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Old 05-18-2017, 08:33 AM
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Default Help identify heirloom from Grandpa

Hello to all as I am new to this site. I think I am in the correct forum, if not please advise mod to move my post.
Currently live in South Louisiana and inherited a revolver that was used by my Grandpa. He used it to kill pigs while making sausage. I got the revolver about 10 years ago. He passed away before I was born, ole mule kicked him in the chest, he passed before they could get him to Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Damn mule...
Looking for any information about the revolver so that I can pass this down to my sons.
See attached pics.
.38 caliber.
Hand ejector style.
This is what we see on the piece;
Serial number on the butt: 25087. The last 3 digits are hard to read, may be incorrect.
Stamped on the barrel:
38S&WSPECIAL CTG'S
US SERVICE

Stamped on the top of the barrel are what appears to be some dates, but too worn to read and I dare not try to clean it up to read at this point.
Barrel length: 4 inches
Stamped on the yoke: F 288.
Sights are fixed.

Thank you for any input.
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Last edited by boytoy; 05-18-2017 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:45 AM
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That's called a Model of 1902. It was probably shipped in 1902 to 1903. Great family heirloom. Please measure the barrel from the front face of the cylinder to the muzzle. It ought to be four inches.

And welcome to the forum. I should have said that first.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:50 AM
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You have a .38 Hand Ejector, Model of 1902 Military and Police revolver. Its SN indicates it probably shipped in the 1902-03 period. The "U. S. Service CTG" part of the barrel caliber stamping refers to the .38 Long Colt cartridge, the standard military cartridge of that time. This cartridge pre-dates the .38 S&W Special cartridge, which is slightly longer. But in this revolver, either one can be used. The .38 LC is now obsolete. It's recommended that if you chose to fire it, it is best to use only standard velocity .38 Special cartridges with lead bullets.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:51 AM
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DC Wilson, thanks for the quick review & reply.
Wow !!! That old is incredible and great news.
Yes the barrel would be 4" by your description on how to measure it.
Now I'm salivating wanting to know more!
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:55 AM
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Great stuff,,,thanks... I'm blown away by the history of this piece.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:27 AM
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Welcome to the forum. Nice revolver. A keeper for sure.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:28 AM
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I have a first change, and have always liked the wordy caliber description.

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Old 05-18-2017, 09:33 AM
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Default insurance value

Knowing how old this is, should I keep as a wall hanger or should we store in a safe place? Can you put a value on this item?
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:55 AM
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M&P in general are not that valuable. They were S&W bread and butter guns. They were the Toyota Corolla of their day. Solid, reliable, inexpensive and mas produced. Most people could afford a M&P. In 1957 the name changed to model 10 and they are still made today. Typically they are 38 special caliber so the 38 Long Colt could be worth more or less. I see them around $350 +/- depending on the condition and accessories like the original box.

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Old 05-18-2017, 09:55 AM
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There is something about firearms passed down from those who went before us. To hold something they carried, used and often depended upon stirs my imagination. The old saying "if only they could talk" is truly appropriate.

I have my grandfather's Iver Johnson breaktop. Mom told me he he slept with it when he moved his family from Minnesota to Montana in the early part of the last century. Mom hadn't been born at that time and I was too young to know grandpa very well before he passed, so it's just a story. Still it makes my mind go wild. At a gun show, Grandpa's revolver might bring $50. To me, though, it's priceless.

Your situation is the same. You have an heirloom with a story behind it. I doesn't matter what it's worth in monetary value. It's priceless to your family. You have a little piece of your Grandfather's life to cherish for generations. Thanks for posting the story.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:20 AM
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Default you nailed it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krogen View Post
There is something about firearms passed down from those who went before us. To hold something they carried, used and often depended upon stirs my imagination. The old saying "if only they could talk" is truly appropriate.

I have my grandfather's Iver Johnson breaktop. Mom told me he he slept with it when he moved his family from Minnesota to Montana in the early part of the last century. Mom hadn't been born at that time and I was too young to know grandpa very well before he passed, so it's just a story. Still it makes my mind go wild. At a gun show, Grandpa's revolver might bring $50. To me, though, it's priceless.

Your situation is the same. You have an heirloom with a story behind it. I doesn't matter what it's worth in monetary value. It's priceless to your family. You have a little piece of your Grandfather's life to cherish for generations. Thanks for posting the story.
Thank you kind sir, great advice. It will stay on my wall so all can see it and get locked up when we leave for periods of time. This will be kept in the family and passed down.
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:36 AM
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Gun values are based upon both scarcity and condition. Your Grandpa's revolver doesn't have much of either. You might find a roughly similar revolver at a gun show selling in the $250-$350 price range (assuming it is in original and shootable condition), so aside from its value to you due to its family heritage, it has only minimal monetary value to most potential buyers.

"Typically they are 38 special caliber so the 38 Long Colt could be worth more or less."
Regarding the two-caliber barrel stamping, there is nothing rare or unusual about it for guns of that time period. S&W M&Ps were so-stamped from 1902 until about 1907-08, up to around SN 100000 or slightly higher.

Last edited by DWalt; 05-18-2017 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 05-18-2017, 12:17 PM
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From a collector perspective, an important feature of your gun is that it is an early Model of 1902, specifically meaning that the barrel has no shoulder where it meets the frame, but rather is a straight taper from the muzzle to the frame.

The Model of 1902 started at serial number 20900. At about serial number 33800, an engineering change was introduced that thickened both the barrel OD at the frame, and the frame nose, into which the barrel is screwed. This resulted in a shoulder on the barrel. Collectors refer to these later guns as Model of 1902 1st change.

As a result, the early, or original Model of 1902, are scarce guns, and are sought out by a good number of collectors. Maybe your gun is worth $300 to $400, depending on whether the right collector comes along.

Regards, Mike Priwer
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:09 PM
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A very nice antique. Hopefully, you'll keep it in the family.
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Old 05-18-2017, 05:22 PM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! I appreciate federali's comment about an old gun. But, technically, your GF's gun is not an antique because it was made after 1898.

I like the wall hanging. Consider using Strikehold on it to stop any rusting in that dry and dusty parish you live in .
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arik View Post
...... Typically they are 38 special caliber so the 38 Long Colt could be worth more or less.......
To avoid a possible misimpression, this gun (with the ... & US SERVICE CTG stamping) is a .38 Special gun just like almost all others (there are some exceptions, but not to confuse things here).

For S&W, mentioning on the barrel that it will also fit the older .38 LC, which at the time (until about 1909) was the standard US military cartridge for the DA Colts, was pure marketing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boytoy View Post
Knowing how old this is, should I keep as a wall hanger or should we store in a safe place? Can you put a value on this item?
I agree with the others' valuation; this is not a high value as a "collectible", so there is no need to treat the gun as a fragile and precious object and lock it away. It's valuable to you due to its history, but given its condition, you can't do any more damage to it if you keep it out somewhere and show it around at family gatherings and maybe spill some BBQ sauce on it. Just be safe!
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:04 PM
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"For S&W, mentioning on the barrel that it will also fit the older .38 LC, which at the time (until about 1909) was the standard US military cartridge for the DA Colts, was pure marketing."

I probably wouldn't say it was there purely for marketing purposes, as the .38 LC cartridge was in wide usage at that time in both military and civilian revolvers (mainly Colts). I'd say the S&W dual caliber barrel stamping was more educational than opportunistic, letting potential purchasers know that either cartridge was OK to use in the Model 1902. The .38 LC revolvers hung on for quite a long time in military service even after the .45 ACP was adopted by the US military, and some guns in that caliber saw rear-area service throughout WWI, and for several years after WWI by the various state guard units. I don't know when the .38 LC cartridge was discontinued by the big loaders, but I remember seeing boxes of it on store shelves in the late 1970s, so it retained some market demand until at least then. I believe some of the specialty loaders still offer it on a limited basis for applications like CAS shooters.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:13 AM
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Default Thank you

Thank you to all for taking the time to school me on our heirloom. Very positive feedback and replies by all.
See the attached pic. Proudly displayed for all to see.
Thanks again!
Tommy
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:22 PM
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Wall display is great!
I would consider having a qualified gunsmith remove the hammer placed fireing pin and store it safely away.
Thus if a underage visitor, unsupervised gets grandpa's gun down an out, we'll no chance of a tragedy.
Also if burglars visit.
Sorry I was a cop 33 years
Saw way too much.

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Old 05-19-2017, 04:16 PM
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Hi
That is a nice hog killin .38 and it may not get you a new car at auction. But your grandaddys sauasage recipes might if he was good at it. I have had some mighty fine sausage from Louisiana.
Regards
Bob
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:34 PM
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Speaking of Louisiana hog butchering, does anyone else remember the 1981 movie "Southern Comfort"? Also starring the recently departed Powers Boothe in one of his better roles.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:06 PM
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That's a very nice firearm. Hold onto it until you can one day pass it down to your own grandson.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
Speaking of Louisiana hog butchering, does anyone else remember the 1981 movie "Southern Comfort"? Also starring the recently departed Powers Boothe in one of his better roles.
I sure do. I was a young 19 year old working on a drilling tender in the Gulf of Mexico with a bunch of old time true born and bred coon@$%&**. My father was one of them and just happened to be the barge captain on the same rig with me.

I brought a copy of it on VHS with me when my hitch started. Back then there wasn't even television reception on those old rigs, but we did have a T.V. and VCR for the ones that brought "Adult" movies with them.

Like I said these were old time true born and bred coon@$%&**.

That VHS tape was sent by helicopter and boat to every rig in the gulf by the tool pushers and company men. They were ecstatic. It must have cost 20,000 dollars to send that tape all over the gulf and by the time it made it back to me my hitch was up and it had been safely returned back to me.

It was like I had something worth millions to them and they had promised to return it undamaged. What a memory. Thanks for bringing it up. That's a special memory of when I spent those years on the gulf working with my dad.

boytoy, that revolver looks great hanging on that wall. Never let it go.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:39 PM
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Default My advice....

Write a letter describing the history of the gun, and everything you remember about it. Put is in a display case with the gun. That will make family members less likely ever to sell it and more, want to pass it on. History like that is priceless. It's what I tell every family member of a living war vet who 'brought home his .45....'
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