What is this old Smith?


October 27, 2011, 07:49 PM

About a decade ago I volunteered to help an elderly person at church move their stuff to a storage facility, he was moving to an old folks home. When we were done, he had found I was a hunter and wanted to sell me this old Smith and Wesson. Well I didn't really need it but it was clear this old guy needed the money so we guessed on what model it was in a book at the library, and I gave him what was, at the time, full used retail, probably more than it was worth.

Well ten plus years later I still haven't figured out exactly what it is, what it's worth now, or what to do with it even. Then I discovered this web site and have surfed it for HOURS. Hence my first post.

Can you help me with some data on this old relolver. It is 6" long. From the end of the cylinder to the end of the barrell is 3.25". It is a DA. SN 2620XX. It appears to be a .38. Past that I'm not sure.

Any info would be appreciated! Thanks!!

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October 27, 2011, 07:59 PM
I think you have a model 3 but wouldn't bet my life on it. Couldn't give you a price on it as I don't know enough about it without seeing more pictures.

You might want to go to the S&W site and ask there. http://smith-wessonforum.com/forum.php

October 27, 2011, 08:28 PM
It appears that you have a .38 Double Action 3rd model. They were produced between 1884 and 1895 with serial numbers ranging from 119001 to 322700. Yours was probably made around 1890 +/-. Value is hard to determine from a single picture but I would say that it's worth somewhere between $250-450.

Deaf Smith
October 27, 2011, 10:55 PM
My Grandmother had one exactly like that!

.38 S&W 5 shot. Only yours is in somewhat better condition.

That front sight is very thin and the back sight, a little 'U' of metal. Very hard to see in anything but good light (and good eyes!)

Still, I'd keep that gun if I was you.


October 28, 2011, 12:37 AM
Just remember, .38 S&W is NOT the same as .38 Special! Two totally different rounds. The .38 S&W is not a very powerful round, but that pistol looks to be in great shape and is certainly a dandy keeper, IMO. Ammo is available, as is reloading dies and supplies. New brass, I'm not sure about, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's out there.

Can you bring us more photos please? Oh, and have it looked over by a competent gunsmith, please. Make sure it's healthy and shootable before you try it.

October 30, 2011, 08:26 PM

Thank you for the replies! This is great information.... I'll definitely have a gunsmith take a look at it and clean the internals before shooting, no doubt about that.

The 38S&W info is good thanks Rondog, didn't know that. Highpower thanks for the detail data.

Sounds like this is an interesting little gun to have around. Should have given it some attention years ago.

Have a good evening everyone!

October 31, 2011, 05:44 AM
S&W didn't advertise these as being safe for smokeless ammo until around 1906. Use of modern smokeless loads may prematurely wear the gun. I would stick to handloads using blackpowder or a blackpowder substitute like Goex. Modern smokeless ammo is loaded to the same pressures as the old black powder rounds, but has a much faster pressure peak, putting stress on the cylinder.

Jim Watson
October 31, 2011, 06:02 PM
a blackpowder substitute like Goex

Uh, Rad, Goex is a brand of real black powder. They used to sell a fake but I think it is all black, now. And I am sure if you asked a knowledgeable dealer for "a can of Goex" you would get black.

October 31, 2011, 06:13 PM
I think he was meaning to recommend Pyrodex.

Nice revolver!

Jim Watson
October 31, 2011, 06:20 PM
What would make you think that? They are both spelled with an x on the tail end?
The reason I seldom put up load recommendations on the internet.
Too subject to lapses of memory and typos.

November 1, 2011, 03:55 AM
Actually I was thinking of both! Thanks for the info Jim, I don't shoot blackpowder or reload anymore, and didn't know that Goex were out of the substitute market. Krehmkej: I knew there was a second brand out there but had one of those lapses of memory Jim mentioned.

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