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Want to Identify an Older Smith & Wesson 38

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by krey, Nov 8, 2006.

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  1. krey

    krey New Member

    Hi, this pistol was owned by a distant relative, and I think I am not sure when it was made or even a model number. I saw a similar post here and thought perhaps you could help me. The serial number seemed to be the key in the other post. It is C 308160.

    Other markings include 38 S. & W. SPECIAL CTG. on the barrel.

    It has the S&W trademark, and also on the right side under "Made in USA", it also has "Marcas Registradas" spanish I think... is that normal?

    Thanks for your help
  2. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    From the serial number, that gun was made in 1954. The C number series was shared by several different models. If the frame is steel, it is the standard Military and Police Model, later (1958) called the Model 10. If the frame is alloy, it is the lightweight M&P, later called the Model 12. The other models that shared that prefix were .38 S&W (not .38 S&W Special) version (Model 11); the .22 version (Model 45); and one made only for a military contract, the Aircrewman, with alloy frame and cylinder and USAF markings

    S&W sells many guns in Latin America, so for many years they marked them with "Marcas Registradas" (Registered [Trade] Marks) in Spanish.

  3. krey

    krey New Member

    Wow, that was fast! Thank you for your help. That does fill in a few blanks for me. I believe it is steel, but I will have to get a magnet out and test it. Did they sell that model to the public, or was it something that servicemen brought home with them?

    Thanks for the insight.
  4. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    You have a great gun and the Military & Police (M&P) designation is just a marketing tool of S&W to get these into the various police departments around the country and world.
  5. krey

    krey New Member

    Thanks, I appreciate all the information. You guys are a great source of knowledge!
  6. swl2126

    swl2126 New Member

    Want to Identify another Older Smith & Wesson 38

    I saw this post, and I also have an older S&W revolver I'm trying to identify.

    The pistol was given to me my my father before he passed away. The serial number is G 11996. There also appears to be an inverted L in the yoke area above and to the left of the G.

    Other markings include 38 S. & W. SPECIAL CTG. on right side of the barrel and Smith and Wesson on the left side.
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member


    Welcome to The High Road...:)

    I think you may be looking at an assembly number rather then the serial number. If this is an older revolver the serial number will likely be stamped on the bottom of the butt, the rear face of the cylinder, and the bottom of the barrel above the ejector rod. Please check again.
  8. swl2126

    swl2126 New Member

    Thanks, shows how little I know

    How about K 303799?
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Well we are getting there... :D

    Now I need some more description.

    1. Length of barrel (measured from the cylinder face to the end of the muzzle).

    2. Fixed or adjustable sights? (I presume they are adjustable).

    3. Blue or nickel finish? (I presume blue).
  10. swl2126

    swl2126 New Member

    1. Length of barrel 6"
    2. Fixed or adjustable sights? Adjustable
    3. Blue or nickel finish? Blue.
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    From your serial number and description I believe you have a Smith & Wesson K-38 Target Masterpiece (pre-model 14) that was introduced in 1947 following World War Two. Your gun was manufactured in 1957. It would have been one of the last "pre models" because S&W also started stamping the model number designation that year. It was intended for bullseye target shooting, and earned a substantial reputation in that sport. At S&W, nothing was spared to make it the finest possible, and it was made long before unfortunate cost-cutting impinged on quality. Offered barrel lengths were 6 and 8 3/8 inches.

    I’d say you have a winner…:)
  12. FPrice

    FPrice Well-Known Member

    Bet Old Fuff will say K-38 Target Masterpiece, just shortly before they started using model numbers and made it the Model 14.
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Has you been reading my mind again???

    With you around I don't need to bother to post... :neener: :D
  14. FPrice

    FPrice Well-Known Member

    Nah, too scary fer me in there.

    Just call me, "Old Fuff the Younger".

  15. adnogu

    adnogu New Member

    Identifying an older S&W .38

    Maybe someone could help me. We just came across an old S&W .38 S that my grandfather gave to my mother before he passed away. This gun seems to be in pretty good condition and seems pretty old, so I told my mom I would look into the background of it. All I know is that it is a .38 S and it's serial number seems to be 162599. There is no letter in front of the serial number or anything else. If someone could help me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.
  16. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Much, much younger .... :neener:
  17. tbowers

    tbowers New Member

    different serial #

    Hello all,

    I have the same pistol as Krey (38 S. & W. SPECIAL CTG) with serial # C 644316. I was told it was made in the late 1950's maybe 1960, but seeing Krey's SN so much lower than mine has now raised my doubts. Can you please tell me when this 1 was made? I would appreciate it very much, and thank you for your time!
  18. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    The closest I can come is between 1963 to 1965. Smith & Wesson would make frames and serial number them. Then over time they would draw them out and assemble them into guns. Sometimes this happened quickly, and sometimes several years could pass before they got around to using those particular frames. Also in some cases they could use these pre-numbered frames to made several different model revolvers.

    The only way to know for sure is to ask the factory's historian, Roy G Jinks to go into their records an look up your particular gun. They charge a reasonable search fee of $30,00, and will send you an offical letter detailing such information as the caliber, finish, barrel length, special features (if there were any) and the date shipped and to what dealer or distributor.
  19. older

    older New Member

    Want to Identify Older Gun

    I have a Smith & Wesson 38 Special CTG. It was left to me and I have no idea of the value. I can't read the numbers very clearly and need help in identifying if these are even close...436444...OR if I need to try and identify if there should be letters instead of all numbers...

    Any help is appreciated.
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member


    If this is a pre-World War Two gun there shouldn't be any letters in the serial number, and the number should be stamped on the bottom of the butt. Some times it takes a magnifying glass to read them. I am going to make a calculated guess, so understand that this information could well be wrong.

    I think you have a Smith & Wesson .38 1905 Hand Ejector (Military & Police) 4th Change. This version of the Military & Police revolver was made from 1915 to 1942. I estimate your gun was made during the early to middle 1920’s. The last patent date on top of the barrel should be Dec. 29 1914. The barrel length, from the face of the cylinder to the end of the muzzle should be 4”, 5” or 6 “. Finish should be blue or nickel plate. If it is a square butt it should have checkered walnut stocks. If it is a round butt it should be molded black hard-rubber, but they could also be checkered walnut.

    Given the provided information that's the best I can do.
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