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Old 07-24-2011, 08:11 PM
GCB1965 GCB1965 is offline
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Default Help Identifying a Top-Break .38 S&W revolver

Identifying an old top break Smith & Wesson DA Revolver in .38 S&W



I am in need of some help identifying an old top break double action S&W revolver that I recently aquired.

It is chambered for the .38 S&W Round, and has a 3 3/16" barrel. The only serial number I can find is on the bottom of the grip but of the revolver. The number has only four digits, 36xx.

The revolver is in very good mechanical condition with a clean up-pitted barrel. It locks up tight and appears to work well in both DA and SA modes. The finish however is mostly gone.

I am interested in finding out what model this is, and the year of manufacture if that is available.

Thanks for any assistance that I might receive. This is an intreaging little gun that has certainly sparked my curiosity, especially given what appears to be a very low serial number.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:59 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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Appearance is that of a .38 DA 3rd or 4th model.
But that sure does not compute with a 4 digit serial number.

What are the markings on the barrel rib?
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:16 AM
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Exactly what I was going to say. Can't see so well on the picture, but grips may not be original. I'd say it's a 4th model DA, but the SN doesn't track with the picture. A better picture (or several pictures) might help
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:38 PM
opoefc opoefc is offline
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GCB1965, Welcome to the Forum. Can you post some better pictures of the butt and the top of the barrel rib? Look under the bottom side of the barrel latch and tell us what number is stamped there. Also, look between the "ears" of the rear of the barrel behind the barrel latch for very small numbers. What are they? The butt number you report does not correlate with the model of the gun the picture shows, as said above. It should be a 6 digit number. Has damage to the butt oblitered part of the serial number? Is there a S&W logo in the circle at the top of the grips? Ed.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:24 PM
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Since it has the squared-off trigger guard, it's possible that it's an earlier gun that has had its cylinder swapped for the later style.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:38 AM
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I have the same gun you do! My serial number is 407865. I can not see these other markings these guys are talking about. I can't post any pics yet, or I would.

Good luck to both of us.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:10 AM
Tuckness Tuckness is offline
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Default .38 Breakover

I have just gotten a S&W .38 with the following…
(on the barrel) Smith and Wesson Springfield mass. usa Patent jan 17&24 65 July 11 65 aug 24 69July 25 71 dec 2 79 may 11&25 1880

(On the grip) 95293

It is Rough be has family ties, is there any way to find year of manufacture, ect?
Darth...
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:58 PM
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Hello. New Member-just registered. Mine's got 36400 and a thumb push release on the side beneath the hammer and a rounded trigger guard. My wife's father gave it to her, but having no use for it she just packed it away. What've we got?
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckness View Post
I have just gotten a S&W .38 with the following…
(on the barrel) Smith and Wesson Springfield mass. usa Patent jan 17&24 65 July 11 65 aug 24 69July 25 71 dec 2 79 may 11&25 1880

(On the grip) 95293

It is Rough be has family ties, is there any way to find year of manufacture, ect?
Darth...
Welcome to the forum. That gun is a S&W .38 Double Action, Second Model. It was probably manufactured in the early 1880s. It is probably safe to shoot with modern .38 S&W ammo, but that is not a popular round any more and may be hard to find in some stores. European ammunition manufacturers refer to it as the .38 Corto, so check under that name, too.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingodad View Post
Hello. New Member-just registered. Mine's got 36400 and a thumb push release on the side beneath the hammer and a rounded trigger guard. My wife's father gave it to her, but having no use for it she just packed it away. What've we got?
Dingodad, welcome. We need a little more info on your gun. I think it is the type where the cylinder swings out to the side. When you do that, do you see a stamp MOD XX on the hidden surface of the frame? XX could be any number.

How long is the barrel measured from muzzle to face of cylinder? Does the cylinder hold five rounds or six? Does it have an adjustable rear sight or just a sighting groove milled in the top of the frame? Does it have a caliber stamp on the side of the barrel, for example 38 S&W CTG or 38 S&W SPECIAL CTG? (CTG is the abbreviatio nfor cartridge.)

If you can post a photo or two that would be a big help.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:39 PM
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Default Old S&W 38

Hi Dave: Nice to be here, and thanks. I'm trying to get a pic. to you. This one is a 4 in. barrel and is top break and in very good condition with most of the bluing still on.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:54 PM
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Very nice! That is a .38 Double Action Perfected. The thumb release on the side of the gun is said to be policeman insurance for lawmen holding a suspect at gunpoint. A fast thug could reach over the top of the gun, lift the latch and push down, rendering the gun both unfireable and unloaded at the same time. The extra latch, which anticipates the cylinder release of the later hand ejector models, prevented that.

Yours was made about 1912-13. Collectors like these.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:07 PM
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Dave: It has 38 S&W CTG on inside of barrel, a tiny and apparently adjustable (U shaped) rear sight protruding through the frame top. it has a 5 round cylinder with top and side release and a spring loaded ejector which pushes out the casings when broken open. Stamping on top of barrel gives various patent years from 1886 through 1906.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:54 PM
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Thanks Dave for the info. I think I'll just keep it as is:clean and oiled in a little hand whipped leather holster her dad made for it.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:40 AM
RepoMan1973 RepoMan1973 is offline
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Here is the one I have that I need some information on. Number on bottom of hand grip 304XXX Looks like the same number on the cylinder. Would like to know about what year and about what it is worth.

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Old 07-25-2013, 02:27 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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dingodad,

1. Do not store a gun in a leather holster. It will do better just laying on a shelf or in a rust inhibitor pouch.

2. Close clear pictures of the rear sight would be interesting. An adjustable sighted Perfected would be a rarity.

Repoman,

You show a .38 Double Action 3rd model, made sometime 1884-1895, probably pretty late in that period in the '90s.
It's barrel has been sawn off and looks like it was tastefully refinished in black stove enamel. I won't guess a dollar value, but it isn't much.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:00 PM
Skeetr57 Skeetr57 is offline
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It is a rare instance when I would correct David, but I have to on his response to Dingodad wherein he states that the side thumb release predates the same type release on the hand ejectors. The first side thumb release was on the 1899 M&P, and the .32 hand ejector got it in 1903. The lockwork and frame of the perfected model are essentially the same as the 1903, and the introduction of the Perfected Model postdates the .32 HE of 1903.
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:07 PM
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I have the same gun a 38 da/sa top break with sn#8391 same number on butt ,cylinder and under the latch
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:33 AM
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Default Please Identify this Top Break 38S&W

I have a Smith and Wesson .38 S&W Caliber 5-shot revolver.
Top break with auto ejector. Pat. No's: Smith and Wesson Sringfield Mass USA Pat'd. Jan. 24-65, July 11-65, Aug. 24-69, Reissue July 25-71, May 11-80, Jan. 5-82.
Barrel Length: 3 1/4 inch round solid rib.
Finish: nickel (98% worn off!)
Grip: hard rubber
Model: 38 Double Action Revolver
Serial #: 168xxx

I believe it to be an early 3rd Model, but am not sure.
From the info I have found on the internet it appears to have been made in 1885.
I am hoping someone can identify it for me and confirm the mfg. date.
Thanks in advance, martybee
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Old 05-12-2014, 05:50 PM
j.beach53186 j.beach53186 is offline
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Default S&W 38 Top Break revolver identification.

I too have a gun I need assistance in identifying. It is a S. & W. 38 CTG 4" barrel, top break 5 shot revolver.

It has 6 screws and a lemon squeezer safety. Also has 6 digit serial number on the bottom of the hilt.

says Smith&Wesson Springfield, Mass U.S.A on the top of the barrel.Has a small 'U' shaped rear sight that seems to be adjustable with a thin curved front sight on the barrel. The grip is a hard plastic I believe with diamond pattern, lemon squeezer has same,diamond pattern.

This gun is also a self ejector and under the ejector plate has the letter 'B'. I would like to get some information on this, model, name, year and value if possible.
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:54 PM
mave346 mave346 is offline
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I am needing help identifying a squeezer that I have I do not know if it is a .38 or .32 I believe it maybe 1912 model with sn#232xxx. The part of the number on the barrel has to much pitting where the cal. Would be.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:56 AM
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Folks, posting different questions about different revolvers in the same thread leads only to confusion and irritation. It's always best to start a new thread regarding your specific gun questions rather than hijacking an existing thread as has occurred here.
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:07 AM
mave346 mave346 is offline
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Sorry for the confusion and irration you can delete my post this was my first forum and I was trying to ask for information. If this is the response I will stick to the books. I hope someday I can help you the same way.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:53 AM
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DWalt wasn't trying to be rude just trying to be helpful I think I counted six other people ask about their guns that's not fair to the original poster. The people on here are the best they readily share the knowledge that has taken them years to accumulate and I am thankful for them I learn something every time I log in.
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:39 PM
Murdock413 Murdock413 is offline
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Default Unknown top break

I find myself in a similar situation.My uncle left me a older pistol.its a top break nickel plated 5 chambered hard rubber grip pistol. Markings on top of the pistol say, Smith and Wesson Springfield mass.USA.PATD, Jan 24 65 July 11.65 August 24 69 Reissue July 25 71 May 11 80 January 3 80
Not sure what the model is called or it's worth.if anyone could help out it would be appreciated...
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:09 PM
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Murdock,
For best results post a new thread asking your questions, and for any value estimate, clear multiple focused photos are necessary.

Lots of experts on this forum, yet I am not one of them.
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