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Old 09-22-2017, 12:35 AM
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Usually newer ones find me, not today.

It's a S&W nickle plated. .38 (S&W?). 5 shot top break. DAO. Grips are a brown (bakelite?) hard plastic with S&W emblems at top.

Spins, locks up, top latch is tight, boy is that barrel thin. Someone cared enough about it to drown it in a light oil. Everything seems to function.

And the wife just wanted to go for a drive because the weather was nice.
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:22 AM
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It's a .38 Double Action, probably a 3rd or 4th model. If single action doesn't work, the action is probably gummed up with old oil and crud. The grips are hard rubber and the gun has been refinished. Soak that thing in a bath of penetrating oil or auto trans fluid for a couple of days, then flush it out with aerosol brake/carb/parts cleaner and that should restore the single action function. If not, then it may need some gunsmithing.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:06 AM
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Great advice from Wiregrassguy. Keep us updated.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:25 AM
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Wisegrassguy is correct. Your revolver has been refinished. From the look of the stocks, it's had a hard life. The side plate was removed before the nickel plating was applied. My guess is the single action was disabled either intentionally or it's broken. It's still a nice find,it deserves to be well taken care of.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:33 AM
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Thank you for the great info.

Took the grips off this morning and put her in a baggie of penetrating oil. SA function was non-existant, but is actually very smooth in DA. Will post again after bath. Thanks.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Club Gun Fan View Post
Wisegrassguy is correct. Your revolver has been refinished. From the look of the stocks, it's had a hard life. The side plate was removed before the nickel plating was applied. My guess is the single action was disabled either intentionally or it's broken. It's still a nice find,it deserves to be well taken care of.
The stocks are missing good sized chunks at the bottom and are cracked multiple places on the inside. They have been subjected to enough oil that I did not even identify them as being natural rubber. It works smooth in DA so having zero knowlege about the lockwork, I would guess it was modified for DAO. Given its age I am leery to disassemble it.

Thank.you.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:11 AM
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I have a similar revolver in similar condition. I like firearms with a story. Have my share of those that lived in a drawer, but ones that were carried and used, even abused, are more interesting to me.
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:15 PM
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54 hours in penetrating oil, wipe down, blown out with compressed air, generous lube of rem oil, another wipe down and swab. Popped a few primers in .38 S&W cases. Works perfect, DAO, thinking seriously about taking that side plate off. The fact I can't just get parts from Nimrich holding me back. Thanks to all who responded, will post again if and when I turn that screw, or when I make up a few light Trail Boss loads for it.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:28 PM
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The gun has had a rough life and is probably not considered in collectible condition. Using it as a learning experience to see how it works inside will probably not hurt the gun and I would not hesitate to give it a whirl unless you paid way too much for it.

There are many phases of the gun world. Collecting, shooting, working on and researching their history are all parts of this hobby. I have just gotten into the antiques and find taking them apart and trying to get them to function again very rewarding.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:07 PM
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Very few gunsmiths will touch these, and about the only way to get replacement parts is to scrounge them from another gun. The .38 DAs were made in very large numbers during the time of their production, and unless they are in sock drawer condition (i.e., spent all their lives in someone's sock drawer) their value is minimal. If you have it working OK in DAO, I'd just call it good and leave it alone. If you can find .38 S&W ammo, it should be safe to fire. You can find reproduction grips without much trouble.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:23 PM
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Just an FYI....38 S&W ammo is no trouble to get. Your LGS can order it from most wholesale distributors. We have 4 boxes on the shelf right now.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:37 PM
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Taking the sideplate off won't hurt a thing. There may be crud in the action that you cannot flush out without taking it off. Taking the trigger, trigger guard, and related components out is a little more complicated and really I don't think will help with the problem you are having anyway (subject to correction by those more experienced).
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Old 09-25-2017, 08:35 AM
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It is very easy to remove the hammer on this model. Take off the sideplate and stocks and remove the mainspring by backing off the tension screw in the lower butt-frame. Pull the trigger fully to the rear and start jiggling the hammer and lifting. It should come right out. Just reverse the operation to re-install.

Chances are that the sear that holds the hammer in single action mode is worn, or the corresponding hammer notch is damaged or rounded from much use. Also, the cylinder should not free-wheel. The cylinder stop in the lower frame should come up high enough to lock the cylinder in place and keep it from spinning freely.

Given those and maybe other issues, I would be hesitant to shoot that gun without finding some replacement parts. If you can determine what parts are needed, check ebay for replacements, but do not pay too much, since the value of your gun in working order is probably $100 - $125
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:15 AM
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Thank you to everyone who has responded for all the info and encouragement.

My primary reason for not taking the sideplate off is that I have disassembled other older things which had worn or broken parts inside, things that functioned to a degree BEFORE I disassebled them

But this revolver is so smooth, I figured it had been modified as opposed to being broken. So I opened it up. Someone had ground or filed the SA notch out of existance. They did a nice even smooth job of it. So now I know what it looks like inside. It locks up and remains locked until you go back a little on the trigger. It indexes. It works smoothly, it is just DAO.

Every county around here has at least two places that lay claim to have been used by Al Capone's boys to transload Canadian Liquor durring Prohibition, who knows what the guns history is.

It is a shooter, not a collectors item or parts donor. I might get some repo grips if it has any accuracy, that would double my investment. The bore actually looks better than the exterior.

I take it from the many comments that it was refinished that they were not sold in nickle by S&W.

As soon as I figure out where I put some .362 lead balls a while back I will make up some bunny farts and see how it shoots.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
I take it from the many comments that it was refinished that they were not sold in nickle by S&W.
Not so. S&W produced more nickel guns than blue, IIRC. Here's my 2nd Model ca. 1883. It likes commercial .38 S&W.



I believe the comments are because of the plated hammer and trigger, seam widening around the sideplate, and buffed down pins...all signs of a refinish.
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Old 09-27-2017, 11:11 PM
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60 grain or so .361 Round Ball, meh, but it did not blow up. 145 grain .361 round nose lead, ok. 148 grain hollow base wadcutters .358 really nice grouping. Guess we are shelling out for new grips.

(edit: above was with Trail Boss, I subsequently tried Unique to move bullets a bit faster. LRNs liked Unique better. .358 wadcutters liked to go slower.)
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