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Old 11-16-2008, 07:51 AM
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Gentlemen,

My father in law has an old .38 Special that was his fathers. There are several numbers on it, but it looks like the S/N is 483585. The barrel says E38 S&W, CTG 3.

Interestingly there are also the following #s: 35987. The front site post says Parker Hale England. On the bottom of the barrel it reads: .38" .767" below that V 483585 Below that BNP 31/2 tons.

Can anyone help identify to date this revolver was made or even a rough approximate value?

It is in pretty good shape and looks like its been fired only a few times, but the metal has some pitting. There is no rust but the Smith and Wesson lettering looks worn down probably from years of being in a holster.

I'm not too familar with the older S&Ws. I have a MDL 657 circa 1987 and a MDL 22 Nickle circa 2007.

Thanks for any help,
Ken
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:51 AM
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Gentlemen,

My father in law has an old .38 Special that was his fathers. There are several numbers on it, but it looks like the S/N is 483585. The barrel says E38 S&W, CTG 3.

Interestingly there are also the following #s: 35987. The front site post says Parker Hale England. On the bottom of the barrel it reads: .38" .767" below that V 483585 Below that BNP 31/2 tons.

Can anyone help identify to date this revolver was made or even a rough approximate value?

It is in pretty good shape and looks like its been fired only a few times, but the metal has some pitting. There is no rust but the Smith and Wesson lettering looks worn down probably from years of being in a holster.

I'm not too familar with the older S&Ws. I have a MDL 657 circa 1987 and a MDL 22 Nickle circa 2007.

Thanks for any help,
Ken
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2008, 08:06 AM
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I forgot to mention the Pistol has Blue finish, a rear fixed site and has a 4" barrel. I'm not sure if it is a .38 Special or not, but the barrel says 38. It's a N Frame with square butt and there is an R before the 35987 which I believe it the assembly number.

RLTW,
Ken
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  #4  
Old 11-16-2008, 08:09 AM
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Probably a Victory Model modified by Parker Hale after the war to make it more "saleable".

Lots had the 5 inch barrels cut back to snubnose length, eliminating the front support for the extractor rod.

Sounds like the gun in question was originally a .38 S&W and may have had the chambers lengthened to enable use of .38 Special. Not a wise practice.

Minimal value in my opinion. $125.00 or so.
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:10 AM
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If it is indeed a N Frame you have something I am unfamiliar with. I have seen these on the K Frame many times.
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:42 AM
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Most definitely a Victory Model. Specifically, it's what's referred to as a K-200 or pre-Model 11. This was a standard M&P (pre-Model 10) chambered for the .38/200 British cartridge (our .38 S&W).

The V serial number prefix makes it a war-time gun, originally with a parkerized finish. The BNP 3-1/2 Tons is a British military proof mark. These guns were all built on the K-Frame.

With the Parker-Hale stamping on the front sight, the gun may have been one of many that was "converted" to .38 Special after the war to make them more saleable. Some of these conversions were pretty bad while others seem to be fair enough.

One serious problem is that some conversions were bored all the way through the cylinder. This would allow the gun to chamber a .357 Magnum cartrige which will destroy the gun. Other problems included off-center boring, oversized chambers and rough chambers.

Because the original .38 S&W cartridge is both shorter and fatter than .38 Special, even a well done conversion will cause the .38 Special brass to 'bulge' in its lower half and often times cases will split or partially split.

My father bought one of these 'converted' .38's in the post-war years ($38.50 mail order and delivered to the door USPS!). It seems to be one of the better conversions. Cases don't split often, it doesn't spit lead and it's moderately accurate.

Values on converted Victorys is quite low. Arfmel is probably right - about $125 as a plinker. Winchester and Magtech still make .38 S&W cartridges if you want to shoot it with the original load.
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:25 AM
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Another few things to look for is the serial number on the face of the cylinder. If it matches, it is the original 38 S&W. I have a conversion done by Cogswell & Harrison of London. They changed the cylinder and replaced it with a 38 special cylinder. Naturally, the SN doesn't match, but it is now a great shooter. Also, try to place a 38 special cartridge in the cylinder . If it chambers all of the way in, it's a special. If it won't chamber all of the way it's an S&W.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:15 AM
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Default help with 38 Special with matching SN

I Inherited this gun from my mother which was given to her by her dad, my Grandpa...after researching this gun I read about the convertion by Cogs & harrison london...but am still unclear of it's origan...can anyone assist me...There is a "V" on the bottom next to the lanyard holder and the sn match the chamber and holds a 38 bullet...SN 494214...
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:13 AM
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Well, the origin of the gun is Springfield, MA, in the S&W factory...

The other posts tell you what happened to it after WW II.

It has almost certainly been reblued, washing out some of the depth of the original markings. That's why it seems holsterworn to you.

You may want it as a family keepsake, but buy a newer, better gun for real use.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:35 AM
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Welcome to the Forum.

BillCa has given you the best info on your family heirloom.

It was originally built for the British Commonwealth countries during WW II by Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Mass. The "V" is part of the serial number. The original chambering was .38 S&W, which is a shorter, slightly larger in diameter, cartridge than the .38 special. If a .38 special cartridge will chamber in the cylinder, it has been converted.

The conversion was done due to the popularity of the .38 special cartridge in this country.

The frame size is the K.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:04 AM
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"The BNP 3-1/2 Tons is a British military proof mark."

Actually, this is a British commercial proof mark, when it was sold into the commercial market after its release from military service. 3 1/2 tons was the proof load pressure, and 0.767" is the length of the .38 S & W case.

The best way to tell if it has been re-chambered to .38 Special is to see if one chambers; if so, it has been converted, since the S & W case is shorter.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:21 AM
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This is what the typical British Victory Model looks like in its original form (save the checkered stocks which are post war). Some had 4" barrels but the vast majority had 5" barrels. Measure from muzzle to cylinder face. They were in 38 S&W which is not the same as the longer 38 Special.

After the war many of these guns were haphazardly "converted" or as I call it, "butchered." Often the barrels were cut down, often they were reamed for the 38 Special cartridge. All of this is bad. Some of these are better than others, but none are great shooters unless the proper 38 S&W ammo is used. This ammo is hard to find and pricey (which is why many were "converted").

A converted Victory Model is a good keepsake if a family member carried it. But they are usually not good shooters.


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Old 06-02-2012, 11:31 AM
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Default 38 Special

Thanks for the help!...quick responses
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357 magnum, 657, cartridge, extractor, k frame, k-frame, military, model 10, parkerized, smith and wesson, snubnose, victory, winchester

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