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Trying to identify my smith and wesson 38

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jblueep, Aug 5, 2008.

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  1. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    I'm new to the group.

    I bought my smith and wesson 38 at a yard sale many years ago, and I would like to identify what I have.

    It's a revolver with a blue/black finish. The barrel say "smith & wesson special ctg". The serial # under the barrel is 983372.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. StephenT

    StephenT Member

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    Hi, welcome to THR. Your description of the revolver is a bit too vague. If you open the cylinder, the model number should be listed on the frame below where the ejector rod fits in). If there's a dash followed by a number, it refers to a particular upgrade for that model (i.e. 10-2: model 10, upgrade 2).
     
  3. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Also, the revolver may not necessarily be made by S&W, due to the fact that "smith & wesson special ctg" is the cartridge designation, and many makers have stamped this on their revolvers. Many of the Spanish knock-offs made it a point to spell out the words "smith & wesson".

    Does it have any other markings? Does it actually have the S&W logo on it? Can you post pictures?

    If it is actually a S&W, and if it is prior to 1957, it might not have a model number stamped on it.
     
  4. David E

    David E Member

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    What else does it say?

    Grips? (wood/plastic, smooth/checkered)

    Single or double action ?

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  5. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Member

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    If you can post an image, that is always helpful.
     
  6. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    Answers to your questions

    I can't find the cable for my camera, so I can't do pictures tonights. Here's more information though.

    When opening the cylinder, the number on the frame is "2051 2".

    It does have the smith & wesson logo, although it's rubbed off to some degree.

    On the same side as the logo, on the frame in front of the trigger, "made in the u.s.a." is stamped.

    One side of the barrel has "38 s. & w. special ctg". The other side of the barrel has "smith & wesson".

    The grip is textured plastic. When I take the grip off, there is an "S" stamped on the frame under the grip.

    The number "983372" is on the flat part of the underside of the barrel, under the injector rod. The same number is on the base of the handle.

    I don't know how to tell if it's single or double action.
     
  7. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    Pictures

    I found the camera cable. Here a few pictures.

    Thanks again for the help.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Rugerlvr

    Rugerlvr Member

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    It's a model 10 or a derivative. Probably not a Victory model, without a V serial number.
     
  9. dwf6666

    dwf6666 Member

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    From what you have supplied so far it sounds like you have a 38 Military & Police in 38 Spl. Look at the serial number on the butt of the gun and you will probably find an S prefix. If this is true your gun may be what is referred to as a "Transitional" gun shipped about 1948.
    A picture would certainly help.
     
  10. pbearperry

    pbearperry Member

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    It looks like an early S&W Mod 10 to me.
     
  11. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    More answers

    There is NOT an "S" prefix on the butt.
     
  12. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    Where I bought it

    I bought it in 2004 in Arizona from an estate sale of a deceased elderly military man. I guess he could have it from his service time, although his son did not know when he sold me the gun.
     
  13. dwf6666

    dwf6666 Member

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    If your gun has no prefix before the serial number on the butt such as V, SV, S, or C then it was probably produced and shipped during WW II. With no military, proof or property markings my belief is that it was probably shipped to the Defense Supplies Corporation for further distribution to a defense plant, civilian law enforcement agency, or other entity that would have met the requirements of the DSC to obtain firearms after the war had started.

    Is there a hole in the butt of the gun were the serial number is? This was for a lanyard ring. Look closely since these were sometimes plugged and welded then finished.
     
  14. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    so what is the "2051 2"?

    And the large captial "S" stamped on on the handle under the grip? Which number is the serial number and does that number date the gun?

    I'm a newbie. Sorry for all the questions :)
     
  15. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    There is a hole in the butt of gun, right in the center to the right of the serial number.

    And I'm not sure the grip is original, because the first 3 numbers of the serial number is obscured until you remove the grip. Unless this is normal.
     
  16. dwf6666

    dwf6666 Member

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    The additional markings are fitters marks of no significance. The primary SN is on the butt and can date shipment of the gun and to whom it was shipped. You will also find the SN under the barrel, back of the cylinder, and under the extractor star.
     
  17. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    More pictures

    Here's a few pictures of the butt with the grip off, showing the large S and small J.
     

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  18. dwf6666

    dwf6666 Member

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    The rubber grips are definitely not original to the gun. The gun would probably have been shipped with pre war service grips. Sorry, but I don't presently have a picture to show you.
     
  19. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    The serial # "983372" is in at least 4 locations on this gun. Under the barrel (on the flat part right behind the cylinder, on base of the butt, and on the rim of the front of the cylinder (stamped a little crooked there), and on the bottom side of the ejector star.

    Can we date it exactly from the serial #?
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  20. marsche

    marsche Member

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    I'll take a shot at it. If it is a Smith and Wesson and if it is a 38 Special Hand Ejector M&P, the serial number would put it between 1940 and 1945. This is according to the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson - Second Edition - Jim Supra and Richard Nahas. Serial number for that model from those years ran from 700000 to 1000000. --- I did notice that the pistol has a line of writing on the right side. That should mention where it was made and clear up if it is a Smith or not, at least in my mind. The problems I have wit hthe gun are the complete spelling out of Smith and Wesson in the cartridge designation rather than just 'S&W 38 Speciall Ctg', and the serial number under the barrel.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  21. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    Did all the WWII M&P models have a "V" in front of the serial #? Most websites I googled seemed to say that. My gun does NOT have the "V" in front of the serial #.

    There is a picture on a wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_&_Wesson_Model_10) that looks exactly like my gun (except for the grip), but their article says that there should be a "V" if it was made during the war.

    I realize that wikipedia is not the most reliable source ;)
     
  22. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    The writing on the right side is "made in u.s.a.". The barrel has the "38 s. & w. special ctg" on one side and just "smith & wesson" on the other side.
     
  23. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    Last post for tonight :)

    I read a few places online that the M&P model was stamped with serial numbers 1 to 1,000,000 (from 1899 to roughly 1942).

    Then S&W restarted the serial number at 1 again by putting the V before the serial numbers (during the war and because their serial # machine couldn't stamp more than the 6 digits at that time).

    Is this true? If so, would that make my gun (serial # 983372) one of the last M&Ps made before WWII?
     
  24. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    Looks like a M&P pre 10, likely a Victory. There are several variations of this gun. Check out this forum.
     
  25. jblueep

    jblueep Member

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    Just noticed the following on the top of the barrel. Not sure if it's meaningful to dating the gun:

    "smith & wesson springfield mass. u.s.a. patented feb.6.06.sept.14.09.dec.29.14"
     
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