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Old September 22, 2011, 08:03 PM   #1
Avalanche43
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Need help identifying a revolver

The revolver in question is a Smith and Wesson .38 special. I think it is from the 1940's. The serial number starts with a V 2*****. I think that the barrel may have been shortened. The only markings on it are "Made in the USA" and the S&W Trade Mark stamp. On the barrel it says Smith and Wesson 38 S&W SPC. CTG.

Anyone with any knowledge on this piece would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old September 22, 2011, 08:22 PM   #2
troy_mclure
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if those are real stag grips(made from antler) you can get them to fit properly by putting them in a humidor, or by a humidifier for a few weeks.
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Old September 22, 2011, 08:26 PM   #3
Winchester_73
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I highly doubt those grips to be original stag. Even if they are, they don't appear to be made for that gun as the gap is large.

The gun is a victory model 38 special which was a predecessor to the model 10. The gun is a K frame. The barrel could be a S&W replacement rather than a cut down barrel. Check the bottom of the barrel for the SN. The SN will be on the bottom of the grip frame. Usually the SN on the barrel or cylinder will not have the letter prefix, but the numbers should be the same as on the grip frame.

The gun appears to be refinished as well.

For the SN you give, early 1940s production would be correct.
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Old September 22, 2011, 08:27 PM   #4
Avalanche43
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Pretty sure it is imitation. I'm not worried about the grips so much, I'll change them if I end up buying this gun. I just want to know more about the gun itself.
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Old September 22, 2011, 08:29 PM   #5
Avalanche43
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Winchester: Yes, I was told it was refinished (re-blued) sometime in the last 15 years. The SN starts with a V and the rest of the number starts with a 2*****. Any idea as to an approximate value or fair price to pay?
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Old September 22, 2011, 09:07 PM   #6
carguychris
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IF the 2" barrel is original, it is quite valuable because legit factory-original 2" Victories are quite rare. I'm guessing at least a 50% premium over a standard 4" .38Spl Victory in equivalent condition.

THAT SAID... if the barrel isn't original, I'd put the gun's value at ~$150-$200, purely as a shooter. Furthermore, I would NOT assume that the gun is in any way original unless you can verify that the barrel number matches.

HINT: Look for British proof marks, namely the crown-over-"BNP" mark on the frame and cylinder, and check if the gun will chamber a .38S&W cartridge or appears to have lengthened chambers. Numerous .38/200 British Service Revolvers, aka British Victories, that were originally built in .38S&W were re-imported to the USA after WWII and had the chambers lengthened to accept more commonplace .38Spl ammo. These guns were sold for very low prices and are commonly found with cut barrels and other modifications.

It's possible- and quite likely IMHO- that a gunsmith grafted a 2" barrel from a trashed postwar Model 10 onto a cheap .38/200 frame to create a "FrankenSmith".
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Old September 22, 2011, 09:12 PM   #7
pendennis
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The "V" prefix identifies it as a "Victory" model from WWII. It certainly looks to be refinished, since the originals weren't polished blue. They were a "sandblast" blue or black.

Some were made in the 2" barrel length, and they're worth 4-5 times normal value, if the specimen letters as such from S&W. You can probably tell if the barrel was shortened if the lettering on the barrel is not centered. As Winchester 73 notes, it may be a rebarrel.

The stocks are definitely imitation stag.

Being that it's been refinished, its collector value is nil; and only the value of a "shooter".

Hope this helps.
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Old September 22, 2011, 09:17 PM   #8
Avalanche43
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Caryguychris: Thanks for the info. I can find no BNP markings and I am sure that it has a cut or re-fitted barrel.

Pendennis: I am fairly sure it is a rebarrel but thanks for the info!

I am considering getting this simply for my wife to keep in the house as a protection weapon. I'm not really a collector of sorts, I simply buy guns to use at the range or for self defense.
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