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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 09-10-2020, 03:07 PM
1lowlife 1lowlife is offline
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Default Inherited revolver info needed

My FIL passed a few months ago and my wife and I took possession of his firearms.
One of them is a S&W hand ejector revolver chambered in 38 special.
I don't see a model number on it anywhere.

It is in pretty rough shape but I'd like to clean it up and keep it.
It has fixed sights (a very thin front sight), 4 screws (no trigger guard screw), plastic (?) grips, and a 5 digit serial number.
Serial number on the butt and under the barrel.
I hope these pics help to identify the firearm.













What would be the best way to clean this firearm up?
Anything I need to check for as far as proper function.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:23 PM
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It's a fairly early Model of 1902. The SN would date it as shipping probably in 1906. It has the so called dual caliber barrel stamp. The "U. S. Service Cartridge" is the .38 Long Colt, much the same as the .38 S&W Special, but a little shorter and less powerful. It was the official U. S. military revolver cartridge used from the early 1890s into the WWI era. It is now obsolete. That barrel stamping was used until around 1907-08, and stopped somewhere around SN 13xxxx. But your revolver was not military issue.

Cleanup is just like any other gun. If you are comfortable in disassembling it, remove and clean all the internal components and the frame interior with solvent and lube them. If not, get a can of spray carburetor cleaner and blast everything inside as well as you can through the hammer and trigger openings. It probably has some caked-up oil inside.

Last edited by DWalt; 09-10-2020 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:30 PM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Mix automatic transmission fluid and equal parts with acetone. Place the gun without the grips on it into a sealable container and cover it with the mixture. Leave it like that for about a week. Then you should be able to removed it and wipe it down to remove any surface rust. Get some aerosol brake or carb or parts cleaner and spray the insides to flush the gunk out of it. That will remove any oil. Then you can re Lube it with five drops of gun oil.

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Old 09-10-2020, 03:50 PM
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Good information above. It is a .38 Military & Police, made 50 + years before model numbers were assigned. The stocks are made of a type of hard rubber called gutta percha, a material used in dental work currently but not for guns for quite some time.
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:55 PM
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I notice one of the grip panels is broken. If you look on eBay for K-frame round butt grips, you might find a similar original pair. And there are several sources for early grip replicas, usually black plastic, not hard rubber. In its present condition it is not worth much, but I'd expect you are probably not going to want to sell it anyway. It is perfectly shootable as-is, but most would advise that you use only standard velocity lead bullet .38 Special loads.

Last edited by DWalt; 09-10-2020 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 09-10-2020, 05:13 PM
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To 1lowlife, nice early S&W. It is a shame about the broken grip panel.
What ever path you follow to clean, just promise no steel wool or wire brushes on a drill. It appears from the pics that there is a little blue hiding in there. No matter what you do it will never look new again. Just take it slow with oil and a cotton rag. More to follow from the cadre of old guys. Mike
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Old 09-10-2020, 05:42 PM
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Personally I would not replace the broken grip panel. If your handy at all you can repair it by coloring some Acraglass or similar product and using it as a filler. You probably will not get a perfect match but the parts have been together for over 100 years at this point. The pistol will never be highly collectible but might be a nice shooter with standard loads.
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:11 PM
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I'm with Wiregrass - your old revolver is a prime candidate for a long bath in "Ed's Red".
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:56 PM
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"Then you can re Lube it with five drops of gun oil."

And the number of drops shall be five...and five shall be the number of drops. Thou shalt not count four drops unless you then proceed to five drops. Six drops is straight out.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:08 PM
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^^^^Yea, verily!
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Old 09-11-2020, 12:03 AM
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And Monty live on!!!
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Old 09-11-2020, 12:12 AM
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Thank you all for the prompt replies.
No intention of selling it.

Wife's father didn't have much, so it is nice to have some kind of keepsake to remember him by.
I will research the "Ed's Red" cleaning method.

No intention of making it look new, although having S&W reblue it crossed my mind.
I have a bad habit of wanting to keep my firearms in pristine condition.

If I can just get the gunk off and lubricate it I'd be good to go.
It has sentimental value more than anything else..

I'd guess the prize of his 'collection', is a Ruger Blackhawk .357cal that seems to date from the 1970s.
But even it wasn't very well cared for IMHO..





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Old 09-11-2020, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1lowlife View Post
No intention of making it look new, although having S&W reblue it crossed my mind.I have a bad habit of wanting to keep my firearms in pristine condition.
#1 - S&W will not touch a gun that old.
#2 - Getting a blue job elsewhere will cost you more than the gun is worth.

Best to clean it up and leave it alone.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:16 AM
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A local gunsmith reblue might cost $250-$500. But it will look terrible and all the character will be gone. It'll be an old revolver with a "carry melt" look.

A true restoration should cost north of a grand and there's enough pitting and damage that it still won't look all that original. No offense to your family heritage, but the gun is simply too common to go to all this expense. It would be like restoring a mid-1960s Beetle for $25,000 just to get a $12,000 car.
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Old 09-11-2020, 09:01 AM
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Clean the gun as best it can be cleaned. Lube it up, reassemble and enjoy it.
It is more about remembering your FIL than having a collector piece.
Also, this gun may help you toward the path of enlightenment.
Guns like dogs do not need to be ready for show. They get old, develop character and yet they perform just fine.
For some here, a gun with some “sperience” is a special treasure. Perhaps you will come to appreciate such a gun here.
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Old 09-11-2020, 10:30 AM
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You late FIL's gun is an antique. A lot of antique furniture was "restored" and new finishes applied. Times have changed. As the others have said, refinishing destroys all the patina the piece earned as it's history through the years. Any, even little, original finish on an antique is superior and more valuable and desirable than a refinish.
The soak in ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) mix technique is finish safe. Then rub with a soft cloth to remove rust. Patience is key.
It can be shot with standard 38 special loads... something to remember your loved one. It should not be stored in a holster or tight case. It can be kept oiled or the exterior could be waxed for prervation.
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Old 09-12-2020, 04:38 PM
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Again thank you all for the input.

I agree with everyone in that I shouldn't try to pretty the gun up with any kind of refinish.
Her Dad was a rugged, old, stern, no BS, old school kind of guy.
Leaving the gun as is would honor his memory more than trying to pretty it up.

I'm going to soak it in ATF and clean it up.
Take it to the range and give it a go.

He kept in this old leather holster for who knows how many years.



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Old 09-12-2020, 05:40 PM
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Late to the thread , my condolences to your family on the loss of your FIL. That being said you have a nice gun to remember him by. The grip can be repaired fairly easily with two part epoxy . I use JB Weld but others will work to. I have a few I have repaired that unless you know what you are looking foe can't tell it.
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