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Old 03-20-2017, 09:40 PM
M_conrad_0311 M_conrad_0311 is offline
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Default Pre war 38, to buy or not

At a LGS I came across this today, finish is poor, looks like a lanyard loop was broke off the bottom, cylinder, barrel and fame numbers all match. I didn't check grips. At what price would you buy? I know nothing about this model of pistol.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:52 PM
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I can't tell if the second digit of the serial number is a 6 or an 8. If the latter, this gun is numbered very close to a couple of guns that went to South Africa in early 1940. The remnant of a lanyard loop and the smooth stocks say "military" to me. I must ask: is this gun chambered in .38 Special or .38 S&W? The Commonwealth contract revolvers of this period mostly chambered the shorter round, but some were produced in .38 Special.

If a military contract can be confirmed, most collectors would call this a British Service Revolver (BSR) or even a Pre-Victory.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:03 PM
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38 s&w ctg
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:04 PM
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The stocks can't be original to the gun (the serial is at least two years too early for those), but the finish looks to be a very good candidate for original pre-war blue. As David says, the caliber is decisive. A .38 Special would make it a US police or other agency contract gun, a .38 S&W would be a pre-Victory BSR, although except for the mentioned Sourh African guns (which are marked), 4" barrels are very uncommon on those.

PS: We typed at the same time. So it is a BSR. Any other markings on the backstrap or elsewhere?

Last edited by Absalom; 03-20-2017 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:04 PM
M_conrad_0311 M_conrad_0311 is offline
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686841 is SN
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:11 PM
M_conrad_0311 M_conrad_0311 is offline
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I did not take any of the back strap, but I do not remember seeing any other markings. Here is one of the right side.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:14 PM
brigham33 brigham33 is offline
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In my list of "pre-victories" I've got two serials below that one. I would guess its an early military contract gun (BSR) - especially in 38 S&W. As I am particularly drawn to the "pre-victories", I would look at it as a restoration, and look for 1930's service grips and a new lanyard ring. I would get a history letter for it. My estimate of value is between $400-500, but I am fairly cheap since I have quite a few of these.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:18 PM
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I do not believe S&W made the .38 S&W for anyone but the British military contracts at the time, so looking at the chart in Pate, of 4" BSR's there are only the the two shipments to South Africa in 1940 (total of 13,847, not all of which made it to SA, IIRC) and one to the BPC (4,879). If the gun is all-original, hard to say definitely based on only two photos, it has got to be one of those with that serial.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_conrad_0311 View Post
I did not take any of the back strap, but I do not remember seeing any other markings. Here is one of the right side.
I see a "crown over whatever" military acceptance stamp below the MADE of the IN USA. I know these from the butt of Canadian .455's, so in the absence of the obvious SA stampings, this might be one of the BPC-shipped guns, and it went to Canada, which would be a plausible hypothesis. (Unless that's just a random blemish and I just failed a Rohrschach test )

Last edited by Absalom; 03-20-2017 at 10:24 PM.
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:48 PM
M_conrad_0311 M_conrad_0311 is offline
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I have to work late tomorrow, but I will swing by Wed and get some better pictures. I will pull off the grips as well. Anything specific I should check?
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:32 PM
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KEN L KEN L is offline
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Number stamped on inside of right stock.
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEN L View Post
Number stamped on inside of right stock.
That will tell you whether the stocks are later repros, in which case they won't be numbered or will have a (fake) matching number; or they are originals off a later gun, in which case you'll find a different serial. The gun's serial cannot match that stock. The lowest matching smooth walnut we have confirmed are somewhere around the 890-thousands.

Try to get a closer look at the area around the MADE IN USA where I think I see the mark. Check for any additional markings on the (and under the) barrel and cylinder, as well as the backstrap and both sides of the frame.
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Old 03-22-2017, 02:31 PM
M_conrad_0311 M_conrad_0311 is offline
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Here are additional photos of BSR. There were no proofmarks on the back strap. Included is a closer photo of possible proof under made in USA. Grips have a 470,000 range SN. Only mark on frame under grip is a T lower left side. I am still unsure if the possible proof mark below made in USA may be a blemish/scratch?
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Pre war 38, to buy or not-0322171403b-jpg   Pre war 38, to buy or not-0322171402-jpg   Pre war 38, to buy or not-0322171405a-jpg   Pre war 38, to buy or not-0322171405-jpg   Pre war 38, to buy or not-0322171403a-jpg  

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