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Old 08-05-2012, 12:08 PM
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Default Smith & Wesson revolver identification

I would appreciate very much if somebody of you could help me in the identification a Smith & Wesson revolver model:
Some weeks ago, a friend of mine gave me a Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver that he found in poor conditions of storage, lost in a big warehouse for at least thirty five years. The gun was heavily rusted, pitted and some parts were missing. The worst part were the cylinder that had been apparently smashed with a heavy hammer or pressed in such way that became deformed and two of the chambers were made oval shaped making this piece unuseable. After cleaning, filing, sanding the frame and installing the missing parts to the action, the revolver seems to be still serviceable but only if a new cylinder and perhaps a new cylinder stop are fitted.
Unable to identify the model I made a research at the Internet but the characteristics of this gun does not match completely with any of the S&W revolver models displayed or may be that I did not look at the right places.
In order to purchase a new cylinder, I must confirm the frame size (it seems to be a N-frame) and model and then is when I need help from persons like you, with knowledge and experience about Smith & Wesson revolvers.
I have attached photos of the revolver. The serial number engraved at the heel of the frame grip, cylinder edge and interior of ejector rod shroud is - S 90XXX - the alphanumeric code engraved at the frame at the yoke area (that I think could be the model´s number) is: - E 4145 -
I reshaped the front sight that was originally half moon but was twisted and dented. I also cut about ¼” and recrowned the barrel because It was also very damaged.
Thanks a lot.
waffenmann
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:18 PM
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Sounds like it may be best kept as a paperweight conversation piece, since there is a good chance the frame and/or crane is also warped. "Filing and sanding" the frame sounds a little scary, too... However, If the frame is confirmed as OK, my first guess would be it's a 38-44 heavy duty and it should not be too difficult to find a replacement 38spl cylinder. Good luck.
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:12 PM
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Default S&W revolver identification.

Thanks for your reply, apparently everything but the cylinder is ok, nothing else is crushed, bent or warped. The filing and sanding was made only on the pitted surface of the frame, not affecting the functioning of the mechanism. I still need to confirm the model to order the right cylinder.

It would be good to leave this piece as paperweight, sparing all the hand work, but fixing this gun is really important taking into consideration that all firearm sales are completely banned in the place where I live (the criminals get all they want from the black market) and it is almost impossible to get a gun for protection of the HOME; carrying a gun without permit for personal protection in the street is penalized with 10 years in prison and there are not permits issued by authorities.

For personal protection in the street, the only way is to go in, at least, a Level NIJ III A armored car and have UN-ARMED body guards.

It is relatively possible to have guns for home protection but even for this purpose they are illegal and subject of confiscation but not penalized with prison.

Thanks.

Waffenmann
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Old 08-05-2012, 05:23 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.
That serial number dates to 1953 for a large frame or about 1946 for a medium frame, according to the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson.
A half moon front sight means it is ether a .38/44 Heavy Duty or a Military and Police revolver. The Heavy Duty is the large frame, the M&P is the medium frame. The Heavy Duty will have an under barrel shroud around the ejector rod. Does this have one?
Pics would help if you can post some.
Jim
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:54 PM
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Thank you, Jim. The revolver has an underbarrel shroud around the ejector rod. I started today to post in the forum and still trying to find how to load pictures (sorry). I will find the way the days to come. It seems you know a lot about S&W revolvers, I ask you if you could tell me if a S&W model 28 cylinder could fit my revolver ? If so, I will order one and try to fit it. Here there are precision machinists and good equipments including CNC mills, EDM machines, ED wire cutters, etc. but there are not a single gunsmith or armorer, neither are gunsmith shops because everything about guns is prohibitted or banned. From that point of view I will have to do all the refurbishing of this S&W by myself with the help of some technical handbook like the one from J. Kunhausen that I will order as soon as possible. I am not very knowledgeable about gunsmithing but I´m a quick learner. Thanks again for your help. Raúl
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:26 PM
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Sorry to hear of your (country's) plight regarding personal firearms ownership. I wonder if those who passed the laws are subject to their consequences, or are the ones able to afford armored vehicles and armed security.

A model 28 cylinder should fit your gun; it may have the same dimensions or be slightly longer than the original .38/44 part, but if so it can be shortened, given the local metal working capabilities you mentioned. Hope this is helpful, and stay safe!
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:01 PM
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just out of curiosity....what country? thanks.
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:20 PM
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Thanks again. I will buy the mod. 28 cylinder along with a new cylinder stop, indexing hand, etc. and the book of J. Kunhausen. By the way, I live in one of the latin american countries under the the government of the socialism of the 21st century. No further comments. Kind regards.
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:47 AM
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You weren't given a Model # because the gun predates model numbers which started in 1957. It has the Model name of 38/44 Heavy Duty. It became the Model 20 in 1957 so you can look for parts for that Model #.

The Mod 28 cylinder is a 357 Magnum cylinder but also is correct to shoot 38 Specials. But do not shoot 357s in it even though they chamber because the frame was not designed for 357 mag.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:50 AM
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Thank you Jim for your advice. I will get the 28 cylinder and shorten it that it is an operation easer and cheaper than shortening the barrel from the rear end. Kind regards. Raúl.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:41 PM
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Hi Jim, as I said, I ordered from Numrich the # 317080 Cyl. Assy. but by the time the vendor received the order it was sold out. The only Cyl. Assy. available now are: for model 28 # 1030720 (New Style) and for model 27 # 317060 which I don´t know if it is Old or New Style. I would like to know if the "New Style" could fit in this old revolver, of course after minor surgery. Once again I depend on your knowledgeable advice to order the right part. Thanks in advance for your kind help.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:17 PM
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A six-round N frame .357 cylinder is 1.62", and the .38 Special cylinder is 1.57", according to a standard reference.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:23 AM
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Thanks for your kind reply. I understand it is neccesary to shorten the cylinder, the rear end of the barrel or both in order the cylinder to fit - I have investigated in Internet and found that diameter of the cylinder I have is the same for N frame. What I am not sure is if a "New Style" cylinder for a S&W mod. 27 or 28 could work (after shortening) in a S&W 38-44 Heavy Duty because of the difference in the extractor/star, etc. Where I live I did not find any piece to compare neither found any gunsmith to ask because there are no gunsmiths with knowledge to this extent. The face of the cyl I have is flat with no cut for the rim of the case.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:22 AM
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The .357 cylinder at the time the Heavy Duty was made had cutouts for the case rims (called a "recessed" cylinder), and the current model does not. The HD cylinder did not have this feature, so my guess is a current production .357 cylinder of proper length will work if it fits.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:44 PM
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Hmmm...sounds like Venezuela or Cuba.

Good luck. If the time comes for a revolution, maybe those machine shops can turn out Sten guns.

I'm sorry that circumstances are so bad for you. Is archery legal? Can you even carry a knife?
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:11 PM
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Rebuilding a heavily damaged gun from the ground up takes patience, talent, and determination. You seem to have all three. Please keep us informed on your progress, and don't forget the pictures. We'd also like to see a picture of the finished product, with a used paper target for a background. Best of luck.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McLellan View Post
Rebuilding a heavily damaged gun from the ground up takes patience, talent, and determination. You seem to have all three. Please keep us informed on your progress, and don't forget the pictures. We'd also like to see a picture of the finished product, with a used paper target for a background. Best of luck.
Thanks for your kind words. Soon I will include pictures of the gun as it is now, after beeing filed, sanded and polished prior to blueing. I will order any available cylinder, old or new style, for mod 27 or 28 and make it to fit. Otherwise, just for fun, I will build an unfluted cylinder from scratch in a CNC Mill finishing the chambers with a Clymer reamer that is easier to obtain than the cylinder. Best regards.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
Hmmm...sounds like Venezuela or Cuba.

Good luck. If the time comes for a revolution, maybe those machine shops can turn out Sten guns.

I'm sorry that circumstances are so bad for you. Is archery legal? Can you even carry a knife?
It is not Venezuela or Cuba. My belief is that true revolutions are not won by guns but by legitimate ideals as history teaches us. Believe it or not, now in this country archery is illegal and also against the Law to carry a knife, a cub, baseball bat, etc., even an air gun it is absolutely illegal.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:24 PM
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I would buy whichever is the least expensive if they are different in price and trim to match the original cylinder and it'll be good and safe to shoot w/38s.
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