Old Smith


December 30, 2006, 09:03 AM
Ok, I bought this revolver yesterday in Springfield, Oh as part of a package deal. If someone could give me some info, I would truly appreciate it. Serial on butt is 305792, cylinder is also 305792, bottom of barrel is v "space" 239788. Right side of barrel is marked 38 S&W CTG, left side can make out "Wesson" and "38 Special" underneath that. These marks are almost illegible. Looks like "RONSPERO" underneath the 38 special, and maybe a BNP also.
Could this have been rebarreled at some point? Can't find any other markings on it.

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December 30, 2006, 09:22 AM
It looks like a rebarreled M&P (Model 10) revolver. The stocks look replaced, too. Does the gun lock up OK? If it's still tight it would make a good truck/tackle box gun.

December 30, 2006, 09:33 AM
Seems to lock up just fine and haven't got much in it, I'm just hoping it shoots ok.

Jim Watson
December 30, 2006, 10:02 AM
The barrel has some blue, the rest of the gun doesn't, might well be a replacement. It has certainly been sawn off, that isn't a S&W front sight or crown.

Markings of .38 S&W Ctg on one side and .38 Special on the other with BNP proof mark tell me that at least the barrel was from a British contract gun converted from .38-200 (.38 S&W) to .38 Special for surplus sales in the USA. I don't know about the RONSPERO stamp, maybe the sweat shop gunsmith who did the work.

I wonder what the cylinder is really chambered for. It was usual to run a .38 Special reamer into the .38 S&W British surplus revolvers to get them to sell in the USA. Or maybe it is a US Victory model .38 Special with a British barrel replacing a damaged original. I would not put anything in it but standard velocity Specials and would look for bulged brass for about 3/4" up from the casehead as the Special brass expanded into a S&W chamber, if it is the former.

Old Fuff
December 30, 2006, 10:20 AM
I am not sure this revolver is a Smith & Wesson... :confused:

There should be trademarks and other stampings on the frame that apparently aren't there. The barrel has obviously been cut off. The ".38 S&W Ctg." marking would indicate a .38-200 model barrel, but both the number on it, and on the gun's butt are way out of range for a .38-200 revolver that should be 700,000 > or in the "V" serial number series. Check and see if there is a "V" stamped on the butt.

December 30, 2006, 10:43 AM
I'll weigh in too.

I kinda agree with Fuff because he knows his stuff. It's dangerous to disagree with the old man. This frame is devoid of any S&W markings.

However, the frame appears to meet the standard S&W dimensions. Most S&W counterfiets are dimensionally off in some area. I believe you have an early S&W frame that has been heavily polished, thus removing the markings. Whether it is a Victory or not is really immaterial at this point. It appears to have the long throw action, and it probably has a .38 Special cylinder, converted or otherwise.

The barrel is obviously a replacement barrel that has been cut down. The serial number does not match the frame, and the rollmark is not centered properly. The ramp sight was added by a gunsmith at some point. The post war magna grips are not correct.

My bet is that this is a pre-war M&P that at some point suffered a damaged barrel. That barrel was removed, and a cheaply acquired Victory barrel was installed. Since the gun was no longer "original" the gunsmith or owner decided to simply cut the barrel to the length desired, and install a ramped sight.

As a result, you have a three inch K frame .38 that has the long throw action. That is a desirable combination. This revolver is very definitely a shooter, So........How does it shoot? Have the cylinder checked by a gunsmith to determine caliber and whether it was converted. Check it's timing and lock-up. If these are OK, then check it's accuracy. If it is accurate enough for you, then you have a fine old, unique Smith with a lot of history and a great little gun.

Not all guns have to look like they just left the factory! I think I would take some steel wool to the barrel and make the overall patina even on the gun. Maybe find a set of early grips and perhaps a lanyard loop. This can be a fun gun if it's functional. Enjoy it!

Old Fuff
December 30, 2006, 01:25 PM
My problem is that my monitor's resolution isn't good enough to see what I need to see. It's scheduled for replacement.

Some of the Spanish copies are very good, and I have seen more then one (coming out of Mexico) that had S&W barrels installed. Changing the stocks makes identification even harder. If a picture was submitted with the stocks removed, the frame's interior configuration might provide a clue. On the other hand it could be one of the many .38-200 revolvers that were rechambered and had the barrel cut and front sight replaced.

Shooting one of the rechambered guns is problematical. They tend to split or crack fired cases, and accuracy suffers because of the oversized bore and chamber throats. Never use Plus-P ammunition in one of them.

Serial number 305792, would date from around 1920, give or take a few years. Within that time frame S&W did make some frames that were unmarked, (other then the serial number) but they are unusual. The serial number V-305792 would have been made much later - say around mid-1943. Since the barrel would seem to be the remains of a .38-200 with a trace of proofmarks (BNP) I would expect similar marks on the frame and cylinder - and there are none. If there were any evidence of a lanyard loop in the butt (such as a plugged hole) this would tend to confirm that it was originally a .28-200 that had been shipped to England or a Commonwealth county, converted after the war, and sold as surplus to a distributor in the United States during the mid-1950’s.

December 30, 2006, 03:20 PM
The ejector rod (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/06/dating-k-frame.html) is a post-1930s style. The earlier "mushroom" type would not have fit the cut in the later barrel, so perhaps the ejector rod was swapped at the same time the barrel was.

December 30, 2006, 06:55 PM
Here's a pic with grips removed, no other "v"s on frame, no plugged holes or anything. There is a BN on right side grip frame next to post. Possibly a "H" or "I" next to post on left grip frame. Put about 150 rounds of Winchester white box 38 special through it today. Shoots about 2 inches to the left at 15 yards, other than that worked just fine, double and single action. Nice and smooth pull. The cases look fine, no splitting, cracking, nothing unusual. One other thing, on topstrap right beside barrel there is an oval dish machined into the topstrap. Looks like one of those that I've heard were put into the old blackpowder frames to catch the residue. Too even in shape to be flame cutting. I'll see if I can't get a picture of it also.

Old Fuff
December 30, 2006, 09:04 PM
Yes, that is a fouling cup, and makes it far more likely that the frame dates from the 1916 to 1920 period, not 1943. I am sure however that the barrel was originally on a .38-200 revolver. Since the cylinder is numbered to match the frame I presume that it is chambered in .38 Special, and that's the reason you aren't getting split cases. Be aware that the cylinder is not heat treated, so stick to moderate loads.

As XavierBreath pointed out it has Smith & Wesson's famous "long action," which explains why it is so smooth. However it does not have the post-1945 hammer block, so it would be advisable to carry 5 and rest the hammer on the 6th (empty) chamber.

How that barrel got on that revolver I have no idea, but I would suggest you consider having it rebarreled with a correct one in .38 Special. A good used one should do.

December 31, 2006, 07:51 PM
Just wanted to say thanks to all who replied to my post. You've been very helpful.

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