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Old April 7, 2013, 10:58 PM   #1
Flashover2011
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Old Smith and Wesson .38 revolver

Please help me out, I have an old Smith and Wesson .38 that my grandpa had. I would like to know about what year it was manufactured. I am not entirely sure the model but the serial number is six digits and is on the bottom of the handle. It starts 119XXX. And on the top there are patent numbers, the latest date on the top of the barrel is JUNE3 90. The earliest date is MAY 80. It also says SPRINGFIELD, MASS. The gun opens on end to expose the cylinder for loading. There is no rod like on my other revolvers. Thanks for the help
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Old April 8, 2013, 06:20 AM   #2
Kiawah
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Picture?
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Old April 8, 2013, 09:31 AM   #3
Winchester_73
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Sounds like either a S&W 38 DA or a 38 safety hammerless. It has a hinge and is a break top?
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Old April 8, 2013, 11:25 AM   #4
James K
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A breaktop with a concealed hammer and a grip safety? If so, it is a .38 Double Action Safety Revolver, Fourth Model. Safety Revolvers, often called "lemon squeezers" were made from 1887 to 1940; the Fourth Model was made from 1898 to 1907. Your gun was made in 1898 and is an antique under federal law.

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Old April 8, 2013, 08:25 PM   #5
Flashover2011
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I know it sounds odd, but there is a hammer, and there is a safety on the back of the handle, much like the new style glocks? If that makes any sense.. You have to grip it before the hammer and trigger will even move. I will get a picture as soon as possible. Thank you Jim
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Old April 8, 2013, 08:40 PM   #6
Flashover2011
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I stand corrected, there is no hammer!!! Crazy to me! Jim I can't think you enough. What would the value be, I have seen one in terrible condition go for $200, but this one is in better shape. However I saw one online in near perfect shape go for $1100. I would say this one is about 75% in my opinion which may be slightly inflated.
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Old April 8, 2013, 09:26 PM   #7
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You really had me going there saying it had a grip safety and a hammer!

They made a whole lot of them and one would have to be in like new condition with the box and papers to bring anywhere near $1000, IMHO.

A really nice one can run about $450 but not much more than that; like new, maybe $600. Blued ones bring a premium as most were nickel plated.

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Old April 8, 2013, 10:19 PM   #8
Flashover2011
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It is blued! Hmm. I never thought that grip safeties were that old! How interesting. Learning all of this is very exciting. I'm glad you are able to give me information and look forward to your help in the future. Thank you Jim.
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Old April 8, 2013, 10:29 PM   #9
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It is too far off topic for much discussion here, but the history of nickel plating almost everything in this country in the late 1800's is fascinating, and a few Google searches will turn up quite a bit of interest.

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