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Smith & Wesson Victory Model

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by shotgunjoel, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. shotgunjoel

    shotgunjoel Well-Known Member

    I went to the gun show this morning mainly looking for a MKII 22/45 and that blue DAG 7.62 NATO ammo. Well I didn't find either of those. What I did find was my first revolver, a S&W Victory Model for $200! I've been looking for a Pencil barreled Model 10 for about a year now. My jaw nearly dropped when he told me the price. Serial is V 624XX, 4 inch barrel, 38 Special, matte blue finish. It looks like the gun used to have some sort of black paint finish that I can see little bits of in places, but the blueing is what I'd consider 90-95%. Lock up is tight, and the cylinder gap is tight. Double action pull is heavy, has a little bump midway, but is otherwise very smooth. Single action is a dream.

    As far as markings go this gun has serial numbers, "MADE IN USA", the S&W logo, and standard S&W name, patents and caliber info on the barrel. I'm thinking of getting a factory letter on it, seeing as it's a low serial number with no acceptance marks, or similar markings. What can you all tell me about it? I know that I got a good deal, but how good did I do?

    As a side note, having a C&R license really makes Illinois gun shows better. I would have had to wait 72 hours and pay an FFL to transfer (private seller, all gun show sales here have to go through a dealer) it if I didn't have my C&R. It was great, cash, copy of license, and carry.

    Attached Files:

  2. Oro

    Oro Well-Known Member

    Hmm, possibly the deal of the year, really.

    That looks like the original S&W "Black Magic" finish on the gun, in pretty good shape. Whatever the black finish was, apparently it is local spots of something else, or mostly work or flaked off? Which is amazingly lucky for you if that is the case. You really shouldn't see any acceptance marks on the gun, there was no consistent pattern of marking, so that' snot unusual. All it really implies is that it was not a Navy gun. The acceptance marks are common on the British/commonwealth victories. What you have is one of the less common U.S. issue guns, in 4" and .38 Special. The Brit/commonwealth guns were vastly more common (2.5 to 1 production ratio if memory serves), and in much more problematic .38 S&W caliber,as well as 5". That's a 4" .38 Special. Nice.

    With that low a s/n, it might have gone to a few places. I thought V40,000 to V80,000 were all to the Navy. The first Navy contract started at V40,000 and ones in lower numbers there were stamped "U.S. Navy" on the topstrap. Other recipients didn't have the factory stamp them or necessarily apply their own marks consistently. I'm going to attach a photo of my V48,xxx Navy example; perhaps you can compare to see if you have the original finish. I think you do.

    I have seen samples like mine trade near $1k a year or two ago (I have not been checking prices much lately). Navy guns bring premiums, but still, if yours can clean up well, even with the finish problems I see, it could easily be worth north of $500. Also, these normally had extremely nice actions. You might want to have someone knowledgeable open it up and check it. Do not do this yourself; it's tricky and this is not the gun to learn on. When I purchased mine, it locked up after some dry firing. I opened it and it had been packed solid with what looked very much like red Valvoline bearing grease. I cleaned it out, re-lubed it appropriately, and it both looks and shoots like it did back in 1942. BTW, if memory serves me correctly, your production date should be summer of 1942, probably June or July.

    Hope that helps some. And I reiterate the pleasure and value of an 03 FFL (C&R). If you like older guns occasionally, it's a really handy tool to have. Here's two views of one with a s/n near yours so you can compare finishes. I'm pretty sure yours is original, which is a great bonus:


    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  3. shotgunjoel

    shotgunjoel Well-Known Member

    Thanks Oro, that's a great looking gun you have, and yes, the finish is the same. From what I saw on gunbroker I knew that I had a great deal, but I was thinking more along $350 value, not $500! Second question, how long does Smith take to process factory letter requests? I think that I'll take it to my smith to have him open it up and do a check up. Thanks.
  4. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    That was a great price, made the trip and admission worthwhile. The US issue Victories have always had more value but today it's gotten very high.

    Your action should smooth up with a good cleaning. Most of these I have opened had dried grease and oil mixed with considerable dirt. I make sure the pins are straight, stone the rebound slide and lube it. You well have a good DA pull and a great SA pull, some may have a touch of creep in SA.

    My Navy marked Vic is V233XXX and has a very uncommon acceptance stamp. Unfortunately this revolver wore large grips at one time and it left a mark.

  5. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    Looks a lot like my old Navy marked Victory,,,
  6. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    A very good deal.

    Frankly, I wouldn't spend $50 on a letter for this gun. It's a 99% chance it will letter as sent to some supply depot in 1944. If that's worth $50 to you then go ahead.

    I have two VMs. The first is a Navy contract gun that came from a pawn shop. Had a bulged barrel and the owner could not sell it. It was tagged at $100 when I saw it. I talked to him about it and he was tired of trying to sell the damaged gun. I allowed as how I might be interested at the right price. He said make an offer. I thought for a moment and said $60. It was mine.

    Found a 5" barrel from a commercial M&P on ebay. Serial indicates around 1938 or 39 so it's only a couple years older than the 1942 gun. Bagged the barrel for $5. Swapped tubes myself using the bench vise in my garage. Took about 30 minutes and the gun shoots fine. Can't be too many Navy VMs with 5" barrels out there. :cool:


    A few months ago I saw this VM made for Great Britain on a dealer's web site. Paid $265 for it. Came with the original smooth stocks but I swapped those for a set that will be better for shooting the gun. I already own several revolvers in 38 S&W caliber and load this ammo.

    Fun part is that the gun is marked for a German police department. These were used to arm civilian PDs in Germany during reconstruction following the war. This one is stamped with the name of a town in Saxony. Means it was carried by a... wait for it... Saxon pig. :evil:

  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    But if you can beg, borrow, or steal a copy of:
    U. S. Handguns of World War II, The Secondary Pistols & Revolvers, by Charles W. Pate,
    you can glean about all S&W can tell you yourself.
    And maybe more?

    BTW: I just paid $500 for this one, and thought I got a very good deal.

    You should have kissed & cuddled with the guy you bought that one from after you had your way with him!

    BTW: By the serial #, your gun does not have the up-graded hammer block drop safety.
    Any indication of a small S stamped on the butt next to the serial number?

    If it doesn't, it hasn't been modified for the new positive drop safety.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  8. shotgunjoel

    shotgunjoel Well-Known Member

    Thanks RC, it doesn't have the S, I learned about the safety in my studies.
  9. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Well-Known Member


    Need to photograph the family Victory for comparison... but that's the gun that I've shot more than any other. Tried bringing the obliterated serial # out with infrared photography years ago to no avail.

    Congrats!!! Baby it a *little* though, ours has worn the forcing cone gap just wide enough to risk a bit of shrapnel to anyone standing to either side.

    Wonder how much that would take to fix, or if I should just retire it to display and buy a slightly less "loved" one.
  10. mossy141701

    mossy141701 Well-Known Member

    Those are great guns, I found one in similar condition a couple of years age in a pawl shop for $175.00. Enjoy
  11. shotgunjoel

    shotgunjoel Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all of the help guys. Two things. First, in your opinion what do you think my revolver is worth? Second, I decided to send off for a factory letter. Seeing as S&W will likely stop the program when Mr. Jinks stops working, I would really kick myself in the future if I didn't get it now. As a side note, I'm going to take it to my smith for him to open up for an inspection and cleaning tomorrow. I'll let you know if we find anything interesting. I'll try to get some pictures too. Thanks.
  12. Oro

    Oro Well-Known Member

    Based on the photos, it's hard to say. It looks like the original finish, which is important. There's some corrosion, so it's far from mint. But original condition US Victories are hard to find. I mentioned an educated guess of $500 above and I think that $500 to $600 is possible. Better photos, a professional cleaning, and your gunsmith's inspection should help refine an estimate. Here's a range of values based on what I've seen, all assuming very good/excellent mechanical condition. This is for original US variant guns, 4" in .38 S&W Special, not converted guns:

    Refinished/original grips (OG): $350
    Original Finish, 75%, flawed in spots/OG: $500
    Original Finish, 98+%, OG: $700

    Add 30% for Navy variant with correct markings.

    BTW I should point out these are very satisfying guns to shoot. With my home-brew target load of 2.8 grs of WST under a 148gr SWC, it is the most inherently accurate gun I own. I routinely do one-hole groups at shorter ranges with those loads.

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