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Old 08-06-2011, 07:09 PM
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Default 38 S&W CTG revolver

I have a blue finish S&W revolver that belonged to my dad I would like info on. It has a 4" barrel that says Smith&Wesson on one side and 38 S&W CTG on the other side. It has a ramp sight on the front of barrel, fixed at rear. It has "Made in The USA" stamped on the frame along with S&W's trademark stamp. It has serial number 601XXXP stamped under the barrel and V601XXX under the grips. This same number is stamped on the cylinder also.There is also a "P" stamped on the left side of the frame close to the cylinder. I would like to know the date of manufacture if possible, and if it is safe to shoot .38 special rounds thru it. Any info would be appreciated, thanks.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:18 PM
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Welcome to the forum.
Your revolver is a Military and Police Victory Model made near the end of World War Two. It appears to have a custom front sight installed and of course those are not the original grips.
If it is in good shape there is no reason you shouldn't be able to shoot .38 Specials in it if it says .38 S&W Spl. If it says .38 S&W, then it will only fire the .38 S&W cartridge, which is not interchangeable.
Jim

Last edited by P&R Fan; 08-06-2011 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:31 PM
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Appears you have a S&W Victory model, mid-WWII. If it is stamped .38 S&W, then it is not to be used with the .38 S&W Special cartridge. In that caliber, it was almost certainly intended for use by UK forces. Front sight does not appear original. This gun is more or less the same as the S&W Model 10 M&P.

.38 S&W ammo is a little hard to find, but it is still loaded. A local dealer can probably order it for you if he does not stock it.

You can Google on S&W Victory Model to find out more about it. These are fairly common, and in original condition can bring a good price. Unfortunately, yours has been modified and would not be worth as much as one with the factory front sight and grips.

Last edited by DWalt; 08-06-2011 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:58 PM
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Thanks for the info, and yes it does say 38 S&W on the barrel. I'll check Academy and see if they might have some 38 S&W rounds. As far as the grips go, I googled 38 S&W CTG and looked at pictures and found a few that had the exact same grips as this one. Thanks again for the info guys.

Last edited by millerman; 08-07-2011 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:41 AM
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You can try Academy, but I doubt if they will have it - but you never know. Bass Pro Shop is a better bet if you have one close by. Wal-Mart will not have it. If you have a reasonably well-stocked private local gun store, try them, and if they don't have any, see if they will order it. It can usually be found at gun shows. Last resort is that the internet ammo guys will have it, but shipping is a little high. Don't be surprised if the price is going to be somewhat higher than .38 Special, just the price of a round that there is not a lot of demand for, so it's sort of a specialty item.

I shoot .38 S&W a lot, but I reload mine. In your gun it can be handloaded to near the performance of the .38 Special, but the factory load is a lot more anemic due to the large number of weak 19th century guns in that caliber still floating around. It's one of the earliest centerfire calibers still being factory loaded today.

Your grips are aftermarket replacements. That type of grip is very common, and a lot were sold in the 1950s and 1960s. Nothing is wrong with them other than they are not factory original. You can find original wood grips for sale lots of places if you want to spend the money. I wouldn't bother. Just shoot it and enjoy it as it is, as it is not in collectable condition.

Last edited by DWalt; 08-07-2011 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:56 AM
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You may find that 38 specials will chamber in the cylinder. Many of these guns had their cylinder chambers reamed for 38 spl when they were sold cheaply as surplus after the war by not so scrupulous dealers. Even if they do chamber, I would not recommend shooting them.
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Old 08-07-2011, 01:56 PM
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I had forgotten to mention that. Many V-models were converted postwar from .38 S&W to .38 Special. The .38 S&W case is slightly larger in diameter than the .38 Special case. The chamber modification involved the enlarging the diameter ahead of the existing .38 S&W chamber so that the .38 Special case could be inserted. When the .38 Special cartridge is fired in such a modified chamber, the rear of the case will bulge slightly under pressure. It's probably not actually dangerous, as I have never heard of a .38 Special cartridge case rupturing, and there were many thousands of .38 S&W revolvers so converted. For example, the S&W revolver allegedly used by Lee Harvey Oswald to shoot Officer J. D. Tippet of the Dallas PD had been converted like this.

My take is that if all chambers will accept .38 Special cartridges, that indicates the revolver has probably been converted by boring the chambers. If so, the conservative approach would be to use .38 S&W ammunition only. However, using .38 Special ammunition would likely be safe. If you wish to use .38 Special ammunition, I would not recommend using anything other than standard factory loads - no +P loads.

By the way, at a gun show this morning I found a Navy V-model (.38 Special), the asking price being $350. It was original, but somewhat worn, so I'd call it Good condition, or maybe a little better than that. I didn't make an offer, so no way to tell what price the seller would have accepted. Many V-models remained in U. S. (and probably UK) military service for many years after WWII.

Last edited by DWalt; 08-07-2011 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:03 AM
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Default 38 S&W rounds

I tried Academy here in OKC and they didn't have .38 S&W rounds. At H&H here in OKC they were $40 a box. I'll try Bass Pro or check the internet for prices. I have shot .38 special in it before, but that was before I found out it was 38 S&W. It would fire double-action, but not single-action with 38 special rounds. Thanks for the replies DWalt, you gave me some good info. I found a video on youtube concerning the Victory series that was pretty informative. It was an interview with the National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Phil Schreier. It's worth watching.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:36 PM
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Strange about not working SA. That should have nothing to do with what ammunition you are using, or even if it is loaded or not. If it won't function in SA, something is wrong with the lockwork. Fortunately, these S&Ws are simple to disassemble to see the problem. If you want to try, remove the sideplate screws (with grips off) and tap on the other side of the frame with a wooden stick or mallet, or anything else that won't dent the metal, and it should pop right off. DON'T PRY IT OFF! You should look closely at how the mechanism works, especially sear engagement, and you should be able to see the problem. You can go further in disassembly. It's easy to do, but you ought to Google around to see how it's done before attempting that. Many years ago I made up a very simple tool for removing the trigger spring which helps a lot.

Some police departments deliberately disabled SA functioning in revolvers as protection against accidental discharges, but I doubt that is the case with your revolver. But who knows?

Regarding ammunition, if it's fired .38 Special OK in the past, just keep using it. Just no +P loads.

Last edited by DWalt; 08-08-2011 at 12:41 PM.
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cartridge, military, model 10, postwar, s&w, sideplate, trademark, victory, wwii

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