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S&W Antiques S&W Lever Action Pistols, Tip-Up Revolvers, Top-Break Revolvers, and ALL Single Shots


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Old 01-13-2020, 09:52 PM
6PointStar 6PointStar is offline
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I ran across this at a LGS a while back, could not resist. I donít think they had any idea what it was. Only gave $125. For it with the vintage flap holster which is in reasonable condition. I think it is a #3 but maybe some one could give me some more information. It is 38 S&W, SN 558XXX.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:53 PM
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You have a .38 Double Action, either 3rd Model or 4th Model. However, the serial number you posted is incorrect for any .38 DA. 3rd Model serial number range: 119,001 - 322,700. 4th Model serial number range: 322,701 - 539,000.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:11 AM
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Thanks, you are correct. Went and got a magnifier and the SN is 358XXX. The 3 looked a lot like the 5. I guess that makes it a 4th Model and not a 3rd Model like I thought. I guess that puts the date of manufacture in the early 1900’s

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Old 01-14-2020, 09:17 AM
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1895-1909.

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Old 01-14-2020, 09:42 AM
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Although it's not a #3 , the 38 Double Action 4th model along with the holster is probably worth $125, if it works .

Heck the holster might be worth more than the revolver , are there any markings on it ?

My 38 DA 4th model is numbered 455xxx and dates to around 1904-1905.
I was advised that if manufactured after 1900 and in good condition , you could shoot them with factory 38 S&W ammo... which I have without any dire consequences .

Fun little shooters , but place the targets close .
Gary
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:53 AM
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Welcome. Actually your serial number qualifies that revolver is an antique as defined by the BATF. Antique status is a serial # below 382,022. 38 DAs in the database close to yours shows around 1898 ship date. We used to be able to state that there were no regulations of ownership or buying/selling, but some states and some sellers require handling them as modern firearms.

Your revolver seems to mostly resemble a 3rd Model by the fact that it has cylinder stop notch shims and a pinned front sight. Does the top rib have patent dates? There are some other changes between the 3rd and 4th Models that are not very obvious to most, so if you use Neal & Jinks book, your revolver would be a 4th Model by its serial number, but those numbers are often a best estimation.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:52 AM
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Default Nice Purchase

I think you did well.
The photo is pretty good but it appears to me that the bluing is much better than the photo actually shows. Can you provide a few more photos with natural lighting?

The holster is probably the most common holster for that period. The small frame flap holster was extremely common and probably the most mail ordered holster of that era.

I'm seeing the profile of a long residing medium frame .38 special carried in that old flap holster. That caliber and frame in the swing-out design was beyond extremely popular after 1900 and up into the 1970's. Millions were sold.

Congrats on a very nice purchase.

**** Say, can you also convey what that is over the grip screw?

Murph

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Old 01-15-2020, 06:28 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the information. Yes, the blueing is much better than the first picture shows. Last date on the barrel is April 9, 1898. Holster is stamped 20 on the back and under it is 3 1/4. The blob on the grip was a bit of green from riding the holster to long, did not see it until after I took the picture. Here are some in natural light. It is extremely tight and shoots great




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Old 01-15-2020, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6PointStar View Post
I ran across this at a LGS a while back, could not resist. I don’t think they had any idea what it was. Only gave $125. For it with the vintage flap holster which is in reasonable condition. I think it is a #3 but maybe some one could give me some more information. It is 38 S&W, SN 558XXX.
It is not a #3. That was the largest frame on the topbreak S & W line. They were all six shot revolvers. Not five like yours.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:27 PM
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I know they made a lot of them but honestly? Finding one with this much original bluing( that hasn't been helped) is somewhat scarce for a 120 year old gun. It's a keeper! and once again, Congrats on the purchase! Thanks for posting the additional photo's.


Murph

Last edited by BMur; 01-15-2020 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:55 AM
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You guys are very smart and thanks for educating me.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6PointStar View Post
. . . Last date on the barrel is April 9, 1898 . . .
The 4th Model had a last patent date as April 9, 1889 (not 1898) and the 3rd Model last patent date was Jan. 3, 1882, so that complicates which model you have. Your revolver would have been called a transitional model, if there is such a thing in 38 DAs, but there is not. No hard fast rules with 3rd and 4th Models, and you have characteristics of both models. I guess since the serial number is over 322,701, you can call it a 4th Model without too much argument.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowe View Post
The 4th Model had a last patent date as April 9, 1889 (not 1898)
Looking again it may be April 9, 1889 and not 1898. The stamping is not very clear and not very complete and small. The bottom of the numbers did not completely fill in and 8ís and 9ís look the same. I think you are correct, Thanks. If it is 1889 I guess that makes it a #4.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:45 AM
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Aren't No.3's large frame single actions?
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