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  #1  
Old 04-15-2012, 06:31 PM
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Default 38/44 Heavy Duty

I dug my 4" Heavy Duty out of the safe this afternoon. It is in better condition that I remembered (95%+). It is serial # S746xx. I believe that this puts it being built in '49 or '50. The grips are stamped with the correct serial number. I had forgotten how neat this gun is. It is kind of like getting a new gun when you discover one that you have ignored for a few years. . I think a trip to the range is in order. Now I need to find the receipe for the load that duplicated the old 38/44 load.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:36 PM
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Default Search the site.

If you do a site search you will find quite a bit a discussion of a good recipe. It looks something like this:

12.5 grains 2400 powder under a somewhat hard 158 grain bullet. Works like a charm in my 38-44s.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:40 PM
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Not trying to argue with beagleye but my choreographing experience is that 11.5g to 12g of 2400, sparked by a standard SP primer will drive a 158g bullet to the mid-1100 fps range in 4"-5" barrels. This is the performance I've seen reported most often for the 38/44, i.e. 1140fps to 1160fps. Good luck and good shooting.

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Old 04-16-2012, 07:00 PM
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Hello, gents,

I'm new to the forum here, and will post an intro fairly quick in the members forum, but I have a question which I've been hoping to have answered. I've asked Bowen Firearms about this, but did not get a response.

I have a 38/44 HD as well, 5-inch gun and have toyed with the idea of selling it. I don't roll my own, and I prefer the envelope of the .357 Magnum over .38 special.

Is there a way to SAFELY have this weapon modified by someone like the folks at Bowen to fire .357 Magnum loads, or will I be better served by selling it and acquiring a dedicated .357 Magnum instead?

The question I have is relative to the feasibility of the project versus the cost.

Any answer you have is appreciated. I do not want to ruin the firearm nor contribute to a life-threatening incident, so conservative answers are more than welcome

Thanks folks,

Parker (I use my first name on any other forum I frequent, but it was taken here, thusly, I am known as h2htusk-chicago at this forum)
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:04 PM
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You would be spending money to lower the value.It would be more cost effective to sell it and buy a 357.
Edited to add: Perfect excuse to start loading your own ammo. The 38-44 loading is right up there with the 357.

Last edited by arjay; 04-16-2012 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:10 PM
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Reaming cylinder's. I don't believe any reliable gunsmith or machine shop would be willing to do that, to much liability involved. Remember that the 38/44 frames were heat treated to be safe with the lower pressure 44 special rounds not the .357 magnum round.

Keep your 38/44 and save your money for a new L frame .357 magnum.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary View Post
I dug my 4" Heavy Duty out of the safe this afternoon. It is in better condition that I remembered (95%+). It is serial # S746xx. I believe that this puts it being built in '49 or '50. The grips are stamped with the correct serial number. I had forgotten how neat this gun is. It is kind of like getting a new gun when you discover one that you have ignored for a few years. . I think a trip to the range is in order. Now I need to find the receipe for the load that duplicated the old 38/44 load.
Gary, for sure you have to take that Cadillac out to the range..!!! and let us know what recipe worked the best!!!!! and we need some pictures!!!
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:10 PM
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I personally wouldn't ever attempt to rechamber it. It will always be worth more in the same chambering it had when it left the factory. But it's your money, your revolver, and your decision.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:41 PM
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Only since you asked, my advice would be to leave the HD alone, and get a purpose-built .357. And BTW, keep the HD if budget permits.

Larry
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:21 PM
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Obviously your gun to do with as you wish, but you did ask... I certainly wouldn't "ruin" an all original HD as nice as the one you describe. I'd find a nice model 27 to satisfy my .357 cravings and keep the HD.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:35 PM
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Don't ream the cylinder. I would hang onto that HD. If you can't, you may be able to sell the 38/44 for enough to buy a .357 Magnum.

The 38/44 is a pretty popular gun on this forum.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:20 PM
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I concur, don't ream. If you decide you want to sell, count me as interested. I am pretty sure you will be able to finance a .357 with a HD, but that would be a sure sign of insanity.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:03 PM
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Thanks guys, looks like it would be a silly idea to screw around with this.

I guess the next question is what do with it? I'm not really interested at this time in loading my own, and as I am in the process of moving from a larger residence to a smaller residence, divorce being what it is, is selling it really viable? I don't need to take a bath on this, but I really don't have the room for a safe queen at the moment and won't for a while.

I can't find a decent reference online for this revolver, no idea what it may be worth other than what I paid for it (which seems like it may be a little high)

Anyone have any ideas about value for this revolver, or am I coloring outside the lines by asking that?

Thanks gents - some Heavy Duty loveliness for your afternoon enjoyment follows





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Old 04-17-2012, 06:06 PM
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If you think about it, that HD isn't really gonna take up much room. It is a real treasure. Be shame to let it get away.

You came to the right place to sell it. Lots of fellers here like HDs and they will give you a fair deal if you put it up for sale.

You will get some good and honest advice here.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:19 PM
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Might want to start a what's it worth thread.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:21 PM
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If you list it on here for a relatively decent price you'll sell it quickly. If you need the money, I understand. If you really don't, I would hold onto it. The Heavy Duty is one of the all time classic S&W revolvers. I have a 5" one from 1952. It's one of my favorite revolvers, and I even carry it occasionally. It's in about the same condition as yours, with the correct stocks. It would be one of the last to go if I were ever going to start selling stuff. If you sell it, I'll bet you'll regret it, but it's your choice and your revolver, so do what's best for you.
You mention you don't handload. Neither do I, but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying shooting it. Take it out and shoot it again. Bet you'll keep it.
Jim
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:03 AM
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FYI, don't take it to a gun shop and ask to trade it in on a newer .357. It may just be worth more than the .357, and the dealer will try and (shall we say get it for less than it is worth) while selling you the .357 for retail.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:18 PM
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Wonderful revolver. mine was made in 1937. Obviously the grips are not correct, but it's a great shooter. I picked this one close to five years ago. It was priced at $500.00 at that time.


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Old 04-22-2012, 08:34 PM
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Default Worth plenty

That appears to be a late transitional HD. If the stocks number to the gun I would think it has decent collector value(I am not an expert). I would say with numbered stocks- $800 at least. Shoot a pm to dc wilson and or 1aspenhill for some honest expert advise on a fair price. It's a great looking gun and I don't think you will have any trouble selling it here. I also am of the strong opinion that it should finance a good quality modern .357 (586, 686, mod 19)with room to spare.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:56 PM
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Parker, you can get a decent quality Pre-27 (five-screw .357 Magnum from the 1950-55 era) with a six-inch barrel for about $500-600. Other barrel lengths are more sought after and will cost more, but consider that an entry level price.

Your .38/44 is worth more than that. The serial number on the rear face of the cylinder puts manufacture in 1938, so it's a late prewar gun. Those are postwar stocks on it, but I have paid over $600 for prewar HDs with the wrong stocks in lesser condition than that one. I haven't closely followed HD prices in recent months, but there should be willing buyers for that one in the $750-800 range. It looks to be in 90-95% condition. That doesn't look like a refinish to me, so that holds its value up.

That gun is one of the last to have the small company logo on the left side of the gun. Later in 1938 the logo got larger and moved to the sideplate.

Since I'm writing from California, where we are surrounded by an economic reality distortion field, I may be somewhat off on the valuation. But others here should speak up.

I join all the others in encouraging you to leave that gun alone. Converting it to .357 will lessen its collector value. The original Depression era .38-44 loads were almost the equal of .357 Magnum loads. You could make the argument that the .357 Magnum exists because people were trying to achieve that level of power by shooting .38/44 rounds in smaller frame guns, destroying them with the extra pressures. The .357's longer case solved the chambering problem, and gave S&W a new model to sell as well.

That is a wonderful collectible specimen of a classic prewar S&W revolver. If you can, keep it. Its value will only go up. If you want a .357, buy a good used one from the 1950s.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary View Post
I dug my 4" Heavy Duty out of the safe this afternoon. It is in better condition that I remembered (95%+). It is serial # S746xx. I believe that this puts it being built in '49 or '50. The grips are stamped with the correct serial number. I had forgotten how neat this gun is. It is kind of like getting a new gun when you discover one that you have ignored for a few years. . I think a trip to the range is in order. Now I need to find the receipe for the load that duplicated the old 38/44 load.
Gary, I'd love to see a photo of that gun. The serial number means that it would be one of the last postwar transitional HDs, and the 1949-1950 ship date sounds right.

I have a very accurate postwar transitional HD that I haven't recently shown enough love. I need to get mine out to the range as well.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:10 PM
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Default S range

I guess I got confused by the original post on the serial range, I thought it was s74xxx. But still I can't read what's on the back of the cylinder, what does it say. I have a 1938 5" HD, serial number 53xxx.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:47 PM
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Default s&w 38/44

[/IMG]hey buds"

Not sure what its worth or year" Its a 38/44 s&w, 5"barrel, SER# 468xx has swept back hammer, ajustible rear site, has a "king' pat pend front ramp site,with high visiblity red square . Gun is a solid 85 to 90%, maybe less than 100 rounds through it. THANKS MUCH !
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:10 PM
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Welcome to the forum glocknroll.
You might want to start your own thread about your gun and include some pictures if you can.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:29 AM
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Sounds like a rare and possibly valuable gun from the mid-late 30s. New thread territory. Welcome.
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