What can i learn about my Smith and Wesson Victory. 38


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taz92007
August 8, 2011, 09:52 PM
I inherited my grandfathers WWII S&W Victory. 38 (not a special) revolver and want to know more about it. He served in the Navy during WWII.

It is marked U.S Property GHD above the cylinder and is in good condition. I fired a few rounds through it and it shoots awesome!

Im wondering how rare it is if at all and how collectible it is?

In addition to the serial number v57xxxx stamped on the back of the cylinder there is a P stamped as well does that mean anything?

I need to list it with my insurance company and was wondering what its insurance value and if I may be interested in selling it but what would its private party value be?

Would replacing the imitation bone grips with an original style grip increase its value?

Can I find original or new old stock grips and any suggestions where?

Anything else you think would be important or just interesting would be appreciated.

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jhvaughan2
August 8, 2011, 11:40 PM
you have a fine example of the "38/200 British Service Revolver" Model K-200. Often called a "Victory" It appears it was made in the 42-43 time frame. There were over 500k of these made and "lent" to the British commonwealth nations. Many you see in the US have been reworked after the war.

As you know it is not .38 special it is .38 S&W or 38/200 - This is an old British cartridge that used a heavy (200 grain vs ~158 grain .38 special) slow moving bullet. This is difficult to find now. You'll have to go online to find some most likely. There is some chance that 38 special will fit if the cylinders have been modified, but most would recommend against shooting those.

Besides the stocks (grips) it appears to be all original and in great shape. You could easilty get $400-450 out of it. I'd value it at $500 for insurance. The proper grips would help the value and can be found on auction sites or even ebay.

Here is a good site for more info: http://www.coolgunsite.com/pistols/victory_model_smith_and_wesson.htm

Your grandfather would most likely not been issued this weapon, as there was a .38 special version that US service and security personnel used an the US supply channels would not normally have had 38/200. So unless he was stationed in the UK or Commonwealth, he probably traded into this. (This is NOT to say he did not cary it. Many carried "personal" weapons, especially handguns as they were mostly issued to officers.)

Your lucky to have a legacy of your grandfather, even if you do not ever shoot it. Good luck.

madcratebuilder
August 9, 2011, 08:23 AM
Very nice Victory. I would pull those grip and check for any corrosion under them. That's a problem when to originals are replaced.

This is a US Navy issue Victory in .38spl.
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/victory02.jpg

Odie Bar
August 9, 2011, 10:41 AM
It sounds like a Model 11 S&W. In essence a Victory Model manufactured for the British between 1940 and 1945. It was nicknamed the 38/200 because the British who had adopted the 38 S&W as their service revolver cartridge prior to WWII loaded that cartridge with a 200 gn bullet.

wlewisiii
August 9, 2011, 10:53 AM
One other thing is to have a gunsmith check it out. There were many of these that were (badly) rechambered for .38 Special after the war and sold with ugly fake stag grips. I don't know a whole lot about those, but I'd be concerned enough to have it checked as it would cut the value to just above scrap metal value.

taz92007
August 9, 2011, 11:51 AM
I did have a guy at a gun shop look at it that's his I found out it was a victory. I have pulled the grips and its perfect underneath. All numbers match except grips of course. It was never rechambered. I wanted some hollow points for it because I always keep my guns loaded, Im an ex cop so its habit, but had to go with. 38/200

taz92007
August 9, 2011, 11:52 AM
Thanks for all the info so far.

SaxonPig
August 9, 2011, 04:18 PM
It is not technically correct to call this a Model 11 as someone did earlier. S&W made a Model 11 but they were in small numbers and are commercial guns made 1957-1966.

The 38 S&W is a poor choice as a shooter if you don't load your own ammo. Selection is very limited in factory fodder and prices are high.

They literally made millions of these as values reflect this fact. Very nice ones in absolutely original condition will fetch $500+ while the prices drop as condition and originality degrade. I paid $250 for the last one I bought and it's in pretty nice shape.

trikster
August 9, 2011, 05:47 PM
My Victory model was Blue Booked at $450 and it is about the same shape as yours. My LGS had a pristine example that was in the $700 range. Get those grips swapped out.

waidmann
August 9, 2011, 11:13 PM
I'd look for the grips on Gunbroker and E-bay, but I'd hold out for a decent pair. Generally a 5" British Service is the least desirable of the lot for collectors. The pre-victory commercials, Pre-V Victory Models and the more desireable 4" .38 Specials bring more. The Navy marked guns (as above) are highly desireable and of course condition and extras like holsters boost prices.

I must say keeping grandpa's gun and the way he carried it is a grand thing.

I must also echo comments regarding .38 S&W in general and what is available today more specifically. The stuff today is generally undersized in bullet diameter and load, you would do better with a .380.

trikster
August 9, 2011, 11:28 PM
I must also echo comments regarding .38 S&W in general and what is available today more specifically. The stuff today is generally undersized in bullet diameter and load, you would do better with a .380.So are you saying that if I buy any of the rounds for sale on this link: http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/index.php/cName/pistol-ammo-38-sw they will be too small and not be compatible with the gun? All the rounds I see in .380, the bullet weighs less than half of the 200gr. the British shot through the gun. Can you elaborate on what you are saying?

madcratebuilder
August 10, 2011, 09:25 AM
You can get original grips and lanyard loop at Numrich.

Odie Bar
August 10, 2011, 10:04 AM
The Model 10 has been the mainstay of the S&W line in one configuration or another since 1904. It is built on the K or medium frame and was meant as a duty gun. The Victory Model was a Model 10 with a sand blasted and parkerized finish. A lanyard swivel and smooth walnut grips were also installed. The British Service Revolver or 38/200 if you prefer was a Victory Model chambered for the 38 S&W cartridge and produced for the Brits from 1940 until 1945.. In 1947 I believe, a number of these guns were again produced for the British. Then in the 50's a number were produced for various entities. In 1957 S&W began stamping the model number on the yoke of all S&W revolvers. In the case of these revolvers it was Model 11. However it was the same revolver that had been nicknamed the 38/200 with quite possibly some modifications such as front sight, grips, etc.
In the early 60's I carried a Victory Model in 38 Special (US Navy Surplus) for the Sheriff's Department in the county in which I lived. At that time I was somewhat familiar with the different configurations .of the Model 10. However my poor old memory ain't what it used to be as they say and I had to go to some references to brush up. One reference was “Standard Catalog of Firearms 2nd Edition by Schwing, Houze, and Madaus. It is an old reference but I have found it to be trustworthy over the years and they do refer to this revolver as a Model 11. Since it was not designated as such when your revolver was produced, technically I suppose you could say yours is not a Model 11. However the revolver produced in the 50's as a Model 11 was basically the same as was produced in the 40's for the Brits as a 38/200.
Odie

SaxonPig
August 10, 2011, 03:00 PM
Model numbers were not designated and assigned until 1957-58 so it is incorrect to refer to any S&W by a model number if it was made before that time and is not so stamped.

The Model 11 was the Military & Police Model in 38 S&W caliber produced with a commercial finish but very few of these were made and they command a premium from collectors. I have seen a photograph of one and I have never seen one in person.

Any reference source calling the Victory Model a Model 11 is not a source I would deem to be particularly worthwhile.

Jim K
August 10, 2011, 04:11 PM
A few comments.

The M&P (K frame) dates to 1899, not 1904.

The caliber was commonly called the .38/200 by both the British and Americans, but that designation applied to the old "manstopper" lead bullet load. The actual FMJ ammunition used by the British in WWII has a 178 grain bullet. The ammunition is commonly called the ".38 S&W"; .38 Special is a different cartridge.

Many M&P Victory and pre-Victory were made in .38 Special for U.S. forcs concurrently with those in .38 S&W for the British.

The "V" came about when serial numbers on the M&P (no model anything) approached a million and S&W's numbering equipment went only to six digits. They used the V (for Victory) as a prefix, putting it on all guns before the numbers were stamped. They went from 999999 to V1; obviously there was no 1000000 in spite of what has appeared in print. There was no difference, other than the number, between the guns being made prior to that ("the pre-Victory model") and the Victory Model. The exact date of the change is not known for certain, but it was late 1941 or early 1942.

Some 811,000 Victory Models were made. 999,999 M&P revolvers were made prior to the Victory Model.

The additional "S" on some Victory Models shows they have the new hammer block safety.

Jim

Odie Bar
August 11, 2011, 01:36 PM
I stand corrected. Thank you for setting me straight.
Odie

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