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Discussion Starter #1
Making the rounds today found a pre model 11, they have it labeled as a 15-1 (it has fixed sights so I thought it was a 10) but I realized it was 38 s&w and looked into it. They seem fairly uncommon in America at least not a lot of info about them. It’s got no prefix on the SN and it’s high enough I figure it’s right before the war. 5”, it has the lanyard loop but I don’t think the stocks are original. Plain, no checkering low shoulder. Are they desirable or just one of those weird kinda obscure models.
 

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I don't have the book in front of me, but I seem to remember the model 11 was what they called the British Service revolver before model numbers were introduced. I don't know if they planned continued sales after the war or why they gave that gun that model number. I don't even recall if any actual model 11s were made. They are actually quite common here, but most were cut to a 2 inch barrel and rechambered in 38 spcl. when tons of them were reimported to the US in the 50's and 60s. Original examples that have not been rechambered and not been cut down are fairly uncommon here
Edited to add: Yep it's the 38\200 M&P, made for the british from 1938-1945 and again from 1947 to 2964 in various quantities
 

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I'm just a novice, but I looked into buying a M 11 this last year. From what I've read, it is a M10 chambered in 38 S&W. Now I've seen (and almost bought) a M10 in 38 S&W that was parkerized, but it was too high priced for an old beat up revolver in an odd caliber. I own a Victory model in 38 S&W that had a 5" barrel. Some fool cut it back to 4'' and nicked the God Damn thing. But for $250 I couldn't let it go. Fun gun to shoot, but you always pay retail for ammo. I believe the M11 was S&Ws practice to clear out the inventory of these guns after WW 2. Beware of those re chambered for 38 Sp. The bore is slightly larger and the cylinders were bored out I believe and had sleeves inserted.
 

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SAcontract_red.jpg Model numbers date from 1958 and yes there are a few Model 11's to be found, marked .38 S&W 175 grs. on the barrel. Technically there are no Pre-WWII British Service style M&P's. The first South African order of 1,000 shipped in May of 1940 beginning at about serial 685,000. They were to my info the only ones that shipped with 4 inch barrels. Up to 15% of the first British order were permitted 6 inch rather than the standard 5 inch barrels.

Defining the Model of 1905 Change 4 versus the Pre-Model 10 is its own discussion. Finding a 5 inch BSR barrel mounted on another, later S&W is not unheard of. I own several never installed WWII surplus barrels.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I know about the model dating, I was using the model 11 as a term of convenience. I’m pretty sure the 5 inch is original. Serial number was 933xxx which from what I can tell puts it about 1941. I’m going to end up going back and looking into it a little more I bet and let the shop know what they have.
 

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Okay now that I properly understand the question. If you isolate all Model 1905 Change 4, 5 inch barrel phosphate finished, smooth gripped WWII revolvers made with serials from the upper 900K to V whatever range, my guess is over 400,000 produced easily making it the most prolific single variant S&W ever made. Even excluding all the commercial grade .38 S&W's produced from May 1940 to early 1942. Add those and you top 500,000.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info. I’ve seen a lot of 38 special but this is the first 38 s&w I came across and there’s not nearly as much info on them. Then again I’m also pretty new at this.
 

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Okay now that I properly understand the question. If you isolate all Model 1905 Change 4, 5 inch barrel phosphate finished, smooth gripped WWII revolvers made with serials from the upper 900K to V whatever range, my guess is over 400,000 produced easily making it the most prolific single variant S&W ever made. Even excluding all the commercial grade .38 S&W's produced from May 1940 to early 1942. Add those and you top 500,000.
I wonder how many of that 500,000 still exist in their original configuration
 

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Some, but.... It would appear using the .455's of the previous war as a model, maybe more than half of those. Given that simple rechambering to .38 Special is much simpler than conversion to the .45 calibers, a greater percentage. I have encountered several not advertised as altered, yet they were.

I imagine those issued to the Indian Army were largely worked to death. I have one that suffered Factory Thorough Repair in 1967 at Ishapore and it is pathetic. It seems to appear that most of the Commonwealth and Germanic countries released and sold their Victories. Trying to put a number on the percentage that found their way back here is beyond me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That’s a good question. I don’t think it’s phosphate either. It’s a very basic black bluing I believe. I was looking into the period m&ps of that era and they have a few different finishes. I was reading yesterday and some had something called a black magic finish but I don’t know what that would look like. Of course in 80 years it may have been reblued at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
theres Always the possibility it’s Canadian. I took a picture of the serial but not the proofs. Dang it.
 

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Your description of the grips sound like originals, but we'd need a picture to be sure.

I've seen one recently at Ali-Babba's House O Guns but didn't look at it closely. It was in the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" case, so I didn't even notice what they wanted for it. It was gone pretty quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I’m outta town for the week. I’ll take pics when I get back. If I don’t grab it I’ll let any one here have a crack at it. It’s pretty reasonable
 

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Okay now that I properly understand the question. If you isolate all Model 1905 Change 4, 5 inch barrel phosphate finished, smooth gripped WWII revolvers made with serials from the upper 900K to V whatever range, my guess is over 400,000 produced easily making it the most prolific single variant S&W ever made. Even excluding all the commercial grade .38 S&W's produced from May 1940 to early 1942. Add those and you top 500,000.
If anyone wants a REALLY specific number, the S&W history letter on these states that 571,629 total were manufactured for the Commonwealth countries.

As for the finish:

Original finishes can be standard commercial blue for the early ones, then a less shiny Brush Blue with only rudimentary surface prep, which is what a 933xxx should have, and from about April 1942 until 1945 a process generally referred to as “Sandblast Black Magic”.

Black Magic was and still is a black oxide metal-finishing process patented by Hubbard Hall. There is still widespread but completely unsupported belief in a phosphate finish proprietary to S&W; there is no evidence that ever existed. Other terms like Midnight Black sometimes used in letters are apparently just a matter of terminology.

But there were refinishes post-war, like the Indian and Pakistani black paint, and an Australian finish that appears to be a type of phosphate. British suncorite is uncommon. Plus many were commercially and privately refinished.
 
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