S&W Old 38 Special U.S. Service CTG's


March 6, 2009, 12:29 PM
My dad recently gave me this gun. It was my grandfathers, but nothing is known beyond that. Gunsmith said it had hardly ever been fired, all original springs and in perfect working condition.

.38 Smith & Wesson Special
U.S. Service CTG’S

Smith and Wesson Springfield Mass. U.S.A
PAT’D April 9, 89 March 27, 94 May 21, 95 July 18, 95
Aug 4, 96 Dec 22, 96 Oct 4, 98 Oct 8, 01 Dec 17, 01

Serial Number 77XXX

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Duke of Doubt
March 6, 2009, 12:39 PM
Looks like a Spanish counterfeit.

The nomenclature is wrong.

March 6, 2009, 01:00 PM
No it isn't.
It's the real deal all right!

I think it is a .38 Military & Police, 2nd. Model of 1902.

It should say exactly what it says on the barrel.

If you could post the serial # with the last three digits X'd out, we can pin it down a little closer to the exact model & value.


Jim Watson
March 6, 2009, 01:10 PM
Serial number is in the Military & Police range for 1906 to 1908 but the patent dates are as for an earlier version. I doubt they read the book back then, it is probably straight and original.

It is certainly shootable but should be limited to 158 grain lead roundnose which are loaded no heavier now than they were in 1906. Or even 148 grain wadcutters or the mild "cowboy" loads. No +P for sure.

March 6, 2009, 01:15 PM
Your're right!

I plum done missed seeing the 77xxx serial number in the OP.


Old Fuff
March 6, 2009, 01:22 PM
Looks like a Spanish counterfeit.

I wish I had some more like it... :evil:

No, it isn't a counterfeit, but rather a .38 S&W 1905 Hand Ejector, 1st Change. This variant was made between 1906 and 1909, within a serial number range running from 73,251 to 146,899. It was a 6-shot revolver, chambered in .38 Special. But as noted on the barrel marking one could also shoot .38 Long Colt cartridges, which at the time were the standard U.S. Military sidearm round. Standard barrel lengths were 4, 5, 6 and 6 1/2 inches. Cataloged finishes were either full blue or nickel plate, both with color cashardened hammers and triggers. The stocks are molded black hard-rubber - and be careful of them as they will have become brittle with age.

It appears that the gun might have been wire brushed at one time to remove rust or some other reason. If so, it is unfortunate - but perhaps it was necessary.

It could be a second, rather then a first change - the difference being two rather then one dowel pins in the extractor star. I don't think this is likely, but can't tell because it's a feature that can only be seen when the cylinder is open. In any case it's not consequental, and both changes were manufactured at the same time.

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:


March 6, 2009, 01:51 PM
Thanks everyone, I sent for the certificate of authenticy a few weeks ago, but was getting impatient. Any ideas on value?

Old Fuff
March 6, 2009, 03:58 PM
Not very high if the finish has been wire brushed off. I'd say between $150 to $200. However I'm sure the value to you is much higher then that offered by the collector's market.

March 6, 2009, 08:42 PM

What a wonderful family heirloom to have. Thanks for sharing it with us.

March 6, 2009, 10:25 PM
Thank you, it's not ever going to be for sale. I don't think it has been cleaned with a wire brush. Camera just brought out things the eye can't see. One book showed a value of around $1,860 but I'm still waiting for the certificate from S&W to verify if this is the same gun. Thanks to all for the feedback.

Jim K
March 8, 2009, 10:30 PM
I admit to having been confused (more than usual). The patent dates were confusing me, but apparently that early in production of the Model 1905 they were still using up older barrels or hadn't made up the new stamp (or the barrel had been replaced with an older one).

I couldn't reconcile the patent dates with the presence of the rebound slide.


March 10, 2009, 06:22 PM
From Smith and Wesson:
.38 Hand Ejector, Military and Police Model of 1905 First Change. This modification occurred in 1906 and was produced until 1908 with a total production of 46,750 revolvers. These revolvers were produced between serial numbers 73,251 and 120,000 of the .38 Hand Ejector series. The current production model of this series is known as the Model 10.

This revolver left the factory on 4/30/1906.

Thanks everyone.

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