May 29, 2006, 01:28 AM
Hey guys, im a little confused about a revolver that was recently passed down to me through a relative. Its an old Smith and Wesson 38 (no special). Problem is I really dont know much past that! Below the grip I found a number...V98918.. Its even stamped "United States Property" on the top. Either way, I was just curious if the firearm had any value. I went and purchased ammunition for it the other day, but I firgured I better check with someone that knows what the heck their talking about before I go putting rounds through it at the local range though, so here I am! So whats it worth? Anything special about it? Besides the fact that its not real easy to find plain 38 ammo...(I had quite a run around, something just confuses people when you ask for 38, and they bring you 38 special...and your like no, 38... they act like there is no such thing!!!) Any help would be greatly appreciated!
May 29, 2006, 02:16 AM
Pardon the short answer, but I'm almost out of time.
You have a Smith & Wesson "Victory model" that was made during World War Two. For all parctical purposes this was a regular Military & Police revolver with a wartime Parkerized finish and plain wood grips.
It would be one of two versions:
1. Made for the U.S. Military Services with a 4" barrel and chambered in .38 Special. Marked .38 Special Ctg. on side of barrel
2. Made for the British Army and chambered in .38 Smith & Wesson (not Special) with a 5" barrel. These will be marked .38-200 on the side of the barrel.
Some .38-200 revolvers were unwisely rechambered to .38 Special, and these may not be safe too shoot with anything. A .38 Special round will not go into a .38-200 revolver unless it has been rechambered.
May 29, 2006, 08:02 AM
I concur with my esteemed colleague Mr. Fuff. It sounds as if you have a Model of 1905 4th Change Military & Police Victory (http://coolgunsite.com/pistols/victory_model_smith_and_wesson.htm). These were revolvers produced by S&W during WWII for the war effort. They are becoming harder and harder to find. When I was in the US Navy they were still onboard ship and used on shore patrol. Victory Models for US troops were chambered in .38 Special. The top strap of many was marked US Property, others US Navy, and still others no topstrap markings. The US guns usually have a four inch barrel and a lanyard loop. They wore smooth walnut grips on a five screw frame. The finish is parkerizing. A scant few had two inch barrels. If you see a two incher for sale, suspect it is a fake. Suspect US Navy markings as well.
Many Victory Models were made in .38S&W and sent to Britian on a lend lease program. These usually have a five inch barrel, smooth walnut grips, and lanyard loop. They will display British proof marks. Many of these were converted to the more popular .38 Special prior to re-importation Those converted frequently experience case ruptures on firing. Quite simply, they were ruined.
When the lend lease Victories re-entered the states, they were sold quite cheaply to gun enthusiasts. They often became the victims of many kitchen table gunsmithing projects. I see more boogered up Victory Models than average every day Victories today. Sometimes, if the boogering isn't too bad, I'll buy the gun cheap and try to return it to it's original configuration.
After a sailor dropped a Victory onboard ship and shot himself, the Navy had S&W retrofit a hammer block safety on the Victory Model. The retrofit is a spring affair that fits into the sideplate and is moved out of the way by the hand. When it gets crudded up, it can cause sticking of the action.
Mint examples of Victory Models presently command a little over $500. Indeed, a particularly nice US Navy specimen (http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=7146791) just went for $1,310.00 on Auction Arms. Excellent condition Victory Models can still be had in the $300-400 range. For your common garden variety still working all original but a bit battered Victory, $250 is not to much to ask. These are, afterall, historical guns. If they have martial markings, then the value will increase over time.
It's not unusual to find Victories masquerading as old M&Ps with magna grips and nickel finishes. These usually go for whatever someone will pay. Such was the case with the one below. I paid $150 for it, and then replaced the grips and lanyard ring to bring it back to spec.
May 29, 2006, 03:58 PM
Wow, thanks guys! Im pretty sure im not going to shoot this one, its in too good of a condition to use. I might take it to a gun show with a friend of mine and have it looked at. But I do not plan to sell it! Something like this has to much sentimental and historical value to sell. Thanks again guys, your help has been appreciated!! Man you guys sure know A LOT about guns...