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Old 08-23-2017, 01:53 PM
Rxman Rxman is offline
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OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal  
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Default OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal

A relative passed recently and had an old pistol in his stake of gadgets and old stuff- was somewhat of a pack rat.- nevertheless the sister of my wife discovered this in his possessions and would like to sell if possible.. Smith and Wesson 5 shot revolver with a "6" barrel. details and numbers below

This old SW 38, I would like to seek information for it. I Understand that I can send the serial number to Smith and Wesson and $50 to get the date of manufacture. Hoping for more insight prior to doing this.
It has some use signs on the barrel as it may have been from a holster. Its is nickle plated . Thus far, what I have found is that the 38 breakopen (lemon-Squeeze cam in 32 cal) was made in 3,4 & 6 barrels. All of the listings when searched return 3 & 4 " barrels. This seems reasonable that the intention was for concealed carry for this pistol as promoted by S&W in marketing. THe six inch looks like a hog leg!


38 Cal "break open" with 6" barrel nickel plated, Ser # 83578 from the butt-stock. 5 shot . In researching this gun, the top barrel marketing are imprinted as-
" 38 caliber Smith & Wesson, Springfield Mass., USA- Pat Feb 20, Dec 1877, May 11, 80, Sep 11, Oct 2, 83, Aug 485, Feb 14 88,Apr 6,89, Jun 5 97
Assuming that from the dates, the last patent date is 1888 with the patents being revised from 1877. Also assuming it likely is a early production gun. No S/W logo on the metal, except on the grip
Condition is fair with several parts having flaking Nickle. It appears that a screw head is missing in the breach. The odd issue is that it was in a pristine S/W gun box, gun wrapped in waxed paper imprinted with S/W "worlds finest handguns , logo, since 1852. The box if original, would not be in such great shape.???? One would believe that this box does not go with the gun. I am seeking any estimated date of vintage? and how rare is the 6" barrel on the gun. Similar versions have 3". Perhaps the longer barrel would be appropriate for a military side-arm ? Any information would be appreciated. tomkaye@rxman.com
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:19 AM
opoefc opoefc is offline
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OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal  
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A six inch barrel in the .38 Safety Hammerless model, 3rd model, is uncommon, but not unheard of. The box is of a much later vintage. Value depends entirely on condition. Post some photos for a value estimate from our members. Close serial numbers were shipped from 1894 to 1897, as S&W did not ship guns in serial number order. A factory historical letter now costs $75. Ed.

Last edited by opoefc; 08-25-2017 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:02 PM
BMur BMur is offline
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OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal OpenBreak 5 shot 6" barrel pistol- 38 cal  
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Collectors of these early topbreaks that date to the 1880's & 1890's typically look first at the serial numbers. You mention that it has a 6 inch barrel? What collectors look for first is matching serial numbers. These topbreaks have 4 sets of individual serial numbers. Those patent dates you mentioned on top of the barrel are somewhat "alarming" because the serial number range you mention puts it in the 1880's but you have a patent date of 1897 on the barrel. You see the problem? Check the serial number on the barrel and latch. Two small sets of numbers on the small flats. Use a magnifying glass if you need to. If they don't match the frame and cylinder number; "Houston we have a problem"....You now have yourself a parts gun. Which still has considerable value depending upon if it functions and finish conditions but still much less than a matching all original Antique firearm.
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