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Old October 17, 2008, 12:38 AM   #1
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Question on an old S&W revolver

Im not sure if this is the right place to post this but here goes. I was given an old Smith and Wesson revolver by my daughter. She found it down inside a couch she had found at the local dumpster site. People throw away perfectly good stuff up here. Anyways Its first pat number is Feb 20 1877 with several more and the last being Jun 3 90. It is a Hammerless 5 shot tip up revolver. There are serial numbers on the butt,cylinder and barrel, all matching # 84582. It is a double action and is in good condition and missing the grips. when she gave it to me there were 4 lead bullets jammed in the cylinder somone obiously shaved the sides flat to get them in. Was thinking someone gave it to a kid to play with as it is not in working condition because somthing in the trigger assembly must be broken as it will revolve the cylinder once after tipping up but will not drop the firing pin. I think it is a J model in 38 or 38 special.
I have tons of questions about this revolver. Does anyone have an idea of exact date of manufacture ? Would Smith and Wesson keep records of this and maybe origin of shipping ? I'm sure it must be worth something but Im now a collector of old guns so probably wont get rid of it. I'll try to get a pic of it on here. Jim

Last edited by jrswope; October 18, 2008 at 01:29 AM.
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Old October 17, 2008, 09:25 AM   #2
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You might want to repost this in the "Smith & Wesson Serial Number Search" thread under "Revolvers".

This type of revolver is called a "top break" by S&W enthusiasts. I'm not a great expert on the top breaks, something about this revolver doesn't look right to me- the topstrap seems a little "off".

Real .38 Double Actions- the S&W revolvers that this most closely resembles- were very widely copied, notably by H&R, by Iver Johnson under their own name and the trade name U.S. Arms, and by various Spanish companies.
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
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Old October 17, 2008, 02:51 PM   #3
James K
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It is a .38 S&W Safety Hammerless, Third Model. It was made between 1890 and 1898, probably around 1894, one of 73,500 of that type. It has the uncommon six-inch barrel (most were 3-4"). The caliber is .38 S&W, an older and different cartridge from the .38 Special; ammunition would be readily obtainable, but expensive.

Value in like new condition and that barrel length could go to $500, but in that outside condition and not functioning, $100 or so would be more reasonable, and that would be retail. I doubt a dealer would pay more than $50 if that.

Check for grips (G26).

Some parts are available, but those guns are not easy to repair and few gunsmiths will work on them, since repair costs would exceed the value of the gun.

Jim K
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Old October 18, 2008, 01:34 AM   #4
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Reposted 1890's S&W to the Revolver thread

I reposted this thread on S&W revolvers with the pictures there.
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Old October 31, 2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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Looks like perfect fodder for the liberal gun buy-back progam.
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