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Old 06-30-2018, 05:05 PM
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Default My grandfathers 4 digit victory

I just discovered today my granfathers victory in 38 special is in my mother's care. Eventually I will own it as I am an only child. Several oddities I noticed while looking at it. First its serial is V 3181. Second peculiar thing is the grips look like the outside of a walnut shell. The barrel has no serial number under it yet the cylinder does have matching number on its face. No stampings on barrel but England is stamped on outside of cylinder and looks like bhp stamped in frame.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:01 PM
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That stamp is BNP for Birmingham Nitro proof, done when the gun was probably sold as surplus to a British gun dealer after WW2, so that the gun could be offered for sale in Britain. You also see the stamp on the cylinder's photo, plus what looks like the Letter "L". which would be the inspector/workman's initial that did the proofing. The lanyard swivel hole in the butt has been plugged with something. Hard to tell what, from the photo (Bubble Gum?) Close serial numbers were shipped in mid June, 1942, in both .38S&W and .39 Special calibers. The .38S&Ws had 5 inch barrels and the .38 Specials had 4 inch barrel. Your gun has a 4 inch barrel in caliber .38 Special, however since it has no serial number, I suspect that it may be an after market change from the original 5 inch barrel, and the cylinder is originally in .38S&W chambering that has been reamed out to accept the anger .38 Special round, a common conversion for Victory Models imported to the US after WW2. Ed.

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Old 06-30-2018, 07:05 PM
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Are you sure itís a .38 Special? What caliber is marked in the right side of the barrel?
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:09 PM
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It appears to have had a barrel swap.
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:48 PM
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The barrel is marked 38 special and the bullets that he had with the gun in speed loaders were 38 special so I assume the cylinder is reamed to 38 special. Thanks to everybody for your insights. I own many Smith and wesson revolvers but none victory and I have no military knowledge either. The gun is well worn as my grandfather was an avid hunter mostly with bow after dangerous game (boars,bear) so I think it was his sidearm on those type of hunts. My only recollection of him speaking about gun was his bass fishing in tournaments down on florida rivers and he had shotshells in it for the snakes. He was in the Navy in WWII but he probably bought it postwar from surplus. Eventually when it becomes mine I will treasure as a shooter and for the sentimental memories. Thanks again and ps. Anybody see grips like that looking like walnut shells?
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Old 06-30-2018, 08:36 PM
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Are they plastic ? Never seen wood grips like that .
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Old 06-30-2018, 08:46 PM
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This is the first 4 or 5 digit Victory that I've seen with the V on the opposite side of the lanyard hole. Is this uncommon?
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:08 PM
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I'm pretty sure they are wood grips, sure felt like wood grips. Guess I will have to remove them to take a look next time I'm over at my moms. The gun is dirty and the lanyard hole is filled with metal plug that is blued, after the picture I scraped some of the "bubble gum" material off with my finger nail. I thought the funny looking grips were going to be a common thing done back then but never seen ones like that myself before.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:11 PM
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You can tell in the picture of the serial number that the grips are wood. I just looked and you can see faint grain pattern in them and has the resemblance of wood slightly shrunk with age.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:32 PM
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Is it just me or does the serial number digits look a little "off"?
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Is it just me or does the serial number digits look a little "off"?
The font is off unless S&W was using 2 different die sets. Here is one 12 numbers higher and there is a lot of difference in the 1 and 3.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:56 PM
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I should have gotten a picture of the other side of the gun. It has a small S&W symbol and the one line made in u.s.a. Is that correct for that time frame?? Seems to me I remember some of the earlier 1905's with that same small trademark on the left side of gun under cylinder release but I do not remember seeing it small on right side of gun??
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Old 06-30-2018, 10:01 PM
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I bet the stocks are homemade. Cutting those striations is easier than learning to checker. I have such stocks before.
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Old 07-01-2018, 12:07 AM
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The numbers on the butt do not appear to be S&W, but I could be wrong.
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:07 AM
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The numbers on the butt do not appear to be S&W, but I could be wrong.
I also donít like the looks and position of the butt serial. If it matches the cylinder serial, I wonder if the cylinder was slso swapped for a .38 Spl. and they redid the butt serial to match. I even think I can see some indentations on the butt underneath the present serial digits indicating something else might have been there.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:22 PM
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That style of grips are called "'Stressed" grips. Sometimes seen on guns that the user took the time to apply the wavy grooves to better grasp the gun, supposedly. The right side markings you mention are correct. Ed.
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
I also donít like the looks and position of the butt serial. If it matches the cylinder serial, I wonder if the cylinder was slso swapped for a .38 Spl. and they redid the butt serial to match. I even think I can see some indentations on the butt underneath the present serial digits indicating something else might have been there.
I agree, the format and spacing of the stamping suggests to me that two numbers were removed from the end of the serial number. Do you see a number stamped on the rear of the extractor star or the rear face of the yoke arm (visible through a charge hole)?
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