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Old 07-14-2017, 12:09 AM
mkl57 mkl57 is offline
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Hi, New to forum. Looking for some information on S & W revolver. It was originally owned by my great grandfather.

It is a smith and Wesson revolver with the serial number of 16235. It is says on the barrel 38 S & W Special CTG.

Also it is 6 shot with a 5 inch barrel.

On the top of the barrel it reads: Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass. USA. Pat'd July 1.84. April 9.89. May 21.95. Aug. 4.96. Dec. 22.96. Oct. 4.98.

What is the year in which it was made and what would it be called?

Any other info would be appreciated. Would there be an disassembly manual available?

Thanks!

Mark

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Old 07-14-2017, 06:02 AM
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Welcome to the Forum, Mark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkl57 View Post
What is the year in which it was made and what would it be called?
It was called the .38 Military Model of 1899, now usually referred to as the .38 Military & Police First Model.

I would estimate the year of production as 1901. However, there are collectors on this Forum who specialize in these and they might be able to nail that down more precisely. If you need to know the exact date it left the factory, you will want to contact the S&W Historical Foundation and purchase a letter of authenticity.

What is cool about this one is that the extractor rod knob is still in place. Often they are missing.

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Would there be an disassembly manual available?
I have no idea.

Nice gun to inherit. Congratulations.
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:41 AM
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Welcome also! Jack has good information above (as usual ).

Several Forum members here are familiar with the internals on these 1899s and can advise you on working on one. However, if it cycles and times normally, it may be better and simpler to flush out the internals with brake cleaner via the frame opening for the hammer and underneath via the top of the grip frame, then lightly re-lubricate. The warning here is the stocks should be removed prior to doing this; however, the material is brittle and the panels may crack.

My usual method for doing this is removing the stock screw and seeing if the panels simply fall off the frame. If they do not, put the screw back in without engaging the threads and tap 'lightly' on the head; this should loosen the right panel and then the left one should come off easily. Hope this is helpful.
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:08 AM
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The disassembly/assembly instructions are to be found in Chicoine's Antique Firearms Disassembly/Assembly book.

It's worth noting his recommended method of removing the trigger assembly (a comparatively complex monkey motion assembly with a leaf spring) is "fraught with peril" as one is instructed to remove the (spring) retaining pin with the spring compressed.(!!). One of our members (Mike Priwer, a walking encyclopedia on these guns) has devised a special tool (Part Number MP-001TS) consisting of a small wooden dowel rod (cut to suit/beat to fit) which greatly simplifies your life. It functions as well on any/all of the "pre-5 screw 4 screw" guns. Fabrication and use instructions are available on request. Such requests can be hazardous to your health and well being, because you'll be kicking yourself for not thinking of it on your own. It's one of those entirely too simple deals.

Ralph Tremaine

It's worth noting also this special tool may be used for reassembly, thereby negating the necessity to tear your hair out trying to align the trigger spring pin hole with the use of Mr. Chicoine's oft cited "spreader"/"reverse" pliers----which is no fun at all!!

Last edited by rct269; 07-14-2017 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:03 AM
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I'll agree that the shipment from the factory of your revolver was probably made some time in 1901, and probably in the later half of that year, based upon several relatively nearby SNs having known shipping dates. But SNs don't track too closely with shipping date, so 1902 shipment is always a possibility. Yours probably has the caliber "38 Special" stamped on the barrel. That started around SN 7500.

The Model of 1899 is a somewhat historic revolver for S&W as it was the very first built on the K-size frame, and is the direct ancestor of many millions of K-frame revolvers made since. It's not incorrect to say that S&W owes most of its success to the Model of 1899, as the K-frame revolvers have, for most of its existence, been its mainstay for sales throughout the world. It was followed by the Model of 1902, which incorporated some mechanical improvements. There were approximately 21,000 1899s made in .38 Special, and somewhat fewer (about 5,300) were chambered in .32-20 (called the .32 Winchester back then). In the 1900-1901 period the U. S. Navy and U. S. Army each purchased 1000 Model 1899s, but it was not adopted by either for military service at that time. Yours is not in the SN range of those military purchases. Examples of those military 1899s are the most desirable to collectors. A few Model 1899s were made up in "Target" style with adjustable sights, and those are also desirable.

1899s are always readily identifiable as they do not have a spring-loaded support lug on the barrel ahead of the extractor rod tip as do all later models. Be very careful to not lose the knob on the end of the extractor rod. Original replacement knobs are all but impossible to find.

Yours may well be in shootable condition and it can be fired safely with standard velocity lead bullet cartridges. Even so, I would not recommend firing it. I would also not recommend you go probing around its innards with a screwdriver. If you break something, it is likely that it cannot be replaced. At its age it deserves retirement memento, not shooting, status. It is older than about 99.999+% of humans still alive. Don't even think about having it refinished. Just clean and wax it.

Last edited by DWalt; 07-14-2017 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:59 PM
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Welcome to the Forum. There is a great book out there by David Cicoine, titled Antique Firearms Assembly/Disassembly, which details many firearms, including the 38 HE, 1st Model. They are not totally different than later Model 1905s, but if you have never taken one apart, the manual is a big help. Here are a few pictures of the insides of this model. First is a blued gun all cleaned up and the second & third are of another 1899 before and after. Whenever I take a new to me model apart, I take lots of pictures, which are a great help in re-assembling the gun.

BTW - I shoot every one of my Model 1899s and they are very enjoyable at the range.
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