What the heck did I just buy?!


August 24, 2012, 03:11 PM
Well I made an impulse buy on an old, interesting looking revolver without having a clue as to what it is. The right is stamped "MADE IN SPAIN" under the cylinder. The right side of the barrel says "GUARANTEED NEW 1926 MODEL". On the left side, the barrel is stamped "38 SPECIAL CTG" and there are some proof marks on the frame right behind the barrel. The top of the barrel says "USE US STANDARD AMMUNITION". It looks like the barrel, frame, and cylinder all have the same proofmark, which looks to me sorta like a lion rearin up on it's hind legs.

So.... what the heck did I buy, and can I use regular .38 special ammo in it?


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August 24, 2012, 03:32 PM
By the way, I only payed $50 for it, so if it's a real piece of crap, don't be afraid to say so!! LOL!

August 24, 2012, 06:34 PM
Could it be a Manual Escodine Bar? That's what I get when I google the model you provided.

August 24, 2012, 07:09 PM
A lot of Spanish gunmakers cloned Smith and Wessons either by license or not (mostly not). I believe this is what you have. Quality ranged from poor to middling and at one time there were many gunmakers in Spain some of which were hardly more than Mom and Pop operations. There are some who frequent this board who can astound with the knowledge they have or have at hand. It may well be that someone here will be able to interpret the proofs for you. It generally looks like a respectable Smith clone but I have no confidence in how good the metallurgy may be. I would be very cautious with shooting it. It is definitely made to chamber .38 spl. but I would stay well to the light side of .38 spl. loadings if I was to contemplate shooting it. YMMV

P.S. That is a Hand Ejector or Military & Police Model of 1905 clone.

August 24, 2012, 07:16 PM
I do not know the pistol, but I did live in Leon Spain for a while and I have often seen the symbol of the lion you describe:

August 24, 2012, 08:16 PM
All this info really helps. The construction and fit seems to very good. I couldn't wait and went out to shoot it, lol. Handles commercial .38 special just fine. This pistol is pretty light, but recoil is very mild. POI vs. POA is pretty high, by about 6" @15 yds with 158gr loads. Gotta try something lighter to see if the point of impact comes down. Does anyone know what the typically bullet wt was for a pistol of this era?

August 24, 2012, 09:30 PM
The 158 gr. was standard, and almost any .38 spl. from the turn of the 20th century forward would be factory regulated for that weight. I personally would suggest 148 gr wadcutters as they will be low pressure target loads, hit closer to POA AND be relatively effective if by emergency pushed into self defense. I would only contemplate using the gun/ammo combination described for defense if I had little choice. It would be better than throwing rocks.

P.S. As far as defense goes, I would select a full wadcutter over a LRN 158 gr. bullet, common when this design was current, and that is all I meant to imply.

August 24, 2012, 10:19 PM
Rswartsell, that is great information! Thanks a lot! I'll be trying that out.

August 24, 2012, 10:41 PM
P.S. As far as defense goes, I would select a full wadcutter over a LRN 158 gr. bullet, common when this design was current, and that is all I meant to imply.

To be honest, I trust a 148gr DEWC at target velocities for most purposes. Its not gonna expand but that little barell shaped bullet sure will punch a hole through something.

August 24, 2012, 11:52 PM
A lot of 148 gr wadcutter loads are pretty expensive match grade stuff. No reason to spend like that for this revolver. Look for a deal on Bitterroot Valley Ammunition Corp (BVAC) 148 gr wadcutters (or the like). The price, quality and most importantly the pressure generated may be just what you are looking for. I personally would not be tempted to go any lighter on bullets as the lighter ones usually sit atop modern, pretty stout loads seeking high velocity. They could easily generate peak pressures that this relatively unknown old boy might not be able to consistently stand up to.

August 24, 2012, 11:53 PM
Great buy. Not familiar with it, but how many working 38 spl do you buy for $50?

August 25, 2012, 10:13 PM
So I've been researching the s&w model, since this is a clone. I notice that a lug was added in later models. Can a lug be added, or is it part of the barrel? I like the way it looks, I like that it protects the ejector rod, and I'm thinking the added weight might help lower the POI. Anyone?

August 25, 2012, 10:28 PM
While it resembles a S&W the operative question is which way does the cylinder rotate? Cllockwise as in Colt works with the unsupported ejector rod, counterclock tends not to and S&W began anchoring theirs with the 1902 Model, only the 1899 hung free.

The proofs are Spanish inspection, view, and Nitro Proof appropriate to the period. After insuring the lock-up and timing are correct I'd limit myself to wadcutter/.38 Colt class loads.

August 25, 2012, 10:35 PM
While it resembles a S&W the operative question is which way does the cylinder rotate? .

It rotates counter clockwise.

August 25, 2012, 10:36 PM
The .38 special I believe was a LE round. I have seen 200gr RN cartridges from that era, and of course standard pressure.

August 25, 2012, 10:51 PM
The proofs are Spanish inspection, view, and Nitro Proof appropriate to the period. After insuring the lock-up and timing are correct I'd limit myself to wadcutter/.38 Colt class loads.

EXCELLENT information, much appreciated!!

August 26, 2012, 02:58 PM
I am not saying I would not ever try it out but....the counterclockwise ratchet action will tend to push the crane away from the frame and bring the cylinder along for the ride. S&W began anchoring their ejector rods in 1902 for this reason.

With respect to the comment about 200 grain: Hi Vel, Super Police, 38/44 these near Magnums were limited to .41 and .44/.45 frame sized guns.

In my household we use guns of this ilk as 'go to guns', we hide them here and there in convenient but concealed places.

My two bits.........

Jim Watson
August 26, 2012, 03:23 PM
As said, it is a Spanish knockoff of a Smith & Wesson, made sometime between 1926 and when General Franco rationalized the Spanish arms industry in the late 1930s.

It lacks the front ejector rod latch which S&W realized a need for between 1899 and 1902.

Although marked and chambered for .38 Special, the design was really meant for the black powder 9mm Largo (revolver), a European equivalent of .38 Long Colt.
Materials of construction are not as good as US guns of the period.

I would definitely not shoot anything more than standard velocity lead bullet Specials, either wadcutters or roundnose, and not many of them.

August 31, 2012, 11:56 PM
A tip of the hat to Jim Watson, an elder on this board.

If it has not come through with the posts to date, it is not guaranteed safe to treat this as a new production, or known commodity old production weapon.

While it may be perfectly acceptable to fire a few low pressure rounds of above description, it is certainly not guaranteed to be so.

What IS guaranteed is that if you exceed the peak pressures of the 9mm Largo (revolver) load intended (and completely unknown execution) on anything like a consistent basis, it is not a question of IF but instead WHEN the cylinder will explode with someone holding the grip.

I am taking the likely unnecessary step of telling you that you have an historical artifact that can shoot if the limitations are religously observed, and a hand grenade with an unpredictable fuse if they are not.


September 1, 2012, 01:01 AM
Been shooting Winchester 125 gr target loads through it with no problems. Would you deem this a dangerous load with extended use ?

September 1, 2012, 02:57 AM
We would have to define extended use. If you are firing this weapon with the load described and doing so as if it had the lifespan of a new S&W, say several thousand rounds per year for indefinite number of years, it will fail you. I hope less dramatically than bursting a cylinder, which is more likely with modern .38 spl. loads chasing the SAAMI maximums. These will provide peak pressures far above what can reasonably be the expected from the local 9mm Largo, this weapon does not qualify in any way to use SAAMI standards and feel safe with the maximums.

It is less certain but entirely possible that it will not stand up to repeated use of anything you will find marketed as .38 Special. It will wear faster than an American made Smith and that is certain. Be vigilant about signs of excessive wear such as end shake, frame stretching etc.

Better yet do not expect it to be a steady "shooter" at all and instead an historical artifact that gets very little low pressure firing if any at all.

You don't have much invested and if you are adventurous, you may wish to continue shooting and "wear it out" to get your limited bang for the buck. Just expect the end to come far sooner that usual and avoid at all costs the overpressure catastrophic failure.

No-one can say that a flaw in the walls of the chambers (like a bubble) does not exist that will eventually provide a kaboom even with low pressure rounds, but more likely using it as you would a Smith will simply wear it out far faster, and it's already old.

Shadow 7D
September 1, 2012, 03:26 AM
Spanish guns get a bad rap, consider the Ruby, marvelously HAND crafted guns, see they were workshop NOT factory assembly line products from many makers, so even those that were assembly line may be parts interchangeable with others, but they all were hand fit...

in our modern era we forget that back in the day, things weren't churned out of some factory in the hundreds of billions every one exactly alike.

And Spain has had a history of fine steel, funny what makes the best knifes is reputed to make such crappy gun. Post over on Gunboards ,they have a forum devoted to Spanish pistols, someone will know.

Respectfully Jim, I disagree, the 9x23 Bayard or largo was rimless http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9%C3%9723mm_Largo, where a .38 spc. is rimed and of much different diameters, also a 9 largo is shorter than the .38.

Many 9 Largo pistols have had 9 Luger shot through them, either from a lack of ammo or not knowing better, but I've never seen a largo revolver.

September 1, 2012, 04:05 AM
By extended or normal use, I mean just as I use all my other handguns. Recently this is my most used gun, as it is my newest acquisition. But nowhere near 1000 rds per year.

September 1, 2012, 04:19 AM

Do you know something I don't? Who made the OP's revolver? Did they do so to the standards of Ruby, or Star or Llama? Did they use fine Toledo steel? (Fine SWORD steel, not gun steel). Then by all means, tell the man what he has and what to expect. Fulminating generalities on the fine Spanish tradition of anything says nothing about the revolver the man has in hand. Please, be my guest.

September 1, 2012, 04:22 AM
IMHO this is a poor choice to be your most used.

September 1, 2012, 04:30 AM
Every once in a while I see a man that in less time than I have been here has many times as many posts, and sometimes they really have that much more to add.

Not often. Usually they just have that much more to say.

September 1, 2012, 04:36 AM
Six thousand and seventy three times the man knew what to say. I must admit that I am anxious to see what he knows in this instance.

Shadow 7D
September 1, 2012, 04:37 AM
Neither is a crappy S&W M&P
much is on the condition of the gun, I'm not saying feed it a diet of +p, only that it should work find for what it was intended, secondly, if he asked over at GB, he'd probably be deluged with the list of gunmakers producing S&W modles, as it is Eibar marked with the CIP acceptance proofed, I'd rather expect it to handle .38 spc. fine, per condition and a gun of it's age etc., unless it was proofed to a different .38, like S&W.

as to the maker, ask me about Spanish autos and I know a whole lot more. Your contributions?

Shadow 7D
September 1, 2012, 04:45 AM
the bottom of the butt should have a SN, right before it will be an oval, post a pic of that please. The oval should be your makers mark.

September 1, 2012, 04:51 AM
Uhh...ahem. Just what is it you are saying about the man's revolver? It's good to what it's proofed, whatever that is, someone else can give you a list of makers....depending upon age that you don't know and depend on others to say, and condition again for others to determine. If we ask you about something completely outside of this thread you imply you will have substance.

OK, just what were you here to say again? That the people that were trying to answer the man's questions were wrong? In what way?

September 1, 2012, 04:59 AM
I have become curious about "neither is a crappy S&W M&P", you must have something to tell us about Smith and Wesson and the Military and Police also.

I can learn so much here.

Do tell.

Shadow 7D
September 1, 2012, 05:07 AM
Well, I guess I know how you got your number of posts
I'll be happy to answer any of the OP's questions
caliber is what it says it is, Not Largo, shooting the wrong cartridge can be unsafe.
And while the revolvers of this period are not my specialty, I am more than happy to share what I know. Have fun shooting it.

Jim Watson
September 1, 2012, 06:00 AM
There are two different 9mm Largo cartridges.
There is the 9mm Largo/9x23 Bergman Bayard rimless for Astras, Llamas, and Stars; and the 9mm Largo rimmed revolver round, pretty much like the .38 Long Colt.
All it took was a new reamer to produce a .38 Special for sale in English speaking markets.

(Similar to the profusion of Spanish .32-20s. They made a lot of 8mm Lebel revolvers for the French in addition to the many .32 Ruby autos. All it took was a new chamber reamer to use the same barrels in revolvers for the Americas.)

Shadow 7D
September 1, 2012, 06:17 AM
Oh, Ok, didn't know that, thanks Jim, as for the gun, it's CIP proof, so I would assume that it's proofed to .38 spc standards then, with a 125% shot (is it one for a revolver or one for each chamber of they cylinder?) And if the gun is in good condition it would handle the round it was intended for, perfectly fine.

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