I feel there is more to value than condition and rarity. Demand is not always driven by something being rare. Just because something is rare, it does not automatically mean it has high value. Condition is also an inexact science when it comes to equating it to value. A pristine 32 Safety is maybe worth $350, while a pristine 38 M&P is worth $1000 today.
One thing this revolver has going against it is that it is a 38 M&P S&W. What I mean is that there were millions of this revolver made and therefore so many more 38 target guns are out there today than compared to let's say a 32-20 Target revolver. 38 M&P targets are not really not rare at all. I have some references that suggest a 4" 38 M&P could have been 2% of total production. 2% of a million pre-war revolvers still results in 20,000 targets probably made.
The 32-20, on the other hand would yield only 3000 4" targets made. Even with that small number they are not rare, and the value is still relatively low today. I only have a couple of what I would call rare revolvers. There may be only a few hundred short barrel Model 1 1/2 tip-ups made, but a worn example is worth only a few hundred dollars.
I remember the term "emotive" value from my working days and think it applies well to gun collecting. It is basically an undefinable basis for demand that can drive prices up for certain guns with certain attributes that have nothing to do with rarity or condition.
Your revolver should have been made between 1905 and 1908. The square butt revolver was the basis for the 1905 nomenclature and the "US SERVICE CTG " barrel stamping should have ceased by 1908. With the serial number you provide, 1908 would be likely very close to a ship date. I agree with David on what price I would pay for a target M&P with no finish and might actually limit myself to a number below $450.
SWCA 2515 Grip is a verb
Last edited by glowe; 05-28-2016 at 07:53 PM.