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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 11-16-2020, 02:57 AM
Chris-B Chris-B is offline
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Default S&W .38 special age help, please!

I have had this gun for most of my life, a Christmas gift from my dad as a teenager, and was wondering if anyone would help me with it's history. Serial # is 286112. On the right hand side of barrel it's stamped "38 S. & W. SPECIAL OTG".
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:02 AM
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I'll be the first to welcome you aboard!

Nice gift, and I'm most impressed you've retained and maintained it through the years.

One of the .38 M&P (I believe that's what it is) will be along soon to help with your inquiry.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:09 AM
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Thank you!
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:43 AM
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I will guess we’re looking at 1915-1916 or somewhere in there? Round butt frame, maybe Third Change.

It’s fun to try and guess before the guys that REALLY know show up!
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:47 AM
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From my previous research, a few years ago, I think it's about 1911...not certain though! Lost all the info I collected due to being stupid, and not backing up a computer before it died!
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:49 AM
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The more I think about it, you might just be right!
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Old 11-16-2020, 06:43 AM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Does it have a small S&W trademark stamp on the left side of the frame. IF so, it likely shipped in 1917. If there is no trademark, then 1919. When the west coast wakes up, the folks with the databases will speak up.
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris-B View Post
On the right hand side of barrel it's stamped "38 S. & W. SPECIAL OTG".
I claim to know nearly nothing on these older Smitty's, so I'll only point out that the lettering actually reads "38 S. & W. SPECIAL CTG" CTG being the abbreviation for cartridge used by S&W...That looks like a very nice, well preserved old warhorse (unlike myself)......Ben
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:15 AM
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I'm in S&W kindergarten here, located in the basement of S&W University, so I can't help at all. But no worries, the professors will be along shortly to really help. I just wanted to jump up out of my desk and say What A Beaut and what a great thing that you have kept and maintained that gift from your farther. Heart warming it is!
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:24 AM
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Guy is correct. Somewhere in the 1917-1919 period is a good approximation. You didn't show the left side, so we can't see whether the monogram is present. That might help us narrow down the possibilities. It would take a records search to be certain in any case.

If you look at the patent dates on the top of the barrel, you will notice the last one is December 29, 1914. That indicates the Fourth Change, which first appeared in 1915.

The nickel finish appears to be original, and so do the stocks. A nicely preserved piece. Enjoy it.
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:51 AM
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I think the full nomenclature for your revolver is: "Model of 1902 Military & Police, (4th change)".
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Old 11-16-2020, 11:06 AM
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Welcome to the Forum. I just picked up a 38 Hand Ejector (M&P) Target, 4th Change with #281785. It was shipped in August 1917.

Just checked the database and find that all 1917 listed ship dates occurred between 255,XXX and 288,XXX. So 90% chance it shipped in 1917 and a 10% chance it shipped in 1918.

Let me add that the 38 Hand Ejector was manufactured, starting in 1899. Many changes occurred in the manufacture of this model and each major change was identified as a grouping of gun serial numbers. Your revolver was part of a huge production effort, a half-million plus revolvers, that lasted from about 1915 to 1942. They were called 38 Hand Ejector (Military & Police), 4th Change. Started with serial number 241,701 and continued until WWII production started around 1940-1942.
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Old 11-16-2020, 01:22 PM
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Heat treating of cylinders didn't begin until 1921 or so. Someone here can post the serial no.

I'd hesitate to use Plus P, let alone .38-44 ammo in your old gun.

s&w doesn't warranty guns for Plus P until 1957 and later, bearing model numbers.
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Old 11-16-2020, 01:44 PM
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From my notes, I find that K frames heat treated cylinders started in September, 1919, at about serial number 316648. All other frame sizes were heat treated after 1920.
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
All other frame sizes were heat treated after 1920.
I think you forgot about the Model 1917s that began that year at Army insistence.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:05 PM
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Thanks Guy, did not include the military contract N frames. I will correct my notes.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:00 PM
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Chris-B, welcome to the forum from Pennsylvania. Good on your part for holding on to that piece from your father. I know little about these, so I will learn along with you.
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Old 11-16-2020, 07:16 PM
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Welcome to http://smith-wessonforum.com/ from an Old Soldier in Olympia, WA; in the Great Pacific Northwest!
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Old 11-16-2020, 08:45 PM
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Welcome from Georgia Chris! Stick around here and you will simply be amazed at the wealth of information available to you, incredible.

Thatís an old beauty, I love the stocks (grips to everyone but Smith & Wesson). To me they are perfect for that revolver, and they have character.

The fact your Father gave it to you makes it all the more special, enjoy!
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Old 11-18-2020, 10:50 PM
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Thank you EVERYONE for their replies! I've been busy with work and just got on here to check things out! Amazed!
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:04 PM
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I can't seem to add more pictures, but the patent dated on top are as follows; MAR 27 94 MAY 21 95 AUG 4 96 DEC 22 LOOKS LIKE 98 OCT 8 01 DEC 17 01 FEB 6 POSSIBLY 06 OR 08 SEPT 14 09
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
Guy is correct. Somewhere in the 1917-1919 period is a good approximation. You didn't show the left side, so we can't see whether the monogram is present. That might help us narrow down the possibilities. It would take a records search to be certain in any case.

If you look at the patent dates on the top of the barrel, you will notice the last one is December 29, 1914. That indicates the Fourth Change, which first appeared in 1915.

The nickel finish appears to be original, and so do the stocks. A nicely preserved piece. Enjoy it.
Please see my previous post with the patent dates. Last one is Sept 14 09
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris-B View Post
Please see my previous post with the patent dates. Last one is Sept 14 09
Interesting. The serial number puts the frame beyond 1915, so I suspect the barrel is a leftover part. S&W never threw anything useful away, and in the teens there were probably older barrels still in the bin. One probably got used up later on your frame.

There may be some other explanation, but that one is possible.
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
Interesting. The serial number puts the frame beyond 1915, so I suspect the barrel is a leftover part. S&W never threw anything useful away, and in the teens there were probably older barrels still in the bin. One probably got used up later on your frame.

There may be some other explanation, but that one is possible.
I'm going to delete a lousy picture or 2, and post the barrel pics.
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:20 AM
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Not sure why they're upside down! They're right side up on my phone!
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:22 AM
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I flipped them over on phone, hopefully it works!
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Old 11-19-2020, 12:23 AM
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Anyone have an idea why my pictures are uploading upside-down?
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Old 11-19-2020, 01:51 AM
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It happens. No big deal; we can read it.
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