View Full Version : Old S&W .357

June 8, 1999, 12:53 PM
Well, I don't know how old it is, but it's in pretty rough shape.

Trying to identify this revolver (model number). Seller told me it's a Model 48, but I don't quite trust him. No model number is visible on it, AFAIK. Here goes with the details...

3" barrel, wood grips (original). 6-chamber fluted cylinder. Adjustable front and rear sights. Inside the frame (behind the crane) is engraved "REG 4802." Barrel is marked "SMITH & WESSON .357 MAGNUM." Rebounding hammer. Appears to be based on K-frame.

I'll try to post a photo of it, if necessary.

"America is at that awkward stage.
It's too late to work within the system,
but too early to start shooting the bastards."
--Claire Wolfe

June 8, 1999, 03:42 PM
The mark Reg XXXXX strongly leads me to believe that you have a pre-war Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum. This revolver became the Model 27. These early Smiths made during the great depression were custom made to the customers specification and then registered to the owner with a certificate furnished. Such guns were marked on the frame where yours is markeg with REG and then a number. Smith and Wesson can give you a letter or origin and tell you when this handgun was made and who was the original owner. All for a price of course.

June 8, 1999, 03:58 PM
S&W sez their historian will look it up for $20.

Too cool! I don't think the dealer knew either. I'm gonna be grinning for the rest of the week if this is for real.

June 8, 1999, 06:10 PM
Try www.guntalk.shooters.com (http://www.guntalk.shooters.com) and post your question on the handgun forum to the attention of Smithnut. Smith and Wesson made a lot of pre-model number guns as I recall Smithnut saying. I'd spend the $20.00 to have Smith research it, it sounds like a really great piece.


James K
June 8, 1999, 09:02 PM
Hi Hal,

S&W made non-model number guns for over 100 years; they did not start the model number system until 1958.


Paul B.
June 9, 1999, 03:05 AM
A couple of points confuse me. Is this a 5 screw model? Also, a "K" frame? The pre-war .357's were "N" frames. Also I believe the shortest barrel lenght was 3 1/2 inches, althought someone could have trimmed it further. I agree though that is sounds like a pre-war .357, and the reg #, seems to bear this out, as they also had a special registration # along with the regular serial number. This number was on a special certificate issued with the revolver.
Paul B.

June 9, 1999, 09:22 AM
It has 4 screws on the starboard cover. It's a square-butt N frame, which I determined by fitting a Hogue Monogrip to it (yes, I have the original grips). Barrel is actually 2.5", not including the forcing cone.

After putting in a couple of hours cleaning it and touching up the bluing, it's a handsome piece. Can't wait to take it to the range this weekend.

Thanks for all the feedback. Sounds like I lucked into something good here.

"America is at that awkward stage.
It's too late to work within the system,
but too early to start shooting the bastards."
--Claire Wolfe

Ed Brunner
June 9, 1999, 07:43 PM
Please let us know what you find out.

Better days to be,


June 11, 1999, 01:55 PM

No info on the gun's history yet.

Took it to the range yesterday with a box of UMC 125gr JSP.

Action on it is incredible (after I cleaned all the crud out of it). Since I was wearing muffs and it was daytime, I can't really comment on flash and roar. Kick was no worse than .38 Special +P in a lightweight snubbie. Probably due to the sheer mass involved; this gun is one chunky handful.

Accuracy-wise, hooboy. 1" wide bottlenecks at 25 yards were reduced back to sand. Water-filled 2-liter bottles at 100' exploded nicely.

I think I'm in love. Or lust. Or something.

June 23, 1999, 02:37 PM
Model 48 was the designation for the 22 WMR version of the K-22 (Model 17). I had one.