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Old 10-17-2015, 05:58 AM
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Just purchased from a online auction. Advertised as a .32 cal. but size of cyl. looks like a .38, I have not received the revolver yet, perhaps next week. But my research of the web and 100's photos I looked at I'm convinced its a .38 and not a .32. What does the S&W Forum think? And is it 2nd or 3rd model?
(Serial No. 61552)
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:06 AM
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Welcome! I believe you are correct; the proportions of the cylinder, its size relative to the frame and the two sets of cylinder notches with this SN make it a .38 Double Action 2nd model from about 1882.

If you looked at hundreds of photos for an ID you have the S & W obsession, and bad . Hope this is helpful.
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Old 10-17-2015, 03:29 PM
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Thanks for the info and welcome Alan. The seller had his LGS help ID the gun would a gun shop easily miss the true cal. ? Did the .32 have a cylinder length that would shoot long .32 as well as short .32 ? Its not the length but the diameter of the cylinder that determines the probably cal. and the extra notches on it?
Yes, I will obsess with a new gun model, the TopBreak is my 1st S&W I wanted a .32 but looks like I will be getting a .38. I hope the recoil isn't much different and .38 BP can be found or made ok, if I was to shoot the circa 1882 gun!
MinuteManMike.

Last edited by MinuteManMike; 10-17-2015 at 03:51 PM. Reason: punc.
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Old 10-17-2015, 03:53 PM
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It's easy to distinguish between a S&W .32 top break and a .38 top break as the proportions are considerably different. That one is a .38 DA, as earlier noted. S&W .32 top breaks cannot be used with .32 S&W Long ammunition, only .32 S&W. The .38 DA shown can use only .38 S&W ammo, not .38 S&W Special. Both .32 S&W and .38 S&W cartridges are usually a little difficult to come by.
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Old 10-17-2015, 04:09 PM
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All these are currently available and 'should' be safe to use in your .38 DA - a thorough inspection prior to shooting is always wise.

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/produ...21&c=95&s=2991
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Old 10-17-2015, 04:25 PM
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Thanks S&W Forum members. I'm learning my lessons quickly with your help and knowledge.
MMM
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinuteManMike View Post
Thanks for the info and welcome Alan. The seller had his LGS help ID the gun would a gun shop easily miss the true cal. ? Did the .32 have a cylinder length that would shoot long .32 as well as short .32 ? Its not the length but the diameter of the cylinder that determines the probably cal. and the extra notches on it?
Yes, I will obsess with a new gun model, the TopBreak is my 1st S&W I wanted a .32 but looks like I will be getting a .38. I hope the recoil isn't much different and .38 BP can be found or made ok, if I was to shoot the circa 1882 gun!
MinuteManMike.
Most gun store employees are knowledgable, but the ignorant few are capable of anything.
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Old 10-20-2015, 05:29 PM
Healeydays Healeydays is offline
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Ok, I'm nosey. How much did you get it for at auction?

Last edited by Healeydays; 10-20-2015 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Healeydays View Post
Ok, I'm nosey. How much did you get it for at auction?
I'm nosey, too.
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:10 PM
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"Most gun store employees are knowledgable, but the ignorant few are capable of anything." Add in the fact that the .38 S&W Cal. is actually a smaller .361 diameter and the caliber can be easily mistaken for a .32 Cal. fairly easily unless one is familiar with the frame/cylinder/trigger guard geometry.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:01 PM
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By the way, welcome to the best gun forum around.
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Old 10-23-2015, 04:06 AM
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Thank you for the warm welcome S&W Forum members...
Those asking about the sale was 255.00 to much?
Its still in the shipping box in my safe. I'll open it this weekend and inspect it more closely. The seller got the caliber wrong (bad LGS advice) but, hopefully the good working condition advertised on the gun site auction is correct and the bore is good.
MMM
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Old 10-23-2015, 07:13 AM
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"Did the .32 have a cylinder length that would shoot long .32 as well as short .32 ? Its not the length but the diameter of the cylinder that determines the probably cal. and the extra notches on it?"

The S & W top-break .32 only used .32 S & W, also called Short; the cylinder is too short to chamber the .32 S & W Long. Certain variations of the top-breaks have the double cylinder notches, and as noted above the cylinder size difference between the .32 and .38 are fairly clear especially side to side - the .32 is small.
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Old 10-23-2015, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinuteManMike View Post
. . . Those asking about the sale was 255.00 to much? . . .
MMM
Quick answer is yes, but not by much. Prices are low on these models in shooter condition, mainly because most are purchased by collectors who often strive for the highest condition they can afford. There are many high quality/nearly new 32 & 38 DAs out there, since they were put in the bedroom dresser drawers for decades and never used. Also, there were almost 900,000 total made so are very common. Looking at it another way, you can't get a quality made reliable revolver in good shooting condition for much less anywhere and S&W are on the top of the quality list of that era.
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Old 10-23-2015, 04:11 PM
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Thanks again S&W Forum. I completely understand "condition" when collecting most things. Its reassuring Gary if I am to buy vintage guns you do well to at least have the quality of S&W! I did but a "condition" gun, a Colt (from all places a Cabela's Library)! A 1925 .32 Police Positive and paid nearly 4 times the price of the circa 1882 Top Break. I am very happy to add a S&W to my small collection of guns. I wanted the Top Break design to add to my "wheel guns" I suppose a Tip Up might be next? But I want S&W not a copy.
And I hope I have not sinned by mentioning a Colt on the S&W Forum causing me shunning and banishment.
Mike

Last edited by MinuteManMike; 10-24-2015 at 03:45 AM. Reason: punc.
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Old 10-23-2015, 05:11 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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I once bought a rifle that the seller did not know the caliber for.
I didn't mind, I liked the caliber I got better than the one I thought I was getting, but it did not improve my opinion of the dealer's expertise.
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Old 10-25-2015, 01:34 AM
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Well, I have inspected my new .38 (not.32) S&W Top Break and it is as advertised on the gun auction, it works well in SA & DA. The bore is much better than I hoped for. The only anomaly I experienced was, in SA if the trigger is slowly pressed the hammer does not drop precisely. But if the trigger is pressed firmly the hammer drops cleanly. DA and lock-up works perfect. All 3 serial numbers match (61352) last patent date May 11 & 25 1880 so this S&W is a " 2nd model from about 1882" as stated earlier?
Overall I'm quite happy with my first classic S&W.
MMM

Last edited by MinuteManMike; 10-25-2015 at 03:20 AM. Reason: clarification
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