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Hello, I recently aquired a Smith and Wesson .38 Special CTG thru and estate sale. The serial number stamped on the bottom of the grip and inside by where the barrel swings out is 38080. Theres another number stamped a little lower where the barrel swings which I believe is the model # and thats 57983. Apologies for not knowing the correct terminolgy :) If someone on the forum can give me a little information as to the age of the gun and its approximate value I'd be very grateful. Pictures will hopefully be enough to help but if more are needed, will be happy to provide those. Thanks very much!
 

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I'm thinking you may have an N Frame Heavy Duty from 1931. .38 Special is the cartridge (CTG.) that the revolver is chambered for. Model numbers didn't begin until 1957. The number on the frame in the yoke cut out is an assemblers number to keep fitted parts together. The rear sight looks fabricated as this gun would have originally been a fixed sight gun. It looks like the front sight has been modified also.
 

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Thanks Series Guy. Good eyes! I cant speak to whether or not the sights have been changed or modified but I will add a couple more pictures that might help clarify. Looking at the front sight more closely, it almost looks as though the sight was broken and then repaired as the material on the top appears to be a different material. Possibly brass that was brazed on but really have no clue. Would that be how a repair would have been made. I'm sure any mods or repairs to a firearm affect value. Can you speak to that? Just trying to get an idea of value. Or lack thereof!!
 

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Clearly, the front sight has been raised to line up with rear sight. The frame appears to have been milled to allow rear sight installation. I would say most any heavy duty in decent shape would bring $500-600, but that’s Hanks’ estimate and may bear no relation to reality in your area. Hank
 

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When the rear sight was added the front sight had to be raised to match. Whoever did the work just brazed up the front sight and then filed it down. It could be removed for restoration purposes but the installation of the rear sight required machining the frame and that really can't be reversed. It's commonly said that any working N Frame is worth $500 and that might apply here but most likely $350 - $450 would be the real world value.
 

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Looking at the front sight more closely, it almost looks as though the sight was broken and then repaired as the material on the top appears to be a different material. Possibly brass that was brazed on but really have no clue. Would that be how a repair would have been made. I'm sure any mods or repairs to a firearm affect value.
Front sight wasn't "repaired," it was improved! By, as you guessed, brazing on a separate piece, filed to create a bead. Doing that took some work, but fitting the adjustable rear sight took even more, & it looks like it was professionally done. Both these mods were an improvement over the original fixed sights, but as you surmise, take a heavy blow on present-day collector value...unless you run into someone like me who appreciates well-done custom work.

This model was called "Heavy Duty" because it was made to be capable of firing a special high-velocity .38 Spl. cartridge called .38/44 S&W Spl., the predecessor of today's .38+ loads. The "44" part of the designation refers to the .44 Spl / .45 Colt frame size.
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! The stocks on that gun are beautiful and worth around $300 all by themselves. I think these guys are a little low on valuation. A purist collector would not touch it with a 10 foot pole due to the mods. But, as Adirondacker says, some folks collect these types of guns because, in a lot of ways, they're unique. How's the action? I can't believe the owner had it modded and not slicked up. I'll bet the trigger pull is like cutting butter with a hot knife.
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! The stocks on that gun are beautiful and worth around $300 all by themselves. I think these guys are a little low on valuation. A purist collector would not touch it with a 10 foot pole due to the mods. But, as Adirondacker says, some folks collect these types of guns because, in a lot of ways, they're unique. How's the action? I can't believe the owner had it modded and not slicked up. I'll bet the trigger pull is like cutting butter with a hot knife.
Thanks Wiregrass! The gun seems to be in very nice shape. Trigger pull is smooth and functions nicely. I know the family of the previous owner but nobody knows any of the history of the gun. In fact, nobody remembers it even existing we'll never know the reason for the mods??? I do know the gentleman liked to hunt but wasn't any type of collector or target shooting enthusiast so how the gun ended up this way will probably stay a mystery...
Front sight wasn't "repaired," it was improved! By, as you guessed, brazing on a separate piece, filed to create a bead. Doing that took some work, but fitting the adjustable rear sight took even more, & it looks like it was professionally done. Both these mods were an improvement over the original fixed sights, but as you surmise, take a heavy blow on present-day collector value...unless you run into someone like me who appreciates well-done custom work.

This model was called "Heavy Duty" because it was made to be capable of firing a special high-velocity .38 Spl. cartridge called .38/44 S&W Spl., the predecessor of today's .38+ loads. The "44" part of the designation refers to the .44 Spl / .45 Colt frame size.
Thanks Adirondacker, Thats very interesting to know. I didnt know enough about the gun to understand what had been done so you're guys input has been very helpfull. The work you speak about looks very professional to me. I knew this gentleman and know his family but nobody has any idea where the gun came from or any history... I'll get in touch with them to let them know and I think they'll be surprised...
 

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Look closely gents. There's no adjustment on the rear sight and that big screw with the buggered slot does not say professionally done to me. I'm certain it would be great to shoot but still.......
 

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But, as Adirondacker says, some folks collect these types of guns because, in a lot of ways, they're unique.
I have no interest at all in owning an untouched HD model, unless I could acquire it cheap enough to sell for a profit. Others claim they can shoot well with the factory sights, but to me they're "point & shoot." However, this HD I'd buy in a hurry if I got the chance.
 

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Look closely gents. There's no adjustment on the rear sight and that big screw with the buggered slot does not say professionally done to me.
Clearly it has no windage adjustment, but is there a screw hidden behind the notch for elevation? Still, better than the factory sights.
 

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I hear you, Mark. But, someone like Caleb (sixgunstrumpet) or Dave (Keith44spl) would certainly be attracted to it. After all, screws can be replaced or dressed up for practically no cost. I ain't sayin' this is a $900 gun, but IMO it is worth a little more than y'all are estimating.
 

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I wouldn't hesitate to buy it either. I have no issue tinkering on guns and fortunately have access to a full machine shop. But the value is what a guy cruzing by the table at a gun show is willing to pay.
 
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