View Full Version : Hi, I'm new here and have a question

September 3, 2009, 08:38 PM
I recently purchased a pistol from a gun expo that came through town. The seller told me the firearm was a Meriden and, in fact, has their logo embedded into the top. He told me it was a .32, but the receipt said it was a .38.

Going on his word, I purchased a box of .32 shells and they fell straight through the barrel, so I took them back and was told the firearm is actually a .38 S&W manufactured by Meriden Firearms.

The ONLY numbers visible on it (it's a very old gun) are 309742 and I can't seem to find any information about it anywhere other than Meriden sold to Sears and stopped in 1918.

Can anyone here help me find out addtional information? I'd greatly appreciate it.

This is also the first firearm I've owned, so if I write something out of context, it isn't intentional.

Thank you,

September 3, 2009, 08:49 PM
How much did you pay for this? Why did you buy it?

A gun that has this many years on it, especially when becomes someone's first ever gun, should really be checked over thoroughly by a gunsmith before you attempt to fire it, for your own safety.

If it is indeed a .38 S&W (and not the much more common .38 Special) then ammo is going to be quite a bit tougher for you to find.

September 4, 2009, 12:41 AM
I don't know much about the gun or it's value, but I do know that .38 s&w is hard to find. If you can, I would return it and buy from a reputable gun store. IMO You would be better served by buying a .22 lr pistol to start. These make great starter pistols as they have light recoil and are very cheap to shoot. Sorry that this guy lied to you, unfortunately you cannot trust everybody to tell you the truth.

September 4, 2009, 05:56 AM
I guess I didn't specify that it WAS a reputable gun dealer who sold me the gun at the expo.
We got there as they were closing up and, I think, he was just rushing and spoke the incorrect information, but he called in a background check on me and gave me a written receipt that said .38 S&W. I honestly believe it was a mistake in his haste to close up shop because he DID write the correct information on the receipt.
The only problem with it, he said, is that the firing pin may miss every now and then, so you have to pull the trigger twice. I tried it unloaded and didn't have a problem with it at all, but that's not to say I won't. The one thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't have a safety guard on it, but I have no children living with me and it's tucked away in a safe, easy to reach place.
I've not shot a gun since I was around 10 years old and I'll be 42 soon.

I paid only $99.00 for it and I HAVE found bullets for it, but I've not shot it yet, so finding ammo isn't a problem with this particular piece. I've got 50 shells and will probably never use all of them.

I would rather have the larger caliper for protection and a .22 isn't going to do that (not that I anticipate any problems, but for general purposes).

Sevens....my brother gave me a single load shotgun that was much too large for me, so I took it along and sold it for $100. It was old, needed to be re-blued(sp), and the grip replaced. Standing on the floor next to me, it came nearly to my shoulders and would've probably knocked my arm 400 feet behind me with the kickback. The blue book value on it was $125 or less because of the condition, so I took a hundred for it, knowing I'd never use it.

I really don't have a specific intention for it other than protection inside my home, if need be.
And the reason I bought it was because I just wanted to own a gun. Unfortunately, it was the only one I could afford at the time, but I fully intend to shop around.
My brother has a 9mm Glock that holds 18 in the casing and one in the chamber, what some refer to as a cop killer. I don't think I need anything like that, but maybe a .45? I'm not certain yet.

September 4, 2009, 07:27 AM
I strenously recomend you to seek help from a firearms instructor.

James K
September 4, 2009, 07:04 PM
The price was fairly reasonable for a collector piece if the gun is in any kind of decent condition and functions. The .38 S&W is adequate for defense, but I couldn't recommend it for that purpose as those older guns tend to break and parts are unavailable. Worse, I doubt very much that you can sell or trade the gun for what you have in it.

I would chalk the Meriden up to experience (almost all of us have our "Meridens" - mine was a .32 H&R) and consider saving pennies toward a more modern gun.


September 5, 2009, 04:29 AM
Thank you all so much. I appreciate the advice very much.
My brother said he could get me a Glock, though I can't remember what mm he said it would be, so I may take him up on the offer.

The gun is in reasonably good condition and it does function (according to the seller), but as I said, the seller told me the firing pin sometimes misses and you have to pull the trigger again before it will fire.

I don't want to sell or trade it at the moment, so I'm not worrying about getting back what I put into it.
Should I acquire another firearm, I'll most likely lock it away in my safe.

September 5, 2009, 06:26 AM
yours is probably 1909

September 5, 2009, 07:31 AM
That old gun is a novelty item. Do you really think you want to base your life and future on an ancient revolver that "sometimes" fires? The price is OK for a collectors item or conversation piece, or even a sort of thing you might take to the range and just fire for fun, if it is safe to shoot, but man, for serious biz, you need something serious, and the skills to use it safely and correctly. Get some training then practice with a good gun.

September 7, 2009, 03:50 AM
You're absolutely right, Tom2 and the one I have actually has a small target on each side of the plastic grip.
I've NO experience in using any firearms and hoping I won't need to, but one never knows what life will throw your way.
You misunderstood what I said about it "missing". The seller said once in a while it will miss one shot because the firing pin doesn't do its job, but it CAN be repaired.

At any rate, it's locked away in my safe for now.

tomgun, thank you for the link.

September 7, 2009, 04:03 AM
Oh, and the one I have is, indeed, a top-break revolver.

Bottom line is, I like it. And I guess that's all that really matters right now.
When I'm ready for something more modern, I'll let my brother know and he'll be able to get it for me.

Until then, if I'm forced into a situation where I HAVE to use it, well, I'll give it my best shot (no pun intended).
I live in a redneck town and you never know what might happen and I've been threatened, along with my home, by a certain individual who would crap their pants if they even saw a gun pointed at them and high-tail it out of here quick, fast, and in a hurry.

I doubt it'll ever come to that, though.....and no, the police can't (or won't) do anything because it's my word against the other person's and, unless they actually do something, there's nothing they can do.
Gotta' love some of the laws of our land.:barf:

September 18, 2009, 04:01 PM
the gun is old,I repared a forhand and wordworth 38 S&W,it was in the womans family I had a meriden arms before WW2.your firing pin is worn.and that gun is almost a 100 yrs old.in the transition period between black and smokeless. just look at it and dream of its history and then put it back in its box.it is not worth the chance of injury.get a S&W revolver in 38 special.used if you can.they are far better than any of those.I grew up with them and traded and bought them for 25 cents and $1.00.the sold for $5 to $8 new.or less.