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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This has been in my family going back to the early 1900s if not a little sooner. I just recently started getting more curious about it and ive found alot of information, however, the one thing im not finding a solid answer on is what year was it made?! I spoke to a rep at Smith and Wesson today and they said it was around 1912 time frame. This is one thing I do want to be educated on, the history and everything else I can possibly know about it since it has stayed in the family for all these years.
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass, Ash! Your family has a Model of 1899, 1st Model Military & Police, Army & Navy revolver from 1902. This revolver was designed specifically for the .38 Special cartridge (CTG) and was initially released for sale in 1899. S&W hoped to capture the military market because the U.S. government cartridge at the time was the .38 Long Colt which was anemic. The .38 Special was the same size as .38 LC, but longer, allowing the loading of more black powder and thus was more powerful. But, .38 Special eventually lost out to .45 ACP and the Model 1911 semi-auto. The Model 1899 was replaced in 1902 with the Model 1902 which introduced the front locking lug for the ejector rod and eliminated the first ejector knurled knob and replaced it with a mushroom shaped knob. Also, the barrel, which was straight on the M1899, was enlarged at the frame but tapered toward the muzzle. This design with changes in 1905 to the internal lockwork has been the standard for S&W M&Ps over the years. Production of the .38 M&P, with modifications over the years, continues today as the Model 10.

Your gun is missing the knurled knob that is screwed into the ejector knob. This is a common issue and replica knobs are available on eBay if y'all want to restore it. Please, ma'am, post more pictures of your Model 1899 that shows the gun in its entirety. Congratulations on a fine family heirloom.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I found it locked in a safe in about a half an inch of gun oil about 12 years ago. Also found all these rounds with it as well. Im going to get the Authenticity paperwork from Smith and Wesson on it for (at least i feel like thats a good idea. Thoughts?) Do the dates on the top have any significance?
Thats insane but it fills in all the blanks for me. My great grandpa was drafted into the Army around 1900, I cant remember exactly what his draft card was dated but I have it somewhere.
I cant thank you enough for the information! I have attached more pictures for you!
 

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The dates on the top are the patent dates for the revolver. Letters of authenticity are available through the Smith and Wesson Collectors Association for $100. They'll tell you the ship date and where the factory shipped it to (usually a distributor)
Here's the link to the order form: Factory Letter – Smith & Wesson Collectors Association
Just keep a light coating of gun oil on it to prevent rust.

As for the ammo, it seems like the flat ended ones are "wadcutters" that would go with the gun as well as some .38 S&W (not the same cartridge as .38 Special) which are the shorter round nosed ones as well as a 9mm( the much shorter one). Your grandpa's gun is shootable with standard factory made .38 Special ammo that marked LRN (Lead Round Nose) or Wadcutter. Do not use ammo that is plated or marked +p. If you intend to shoot it, I'd recommend having it checked over by a gunsmith for correct operation.
 

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Thank you for the extra pictures. Your gun has been rode hard and put up wet. It was heavily buffed or sanded at some point in time and something was put on the barrel...aluminum paint? There's also some indication that the barrel to frame was worked on or the barrel was removed with a pipe wrench as evidenced by the gouges in the barrel at that junction. Although you might be able to shoot it, I suspect any competent gunsmith will advise against it. I advise against it. The actions on these early guns are long obsolete and finding replacement parts is nearly impossible. I recommend soaking it, without the grips, in a bath of equal parts auto transmission fluid and acetone in a sealable, chemically impervious container for a week or so, then go over it with a brass brush, bronze wool or a copper Chore Boy pad to remove all the remaining rust and grime. Then, spray it down inside and out with aerosol carb/brake/parts cleaner to remove all the oil and grime. I would spray it down, inside and out, with Strike Hold cleaner. This is a special chemical formulation that bonds with the metal and is hydrophobic. That will protect the gun from further rusting. Then I would put it in a glass top wooden gun case or shadow box along with the factory letter and some of the more vintage ammo. Then, the whole family and visitors can admire it and it won't be hidden for decades in a gun safe.

Just one additional recommendation. If you already know this, forgive me. To remove the grips (do NOT pry), completely loosen the grip screw but leave it inserted. Take a wooden or plastic handled tool and tap on the screw head to pop off the right panel, then you can remove the left panel by pushing it off from inside. When you get them off, you will see the grip pins that insert into the bottom of the panels to help hold the grips in position. If you pry, they will break the bottom off the hard rubber grip panel. If tapping the head doesn't work, hold the gun by the barrel and cylinder, then use the tool handle and sharply rap the grip frame at the knuckle to vibrate the panels off. Once you get them off, check the inside of the right panel for the scratched on serial number on the gun. That indicates the grips are original to the gun.

Again that is a terrific inheritance! Thank you for sharing it with us!
 
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The lettering on the barrel is way off. The barrel may have been made shorter on the end that screws into the frame. If you notice, the G in CTG barely fits between the T and the frame. That would be an unusual way to shorten a barrel. Usually the muzzle end is cut and a new front sight is soldered on
 
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