What is this .38 M&P worth?


June 7, 2006, 12:16 AM
Hi guys,

First time threader, so please bare with me. I can try to get a picture, but for now I am going to describe this gun:

Smith & Wesson .38 special "hand-ejecter" revolver.

Nickel finish
Beautiful ivory grips that only go as high as the top of the trigger (unlike other ivory grips which I've seen go all the way to the cylinder release thumb switch).
Fluted cylinder
6" barrel (measures 61/4 inches)
Ivory grips have gold indented S&W medallions.
Side of barrel on the left says, "38 S&W Special" on one line and then under that it says, "& U.S. Serv CTG's" I think it is supposed to say "Service" but the "ice" is rubbed off.
Top of barrel says, "Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass. U.S.A. Pat'd Apr.9.89.Mar.27.94.May 21.95.July 16.95.Aug.4.96.Dec.22.96.Oct.4.98.Oct.8.01.Dec.17.01"
Ejector rod has the "bevelled" edge which makes it a pre-1924 model?
Other markings: S&W Trade Mark symbol (large) on right-hand side of gun; when you open the cylinder, the number "617" appears in the joint (very small); and serial number appears on the cylinder, barrel, and butt of gun.

The serial number is what has me stumped. I've seen a lot of these guns in blue and nickel finish, wood grips and ivory grips, in any combination. It seems like most have an "S" starting the serial number. My serial number has no letter in it in any of the three places. The serial number is: 84277. I can't find this anywhere. The closest I got was one that was a Victory model and it had a "V" before the serial number.

This is a really beautiful gun in really nice shape. I just want to know what it is and what it is worth roughly. As far as I can guess by reading threads and doing my own research for a couple of hours is that this one might be an early 1900's model because of the 45 degree bevel on the ejector rod.

Any help would be much appreciated.



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June 7, 2006, 12:26 AM
Go to www.smith-wessonforum.com

Someone there can help you. Pics would help as well.

June 7, 2006, 02:26 AM
Sounds like you have a very early 38 special Military and Police probably made in the early part of the 20th century. M&Ps with a S prefix start around 1944-45. It took S&W from 1899 to approx. 1940 to make the first million M&P revolvers.

June 7, 2006, 02:32 AM
If I am reading it correctly, the SCSW places the serial number at 1906-1907

The value will depend in large part on the condition of the piece, if the finish is original the gun unaltered and the grips factory. Factory ivory grips on their own can bring a couple of hundred and may be worth as much as the gun.

June 7, 2006, 02:50 AM
Im not an expert on old S&Ws by any means. However, it seems that with most examples their value as shooters and heirlooms far outweighs their monetary value. If i were you I would make up some amusing story about how your father/grandfather used it to shoot up a horde of bandits, rumrunners, federales, nazis, etc. and will it to your kids.

June 7, 2006, 10:05 AM
Here are some pics of it. My camera stinks, so I wasn't able to get any close-ups. Click on this link: http://www.jasonrpcrabbe.com/firearms.html

Another strange thing about this gun is that I put it side by side with my Ruger Single-Six convertible and the barrel comes up about 1/4" shorter than the Ruger. The Ruger has a 6 1/2 " barrel. I thought they only made these M&Ps in up to 6" length barrels? It doesn't make sense if this one has a 6 1/4" barrel. Hmmmmmm....


June 7, 2006, 10:37 AM
I took a look at your photo and, unless I'm looking at the wrong gun, I believe those are Mother of Pearl grips, not Ivory. Ivory is more uniform in color and range from white to yellow. The MOP grips have that mottled, transluscent appearence.

June 7, 2006, 10:59 AM
Ugghh!! You are so right!! Why did I say ivory? I must have seen one that looked like mine that had ivory grips. I knew they were pearl. I was just being a dingleberry. Sorry about that!

June 7, 2006, 11:06 AM
On the S&W forum a guy told me this was a model 1905 1st change probably made between 1906 and 1909. What do y'all think? Anyone know how much this might be worth? I'm just keeping the gun and wanting to know if I got a good deal. I paid $200 for it.



June 7, 2006, 11:49 AM
Your gun is a 1905 1st change made in 1906 or 1907. It looks like it has been refinished. The grips are mother of pearl and appears to be real S&W grips. The us service cartridge on the barrell refers to the 38 long colt. They made the M&P in the early days with 6 1/2 barrells. I nice gun in good condition. You got a good shooter with history for the price of a used taurus. ;). JUst make sure to use low pressure round in the gun. these old S&W cylinders were not heat treated until the 250XXX range.

Here is mine 844XX. With a 6.5 barrell.


Old Fuff
June 7, 2006, 11:54 AM
Well you do have what they told you - A S&W .38 1905 Hand Ejector/Military & Police model - 1st change. At that time the longest barrel length was 6 1/2" (give or take) rather then 6" (measure from the face of the cylinder to the end of the muzzle. The pearl stocks are genuine S&W grips, and appear to not be chipped or cracked. Can't tell from your picture how much original nickel plated finish remains, but it seems to be worn off (or cleaned off) of the barrel.

To a S&W collector the gun is worth at least twice what you paid for it ($200) and probably a bit more. What makes a big difference is the pearl stocks.

June 7, 2006, 12:01 PM
I'm not sure about the finish. It is just really shiny like stainless or chrome. The pearl grips are flawless. I will definitely heed your advice about low pressure ammo...uhhh...could you tell me what that is?? :rolleyes: Sorry! I'm kinda new to the whole old gun thing. I want to make sure I don't ruin this nice piece. I kinda figured it was worth around $500. I saw one like mine with cracked grips and some damage to the finish for $500. Mine is in better condition, so I thought "score!" I also saw one on the internet that was blued with wooden handles for $795. Probably just depends on who is selling and what someone is willing to pay.

Thanks for the information, guys! Oh, and ssteven1, that is a sweet gun you've got there!

June 7, 2006, 01:30 PM
S&W will provide whatever history they have on this gun for a $30 fee and it might confirm the grips as original (or it may say otherwise). See the S&W web site for the form.

Bear in mind that your gun was made before they started tempering the steel in the cylinders and I would only use soft target loads if you shoot it.

June 7, 2006, 05:31 PM

FWIW, this is guitars2guns' revolver.

To me, it appears to be a M&P, Model of 1905 First Change. That would mean it was manufactured between 1906 and 1909. I would wager that the early serial would place it at 1906-07.

It appears to be in very nice original condition. Poor condition nickel lowers cost, but nice original nickel will bring a premium. The original S&W pearl grips will certainly bring a premium. With walnut original grips, this revolver would easily bring $300-350 with a dedicated buyer. With original S&W pearl grips, I have little doubt that this revolver would fetch $500, possibly more if the right collector wanted it. I certainly would not accept less than $500 for it myself, assuming the right side appears as nice as the left.

It is safe to shoot this revolver, but please use low pressure rounds. The cylinder is not heat treated. Shooting high pressure ammo can cause chamber/cylinder expansion that can result in a huge chunk of nickel flying off the cylinder. If that happens, the grips will be worth more than the revolver.

You have a very nice revolver. It is one many collectors would snatch up quickly. It is practically unique, especially if the grips have a serial number penciled on the reverse matching them to the gun. Do not remove them to see, simply request a letter from Roy Jinks (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/01/collectors-treasure.html) to see what it left the factory with. Your revolver is worth a factory letter!

September 10, 2006, 12:30 AM

Where is a good place to sell something like this? If it is worth $500, I need the cash to pay on bills. Any advice would be most welcome.


September 10, 2006, 12:48 AM

Where is a good place to sell something like this? If it is worth $500, I need the cash to pay on bills. Any advice would be most welcome.

I hate to hear that you need to sell the gun to pay bills as I've been there done that myself. However, that's life sometimes. If you're looking to sell it I'd post a thread with pics and asking price in the Buy/Sell/Trade section here on THR. Best of luck to you.

September 10, 2006, 09:18 AM
You could list it here, as well as on the S&W forum (http://smith-wessonforum.com/groupee). Or, you could take it to your local gun store or pawn shop and accept $75-100 for it. Your choice.
Did you get a Jinks letter on it?

September 10, 2006, 11:08 AM
I really don't think that's an original finish. One tell-tale might be the ejector star. If it's nickel plated, then it's DEFINATELY not original, as factory nickel revolvers had blued ejector stars.

September 10, 2006, 04:20 PM
I haven't gotten the letter. I probably should do that.

The ejector star is blued, by the way. I will definitely be taking better pictures. That way, there will be less "guessing" on other people's parts.

No Panic here; No Chaos either; Only Order. My work has just begun.


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