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  #1  
Old 11-09-2012, 09:31 PM
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Default How to identify a revolver

I am trying to identify this Nickel plated S & W Snubnose. I am pretty sure it is a 38 special .On the yoke when the cylinder is open I can see the numbers 52 51 B. With the cylinder open on the face of the cylinder there is what appears to be the letter N by one round opening then over the next round opening the numbers 535066, On the butt of the gun the same numbers 535066
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:35 PM
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Default This is the Revolver

Here is the revolver I am attempting to identify.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:36 PM
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Welcome! Just saw the photo. Most likely this is a ex-British service revolver known as the .38/200 from WW II that was originally in .38 S & W (a shorter, wider round than the .38 Special). It is a K or medium frame gun.

After the war many had the barrels shortened and a nickel refinish, like yours, and some were converted to fire .38 Special by reaming the cylinders longer. The chambers are too wide for the Special, and bulged or split cases with firing result. This also removes the front locking point for the ejector rod.
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Last edited by murphydog; 11-09-2012 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:41 PM
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The serial number of the gun is 535066 and the N is for nickel. Murphydog has the important questions.

Opps. Just saw the picture. +1 on the evaluation. Might that N be a V?

Last edited by Retired W4; 11-09-2012 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:43 PM
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First off, welcome to the forum.

This appears to be a Military & Police (Model of 1905, 4th Change) that by its serial number would date to 1926-27. S&W did not make snubnosed revolvers until several years later, and the lack of an ejector rod locking lug on the underside of the barrel strongly suggests that this one was made up by the expedient of cutting down the barrel.

The one photo is not enough for me to be certain that the present nickeling is not original, but it doesn't look right. The stocks (grips) are definitely aftermarket items.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:46 PM
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The SN is out of the usual range for a .38/200, so the other possibility is someone converted a .38 Military & Police from the 1920s by shortening the barrel.

Sorry about the first unedited post
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:18 AM
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Thanks for the Responses. I am going to Post more photos. It has3 screws on the right side and another screw in front of the trigger guard. I am a retired Deputy and carried a S & W 66 and an L frame. Neither of those disassembled like this Snub Nose. I am still trying to figure out how to remove the cylinder and Yoke. The wife purchased this revolver for me at a gunshow 2 years ago so I can carry it concealed, which I do.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:19 AM
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I am attempting to get a retail value on the revolver/
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:30 AM
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There's no good way to say this. The gun is butchered and has very little value. I would not take one as a gift as I would not trust it with the front lug missing. These can jam in this condition. But people who don't know buy them for hundreds of dollars from slimy dealers. I see them at shows tagged at $500 and laugh out loud. But then I realized an uninformed person will buy it and I want to cry.

BTW- The plated hammer and trigger are a tip off of a low cost refinish. S&W did not plate these parts.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDiDaddy View Post
I am attempting to get a retail value on the revolver/
Well, as was previously stated above by Retired W4, the gun evidently was originally nickeled, but even with the additional photos, it's still hard to tell if the current plating is original - certain details still suggest to me that it may be a refinish, albeit in the factory style. In any event, any value this gun has is as a shooter.

The killer here is the lopped off barrel, and the subsequent lost support for the ejector rod. That, coupled with its age (which imposes some common sense limitations as to how hot a loading ought to be used), really restricts its utility.

I'm sorry to have to be so negative in my assessment, but in all honesty, my estimate would have to be that this is about a $200 gun (retail) in most parts of the country.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:52 AM
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Default Thanks Mr Goony

You are right the Grips are definitely not original. That is the main reason I am attempting to find out what I can about this revolver. I want to replace the grips. I was told the N was for Nickel, but would that also be the frame type ?
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDiDaddy View Post
I want to replace the grips.
I don't know if I'd bother, unless you're talking about oversized rubber ones for practicality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDiDaddy View Post
I was told the N was for Nickel, but would that also be the frame type ?
No, it's a "K" frame.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:13 PM
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K frame with a square butt.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:20 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I like the revolver. It actually fires great, great accracy also. I have shot approximately 500 rounds through it with no problems whatsoever. I carry it concealled sometimes if I do not fill like carry my 45 or my SD40.. Thanks again.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:02 PM
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Can you provide a picture of the serial number on the butt and on the rear face of the cylinder. As someone else here has suggested that letter preceding the number is most likely a V. These guns were commonly referred to as "Victory" models due to the V prefix in the serial number. They were quite prolific after WWII and cheap. It was very common to re-finish or otherwise modify these guns for personal preference. Yours is a prime example of one of these guns. I don't think the gun is dangerous, but its value has been severely diminished. It is a K frame and any grip suitable for a K frame can be used. If you like the gun that is all that really matters, but I think your original inquiry has been answered. By the way, here is what you're gun probably looked like before modificating!



Well, I've tried several times to turn this pic, but no go. Just turn your head sideways and you'll see it!
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:00 AM
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To answer your question on how to disassemble the cylinder. You have to first loosen or remove the lower front side plate screw. Then put the gun into a large ziplock bag and remove the trigger guard screw. Be careful, because there is a very small spring and pin that locks the yoke. Make sure you catch those in the bag. You should then be able to pull the cylinder and yoke forward and out of the frame for cleaning. Although you could remove the ejector rod and star, you shouldn't need to. Doing that is more complicated and requires some special tools. If it is really dirty behind the ejector star, I suggest either soaking it in gun cleaner for a while then brushing it clean or blasting it with Winchester Gun Wash or brake cleaner.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:09 AM
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Slightly O/T . . . what is that hole under the cylinder release? It looks like the #$% *&^% lock! Except it's below the release.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
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Slightly O/T . . . what is that hole under the cylinder release? It looks like the #$% *&^% lock! Except it's below the release.
That's the rounded end of the hammer stud. Nowadays the stud ends are polished flat to the frame. In wartime and prewar guns the stud ends were left visible.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:42 AM
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With the large logo on the sideplate, the OP's gun cannot have been made before 1937. That means the serial number would have to include the V prefix of a wartime Victory revolver; that V should be visible on the butt, rear face of the cylinder and flat underside of the barrel. V535066 would have shipped in 1944.

I have never seen a .38 Special Victory with a chopped barrel, but I suppose they could exist. The usual chop jobs, as indicated above, were British Service Revolvers chambered originally for .38 S&W (or .38/200, in the British classification).

The British guns that got this treatment are usually covered in proof marks that I don't see on this revolver. Perhaps they have all been polished off. It looks as though all barrel markings have been polished off as well. Ignoring the out-of-protocol plated hammer and trigger, the frame finish does not look half bad. The sideplate was polished while in position, thus avoiding the horrible frame/sideplate gully you get when the parts are polished separately and the edges round over.

If you can shoot .38 special without damaging or deforming the brass, you may have a gun that was given a proper replacement cylinder, or a cylinder that was sleeved for .38 Special rather than just bored deeper. (But I don't see evidence of sleeving in that one photo that shows the face of the cylinder.)

There is a fourth sideplate screw under the right side stock, so this would be considered a five-screw revolver.

The crane detente and spring were gone as revolver features by the 1940s, so you don't run the risk of losing them when you take the crane/cylinder assembly off the frame. Just remove the front sideplate screw (or loosen it with a turn or two of removing it) and pull the opened crane straight forward. It will slide right out.

I agree that market value is probably not over $200 in light of its modifications.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:32 PM
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David, unless my eyes deceive me, that's a 5 screw revolver. Look again at the picture of the trigger guard. I think it is a .38 M&P Model 1905, 4th change frame.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
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That's the rounded end of the hammer stud. Nowadays the stud ends are polished flat to the frame. In wartime and prewar guns the stud ends were left visible.
Interesting! Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:44 PM
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Default Revolver

I will attempt to answer all questions. I attemped to take photos of the numbers but the camera would not focus so close up. Like I previously stated, on the face of the cylinder there is a capitol N, very recognizable as an N and double checked with a lighted magnifying glass to make sure. Then one opening to the right of the N are the numbers 135066. On the butt of the revolver are the same numbers with no letters before or after the numbers. There are no areas of wear to lead me to believe that a letter was possibly worn off. Under the right pimp grip I found another screw, so that makes 4 screws on the right side and one on the front of the trigger guard. I have shot everything from round nose lead bullets to hydro-shocks and never had a bit of trouble with it. I want to try and find a set of stock grips for it, I hate the pimp grips that came on it. Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:11 PM
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You have a 5 screw .38 M&P Hand Ejector Square Butt shipped around 1909. This is also known as the Model of 1905, 1st or 2nd Change. The N stands for nickel which is how your revolver is finished. It has had either a replacement barrel installed or the original barrel was cut down from the rear and rethreaded which is how it might have lost the locking lug. It is a K frame gun and any grips made for a K frame should fit. To be original, you need a set of pre-WWI walnut checkered diamond around the escutcheon with a rounded top -- no medallion.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:18 PM
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Nice detective work Wiregrassguy! And yep, it would look a lot better with correct vintage service grips than those Companionship Procurement Specialist faux stags.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:54 PM
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Thanks, DR. Numrich has the service grips in stock. But, I think a combat stock would grip better.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:25 PM
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Whenever I am identifying a revolver like I require it to give me it's drivers license. Sorry I could NOT resist.
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