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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 06-28-2020, 10:56 AM
CaptLou CaptLou is offline
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Default S&W 38 special

My son brought me a pistol to look at and try to repair , it is a revolver ser. no. S87483 found on the butt frame, No Model no , on it , I have never own a S&W so am at a loss ,can anyone identify it for me.


Thank You all Who responded to this post ,especially DWalt, after doing some further research on this gun, I opened it up and found it was indeed a loose ejector rod causing the problem. disassembled and gave the old girl a good cleaning, in good working order now

Last edited by CaptLou; 06-28-2020 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:02 AM
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Welcome to the forum. It sounds like a 38/44 from around 1950. Can you tell us if it has fixed or target sights? Pictures would be of great help.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:08 AM
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The S prefix signifies that the gun has an internal hammer block safety. It was used on late WWII and early post war guns. Unfortunately, S&W used it on N and and some K frame revolvers.

You mentioned itís a .38 special in the title, so that pretty much narrows it down to the N Frame Heavy Duty (shrouded ejector rod) or a K frame .38 Special M&P revolver.

Edit to add: a photo would help. We love photos here!

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Old 06-28-2020, 11:17 AM
CaptLou CaptLou is offline
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Default Fixed sights

It has fixed sights, I may add the lack of a model no may be because I can't get cylinder to roll out , cock it , pull trigger, totally lock up, but not rusted up. Manufacted springfield , mass on right side frame in front o trigger guard , 38 S&W Special CTG, right side of Barrel, Smith & Wesson on left side of Barrel
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:18 AM
CaptLou CaptLou is offline
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Yes Shrouded ejector rod
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:22 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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"I have never own a S&W
I can't get cylinder to roll out , cock it , pull trigger, totally lock up,"

It is a .38-44 Heavy Duty and is a desirable and rather valuable revolver.
May I suggest you try to get it to somebody more familiar with the type instead of just tearing into a strange gun.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:22 AM
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More than likely an N-frame .38/44 Heavy Duty (fixed rear sight). S87483 would date its shipment to be from around mid-1952. Probably a fairly easy fix. At that time the extractor rod would sometimes unscrew, locking the cylinder into place. A bit difficult to tighten it inside the shroud. Later, S&W went with a left-hand thread on the extractor rod, which did not have the problem. It may be necessary to remove the sideplate to release the cylinder stop. If you don't know how, try to find someone who does. Or look on YouTube.

Last edited by DWalt; 06-28-2020 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:44 AM
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Here Are Some Pictures to help Identify
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S&W 38 special-img_1086-jpg   S&W 38 special-img_1087-jpg   S&W 38 special-img_1089-jpg  
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:49 AM
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Welcome to the Forum.

You have a .38/44 Heavy Duty. It is built on the .44 frame (hence the name). It was designed in 1930 to fire a heavier .38 special load, that would penetrate gangster's car bodies, in response to Colt's Super .38 in the Government Model. The .38/44 was the daddy of the .357 Magnum, which debuted in 1935.

Yours is post WW II. I'm guessing this one was built around 1947 or so.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:55 AM
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Default Thank You, DWalt

Have worked on guns most of my life , just needed to know what model I had ,and do the research on it.
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:00 PM
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You can try sticking a wooden wedge inside the ejector rod shroud, easing the hammer back and turn the cylinder, which will tighten the ejector rod.
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:10 PM
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I saw your pictures in another thread, and it does look like that extractor rod is pretty far forward, so what DWALT suggested may well be the case. From the pictures, it appears as if the revolver is still loaded. Be very careful about where the gun is pointed, KEEP FINGER AWAY FROM TRIGGER, and give this a try:


SAFETY FIRST



1. Find a small shim, such as a business card that will fit between the frame and the bottom of the cylinder;
2. Pull back slowly and slightly on the hammer (Hammer only, not trigger, and DO NOT FULLY COCK THE GUN) until the cylinder just begins to turn. When this happens, the cylinder stop at the bottom of the frame window has dropped down, out of position.
3. Slide the shim/card stock in between the cylinder and the cylinder stop, blocking the cylinder stop from popping back up;
4. Place your left thumb on the knurled portion of the extractor rod, holding it in place;
5. With the right hand, try to turn the cylinder clockwise (as viewed from the rear of the gun), since your rod will have right-hand threads;
If the cylinder will turn, keep turning it until it stops - make sure you keep pressure on the extractor rod and it's not turning also;
6. Once the cylinder is tight, and stops turning, try opening the gun with the thumbpiece and see if it will open now.
7. If it won't turn at all, there are other methods to use, but find someone who is more familiar with S&W revolvers, such as an armorer or gunsmith and let them work on it.
8. If you can open the gun, clear it first, and then tighten the rod as tight as possible with your fingers, until you can find a gunsmith to snug it up, or come back here and someone can give you hints to tighten it better.


SAFETY FIRST


RWJ
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Old 06-28-2020, 01:29 PM
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Itís a Heavy Duty and it does look loaded. Be very careful!

Iíd probably start by removing the stocks and squirting some penetrating oil into the action. Iíd also squirt some along side trigger, hammer, cylinder release and around the hammernose (firing pin). Let it soak for a while before applying a little force.

In the meantime, Iíd get a flashlight and look at the gap between the back of the barrel and front of the cylinder to see if there might be a bullet bridging the gap. You can also take a cleaning rod, slide it down the barrel and mark where it stops. That will allow you compare the marked length to the outside of the gun and give you an idea what youíre dealing with.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:31 PM
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It is worthwhile to see if a bullet is bridging the barrel-cylinder gap. I have seen that happen after firing a squib load. All you can do is to use a rod down the barrel to tap the bullet back into the chamber. I keep a 5/16" x 6" hex head bolt in my range bag for similar purposes, to drive bullets that have stuck in barrels out. It happens.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:30 AM
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"I got a 38 special on a 45 frame, and I don't never miss cause I got dead aim" -Hot Tuna, 99 Year Blues.
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max503 View Post
"I got a 38 special on a 45 frame, and I don't never miss cause I got dead aim" -Hot Tuna, 99 Year Blues.
Some versions of the old tune "Railroad Bill" said it was a ".38 on a .44 frame." Others say a ".45 frame." Of course, I've heard all sorts of changes to songs and titles over the years.
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s&wchad View Post
Itís a Heavy Duty and it does look loaded. Be very careful
What causes you to draw that conclusion? I donít see cartridge case heads between the rear of the cylinder and the recoil shield. What am I missing?

Thanks,

Dave

Sorry, I just enlarged the second photo and see a cartridge in one of the charge holes now.

Regards,

Dave

Last edited by Double-O-Dave; 06-29-2020 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Some versions of the old tune "Railroad Bill" said it was a ".38 on a .44 frame." Others say a ".45 frame." Of course, I've heard all sorts of changes to songs and titles over the years.
I've always heard it called "99 year blues".
I saw Hot Tuna a year or so ago. Was hoping they'd sing that song but they didn't.
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