Smith And Wesson Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
IMG_1464.JPG I have what appears to be a nickeled revolver, 6 shot, wood grips, and has Smith & Wesson on one end of the barrel, and the other side only has S&W CTG? It doesn't appear to have any polishing marks, but it does not say .38 special anywhere and my local gun shop says it looks like it was refinished and someone probably accidentally polished off the the .38 Special portion? I do NOT want to fire any .38 Special rounds until I have someone on here that can help me validate that this is okay based on serial numbers/pics! The .38 special rounds fit fine in the weapon and everything closes fine, but again...I'd like to know if someone can help validate this. Tried posting a pic about 5 times, but guessing my macbook doesn't have something loaded as the 'import' option doesn't appear to be working?
When I open the revolver, the model # has a KO above this code: 10833 and after taking the hand grips off, the base of the revolver has a V then a large gap before the serial # which is 650XXX (replaced the last 3 numbers with XX's here cause others said they didn't need them).

Any help on when this was made, and whether or not I can shoot .38 special (and not just the more expensive .38 S&W round) would be greatly appreciated!!! Of course...any other history would be great too!!!
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,591 Posts
Looks like an early 38 M&P, almost certainly refinished judging by the nickeled hammer and trigger. Probably a 38 Special, but could be 38 S&W. We'll need the S/N to get a better idea. The number you posted is not the S/N, just an assembly number. It means nothing outside the factory. The S/N is found on the butt of the revolver.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
What you have is a 38 hand. Ejector made for service in ww2 commonly called the victory due to the v as part of the serial number. Many were made for the British empire in 38 s& w ctg. Many used domestically were 38 special. After the war many of the British were converted to 38 special. The converted ones NJhave chamber slightly oversized for 38 special and may cause split cases. There are folks here who knowledge exceeds mine that may be able to determine if yours was converted
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,815 Posts
welcome01 to the forums from the Wiregrass! As ^59dexta says, it is a WWII Victory .38/200 British Service Revolver designed for the .38 caliber 200 grain Webley cartridge (.38 S&W). The .38 S&W is a larger diameter cartridge than the .38 Special, but .38 Special (and .38 S&W) can be shot in the gun since the cylinder chambers have been reamed for the longer cartridge. Casings will swell and may split but it should not be dangerous. Many thousands of these guns were modified after WWII and have been used for decades. The target grips you have with it are from a later era. Originally, these came with plain round top walnut grips. The targets are better for shooting. It has no collector value since it was reamed and refinished. Value is around $200-250. When originally issued, it would have look something like this:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,247 Posts
38 sw Cyl Conversion.png

If your cylinders look like this one, then your .38 S&W has been reamed out to accept the .38 Special round. The .38 S&W (often called "short and weak") has a shorter case than the Special, and the case is slightly larger in diameter. What you see are the ridges in the cylinder where the cylinder narrowed to seat the lip of the brass. (as an aside, I have a Ruger pistol which holds standard 9mm Parabellum rounds, intended for semi-auto pistols, only by that ridge). Given a longer casing for the .38 Special, its ridge is deeper in the cylinder.

As Wiregrassguy said, this was common practice. The effect is the brass casing is less supported in the larger-diameter area. Weaker brass will swell, or even split. It's not an issue unless you planned on reloading that now-useless brass. You may find the swelled brass a little harder to eject. My Victory in the V508xxx range was built from the factory for .38 Special and says so on the barrel (.38 SPCL CTG).

SW Victory 38 Special.jpg

Since your barrel does not appear to be shortened, and if it were then the "CTG" would have been the first letters to go, I believe you do have the .38/200 (aka .38 S&W) cylinder. If it takes the .38 Special rounds, then I'd wager the top photo is what you'll see.

Firing lead round-nose 158-grain bullets should cause no worries so long as the gun has no obvious cracks or weakness. They are a hoot to shoot!

And it does appear to have been nickeled along the way. The trigger and hammer should be case-hardened (have a swirly rainbow pattern in the metal) instead they appear plated. S&W never did that. If the back of the cylinder has an "N" stamped on it, then the gun was originally factory nickeled, but had been replated outside the factory accounting for the plated trigger and hammer. If factory nickeled I think it would be very rare given the V serial....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,661 Posts
I would beg to differ on the barrel length, from the location of the engraving it appears this gun started out with the standard 5 inch barrel (for the British contracts). To the extent of my knowledge there were 68 nickel Victory Models in the SV serial range. It also appears the retaining pin hole for the butt swivel has been filled it. Plating may cover up the resoldered front sight and filled swivel hole. A large proportion of the approximate half million British Service Revolvers met similar fates in the 1950's preparing them for the American commercial market. The factory does not recommend so +P ammo in these guns. If a case sticks punch it out from the front of the cylinder, do not bang on the ejector rod.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would beg to differ on the barrel length, from the location of the engraving it appears this gun started out with the standard 5 inch barrel (for the British contracts). To the extent of my knowledge there were 68 nickel Victory Models in the SV serial range. It also appears the retaining pin hole for the butt swivel has been filled it. Plating may cover up the resoldered front sight and filled swivel hole. A large proportion of the approximate half million British Service Revolvers met similar fates in the 1950's preparing them for the American commercial market. The factory does not recommend so +P ammo in these guns. If a case sticks punch it out from the front of the cylinder, do not bang on the ejector rod.
Waldmann...clarification please on your last sentence? "The factory does not recommend so +P ammo in these guns...." ??????

Is .38 Special also called +P Ammo???? Are you saying even though my cylinder has been reamed out (and yes I checked and mine has been reamed and look like the photo that sdismukes posts earlier) that it may be unsafe to shoot the .38 special round out of this weapon? My .38 S&W and my .38 Special rounds both fit comfortably in the weapon so again...just wanting to get guidance here on how safe it is to shoot the Special rounds? (or +P if that is what they are called?).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow...so many great comments in one day! Thanks for everyone who has commented on this. After reading everyone's comments, I've checked a few things...
my serial number that is under the target grips is also stamped on the front side of the cylinder V650XXX. I do have those boring grooves inside of the cylinder as mentioned earlier....and guessing this means that this Victory S&W has 'officially' been converted and modified to shoot .38 Special rounds?? After people making comments about plating, and barrel modifications I think they are correct. Why? Cause the hammer and trigger have been plated as well as the rest of the weapon and some of the blems show this. Also... after seeing other pics from sdismukes, I do think my barrel has been shortened. The edges at the end of the barrel appear as though someone has polished and ground on it and it isn't perfectly flush and even like someone has cut it and tried to bevel and dress it up?? (and did a shitty job of it!!)

I only paid $133 for this revolver and really didn't buy it as a collector or to resell...just wanted it for a spare 'home protection' weapon so even if I'm forced to go out and buy a bunch of .38 S&W ammo (that I can't use for anything but this weapon) its not the end of the world. Can anyone tell me what year this gun was manufactured based on the serial number?

Thanks everyone for your expertise!!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,815 Posts
I can't tell you exactly when it was made. There are people on other forums who track the SN's and can be more precise. According to info posted in the Victory database, I estimate your gun shipped in mid-1944.

Also, WRT ammo pressure. You can shoot .38 S&W and .38 Special commercial ammo without concern for the pressure. Of course, +P ammo, which is slightly higher in pressure than target ammo, but within the pressure specs for the Victory revolver will be more likely to split cases. I wouldn't be concerned about using +P self defense ammo in the gun occasionally.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looks like an early 38 M&P, almost certainly refinished judging by the nickeled hammer and trigger. Probably a 38 Special, but could be 38 S&W. We'll need the S/N to get a better idea. The number you posted is not the S/N, just an assembly number. It means nothing outside the factory. The S/N is found on the butt of the revolver.
The serial number was up in the text.... V650XXX
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,247 Posts
"Back in the day", the loads the factories put out were a shade stouter than today - so a .38 Special round from 1920 would have been a little stouter than the same weight bullet in a round today. S&W didn't used to heat treat their cylinders back in the black-powder days, but they most certainly were masters at metallurgy by the time your Victory was made. You can shoot any .38 Special round you want. Note I did not say +P in that statement. There are differences in cylinder pressures between lead-round-nose bullets (which i noted at 158 grain weights you could shoot happily), and jacketed ones. The jacketed bullets build a bit more pressure in the cylinders. Yours should be able to handle that. Mine certainly does.

Wiregrassguy says you can shoot +P ammo in yours, and I don't doubt it a second. What he also said was that the extra pressure of a round labelled "+P" will likely split the cases in the modified Victory you own, seeing as the ".38 S&W" part of the cylinder supports the brass far less than a gun made for .38 special from the git-go. One time I polished up the entry ramp on a .22 semi a little too vigorously, resulting in a gap under the back of the brass. When it shot, I had a reliable case buster - had a hole in the back of the case where the feed ramp was over-polished away, and every shot generated a big puff of smoke from around the slide. Cost me a new barrel for that little lesson....

But no worries about any box labelled ".38 Special". The worst that would happen is the brass might be too swelled to manually reload without a bit of resizing of the brass. I sense you're not that heavy into shooting (yet?? ) to be considering reloading!

BTW my 508xxx serial shipped in early-mid 1944. So yours would be late 1944 vintage. Most of the data like that gives a range of serials shipped in a given year, and production may be assumed to be continuous and linear as many a s S&W were making. Less populous guns might be made for only a month to several months at a time in a year.

$133 sounds like a reasonable price for a refinished and modified shooter. I prefer the grips you have on yours, to the originals. Ya done good.

Next step - take it out, shoot the thing, and give us a range report!! Looking forward to it!!!
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top