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S&W 38 special CTG

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Wayfarer223, Apr 16, 2009.

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  1. Wayfarer223

    Wayfarer223 Member

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    Hello all and thanks in advance for any help you can give.

    I have a pistol that was left to me by my father and to him by his father. It is a S&W 38 special and I am interested in finding out how old this gun is and what its approximate value might be. I was told that it was my grand fathers pistol and he carried it in the military in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s along with a Marlin Model 1897 that I was able to date as made in about 1899 or 1900.

    It has a 5” barrel
    The serial number 19956 is on the but and repeated under the barrel.
    On the side of the barrel is stamped “x 38 S&W Special CTG x”
    The x’s represent a sort of cross shape
    There are numbers stamped behind the cylinder frame, visible when it is open 14 0 14
    On the top of the barrel is stamped the following
    “Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass. U.S.A. Pat’d July 1.84”
    “April 9.89 May 21.95 July 16.95 Aug 4.96 Dec 22.96 Oct 4.98”
    And the cross symbols are also at either end of the above stamping.

    The grips are a black plastic or similar material and on the very bottom of the left grip is “ pat’d Jan 29.78.”

    Any information is greatly appreciated, Pete

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  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The illustrated revolver is a Smith & Wesson Military & Police first model.
    20975 guns made from 1899 - 1902, numbered in order. Yours is high in the number range and is a late one, likely 1902 manufacture.
    Looks in nice condition. Are you going to sell Grandpa's gun?
     
  3. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    Very nice old .38 Special Hand Ejector, How ever in spite of the name of Military And police, it was not a military issue until much later . In the Pre WW I days , you did not carry a personal weapon.
     
  4. Wayfarer223

    Wayfarer223 Member

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    I am considering it, I sold the Marlin last week, I hated to but times are tight.
    Thanks for the information.
     
  5. Pistol Toter

    Pistol Toter Member

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    I, as well as anyone realize how hard time are, however it sure is a shame to relinquish such wonderful family heirlooms. If I could afford another S&W, I'd sure pay you for the ole gun. Try to keep it if you can. Enjoy the fine revolver and pass it on to your heir. Just my two cents
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Both the U. S. Navy (1900) and Army (1901) each bought 1000 revolvers each that were identical to the one pictured in this thread; and officially adopted them.

    Since well before the Civil War, commissioned officers in the U.S. Military Services were allowed to carry privately purchased sidearms, and often did. In fact both Colt and S&W gave them special discounts. Men in the enlisted ranks might or might not, depending on what they're commanding officer ordered.
     
  7. Radagast
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    Radagast Contributing Member

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    Wayfarer223: That gun was probably worth $500 in 2006, per the Standard Catalog of S&W. It's quite likely the value has gone up some since then.
    It's not a military issue firearm as they were in the serial number ranges 5001-6000 & 13001-14000.

    If you need to sell it try at www.smithwessonforum.com where a lot of hard core collectors hang out.
     
  8. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    Old Fluff, I stand corrected, but the S&W shown was not part of the ones purchased or ( I believe) they would be so marked. Also in my defense by the turn of century the U S Army was moving past the days of the Boy General and trying to build a modern army, different and separate from that of the British concept of buying your commission and having no choice except a private purchase of a personal weapon. In the early 1900's the US Army was very small officers who wished to remain in the service had to conform and walk the line, unless of course they had so much money they didn't care a rats a** what any one said , even Patton ( his words) was chastised for carrying his single action while chasing Mexican bandits. I also don't ever remember any pictures of him carrying his Colt during WWI only Later in his career. But I could be in error, I have erred before in the past, and I.m sure I will do so again in the future:)
     
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Ron James said...

    To which I responded...

    Without thinking, I didn’t foresee that anyone would think that the pictured revolver was “the” military issue, but like one. Maybe I should have said...

    Both the U. S. Navy (1900) and Army (1901) each bought 1000 revolvers each that were similar to the one pictured in this thread; and officially adopted them. My real point was that the military services bought Smith & Wesson M&P revolvers long before 1941, as was implied but not stated by Ron.

    Ron also said...

    It depends on how you define "you". Commissioned officers often carried personally purchased sidearms. One well-known example was Robert E. Lee, who had an engraved Colt 1851 Navy that he carried as both an officer in the U.S. Army, and later as a Confederate General. During the Indian Wars and Spanish-American War it was not uncommon for officers to carry personal rather then issue sidearms, and Colt sold many commercial 1911 and 1911A1 pistols to military officers, before, during and after World War One, and later World War Two.

    It remains a long-standing tradition within the military services, that when a cadet graduates from one of the Military Academies and is commissioned as an officer, he or she’s proud family or a close relative will present them with an appropriate sidearm. Unless ordered otherwise by a superior (which would be unusual to say the least) they can carry that sidearm on duty.
     
  10. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    Old Fluff, Yes the WP Tradition still lives, but unless the weapon is a clone of the current issue or duty weapon , they are not going to carry it, not going to happen,; at least not if they want to make a career out of the service. Yes, a Superior officer will set them straight and jump down their throat for playing cowboy. I've seen it too many times. Officers must follow the same uniform guide lines as the enlisted, if they are West Point officers or Mustangs. The times , they are a changing, perhaps for the better, perhaps for the worst. Who knows
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
  11. dominantspecies

    dominantspecies Member

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    I was hoping one of you fellas could give me an approximate age of MY grandfathers 38 Special.
    It was his police revolver from his days as a Chicago cop. It was fired in the line of duty more than once. It's chromed with original wooden grips.
    Smith & Wesson Serial is B4916xx.
     
  12. Radagast
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    Radagast Contributing Member

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    dominantspecies: There shouldn't be a B in the serial number, As the B prefix was used on semi auto pistols.
    IThe serial number is always found on the bottom of the grip frame, if you have target grips they may need to be removed to see the number.

    If the serial number is 4916xx with a six shot capacity then it is a .38 Military & Police model of 1905 4th change. These were manufactured between 1905 & 1942, the Standard catalog of S&W notes that serial numbers in the 500,0000 range were shipped from 1927, so your grandfathers gun would predate that. To get an exact date and shipping address you would need to pay $50.00 to have the S&W factory historian look up the original records for you.
     
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    On older S&W Military & Police revolvers the letter "B" is stamped on the bottom of the barrel above the ejector rod. This letter has nothing to do with the serial number, but is an inspector's mark. If in this case the number was read off the bottom of the barrel then the actual serial number would be 491,6xx, and would seem to date from the middle-latter 1920's.

    Given this gun's history within your family, I suggest that you get it "lettered." To do so you will need a snapshot of the gun, a full description including the serial number on the butt, and a check in the amount of $50.00 made out to Smith & Wesson. In exchange the company's historian, Roy G. Jinks, will research the original records (which are not computerized by the way) and send you a letter containing the details of what he finds.

    This comprehensive document will contain an overview of the model’s history, followed by the details of your particular gun. This usually includes the caliber, barrel length, finish, and the exact date it was shipped from the factory, and to what distributor or dealer. If there are any special features they will be listed too. This information is often invaluable to both you and future generations.

    Additional information on a historical letter will be found at the Smith & Wesson company website at:

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...catalogId=11101&content=25301&sectionId=10504
     
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