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Old 06-22-2011, 03:04 PM
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Default 1800's 38 cal short

I have a S&W 38 cal pistol from the late 1800's. I would like to sell it and I would like to know what it is worth. The inscription on the barrel ids as follows:

"Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass USA Pat'D Jan 17 & 24.65 July 11.65 Aug 24.69 Jan 19, 1875 Reissue July 25, 1871"

There is a number inscribed on the cylinder that matches the number inscribed on the bottom of the handle "4281". I'm told that this is significant.

I took the pistol to a local gun shop and the owner told me that the pistol was probably worth upwards of $1500.00 but, a real collector of S&W firearms might be willing to go highrer still.

I would appreciate any help or advice from the members of this forum. Thanks.
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:37 PM
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A picture is worth a thousand words, here especially. Is it Single or Double action? What is the barrel length? The finish, is it nickel or blue. What kind of grips does it have? Just a few things I would need to know to tell you anything meaningful.
10/22.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:24 AM
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Enefenar, Welcome to the Forum. Yes, we need some good pictures of thegun. Are you sure the caliber is .38 ? if so, which .38? ( .38 S&W, .38-44, 38-40, etc ?) The only S&Ws that have the "reissue" wording on the barrel rib are usually .44 caliber. 4281 is the serial number and should also be stamped on the bottom of the barrel latch and on the rear of the barrel between the "ears" is very small numbers, sometimes difficult to see. We need more info. Ed.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:15 AM
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Yes, Pictures!!!

Ed,
Per Jinks & Neal the .38 SA 1st & 2nd, .38 DA 1st, 2nd, & 3rd all had "reissue" in the barrel markings. (Or, at least some of them) Is this incorrect?
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:06 PM
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Default reissue #

Quote:
Originally Posted by deadin View Post
Yes, Pictures!!!

Ed,
Per Jinks & Neal the .38 SA 1st & 2nd, .38 DA 1st, 2nd, & 3rd all had "reissue" in the barrel markings. (Or, at least some of them) Is this incorrect?
The New Model 3 also has reissue dates close to what has been quoted. My serial #5205, .44 Russian reads, Dec 16th, 1877, reissue July25th, 1871. These were also produced in .38 S&W, .38 Colt, .38-40 and .38-44.
Lots of ".38" possibilities.
10/22.

Last edited by 10/22; 06-23-2011 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:13 PM
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I probably should have made a better reference to the .38s with the reissue stampings, rather than a subtle attempt to get the poster to take a closer look at his gun by saying reissues are "usually" .44 cal. Let's hope he posts some pics. Ed.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:16 PM
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Enefenar,

As best as I can ascertain,given it is chambered for a 38 S&W Cartridge,you should have an Early 2nd Model 38 Double-Action Top-Break!! Also,unless there is something extraordinary with the Barrel Length,Scarce Grips or being Factory Engraved,I think you'd be best to go back to talk to the owner of the gun shop & see what he would be willing to offer you!! Although we still need to see some photos just to verify what it is in case you missed something in your Description!!

Hope This Helps!!
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:11 PM
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Enefenar:
Thanks to Roy's informative article in The Man at Arms I would say it is a Baby Russian.
How about that.
DB
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:11 AM
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Default ?? Spur Trigger or Full Triggerguard ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by DBWesson View Post
Enefenar:
Thanks to Roy's informative article in The Man at Arms I would say it is a Baby Russian.
How about that.
DB
Enefenar,

You know,DB just might have a thought there!! I completely forgot S&W used this Barrel Address on the 1st & 2nd Model "Baby Russian's" as well!! Now we "Do" need to see a couple of Photos!! If for no other reason just see if it has a Spur Trigger or a Full Triggerguard to let you know for sure!! The more I think about it now this would actually make more sense given the Dealer did know what you had & was baseing his estimate of $1500 on it being a "Baby Russian"!! Reason being,I just don't see any 2nd Model 38 Double-Action bringing that kind of money without some extenuating circumstances!! With a couple of photos we'll also easily be able to let you know if it's a 1st or 2nd Model because there are a few things that set these two apart even though their Serial Number Ranges both started with 1 & continued on from there. Sorry,my mistake!!
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:55 AM
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Technically there is no such thing as a "2nd Model Baby Russian". Only the 1st Model rates this title because of the underbarrel lug that houses the same extraction system as the full sized .44 Russian.
If it is a Baby Russian it will have to be pretty near perfect to reach the value given in the first post.......
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:12 PM
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Well then Dean why don't we just say that these Revolvers are considered to be 38 Model 2 1st & 2nd Issue Single Action's!! For over 40+ Years of collecting S&W's I've always considered them both to be "Baby Russian's" in my eyes!! You are correct though that over the course of time the 1st Models did pick up the "Baby Russian" Nickname somewhere along the line because the Longer Extractor Housing made them "Somewhat" resemble the Model 3 Russian Single Action's!! Although,with the exception of the Longer Extractor Housing,I just never could see the connection as both Models of these Little 38 Single Action's have Spur Triggers and are nowhere close to looking like any of the Model 3 Single Action's as far as I'm concerned!! So,"Technically" speaking,neither is truly a "Baby Russian"!! Just in Nickname only!!!
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
why don't we just say that these Revolvers are considered to be 38 Model 2 1st & 2nd Issue Single Action's!!
That would be fine, 'cause that's what they are.....

Only 40 years?? I got my first S&W about 54 years ago.
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadin View Post
That would be fine, 'cause that's what they are.....

Only 40 years?? I got my first S&W about 54 years ago.
Actually I owned my First S&W a few years before I "Actively" started collecting them on a regular basis & have been doing so now for approx. 46-47 yrs. since then so I guess you still got me by a few years!!

Take Care!!
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:43 AM
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Thanks for the reply friends. I will take some pictures and try to snd a more detailed description of the pistol.
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2nd model, cartridge, colt, engraved, extractor, jinks, russian, sig arms, springfield, top-break

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