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Old January 7, 2011, 10:25 AM   #1
OscarTurner
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Spanish (HB?) S&W copy

This was my grandmother's revolver. She had it with her when she passed away in late 2001. I don't know much history on it. Shortly before she died, she told me that she had her father's pistol from the Spanish American War. I have found all my Great-grandfathers items and documents from the Spanish American War and I've concluded that he never had a pistol, and if he did it was stolen with his .45-70 long, long ago. I also assume the Spaniards would not issue their soldiers a revolver with "Made in Spain" and ".38 Long Cartridge" written in plain English, much less one from the future, so it's probably something picked up States side.

I still assume this was one of her father's guns. Maybe a pawnshop purchase. It seems like it was fired a great deal. Very worn out with lots of cylinder slop and barely any rifling in the barrel to speak of.

Was there and "HB" Spanish gun company that make S&W copies? I know there were quite a few Spanish S&W copies, but I don't find much about "HB". Like what does "HB" stand for. When were they in business? What was the quality of their work? Etc.






HB?


Made in Spain


.38 Long Cartridge
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Old January 7, 2011, 02:47 PM   #2
James K
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I think that mark is "BH" for Beistegui Hermanos (Beistegui Brothers). Google will give you more info on them than I can here.

Their guns were a bit better than most of the cast iron junk that came into the U.S. in the 1920's and 1930's, but still not of high quality and not very durable. I strongly advise against firing the gun with any ammunition. That gun certainly was not around during the Spanish-American War, so either your great grandfather had a different gun or confusion arose between a Spanish revolver and a Spanish-American War revolver.

In any case, it is part of your family history and heritage, and in that sense is priceless, even though it has almost no dollar value.

Jim
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Old January 7, 2011, 04:30 PM   #3
RJay
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After the Spanish Civil War only 4 gunmakers were allowed to reopen. The others were either out of business or dead. The Beistegui Brothers were among the latter. Your gun was made sometimes between around 1919/20 and 1936. If you google Eibar firearms, Eibar Ruby pistols, you will find a wealth of information on the subject.
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Old January 10, 2011, 12:04 PM   #4
carguychris
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Quote:
Their guns were a bit better than most of the cast iron junk that came into the U.S. in the 1920's and 1930's, but still not of high quality and not very durable. I strongly advise against firing the gun with any ammunition.
I agree 100%, but I have to express some curiosity regarding the cartridge the gun is chambered for. AFAIK there has never been a cartridge commonly referred to as the ".38 Long" in the USA. .38 Long Colt, maybe?
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Old January 10, 2011, 12:49 PM   #5
Jim Watson
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The European equivalent of .38 Long Colt is .38 Largo which they apparently translated simply as Long. Fiocchi actually still catalogs the ammo.
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Old January 10, 2011, 08:59 PM   #6
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The .38 Long Colt was not common in Europe, though it was made there; its DWM number was 263. I always take any caliber markings on those revolvers with several grains of salt as they usually just put on something that looked good. One common marking is "USE AMERICAN CARTRIDGES THAT FIT BEST", which rather indicates that the Spanish were not, to be charitable, well informed on American ammunition.

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Old January 11, 2011, 11:21 AM   #7
OscarTurner
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Thanks for the replies

I will not be firing this pistol no matter which round ".38 Long Cartridge" is referring to. It's too far gone.

It does make me curious about how Americans knew what to fire it with, if the .38 Long Cartridge is not a real designation. Also in reference to "USE AMERICAN CARTRIDGES THAT FIT BEST"; I think the .38 Special fits in this model, and that would probably make for a bad day. Hopefully there are not any of these getting regular use on any of the ranges I might be.
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Old January 11, 2011, 11:38 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
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If I'm not mistaken the .38 Largo was pretty much a black powder only cartridge. SOG had some Spanish (made for use in Spain) S&W copies in .38 Largo a few years ago.

The problem with the "use the cartridges that fit best" marking is that one some of these guns a .357 Magnum will chamber in them as the chambers are generally not shouldered.

The results of firing a .357 Mag. in one of these Spanish guns would very likely be destruction of the gun and possible injury to the shooter.

I'd love to get one and give it a try from a distance, though, just to see what would happen.
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Old January 11, 2011, 01:01 PM   #9
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i have one too thats in 32-20 . i refinished the whole gun and thee only reason i shot it is b/c it came with some old old ammo , well my buddy shot it first . but they were very low power rounds due to age . its always good to have a unregistered gun for those just in case deals . you know where you kill the robber in your house and he was unarmed ? or was he ? lol id be real scared to shoot that one
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Old January 11, 2011, 01:04 PM   #10
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I have seen a couple of those Spanish revolvers that blew with standard .38 Special ammo, and one that let go with a .38 Special factory blank. I have not seen one, but have been told about .32-20 guns that blew with rifle ammo. The Spanish guns were the main reason for ammo makers turning out that ammo with two pressure levels; the Colt and S&W revolvers would work fine with the original (rifle) ammunition, which wasn't all that hot, but the Spanish guns would blow.

I am not sure about the .38 Largo, so-called, but the .38 Long Colt was always a smokeless powder round. The Model 1892+ guns are perfectly capable of handling standard .38 Special; the frames are made of steel, not the wrought iron used in the SAA and other Colt guns up to that time.

As to .357, I don't know if the Spanish would have cared much, but the .357 was not in existence yet when most of those guns were imported, so it would not have been a concern anyway.

Jim
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