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Old 05-11-2017, 02:52 PM
ieubts ieubts is offline
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Default Would like to identify inherited gun

Never owned a gun but inherited this S&W (Dad recently passed). I would like to get some history on it and also be advised on ammo to buy for it. Not sure if this is the correct subforum but here are some pics. If I am looking in the right place for a model number I believe it is 48832.

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Old 05-11-2017, 02:56 PM
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Nice gun ....... not my area but looks like a pre war (WWII). there should be a number on the bottom of the grip frame..... that's the "official" serial# which would help us date the shipping date.

FYI barrel length is measured from the muzzle to the front of the cylinder ...... not the frame ........is that 5 inches???

Caliber is generally marked on the barrel...... (side we can't see)...... guessing it's a .38 special...... thou it could be .38 S&W (shorter round) or....


Can you get a picture of the stamping under the cylinder release?????

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Old 05-11-2017, 03:02 PM
ieubts ieubts is offline
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Yes, it measures 5 inches. Serial number is 575089.
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:06 PM
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Looks like early 1930s; K-frame (medium frame size)

Someone will be along with better data...... maybe even exact year..



WAG; its a .38 Military & Police (aka M&P) of 1905 4th change..with what were called "service grips"..... about 450,000 made 1915-WWII.

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Old 05-11-2017, 03:18 PM
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...that's a nice looking example of a prewar M&P...the mushroom ejector rod knob ended sometime in 1927...that serial number would probably put it pretty near 1927...mine is 4958xx from 1925...

...I believe the grips are from a little later...the originals wouldn't have a medallion...
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:37 PM
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Condolences on the loss of your dad. I can't add anything to what you've already been told, but he left you one of the nicest revolvers a person could own. "Iconic" is a much overused word today but it applies to that firearm.

Of all the service stocks on S&W revolvers, that style is my favorite.

Have fun with it.
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:20 PM
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Welcome to the FORUM! Sorry about the loss of your Father. Stick with standard velocity loads. No +P, or hot loads for the old girl! It should perform well at the range. My dad gave me a similar 1 from 1919. Never had a lick of issues with it! My oldest son has it now. Bob
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:37 PM
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Sorry about the death of your father, The grips may be from a later date then the gun, check to see if the right side grip is numbered in pencil with the serial number.
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Old 05-11-2017, 04:47 PM
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The stocks are 30s style. Your gun is a beauty. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:38 PM
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To join the consensus, the small service stocks with medallion started to be used in 1930, so they are about three years too late for this gun.

But for its vintage this revolver does appear indeed to be in outstanding overall condition. Besides some holster wear at the muzzle and the turn line, it is almost pristine. Not seen this nice very often for a gun this age.
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:50 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Sorry for your loss. Mine is gone over 20 years and I still miss him every day.

You pretty much have all the answers above. Is the other side of the barrel marked with a caliber? If its .38 S&W they are a little harder to find but can be found at gun shows for reasonable money. If its .38 special then that can be found almost anywhere.

Enjoy, there are over 7,000,000 .38 M&P's and their model named descendants floating around but only 1 that was owned by your father. Hopefully it stays in your family.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:21 PM
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Sorry about your Dad passing.

That revolver is freaking beautiful. I received a really beautiful Model 19 when my step Dad passed too. And I bought his 442 from my Mom because the money was helpful at the time. I carry that gun every day.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:30 PM
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Thanks for all the info and sentiments. I had no idea the gun might be that old. I will check the caliber marking... but as far as ammo it sounds like I should get "standard velocity load" .38? any other specs to note when buying ammo? I'm a complete newbie to all of this.
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:32 PM
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I just remembered something. This gun in this guy's holster looks really similar. It seems to me that is a longer barrel than 4" in that pic.... It's hard to tell though.

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Old 05-11-2017, 07:45 PM
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Likely manufactured in the late 1920's with that mushroom extractor rod knob. When the Great Depression hit in 1929 Smith was stuck with a lot of guns they could not sell. . .some were finished and some were not. My guess is that your gun was manufactured in 1927-1928 and held in work-in-process inventory for several years. The grips were likely added sometime in the 1930's when the gun finally sold and shipped. Not uncommon to see a late 1920's gun with correct 1930's grips.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:48 PM
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That one is in fantastic shape for its age. If it IS 38 S&W, (NOT S&W Special) then you can also buy ammo online for it.
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Old 05-11-2017, 09:30 PM
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Default careful with ammo choice...

Please be careful with ammo choice... there are 2 different 38's and they are not interchangeable... 38 S&W is common in older revolvers and was used by the British - the cartridge is shorter and has a larger diameter... 38 Special is the most common and was the standard of law enforcement for decades... to add to the fun... many older 38 S&W revolvers were converted to 38 special.... if you are unsure, please find someone local with understanding about the differences and ask for help... and not the Walmart sales team member... find a local gun shop that deals in used firearms talk to the oldest person you can find in the place... generally speaking a pawn shop is not a good choice... but there are always exceptions... good luck and have safe fun...
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Old 05-11-2017, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
...it sounds like I should get "standard velocity load" .38?
Just a note of caution. Don't go into a gun shop or sporting goods store and ask for a "box of 38s". Not all "38s" are created equal. Others have mentioned there is a difference between 38 S&W and 38 S&W Special. You need to be sure what is marked on the right side of the barrel and ask for that specific ammunition.

Enjoy shooting this connection to your late father.

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Old 05-12-2017, 12:10 AM
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The barrel inscriptions are different by one word: 38 S&W CTG vs. 38 S&W SPECIAL CTG.

I'm fairly positive it will say SPECIAL.

If it is all-original, the chance of having a 575-serial in .38 S&W is pretty much non-existent. S&W did not produce the K-frame in that caliber until the overseas military contracts, certainly not as early as 1927 when the mushroom-shaped ejector rod knob was still being installed and the small logo was still on the left side; I believe the lowest are some lower 600-thousand frames that were used on SA-contract revolvers in 1940.
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:34 AM
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I'm sorry to hear of your dad passing. I lost my step dad last fall as well.

I would exercise caution with finding ammo for it. Much like some have mentioned, check with an old-timer or long term S&W guy. I believe with the ammo not only do you want to avoid +P ammo but also 124gr bullets. From what I had been told, you want to be using 158gr cowboy loads. Modern 124gr are pushing more pressure and can cause you barrel to fail. I was shooting weak 124gr loads and cracked a forcing cone on my early 50s K-frame. No squib load or double charge. The only thing was that they were 124gr and I was told that they were the cause because of that.
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:31 PM
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So it's 38 special. Looks like there are lot's of online sources for ammo.
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:57 PM
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".38 Special" is everywhere from the Local Gun Shop to the Big Box sports stores to Walmart.

While the gun itself isn't a rare collectible...... as a family heirloom it's..... priceless.

Just a thought; given it's age and your Dad not being a "gun guy" could it have come down from a Grandparent??????

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Old 05-12-2017, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ieubts View Post
So it's 38 special. Looks like there are lot's of online sources for ammo.
....
Great. Now that's settled. Forget all the alarming stuff. You don't need a S&W expert or a gunsmith; just buy some .38 Special, which is the most common revolver ammo in the world. You can get it online, but also at any sporting goods store or most Walmarts and such. Unless you buy in volume, shipping costs tend to eliminate online price advantages.

The box should not say +P, but if it does, it won't blow up your gun either; it will just be louder, have more recoil and put more wear on the gun. Shooting +P makes some people feel manlier, though . Enjoy!
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAM-BAM View Post
Just a thought; given it's age and your Dad not being a "gun guy" could it have come down from a Grandparent??????
Yes, originally came from Grandparent (Southern Indiana). My Dad also had a Kentucky long rifle that was owned by his Grandfather. The rifle had some paperwork with it stating it was last shot in 1883. My bother got the long rifle.... I took the revolver. Both guns are now in southern CA.
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:54 PM
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"My bother got the long rifle..."

Yeah, I have a sibling like that too.
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Old 05-18-2017, 02:14 PM
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OK. Going through Dad's stuff... found these in a dresser drawer. I assume they were bought for this gun. OK to shoot? I have no idea how old they are.... but they look old. Says $16 on the box.



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Old 05-18-2017, 03:10 PM
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They're almost historic, but they'll work. The .38 Special was a longer and more powerful version of the .38 Long Colt, intentionally dimensioned to be able to shoot this caliber also since at the time the .38 LC was the official US service caliber; the earliest iterations of the K-frame actually said that on the barrel. It made guns in the new caliber more attractive, since .38 LC was fairly widespread around the turn of the 19./20. century as Colt made not just the military revolvers, but also civilian versions, and being able to shoot both made the transition to the new .38 Special easier.

So you can use this up; I'm not sure whether it has any collector value in itself.

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Old 05-18-2017, 08:41 PM
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You might want to trade that ammo to someone for a box of .38 special. Many folks collect the older boxes if for no other reason than to add some color to the gun room.

Then again, maybe that's just me.
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:56 PM
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You might want to trade that box of ammo for a COUPLE of boxes of .38SPCL...your pistol is beautiful and the condition is outstanding for the age. Curious as to if the grips are numbered, there is a good chance they may be original. Sadly, you don't have your father with you any longer, but you will always have this treasure to go with the memories.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:07 PM
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Just FYI, those .38 LC cartridges are probably from the 60s or 70s (I could be wrong), in any event, they are a bit less powerful than service-load .38 Special, clean, non-corrosive primed, and perfectly safe to fire in your M&P. As above, before you do, you might want to check around and see if there's any trade interest for a box of .38 Special 158 grain RNL (Round Nose Lead). That's the standard service load - avoid +P.
We will all love to hear a range report.

Larry
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:10 PM
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I would keep my dad's box of 38 LC for a bookcase decoration and just buy some 38 special.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:43 PM
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Hi ieubts:

Welcome to the Forum. My condolences on your loss.

I think the thing to consider when selecting ammo for your revolver is "standard velocity" .38 Special. Two different loads are what I would recommend: 148 gr. WC (Wadcutter) which is often referred to as a "mid-range" and/or target round, and the standard velocity 158 gr. LSWC (Lead Semi-Wadcutter). The 148 gr. WC is a target round (the shape of the bullet cuts a clean, round hole in the target). It's very mild shooting, and is also good for small game hunting at close range (25 yards and under), and even a good antipersonnel round for home defensed use. One downside to the 148 gr. WC is that because of the shape of the bullet, and the fact that it's loaded at, or slightly higher than the rim of the shell casing, it makes reloading slow. The 158 gr. LSWC is my favorite .38 Special round. It's very versatile and can be used for informal target work, plinking, and hunting small game. Because of the shape of its bullet, it can be loaded using speed loaders.

Image of the 148 gr. wadcutter:

148 gr. wadcutter image - Bing images

Image of the 158 gr. LSWC:

158 gr. lswc image - Bing images

I've shot boatloads of both loads, but haven't shot wadcutters in years (they got pricey).

Good luck,

Dave
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