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My dads .38 S&W Victory British lend lease

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by lionking, Mar 18, 2018.

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  1. lionking

    lionking Member

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    Dad got it while he was in the army back in the late 50's/early 60's I think said while stationed in Germany. He had a gunsmith shortened the barrel to 3 1/2 inches . I think it is a Victory model maybe you can verify.

    It's mine now, have had it in the safe for years, had 4 loose rounds so test fired it today at 15 yards. It shoots dead on. Too bad ammo is rather scarce.
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  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    If you want to shoot it a lot, you need to take up handloading. Brass is available, and you should get a decent supply (100 rounds +) while you can.
     
  3. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Privi makes 38 S&W ammo reasonably priced. I use it in my Webley. Will probably hit low due to lighter bullet.
     
  4. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Yep. Loads pretty easy too. I have a grand total of about 225 pieces of brass and I keep it in rotation. Haven't split one yet since I use light loads and only resize about every 4th shot. I just lightly crimp the bullets to be as easy on my brass as possible.
     
  5. mcb

    mcb Member

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    The Privi is, in my experience, crap. It leaded my Webley Mark IV badly and the brass at the case mouth is too thick and useless for reloading. Magtech also loads 38S&W but it was only slightly better than the Privi. Magtech brass is at least re-loadable. I believe Fiocchi also still offers a 38S&W load too.

    I tried a box of the Remington 38S&W Performance Wheelgun two weeks ago and shot an entire box with zero leading and good accuracy if a bit dirty. The brass reloaded beautifully with some 200gr bullets from Matt's Bullets.

    Matt's Bullets offer the proper .361 inch diameter bullets for reloading 38 S&W. As part of that offering they make a hemispherical round nose 200gr bullet for reloading and as already loaded ammunition that is a fairly close copy of the original British 38-200 MkI load.
     
  6. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    A Victory would have a "V" prefix serial number, stamped on the butt and on the rear face of the cylinder. It would also have a lanyard swivel on the butt, or at least a hole for one. These also had smooth walnut grips, no medallion, and in general a dull, beadblasted finish. The ones destined for the British and Commonwealth countries were in .38 S&W, with 5 inch barrels, whereas the ones for U.S. use were in .38 Special with 4 inch barrels.

    Because of the British proof marks, your gun was probably a Lend-Lease gun, although not a Victory. Maybe it's what's known as a "pre-Victory."

    Check to see that the cylinder was not bored out to .38 Special. This is not considered a desirable conversion.

    Old Western Scrounger carries the original 200-gr. lead bullet loading for these guns, although they don't seem to have it in stock at the moment. http://www.ows-ammo.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=58_21&products_id=286
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    You can safely shoot .38 S&W in a bored out chamber. Shooting .38 Special in those chambers will cause problems -- including split brass.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Very cool old revolver.
     
  9. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    Obviously , your revolver is far from original. You might want to consider taking a few easy steps towards correcting that. Your grips are rather nice in their own right , but not correct to the gun. Original or repro smooth grip panels are readily available. The ones you currently have would be easy to sell. Lanyard loops are also easy to obtain. These restorative corrections would make your Smith a good deal more Victory (or pre-Victory) in character.

    Rebarrelling with the proper 5" barrel , and refinishing in parkerized or phosphate would complete the job , but would also involve big $$$.

    I inherited my dad's squirrel gun , a Stevens 87M. Pa had the receiver drilled and tapped and for a scope - UGH! The original rear sight was a military style peep sight. I failed to find a period correct peep sight , so I ditched the scope and had a current day (Williams) peep installed. Not exactly restored , but a big step in the right direction. Pa has not complained.

    Tending to the grips and lanyard loop would be fun. That's the route I would go.
     
  10. lionking

    lionking Member

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    seeing that it has been determined it is not a Victory model I will leave it as is , plus it shoots good as is.
     
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  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The Victory model came about when serial numbers reached 1000000 and they did not want to carry on with seven digit serial numbers, so they started over with the letter prefix. They may have chosen the letter V because of the usage of Victory in morale campaigns so many ways during the war. Otherwise there is no difference in gun or issue between no 1000000 and V1. (SCSW says guns 1000000 and V1-V5 were polished and blued with nice walnut grips as presentation models. V1 went to the chief of production who gave it to Pres. Truman.) Ok no difference gun 999999 and V6 except the number style.
     
  12. Merle1

    Merle1 Member

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    Or leave it just the way it is - the way Dad had it......
     
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  13. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    I have often heard, and have repeated, that it is potentially dangerous to fire .38 Special in an S&W of that era originally made for the British .38/200 (.38 S&W). But several years ago, I actually tried it and the result was -- nothing. Just normal firing and normal extraction. The cases had a slight bulge, but no more than often seen when firing .38 Special in a revolver made for that round. Accuracy (50 ft.) was normal.

    Note that the ammunition was standard .38 Special. I do not recommend firing .38 Special +P in any gun of that era or .38 Special +P+ (LE Only) in any gun not made for .357 Magnum.

    Jim
     
  14. mcb

    mcb Member

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    The proper ammunition is not that hard to get.
     
  15. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    No swivel stud?
     
  16. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I agree, I wouldn't change a thing. It looks great to me.
     
  17. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    If the question of whether your revolver has been "converted" to 38 special has been clarified in this thread , I missed it.
    I once owned a bored out Lend Lease revolver which split 38 sp.casings and had all kinds of ejection problems. Others have reported no issues at all. Obviously , results vary.
    Is yours original or otherwise ?
     
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  18. lionking

    lionking Member

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    It has not been converted to .38 spcl. It is .38 s&w short and since there are 2 or 3 manufactures offering the ammo I will shoot it sometimes.
     
  19. Zebraranger

    Zebraranger Member

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    Very cool revolver, I like the 3.5" barrel. MCB mentioned the new Remington Wheelgun brand 38 S&W. They said they brought it back due to the resurgence and interest in older revolvers, its had pretty good reviews. I too have an old 38 S&W, and I've never really had much luck with Remington ammo, but I'll try this new ammo out, its about $19.00 a box.

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  20. fausto

    fausto Member

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    I love the 3.5" barrel. supercool old lady you have there!
     
  21. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    38 S&W is a very pleasant round to shoot. Glad to hear the chambering is original.
     
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