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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 06-22-2020, 12:34 PM
dvnv dvnv is offline
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Default 38 Safety Hammerless

Serial # 563xx. I thought this was my grandfather's, but he was born in 1890.

I would like to confirm that the serial number puts the gun somewhere in the 1890's. Any other information would be welcome.

Thanks for looking. (ps: sorry for the poor quality image)

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Old 06-22-2020, 02:21 PM
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Sure looks good for it's age. That there is a keeper.
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:28 PM
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Wow! A "sock drawer special". Very nice!

It's a 1st model and given the S/N I'd guess the mid 1890's
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:40 PM
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That is an exceptional nickel 38 Safety, 3rd Model that would likely have shipped in 1891. My grandfather, also born in 1890, who owned a 32 DA S&W top-break that I now have. It was made several years before he was born, but he bought it used from a neighbor. You had to have some money in order to pick one up brand new, since it was a month's wages for a farmer back then.
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:17 PM
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Thanks for the date information, and yes...pretty much a "sock drawer special".

You guys are super knowledgeable, perhaps you can help with 2 more questions:

1: There are a couple of spots where the nickel is failing. What steps can I take to stop further decay? Picture below. (I know the gun isn't worth much, but would like to preserve for the next generation)


2: It was stored in a chamois leather pouch (picture below). Could that have come from S&W? Or was it aftermarket?


Thanks again.
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:26 PM
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Remember when you tried to pop pimples as a kid and your mother don't pick at it! Same goes for flaking nickel. I would take it out of the chamois since that material can collect moisture and deteriorate the finish much the same as a leather holster. Wax it with Renaissance Wax and keep it in a dry location is the best way to preserve the revolver. I keep mine in a safe with a golden rod heat source and large desiccant canisters as well. Never had a speck of rust on anything I own.
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:42 PM
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I second what Gary said. Keep it out of the sock. Put on some Renaissance Wax (great stuff) and don't mess too much with the nickel.
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Old 06-23-2020, 08:51 PM
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Agree. Please don't store it in the chamois as the tanning process introduces acids into the leather. Moisture/humidity will leach the acids. Best to wad acid-free paper and stuff the holster in order to keep it's shape while in storage. I also encourage storing the revolver on acid-free paper.
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Old 06-24-2020, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for the information gentlemen. I will wax it up and take it out of the chamois...maybe put it in a sock drawer, and let the next generation worry about it.
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Old 06-24-2020, 11:17 AM
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Yours is almost pristine when compared to mine pictured below. Mine is a 1st year (1888) low 4 digit serial number, but in such bad shape finish wise, it is really a paperweight these days.

So the gun itself is well over 120 years and I firmly believe what all gun owners know (some find out the hard way) and that is just like posted above....never store the gun in a leather holster. As you can see from the pics, mine was stored for a unknown number of years, decades...maybe even eons in a "cheap" single ply leather holster. Nothing I can do would restore a semblance of this guns glory days in some turn of the century bankers vest, or wrapped in some ladies fur muff while strolling down the avenue.

Yours is sweet for sure...ditch the chamois, light coat of wax, put her away for the next caretaker in your family. Remember me if you ever need parts! Watch for those stocks too...they are very brittle with that amount of age and if you intend to remove them be absolutely sure that you have a proper (hollow ground, small blade) gunsmith screwdriver before you even think about removing or you could easily end up with buggerred screw slots, or worse yet a full crack that will render the stocks useless.
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Old 06-24-2020, 02:42 PM
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Charlie, you do know that you have a 32 Safety. right? The OPs gun is the larger 38 Safety. For other members viewing this thread, it could be a little confusing looking at your gun without knowing the caliber. The front of the cylinder ends before the front of the trigger guard on the 32 and in front of the trigger guard for the 38.
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Old 06-25-2020, 07:49 AM
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Good morning Gary (glowe) & Forum;

To tell the truth it's heck getting old(er), every day brings a little less brain cells. Sure as sunrise, I completely overlooked the OP's title plainly stating 38 and pictured up my 32 (32 Short at that, modern 32 Long won't even chamber!).

I'm not really very far into S&W antiques, as that "cosmetically challenged" 32 Safety Hammerless has only 2 "safe-mates", 1 being my Model 1899 US Army (s/n 13030) shipped March 29, 1901, the other being my 22/32 Hand Ejector (Heavy Frame Target), manufactured on April 20, 1915 (already sent to SWHF for Letter to see when and where it actually shipped to).

The one thing that I did notice about the OP's 38 is that the distance from trigger face to inside of trigger guard appears just about as narrow as my 32. I don't know about others but I'm average size hands, right hand strong side and I can barely, just barely get my trigger finger into that space. If I were wearing any sort of glove it would be impossible. Did men have smaller proportions a hundred years plus ago, or were these guns actually styled for women at the time with much slender fingers? Maybe that Big-Macs hadn't been invented?

Thanks for the correction and keeping me on my toes.
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Old 06-25-2020, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
Good morning Gary (glowe) & Forum;

To tell the truth it's heck getting old(er), every day brings a little less brain cells. . .
Me too!!! Yes, these two calibers are much like the early 32 and 38 DAs as compared to the 44 DA. It appears that the company simply enlarged or reduced the blueprints to make the other caliber. Except for the cylinder length, both caliber Safety revolvers look almost identical inside and out.
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Last edited by glowe; 06-25-2020 at 09:27 AM.
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