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Help with S&W 38

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by CryWolf, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. CryWolf

    CryWolf New Member

    Inherited a 38 Special and I cannot find any info on the possible age. I have read a few posts that help a bit, but I was wondering if I may ask about my particular revolvers age. Also, forgive me, I am not familiar yet with guns and I don't know the names of the parts.

    It has no model number on it anywhere, but does have the numbers 95320. Also, the serial number on the butt of the handle is C 3946xx. It says 38 Special CTG on the 4" barrel.

    I can supply any other info you may need to help.
    Thank you.

    Attached Files:

  2. Sleuth

    Sleuth Well-Known Member

    From the photo, it looks like a S&W Military & Police, later called the Model 10. First called the .38 Hand Ejector, the model started in the late 1800's. I don't have a reference handy to date your gun, but it was the standard police issue gun from circa 1900 until the switch to semi autos in the 1980s.
  3. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Well-Known Member

    Hello CryWolf. Unfortunately I cannot help you with your question per say, but I can give you some suggestions if someone here doesn't give you what you want. First you can got to www.smith-wesson.com and go to the Customer Service link. As long as your not looking for an indepth history, they will give you a brief write up on your handgun if you send them a picture and specifics like you posted here. You can also try www.smith-wessonforum.com. A lot of Smith & Wesson expertise over there as well. They helped me out with some S&W Model 15 questions I had. Good luck with your search and welcome to The High Road.
  4. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Appears to be a Military & Police - -

    - - the pre-Model 10, just as suggested above. There is a faint possibility it could be an M&P Airweight, the pre-Model 12.

    Serial number C 3946xx was produced in the 1954 -- 1956 period. Standard production of the Airweight version began in 1952, with serial number C223999, in the same s/n series. Yours might be an early Airweight, IF it weighs around 18.5 ounces, as opposed to the standard M&P weight of about 30 ounces. Much of this data must be credited to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, Second Edition, by Sulpica and Nahas.

    The M&P was built on the K-frame, in several barrel lengths at least two barrel weights, and with both round and square butt frames. The four-inch barrel is by far the most common length. For decades, this and the Colt Official Police shared honors for being "the" police sidearm across the U.S.A. The M&P surely filled more cop holsters than any other single revolver.

    The M&P was the basic revolver action from which the K22, K32, and K38 target revolvers were developed. The target sighted 4" version was the Combat Masterpiece (later M15.) This evolved into a version chambered for the .357 magnum. The heavy barrel model 10 was later fitted with a magnum cylinder and became the popular fixed sight service revolver called the Model 13.

    With the advent of the S&W stainless steel line, the SS M&P was called the model 64, and in .357, the model 65.

    Hope some of this information is of some interest.

  5. CryWolf

    CryWolf New Member

    Thank you for the info!!!
  6. Mark1300

    Mark1300 New Member

    .38 Special

    Inherited Colt Detective Special...has Detective Special .38 Special ctg. stamped on barrel, but takes a regular .38. The serial is 143488...curious of age.
  7. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    Define "regular" .38. .38 S&W or .38 S&W Special?

  8. Mark1300

    Mark1300 New Member

    It's a .38 S&W...no special
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member


    Something is wrong here. The Detective Special was serial numbered in the same series as the Police Positive Special, and as the D.S. had a later introduction its serial numbers started at about 331,000, so your revolver with a number 143,xxx is way too low.

    Measure the length of your cylinder, and see if it's 1 1/4" long (give or take) or longer. Then we can go from there. ;)
  10. Mark1300

    Mark1300 New Member

  11. Mark1300

    Mark1300 New Member

    Sorry, I meant cylinder not the barrel
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    The picture is becoming clear... :cool:

    You have a Colt Police Positive (not Special) chambered to use the Colt .38 New Police cartridge or .38 S&W. Both cartridges are the same.

    A Colt Police Positive .38 with the serial number 143,xxx was made in 1922, well before the Detective Special was introduced in 1927. It probably came with a barrel between 4 and 6 inches long, but at some point it was rebarreled with a Detective Special (2") barrel. This could easily have been done.

    Incidentally, Colt did make a version of the Police Positive .38 with a 2 inch barrel, but it was called a "Banker's Special."

    I suspect that what appears to be walnut grips are replacements too, as it is likely the gun was originally fitted with black hard-rubber stocks.

    Be this as it may, you still have a neat little snubby... ;)

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