 in 1915 to approx SN 1000000 in 1942.

It should be safe to fire, with any modern ammo, provided it's in time and has no defects, like barrel, frame or chamber wall cracks, etc.

.

carguychris
July 7, 2010, 09:13 AM
S&W made over 458,000 of that particular M&P, a Model of 1905-3rd Change, from SN 241704 in 1915 to approx SN 1000000 in 1942.
Actually, it's a 4th Change.
It should be safe to fire, with any modern ammo...
With one caveat... Absolutely No +P. IIRC S&W started heat-treating M&P cylinders around serial number 365xxx, which puts the OP's gun before the cutoff. Due to the weaker non-heat-treated cylinder, the gun may suffer a catastrophic kB! if +P ammo is used. :eek:

Also, if the revolver will be carried, the OP needs to check the hammer block. The .38 M&P 4th Change has the early "wing-style" or "pivoting" hammer block. It consists of a spring-loaded lever assembly that is moved by the hand when the trigger is pulled or the hammer is cocked. This style of hammer block can jam inside the recess in the sideplate if too much dirt or old dried-up grease (esp. the latter) gets in there. This is why it was subsequently replaced by the modern sliding hammer block and why you need to check that it's working.

The best way to check it is to take the sideplate off* and clean it thoroughly, but you can also do a quick check by watching the RH side of the hammer recess while slowly cocking the hammer or drawing back the trigger. You should see a rectangular protrusion withdraw to the right as the hammer begins to move.

For the benefit of future readers, IMHO prior S&W models made before 1915 are not safe to carry with a live round under the hammer and should always be carried "five-up" with an empty chamber under the hammer like an old Colt SAA.

*Edited to add note: The proper way to remove the sideplate from a S&W revolver is to remove the grips, remove the sideplate screws, and whack the bottom of the grip frame repeatedly with a non-marring tool such as a wooden block or a screwdriver handle. This will cause the sideplate to "walk" upwards and dislodge itself. To reinstall, reseat it using firm but not excessive thumb pressure before putting in the screws. NEVER pry upwards on the sideplate; you will "bugger up" the edges. NEVER try to force it down with the screws; you will strip the holes in the frame.

James K
July 7, 2010, 11:11 AM
Please permit me to add one more point to the instructions on removal of an S&W sideplate. After removing the grips, release tension on the mainspring, either by backing out the strain screw at the bottom front of the grip, or by capturing the coil spring.

The reason is that with the sideplate off, the hammer, trigger, and cylinder stop pins are unsupported on the outer end. This will usually cause no problems if the gun is not worked with the sideplate off, but those pins have been known to break when unsupported. The rebound slide spring should also be released, if possible, before working on the gun; that pin is also unsuppored on the outer end.

Jim

libbinre
July 7, 2010, 11:14 PM
You guys are awesome.

bigdogg531
July 16, 2010, 11:33 PM
Hello all! I have been reading your post and hope you can help. I have inherited a .38 S&W ctg with SN 78371. On barrel says smith and wesson and the & is in some funky cursive. There is no model number on crane. The SN number is stamped twice. Also does not have the logo stamped anywhere on gun. Appears it has never been fired. No wear to chamber or barrel. I am looking for date of manufacturing and approx value. I want to sell to buy a hunting rifle. Any help would be great.

James K
July 17, 2010, 08:21 PM
For Libbinre,

If it is 5 shot, it would appear to be a .38 Regulation Police (it became the Model 33 around 1958). Never been fired? Perhaps, but to my eye, that gun appears to have been heavily buffed and reblued. The sideplate does not fit properly and the color is not the same as the rest of the frame. I suspect it is from another gun, which could explain the lack of the S&W logo, although many Regulation Police revolvers did not have the logo at all.

The 78371 is not the serial number, it is an assembly number. The actual serial number should be on the front grip strap.

Jim

Jim Watson
July 17, 2010, 08:56 PM
bigdogg531's gun has been heavily modified.
It is a Military & Police .38 Special, the actual serial number on the butt will give a clue to age.

The rib and ramp sight arrangement on the barrel is an aftermarket installation.
The plating is not factory style.
The jeweled hammer and trigger are a gunsmith project.
Checkering pattern on the grip is not factory standard.
Sideplate is mis-fit.

Not a bad looking final product but probably not worth a whole lot.

bigdogg531
July 18, 2010, 01:53 AM
It does not have any numbers on handle or butt. appears there may have been something. refinished maybe? there are some numbers under barrel....V521975 there is a large space between the v and the numbers. also at the end there is a large space, then what appears to be the letter A. Thoughts? oh jim keenan, it is a 6 shot.

madcratebuilder
July 18, 2010, 08:13 AM
bigdogg531's gun has been heavily modified.
It is a Military & Police .38 Special, the actual serial number on the butt will give a clue to age.

The rib and ramp sight arrangement on the barrel is an aftermarket installation.
The plating is not factory style.
The jeweled hammer and trigger are a gunsmith project.
Checkering pattern on the grip is not factory standard.
Sideplate is mis-fit.

Not a bad looking final product but probably not worth a whole lot.

+1

Someone did do a lot of work on it. Value? Maybe $250+/-. Put it on Gunbroker and hope for someone who "has to have it". Better photo's under natural light would help.

Mike Irwin
July 18, 2010, 08:33 AM
The V521975 is actually the serial number, which apparently has been removed from the butt during modification.

The 5-digit number in the crane cut is an assembly number and has nothing to do with the serial number.

Your gun is a World War II era "Victory" model.

nobearsyet
July 18, 2010, 11:21 AM
I don't know if this is allowed or not but I'm going to do it anyways and if it's not someone can edit my post but if you go to www.doubleactions.proboards.com (sorry had to insert shameless plug for my own forum) there is a pretty good S&W reference in the smith thread also I have not seen where anyone has mentioned when you remove a smith sideplate you should under no circumstances pry on the sideplate as it is actually quite easily bent. The best way to remove it is to remove all of the screws and tap on the sideplate frame assembly with a small soft faced hammer to break it loose and then just lift it off it may take a lot of gentle tapping just be careful not to ding up the frame or edges as you tap on it

James K
July 19, 2010, 01:19 PM
I agree to a point, but there are instances where there is little choice but to use force on a sideplate. Not often, and 99.99% of the time your method, the best, will work.

But I have had to deal with rusted in or battered sideplates that just will not come off using your method. There are ways to pry or force them off without bending or marring them or marring the frame.

Jim

Mike Irwin
July 19, 2010, 11:48 PM
"There are ways to pry or force them off without bending or marring them or marring the frame."

Yep, wooden wedges, at as many points as you can get them. I've done that twice. Nerve wracking.