Saved another 38/44 today


Peter M. Eick
March 15, 2012, 07:44 PM
Seems like lately I have been seeing a lot of 38/44's that have become conversion products. I know they are not my guns, but it really bothers me to see a perfectly good 38/44 taken to slaughter like that. There are just not that many around, particularly good pre-war ones so when I saw this one I said I would not let it go to a conversion.

This is a pre-war, 38/44 Outdoorsman with a humpback Hammer, McGivern front sight and what appear to be matching grips. The gun looks like it has little wear so I am not convinced it has not been refinished. The rollmarks look good with a bit of splash around the indents but they are a bit thin in my opinion. Anyway, it makes a nice addition to the pre-war 38/44 OD collection.

And it goes nicely with my Registered Magnum.

If you are not familiar with the humpbacks:

This makes it easy to cock for target shooting.

So, expensive, yes, but did I save another fine 38/44 from a conversion into something it was never meant to be? Yes. It was a good day for 38/44's.

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March 15, 2012, 09:23 PM
holy carp! that's too much gorgeous to look at all at once...:D

March 15, 2012, 09:29 PM
My old heart just went pitty patter!!

Beautiful collection!!


March 15, 2012, 09:41 PM
Nice collection there! What wonderful old iron you have there.

(I have to ask, what were they going to be converted to, reamed to .357? Chopped down?)

March 15, 2012, 09:47 PM
I believe he said he saved them from being converted.

I don't know what he is seeing converted.
But it would not surprise me in the least if somebody chopped the hammer spur & barrel off one, ground off the SA sear notch, and tried to make a belly gun out of it.

Spur hammers you can cock, and SA fire are just not acceptable to highly trained operators anymore, don't-ca know.


March 15, 2012, 09:53 PM
"Slaughter"? Please. I wouldn't call a .38-44HD sent to Bowen to become a fine .38-40, .44Spl or .45Colt "slaughtered". Save guns in their original condition if you wish but do not begrudge others doing as they please with their own property. Particularly when the result is so spectacular.

March 15, 2012, 10:06 PM
I was under the impression he plucked them out of the path of somebody who would do such a thing. "See this old revolver here? It's just too long and can be cocked. If I can't get rid of it I'm going to have it made into something." Alternatively, "It's the biggest .38 I've ever found. I *think* Billy John has a reamer and can make a .357 out of it. Now THAT would be something..."

(For reference, I'm young enough to be one of the tactical crowd, but I will happily provide homes for all the nice old iron my peers reject as "untactical". ;) )

Old Fuff
March 16, 2012, 11:02 AM
I don't give a zip about what others do with their hardware, and it wouldn't matter if I did. But I'm in Peter's camp in that my .38/44 Smith & Wesson's will remain in the original chambering. I have one 5" Heavy Duty with a humpback hammer and later replacement stocks that's scheduled to be restored and referbished, but nothing else. Others are fine as they are.

March 16, 2012, 05:01 PM
Since the 'humpback' seems to be good idea, you'd think someone would have had some in the aftermarket.

Late 60s there was a kit available that allowed staging of the cylinder/hammer by the trigger. It could not be cocked/released by the trigger. Final cocking by the thumb. Release was by single action trigger.

2700 Shooters didn't always use semi-autos.


March 16, 2012, 05:31 PM
Peter, ol Pard, if you ain't careful you're gonna have a collection of ol Smiths one of these days.

Another nice grab.

March 16, 2012, 05:57 PM
Every now and then, we get to glimpse into some serious quality items. The OP and an occasional poster who goes by the handle of 'Rembrandt' have allowed a brief look into some items that have caught their interest.

Thanks. Its appreciated.


March 16, 2012, 06:16 PM
Beautiful. I love the old style grips.

March 17, 2012, 02:22 AM
I don't think I've seen a hammer like that before.

Peter M. Eick
March 17, 2012, 08:54 PM
That is a humpback hammer that was specifically made for target shooting in late 39 to about 41. The exact start date I do not know but I have not seen one on a gun prior to early 1939 and I have not seen one put on a gun past 1941.

If you target shoot they are near perfect. You can reach up there and thumb it back easily and you don't have to worry about slipping the long action.

To my knowledge less then a dozen known 38/44 Outdoorsman's have a humpback originally. There may be more but they are not known to me.

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