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Old 09-05-2017, 09:20 AM
ttremblay ttremblay is offline
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Hi guys, I scored this 38/44 from a friend of mine who is selling a lot in his collection. All matching numbers, cylinder, barrel and frame and I believe the grips are original too. Has a bit of wear on the barrel but nothing on the cylinder and under the grips is like new. Has not been converted to 357.

Serial number is 1455XX.

Anyone have a recommendation on what I should feed it? I reload and I'm told I should be putting pretty hot 38s through it.

I'm considering selling it (too many N-frames and have other things I want) but I do want to take it to the range first.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:49 AM
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Strange advice about "putting pretty hot 38s through it." You certainly don't need to do that. It will shoot any .38 S&W Special ammunition just fine. The original intent of chambering a heavy N-frame revolver in .38 Special was so it could handle a stout .38 Special load introduced concurrently, known as the .38-44 cartridge. That load is no longer available from the larger ammunition manufacturers, and hasn't been since the early 1970s. Dimensionally, it was identical to all other standard .38 Special cartridges, but was somewhat more heavily loaded. The "standard" loading for a .38 Special has a muzzle velocity of around 800 ft/sec. The .38-44 load produces a MV of around 1100 ft/sec. That produces a somewhat greater recoil, and the greater mass of the N-frame revolver helps tame it.

These are very desirable revolvers. Think twice about selling it. If you do decide to sell it, you will have no problem in finding a buyer. Don't be surprised if you start getting personal messages offering to buy it.

Last edited by DWalt; 09-05-2017 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:05 AM
ttremblay ttremblay is offline
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Thanks DWalt! I had loaded some light 38s for my K frames for range duty and I'm really excited to see how well they shoot in this. It's such a beautiful gun and has so many details that the later Ns lost.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:21 AM
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Beautiful, it took me years to find one. I'm not sure that is pre WWII though, hammer, trigger and stocks look 50s, early 60s.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttremblay View Post
Serial number is 1455XX which makes it pre-war
Should have an "S" in front of it. Old Cop is correct, 1950 target. VERY nice gun!
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:53 AM
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It doesn't have a S prefix which I thought would make it pre-war?
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:35 AM
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I would be very surprised if there is no S prefix to the SN. First, prewar (pre-WWII) N-frames did not have SNs greater than about 62000 (no letter prefix). SN S1455xx would place yours as being from 1955. And your photo clearly shows that is the case, unless you consider pre-war to be "pre-Vietnam War." At that time, S&W catalogued yours as the ".38/44 Outdoorsman" target revolver, as you originally noted, not as a Model 1950. The "Model 1950" designation was used only for similar N-frame revolvers chambered in .44 and .45.

Last edited by DWalt; 09-05-2017 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:59 AM
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Check the bottom of the grip.
That's a good place to get the Serial Number.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttremblay View Post
It doesn't have a S prefix which I thought would make it pre-war?
Did you pull the grips to check the serial number on the bottom of the butt? That is where the serial number will be.
Ed
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:44 PM
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hmmm this is interesting guys. I will take some more photos and see what you guys think. I looked at the gun while traveling (bought from a family friend) and I'm 99% sure the SN on the butt has no S prefix. Thanks for all your thoughts I hope we can get to the bottom of this!
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:00 PM
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Nice post war 38/44 Outdoorsman with all the target options.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttremblay View Post
It doesn't have a S prefix which I thought would make it pre-war?
It don't look like a Pre- War Gun.
It's a beauty, probably better than mine.
Mine is S79810. Looks a lot like the the one posted here!
After looking at the
Ousted pictures again, there is one thing that does bother me.
Gets a Pic, RH of mine.
Anybody else see what I'm seeing?
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:23 PM
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Nice 38/44, Congrats!
It's definitely post war though.
Those non relieved diamond targets are valuable on their own. Be careful when you eject the empty cases not to scratch the left panel.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:19 PM
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The S&W Outdoorsman 38/44 ia an awesome revolver, I'am sure you will develope a special affection for it and would not let it go.

They are, along with the Heavy Duty 38/44 a fine example of methodic craftmanship not found in any modern handgun
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Old 09-06-2017, 01:02 AM
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Post-war (with the barrel rib):



Pre-war (without the barrel rib):

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Old 09-06-2017, 01:39 AM
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A postwar gun, later called Model 23.

No danged reason to buy one, as it has the bulk of a M-27 and the M-27 adds .357 capability. If you had to save some money, you could have bought the M-28. And this is what killed the M-23!

BUT...you already own this gun and it's a fine example of what S&W's workmanship was back then, and if you get Buffalo Bore's heavy Plus P .38 Special ammo, it'll do 93.668% of what a .357 usually does.

I wouldn't hesitate to use it on javelina, bobcats, coyotes, or small deer to about 50 yards. With milder loads, it's about perfect for rabbits or squirrels, and Elmer Keith used his to shoot blue grouse. Of course, it'll kill snakes easily.

It won't reach out and hammer things at a distance as well as a .357, but closer in, will do most outdoor work well and is a fine defense gun. It's a superb target gun, too.

Shoot normally with std. .38 ammo, with Plus P and that very hot BB round when needed and it'll prove an accurate, useful gun.

I own .357's, but if I had this .38-44, I'd keep it, as a fine old S&W that's still very useful.

I doubt the target hammer and trigger are original to this gun. A factory letter may tell, but costs a bunch to learn so little.

If I were you, I'd get out my copy of, Sixguns and re-read what Elmer Keith wrote about the .38-44. Pay attention to his loads, too, but adjust for modern powders.

I'm a bit disappointed that someone who can't even ID a postwar .38-44 lucked into one this nice. Maybe you SHOULD sell it, to someone who'll appreciate it more.

Last edited by Texas Star; 09-06-2017 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:01 AM
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Nice firearm and it was the bomb in its day ,that said it would make a fine outdoor carry gun even today but it is too nice and valuable for that kind of duty .I would keep it if at all possible and take care of it as it will get more valuable but if you must sell it please post it here first and give us the option of owning it as we are all S&W fans .Im sure you could get a fair price for it .
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:30 PM
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If you reload, it is not at all difficult to duplicate the .38-44 loadings of yesteryear.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:23 PM
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great find!!!
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:54 PM
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts! I will post some more pics when I'm done traveling. Of course I'm going to put a few wheels through it and see how she shoots! When I'm ready to sell I'll be posting on here. I already have too many guns I don't want to shoot because of rarity or condition or collectability so I don't think I'll keep this one long. Thanks again for all your thoughts folks.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:51 PM
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Hey all, got a few more pics after shooting two wheels out of this beauty last night. It's so smooth and so accurate. It's even better than I remember.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:11 PM
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...four line address means it's after mid 1948 or so...five screw means before 1956 or so...I guess the 4 liner could have been rolled on if it was returned to the factory for work at some point...if it was...the date should be on the grip frame somewhere...
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
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....
I'm considering selling it (too many N-frames and have other things I want) but I do want to take it to the range first.
That's just crazy talk.
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