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Old 04-13-2018, 01:05 AM
Bullitt08 Bullitt08 is offline
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Default Help identifying .38 special

I just inherited this what I believe is a .38 special. Seems to be well worn but action is really smooth. From what information Iíve gathered from this site and some others the serial #is 32056. The cylinder,barrel and frame all have this matching #. So I know theyíre all original to the gun. Grips Iím sure were added by great grand dad before my father got it from him. Just trying to get an idea of its age. Not looking to sell it just itís my first hand gun, and an heirloom and trying to learn whatever I can. Iíll post what pictures I have and can post more if needed, just looking for any insights yaíll might have. Thank you in advance.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:17 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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An old one, probably made in 1903.
It looks like it went back in for something in August 1916 from the 8.16 stamp.

It was reblued but not likely by S&W, they don't blue hammers and triggers. Plastic "stag" grips.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:20 AM
Mike in Reedley Mike in Reedley is offline
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Looks like a pre-war Military & Police, the predecessor to the Model 10. From the photos it looks to me that itís been re-blued at some point. Check to make sure itís 38 Special, rather than 38 S&W.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:53 AM
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Absalom Absalom is offline
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You do indeed have a revolver made in 1903. It is a Model of 1902, also referred to as the .38 M&P 2nd Model. It can’t be in .38 S&W, has to be Special if it’s a .38. The serial puts it just before the 1st Change happened at 33803.

As was mentioned, it was completely re-blued, and the grips are likely Franzite or a similar mid-20th century imitation stag. This type which converted a round butt to a square butt grip shape was fairly popular.

Last edited by Absalom; 04-13-2018 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 02:17 AM
Bullitt08 Bullitt08 is offline
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Itís hard to see in the photos because itís hard to make out on the gun due to wear but on the one side of the barbell itís stamped 38 S&W special and under that then U. Then itís illegible then v CTG. When I saw special I thought that meant it was a 38 special but I was wrong to assume that then? As I said I inherited from dad he just passed away and I donít remember him ever firing this gun. He also had a .357 which of course can fire .38 special rounds that my brother got so Iím just trying to figure out what it is so I can get the correct ammo and such. Canít believe itís that old.
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Old 04-13-2018, 02:22 AM
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Absalom Absalom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt08 View Post
It’s hard to see in the photos because it’s hard to make out on the gun due to wear but on the one side of the barbell it’s stamped 38 S&W special and under that then U. Then it’s illegible then v CTG. When I saw special I thought that meant it was a 38 special but I was wrong to assume that then?
No you were not. It’s .38 Special.

I assume the barrel inscription is hard to read due to the re-finish. At that time, the caliber actually read .38 S&W SPECIAL & US SERVICE CTG in two lines, to remind people it would also fit the .38 Colt, which was used by the US military.

S&W did not harden the cylinders until 1920, so stick to standard target loads if you plan to shoot it, just to be safe and prevent unnecessary wear.

Last edited by Absalom; 04-13-2018 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 02:30 AM
Bullitt08 Bullitt08 is offline
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Wow. Glad I registered here. Been around shot guns and such since I was little but only recently got really interested in hand guns. Thanks for all the replies and input. I really want to fire this thing but now knowing the age I’ll probably have a gunsmith friend of mine give it a really good once over first. Other than what I thought was wear it makes sense it is likely due to being reblued, it really seems to be tight as far as the action of the cylinder and trigger. The yoke is tight too. Only thing loose is that damn handle no matter how hard you try works loose. Even the rifling in the barrel looks clean and just maybe slightly worn. Guess I’ll find out soon enough.Thank you all again!
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:02 AM
CapnB CapnB is online now
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You’ve come to the right place for all things Smith & Wesson. I predict you will enjoy shooting your Dad’s Model 1902 and soon be looking to expand both your knowledge and your collection. All the best, and welcome to the forum.
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