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Old 08-22-2017, 12:34 AM
tnSandW tnSandW is offline
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Default Newbie Looking for ID on 38 Topbreak

Hoping I'm posting in the correct place. Never done this before.
Looking for age and any other info available about my 80-yr old father's 38. He's had it at least 40-50 years and got if used from someone else.
Topbreak, visible hammer
Serial: 5355XX
CTG: 38 S.&W. CTG (on side of barrel)
Barrel Length: 4 inches
Sights: Fixed
Strain screw on front of gripstrap
3 other side screws, no screw in front of trigger guard.
Top of barrel has "SMITH&WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS, USA
Same serial on cylinder and between ears of topbreak lever.
Appears to be pearl grip.
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2017, 01:37 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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Double Action .38, a late 4th model, maybe 1908.
Medallion pearl grips, likely factory.
Finish looks a bit strange, maybe your lighting.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:47 AM
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murphydog murphydog is offline
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It's a very nice example of a .38 DA as Jim mentioned, appears unrefinished. Nickel is always tricky to photograph, indirect outdoor lighting seems to work best short of a lightbox.

With what appears to be factory pearl stocks, this one would be a good candidate for a letter of authenticity to confirm it shipped with them:

Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation - Letter Process - Insuring that the rich history of Smith & Wesson will continue for generations to come

It is safe to use current factory .38 S & W ammo (not Special, which won't chamber fully) in it. Enjoy!
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Old 08-22-2017, 03:08 PM
tnSandW tnSandW is offline
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Thanks, Jim and Alan. I appreciate the info. I have downloaded and filled out the S&WHF Letter of Authenticity request form. I'll post back the results.
I called my dad this morning to tell him the info in your replies. He said he got the gun from his father about 40 years ago. His father got it from a woman in the small town he lived in. And she got it from her father. I don't know if he was the original owner, but, timing-wise based on the 1908 estimate, he could have been.
My father said he has only shot 3 or 4 rounds in it, many years ago (maybe about 30).
Do you (or anyone else) know the best way to "store" the gun. It's just been in a drawer in my father's house, inside a leather K.S & S. holster.
Also, should I have it "cleaned" or leave it as it is.
I don't think I would ever carry or use it, other than maybe firing a few rounds through it at my local range to be sure it still shoots.

Thanks again for you input.

Scott
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Old 08-22-2017, 03:20 PM
tnSandW tnSandW is offline
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Default Holster pics added

Adding a couple of pics of the holster, in case anyone is interested. As you can see, the belt loop attachment was moved at some point.
I tried googling K.S.&S. holsters but haven't had any luck determining it's age.
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Old 08-22-2017, 03:58 PM
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Welcome to the Forum. Storing that gun in a leather holster is probably why the finish is in the condition as shown by your photos. My advise is never store any firearm in a leather holster. It is my understanding that salts from the tanning process remain in the leather and can ruin the finish. Also, leather can absorb humidity and cause rusting. Nickel can be cleaned and polished by using polishing compound. I use Mother's Mag Polish, but there are lots of materials out there to do the job. After polishing, you can put a coat of oil or wax on the surface. Some people say that oil can affect nickel, but after using it for 30 years with no bad effects, I will stick with the practice. As for the internals, it is a good idea to remove the stocks. use a spray carb cleaner or other solvent to soften and remove old oils and grease up inside the revolver. I would then use a spray oil like Birchwood Casey Barricade and work the action.

Ammo is still available for these guns, with Winchester, Remington, and other companies making 38 S&W. They shoot quite well.
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Last edited by glowe; 08-22-2017 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:01 PM
tnSandW tnSandW is offline
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Thanks for the cleaning/storing advice, Gary.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:53 PM
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A padded breathable case is best for storage, I think. If the surface is protected (I prefer Renaissance Wax) a hard padded case would be ok too. We need a range report!
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:39 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

The best place to store that gun would be at my house. Short of that, Flitz and Renaissance Wax are my method.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:46 PM
tnSandW tnSandW is offline
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Default Letter of Authenticity Received

Got the S&W Historical Foundation letter today. (Thanks Mr. Jinks for the historical search and thanks murphydog for pointing me in that direction.)
The revolver is a .38 Double Action Fourth Model shipped from the factory on 4/17/1908 and delivered to the husband of the woman my grandfather bought the pistol from.
Also, I took it with me to the firing range last week. All I had at the time were the 5 rounds that had been in the gun for that last 30 years or so. But, they all fired fine. Hardly any recoil from this gun compared to my 2 S&W M&P 9mm's (the only other pistols I've fired).
I fired the first 3 rounds and all were high and left. Could be the shooter or it may be the sights/gun. So, I had my ex-US Marshall friend with over 40 years law enforcement experience fire the last 2 rounds. His shots were high and left also (which made me feel better about my shooting).
I've since ordered/received some more 38 ammo. So, I'll try again soon to see if I can figure out the aiming on this thing.
The sights are definitely much harder to see than the modern guns.

But, it's cool to have the historical letter now and to know for sure just how old the revolver is.

Thanks to all of you for your earlier comments and cleaning/storing suggestions.

Scott
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:37 AM
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I believe all the older S&W revolvers were sighted in with a 6 o'clock hold at 25 yards. That means your sight picture is to set your point of aim at the bottom of the bull (at 6 o'clock). That should help some with the POI being high...that is if you were setting POA at the center of the bull. The left part may be due to your trigger pull. Make sure you get your hand high up on the backstrap.
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2017, 08:53 AM
S&WsRsweet S&WsRsweet is offline
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Nice firearm thanks for posting and adding information from letter.
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