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S&W Antiques S&W Lever Action Pistols, Tip-Up Revolvers, Top-Break Revolvers, and ALL Single Shots


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Old 11-23-2012, 11:54 PM
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.38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment!  
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Default .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment!

Hello all,
Would like to have those who know these guns better than I educate me on this one.

It is a .38 Double Action with 6" barrel and target sights/grips.
S/N is 3230XX and is a pre-1898 piece as near as I can tell by the catalog.

From what I read, being having target sights and being a 6" barrel puts it in the "scarce" catagory. This one also has target grips which do NOT number to the gun....not sure why?

I am also told that the nickel finish would also not be as common for this gun.

Thoughts are appreciated.

Tom
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:57 AM
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.38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment!  
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Well, first off, my reply should in no way be construed to mean I know more about these than you do; but that aside, here goes: Mine is #360676---shipped December 18, 1896 to a C.C. Custer. It's blue. It's a 5". Letters with its sights and its target grips (hard rubber), but neither are numbered to the gun. Jinks explains this thus: Many orders/special orders for (top break) target guns were filled by taking standard guns from stock and changing the sights/grips/whatever. The work was done by the Service Department----who had no need to number anything.

Speaking of sights (and this may be bad news or good news), your rear sight is different from mine (Design #2A)----and IS NOT treated In Neal's 1977 article (The Evolution of Smith & Wesson Target Sights). That means one of two things: 1. Your rear sight is an aftermarket item, or 2. You have discovered (read as stumbled upon) a sight Neal missed. In the unlikely event he missed it, you will have joined a rather exclusive group (now numbering two souls) who have discovered (read as stumbled upon) sights Bob missed. (I'm the other soul. I stumbled upon what is now known as Design #12A in 1999. We (he and I) both thought it was a one-off---he more than me. I kept looking. It took three years, but I finally found another one---and then another. (Needless to say, Jinks knew all about them---right down to the models and serial number spread of the guns carrying such sights.)

Bottom Line: You need a letter. The guy that writes the letter knows more than you do about your gun. (He also knows more than I do about
it.) You'll want to send pictures of your rear sight along with your letter request.

Ralph Tremaine

I've sat and stared at your pictures to the point where I've about talked myself into thinking I can see a screw slot on the right side of the rear sight------like to adjust windage. Is it there? Is there another one on the left side?

Last edited by rct269; 11-24-2012 at 01:12 AM. Reason: Cats, curiosity, and one thing and another
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:10 AM
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Default Sights, etc....

Ralph,

Thanks for the info, I very much appreciate it.
Your revolver sounds fantastic and what a great history it has, congrats!

My rear sight does not appear to be adjustable, it may very well be an aftermarket installation/modification.
The original "fixed" rear sight is still there.

The front appears to be a Lyman sight with a patent date of 1895, and I am wondering if this would have been a factory optional part?

The hard rubber stocks are numbered in pencil, but not numbered to this revolver.

I intend to send off for a letter on this one, but would also like to get more info on this rear sight......do you have suggestions on how to go about that?
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:17 AM
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The presence of the original (fixed) rear sight is not the least bit unusual. The Lyman (front) sight was available on special order----with or without the Lyman rear sight (The Lyman Ivory Slide Sight). The patent date on yours suggests it's not the original sight for your gun-----but??!! If (BIG IF), the rear sight on your gun is factory (I doubt it.), then Jinks will be able to tell you about it. (I think it's not factory simply because I've never seen one like it-----------which proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, absolutely nothing!) Even if your rear sight is/was a part manufactured for the aftermarket, rather than a one-off by a gunsmith, then there's a better than even chance Jinks will know about it.

There is a book (Old Gunsights---A Collector's Guide, 1850-1965; Krause Publications, 800 258 0929 (for orders or a free catalog); 715 445 2214 otherwise) I have for reference. I have not looked at each and every page, but I dug it out and went through the S&W section again. There are no pictures for this, but mention is made of an "Elevating Rear Sight" for the 38 Double Action and other "Jointed Frame Revolvers". Your latest picture says (to me) the sight is not adjustable for elevation, but is it-----an elevation screw underneath----either in plain sight or somewhat hidden toward the front-----ahead of the cylinder retaining lug?

Finding out about your sight may not be all that difficult----if it's an aftermarket item rather than custom, made to order item. Take some good pictures (top/bottom/both sides) and send them off to David Carroll and Ed Cornett. David has seen a ton of guns in his time, and Ed is a walking encyclopedia.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:00 PM
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Ralph,

I will take several close up photos and see if I can make a connection with both David and Ed regarding the sights.
With the grips not numbered to the gun, I am leaning more to the fact that this may have been a modified after leaving the factory.
However, as you stated, a letter may certainly be a good idea on this one.

My primary interest in collecting is Hand Ejectors, so I first have to decide if I am going to hold on to this one before going after a letter.

Still a very interesting piece, not sure how many were shipped with 6" barrels, but I am told they are scarce.

Will keep doing research and appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.

Tom
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:59 PM
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Default Rear sight close up

Here are a couple photos showing how the rear sight blade has been installed. There are no adjustments...and the latch is the original.
Tom
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:18 PM
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I'm going to "guess" the rear sight is an aftermarket sight, and the front sight would have been available aftermarket to match up with the rear. I don't think S&W would install this tall a rear sight without some provision for adjustment, at least elevation. A letter is most likely the only way to know for sure.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:23 PM
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Tom - I am only making a guess here, but a few things might indicate this is not an original factory target gun. First, the rear sight is totally fixed and I have never seen a factory target sight that can not be adjusted. Second, as you say, the target grips do not match the gun's sn. Third, Lyman sights were available from the factory, but I think your gun was made before the patent date on the sight.

I think that more nickel 38 DA guns were made than blue. Looking in the SWCA database, the nickel 38s outnumber the blued 38s by two to one.

Only one way to know for sure - get that letter.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:43 PM
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.38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment! .38 DA 4th Model Target - I need some enlightenment!  
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Thanks guys, for all the info and insight, I really appreciate it!
As HE's are my main focus, I think I will put this one up for sale and let one of you antique guys enjoy it.
I have posted a query to Roy in his section with photos to see what he thinks.
Best regards,
Tom
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:30 PM
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I put in a ship date request and asked Roy about this being a target model......here is his reply:

Tom, .38 DA serial number 323056 was shipped in July 1894, It was part of a large shipment and I doubt it will letters as a target. Roy
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Still a very interesting piece! It will most likely be in the for sale section soon.

Tom
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:58 PM
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Tom, In my opinion, those are not factory installed sight sights. Ed.
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