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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 03-25-2020, 02:58 PM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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Default .38 Single Action project finished

A friend with a gun store stumbled across a rather sad .38 Single Action and offered it to me at a very good price. I snapped it up, and discovered it's issues were largely superficial. Lock-up is bank-vault tight, no endplay, forcing cone in good shape and everything functioned as it should. Another friend has one of these with a shortened barrel that I have long admired, so I decided to replicate it.

I shortened the barrel to 1-5/8" and crowned it, made a new front sight and mounted it. I had some elk antler on hand, so I made new grips for it. After test firing I detail-stripped the gun, carefully removed the remaining nickel and rust blued it. I did all stripping with the sideplate in place to avoid rolling the edges, which worked nicely.


It's quite a svelte little gun, and quite accurate. I plan to carry this when unusual discretion is necessary.

A collector would likely have turned their nose up at this gun in it's original state, but now it is an attractive and useful addition to my stable. I like giving these old guns a new life and purpose; far more satisfying than letting the rot or parting them out.
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:15 PM
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That’s a really awesome piece. I love it.
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:21 PM
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Very Nice! I want one too!
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:25 PM
Mrnurse Mrnurse is offline
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Well Done.... If pressed into service it would still put lead under skin.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:11 PM
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Very impressive and nice. Hope you are doing well. I recently moved from Dallas to Georgetown.

Best, CB
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:04 PM
raljr1 raljr1 is offline
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Very nicely done. Kudos to you on renovating that little rascal.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:13 PM
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Well done! What a great rescue.
You should get the Santa Barbara award (patron saint of armorers, artillerymen, etc.) for this week.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:06 PM
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Default Great Results!

Great Project results. It is a ton of fun fixing them and bringing them back to working condition. Then taking them out and shooting them. I think you went above and beyond on this one.
Now you need a long barrel to have a match set.

Murph
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:06 PM
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That is a very cool revolver and well executed restoration/modification. More pictures are due so we can ogle over it better. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:26 AM
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Plain and simple------------a first class piece of work!!

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:05 AM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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That is a very cool revolver and well executed restoration/modification. More pictures are due so we can ogle over it better. Thanks for sharing.
Okey doke!



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Old 03-26-2020, 02:42 AM
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Default Nickel Screws

I never thought of leaving the screws nickel plated. It does give the piece a sectional detail that looks good in my opinion.

Say, the hand loaded rounds? One looks like the standard 158grain round nose? ...The other looks unique to me. A Semi-wad cutter with a short snout....Which mold is that one? Or did you modify the bullet after casting? Even a 105 grain SWC has a longer snout.

Murph
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:44 AM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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I never thought of leaving the screws nickel plated. It does give the piece a sectional detail that looks good in my opinion.

Say, the hand loaded rounds? One looks like the standard 158grain round nose? ...The other looks unique to me. A Semi-wad cutter with a short snout....Which mold is that one? Or did you modify the bullet after casting? Even a 105 grain SWC has a longer snout.

Murph
These are 160gr .361 bullets, swaged from 158gr .357 lead round-nose flat-point bullets. I don't cast, but I do metalwork so setting up swaging dies wasn't too tricky. The bullets are deep-seated over 2.7gr. of Unique with a CCI 500 small pistol primer. From a 1-5/8 inch barrel these do 722 fps. and produce 185 ft./lbs at the muzzle. I've put over a thousand rounds of this load through my .38 safety Hammerless, and they work well in this gun too. For recreational shooting with this gun, however, I load a 125gr/.357 TCL bullet over the same charge. This is good for 621 fps. and 107 ft./lbs. Much more 'antique-friendly.'
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:41 AM
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Tinker, Thanks for the additional photos. I was wondering about the .38 load also and you answered that too. Wise choice on the type of stocks. Just an all around great piece.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:40 AM
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Whoa! Be glad to donate storage space at my house for this cutie should you run of space at yours!
Very well done.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:14 AM
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Well done Tinker.
I really like the look of rust blue. It looks classy.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:14 AM
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What a great job you did on that little single action. What is it like shooting it?
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:21 AM
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Nice job. Looks beautiful. I cut down a 32 SA that was finished challenged and had a bulged barrel and made it into a belt buckle gun. Nowhere near as sweet as yours. Should look a for a 38. The 32s are pretty anemic.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:02 PM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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What a great job you did on that little single action. What is it like shooting it?
It's fun, though the spur trigger took some getting used to. It's accurate too. I really enjoy it.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:04 PM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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Nice job. Looks beautiful. I cut down a 32 SA that was finished challenged and had a bulged barrel and made it into a belt buckle gun. Nowhere near as sweet as yours. Should look a for a 38. The 32s are pretty anemic.
That's damn clever! Nicely done. The .38 might be a bit large for a belt-buckle, though.
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Old 03-27-2020, 03:35 PM
nbedford nbedford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinker Pearce View Post
These are 160gr .361 bullets, swaged from 158gr .357 lead round-nose flat-point bullets. I don't cast, but I do metalwork so setting up swaging dies wasn't too tricky. The bullets are deep-seated over 2.7gr. of Unique with a CCI 500 small pistol primer. From a 1-5/8 inch barrel these do 722 fps. and produce 185 ft./lbs at the muzzle. I've put over a thousand rounds of this load through my .38 safety Hammerless, and they work well in this gun too. For recreational shooting with this gun, however, I load a 125gr/.357 TCL bullet over the same charge. This is good for 621 fps. and 107 ft./lbs. Much more 'antique-friendly.'
A buddy asked me if I reloaded 38 S&W. I did not, but after he asked I decided to get into it. I looked about for suitable bullets ... 160 gr. pulled RN's, Speer swaged 160 grain swc's, and 148 grain swaged HBWC's. I figure all were a bit undersized for most 38 S&W's, but I am hoping the HBWC's will obturate enough to be fairly accurate. Long prologue, but, have you tried HBWC's?
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:32 PM
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Default Hollow Base Wad cutters

I shoot the 41 Long Colt often using the grossly undersized .386 hollow based bullet by Lyman, Ideal, Rapine, and Western, in my .405 Groove diameter Colt Thunderer with 6” barrel.

The theory I believe can be dated back to the old Minnie ball. It works well! Skirt expansion on discharge to fill the gap and accuracy is very good. Even better with black powder in some cases.

The Hollow Base 148 grain .357/.358 Wadcutter works extremely well in the .360/.361 Groove diameter Smith and Wesson bore. Using both Black powder and light Smokeless loads.

Very hard to find a mold for the HB 38 Wadcutter and when found they are expensive.

The cost of that mold seems ridiculous to me so I use a 4 cavity gang mold and drill them out to match the Rapine design. By using my drill press the 4 cavity mold holds them rock steady and the results are excellent. Very productive and very accurate!

You have to be careful though. You want to “match” the cavity design, don’t over drill or you can get bullet separation upon discharge. Which is never a good thing to leave a chunk of lead in the bore for the next round! That is the risk you take with hollow based bullets in revolvers! Only standard loads!

See photo: I tried a Hollow based bullet in my 45 Auto rimmed Smith & Wesson 1917 Revolver. ( Great shooter) but after about 25 rounds and impressive accuracy? The gun jammed. What fooled me was the gun still recoiled with discharge so I had no idea there was Bullet separation! I had to punch this chunk of lead out of the bore. It was stuck right inside the forcing cone.
Very lucky for me that it stuck out enough to jam the cylinder from rotating or I would have put another round into this slug! My load was 4.1 grains of bullseye which translates to about 820-850 FPS. I’m thinking that’s too hot for the hollow base design. So just an FYI. Keep the loads down around 700FPS with hollow base bullets! A lot of these hollow base Bullets were designed before Smokeless powder Was invented.

Murph
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:07 PM
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A buddy asked me if I reloaded 38 S&W. I did not, but after he asked I decided to get into it. I looked about for suitable bullets ... 160 gr. pulled RN's, Speer swaged 160 grain swc's, and 148 grain swaged HBWC's. I figure all were a bit undersized for most 38 S&W's, but I am hoping the HBWC's will obturate enough to be fairly accurate. Long prologue, but, have you tried HBWC's?
I load Speer .358 LRN bullets with 2.6 gr of True Blue and it works very well. Shoots very accurately when I do my part.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:22 PM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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The first thousand rounds I put through my Safety Hammerless were Hornady Hollow-base Wadcutters, and they worked great. The only reason I quit using them was that I had to mail order them, and the LGS got in a large stock of .361 150gr. LSWCs from an estate.

You can use relatively soft 158gr LSWCs, and they work well. You lose about 50 fps. over the same bullet swaged to .361, but that's hardly critical for recreational shooting. I have heard this casn also cause excessive leading, but have not encountered that issue.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:36 PM
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Tinker, excellent excecution of the side plate polish! With the side plate in place; did you use a buff backed by a hard disk? I'm asking what your secret is for keeping the plate flat and flush as most are rounded over to the point of being ugly. Great job!
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:28 AM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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Tinker, excellent excecution of the side plate polish! With the side plate in place; did you use a buff backed by a hard disk? I'm asking what your secret is for keeping the plate flat and flush as most are rounded over to the point of being ugly. Great job!
Basically emery cloth backed by wood to keep things flat and square. For rust bluing you don't want to polish, or even go very high grit or the rust won't 'bite.' The surface evens itself out nicely in the process. On this one I went to 280 grit.
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:14 AM
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Neversink n Klapperthal Neversink n Klapperthal is offline
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didnt i just see that same gun on a Facebook S&W group?
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:27 PM
Tinker Pearce Tinker Pearce is offline
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didnt i just see that same gun on a Facebook S&W group?
Yes. I am showing off.
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