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Old October 19, 2008, 09:08 PM   #1
jpeebles1
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38 S&W Special CTG

I have just inherited one of these workhorses, serial #178336 (on the butt), and patent dates up through Sept. 14, '09. I can't seem to find a model #. It has a 6" barrel, is nickel plated and pearl handled. It looks like a piece the proprietor of a New Orleans cat house would have kept handy in the event of trouble. Can anyone give me some idea of when it might have been manufactured, or whether the plating might be be successfully renewed? Thanks.
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Old October 19, 2008, 09:42 PM   #2
357 Python
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The name of the maker along with pics will help. Practically every maker has made 38 Specials at one time or other.
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Old October 20, 2008, 07:28 AM   #3
jpeebles1
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Smith & Wesson .38 Special CTG

I am trying to date this Smith & Wesson .38 Special CTG. It has patent dates on the top of the barrel up through Sept. 14, 1909.
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Old October 20, 2008, 08:27 AM   #4
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Open the cylinder. On the inside of the frame, under the crane, will be the model number. That and the serial number is a good start. Post those and some guys in here can help you.
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Old October 20, 2008, 08:28 AM   #5
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The cartridge we know today as 38 Special was originally named Smith & Wesson 38 Special CTG. Smith & Wesson, Colt, and others made revolvers chambered for the cartridge. The revolvers maker should be on the barrel and maybe a company emblem on the side og the frame. It could be a S&W Military & Police, the forefather of the Model 10, or a Colt equivilent or even some other maker. Without a picture or the makers name it is nearly impossible to identify it positively. I hope this helps some. Keep asking questions. It helps new folks here and keeps us older characters on our toes. Besides someone else is thinking the same question you are but may be afraid to ask for feeling that it is a stupid question. Where firearms are concerned there are no stupid questions. There are three ways of learning, ask questions, personaly experience or experimentation (could be hazrdous), or watch someone else's experiment.
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Old October 20, 2008, 08:57 AM   #6
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This is a Smith & Wesson revolver, (according to the of the barrel) manufactured in Springfield, Mass. There is no model number inside the frame, only a repeat of the number on the butt, which I took to be the serial number. There are S&W emblems inset in the handle and a S&W trademark engraved on the right side of the frame. As you can see from the photo, it is pearl handled and nickel plated, although the plating needs to be renewed.
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Old October 20, 2008, 10:40 AM   #7
WIL TERRY
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S&w Pistols Were Not Model Numbered Until 1957/1958.

Your's far precedes that. You DO NOT want to " renew " the nickle finish unless you want to totally ruin whatever value it may have accrued over the decades.
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Old October 20, 2008, 10:45 AM   #8
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There's no model number because that is a quite old revolver, very likely prior to World War I.

What is the serial number (the number on the butt).

It is a Smith & Wesson Military and Police Hand Ejector.

The plating cannot be "renewed," it can only be stripped off and replaced.
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Old October 20, 2008, 11:34 AM   #9
jpeebles1
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The serial #178336, on the butt, inside of cylinder and frame.
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Old October 20, 2008, 01:50 PM   #10
Mike Irwin
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Yeah, that is an early gun, probably not long after 1905.

I'll have to check my references when I get home this evening.
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Old October 20, 2008, 05:00 PM   #11
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You have a Model of 1905 Third Change.

They were manufactured between 1909 and 1915. Given the serial number on yours I'd say it first saw light of day around 1911 or so.
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Old October 20, 2008, 05:22 PM   #12
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Thank you for running that down for me; I appreciate it. Do you have any sense of whether this is a collectible gun or not? The plating shows a fair amount of wear and the cylinder is pretty stiff coming out of the frame, but the handles are in very good condition and action is very smooth. Would I destroy the value by having it re-plated?
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Old October 20, 2008, 08:32 PM   #13
Mike Irwin
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There were over 90,000 of that particular model made, so it's not rare.

I'd say in the condition that it's in it's probably worth $250 to $350, depending on where you are.

Since it's not a particularly valuable gun, I don't see where you'd lose that much if you were to have it refinished.
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Old October 20, 2008, 08:48 PM   #14
jpeebles1
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Thanks for your help.
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Old October 21, 2008, 08:55 AM   #15
carguychris
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Quote:
The plating shows a fair amount of wear and the cylinder is pretty stiff coming out of the frame...
A few suggestions about the stiff cylinder...

1) Clean out any dirt or rust under the ejector star.

2) Check for endshake. The cylinder may be contacting the forcing cone.

3) Remove the cylinder and crane and thoroughly clean the crane. If a former owner overzealously lubricated the gun (which is common), there may be chunks of ancient dried-up oil stuck to the crane. Clean it off with WD-40*, then lubricate with a thin coating of ATF.

*I recommend against using WD-40 to lubricate revolver internals because it dries up and leaves a coating of sticky brown varnish. However, it does a fantastic job of dissolving existing sticky brown varnish deposits from dried-up oil. Use the WD-40 for cleaning, then wipe it off and lubricate with something else.
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Old October 21, 2008, 09:31 AM   #16
jpeebles1
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I'll try it. Thanks.
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Old October 21, 2008, 09:39 AM   #17
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Neat! I've got an '05 M&P Fourth change that looks almost identical to yours except for having grips that are walnut instead of pearl & a small logo on the left side plate. Mine was sent out from the factory in December of '20. If yours has some family history and you'd like to know more about it's origins, you can write the S&W historian and request a letter on your specific gun. It costs $30, and may take a few months (took almost 4 for me...), but it can let you know what the original configuration was and when and where the factory delivered it. The request form is on the S&W site.

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Old October 21, 2008, 09:42 AM   #18
jpeebles1
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Thanks. I'll certainly do that.
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Old October 21, 2008, 12:38 PM   #19
ccookin
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need help on 38 also

I have my dad's 38. it is a 38 special ctg (on the barrel) on the butt is "C and then 7285 and also on the inside end of the cylender. I open the cylender and there is numbers " 5793 on the frame and same number on cylender bracket. Smith & Wesson on the left side of barrel with a fancy looking "&" on the right side is 38 s&w special ctg (also with fancy "&"
On frame says "made in usa, and the smith and wesson logo

on top of barrel, dates with the later one being Dec. 29,14

Any help on this date and value is Really appreciated. I would like to sell the gun but don't know what to sell it for.


R.Aiken
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Old October 22, 2008, 03:33 PM   #20
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With the C prefix and the low serial number, I'd say yours was made in 1949 as that is when S&W started over on the serial number sequence with the C prefix. This is a Hand Ejector Military and Police. I have a similer one with a C12xxx serial. This gun is a coontinuation of the 38 Hand Ejector that was introduced back in the 1890's and continues today as the Model 10. Nice handy guns that shoot well. NOTE: not rated for +P ammo with that early date. S&W started heat treating the cylingers much later. The numbers you found inside the crane are assembly numbers. The "C" number stamped on the bottom of the grip frame is the serial number. Most of these go for the $200 - $350 range depending on condition. Mine's been re-nickled but makes a fine carry gun in an IWB holster. Replaced the grips with Pacmeyers for carry and put the wood ones away. Some early original wood grips have value.
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Old October 23, 2008, 11:44 PM   #21
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jpeebles1,

Heat treatment of the Model of 1905 4th Change .38 Special cylinders began at about serial number 316648. This information from Supica's Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson is important to know, even if it is an educated guess. Serial numbers prior to that figure may not be safe to use with modern .38 special ammunition. This change occurred in September, 1919.

Because your revolver predates that, I would advise firing it only with "powder puff" loads if at all.

I'm thinking the pearl grips with the medallions may be original. If you remove them, do so very carefully. Loosen the screw and use it to push the opposite grip off the gun. Do not pry on them. Once the grip opposite the screwhead is off the grip frame, push the remaining grip off from the center.

If the grips are original, then they are valuable themselves. Roy Jinks can tell you if your gun shipped with them.
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Old October 24, 2008, 12:25 AM   #22
Mike Irwin
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Revolvers made prior to heat treating are perfectly fine to fire with STANDARD pressure .38 Special loads.

Absolutely NO +Ps.
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Old October 25, 2008, 08:38 AM   #23
ccookin
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thanks

Thanks jimbo for the info. very helpful. This was my dad's first gun. it is in very great shape. not much blueing gone, and probabaly has not been shot very much.

thanks again
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Old November 2, 2008, 08:22 PM   #24
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Take care with the grips

jpeebles1, If those are the original grips, and the other side is in as good condition as the side shown in the photo, I suspect the grips may be worth as much or possibly more than the gun. Be very careful with them, especially if trying to take them off the gun, because they are very fragile at this point.

You might be surprised what a Smith & Wesson collector might pay for a nice set of grips like that.
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Old November 2, 2008, 10:30 PM   #25
jpeebles1
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Thanks for that comment. Would you think the grips might be worth more than the gun itself? It is a family piece, my grandfathers, and I wasn't really thinking about selling it. I don't think it is worth more than a couple of hundred dollars anyway and if that is the case, I really think I'd like to have it re-nickeled (if I could send it to someone who could do that without harming the grips). Does this sound reasonable?
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