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Old 04-15-2018, 03:40 PM
wcpffa1 wcpffa1 is offline
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S&W Victory original or replacement barrel? S&W Victory original or replacement barrel? S&W Victory original or replacement barrel? S&W Victory original or replacement barrel? S&W Victory original or replacement barrel?  
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Default S&W Victory original or replacement barrel?

I received a factory letter on my recent purchase of a Victory model that stated it was shipped to the United States Strategic Services with a 2" barrel so the 4" barrel must be a replacement.
I sent a followup letter to the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation about a month ago asking if the barrel may in fact be original and have not yet received a response, so I thought I'd ask the opinions of those on this forum.
My letter stated the serial numbers on the frame, barrel flat, cylinder,extractor star, and grip panel all match. Also the numbers on the crane and crane recess match. The revolver has no markings to reflect a arsenal repair or barrel replacement. And that the barrels finish, color, and wear match the frame and cylinder. The barrel flat shows a V 655626 P, this P is also on the back of the cylinder and left side plate. I thought the P proofs were applied at the factory during original assembly.

I've enclosed pics for consideration

Thanks
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S&W Victory original or replacement barrel?-img_0748-jpg   S&W Victory original or replacement barrel?-img_0749-jpg   S&W Victory original or replacement barrel?-img_0750-jpg   S&W Victory original or replacement barrel?-img_0751-jpg  
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:03 PM
mikepriwer mikepriwer is offline
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Well - if it letters as a 2", then that is probably what it was. It's curious that someone
would want to change the barrel to 4"; a 2" USSS gun ought to be important. One thing you might do is write Roy Jinks a letter, asking him to confirm that V655626 was really shipped as a 2" gun. Include a copy of the factory letter that he sent you.

I assume the V655626 is the number on the butt of the frame . Check this very carefully, to make sure that you have the correct serial number.

Regards, Mike Priwer

Last edited by mikepriwer; 04-15-2018 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
Well - if it letters as a 2", then that is probably what it was. It's curious that someone
would want to change the barrel to 4"; a 2" USSS gun ought to be important. One thing you might do is write Roy Jinks a letter, asking him to confirm that V655626 was really shipped as a 2" gun....
That would be my recommendation, too. A change from 2” to 4” does indeed make little to no sense, especially when everything looks original. I know that there are more OSS-shipped guns in that general serial range from late summer 1944. I’ve seen letters, all 4-inchers if I recall correctly, so you want to eliminate the chance of a typo first.

Last edited by Absalom; 04-15-2018 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:25 PM
wcpffa1 wcpffa1 is offline
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Yes, the V655626 is stamped on the barrel flat, butt of frame, cylinder, and extractor star.

I had sent Mr Jinks a letter care of the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation stating what I wrote in my post and the above pictures along with the original factory letter about a month ago. I've not received any type of response as of today.

Thanks for your response
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:33 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is online now
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:42 PM
kwill1911 kwill1911 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcpffa1 View Post
Yes, the V655626 is stamped on the barrel flat, butt of frame, cylinder, and extractor star.

I had sent Mr Jinks a letter care of the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation stating what I wrote in my post and the above pictures along with the original factory letter about a month ago. I've not received any type of response as of today.

Thanks for your response
Welcome to the forum! It will be interesting to see what the SWHF comes up with and I hope you'll share the results with us when you get them. For now, I would agree with the others that the most logical explanation is a typo in Roy's letter. If possible, please post the letter and pictures of the butt and top strap.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:45 PM
wcpffa1 wcpffa1 is offline
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Default Requested pic of Butt

Here's a picture of butt with the "W" and what looks like a "F" and "U" stamped in the wood.
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:23 PM
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Guns get rebuilt and parts get swapped all the time for various reasons. I have a VM that I put a 5" barrel on to replace a damaged 4" original. It happens. If your gun was indeed a 2" VM that's a real shame as it would be worth a lot of money in original configuration. If the letter is correct (and mistakes do happen I would ask that the barrel length be confirmed) then somebody really messed up a rare gun. But I'm sure there was a good reason to do it...and the owner had no idea what he was doing.
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:39 PM
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The barrel SN appears hand-stamped as the numbers do not align as they would if originally roll-marked. Probably a replacement, but also probably done early at the factory, possibly before it was shipped originally. There are also frequent errors in the shipping logs, as well a missed entries.
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
The barrel SN appears hand-stamped as the numbers do not align as they would if originally roll-marked.....
Serials on Victorys were always hand-stamped, never roll-marked.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:04 PM
wcpffa1 wcpffa1 is offline
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Default pictures of top strap and factory letter

I've attached pics of the top strap (it's unmarked) and the factory letter as requested.

Thanks to all for the responses
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcpffa1 View Post
I've attached pics of the top strap (it's unmarked) and the factory letter as requested.

Thanks to all for the responses
Okay, that changes things a bit. The sentence about “the 4” barrel must be a replacement” eliminates a typo on Roy’s or Don’s part as the explanation. Whatever document, likely the invoice, they were looking at must have indeed said 2”.

Given its appearance, I’m still not convinced this gun isn’t an original 4”, though.

Since it has the under-barrel P proof, part of the triple military proof at that time, the barrel would indeed, as Alk8944 suggested, have had to be changed before final proofing at the factory, which makes no sense since shipping records weren’t created before the guns were even finished, I would think.

Last edited by Absalom; 04-15-2018 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:25 PM
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It would seem very strange that all 500 in that order shipped to the OSS were snubbies, although it is possible that some in that particular shipment had 2" barrels. Whether the factory records show that there were other snubbies in the OSS shipment or if the 2" barrel of yours was later replaced with a 4" barrel are questions someone else would have to research.

As you may be able to tell, no one seems to know the full story about 2" Victories, other than that they are very uncommon and highly desirable in any condition. Even though I do have a small number of Victory SNs which have been documented as being shipped to the OSS, none of those on my list have 2" barrels. And none of the Victory snubbies I have listed were sent to the OSS. My guess is that there is a strong possibility that there was an error made about the barrel length in the shipping documents. It will be interesting to see if anything develops.

Last edited by DWalt; 04-15-2018 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
The barrel SN appears hand-stamped as the numbers do not align as they would if originally roll-marked.
I don't believe that gun serial numbers were roll stamped. Since each number is different, it would be cost prohibitive to make a new roll stamp for every gun.

As further evidence, I own a serial number jig for the .22/32 HFT cylinders. It fits in the recesses and gives the worker a straight edge to stamp the numbers. Even with the guide, you will find numbers unevenly spaced as evidence that this procedure was done freehand.

As far as the OP's gun, I don't see the letters mentioned on the gun butt. I see the V prefix for the serial number and the "P" proof mark but that is all.

As far as the numbers in the yoke and on the yoke, they are merely factory assembly numbers added to reunite fitted parts after the finish is applied. There will or should be the same number on the back of the side plate.
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:46 PM
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SNs on the inside of the extractor star were definitely done by hand. I have seen some quite sloppy examples which make it appear that the numerals were stamped freehand without using a jig. Similarly, SNs on the inside flats of grips usually seem very random with no effort to make the numbers regularly spaced and aligned with each other. I have one M&P with a grip in which the last digit is double stamped.

Last edited by DWalt; 04-15-2018 at 09:55 PM.
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