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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently inherited what appears to me to be a Smith and Wesson Double Action "Perfected", chambered in .38 S&W. I attempted to reach out to S&W by phone earlier, but they couldn't provide me with much information. The serial starts with 58*** and is only five digits. From what I understand this particular model was only made between 1909 and 1920, but it would be nice to narrow down the year.

Secondly, I was wondering if anyone has any idea if it's safe to shoot jacketed projectiles through it. I know the older S&W top breaks were mainly black powder or modern day equivalent. with only with a lead bullet, though since this one was manufactured a good bit after the advent of smokeless powder it had me wondering.

Attached are some photos. I appreciate whatever help you folks can give me, it has a great deal of sentimental value attached to it for our family and I'd love to find out more about it.

Thanks.
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I'd stick with lead bulleted 38 S&W ammo. Which is still available.
 
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Yep, 38S&W is NOT the same as 38 Special
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the welcome, and the input thus far. If anyone has any additional information regarding dating or tracking down the history let me know. I looked at the S&W Historical Society but I'd like to not have to spend so much.
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! You can shoot current .38 S&W cartridges (not .38 Special) in that gun as long as the lockwork is functioning as designed. If you are not sure or don't know how to check, you might want to have a gunsmith check it out first. You can find .38 S&W at most big box sports stores but unlikely at a gunshop since there's not a lot of demand for that cartridge. Why are the grips taped? If they are damaged, you can find replicas at N.C. Ordnance Inc - Powered by Network Solutions.. It is an I frame, round butt and uses the same grip as the .32 Hand Ejector.

S&W only made 59400 of this model from 1909 to 1920. So, it's pretty safe to say it was made around 1920. 100 Years Old! Most of these were sold outside the US. So, it is pretty unusual to see one in the US. The design of this top break with the added thumb release was intended to prevent a perp disabling the gun by grabbing the barrel latch and pulling up so the gun couldn't fire. By requiring a simultaneous thumb release and the barrel latch, it made the disabling more difficult. It's a nice heirloom and you should shoot it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! You can shoot current .38 S&W cartridges (not .38 Special) in that gun as long as the lockwork is functioning as designed. If you are not sure or don't know how to check, you might want to have a gunsmith check it out first. You can find .38 S&W at most big box sports stores but unlikely at a gunshop since there's not a lot of demand for that cartridge. Why are the grips taped? If they are damaged, you can find replicas at N.C. Ordnance Inc - Powered by Network Solutions.. It is an I frame, round butt and uses the same grip as the .32 Hand Ejector.

S&W only made 59400 of this model from 1909 to 1920. So, it's pretty safe to say it was made around 1920. 100 Years Old! Most of these were sold outside the US. So, it is pretty unusual to see one in the US. The design of this top break with the added thumb release was intended to prevent a perp disabling the gun by grabbing the barrel latch and pulling up so the gun couldn't fire. By requiring a simultaneous thumb release and the barrel latch, it made the disabling more difficult. It's a nice heirloom and you should shoot it.
Thank's Wiregrass. The lockwork is actually shockingly tight. Looks carried often, shot little. It was actually a little tough to pry open the first time, but after a bit of oiling it's smooth as I imagine it was when first manufactured. I examined it pretty thoroughly and apart from some slight pitting just after the forcing cone the bore is in good shape as well. To answer your question, apparently in the 60's when my father received it, the grips were chipped hence the tape. I appreciate the link, I'll definitely pick up a set just to have around. The tape's so thoroughly molded to the gun after sixty years of being on, plus I'm hesitant to alter it just because that's how he had it you know.

I definitely will shoot it. I managed to fine dies, brass, and projectiles last week, as well as about 250 rounds of factory ammunition for carry. I think it will make an excellent little back up, if a bit impractical and a touch sentimental. I'll admit I was baffled a bit by what, due to my poor eyesight took a while to notice. The Maltese Cross on the barrel. I wasn't aware S&W used that marking and thought for a moment it may have been a foreign proof mark though after doing some research, provided it is a Maltese Cross, I believe it was sold here and not exported and brought back.

I'd heard that tale about the reason for the thumb release, though I must admit I chuckled a bit at that. I certainly intend to shoot it. Once I do perhaps I'll do a little range report.

If you guys find anything else out please let me know, thanks again for the assistance. Much obliged.
 

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Sounds good! The Maltese Cross is a decorative mark called a "dingbat." S&W also used these as a "foot" for the roll stamp to keep it from skidding across the metal surface. They put them on all their guns whether domestic or exported.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sounds good! The Maltese Cross is a decorative mark called a "dingbat." S&W also used these as a "foot" for the roll stamp to keep it from skidding across the metal surface. They put them on all their guns whether domestic or exported.
Since you were able to point me in the right direction for grips, would you happen to have an idea where I might be able to find a shoulder rig or holster for it? Been poking around but no such luck. Side note, while I haven't dug them up yet do you happen to know off hand if .38 Special five shot speed loaders would work? Really can't think of a reason they wouldn't. Thanks again.
 

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I don't have any expertise in shoulder holsters for top breaks. Galco sells a J frame holster that might work, but you might want to find a 4" holster for the Model 10. If you have gun shops in your area, you could see if they have a barrel of holsters then try them out until you find one that fits. Get the model number and see what guns it fits then purchase a shoulder holster for that model. .38 S&W has a larger diameter than .38 Special. I don't know if 5 shot cylindrical speed loaders for .38 Special would work. You might want to try the rubber strip speed loaders. Galco also sells them...and other manufacturers do so as well.
 
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