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Old 07-12-2018, 11:24 PM
Steven Woods Steven Woods is offline
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I bought this today. It is well worn and looks like it could tell some stories. The stocks are notched in a couple of places. The serial number is S 860 7xx (why are we afraid to just spell out the whole number?) 1952? My question is when did they do away with the patent dates on the barrel?
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:18 AM
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Yours is way before 1952. It has a single line address (Made in USA). I'm guessing late 1946, early 1947.

5" barrel looks like (maybe)

S8531xx (6" barrel) shipped 11/46

I own S944068 (6" barrel) that shipped 11/47
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Woods View Post
The serial number is S 8607xx
Postwar .38 Military & Police is what this would be called. It has the older long action, which went away in early 1948. Guns in the S860xxx range were shipping in December, 1946.

Quote:
why are we afraid to just spell out the whole number?
I don't know. It would help me if you did. I could add yours to my research on the S prefix guns. They were made only from the spring of 1946 until March, 1948. They started shipping in March, 1946.

Quote:
My question is when did they do away with the patent dates on the barrel?
Sometime around 1950. I have not found one with the S prefix that didn't have the patent dates (except with 2" barrels), and I have examined nearly 1,000 examples over the past few years.

Yours does have a 5" barrel. S prefix guns were offered with 2", 4", 5" and 6" barrels. The five is my favorite (for whatever that is worth).
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Woods View Post
I bought this today. It is well worn and looks like it could tell some stories. The stocks are notched in a couple of places. The serial number is S 860 7xx (why are we afraid to just spell out the whole number?) 1952? My question is when did they do away with the patent dates on the barrel?
Most likely shipped in December 1946.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:58 AM
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Welcome aboard from Wyoming.

My earliest 5" M&P shipped in December '46 (S860172). You have a nice one. Enjoy shooting it. The 5" is my favorite length, too.
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:16 AM
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I have no idea why folks are afraid to put the whole serial # down. As I have joked in the past I have been collecting a long time looking for a gun with the last 3 digits all x's. Some folks don't think my joke is funny …..
Nice gun BTW, the older K frames are one of my favorites.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:20 PM
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FYI, that box of Remington .38 Special ammunition pictured in your first post is somewhat unusual. It was made for the U. S. Military during WWII for use in the Victory model revolvers. There was also military .38 Special red tracer ammunition made, but it was not packaged in commercial boxes.

Last edited by DWalt; 07-13-2018 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:26 PM
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"My question is when did they do away with the patent dates on the barrel?"

I have seen statements to the effect that S&W quit stamping them on barrels in late summer of 1948, but I won't vouch for the accuracy of that date. Of course, guns could have been assembled with barrels in inventory which were already stamped for some time period after that until they were used up. As earlier stated by JP@AK, it is certainly possible that guns which shipped in 1950 could still have barrels with patent dates.

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Old 07-13-2018, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.W.Herman View Post
I have no idea why folks are afraid to put the whole serial # down. As I have joked in the past I have been collecting a long time looking for a gun with the last 3 digits all x's. Some folks don't think my joke is funny …..
...
I’ve gotten over any paranoia in that respect.

But I frequently put the xxx at the end of serials when I cite my guns because I don’t remember the full number. And I’m too lazy to go look
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:00 PM
Steven Woods Steven Woods is offline
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Thank you all for the very interesting information. Yes, it is 5" serial #S 860766. I wonder what these notches mean? I was told it was a cop's I.D. I love the way this gun looks. Was $400 about right? And that box of ammo - I have always wondered. I even asked once on another board but got no answer. WWII Victory rounds - that is facsinating!
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:12 PM
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welcome01 to the forums from the Wiregrass! Those notches may have been guides for a holster tiedown string or maybe a lanyard. Nothing else comes to mind. Those stocks are valuable and we know someone who can make them new again.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:29 PM
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Thanks for the serial number - your gun is now in the database for my research project.

I'm quite certain those Magna stocks are original. When you take them off, look on the inside of the right panel. You should find 860766 stamped there, probably in two lines.

Also: good buy at $400. Not shockingly low, but a good buy.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:35 PM
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I once had a WWI .45 Auto with 11 notches on the wood grips (most on one side). Sort of creeped me out so I removed them. I still have them somewhere. You could probably buy a pair of period correct sharp shoulder Magna grips for less than the cost of refurbishing those on it if the notch bothers you. Otherwise, I'd leave them alone.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:40 PM
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I like these grips just the way they are. The only way I would dream of removing them would be to check the serial number like Jack said. I'm proud to be part of your research project Jack.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:47 PM
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Again, thanks for the help! I have been blessed by lots of it from Forum members since I launched my research.

There are now approximately 2,400 units accounted for in my database, and I've examined nearly 1,000 of those examples (in person or in detailed photographs). It has been a very interesting 5 year process.

My thanks to all who have contributed so far.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:25 PM
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Man those 5" .38 K frames are just hot.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:18 PM
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I just now checked and the ser # on the grips do match the gun.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post

I don't know. It would help me if you did. I could add yours to my research on the S prefix guns. They were made only from the spring of 1946 until March, 1948. They started shipping in March, 1946.).
Here are 2 more for your data base. 6" S926465 and 4" S871463.
All in under $275 on the 6" and $345 on the 4" which appears unfired. What's your best guess on ship dates?

The S prefix revolvers have grown on me because the represent a continuation of the Victory s/n's, less the V.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:27 PM
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For some reason, certain Victory models, and all the S-prefix, post war .38 M&Ps fascinate me. Still looking for a nice SV-prefix gun. My interest wains in the M&Ps at the start of the C prefix.

I suppose it is because the early post war were the Victory frames already in production for WWII started to slow down production in mid 1945 toward VE day, while production ceased (for US contract) just prior to VJ day (if I am recalling data correctly).

The S&W M&P was just a small example of the U.S.A. manufacturing power during WWII that was one the main reason we were victorious. Think of all the aircraft, ships, tanks, jeeps, and other vehicles and weapons produced during (and before) were were "officially" involved in WWII. We were manufacturing mega-monsters who rose to the task of manufacturing production quickly and efficiently.

A special thanks to FDR who, while trying to pacify the anti-war congress, started stepping up production in the USA to supply the much needed war hardware and machinery for the Allied forces as far back as the mid 1930s.

Many of the pre-war M&Ps (pre-Victory revolvers) interest me, too. These were standard pre-war production, fine pre-war finishes, finer fit and function. Asking Jack ... say about SN 650,000 for M&P pre-WWII production step-up ??

S&W had ALL THESE Government FRAMES in progress or in stock ... What to do with them?

As the Civilian and domestic Police production was scare to non-existent during WWII, the first guns to fill out all the back orders was the .38 M&P which were sorely needed within the USA. No matter what anyone needed, it seemed if they wanted it fast, they got M&Ps.

I think I confirmed this with Jack before but from V1 to S999,999 were one million Victory and early post-war .38 M&Ps produced between 1942 and 1946-47 time frame. Jack ??? Am i "in there" with the production?
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefdave View Post
Here are 2 more for your data base. 6" S926465 and 4" S871463.
All in under $275 on the 6" and $345 on the 4" which appears unfired. What's your best guess on ship dates?

The S prefix revolvers have grown on me because the represent a continuation of the Victory s/n's, less the V.
Disregard; senior moment. Mine are not S prefixes.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefdave View Post
What's your best guess on ship dates?
Quote:
6" S926465
Probably September, 1947.

Quote:
4" S871463
Harder to estimate because in that range ship dates are all over the map, between January, 1947 and August, 1947. My best guess would be sometime between February and April.

Keep in mind, you asked for my "best guess." My estimates are based on known shipping patterns, but there is no certainty except on the dates that have been provided for me by Roy on specific guns. But patterns have emerged, so these are "educated" guesses. Only a letter can tell you for certain.

I hope this helps a little bit, anyway.

BTW, both of your revolvers were already in my database, but I have not received shipping info on them yet.
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by model3sw View Post
I suppose it is because the early post war were the Victory frames already in production for WWII started to slow down production in mid 1945 toward VE day, while production ceased (for US contract) just prior to VJ day (if I am recalling data correctly).
I don't know about the slowdown. Remember that the Navy was the primary recipient of the Victory revolvers and the Pacific was the big Navy theater. Shipments were still going strong into the summer of 1945. Japan capitulated on August 14, 1945, Washington time. The highest serial number Victory revolver was delivered to the U.S. Navy yard in Norfolk, Virginia. It shipped on August 13, 1945. It bore serial number SV802722. I don't believe those two dates are a coincidence.

Quote:
Many of the pre-war M&Ps (pre-Victory revolvers) interest me, too. These were standard pre-war production, fine pre-war finishes, finer fit and function. Asking Jack ... say about SN 650,000 for M&P pre-WWII production step-up ??
I am not so knowledgeable about the prewar guns, but that sounds about right. Absalom might be a better guy to answer that question.

Quote:
I think I confirmed this with Jack before but from V1 to S999,999 were one million Victory and early post-war .38 M&Ps produced between 1942 and 1946-47 time frame. Jack ??? Am i "in there" with the production?
Yes, you are not far off. V1 was produced in April, 1942. S prefix guns ceased production in March, 1948. S999999 shipped to a distributor in Minneapolis in June, 1948. C1 was assembled on March 22, 1948.

V1 through V5 were special destination guns and were not shipped with the other Victory Models.

It is worth noting that there was a serial number S1000000 (one million). It was not shipped. Instead it was preserved by the company for the S&W Museum.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
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.....
I am not so knowledgeable about the prewar guns, but that sounds about right. Absalom might be a better guy to answer that question.
....
I wouldn’t call it a “step-up”, more a focusing of production on just the .38 M&P model in both calibers. I do not know, however, when the respective last “pre-war” specimen of other revolver models were built and shipped.

Roy gives 670,000 as the approximate beginning of BSR production. As an example, I have made note of 676761, a .38 S&W shipping in 01/1940. The .38 Special version was first shipped to the military in a large batch with the Navy order for the USNCPC in spring 1941, still in commercial configuration except for the swivel.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:01 PM
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"A special thanks to FDR who, while trying to pacify the anti-war congress, started stepping up production in the USA to supply the much needed war hardware and machinery for the Allied forces as far back as the mid 1930s."

Very little war production occurred that early, although development of plans for increasing war matériel production was begun during the mid-late 1930s as a result of what was going on in Europe at that time, what with Hitler's rise to absolute power, Italy's invasion of Ethiopia, and the Spanish Civil War, along with Japan's invasion of Manchuria and China. And throughout the 1930s, the USA was operating under a neutrality law which essentially prohibited export of weapons of war to any other nation. Construction of new defense plants didn't begin until after the fall of France to the Germans in early 1940. Then things got moving as the result of quick Congressional approval of spending around $6 Billion for rearmament. That was an enormous amount of money at that time. Back then, no one was worried about things like environmental impact studies, etc. (no EPA then) slowing construction, and defense plant construction rapidly went full speed ahead 24/7. It couldn't happen today. Remember there was also a huge pool of unemployed workers, so getting the labor necessary to build all those defense plants, and later to operate them, was no problem. Had it not been for the War-related employment surge of 1940-41, the Great Depression could have (and probably would have) continued indefinitely. The early 1941 Lend-Lease Act was a catalyst which really kicked production into overdrive as it effectively ended the U. S. neutrality laws.

"I suppose it is because the early post war were the Victory frames already in production for WWII started to slow down production in mid 1945 toward VE day"

By late 1944, the war in Europe was essentially won, and the British needed no more Lend-Lease revolvers (or much of anything else L-L from the USA, except maybe food). So no more were sent. And by that time, many U. S. government munitions-related contracts were being canceled or production demands greatly scaled back as it was obvious that there were already enough ships, planes, tanks, artillery, ammunition, etc. in inventory to finish the war in both Europe and the Pacific. Existing U. S. troops and armament in the ETO (which were no longer necessary to fight the Germans) could easily have been transferred to the Pacific Theater if needed by the war planners to support a possible invasion of the Japanese home islands. Of course, the A-Bombs made an invasion plan unnecessary. Many historians believe that an invasion of the home islands would have never occurred even without the A-Bombs - It would have been just too costly in terms of American lives lost and the political and public will for launching a large-scale invasion resulting in potentially millions of U. S. casualties was just not there. Rather, Japan would simply have been tightly blockaded and conventional bombing continued indefinitely until the Japanese were starved, blasted, and burned into something resembling surrender as nothing and no one would be left to repel an invasion. In any event, S&W's production of revolvers from January 1945 through VJ day totaled only about 40,000 units, a very low monthly production rate compared to the earlier war years. And it is still undetermined just how many of those 40,000 were actually finished and delivered to the U. S. military (and of course, none were sent to the British).

"Roy gives 670,000 as the approximate beginning of BSR production."

Possibly so, but there were some known to have been shipped with much lower SNs. Those were likely completed guns already in factory inventory, or at least frames and some other components to build them for the first orders. SNs in the approximate 680K range went to fill the first South African revolver orders, presumably new (1940) production.

Last edited by DWalt; 07-14-2018 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 07-14-2018, 07:28 PM
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I did something stupid today with the gun and ammo that started this conversation. When DWalt said those were WWII era rounds, I loaded the gun with 6 of them just for history's sake never intending to actually fire them. Well I wasn't thinking when I grabbed up 4 or 5 of my S&W revolvers including this 1946 M&P and took them shooting today. Neither me or my shootin' buddy could ring the gong with this old gun and it was only when I just now tried to clean it that I found that last slug lodged midway in the bore!!! I'm glad it was the last shot instead of the second to the last shot! Apparently that 75 year old powder was too weak to spit that last bullet the whole 5 inches out the barrel. Now, how do I safely remove this obstruction?
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Old 07-14-2018, 07:38 PM
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For more reference; my S 872xxx ( my avatar ) was shipped Feb/Mar 1947. Nice M&P ya got there
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:02 PM
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A wooden dowel just smaller than the barrel bore will work in removing the slug. Hold the gun firmly with something soft so as not to mark up the finish and some hammering on the end of the dowel to get it out. Some are lodged a lot tighter than others but the wood will not mess up the rifling as a steel dowel or cleaning rod might. Push it backwards with the cylinder open so not to push back into cylinder. It may be easier to remove the screw on the right side above the trigger that will then allow you to take the cylinder and yoke off the frame. Just open cylinder once screw is removed then pull the crane forward while holding on the cylinder it will just slide off front of frame. At that point it may be easier to hold the frame while trying to push slug out.

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Old 07-14-2018, 08:15 PM
larryofcc larryofcc is offline
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Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
I’ve gotten over any paranoia in that respect.

But I frequently put the xxx at the end of serials when I cite my guns because I don’t remember the full number. And I’m too lazy to go look
Very interesting analogy. It may well be because these XXX guns were not registered properly, bought illegally, or worse case scenario, they were or may have been stolen. The Gun Police do not pay much attention to these guns or this Forum. They don't have time. I know I will get slammed for writing this, but you are entirely correct. WHO CARES, but us serious collectors maybe trying to learn about these guns. Big Larry
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:28 PM
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Steven,

Would you mind posting a picture of some of the loose the ammo? I have been curious about the Victory ammo.

terry
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:31 PM
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I did something stupid today with the gun and ammo that started this conversation. When DWalt said those were WWII era rounds, I loaded the gun with 6 of them just for history's sake never intending to actually fire them. Well I wasn't thinking when I grabbed up 4 or 5 of my S&W revolvers including this 1946 M&P and took them shooting today. Neither me or my shootin' buddy could ring the gong with this old gun and it was only when I just now tried to clean it that I found that last slug lodged midway in the bore!!! I'm glad it was the last shot instead of the second to the last shot! Apparently that 75 year old powder was too weak to spit that last bullet the whole 5 inches out the barrel. Now, how do I safely remove this obstruction?
Small arms ammo, no matter how old (within reason) usually does not malfunction unless improperly stored and, even at that, you'd be surprised the longevity or shelf life of small arms ammo.

Take a good look at each and every remaining round to determine if, perhaps, they were reloaded, then placed back in the box. Old time re-loaders and even newer re-loaders do that frequently.

Check the casings for signs of it being reloads such as different head stamps, then the brass and projectile itself.

Daddio gave you the best method to remove the stuck projectile. A slightly undersized wooded towel and a short but heavy hammer will walk the bullet back out the barrel. you have no choice but to tap from the exit port of the barrel, back down and out. Don't go for long, hard, swings on that hammer, just short solid taps.

Scrub the rifling well, with your choice of crud cutter and examine well for damage.

You should have been able to "hear" the squib (underpowered) load when it fired. Always keep your ears in tune when firing any firearm for this unique and unmistakable sound of a squib. Once you "hear" a squib, you will NEVER forget that sound. It is more like a muffled POOF than a sharp BANG.

It seems that you had not realized you shot a squib load so "LUCKY" you were, you didn't back that up with another round. Even "luckier" that it was your last shot that was the squib.

Visually inspect and "feel" the outside of the barrel, with your fingertips gently caressing it from front to rear and back again, slowly. If you have a barrel bulge you should be able to feel the bulge even if it does not visually pop up to prominently catch your eye. If you do have a bulge, it was likely NOT your last round fired.

When the squib is removed, inspect the bore with a bore light examining the full length of the rifling. If you have bulge that you are uncertain from "feeling" it, you will see it as sort of a looks like a "skipped" or distorted spot in the rifling.

I once (at a Tulsa show) purchased a US ammo can full of vintage S&W .44 Russian ammo that the boxes had deteriorated apart in the ammo can over the years from dampness (no water, just humidity). After separating and trying out a few I found about 1 of every 8 was a squib. I basically bought the ammo to have authentic, period, cases to reload but figured I may as well "waste" as much of this ammo as possible. They were soft lead so removal of the lead projectile that got stuck in the barrel was a breeze. A few taps with the hammer on the wooden dowel and they slid right out.

I tried them first in a heavy Ruger .44 Magnum Super Redhawk for just this reason. I was visually able to separate out the bad rounds, visually, mistaking only very few, to shoot out of one of my less favorite New Model 3s. It was a treat to fire that old ammo as there was a slight delay from when the hammer dropped to the time the time it ignited. It was reminiscent of how it would have felt in about 1900 when the ammo was new and that was the only ammo available.

I, most recently, had a squib load in a model 52-2. Even knowing what it was when I heard it, already into the repetition of target shooting, i was almost ready to pull the trigger again but stopped, in time. Not having or hearing a squib in many years tends to make you more confident that it CANNOT happen with modern ammo. It can happen with ANY ammo.
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:41 PM
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I once had a WWI .45 Auto with 11 notches on the wood grips (most on one side). Sort of creeped me out so I removed them. I still have them somewhere. You could probably buy a pair of period correct sharp shoulder Magna grips for less than the cost of refurbishing those on it if the notch bothers you. Otherwise, I'd leave them alone.
Maybe that 1911 was issued to Cpl Alvin York of Pall Mall, Tennessee.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:39 PM
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I always keep a 5/16" X 6" hex head steel bolt in my range box. I have it wrapped in masking tape so it is just loose enough to fit down a .38 barrel. That avoids any possibility of damaging the bore. I also keep a small hammer along with an assortment of other potentially valuable tools there. On the rare occasions I've encountered a squib load, I just use that bolt and the hammer to drive the bullet out. Works equally well in .44 and .45 barrels.

I once (maybe 7-8 years ago) fired 6 rounds of that same Remington WWII .38 Special ammunition and chronographed it. All rounds fired OK. I don't remember the exact MV, but I think it was around 800 ft/sec.

After a near-disaster involving a .30 Carbine some 40 or so years ago, I have trained myself to STOP immediately if anything about a shot seems odd - too loud, too soft, no sound other than a "click," (like a dud), light or no recoil, etc.- and check it out before proceeding. For that reason, I NEVER engage in rapid fire shooting with a revolver. Far too easy to fire a shot with a bullet from the previous cartridge fired stuck in the barrel. Presto - a bulged barrel (at best). Also watch about taking "immediate action" with what you think might be a dud while firing a semi-auto. I have read several stories about how often Thompson SMGs are seen with bulged barrels resulting from a shooter taking "immediate action" after what he thought was a dud but turned out to be a squib load. The primer alone may force a bullet a short way into the barrel, enough for a following fresh round to chamber completely. Checking to be sure the barrel is clear after any "dud" takes very little time and may save your barrel.

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Old 07-14-2018, 09:40 PM
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Well then maybe the gun malfunctioned rather than the ammo which looks like it has been properly stored. I know it certainly has been for the last 22 years since I acquired it along with a 1973 12-2 Airweight pristine in box with papers, which I still have. I've always assumed this box of rounds was the same age as the gun? I fired maybe 2 shots out of the 12-2 (2" barrel) when I first bought it with no problem. The gun and ammo have been kept, unfired, high and dry ever since then, 1996. I'll have to find, or make, the proper diameter hardwood dowel tomorrow. I can't tell if the barrel is bulged or not yet. Maybe it already was when I bought it the other day?
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:55 PM
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I'll have to find, or make, the proper diameter hardwood dowel tomorrow.
Steve, Home Depot / Lowes / True Value hardware, any lumber yard. Wooden dowels are cheap. If you go into a hobby shop to buy one you'll likely pay much more.

I think I spotted another member suggested a 5/16" diameter dowel. That figured out to about .3125". That works out just about right for your .356 +/- bore (depending upon how measured, how deep into groves).
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:29 PM
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No possible way the lodged bullet (squibb) is a cause from a malfunction of your gun. Surely it's the ammo. Even modern ammo has squibs. Does not happen often and ammo over 50 years old sure doesn't help out on chances of it happening. Typically well stored older ammo is safe to shoot and usually works fine but never say never.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:33 PM
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Maybe that 1911 was issued to Cpl Alvin York of Pall Mall, Tennessee.
Sgt. Alvin C. York. Big Larry
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:31 PM
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[QUOTE=Steven Woods;140101008]Well then maybe the gun malfunctioned rather than the ammo .....

The hammer and firing pin obviously caused the primer to detonate. The gun did it's job in regards to initiating the discharge.

What you have is a case of a faulty round. With any luck at all the barrel will be undamaged - so long as there was not a follow-up shot. Then all bets are off.

"When DWalt said those were WWII era rounds, I loaded the gun with 6 of them just for history's sake never intending to actually fire them. Well I wasn't thinking when I grabbed up 4 or 5 of my S&W revolvers including this 1946 M&P and took them shooting today." ... So , did you transport the M&P while it was loaded with the vintage ammunition? Or , loaded the old stuff while at the range then forgot what it was loaded with when you picked it up to shoot it? Or what?

Anyone can experience a squib (I have) , but I am trying to understand your description of the events leading up to it.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:43 AM
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Mine is a 2 inch .38 special. Appears someone bought it and simply put it in a drawer. More later but S&W gave me a DOB of 1948.
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Old 07-15-2018, 04:51 PM
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The slug was certainly lodged tight! The wood dowel wouldn't budge it and I ended up breaking the dowel trying. So I resorted to DWalt's steel bolt idea and finally drove it out. I don't have enough shooting experience to have suspected this was even possible. I'm sure glad I didn't reload and keep on firing! The bore looks unscathed. It is clean and shiny with sharp rifling. Thanks for all your help.
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