Older Smith & Wesson .38


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Colorado S14
July 6, 2009, 03:44 PM
I recieved a hand me down from my Grandfather which was originally his Grandfather's. Apparently it was his sidearm when he worked for the railroad. It is a S&W revolver chambered in .38 Special with what looks to be a 5" barrel.

The right side of the barrel is labeled .38 S. & W. Special CTG. The left side says SMITH & WESSON. On the top is S&W company info and the listing of 3 patents: Feb 6, 06. Sept 14, 09. Dec 29, 14. The left side of the frame has the S&W logo and the right side says MADE IN USA.

The serial number on the bottom of the grip and the cylinder is 470652. On the frame under the cylinder hinge is 23550

Thanks a ton for all the help!

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Jim Watson
July 6, 2009, 04:19 PM
Patent dates and serial number are for a Military & Police model of 1905, 4th change.
They made nearly half a million of them from 1915 through 1942, plus WW II "Victory Models" of the same design but plain finish.
Old Fuff or somebody else with detailed data will be along to tell you just when it was made. (The official legal serial number is the one on the butt. The one under the crane is a fitting number used at the factory.)

Oro
July 6, 2009, 08:59 PM
That s/n is going to be some time from the mid '20s to mid '30s. Some records were lost, and the depression really screwed up the production system so it's not possible to "extrapolate" a good guess like you can in other years.

That s/n is above the range where they started heat treating the cylinders - that's a good thing. It means the gun should be safe to shoot with any modern .38 Special round. These guns were also extremely well built, had a great trigger action and can turn in match-quality accuracy with target ammunition. Back then 5" barrels were pretty common, and balanced nicely in the hand vs. the 4" (I have one of each length I shoot regularly).

Colorado S14
July 11, 2009, 12:13 PM
Anyone have an idea on a specific date?

Radagast
July 11, 2009, 03:01 PM
I have read that heat treating of cylinders began in either 1917 or 1920. We do know that heat treating started at serial number 316648. The Standard Catalog of S&W notes that guns between serial number 500000 and 630000 shipped between 1927 & 1930, so we can extrapolate that your gun was made between 1917 & 1927, probably closer to 1927.

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