Just bought a .38 S&W lend lease

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jsalcedo, Nov 4, 2003.

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  1. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    Here is what it looks like (not actual gun)


    usarev2.jpg


    It is in unfired condition with 100% of its parkarized finish.
    Marked United States Property

    Anyone know more about these guns?

    What civilian model does it correspond to?

    Value?
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    It is a Smith & Wesson 1905 Hand Ejector/4th Change (Military & Police). It's successor is the current S&W model 10.

    It was made during World War Two in two versions. One for U. S. Military Forces and one for the British. The British variant usually had a 5 inch barrel and was chambered in .38 S&W. The side of the barrel was marked “38-200.†The US variant had 4 inch barrels and were chambered in .38 Special, and so marked. Uncle Sam also bought a handful with 2 inch barrels.

    After Lend Lease was established in early 1942 both were marked “United States Property†or “U.S. Property†because our government was buying everything S&W made and distributing however way they saw fit. So some of the .38-200 revolvers went to England or it’s Commonwealth, and the rest stayed here, where they were often issued to police forces or defense plant guards. However the O.S.S. bought a flock of them for unknown but likely devious reasons. You can usually tell which guns the British got because they will be stamped all over with proof or property marks.

    Check your chambers to be sure some idiot hasn’t rechambered a .38 S&W cylinder to .38 Special. If they have the cylinder is ruined.

    The serial number is stamped on the butt and should start with the letter “V†later ones started with “VS.†The “S†denoted an improved safety that is still used today.

    These guns have been covered by a number of previous threads. Do a search on “38-200†and “Victory Model.â€

    Value depends on condition, and whatever you can get for it. Collector interest has been going up while shooters couldn’t care less. A ballpark figure for a truly perfect gun would be between $250.00 to $300.00.
     
  3. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    That would be the .38 Military and Police Victory Model, a K-frame revolver, predecessor of the Model 10.

    Ooops! Looks like Old Fuff beat me to it with a pretty complete description. However I think his estimation of the value may be a little low IF this is truly in NIB condition and not simply re-done.
     
  4. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    Thanks Old Fuff

    It is indeed a 38-200 original finish with british proofmarks and then stamped with the reimport marks from vega in Sacramento California.



    it is marked

    "United States Property"
    D^D
    Made in USA

    FTR/MA54

    Barrel has 38 S&W CTG on one side and Smith and Wesson on the other

    All the screws are crisp as well as the proof marks, the pakerizing is 100%
    the grips are unmarred

    The serial number does not have a V or a VS it is instead 861XXX withg a W B C on the opposite side of the lanyard loop
     
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    FTR\MA54 translates into: Factory Thorough Repair (FTR) and Munitions Australia (MA). "54" is 1954 - the date that the revolver went through a complete referbishing and refinishing. This accounts for it's exceptionally good shape.

    D^D are government property marks. The first "D" is thought to mean "Defense" as in "Defense Department." I'm not sure about the 2nd. "D."

    I suspect you are right about the "V" in the serial number. However check on the other side of the lanyard ring and see if anything is there.

    With the additional information you've provided I now think that it may be a commercial pre-World War Two number, and probably one of the last ones at that. Many of these revolvers were issued to Australian forces fighting in North Africa and later, Italy.

    "W.B." is Col. Waldemar Bomberg, who was one of the U.S. Army Inspectors assigned to Smith & Wesson. He inspected .38 revolvers between serial numbers 800000 to V 142000 between July 1941 through June, 1942 - although someone continued to use his stamp into November, 1942.

    There shouldn't be a letter "C" in the "WBC." I think that's what's left of an ordnance bomb stamp. I would thus date your gun around July-August, 1941.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I forgot to mention; take a close look at those dates. Col. Bomberg was inspecting S&W revolvers, marked "United States Property" but built for the English (or in this case Australians) in July 1941. But we didn't get into the war until after December 7, 1941 and Pearl Harbor (I can remember getting my dad out of bed because I was the first to hear the news on the radio that Sunday morning). Anyway, your gun went overseas at a time we were officially neutral. But president F.D. Roosevelt didn’t always play by the rules. He fully understood what kind of threat Hitler represented.
     
  7. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    Thanks Old Fuff that is a ton of great information!
     
  8. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Cool thread!

    I've got two of these that I picked up from SOG on my C&R a few years back. After some research at www.smith-wessonforum.com, I found that both of mine were made around '41 and were accepted into Canadian service. Mine are labeled .38 S&W CTG on the barrel as well instead of 38/200.

    They are very nice shooters, even after many years of use and abuse.
     
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