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Old 08-08-2018, 09:28 PM
ShawnB52 ShawnB52 is offline
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Default Need help identifying a revolver

I recently cleaned out my grandfather's gun cabinet and came across this revolver. Antique guns are outside my wheelhouse so any information at all would be appreciated.

I couldn't find many markings on it. The barrel reads 38 S&W CTG. The numbers on the cylinder read
144715.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:37 PM
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The gun looks familiar, I would have to get the book out to venture a guess, looks like what was called a bicycle gun.......my concern would be the fact that there is not a serial number on the butt of the gun.....
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:40 PM
ShawnB52 ShawnB52 is offline
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I thought it was extremely odd that it doesnt have a serial number. It doesnt appear to have grinding marks though.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:48 PM
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That is a safety hammerless. I think they were made for about 60 years, and up through the 40's. Some one who knows these well should come along soon.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:19 AM
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The S/N is "normally" stamped on the butt of the grip frame. It appears to be missing and therefore an "illegal" gun. BATFE regulations out law a gun of this vintage. Stamping from the top strap also appear to be missing. I'm guessing sometime in it's past someone was trying to create a drop gun. Be very careful who you may show this to, and you would be better off disposing of it.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:37 AM
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Welcome to the forum. No guessing required here. A cut barrel 38 Safety Hammerless revolver from pre-WWI era, most likely in 1901. A check of the rear of the cylinder shows what you stated, 144XXX, which is the correct serial number.

The gun has been chopped and the perpetrator removed the top address/patent lines in the process. There is no pin in the front sight, so probably glued or driven in.

As noted in above, this revolver's serial number has been removed from the butt, which often indicates that a prior owner did not want anyone to know that number?? Why can only be guessed, but one reason is that it was used for an illegal purpose, and that is what concerns the BATF. The butt of almost all S&Ws ever made was the official place for the serial number and if it is not there, the gun is technically illegal to own. Not sure of the consequences, but I have never wanted to find out.

I wanted to add a shot of the butt of a 38 Safety to show how the numbers should read. Also, those stocks can be repaired if you want. The breaks are a result of someone prying them off without realizing there is a pin holding the bottoms in place.
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:02 PM
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Thank you for all the information guys. It's been locked away in a cabinet for 22 years at least. My grandfather passed in 1996 and the cabinet stayed locked.

Now my question is what do I do with it? I dont want to catch a felony because I found a gun.
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Old 08-09-2018, 02:40 PM
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Not a high value gun even with proper markings.I would probably sell a few parts off of it and destroy the frame.
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Old 08-09-2018, 03:34 PM
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That revolver missed the antique classification by only a couple years, but is considered a modern firearm by the BATF. You could contact the BATF and petition to have the serial number replaced on the butt. This happens more often than you think and the bureau has allowed this in the past. If you get a letter from the BATF allowing this to be done, any gunsmith would be able to put a serial number on the butt.

Given the circumstances, age of the gun, and family history, they may allow you to replace the number, problem solved. You can verify the serial number by also looking at the bottom of the top latch and in front the latch in the rear of the top frame. Some call it looking between the "ears" ti see the number. It may be partially stamped on both the left and right of the latch pivot point. Also, the serial number may be found on the back side of the right stock. It could be written on the stock with a pencil or stamped. If all numbers match, make sure you include that information in the letter. If the gun number does not come up stolen, might be able to make it right again and keep it in the family.
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:57 PM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Before you get worried, check the sides of the grip frame to see if whoever removed the SN restamped it there. Be careful removing the grips...don't pry them or they'll break. Loosen the grip screw completely and push on the head to pop off the right panel. Then you can push off the left panel from inside. Check the sides of the grip frame for the SN that's on the cylinder. If it is not there, maybe you can find someone with number stamps or an engraver who can put them on the side of the grip frame.
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:09 PM
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Welcome to the forum. People get a little pumped up when they see a gun with a missing serial number. Personally it isn't a big thing with me. I have been around guns for over 50 years, transporting, hunting, shooting at ranges and in leagues on teams. Not once in all of those years have I ever been stopped and had one of my guns examined. I would probably take the gun to a gun smith and have him stamp the cylinder number on the butt.

Even if the gun was used in some nefarious way 22 years ago, probably nobody cares today.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnB52 View Post
...
Now my question is what do I do with it? I dont want to catch a felony because I found a gun.
Iím with James here. One should not overdramatize. If this were either some significant heirloom, or a rare collectible which you planned to offer up for sale at a public auction or such, going the official BATFE route might be advisable and justified. But itís neither. If your grandfather passed away as recently as 1996, the gun likely wasnít in any better shape when he owned it, so itís highly unlikely to have been some cherished possession.

In this case, given the low value, age, and poor condition of the gun, Iíd just keep it. As long as you donít plan to use it for self-defense and shoot anyone with it, itís hard to imagine how you could possibly get in trouble for it.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:42 AM
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Good luck on finding a reputable gunsmith who would replace intentionally removed serial numbers without a BATF letter. I know several and none would do such a project, too much to lose.

I still say contact the BATF and see what they say. Would I put a S&W in my gun safe with defaced or removed serial numbers? I have way too much to lose also. Anyone with an FFL, like almost all gunsmiths and me, is subject to inspections, so another point of contact with the Feds and an illegal firearm, no thanks.
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Last edited by glowe; 08-10-2018 at 08:44 AM.
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