Older S&W 38 US Service CTG'S


Big Daddy K
April 6, 2007, 10:48 PM
Serial # 349##.

Is there any way to find out year made, model, etc.

Also have a 38 S&W. Looks like a 38 short. Cool wheel guns to plink around with though.:D

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April 6, 2007, 10:55 PM
oops. dbl post.

April 6, 2007, 10:55 PM
I'm in the middle of moving or I'd check the The Book for you; it's all packed away right now. A description would help.

Big Daddy K
April 6, 2007, 11:05 PM
Man that was fast. I think I like it here already.

Anyway it is nickle plated 6 shot 38spl. Looks like about a 4" barrell with fixed sights. Black grips with the S&W emblem on the side. Came with a clip on belt holster with green cloth material on the inside.
Just a basic looking old police type revolver.

April 6, 2007, 11:07 PM
What and where are the markings on it?

Big Daddy K
April 6, 2007, 11:27 PM
SN on the butt.
S&W logo on right side.
S&W logo on both sides of grips.
Barrell markings are on the left side. 38 S&W Special
U.S. Service CTG'S

Right side of Barrell Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass USA

Old Fuff
April 7, 2007, 01:27 AM
Ya' doing good, Big Daddy... :cool:

Now tell us what the serial number on the butt is (use xx for the last two numbers) and we'll tell you a whole lot about your revolver.

Oh wait, I just spotted it. No. 34962.

You have a Smith & Wesson .38 Hand Ejector, Model of 1902, 1st chg.

Your revolver was made in 1902, and that makes it over 100 years old. :what: So be careful what you use to go plinking with. These were 6-shot, K-frame revolvers made to use either the then new .38 Special cartridge, or the .38 Long Colt cartridge then used in U.S. military service sidearms. They do not use the shorter .38 S&W round. At the time both the .38 Special and Long Colt were loaded with black powder, and the cylinders were not heat-treated. Standard barrel lengths were 4, 5 and 6 1/2 inches. They came either blued or nickel plated. The stocks are made out of black hard-rubber, and they crack and chip easily - so be careful of them.

Big Daddy K
April 7, 2007, 09:23 AM
Thanks. I figured it was from the 50s but 02. Man that is old. Pretty cool.
I've only shot 158 lead. No +p etc. It's not a CCW just a fun gun to shoot.

I went to get some cowboys the other day at Gander. Man those things are $27.00 a box. Thats nuts:cuss:

Is it of any value other than to me as a cool old gun?

Old Fuff
April 7, 2007, 10:32 AM
The value depends on the condition, and to answer that question I'd have too know more.

How much of the original finish does it have?

What is the internal condition of the bore & chambers?

How much, if any of the case-color on the hammer and trigger is left?

Are the stocks intact, without cracks or chips?

Posting a picture would help.

If you are really interested in the gun's background, send a description of the revolver with the serial number, a snapshot of it to help in identification, and a $30.00 check made out to Smith & Wesson. Roy Jinks, the company's historian will go through the old records until he finds your gun. He will then send you an official letter describing the model's history, and then the exact details on your gun - including the day it was shipped and to what dealer or destributor. See additional details on www.smith-wesson.com

April 20, 2007, 08:31 PM
Hey Old Fluff,I have one of these with only one S&W logo on the right side with serial # 726XX.Would you know anything about it Year,etc.?

Thanks in advance.

Old Fuff
April 20, 2007, 10:13 PM
A more complete description would help, but I'll take a shot at it.

If this is a 6-shot, .38 Special, Smith & Wesson with a barrel length of 4, 5 or 6 1/2 inches (measured from the front cylinder face to the muzzle end of the barrel, I suspect that you have a 1905 Hand Ejector (Military & Police) 3rd. model. Square butt versions usually had checkered walnut stocks, while the round butt style had black hard-rubber grips. In both cases pearl or ivory were optional. Blue or nickel plated finishes were standard.

The 3rd. model series were made from 1905 through 1906, in a serial number range running from 62,450 to 73,250. Your serial number (72,6xx) would be toward the end of the run.

Should you decide to shoot it...

When you're buying ammunition, keep in mind that it's just over 100 years old - and when carrying it rest the hammer on an empty chamber.

April 20, 2007, 10:21 PM
Anyone know when they did start heat treating the cylinders?

April 20, 2007, 10:41 PM
Thanks Old Fluff. Your help is greatly appreciated.It was my grandfather's gun handed down to my father and became mine after he died.It is a six shot,four inch barrel in nickel plate.I don't think the grips are original as they are just plain smooth wood.It is a round butt.It looks to be in very good condition with a small amount of finish wear.What ammo would be correct for this particular year .38 special?

Old Fuff
April 20, 2007, 11:01 PM

Anyone know when they did start heat treating the cylinders?

I'm supposed to know everything????? :neener:

It depends on the model, and some weren't heat treated at all before they were discontinued.

But so far as the 1905 H.E. .38 (Miilitary & Police) model's concerned, they started around serial number 316,648 in or about 1919, and in .32-20 around serial number 81,287 the same year.

Now ya' know... Welcome to the High Road. ;)

Do not take this information to mean you can start using Plus-P ammunition in pre-World War Two revolvers.

April 20, 2007, 11:08 PM
I'm supposed to know everything?????

Of course you are! :D

Old Fuff
April 20, 2007, 11:24 PM

Since this is a passed-down-through-the-family revolver you might want to consider doing the following:

If you are really interested in the gun's background, send a description of the revolver with the serial number, a snapshot of it to help in identification, and a $30.00 check made out to Smith & Wesson. Roy Jinks, the company's historian will go through the old records until he finds your gun. He will then send you an official letter describing the model's history, and then the exact details on your gun - including the day it was shipped and to what dealer or destributor. See additional details on www.smith-wesson.com

So far as ammunition is concerned, stick to standard non-plus-p cartridges with lead bullets. So-called "cowboy loads" have reduced powder charges. See www.black-hills.com for a source. Also have the gun checked over to sure it doesn't have any age-related defects.

April 20, 2007, 11:39 PM
I don't know if you guys cast, but we are getting together a custom mould replicating the classic bullet for this cartridge. It will be a Lee 6 cavity group buy here:


Please PM me if you join this group buy as I'm curious to know if anybody ever follows up these leads I sometimes give.

June 20, 2007, 04:23 AM
Can anyone help me identify this S&W 38 cal. Hand gun.
I recently picked it up at a pawn shop, and it is in real nice condition, good bluing, only has holster wear at the barrel and light on the cylinder, 4" barrel, wooden grips in great shape, with a diamond pattern with the screw hole in the center of the diamond pattern, it has "38 S&W. Special U.S. Service CTG'S on the left side of the barrel, and the serial # 662xxx on the bottom of the hand grip (metal) the serial on the cylinder is the same # 662xxx
it has what looks like rear adjustable sights, and on the top of the barrel is: "Smith&Wesson Springfield Mass USA , PAT'D "MARCH,27 94", "MAY 21 95", "AUG 4, 96", "DEC 22, 96", "OCT 8, O1", "DEC 17, 01", "FEB 6, 06"
I hope that someone can identifiy the year, and value?
many thanks in advance...

Old Fuff
June 20, 2007, 11:31 AM

Check the serial number again and be sure it isn't 66,2XX rather then 662,xxx. As it stands the serial number is way too high (middle-latter 1930's) for the barrel markings you detailed. The U.S. Service CTG marking was discontinued around 1910, give or take a few years. Factory adjustable sights on a 4" barreled revolver would be a special-order item, and possibly explain the use of an older barrel if this was the case. If it does have factory adjustable sights the front sight blade should be pinned into the base on the barrel. Do the stocks have a gold-colored or nickel plated S&W trademark at the top, or nothing like this at all?

June 20, 2007, 03:09 PM
Ok, I checked it again, and I must have been tired last last when I read it. I was either reading it upside down, the serial # 1393xx, or it is 6626xx?
front blade pinned sight, but the sight does not look like the pictures of other ctg's I have seen, flat on the rear side, rounded toward the front of the barrel, It looks like the .32 cal target sight but on a 38?. the rear sight is adjustable, as for the wood, it does not have any s&w logs, this has a 4 screw side plate, and a front screw on the trigger guard, there is not a s&w logo beneath the cylinder release, only on the 4 screw side. thanks for your help

June 21, 2007, 03:07 AM
S&W revolver names before World War II
Name Caliber Frame
.22 Hand Ejector Ladysmith 22 Long M
.22/32 Target 22 Long Rifle I
.22 Outdoorsman 22 Long Rifle K
.32 Hand Ejector (round Butt) 32 S&W Long I
.32 Regulation Police (Square Butt) 32 S&W Long I
.32-20 Hand Ejector 32-20 Win. K
.38 Military&Police 38 Spl K
.38 Hand Ejector (same as above, with
adjustable sights)
.38 Regulation Police (Square Butt) 38 S&W I
.38 Terrier 2" Round Butt 38 S&W I
.38/44 Heavy Duty (fixed sights) 38 Spl N
.38/44 Outdoorsman (Adj. Sights) 38 Spl N
.357 Magnum 357 Mag N
.44 HAnd Ejector Military Model 44 Spl N
.44 Hand ejector Model 1926 44 Spl N
(shrouded extractor rod)
.45 U.S. Army Revolver, Model 1917 45 ACP N
.455 Hand ejector British Service 455 Mark II N

Letter designations assigned S&W Revolvers 1900-1930
32 Double Action R
32 Safety Hammerless G
38 Single Action S
38 Double Action D
38 Safety Hammerless Y
44 Double Action L
22 Hand Ejector M
32 Hand ejector I
38 Military and Police K
44 Hand Ejector N
38 Double Action Perfect P
22 Perfect Single Shot T
35 Automatic A
32 Regulation Police B
38 Regulation Police E
22/32 Heavy Frame Target V

Factory Model/caliber designation begun in 1930s
22/32 Tarket IT22 Square Butt
22/32 Kit Gun IT22 Round Butt
K-22 Masterpiece KT22
32 Hand Ejector I32 Round Butt
32 Regulation Police I32 Square Butt
K-32 Masterpiece KT32
38 Regulation Police I38 Square Butt
38 S&W Terrier I32 Round Butt
38 Military & Police K38
38/44 Heavy Duty N38
K-38 Masterpiece KT38
38/44 Outdoorsman NT38
357 Magnum NT357
1926 Model 44 Military N44
1926 Model 44 Target NT44
1917 Army N45

S&W Model Listing
Model year year Frame Caliber Name
intro Discon Size
10 1899 K 38 Spl Military & Police
10 HB 1960 K 38 Spl Military & Police Heavy Barrel
11 1936 1965 K 38 S&W Military & Police
12 1953 1986 KA 38 Spl Military & Police Airweight
13 1974 K 357 Mag 357 Magnum M&P
14 1947 1982 KT 38 Spl K-38 Masterpiece
15 1949 KT 38 Spl K-38 Combat Masterpiece
16 1947 1973 KT 32 S&W Long K-32 Masterpiece
17 1946 KT 22 LR K-22 Masterpiece
18 1949 1986 KT 22 LR K-22 Combat Masterpiece
19 1955 KT 357 Mag 357 Combat Magnum
20 1930 1966 N 38 Spl 38/44 Heavy Duty
21 1908 1966 N 44 Spl 1950 Model 44 Military
22 1917 1966 N 45 ACP 1950 Model 45 Army
23 1931 1966 NT 38 Spl 38/44 Outdoorsman
24 1908 1966 NT 44 Spl 1950 Model 44 Target
24 1984 1984 NT 44 Spl 7500 units reintroduced
25 1955 1983 NT 45 ACP 1955 Model 45 Target
25-3 1977 1977 NT 45 Colt 125th Commemorative
25-4 1977 1977 NT 45 Colt 125th Delux Comm
25-5 1978 NT 45 Colt 45 Colt
26 1950 1966 NT 45 ACP 1950 45 Target Light Barrel
27 1935 NT 357 Mag 357 Magnum
28 1954 1986 NT 357 Mag 357 Highway Patrolman
29 1955 NT 44 Mag 44 Magnum
30 1896 1976 I&J 32 S&W Long 32 Hand Ejector
31 1917 I&J 32 S&W Long 32 Regulation Police
32 1936 1974 I&J 38 S&W 38 Terrier
33 1917 1974 I&J 38 S&W 38 Regulation Police
34 1936 I&J 22 LR 22/32 Kit Gun 4" barrel
35 1911 1973 I&J 22 LR 22/32 Target 6" Barrel
36 1950 J 38 Spl 38 Chief Special
37 1952 JA 38 Spl 38 Chief Special Airweight
38 1955 JAC 38 Spl Bodyguard
39 1954 1981 Auto 9mm 9mm Double Action
both alloy and steel
39-1 1960 1960 Auto 38 AMU Commonly called M-52A
40 1952 1974 JS 38 Spl Centennial
41 1952 Auto 22 LR 22 Semi-Automatic
41-1 1960 1972 Auto 22 short 22 Short Semi-Auto
42 1953 1974 JAT 38 Spl Centennial Airweight
43 1954 1974 JAT 22 LR 22/32 Kit Gun Airweight
44 1954 1959 Auto 9mm 9mm Semi, Single Action
45 1936 1965 K 22 LR 22 Military & Police
46 1959 1968 Auto 22 LR 22 Semi Auto
47 Experimental number used on several guns
48 1959 1986 KTM 22 WMRF K-22 Masterpiece MRF
49 1959 JC 38 Spl Bodyguard Steel Frame
50 1955 1975 JT 38 Spl 38 Chief Special Target
51 1960 1974 JTM 22 WMRF 22/32 MRF Kit Gun
52 1961 Auto 38 Spl 38 Chief Special Target
52-A See Model 39-1
53 1961 1974 KTC 22 Jet 22 center fire magnum
54 Experimental never issued
55 Experimental never issued
56 1962 1963 KT 38 Spl KTX 38 Became Mod 15 2" bl.
57 1964 NT 41 Mag 41 Magnum
58 1964 1978 N 41 Mag 41 Magnum Military& Police
59 1971 1981 Auto 9mm 14 shot 9mm Semi-Auto
60 1965 J 38 Spl 38 Chief Special Stainless
61 1970 1973 Auto 22 LR 22 Escort
62 Experimental never issued
63 1977 JT 22 LR 1977 22/32 Kit Gun Stainless
64 1970 K 38 Spl 38 Military&Police Stainless
65 1974 K 357 Mag 357 Mag M&P Stainless
66 1971 KT 357 Mag 357 Combat Mag Stainless
67 1972 KT 38 Spl 38 Combat Masterpiece Stainless
68 1976 1976 KT 38 Spl California Highway Patrol
Model Stainless
69/75 Not officially assigned -- used experimentally
76 1968 1974 Auto 9mm Machine Pistol
77 1970 1978 22 cal Air rifle
78 1971 1978 22 Cal CO2 Pellet Pistol
79 1971 1978 177 Cal CO2 Pellet Pistol
80 1975 1978 177 BB CO2 Semi Auto Rifle

New Model Numbering System
147-A 1979 1979 9mm 14 shot DA steel frame Model 59
325PD 2003 N 6 shot 45 ACP, 2.5" barrel, Scandium Frame
329PD 2003 N 6 shot 44 Magnum, Scandium Frame, Stainless Brl, Ti Cylinder
340 J 5 shot 357 Magnum, Scandium Frame, shrouded/internal hammer
396 L 5 shot 44 Special, 3-1/8" barrel, Aluminum alloy frame
439 1979 9mm 8 shot DA Semi Auto Alloy
459 1979 9mm 14 shot DA Semi Auto Alloy
469 1983 9mm 12 Shot DA Semi Auto Alloy
500 2003 X 5 shot 500 S&W Magnum
520 1980 1980 N 357 Mag, Fixed Sights
539 1980 1983 9mm 8 shot DA semi auto Carbon Steel
547 1980 1985 K Steel 9mm Military & Police
559 1980 1983 Auto 9mm 14 shot DA Semi Auto Carbon Steel
581 1980 L 357 Mag Distinguished Service Magnum
586 1980 L 357 Mag Distinguished Combat Magnum
610 N 10 mm, 6 shot, stainless
624 1985 1986 NT 44 Spl 1985 Target Stainless
625 N 45 ACP and 45 Colt Stainless
627 N 357 Magnum, Stainless
629 1979 NT 44 Mag Stainless
629 Classic N 44 Mag, Stainless, full underlug
639 1982 Auto 9mm 8 shot DA Semi Auto Stainless
645 1985 Auto 45ACP DA Semi Auto Stainless
649 1985 JC 38 Spl Bodyguard Stainless
650 1982 JM 22 WMRF Service Kit Gun Stainless
651 1982 JTM 22 WMRF Target Kit Gun Stainless
657 N 41 Magnum, 6 shot, Stainless
659 1982 Auto 9mm 14 shot DA semi Auto Stainless
669 1985 Auto 9mm 12 shot DA Semi Auto Stainless
681 1980 L 357 Mag Distinguished Service Mag Stainless
686 1980 L 357 Mag Distinguished Combat Mag Stainless
686+ L 357 Mag, 7 shot cylinder, Stainless
SW1911 2003 45 ACP 1911

Model and Dash numbering system
Model 10
-1 1959 Heavy Barrel
-2 1961 Changed extractor rod thread to LH on standard barrel
-3 1961 Same as above, for heavy barrel
-4 1962 Screw in front of trigger eliminated
-5 1962 1/10" to 1/8" front sight, on standard barrel
-5 1962 Screw in front of trigger guard eliminated on
heavy barrel model
-7 1977 Change to put gas ring from yoke to cylinder
-8 1977 Change to put gas ring from yoke to cylinder
on heavy barrel model
Model 12 1957
-1 1962 Change extractor rod to LH thread, eliminate
screw in front of trigger guard
-2 1962 Front sight changed from 1/10" to 1/8"
-3 1977 Gas ring on yoke to cylinder
-4 1984 Change frame thickness to same as all K frames
Model 13 No designation used to avoid confusion with air force model
13 air crewman
Model 13
-1 1974 Introduced
-2 1977 Change back to gas ring on cylinder
-3 1982 eliminate cylinder counterbore
Model 14,15,16,17,18,48,53 (all start without dash in 1957)
-1 1959 Change to LH extractor rod thread
-2 1961 Cylinder stop changed, hole in front of trigger
guard eliminated
-3 1967 Relocation of rear sight leaf screw
-4 1977 Changed gas ring from yoke to cylinder
19 All of the above changes and
-5 1982 Eliminate cylinder counterbore

N-Frame Model Blue

Model 20,21,22,23,24,25 (except 25-5) 26,27,28,29
-1 1960 Change to LH thread
-2 1961 Cylinder stop changed, hole in front of trigger
guard eliminated
-3 1982 Eliminate cylinder counterbore (magnums only)
-4 2004 Thunder Ranch 44 Special, fixed sight
Model 57 1964 Introduced
-1 1982 Eliminate cylinder counterbore
Model 629 1980 Introduced
-1 1982 Eliminate cylinder counterbore
Model 25-5 1978 -5 means 45 Colt caliber
125'th anniversary model, -3 (standard) -4 (delux)
both of these used a shorter than standard cylinder.
-7 1985 45 Colt, 5" barrel, unfluted cylinder
K-Frame Stainless Models
64 1970 Introduced
-1 1972 Heavy barrel
-2 1977 2" standard barrel, gas ring from yoke to cylinder
-3 1977 Same as above, for heavy barrel
65 -1 1974 introduced
-2 1977 gas ring from yoke to cylinder
-3 1982 Eliminate cylinder counterbore
66 1971 introduced
-1 1977 Gas ring from yoke to cylinder
-2 1982 Eliminate cylinder counterbore
67 1972 introduced
-1 1977 gas ring from yoke to cylinder
39 1957 start of model numbering system
-1, 1961 Made in 38 AMU cartridge for military 87 made.
52-A -2 1971 Change of extractor
41 1957 start of model numbering system
-1 1960 22 Short chambering
(dash number not always stamped)
52 1961 introduced
-1 1963 Single action only
-2 1971 Changed extractor
52-A See model 39-1
59 1971 introduced, no dash numbers used during production
61 1970 introduced in March
-1 May '70 Add magazine safety
-2 Sep '70 Addition of barrel nut
-3 1971 Forged Al frame
76 1968 introduced, discontinued 1974 no dash numbers used

Small Frame Revolvers
Model 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35
1957 Start of numbering system
-1 1961 Change from I frame to J frame
36 -1 1967 Indicates 3" heavy barrel
37, 38, 40, 42, 43, 49, 63, 649, 650, 651
No dash numbers ued on above numbers
60 1965 Introduced
-1 1972 Heavy barrel variation made in 1972, not marketed
limited production only

Old Fuff
June 21, 2007, 11:37 AM

Before I can go forward you have to confirm the serial number. It should be stamped in the following places:

On the bottom of the butt

On the rear face of the cylinder

On the bottom of the barrel, on the flat that is above the ejector rod.

These can be hard to read because the numbers are small. I have to use a magnifying glass.

There is another number stamped on the frame behind the yoke (the part that the cylinder swings out on) and you have to open the cylinder to see it. For the time being, ignore it because it’s an assembly number that has nothing too do with the serial number.

If the revolver has adjustable sights that were originally put there by the factory when the gun was made it must have been custom ordered, and as such would be much more valuable as a collector’s item.

November 13, 2008, 10:42 PM
I have a .38 S&W Special revolver that my Uncle recently gave to me that he received years ago from my Grandfather. He thinks my grandfather traded for it when he was in the military (WWII I believe) but is not sure, but anyways I was wondering if I could get the manufacture date and rough value.

4 inch barrel, J-frame (I think)
Left Barrel:38 S&S Special & U.S. Service CTG's
Right Barrel: Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass. USA PAT'D March 27 94. May 21 95. Aug 4 96. Dec 22 96. Oct 8 01. Dec 17 01. Feb 6 o6.
Right Frame: S&W Trade Mark on
Flat Under/above pin: B 1042XX
Number behind revolver hinge: 271XX (not a serial I know, but sure if I should X out the last two digits or not. if not necessary I will post later.)
Serial on Bottom of hilt: 1042XX
Black Walnut grip, diamond pattern with screw through center. No S&W Marks.

Its not in perfect condition, but I don't mind. Honestly I am just curious and the scars and wear on it give it character and speaks of its history, which means much more to me than a high price value. I have no intention of selling or getting rid of it. I don't know if it was blued or nickle, but its silver/gray metal with some rust discoloration on the outside. Inside of barrel is clean and it is fully functional. My grandfather used it up till he gave it to my Uncle and my uncle used it as a side arm when hunting up until about two years ago, and I have used it this past year.

Images are attached.


Old Fuff
November 13, 2008, 11:33 PM
Your Grandfather's revolver is a Smith & Wesson .38 1905 Hand Ejector, 1st Change. It was more popularly known as the Military & Police model, or M&P. It was made on the K, not J frame.

The 1st change variant were made between 1906 and 1909, within a serial number range running from 73,251 to about 146,899. Standard barrel lengths were 4, 5, 6 and 6 1/2 inches. Standard finishes were blue or nickel plate. The 6-shot cylinder was chambered in .38 Special, but could also shoot the standard .38 Long Colt cartridge used by the U.S. military services at that time. Without question, your Grandfather could have obtained the gun during the First World War period (1918).

1024xx is the correct serial number, which is duplicated on the bottom of the barrel (ignore the "B"), rear cylinder face, and inside one of the stocks. the number on the frame and yoke (271xx) are assembly numbers that are of no importance to us now.

When shooting it keep in mind that it is at least 100 years old, and avoid the use of Plus-P ammunition.

Value in it's present condition is probably around $175 to $200 at best.

November 14, 2008, 12:09 AM
Thanks for the info! was really just curious on its age and a little on the history which you have more than given me.

November 28, 2008, 08:54 PM
Old Fluff,
I a 45 Long Colt of my grandfathers I'm trying to id. I know this thread has been for .38's but you seem to have best info I've seen so far and haven't found anything on the web.

There are very few markings on the gun. Its a S&W with one trade mark stamp on the right side, it says 45 Long Colt on the left side of the barrel (6.5" barrel). Made in Springfield, Mass and the following patent dates - mar. 27. 94 may. 21. 95 Aug. 4. 96 Dec. 22. 96 Oct. 8. 01 Dec. 3. 01 Feb. 6. 06

I believe the serial is stamped on the butt of the gun 13xx. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

November 28, 2008, 09:16 PM
It is a model of 1902 - second model - first change with 28,645 made between 1903 & 1905 starting with S/N 33,804 to 62,449.

November 28, 2008, 11:11 PM
Found out its actually a .45 Triple Lock. Made between 1908 and 1915, which the low serial I guess it would have to be in the 1908-09 range. Its hard to find info on them though.

Jim Watson
November 28, 2008, 11:16 PM
That is a darn scarce gun, take care of it.

Old Fuff
November 28, 2008, 11:39 PM
No Johnboy, go look in the book again. You're thinking .38 Special, and this is a .45 Colt.

Now this is going to get confusing, but stay with me.

In 1905 Smith & Wesson came out with their first large-bore, hand ejector revolver. It was known as the “New Century” or Triple Lock” because the cylinder was latched at the crane, as well as at the back and the front of the ejector rod. Not to be outdone, they also announced a new cartridge for it, called the .44 Special. Serial numbers started at 1 and went forward in the .44 serial number series.

In 1914 World War One started in Europe, although we didn’t get into it until 1917. But once the shooting started, the British showed up at our doorstep with orders in their hot little hands. But they didn’t want .44 Specials, they wanted revolvers chambered to use their .455 Mark II round that was usually found in Webley top-breaks.

Smith & Wesson responded by first converting some .44 Specials they had on hand to the .455 chambering. These converted revolvers were serial numbered in the .44 series, and among them were numbers 1314, 1332, 1366 and 1399.

When the supply of .44 Specials that could be converted was exhausted they continued production, but started over with a .45 serial number series that ran from 1 to 5,000. The barrels were not marked with the caliber or cartridge.

During the early/middle 1950’s, the remaining guns were declared surplus by the English military establishment, and most of them ended up on the U.S. used gun market at very attractive prices (like $18.00!) :what:

But the .455 cartridge was not popular here. So many of the New Century/Triple Lock revolvers were rechambered to .45 Colt, and the barrels so marked.

The New Century’s in whatever caliber are considered by many to be the finest of all large bore production revolvers ever made. They now command prices running in the high hundreds of dollars to over one thousand – depending on what they are, and what condition they are in.

Note: I would expect it to have British proof marks and military property marks stamped all over it. If not it may be one of the few that were sold on the U.S. market back in the 1914 era. If it is not marked as described you should write Smith & Wesson and get it lettered. The current charge is $50.00 and you can find out the details at the S&W company website. Go to www.smith-wesson.com

If you should have one of the rare variants of a scarce gun the substantial increase in value would more then cover the cost of the letter. The letter will confirm the revolver's history and background in detail.

November 29, 2008, 11:47 PM
thanks for the info. My serial is not one of those 4. Yeah, looks like I need to order a letter. :) I know its been in the family about 70 years or so, maybe longer.

I cant find military markings of any type on it. Looking online, I saw what the British and Canadian markings look like but dont see anything like that. It does have 45 Long Colt stamped on the barrel.

Old Fuff
November 30, 2008, 10:01 AM
If this revolver has it's original finish (not been polished and reblued) you really need to get it lettered. First of all, a few .455 Hand Ejectors were sold on the commercial market here in the United States and Canada. These of course would not have British proof and other markings.

Second, Smith & Wesson did make a handfull of New Century revolvers chambered in .45 Colt.

If a letter confirms that your revolver is one of these (unlikely but possible) the value could be in the several thousand dollar range.

January 4, 2009, 09:06 PM
I have a gun that has been passed down for three generations. It is a 38 special similar to one earlier in the discussion. Nickel Plated 4 inch barrel. Serial Number 374XX. Can you give me an idea how old it is.

Old Fuff
January 4, 2009, 11:27 PM
Welcome to The High Road.

You have an early Smith & Wesson 38 Military & Police Model, also known as the 38 Hand Ejector Model of 1902, 1st Change.

These were made in 1903 and 1904, within a serial number range running from 33,804 to 62,449. The 6-shot cylinder was chambered in .38 Special, but would also accept the .38 Long Colt, U.S. Military service cartridge, and is so marked on the barrel. Standard barrel lengths were 4, 5 or 6 1/2 inches. Buyers had a choice between blue or nickel plate, with color case hardened hammer & trigger. They had round butts with black hard-rubber stocks. Checkered walnut, and pearl were optional. In 1902 the suggested retail price was $13.75.

Given this gun's history within your family, I suggest that you get it "lettered." To do so you will need a snapshot of the gun, a full description including the serial number on the butt, and a check in the amount of $50.00 made out to Smith & Wesson. In exchange the company's historian, Roy G. Jinks, will research the original records (which are not computerized by the way) and send you a letter containing the details of what he finds.

This comprehensive document will contain an overview of the model’s history, followed by the details of your particular gun. This usually includes the caliber, barrel length, finish, and the exact date it was shipped from the factory, and to what distributor or dealer. If there are any special features they will be listed too. This information is often invaluable to both you and future generations.

Additional information on a historical letter will be found at the Smith & Wesson company website at:


January 5, 2009, 09:01 AM
Thanks so much for the info. I will send off to S & W this week.

January 5, 2009, 01:45 PM
Juist a note for you guys with these older S&W .38 revolvers: as a rule of thumb, it' recommended that you NEVER USE +P rated ammo in any S&W that does not have the model number stamped inside the frame when the yoke is opened. Generally, this is WWII era and before. It won't cause the gun to explode or anything like that, but it will eventually shoot it loose and cause excess wear of the parts. There is not much difference, really in these guns, but don't ruin a fine old piece just for a slight advantage from +P ammo.
NOBODY makes revolvers as good as those old Smiths anymore, and they deserve a little respect.



June 1, 2009, 11:51 PM
Can anybody help me with this

I have a S&W with 38 S&W Special U.S. Service CTG ' 8 on the left side of the barrel
Looks like a 5 inch barrel , Round Butt
the number on the bottom of the Butt is # 687xx bought it off a guy i worked with years ago, it came with an old holster that to me looks like an old 1950's police holster, it has small wooden grips with S&W on them, it shoots great and iv had alot of fun with it, but i have no idea what year it was made, any help with the year would be great!

Old Fuff
June 2, 2009, 12:20 AM
Well you may be in for a shock! :eek: :D

You have a Smith & Wesson .38, Model of 1905. It was also known as the .38 Hand Ejector, Military & Police, 3rd. Model.

This variant of the .38 M&P was made between 1905 and 1906, within a serial number range running from 62,450 to 73,250.

Standard barrel lengths were 4, 5 or 6 1/2 inches. Six-shot cylinder chambered in .38 Special, but as noted the military standard .38 Long Colt cartridge could also be used in it. Standard finishes were either nickel plate or blue, with color casehardened hammer and trigger. Regular stocks were black hard rubber, but checkered walnut was offered as an option. If the present stocks are original to the gun you find the serial number stamped or penciled inside one or both of the grip panels.

Given its age be very careful what you shoot in it. Heat treated cylinders were not offered until much later during the early 1920's.

June 2, 2009, 12:36 AM
Wow, thanks for the info friend, its amazing that its that old, it shoots really good, good info on the grips too, i pulled them out of a shoe box i was storing them in and one of the grips had the same serial# as the gun has on the butt the other didnt have any number on it, the gun itself has a pair of Uncle Mikes combat grips on it right now for shooting around in the woods, again thats for the help.

Old Fuff
June 2, 2009, 09:36 AM
You’re welcome…

The information is typical of what you get on The High Road. Knowledgeable members are one of our drawing cards.

Do keep in mind that the revolver is slightly over 100 years old. The cylinder was made at a time when heat-treated, chrome molly steel was unknown, and most cartridges were still loaded with black powder. If you open the cylinder and look at the bottom of the top strap up at the front you may notice a groove cut across it. This is called a fouling cup, and it was put there to give the carbon fouling from black powder gas escaping between the cylinder face and barrel gap a place to go. Today of course they are long-gone as unnecessary, but on older guns they weaken the top strap at that point. I point all of this out because you should be very careful in your choice of ammunition if you choose to shoot the gun at all. Avoid all so-called high performance cartridges and stick to standard loads loaded with plain lead bullets. Ammunition loaded for cowboy action shooting games would be a good choice, as would be .38 Special 148-grain midrange wadcutters. It would be a shame to damage or ruin the old girl after she’s been around for so long.

June 3, 2009, 12:19 AM
This is a great informational thread , so I'm going to jump in. I also have recently aquired a .38 S&W Special US Service Ctg's. After reading various information on this site, I have identified the serial # 94081, I think ? Mine has nice pearl grips,but when removed, I did not see any identification on them. The blueing is in pretty good shape. What else can I do to figure out the vintage or value ?

June 3, 2009, 08:59 AM
ChickenBone: You have a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 -3rd change, manufactured in 1915. In excellent condition It was worth $385 in 2006, per the Standard Catalog of S&W. The grips may not be original, but if they are original to the era and not modern fakes then they may add value to the gun.

Value varies greatly based on condition, as new in the box it may be worth $1500, in poor condition $85.

August 7, 2010, 03:59 PM
hello i ran across this forum tryin to identify my 38 special that was passed down by my grandfather...he was a policeman so i have the gun and his belt..im a little confused because it doesnt state anywhere on the gun police or military service stamp...i believe it is a k frame...the numbers on the butt are V100258....the numbers inside the frame show a m4 then two sets of the same numbers which are 35300 ....on top patent dates feb 6 06..sept 14 09..dec 29 14...holding the pistol in my right hand the outside face has the s@w logo, made in usa, and on the barrel 38 s@w special ctg...unsure about the handles they are a smooth wood handle square butt with no stamps of any kind...any help would be greatly apprieciated

August 7, 2010, 11:27 PM
You have a S&W Victory Model, almost certainly manufactured in 1942. These are a military finish version of the S&W Military & Police model of 1905 4th Change manufactured under war time conditions, hence the smooth grips. As it lacks military markings or a US Property stamp it was probably sold directly to a police department (the US Government took control of weapons production in 1941/42, there was no production for civilian sale until 1947).

The patent stampings are for the Model of 1905 4th change (fourth design change).
The V in the serial number standed for Victory.
As there were over a quarter of a million Victory Models produced value is not high, probably around $350.
Your gun predates the modrn hammer block safety introduced in 1944 after a Victory model fired when dropped, with fatal consequences. It does have an earlier hammer block, but it would be prudent to leave the chamber under the hammer empty if you keep it loaded.
It does have a heat treated cylinder, so use with any standard pressure or PlusP rated ammunition should be OK. Do not use +P+ marked ammunition in it however as there is no industry pressure standard for such a load.

Caveat: S&W does not recommend the use of PlusP ammunition in guns without a model number (introduced in 1957). THR member SaxonPig has however fired 1200 rounds of PlusP through a gun of a similar age with no adverse effects, so I think S&W are using an easily definable cut off point, rather than any actual change in the steel. There is a fairly common argument that modern PlusP ammunition pressures are actually the same as the old WWII standard ammunition, so as I said above, I would be confident in shooting standard or PlusP pressure ammo, but no +P+.

The numbers inside the cylinder cut out are assembly numbers, used to track parts in the factory. they have no meaning once the gun is assembled.

Old Fuff
August 8, 2010, 10:49 AM
... it was probably sold directly to a police department (the US Government took control of weapons production in 1941/42,

Strange as it may seem, police departments couldn’t order revolvers direct during World War Two. First they had to apply to the FBI to be put on a list in order of priority, depending on who they were and how critical they were to the war effort.

After that the order was handled by a government agency named the Defense Supply Corporation (DSC) who were the ones that actually purchased the arms from Smith & Wesson (or whoever) and then sold them “on paper” to the police department, federal law enforcement agency, or defense plant security force. Other then these organizations no one could purchase a new firearm during the war.

Some DSC / S&W Victory model revolvers had military markings, while others didn’t. Generally those made very early in the war (1941-42) are the most likely to be unmarked. It is highly probable that the revolver in question, given its wartime police history, was a DSC gun – and would be recorded as such in S&W records unless it was drop-shipped to the police department.

August 8, 2010, 12:35 PM
thanks alot guys!....very helpful and interesting...you guys are good keep it up...thanks again

August 8, 2010, 02:22 PM
Given the endless supply of second hand Revolvers and Automatics available in any Sporting Goods Store, many Hardware Stores, and, of course Gun Stores, I have never understood the irrational 'logic' of Police Departments or other organizations or Security providers during WWII, going through the tedious appeals process for being allowed to buy from the bery small supply of 'new' Guns.

The system of Officers or other personel supplying their own Guns, would also have solved that instantly...since any Officer, Guard, or as may be, wishing to, could simply walk into any store selling second hand Guns, and walk out with one in a few minutes.

Funny how things work...

Old Fuff
August 8, 2010, 07:30 PM
The system of Officers or other personel supplying their own Guns, would also have solved that instantly...since any Officer, Guard, or as may be, wishing to, could simply walk into any store selling second hand Guns, and walk out with one in a few minutes.

The Pearl Harbor attack occured on December 7, 1941 (a Sunday). The following Monday a run on retailers selling guns started, and when their supply (new and used) was sold - mostly within a week or much less - no more arrived. Same story when it came to ammunition.

I can still remember that Sunday afternoon, when my Father received a phone call to report to work. When he came home the first thing he did was get out his .38 S&W Military & Police revolver, check it over, and count the number of rounds he had on hand. I got very excited, because I thought he (or hopefully we) were going out to do some target shooting, as it was after all Sunday.

Instead he cleaned and oiled the gun, and then put it and the ammunition away.

Not a single round was fired until after VJ Day...

During the war handguns in general were in such short supply that the Army hired a well-known gunsmith to go to various large police departments to inspect what they might have in the way of confiscated guns that might be turned to some useful purpose. Of course any .38 Special Colt or S&W revolvers had already found a new home... :evil:

Didn't many people already have guns? Sure - my Father being a good example. But no one had any intention of selling or otherwise giving up what they had.

The DSC was charged with the responsibility of seeing that the limited supply of available .38 revolvers were distributed to where the need was greatest, and all-and-all they did a pretty good job under dificult circumstances.

August 8, 2010, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the history lesson Old Fuff. :)

August 8, 2010, 10:03 PM

Thanks Old Fuff..!

November 1, 2010, 09:53 PM
My dad passed and I have some of his guns I need the value on a S&W 38 oto ser#475xxx it has an Ivory handle

November 2, 2010, 05:17 AM
oto is a poorly stamped ctg, the abbreviation for Cartridge.
It could be one of several models. To ID it I will need the following. Pics will help as well.

Does the gun have a S&W logo stamped on the frame or the grips?
Is it a 5 or six shot?
What is the barrel elnght measured from the muzzle to the cylinder?
Does the cylinder swing out to the side or does the barrel tilt down and the cylinder swing up?
Is the stamping on the barrel .38 S&W CTG or .38 Special CTG or .38 Spl CTG?

November 2, 2010, 10:37 AM
HI there,
Wow, what an amazing site with incredible members! I can't get over some of these detailed replies I have seen here...
I to have a revolver which I can't identify specifically due to its' incredible low serial number... Maybe some of you can help...
It is an S&W Regulation Police 38 S&W CTG. It is nickel plated with wood grips but the hammer and trigger are not plated. The serial number is 584 I believe because it is on the inside of the grip behind the trigger guard, on the cylinder and under the barrel. On the frame, behind the cylinder it is stamped 2001 in 2 places next to each other and it is also stamped with a P below the forcing cone in the cyclinder housing. It is also stamped with a 5 on the backstrap. Any help you can offer would greatly be appreciated!


Old Fuff
November 2, 2010, 01:45 PM
Smith & Wesson introduced the Regulation Police model in 1917. There were two versions that were nearly identical except one was a 6-shot .32, and the other was a 5-shot .38 (chambered in .38 S&W, not .38 Special).

They included the .32 version with an earlier revolver, the 1903 Hand Ejector, and put both in the same serial number series, so the .32 Regulation Police started out around serial no. 263,000.

However at the same time (1917) the .38 version was put in a different serial number series of its own, and started at No. 1.

Between 1917 and 1941 some 54,474 .38's were made, of which the one you have was the 584th.

November 2, 2010, 04:26 PM
Thanks Old Fuff! I was hoping someone of your caliber would chime in!

November 2, 2010, 04:45 PM
I was hoping someone of your caliber would chime in

You were hoping that someone of 32 S&W chimed in?

Lucky OF came along!!

psst...he might not admit it but if Old Fuff were a gun he would be a top break S&W in 32...mother of pearl grips...the nickel flaking off at the muzzle and the front of the cylinder from shooting

Old Fuff
November 2, 2010, 05:01 PM
Well now!! I'll have you know that I am quite confortable with .32's - Smith & Wesson's and otherwise. Not only that, I have one that is nickel plated, in the original box, and has genuine S&W pearl stocks.

And most of the nickel is still there too .... :cool:

The problem with some people is that they can't get along without them big calibers because they is such poor shots...

The Old Fuff.

:neener: :evil: :D

November 2, 2010, 05:16 PM
I have one that is nickel plated, in the original box, and has genuine S&W pearl stocks.

And most of the nickel is still there too

sounds like I know the Old Fuff pretty well...we both obviously have too much time on our hands

Old Fuff
November 2, 2010, 09:22 PM
Well if you make remarks about 'ma pearl handled, nickel plated .32 you just better expect to have a fight on your hands... :cuss:

But of course that don't mean no kind of shoot'n sort of fight... :uhoh: :D

November 3, 2010, 12:34 AM
of course that don't mean no kind of shoot'n sort of fight

if you shot me with a 32 S&W and I found out about it...I would be VERY mad!!!

Old Fuff
November 3, 2010, 06:47 AM
I don't want no gunfight or shoot'n. My Ol' Daddy told that them things were hazzardous for your health... :eek:

But I will point out that a whole lot of folks had their health take a serious downturn because of some little .32....... :uhoh:

With that I'll end this enjoyable thread drift... :D

November 3, 2010, 10:48 AM
With that I'll end this enjoyable thread drift

that seems reasonable "Top break Fuff"

Old Fuff
November 3, 2010, 04:34 PM
:fire: :banghead: :D

December 5, 2010, 09:07 PM
I found this thread through a Google search and it looks like some good information. I have not seen to much on the 5 shot revolvers though.

My father, who just had turned 90, recently passed away and in his safety deposit box, there was a S&W 38 5 shot serial #55***. Apparently my mother had no idea that it was there, due to the surprise on her face.

It was in a leather holster that had deteriorated and caused some pitting on the cylinder and end of the barrel. Since it is a family keepsake, I would like to restore it. I am also kind of curious as to how old it is. The grips look to be well used as the checkering in the Bakelite is well worn. It is has a 4" barrel.



The cylinder is 31mm long and I would like to know if this will take 38 spl rounds.


Apologies for the quality of the photos, but I used my Droid to take the photos and have not had time to clean them up.

Jim Watson
December 5, 2010, 09:33 PM

You show a Smith & Wesson Perfected Model. It was the last and best of the S&W topbreak revolvers with top latch like the older topbreaks and a side latch like a Hand Ejector swingout. Also having a trigger guard integral with frame unlike older guns.
There were only 59,000 made from 1909 til 1920.

It will NOT take .38 Special ammunition.
Its caliber is .38 S&W; a shorter "fatter" cartridge.
You will have to shop around for ammunition, Midway does not expect to have any in stock until February.

April 24, 2011, 11:39 PM
My granddad Just gave me one with serial number 677xx on it. 5 inch barrel. Looks like original black plastic grips. Metal in somewhat poor condition, scratches and dents. Would like to know year and how to determine if it's safe to shoot. I can post more info and picture later if requested. Thanks

April 28, 2011, 05:46 AM
That serial number makes your gun either a .38 Miltary & Police Model of 1905 4th Change or a .38/200 British Service Revolver dating to 1940. the Model of 1905 was in .38 S&W Special, the BSR was basically the same gun in .38 S&W. The side of the barrel will show the caliber.
Black plastic grips were used on the round butt guns prior to World War II, the round butt was fairly rare by 1940 as the majority of production had switched over to the square butt.
Pics would be helpfull in identifying it.
There is a how to check out a revolver thread stickied at the top of the revolver sub forum. That will help you to determine wether the gun is safe to shoot.

Keep in mind that guns made prior to 1944 lack the positive internal hammer block safety currently in use. If dropped the gun could fire, so leave the chamber under the hammer empty.
Your gun was made well after heat treatment of cylinders was introduced, so it should be safe to fire with any standard pressure or PlusP rated ammo. Avoid anything marked +P+ or gunshow 'handloads in a bag'.

April 29, 2011, 10:24 AM

October 22, 2011, 10:25 PM
I've just come back to this thread. I misread your original post and missed the photo you posted.
with a serial number in the 67000 range and not the 670,000 range (which is what I misread it as) you have a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 manufactured in the serial number range 62450 to 73250 between 1905 & 1906. The hard rubber grips are correct for the gun. the nickel finish appears to be original.
Your gun lacks the modern hammer block safety. It also lacks the non-positive hammer block supplied after 1915, so your gun must be treated as a five shooter, with the chamber under the hammer left empty.
It also predates heat treatment of cylinders. Do not fire anything other than standard pressure lead loads through this gun. No jacketed, semi jacketed, PlusP or +P+ as you may end up with a bulged or cracked cylinder.
I'll PM this to you as well in case you have unsubscribed from this thread.
I apologise for the wrong information.

January 19, 2012, 02:21 PM
Hi, all! New to THR so forgive me...

I was reading this thread, and would like to ask related info on a revolver I was tasked with cleaning up.

It is a S&W 6-1/2 inch barreled revolver with fooowing markings:
left barrel "38 S.&W. SPECIAL" above "(weird curvy "&"? symbol) U.S. SERVICE CTG'S"
right barrel - <none>
Coverplate (right side) - S&W logo with "TRADE" on top and "MARK" at bottom
Serial number underneath barrel "30999"* with a sideways "B"
Serial number on butt "30999" *
Serial number on rear face of cylinder "30999"*
* the "9" in the serial number is really funky script, almost looks like an "8".

The front sight is identical to the one described by Palmtech: a blade narrowing towards the tip, rounded in the front and flat on the rear of the sight. When viewed for shooting, it resembles a pin more than a post.

Rear sight is a channel in the top of the frame.

Grips are hard black plastic with S&W logo near top of grip panels, and they are held in by a single screw that goes from right into left grip.

There is significant finish wear on the cylinder and on the frame above it (holster wear?) but the rest of the polished blued finish is excellent.

There is very very little wear in the action, and a lot of hard grease.

There is no play in the cylinder, action is crisp. The trigger pull in SA is 5lbs 65 oz and in DA it is over 12 lbs (the limit of my pull gauge). No endshake, pawl and cylinder locking hand no signs of wear.

The mainspring is a bar and not a captive coiled spring.

Firing pin seems to be held in the hammerpiece by a pin, and has a little play in it, don't know if this is normal.

The owner (my boss) received it as a gift, with no background information other than it is not "hot". He intends to use it (and shoot it) as a classroom gun for concealed weapons training classes. Unless, of course, it turns out to be a specimen worthy of display instead.

I would surely appreciate any information out there, thanks!

January 19, 2012, 02:30 PM
OOPs, missed this marking on revolver (see my previous post)....

on top of barrel there are 2 lines of text:

"MAY 21.95. JULY 16.95. AUG.4.96. DEC.22.96. OCT.4.98. OCT.8.01. DEC.17.01"

Sorry, missed adding this to my previous post.

January 19, 2012, 06:15 PM
Your boss has a .38 Military & Police 2nd Model /.38 Military & Police Model of 1902 manufactured in 1902 or 1903 in the serial rnage 20976 to 33803. It sounds like this gun has a target front sight fitted but not the adjustablew rear sight.
The serial number is duplicated in all the correct places for that model.
The reference to .38 Service CTG is to .38 Long Colt, which was the standard US handgun cartridge at the time. The .38 special is a stretched .38 long colt case, so both will chamber.
This model lacks the positive internal hammer block safety introduced during World War II and still in use today. It should be treated as a five shooter with the chamber under the hammer left empty. If dropped it could fire.
It also predates heat treated cylinders. Becuase of this it should only be fired with standard pressure lead ammo, no PLusP, +P+, jacketed or semi jacketed ammo. Firing any of these may result in a bulged cylinder. Although designed from the outset as a smokeless power gun, S&W did not start advertising all of their products as safe for smokeless until around 1906 to 1908, so there may have been a change in the steel used at that time.
It is a round butt K frame and aftermarket grips should fit.

Seven High
January 19, 2012, 06:47 PM
Old Fuff: If you are still around, do you remember any details of when the United States citizens sent small arms to England during WWII? Did the weapons come from citizens or the government? Did anyone get theirs back at the conclusion of the war? Were there receipts given for the weapons?

January 19, 2012, 07:33 PM
RADAGAST: thank you for the rapid reply! It is comforting to have manufacturing information on this piece.

Owner wanted me to do a thorough cleaning (I use ultrasonics as well as the traditional Hoppe's #9) and a trigger job on it....I have informed him of the vintage and recommended only a cleaning and possibly display only (no firing).

One of the things I do as part of a trigger job is to replace the main spring with aftermarkets (from Wolff)....should the owner desire, would a lighter weight aftermarket K-frame spring bar function the weapon...would anyone know or has tried? I prefer replacing over modifying, since the original parts could always be returned to restore the piece to "original" condition.

BTW, the grip panels are black hard plastic with the S&W logo on them (near top of each piece), checkered, and on the inside surfaces of the panels there are machining marks (like they were manually filed), and air bubbles in the material.

Would anyone know (rough guesstimate) what this pistol would be worth if sold to a collector?

Again, my thanks for any helpful information!

January 19, 2012, 07:41 PM
The grips are hardened rubber. Back in the day a lot of the parts were hand fitted. Personally I wouldn't muck around with the internals, there have been some 15 design changes since that gun was made and new parts are not available.
Value in the condition described is probably $200 to $250. Shooter grade guns aren't particularly rare, as there were several million M&Ps made. In mint condition with box maybe $1600.

January 19, 2012, 08:02 PM
@RADAGAST: Again, many thanks for the helpful (and rapid!) reply!

Can anything be done for the horrendous trigger pull?

January 19, 2012, 08:05 PM
Is there anything that could be done to rememdy the horrendous trigger pull?

January 19, 2012, 08:07 PM
(double-post, my apologies)

January 19, 2012, 08:13 PM
It is what is is.
A 100+ year old service handgun you can't get parts for if you screw something up trying to do a trigger job.
Or break it shooting it fast double-action.

If you want a light trigger pull for range blasting, buy a Ed Brown 1911.


January 19, 2012, 09:03 PM
@RCMODEL: yep, that's what I suspected. I just wanted to be prepared with an answer should the owner want to proceed with a trigger job.

Thanks, guys, for all the help and information!

Jim Watson
January 20, 2012, 12:01 AM
There is very very little wear in the action, and a lot of hard grease.

Couldn't hurt to get that hardened grease out of there and some clean fresh lube.

There were private subscriptions of firearms to the British Home Guard. Some of them made it home. Others no doubt went to the bottom of the Channel along with a lot of other guns redundant to the immediate postwar need. There are probably a few US donated guns turning up in the back of wardrobes as the veterans die off, much to the horror of a repressive government.

January 20, 2012, 12:15 AM
the insides to some old guns seem to have wood putty in them.

A good cleaning can go a long way

Old Fuff
January 20, 2012, 12:19 AM
Old Fuff: If you are still around, do you remember any details of when the United States citizens sent small arms to England during WWII? Did the weapons come from citizens or the government? Did anyone get theirs back at the conclusion of the war? Were there receipts given for the weapons?

Following the withdrawal of British forces at Dunkirk in May, 1940; England found itself facing a probable German invasion with an army that had left most of it's weapons and small arms in France, and a civilian population that had been largely disarmed by restrictive gun control laws.

In the face of this emergency they placed advertisements in various firearms and hunting publications (including The American Rifleman pleading those U.S. sportsmen who could, donate their privately owned guns to help arm the English population.

They're request was generously met with substantial contributions, but following the war when they were no longer needed what remained was dumped in the English Channel. To the best of my knowledge, those who made donations were never compensated and no receipts were given.

July 5, 2012, 03:25 PM
I just got a S&W .38 old pistol. has GTC on the barrel and serial #1348XX

I included a pic. Would greatly appreciate any help in Identifying the year or history.

Old Fuff
July 5, 2012, 03:56 PM
You have a Smith & Wesson .38 Militaty & Police model, also known as a (.38 1905 Hand Ejector, 1st. Change.) It was made in about 1908 or '09.

I don't recommend shooting it, as the cylinder, chambered in .38 Special), is not heat treated. If you do chose to shoot it load 5 rounds and rest the hammer on an empty chamber because it does not have a positive hammer block safety. The reference to "Service Ctg." met that it could be used with either the obvious .38 Special rounds, or .38 Long Colt cartridges that were used at the time by all U.S. military services.

Some additional information can be obtained from the Smith & Wesson Co. See below:

Information concerning historical letters of authentication from Smith & Wesson’s historian, Roy G. Jinks can be obtained from the link listed below.

In exchange for a $50.00 research fee (make any check out to Smith & Wesson, not Mr. Jinks) he will search through the company’s original records until he finds your particular revolver. He will then send you an official letter which usually includes:

A short history of the revolver model’s background.

What the barrel length, caliber/cartridge, finish and stocks were, as well as the exact date it was shipped from the factory – and to what distributor, dealer or individual – as whatever the case may be.


July 5, 2012, 04:52 PM
Thank you very much.

Jim K
July 5, 2012, 10:48 PM
It is about time to put this old (2007) thread to rest, but just one comment. The reason S&W put that "US SERVICE CTG" on those guns is that at the time the service cartridge was the .38 Long Colt. S&W hoped to get a military contract and wanted to remind everyone that their new .38 Special revolvers would also accept the .38 service round.

They kept that marking until 1909 when the Army adopted the .45 caliber Model 1909 revolver and the .38 was no longer the standard service cartridge (though many .38 revolvers were still in service). But they evidently had a bunch of those barrels made up because they turn up on guns made after 1909.


Jim Watson
July 5, 2012, 10:56 PM
And Colt carried the "Army Special" nomenclature up til 1927 when they got realistic and renamed the .38 revolver "Official Police." Hope springs eternal, etc.

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