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Old June 23, 2013, 07:56 AM   #1
ken obert
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Join Date: June 22, 2013
Location: NW Florida
Posts: 14
search for age of S&W 38 special

I have a 38 special left to me @ my father's death. The serial # on the butt of the pistol is SV 780261 the # on the cylinder is the same except preceded with P V spaced between the cartridge rounds. The # under the barrel is 780261P
The model # (?) is 42798 stamped on the inside of the frame under the crane when closed. The last paten # on top of the barrell is DEC 29 14. Is that enough information to determine what year this pistol was made?

Last edited by ken obert; June 23, 2013 at 08:02 AM.
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Old June 23, 2013, 10:02 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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I am not a collector or expert but as best I can tell...

V for Victory model, a .38 revolver made as secondary standard or security weapon in WW II. Made from 1942 when all-number serials reached a million until war's end in 1945 or a bit after.

S for Safety hammer block, redesigned after an AD on a Navy ship in 1945. Used in new production ever after, I think retrofitted to guns that could conveniently be sent in.

Your serial number is pretty high, I am going to GUESS it as a 1945 gun... same age as me.

Maybe somebody with the necessary book will come along and date it closer, but that is the best I can do.
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Old June 23, 2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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Jim has it down pretty much. 1942 to 45 serial number range V1 to V811338. The S prefix was added to the factory guns in 1944, 40,000 previous manufactured guns were returned for modification and also stamped with the SV. I would guess yours left the factory in late 1944 already modified .
Ron James
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Old June 24, 2013, 07:19 AM   #4
ken obert
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Join Date: June 22, 2013
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Age of 38 special

Thanks so much for your information about my pistol. I had no idea how old it was. My cousin brought the pistol from California at the end of his tour with the US Navy, my dad liked it and bought it from him in 69 or 1970. He used the pistol for protection as a night watchman for a fertilizer company in my home town. Thank you gentlemen so much for sharing your knowledge with me.
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