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Old March 31, 2009, 08:14 PM   #1271
Tom Servo
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 12,173
Tom Servo: Is the number 955844 taken from the bottom of the grip? If so then your gun is a post war production, probably around 1947 (serial number S990184 was used in 1948, S811120 in 1945.) The actual victory model run ended at SV811832.
Here's where it gets weird...there's no "S" prefix on any of the numbers. It's definitely a Victory, as it's parkerized, and the barrel isn't chopped. The numbers on the heel have matches on the rear face of the cylinder and on the bottom of the barrel.

The Arrow is a British or Commonwealth acceptance mark, which suggests it is a wartime gun, FTR means Factory Thorough Repair: It was re-arsenaled in 1955 at a Commonwealth service center, the MA prefix refers to the center, but I can't tell you which one it is.
I've got a guy who thinks it might be Canadian as well, based on some other numbers. Gotta check on that tomorrow, as I don't have the gun with me.

The Commonwealth guns were usually in .38 S&W, not .38 special. The barrel should be marked .38 S&W CTG if this is a Commonwealth gun. After the war many were re-imported into the USA as surplus and the cylinders bored through to allow .38 special to chamber. These should only be fired with standard pressure loads as the chamber will be oversize for the case at the extractor end - .38 S&W used a wider case than the .38 special.
I figured it might have been a .38-200 or .38 S&W, but the gun reads, ".38 S&W Special" on both the barrel and on the left side of the frame under the cylinder latch. .38spl ammo sits tight in the cylinder.

I know my Smiths fairly well, but this one's an oddity.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
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