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Old 04-22-2011, 02:33 AM
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Default S&W Special US Service CTG'S History

Can anyone tell me about my gun my father gave me. History and Value ? On the side of the barrel it reads : S&W Special US Service CTG'S and on the top of the barrel it reads : Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass USA, with patd April 9 89. March 27 94. May 2 95. July 10 95, Aug 4th 96. Dec 22 96, Oct 4 98. Oct 8 01. Dec 17.01 serial number stamped on the bottom of the steel grip frame reads 66206. Here is a link of some pictures I posted

Pictures by walter16735 - Photobucket

Any info will help!!
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:04 AM
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Welcome to the forum.

That's a Military & Police Model of 1902, First Change. This gun was in production until 1905. It seems to be in pretty good shape for its age, but i can't tell from the photos if it was ever refinished. I'd think it might be worth about $400 to the right purchaser if that's the original surface. That's what I paid for my 1902/First (which has a four inch barrel) about 18 months ago.

The Military & Police revolver line is S&W's most successful model. from 1899 through its modern descendants, several million have been produced. The design evolved from year to year, and there are variations involving grip shape, barrel length, and lockwork design, but it is basically the same gun all the way through. The consistent features are: swing-out cylinder, mostly .38 Special caliber (plus lesser production in a couple of smaller calibers and including wartime production in .38 S&W) and fixed sights.

The .38 U.S. SERVICE CTG mentioned in the stamping is the .38 Long Colt cartridge. It was the standard Army round until the .38 S&W Special (a slightly longer and more powerful cartridge) supplanted it. Colt just called it the .38 Special. These guys did NOT put the names of their competitors anywhere on their own products at this time.

Nice gun, safe to shoot with standard ammo. Do not shoot +P ammo in this revolver. It won't blow up in your hand, but the steel is softer and lots of high-pressure rounds will just enable wear and tear that the gun does not need.

You should find the serial number not only on the butt, but also on the rear face of the cylinder, the flat underside of the barrel, the underside of the ejector star and the rear-facing surface of the yoke -- though it will be hard to read without disassembling the cylinder group. You might be able to read the number through one of the charge holes.
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:04 PM
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David

I think this is a much rarer gun than you think. I bet it has a screw
in the front of the trigger guard, making it a 5-screw frame. The last of the 4-screw frames is about s/n 62XXX or so.

If I'm right, this is one of the 10,000 (or so) transition K-frames, that
has the 5th frame screw, but the old levering trigger rebound lockwork.

In this one instance, I have to say that the Collectors definition of
calling this a Model of 1905 is more illustrative of what it actually is -
even though (because of its round butt) it does not meet the factory
definition of a 1905. Of course, I can't call it a 1905 !

Its worth a lot more than you think !

Check out that first picture - you can see the head of the 5th frame screw, in front of the trigger guard.

Regards, Mike Priwer
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:54 PM
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Mike, good catch. I didn't notice the fifth screw. I called it a 1902 based partly on the last patent date reported. Now that I look it up, I see that the 1905 (as most collectors refer to it ) has the final 1901 patent date as well, with a later date not occurring until the 1905/First Change. It also would have helped if I had troubled to look up the serial number.

So I thank you again for the education and agree: That's a pure Model of 1905, or 1905 "no-change" -- a much less common gun than the 1902/First Change that I erroneously called it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:07 PM
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David

Except that its not a 1905, because its a round butt. The definition of
a 1905 is the square butt - at least that is what the catalogs say.

So -I have to categorize this as a 1902 2nd change. The next change
to the 1902 - the rebound-slide lockwork - would make it a 1902
3rd change. In this context, there are always two more engineeering
changes for the 1902's than for the 1905's .

This, presumably, is why the Collectors decided to call both round
and square butt frames - 1905's !

Regards, Mike
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
David

Except that its not a 1905, because its a round butt. The definition of
a 1905 is the square butt - at least that is what the catalogs say.

So -I have to categorize this as a 1902 2nd change. The next change
to the 1902 - the rebound-slide lockwork - would make it a 1902
3rd change. In this context, there are always two more engineeering
changes for the 1902's than for the 1905's .

This, presumably, is why the Collectors decided to call both round
and square butt frames - 1905's !

Regards, Mike
Confused, Roy Jinks (History of S&W) list Ser. #'s 62,450-73,250 as 'Mod. of 1905', Round and Square Butt! ?????

D R

Last edited by D R Greysun; 04-22-2011 at 04:48 PM. Reason: ser # range or to 'and'
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:44 PM
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I think we are in the familiar zone of classification fuzziness here. The whole round butt/square butt and 1902 v. 1905 thing is probably not going to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Yes, there are no square butt 1902s (or at least I hope there aren't). But there are both round butt and square butt 1905s, and the major collector resources (Jinks, Neal & Jinks) draw the line at 62450. I understand Mike's point about relying on frame shape to distinguish the 1902 from the 1905, and maybe it's the case that the wrong (or at least unhelpful) criteria were used to distinguish the two models in the first place, but I am still comfortable calling this one a 1905. Stare decisis, as they say of Supreme Court decisions
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:23 PM
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Guys

As David mentions, this is an on-going gentlemens debate !

If one reads the catalogs, they will find BOTH the Model of 1902
(shown with a round butt), AND the Model of 1905 (shown with a
square butt) up into the 1930's. AND, in the parts catalogs, one
will always find 1902 and 1905 frames. From all the external factory
documents - like what orders were taken from - there are two models,
and their difference is ONLY the round butt vs the square butt.

AND , after WW2, there are, for decades, two models of the M&P; a
round butt model, and a square butt model.

The confusion comes about because of the Collectors wanted to
include/append engineering changes to the names of models. I think
this was an important idea, but it creates a conflict. The conflict comes
about because, in late 1904, at about serial 50,000 or so, towards the
end of the model of 1902 ( 1st change ) the factory introduced a new
model ; the Model of 1905 . It has its own page in the catalogs, but
in every way save for the butt configuration, it is identical to the
Model of 1902 1st change.

About 70 years later, when the Collectors were trying to define some
uniformity in the model designation, this presented a problem ; the
factory had introduced the Model of 1905 a bit too early for the
Collectors ! It would have been very nice to call this new gun the
Model of 1905 1st change , because then it would have been in sync
with the Model of 1902 1st change. Alas and alack, they could not
do this, because there was no Model of 1905 no-change preceeding it.

So - they elected to delay ( the Collectors did ) the introduction of
the Model of 1905 until the next engineering change, which is the
addition of the 5th frame screw in front of the trigger guard. And, at
that time, the Collectors went one step further and defined ALL
K-frames to be Model of 1905, round butt or square butt.

This has the effect of solving the inconsistency problem of numbering
engineering changes between round-butt models of 1902, and square
butt models of 1905. However, it loses the identity of the Model of
1902, which the factory never lost.

There are two further comments to offer here. First, some round-butt
guns from 1908, 1909, and even later, will letter as late-shipped
Models of 1902. They were not late-shipped, because the Model of
1902 was very much alive and well at the factory. It may be the
case, however, that Model of 1902 is what was written in the shipping
records for those guns, and the historian is being true to the records,
in those cases. It may also have been the case that Model of 1905
was written in the records, for round-butt guns. Still in all, certainly
some part of the factory ( and I personally think all parts of the
factory) regarded round-butt K-frames as models of 1902.

Second, and I think much more important, is the unlucky hand that
fate dealt the square-butt model of 1905; it was discontinued many
years ago ! All that remains is the venerable round-butt Model of
1902. And that is why I think it is wrong to refer to them as Model of
1905 - regardless of how much confusion it creates !

Its been fun (!), Mike
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:28 PM
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i have sw 32 wcf ctg what dose that mean
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlm2011 View Post
i have sw 32 wcf ctg what dose that mean
The 32 WCF or 32-20 is a rifle cartridge sometimes also used in handguns. S&W made this model on the same frame as their M&P .38 Special, but with its own serial number range. They were fairly popular in some areas in the 1910s and '20s but production ended by WWII and never resumed. If it is in good mechanical condition it should be safe to shoot with "cowboy" loads, but beware of any ammo from a box marked "High Speed" or "For Rifles" since some older ammunition was loaded hotter than is safe in these old revolvers.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
Second, and I think much more important, is the unlucky hand that
fate dealt the square-butt model of 1905; it was discontinued many
years ago ! All that remains is the venerable round-butt Model of
1902. And that is why I think it is wrong to refer to them as Model of
1905 - regardless of how much confusion it creates !

Its been fun (!), Mike
I thought they both (round and square) became Model 10's.

I can't find a 1902 listed beyond the '3 Pirates' catalog of 1913.
They don't seem to have a 1902 listed on the factory website.
In the 1917 Catalog D, they simply list the M&P with either a round or square butt. In parts catalogs, yes, they keep listing 1902's.

As I've said before, I'm not that bugged by this controversey, but I haven't taken my OCD pill today.
Mike, I see the technical correctness of what you say, but I think it really only applies for 10-12 years since the factory dropped the terms by Catalog D, at least in public presentations.
Frankly, I'm very content with the way Neal & Jinks did it. I prefer to class them by mechanical changes rather than butt shape. I think it makes it far simpler whether technically correct by the contemp factory jargon (which THEY abandoned).
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:32 AM
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Accuracy will be generally poor shooting .38 Special cartridges in that gun, as the Long Colt bore is a bit oversize if I am remembering correctly. I wouldn't shoot ANY full-charge .38 Special cartridges in it, but an old Colt that I had in that Long Colt chambering did O.K. with factory mid-range hollow-base wadcutters or equivalent handloads. The hollow base apparently flared out enough to take the rifling pretty well.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
I can't find a 1902 listed beyond the '3 Pirates' catalog of 1913.
They don't seem to have a 1902 listed on the factory website.
Gee, Lee

Lets not be so one-sided about this.
Guess what else disappears at exactly the same point in time ?

Indeed - no more mention of 1905, either. I think you need to keep
that in mind, when you reference 1905 4th change revolvers. They are
just as non-existant.

The whole point here is that, Yes, there are two different models for
the K-frame revolvers, and the difference is the butt configuration.
One of the reasons this is "so" important is that, as near as I can
tell, it is the only S&W product that is categorized this way. Its fine
with me if you - the Collectors - want to refer to the K-frames as
round butt model or square-butt model. However, if you - the
Collectors - want to refer to a Model of 1905, then its inappropriate
to not also refer to a Model of 1902, when the butt is round.

Regards, Mike
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:51 PM
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Last edited by pace40; 05-06-2011 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:51 PM
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Mike

Is that a snore, a vote of approval, or ???

Regards, Mike
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboineau View Post
Accuracy will be generally poor shooting .38 Special cartridges in that gun, as the Long Colt bore is a bit oversize if I am remembering correctly. I wouldn't shoot ANY full-charge .38 Special cartridges in it, but an old Colt that I had in that Long Colt chambering did O.K. with factory mid-range hollow-base wadcutters or equivalent handloads. The hollow base apparently flared out enough to take the rifling pretty well.

Hi rboineau,


I think there may be some confusion there with that.

As far as I recall, the Bores on the S & W M1899 through the '02 and on, were all the same, and, by then, .38 LC was same diameter Cartridge Case and same diameter Bullet as .38 Special anyway ( or vice versa ).

Possibly some Colt Revolvers of that time period, chambering the .38 LC Cartridge, had slightly larger Bores, I do not remember.

Much earlier in time, I think the .38 Colt Cartridge was a larger diameter Bullet, when it had been an Outside Lubed and Heeled Bullet of Hollow Base design, with the Bullet being the same diameter as the Cartridge Case...this dating to the 'conversion' period of the Cap & Ball Navys ad so on...but, this would have been in an earlier era than that of the time in which S&W introduced their M&Ps...

By which time, the .38 Colt Cartridge had been up-dated, and, changed to a then conventional and 'modern' form, and, from it, the .38 Special was devised, by lengthening the Cartridge case and using a slightly heavier charge of BP and a slightly heavier Bullet....leaving the Diameters of Bulet and Case, as they had been.



Mine ( S & W 'M&P' Revolvers of the M1899s, and '02s ) are as Accurate as any M&P could be, and more accurite than I can hold them of course, using standard .38 Special Ammunition or Black Power me-loads.


These were 'Tack Drivers' from the get go...

A Worn out Bore of course would spoil things somewhat, or worse than somewhat, for Accuracy over distance.

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Old 05-06-2011, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
Mike

Is that a snore, a vote of approval, or ???

Regards, Mike
Neither...I was directly involved in this topic a couple years back. Now I just grab my popcorn and sit on the sideline and watch.
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
I just grab my popcorn and sit on the sidelines.
Is that the same thing as being in the peanut gallery ?
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:14 AM
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One little side note about this model gun. I have one just like the OP's gun sn.668xx. But mine is marked as being in .38 MIL cal. instead of service cgt.
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
Is that the same thing as being in the peanut gallery ?
No its the popcorn gallery. Kinda like the peanut gallery except with a little more knowledge.

For instance, in the 1927 catalog, the factory calls the round butt "Military and Police" but it calls the square butt "Military and Police, Model K" yet noone is arguing that one is a model K and one isn't.

In 1902 or 1905 or 1908, for that matter, there was no such thing as a Military & Police revolver. They were cataloged as "38 Military Revolvers" yet everyone refers to them as M&P's.

Now back to my popcorn.

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Old 05-06-2011, 01:46 PM
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Mike

Clearly, the collectors have estabilished a nomenclature that is not
consistent with the catalogs. Its been beneficial insofar as being
able to classify engineering changes. On the other hand, it did so
at the cost of losing the catalog-classification of certain models;
specifically the round-butt K-frames.

Some collectors apparently do not care about this, but, of course,
I am not in that group; I do care. The square butt was introduced into
the K-frame line in late 1904 , as a separate model ; the 1905. Prior
to this, the 1899's and early 1902's were round-butt only.

Had it been the case that round-butt frames were never really all that
popular, and they more/less disappeared within a few decades after
the introduction of the 1899, then I could understand classifiying
all K-frames as models of 1905.

But, that isn't the case, at all. As Lee incompletely pointed out, the
1902 & 1905 specific designation disappear sometime after 1913. The
specification of separate models for round and square butt does not,
if ever, go away, at least until sometime after 1970.

What does go away, about 10 years or so ago, is the square butt frame.
It is the round butt that survives, to this very day. This is a key part of
my claim that the classifcation of early ( 1910 - 1940 ) K-frames should
include some reference to its factory-catalog model definition.

Needless to say, this causes great problems vis-a-vis engineering
changes. Round-butt models are inherently two changes ahead of
square butt models. And therein lies the dilemma !

Regards, Mike
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:50 AM
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I have read, with interest, the entire post discussing the 1902's and 1905, square butt vs round butt and am just a bit confused. I just today received a "FOR 38 SPECIAL AND US SERVICE CTG" that was sitting in my mother in laws garage for 30 years. It seems in great shape. I think it is a S&W but does not have S&W on it anywhere. The logo looks like a C T A, one on top of each other with a big almost closed circle around it, The word trade is above the logo and the word mark is below the logo.. I was wondering if anyone could help me determine the make, model age of it. Serial # on the square butt of the handle is 182,XXX (I see that post-ers XXX out serial # digits but I'm not sure why) Mine, as the other persons has 5 screws on the frame. One in front of the trigger guard. It also has smooth wooden hand grips. Nickel plated trigger and hammer. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
I have read, with interest, the entire post discussing the 1902's and 1905, square butt vs round butt and am just a bit confused. I just today received a "FOR 38 SPECIAL AND US SERVICE CTG" that was sitting in my mother in laws garage for 30 years. It seems in great shape. I think it is a S&W but does not have S&W on it anywhere. The logo looks like a C T A, one on top of each other with a big almost closed circle around it, The word trade is above the logo and the word mark is below the logo.. I was wondering if anyone could help me determine the make, model age of it. Serial # on the square butt of the handle is 182,XXX (I see that post-ers XXX out serial # digits but I'm not sure why) Mine, as the other persons has 5 screws on the frame. One in front of the trigger guard. It also has smooth wooden hand grips. Nickel plated trigger and hammer. Any help would be appreciated.

You should start a dedicated Thread for this one.

Images would greatly help.

Sounds like a Spanish emulation from the WWI era though...

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Old 03-02-2012, 03:38 PM
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This is why this forum is such a great place. Folks with a lot of knowledge on a given subject, can have a lively disussion on that subject and no one goes postal. Those of us that don't know squat, learn a few things..Thanks
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:44 AM
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Default old smithy military .38 special

ser# 882xx . Double action revolver in .38 special cal. Has "US Service CTG'S" on the barrel. Any information would be great. Date of manufacture? approx. value in good condition.

thanks
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:14 AM
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I had to get out my Barnes book to check the 2 cartridges. Both calibers used a .357" bullet and the diameters of both cases are almost identical. Cartridge lengths and rim diameters differ. Case length of the 38 Special is 1.16" and 38 LC is 1.03". Rim diameter of 38 Special is .440" and 38 LC is .433".

The difference does not seem to be great enouogh to cause any great difference in accuracy, but the shorter 38 LC could lose some accuracy when shot in longer chamber of the 38 Special.

Is there anyone out there that have trouble chambering the 38 Special in the 38 LC chamber?
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:52 PM
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I the same gun serial #71658, does this fall with in the
argument? 5 screw blued .38 s&w spl & u.s. service ctg.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:32 PM
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I have determined that the gun is was made in Spain by TAC sometime between 1905 and 1920
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:29 AM
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Is this the one?

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Old 03-24-2012, 09:42 AM
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STCM(SW) Thanks for the post. It is very near a perfect match. Mine has a square butt with smooth wooden grips and a 4 inch barrel
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:13 AM
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Default 38 S&W Special US Service CTG's

I have my grandfathers 38 S&W Special US Service CTG's, serial number of 68165. Mechanically great finish has worn considerably, it must have been nickel? It has 5 screws, 4 on side and 1 in front trigger guard.

Any idea on age or value? I would never sell but just curious.

If I decide to shoot this, should I use 38 special, 38 LC?

thanks in advance for all your help.


David
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