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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 03-23-2020, 11:07 AM
SonofaSeaBee SonofaSeaBee is offline
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Good morning all
New excited gun owner finally. Got my permit here in NY and I recently received my grandpa's .38 Special and with some extra time on my hands due to the weather and this virus, I can research its history further. It was issued to him when he was in the Navy and then he switched to Marines. He was a sharpshooter marksman and shooting instructor and worked on the flying fortresses. He passed when I was a baby and neither my uncle or mom know much about it. My Uncle held onto it thankfully. I would like to clean it up and make sure it's usable if needed but make a nice honor display for it and pass it down to my son's as an heirloom piece. But I would greatly appreciate any help or guidance on this history and potential realistic value (priceless to me personally but still nice to know real world value). Even what to use and what not to use to clean an old piece like this.
5 screws
The numbers I am finding are:
SN: V131070 in several places
And a 6 behind the hand ejector
Thanks a ton for your help on this journey.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:22 AM
SonofaSeaBee SonofaSeaBee is offline
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Here is a photo of the insignia of his outfit in the Marines. A serviceman relative was able to find this and got this for me to go with the gun. So here it is if anyone happens to have any connection to it as well.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:53 AM
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Welcome to the forum. Neat acquisition. It sounds like your grandfather had an interestingly varied experience during the war.

The serial places this Victory model in fall 1942, maybe October (+/-). If it was a standard Navy or Marine-issued revolver, it should have a US NAVY stamp on the left side of the topstrap. But unstamped examples are known.

Most of these were issued to naval and Marine aircrews for missions only, off carriers, and not as permanent personal sidearms, but different practices likely applied to other personnel.

Depending on your curiosity and finances, you could get a history letter from the S&W Historical Foundation. It won’t tell you anything about your grandfather, but will document exactly when the gun left the factory and where it shipped originally. Most people feel that family heirlooms usually justify the expense.

In terms of realistic value (without the family connection), it looks to be in decent shape, and once cleaned up (if you can get rid of all that surface “red dust”) would likely be worth between 350 and 400.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:01 PM
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Welcome to the forum and HOW COOL! great heirloom. but please, clean it up,preserve it and do not store it in that holster!
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:06 PM
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Welcome and very awesome heirloom. It should clean up nice. Very cool indeed.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:30 PM
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What a priceless heirloom. Get her cleaned up and go shoot it. Your grandfather will be smiling.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
In terms of realistic value (without the family connection), it looks to be in decent shape, and once cleaned up (if you can get rid of all that surface “red dust”) would likely be worth between 350 and 400.
Burk, did you notice the OP's revolver is a red letter? I would increase your estimated value by a factor of 3 or 4 but being a retired squid anything Navy catches my eye and wallet.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:02 PM
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Burk, did you notice the OP's revolver is a red letter? I would increase your estimated value by a factor of 3 or 4 but being a retired squid anything Navy catches my eye and wallet.
Chief, you got me there! The photo is so dark that I really didn’t see anything until you pointed it out, but with maximum magnification it’s obvious.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:05 PM
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If the OP can document what he has been told I suspect this red letter Navy Victory would bring quite a bit more than $400...
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:09 PM
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Yes wipe it down a few times with a oily cloth. Better yet carefully remove the grips then soak it foe a few days in a mixture of transmission fluid and kerosene. I will loosen and stop the rust. If you really want to clean it up, don't use steel wool, if anything get some bronze wool from Ace Hardware. If you local one don't have any they can order it. Once it is cleaned up give it a wipe down a few times a year with an oily rag. How often depend on your location, near the sea or humid places mean more often. Cool holster, but if the gun is in it it will accelerate finish loss on the gun by holding moisture etc.

Grandpa and his gun gets a Semper Fi
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:13 PM
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I usually get at least 750 for a red Navy.......
Marines stationed on an island airfield would have weapons handy all the time if the island wasn't completely cleared.
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You mentioned Fortresses?? I did not think jarheads had heavy bombers?
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:16 PM
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Welcome to the Forum.

The insignia is of the 3rd Marine Division.

Semper Fi!

"You mentioned Fortresses?? I did not think jarheads had heavy bombers?"

According to Wikipedia, the US Navy had some during the last year of WW II.
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Last edited by Muley Gil; 03-23-2020 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:16 PM
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Storing a gun in leather submits it to tanning acids and a moisture holding substance. It will be fine wrapped in a cotton cloth. As was said above don't leave it dripping with oil but give it a nice coat.
Nice memory of your family.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:59 PM
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Under the circumstances, it is likely to be a genuine Red Letter version, and that would increase its value considerably. We don't know all there is to know about these, but it seems that a fairly small number of Navy Victories had the engraved property marking on the frame. S&W did not do that, the Navy did. As it is fairly simple to duplicate, originality is sometimes questionable. Probably not in your case.

The closest SN I have listed to your V131070 is V130833, which shipped in 10/42. I also list V136412 as the closest red letter on my list.

Is there anything stamped on the topstrap?
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:31 PM
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Hopefully, he could care less about the value as it is priceless so who cares what the market might bring. Listen to the guys here offering clean up and storage advice.
Please take the time to write down all the facts you can get about your grandfather and his exploits during the war. Keep a copy with the gun and pass it on in the family when the right time comes along years from now.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:48 PM
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SonofaSeaBee:

It would be really helpful if you could add photos of the left side and maybe a close-up showing the Navy marking in the same good natural light as the last picture.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
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"You mentioned Fortresses?? I did not think jarheads had heavy bombers?"

According to Wikipedia, the US Navy had some during the last year of WW II.
The USN/USMC team did in fact operate several 4 engine heavy bombers during WWII. The PB (B17), P2B (B29), PB4Y-1 and -2 (both B24 variants) and PB2Y flying boat. In the early 70's my squadrons Maintenance/Material Control Officer was a CWO4 who had been a P2B flight engineer. If you kept a cold beer in front of him he had some dandy stories to tell.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:07 PM
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Welcome to the Forum from Pennsylvania!
That is an interesting Victory you have. Thanks for sharing it with us. Please take care of and cherish it.
Yours is a bit more interesting than many that pop up, and if you could provide better pictures, many of us here would welcome the opportunity to view them.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:41 PM
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One of the few times I will tell someone not to use the Acetone Automatic Transmission fluid mixture it would likely remove the red paint from the lettering. from looking at the pictures it doesn't look all that bad a bronze pad soaked with breakfree or clp would be my first choice.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:44 PM
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The USN/USMC team did in fact operate several 4 engine heavy bombers during WWII. The PB (B17), P2B (B29), PB4Y-1 and -2 (both B24 variants) and PB2Y flying boat. In the early 70's my squadrons Maintenance/Material Control Officer was a CWO4 who had been a P2B flight engineer. If you kept a cold beer in front of him he had some dandy stories to tell.
Did he tell you any stories about flying off a carrier?
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:16 PM
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Did he tell you any stories about flying off a carrier?
Not in those but the Navy did conduct tests of C130's and U2's launch and recovery. Articles are a good read and there is a video of the 130 trials. No tail hook and free deck launches made for an exciting day at sea.
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:54 PM
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Hopefully, he could care less about the value as it is priceless so who cares what the market might bring. Listen to the guys here offering clean up and storage advice.
Please take the time to write down all the facts you can get about your grandfather and his exploits during the war. Keep a copy with the gun and pass it on in the family when the right time comes along years from now.
It would be interesting to know when he swapped branches. You may be able to get copies of his service records.
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:51 PM
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Hi, I processed the left side of the revolver quickly in Adobe, and wow, this should help the OP and others ID this revolver/precious family heirloom.

As others mention, separate the holster from the revolver to protect the revolver but don't toss it. The holster helps bring it all together, IMHO.

Oh, and don't soak the original wood stocks (grips) with the revolver . . . just the revolver.

Congratulations and keep us informed as you go forward. It is no telling what you (and the rest of us) might glean from the expertise of the collectors here!

Welcome to the forum! Tom
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:58 PM
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Since this is a red letter Navy Victory, DO NOT soak this revolver or you could lose the red lettering paint.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:38 PM
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Hopefully here are a few more pics and brighter. More to say but for now, I was cleaning the wood and saw the SN is also stamped into the wood. It all matches. 🙂
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:53 PM
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That is one SWEET revolver. Really special piece. Give it a lot of love with some oil, rags, and maybe a bronze brush on the deeper spots. Thanks so much for sharing! Here's bigger versions of the pics:

Grandpa's M&P help-img_20200323_201011403-jpg

Grandpa's M&P help-img_20200323_194745937-jpg

Grandpa's M&P help-img_20200323_194713317-jpg
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:35 PM
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Your Grandpa is smiling.
Welcome from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
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Hopefully here are a few more pics and brighter. More to say but for now, I was cleaning the wood and saw the SN is also stamped into the wood. It all matches. 🙂
Very interesting. The matching numbered stocks are good to have; many Victorys that have been on the market don‘t.

The double-stamping, with both the topstrap and the frame Navy-marked, makes it a relatively rare example. These do occur, although it‘s not clear why. The topstrap marking is definitely original; the frame engraving looks rather “handmade” and a bit irregular for the pantograph engraver that was used for these. I’d be reluctant to pay a Red Letter price for this gun if I came across it elsewhere, but given your history, maybe it was an apprentice armorer practicing

The rust is particularly clearly visible in the picture edited by Tom Turner above. As mentioned, you want to attack that without attacking the red paint.
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