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S&W Revolver, What Model Is It?

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Skofnung, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Skofnung

    Skofnung Well-Known Member

    Hello again.

    A friend of mine just inherited an older S&W .38 Special revolver that belonged to her grandfather.

    She asked me if I knew what it was and how old it was, but the markings are not what I expected to find. Perhaps you fine fellows can help me.

    Here is what I know. It looks like a Model 10, and I guess that is what it is, but when I swung out the cylinder and looked under the arbor for a model number, there was not one there. There was only a 5 digit number starting with 27 and faint markings above this number that I can not make out. Perhaps a "KO" or "RO."

    The arbor has the same number stamped on it as the frame under the arbor. The butt of the gun has what I assume is the serial number of the gun on it, but this number does not match the other two.

    The barrel is marked "38 S. & W. Special CTG." and the ampersand(sp? "&" in any case) is kind of odd looking. It looks very "cursive" if you will.

    The gun itself is in perfect working order, and it is tight as a drum in lockup. The finish is quite worn, having more of a plum brown appearance than blue, but this is probably from holster wear.

    The grips are brown plastic (bakelite?) and the barrel is of the "thin" profile and is 4" in length. The front sight is of the big, fixed, half circle type and the rear sight is the standard fixed notch in the frame.

    We took it out and put two boxes of ammo through it and it shoots like a house afire.

    So, what does she have? If you need any more data let me know. I would realy like to find out what it is for her.

  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Sure sounds like a Military and Police.
    S&W did not assign model numbers until 1956, before then, everything had its own name. The M&P was indeed assigned the number 10.

    The numbers inside and on the yoke are assembly numbers, used to keep the parts together until a serial number was assigned. The number on the butt is the serial number.

    Post the SN and somebody will likely have the year made.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Can you read the last patent date on the barrel? It may help identify the specific variation. That odd ampersand is part of the S&W trademark.

    By the way, stick to standard .38 Special loads in that gun; it was not made for +P or +P+ ammunition.

  4. Ross

    Ross Well-Known Member

    Quite possibly you have a Model 5. Is the ejector rod head larger than the rod?
    Regards from Darkest California,
  5. Skofnung

    Skofnung Well-Known Member

    The Serial # is "C 78###" if that helps.

    Mr. Keenan, I can't seem to locate any patent dates on the barrel. Yhea, I would never tell her to put +p's in this gun. She has a modern .38 for that sort of thing. This is strictly a standard pressure gun. I doubt she will even shoot it much.

    Ross, if you mean the knurled tip of the ejector rod, it is slightly rebated.

    Thanks again.
  6. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    A "Model 5"?


    I've been studing/collecting S&Ws for the better part of 20 year now, and I've never come across ANY reference to a Model 5.

    Hand ejectors all have either a 2 or 3 digit model number.

    The caliber makes this most likely a Military & Police Hand Ejector, the predecessor to the Model 10.

    The fact that there's no model number in the crane cutout in the frame makes this gun having been made prior to 1957.

    The half-moon sight is a good indication that it was made prior to 1952. At least I think that's when the old halfmoon sight was phased out in favor of the ramp that we have today.

    The C prefix on the serial number, I THINK, was added after World War II, around 1948, but I can't be sure without my books.

    As a guess at this point, I'm going to say that this is a .38 Military & Police Hand Ejector made between 1948 and 1952.
  7. Ross

    Ross Well-Known Member

    My bad. You are right, I got careless again.
    Military & Police Model 1905 2nd Change
    Two dowell pins in the star extractor.
    73251-146899 overlapping with the first change.
    In 1948 the C prefix was added to designate the beginning of the third million of the M&P.
    .240" serrated trigger.
    5 screw
    Round butt added in 1947.
    Became Model 10 in 1957.
    (Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson)
    I guess I'd better go back to lurk, and hush now. Sorry.
    Regards from Darkest California,
  8. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member


    An M&P this late should be a Model of 1905 Fourth Change, IIRC.

    Somewhere in the standard catalog it also gives a rough date as to when the half-moon front sight was phased out.
  9. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    God, am I good or what... :)

    And the answer to the question is...............

    This revolver was made sometime in 1948 or 1949. I'm betting 1948.

    It's DEFINITELY a K-frame, which means that it is a Military & Police, as the C series was only assigned to K frame revolvers.

    N frame .38s had a different serial number series.

    Oh yeah, I'm good. :D
  10. Uncle JJ

    Uncle JJ New Member

    I have a S&W 38 special ctg. It is a five shot revolver and has what appear to be pearl grips. It resembles the model 10 but with a shorter barrel. Serial # is J629XXX Any ideas??
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    If it has a hammer, it is likely a J-Frame Chiefs Special made about 1962.
    If it doesn't have a hammer it is a J-Frame something else.
    You need to give more details.

    Regardless, all Model 10's are K-Frame six-shot.

  12. Uncle JJ

    Uncle JJ New Member

    38 special

    Thanks for the reply. It is a 5 shot revolver with no hammer. S&W 38 special ctg. 014.jpg
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Actually it has a hammer, just that the hammer SPUR has been cut off.
    The revolver is a Chief's Special, Model 36.

    Grips do not appear to be pearl, they may be ivory, they may be ivory colored plastic.
  14. Uncle JJ

    Uncle JJ New Member

    Chiefs Special Model 36

    Thank you very much for the info. I think the grips may be ivory colored plastic now that I look more closely.
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    That your grips include real S&W logo disks, they may in fact be real ivory.
    I think I can see the ivory grain in you poor photo when I enlarge it.

    Look closely at the bottoms and see if there is any "grain" showing. That would be ivory.
    Plastic doesn't have grain in that it is completely smooth & uniform.

    If they are real ivory S&W factory grips, they are probably worth more then the gun.


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