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Old 03-20-2017, 07:58 PM
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diegobxr diegobxr is offline
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Default My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!)

Good evening everybody,

Last week I asked for your help on an unknown firearm to me: A Smith & Wesson "Double Action" top-break revolver chambered in caliber .38 S&W.

It got my attention because it was for sale at a ridiculously low price. I thought it might just be a wall hanger, but even still, at the price, it was worth considering.

The gun has a cut barrel and was reblued, so it doesn't hold any collector's value whatsoever.

Initially, the gun looked like this:



Lock up was fairly good, it has rifling on the barrel, but it was a bit "late" (cylinder locked barely after the hammer dropped -not good-).

Took it home, removed the grips and soaked it in solvent. A thorough cleaning and working the action over and over again solved the timing issue. The cylinder now locks before the hammer goes all the way back.

Cleaned and oiled up it started looking much better.









Size comparison next to a Model 65:



Finally, yesterday I took it to the range:




All I can say is... I'm stunned!

This revolver is around 115 years old!!!!

It was sawed off, refinished, and here it is, in 2017, shooting bullets like it's nobody's business!

Yes, we can call it obsolete and underpowered, but oh my, what a nifty little caliber is this .38 S&W.
Extremely low report. Zero recoil, even on a gun this size. Draw, aim your first shot and you have 4 more that will go where you aimed as fast as you can pull the trigger. Sure thing, it's .38 S&W, but it sure as hell beats a sharp stick and fowl language.

I can't believe how accurate the little gun is, given the abuse it was submitted to.



Above, draw + one handed group at 10 yards, rapid-fire. (5th shot is behind the gun)



All in all, what I'm trying to get across here is:

1) My respects to the Smith & Wesson company. It's outstanding that a 115 year old anything can work flawlessly.

2) If you see one of these for sale, pick it up, I doubt you will regret it.

Thank you again to all who helped me decide to get this firearm. This is a great community.
Hope you liked this post!
Take care!

Last edited by diegobxr; 03-20-2017 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:00 PM
TAC TAC is online now
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Very cool little revolver you created there!
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:03 PM
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diegobxr diegobxr is offline
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My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!)  
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Very cool little revolver you created there!
Thank you! But I bought it like this! Wouldn't dare to chop it myself!!!
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:05 PM
Bob L Bob L is offline
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What a neat little revolver. Now I want one too!
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:11 PM
TAC TAC is online now
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Originally Posted by diegobxr View Post
Thank you! But I bought it like this! Wouldn't dare to chop it myself!!!
LOL! I hesitated to tell my story, but here it goes...

Back in the 70's, I'd buy used S&W 4" revolvers, cut the barrel, drill and tap it, and install a shot gun gold bead for the front sight. They were a hot item back when I lived in Detroit! Back then, people thought they would blow up, or it was illegal to do so.

Note: My apologies to all collectors out there.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:19 PM
RobertJ. RobertJ. is online now
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Nice gun, and an excellent write-up!

My first S&W was a 4th Model SH, with the 2" barrel. It was blued and pristine, and I paid $150 at a pawn shop in Idaho almost 30 years ago. I handloaded for it, and it was my tackle-box gun until I traded it away. Hindsight!
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:46 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
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Those factory pearl grips with the medallions are worth more than the revolver. I would put them up and get something else for shooting.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:50 PM
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Breakaway500 Breakaway500 is online now
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I know you are smiling..so's that little ole gun.
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:18 PM
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diegobxr diegobxr is offline
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My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!)  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAC View Post
LOL! I hesitated to tell my story, but here it goes...

Back in the 70's, I'd buy used S&W 4" revolvers, cut the barrel, drill and tap it, and install a shot gun gold bead for the front sight. They were a hot item back when I lived in Detroit! Back then, people thought they would blow up, or it was illegal to do so.

Note: My apologies to all collectors out there.

The horror!
Well, at least you didn't keep any evidence, or did you?

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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Those factory pearl grips with the medallions are worth more than the revolver. I would put them up and get something else for shooting.
Unfortunately they're not original. The "medallion" is not the S&W logo. I suppose they're a Spanish copy (there were lots of Spanish S&W copies back in the day).
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:40 PM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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That's a sweet little revolver. I am actually going out to shoot mine in a few minutes. And TAC, you are not alone in committing atrocities. Of course I try to commit victimless crimes, IOW guns that are already 'ruined' for collectors.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:28 PM
sdb321 sdb321 is offline
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That was a GREAT READ and well photographed !!!!!
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:58 PM
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I don't under rate the .38 S&W cartridge. With a 200 grain bullet or a flat point bullet it will do the job.
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Old 03-23-2017, 09:48 AM
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diegobxr diegobxr is offline
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My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!) My new cut barrel Top Break 38 (too much fun!)  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdb321 View Post
That was a GREAT READ and well photographed !!!!!
Thank you! Glad to hear that!

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Originally Posted by jimmyj View Post
I don't under rate the .38 S&W cartridge. With a 200 grain bullet or a flat point bullet it will do the job.
Most definitely, sir. I'm not sure if 38-200 is safe to shoot in this revolver. I would assume it is, but I don't know for sure.

The only .38 S&W factory loads I found available are 146 grain, LRN. Far from ideal from a self defense point of view, but I bet they'd definitely make a BG want to be somewhere else real fast.
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