Year of manufacture


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CCSO153
April 20, 2013, 02:09 PM
I have an old S&W top break in .38S&W. The barrel is 3 1/4 " and the SN is 139185 stamped on the handle. The grips are hard black rubber, w/ S&W insignia stamped on them. The nembers stamped on the break head are the same. Does anyone know how to dtermine the date of manufacture? Is it a rare model? Probably not. It is a 5 shot model, in fairly decent shape. Any help would be appreciated.

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Ron James
April 20, 2013, 03:29 PM
Is it double action or single action, does it have a hammer or is it hammer less, if hammer less does it have a grip safety, pictures to identify the exact model would help a heck of a lot.

CCSO153
April 21, 2013, 08:41 AM
It will not cock like a single action, it has a hammer, and i don't know how to do pictures. My guess is that is double action only, if that makes sense.

Jim Watson
April 21, 2013, 12:43 PM
You describe a .38 Double Action Third Model made sometime between 1884 and 1895, probably early in that period. They made over 200,000 of that model and many more first, second, fourth and fifth models of the same basic type. Not rare.

S&W did not make DAO exposed hammer revolvers then.
Yours is not "in fairly decent shape," it is broken.

Ron James
April 21, 2013, 06:40 PM
:) Just the added information that it has a hammer was enough to answer your question :). If it doesn't cock in single action mode then one of two things are happening. someone has remove the single action sear, which is very unlikely on such an old gun, or more likely, the single action sear is broken. The making of good carbon steel was not as advanced a hundred years ago and sometimes the parts were brittle. You might be able to have it repaired, but IMO it is time to retire it.

CCSO153
April 21, 2013, 11:38 PM
If you get American Rifleman magazine, the gun looks exactly like the .44 featured on the last page of the mag, except it is a .38S&W. It also has various dates stamped on the top of the barrel, along w/ patent numbers. Any info would be appreciated.

Ron James
April 22, 2013, 12:02 AM
And if your gun was .44 caliber , it would be a S&W .44 Double Action. However, you stated your gun was .38 S&W caliber. So it follows, that with that serial number and the fact it is a .38, it is a S&W .38 Double Action, Third Model, manufactured 1884 to 1895.

CCSO153
April 22, 2013, 06:06 AM
OK, thank you for your input. Do you know if this gun is a rarity, or are there many such guns still left in the modern world?

Ron James
April 22, 2013, 10:06 AM
Old does not always mean gold, Your S&W is not a rarity, just a old Smith and Wesson { and one that is not working correctly :) }. With out pictures only a guess-a-mate on value can be given, if in other wise good condition, maybe 200. Sorry about that.

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