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Super Mystery Revolver...

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Tamara, Mar 27, 2004.

  1. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Help me identify this revolver.

    Known facts:
    It was retrieved off the body of a Japanese junior officer in the CBI theater in late WWII, in the Burma area.
    Japanese army officers were responsible for providing their own sidearms.
    It's an obvious knockoff of an I-frame Smith in .38 S&W.
    The writing on the gun is not in Japanese.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Marshall

    Marshall Senior Member

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    Easy, those are S&W's

    :neener:
     
  3. Josey

    Josey member

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    There were Spanish and PI cottage industries that made close copies of S&W revolvers. Old cooking pots and cavalry spurs were used to make them. I wouldn't shoot one. Liege, Belgium was also full of quality gunmakers. They copied S&W closely but, that revolver looks crude comparatively. There were even Japanese gun manufacturing plants established in China to produce handguns. I vote for a homemade clone. Basque?
     
  4. Jim March

    Jim March Senior Member

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    I would tend towards an Asian origin, probably Phillipines.

    Look at the trigger guard. Note how small the forefinger opening is. It was built for very small hands. Argues agains Spanish origins. (Compare also to Nambu and other Japanese handguns - again, set up for small fingers.)
     
  5. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Here's more:

    Side of frame, showing "logo". Note "W", two diamonds, and Scimitar.
     
  6. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Left side of barrel:
     
  7. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Top of barrel.

    Alphabet is unusual, and not one I'm familiar with. It's not Cyrillic or Japanese or Chinese...
     
  8. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Right side of barrel:
     
  9. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Gun and holster:
     
  10. Jim March

    Jim March Senior Member

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    What in the...?

    :confused:

    You're right, it's not Cyrillic, but it does look "related" somehow...like maybe one of the oddball "...stans" south of Russia or something?

    Ain't from the Phillipines.

    Some aspects of the design (logo, sword) look...I almost want to say "Arabic" but that's not right (characters definately aren't). The sword almost looks vaguely Tibetan/Nepalese/Indian. Burmese mebbe, or some other Southeast Asian source? The double-ring guard is a common Nepalese touch, see also the Himilayan Imports website under "swords" (ignoring the Japanese/Chinese patterns they're now doing).

    The alphabet used will tell a LOT, probably.
     
  11. stans

    stans Senior Member

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    I would wager that it is Chinese in origin. A lot of designs were copied and reproduced by small industries and blacksmiths in China.
     
  12. Preacherman

    Preacherman Senior Member

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    Is it possible that the language is a variation on Arabic, perhaps an Indonesian dialect (or southern Phillippines)? It has that "feel" to me. That would also explain the "sword and stars" motif in the badge - typical Islamic imagery, particularly since the sword looks more like something produced from the mating of a cutlass and a scimitar - like the tulwar of the South-Central Pacific, perhaps?
     
  13. Sarge111

    Sarge111 member

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    Interesting gun

    "Note "W", two diamonds, and Scimitar."

    Naah... that's the smiley face from the "Insane Clown Posse" logo:D

    Seriously now- I think you got yourself a "Goatropistan cavebuilt original" there. Some of the lettering looks mildly Rusky, and the aforementioned logo looks "early 20th century Moslem" to me. SWAG triangulation used loosely and freely here, with no guarantee of accuracy offered.

    Cool old gun, though. I have always like the old Latino copies of S&W hand ejectors. Some years back I crashed the bedroom door of an honest-to-God smack dealer, and yanked him outta bed by the hair as he was trying to reach under a matress. In that location was found a Spanish/South American copy of a S&W not unlike yours, loaded with green, corroded old .32 ACP ammo- the noses of which peeked out the end of the cylinder, when the gun was held muzzle-down by the grip.

    I always wondered if the damn thing would have fired like that, if he had gotten ahold of it- but harbored no such concerns about my 1911.

    You're getting to be a pretty hard-bit revolver nut, aren't you? Nice quality in a lady. Peggi is 'weak' for old Colt Army Specials and such.
     
  14. Walosi

    Walosi Member

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    Another SWAG - I can't get the right resolution to see the script clearly, but a couple of characters look like they could be a "block print" form of Devarangari, the common alphabet across most of northern India. The sword in the logo would fit the description of a tulwar, common to that region, and to Nepal. The entire region has blacksmiths capable of turning out a revolver like this.
     
  15. Gordon

    Gordon Senior Member

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    I didn't know the Japs ever made it to Darra, in the currently popular Peswhar district. Notice the detail work like the filagre around the grip screws, better than S&W. This IS a beautiful unique piece of history, thank you for sharing!:)
     
  16. Flying V

    Flying V Member

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    I'll guess Chinese blacksmith/workshop.
    The barrel-top marking appears to be the same phrase repeated 4 times. It probably doesn't mean anything - just an imitation of the markings on Western guns, made by someone who knew neither the English language or the Roman alphabet. The logo may have been an attempt at imitating the S&W monogram logo.

    Copies of various FN-Browning autopistols were commonly made in China in this period, with similarly miscopied markings.
     
  17. Walosi

    Walosi Member

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    An Indian-made firearm needn't have waited around for the Japs to find it. The good made by Indian and Nepali smiths get on the trade routes, and wind up who knows where. Since much of the economy is barter, it could have been traded anywhere in the region, and moved on. The "imitation language" theory works well, too. In the Hindu caste system, kamis, or blacksmiths, are untouchable, since they work with the products of the earth and their hands. Most are illiterate, even though they may speak several dialects. It almost looks as though the markings are made up from a collection of old stamps, but the uniform size doesn't follow that idea. These guys can do things with a small set of handmade chisels that are unbelievable, so who knows?
     
  18. Jim March

    Jim March Senior Member

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    I just noticed something: look at the checkering on the cylinder release latch in the first "detail pic" Tamara posted. *Definately* "hand tooled".

    Hand-checkered wood grips are common enough even in modern shops...but not hand-checkering of machine parts.

    Yup. It's a "blacksmith (or Kami) special" of some sort.
     
  19. Walosi

    Walosi Member

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    Yep, you nailed it - the thumbpiece was chased with a chisel. I also got a better look at the grip medallion, by putting nose-prints on the screen. The "sword" is a tulwar - look closely at the handle detail. Just my 2¢ worth, but this puts it in northern India.
     
  20. Jim March

    Jim March Senior Member

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    Tulwars are also found in Bengladesh, Nepal and Tibet. Probably what's now Pakistan too (was part of India same as Bengladesh, circa WW2 and a bit after).
     
  21. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I'd say it's a Kia.
     
  22. Walosi

    Walosi Member

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    A Kia? Geez, they have a humungous warranty. Wonder if it's still good?
     
  23. Hutch

    Hutch Senior Member

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    Reckon how many gunsmithing hours went into the construction of that thang? Be interesting to see the guts with the sideplate popped off...
     
  24. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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  25. extremefishin00

    extremefishin00 Member

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    The real question is..how's it shoot?;)

    That's a pretty cool find. I can only imagine what kind of history that gun has..If it could only speak.

    Chris
     

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