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Hi guys, I'm trying to help my grandfather in identifying this .38 Special revolver. I know it's a Post-war revolver (S prefix to serial number) and that its a 3in 6 shot revolver but I can't quite pin what it is exactly!

Any help would be greatly appreciated as this revolver has been in our family for some decades and we haven't been able to find out what it is exactly. Serial # S 89857
468447
 

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Being a 38 Special, I would say that is a 38/44 Heavy Duty. They used the large N frame which was usually a 44 caliber revolver and made it a 38 special. Back before there was a 357 magnum, you could buy special 38 ammo that was for the 38/44 heavy duty. It was much hotter than a normal 38 special load
Barrel length is measured from the face of the cylinder to the end of barrel which I believe would make yours a 4 inch
 

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Yep. You've got a nice one there. I'd say 1952-53. N frame post war .38/44 HD. The .38/44 Heavy Duty Model of 1950 according to the 3rd edition of the SCS&W. A little over 9400 were made btw 1950 and 1966. Became the Model 20 in 1957.

I just picked up a 5" barreled one from 1955 this last Saturday.

 

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.....and welcome to the forum.
 

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Thank y'all so much, I really appreciate the responses! That's a beautiful revolver btw! I didn't realize we had this absolute gem in our family. And thanks for the welcome as well!
 

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Welcome to the forum. You'll certainly agree that after this fine revolver, "they don't make 'em like they used to...".
 
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Welcome to the forum!

Looks like a fine .38/44 HD which is a model that is a popular one with Smith shooters, we have one here:

 

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Hello and welcome to the forum!
 
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According to Wikipedia, here is some info on the revolver & the old 38/44 load

These new revolvers were chambered for a new more powerful type of .38 Special ammunition capable of firing a 158-grain (10.2 g) metal-penetrating copper-tipped lead-alloy bullet at 1,125 feet (343 m) per second.[5] In comparison, conventional .38 Special ammunition fires a 158-grain (10.2 g) bullets at 755 feet (230 m) per second.[1] It was easily capable of penetrating the automobile bodies and body armor of that era.
 

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Welcome to the forum and that is an excellent gun to have in the family.
 

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I can't add a whole lot other than to say that I believe the 4" barrel like yours is a little less common than the 5" or 6".
Nice revolver, and welcome to the forum.
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! The 38-44HD was the precursor to the .357 Magnum. Over the years, a lot of them were modified to shoot magnum cartridges by reaming the cylinder to remove or move the shoulder toward the front of the cylinder. If you look into the chambers, you should see a "step" or shoulder toward the front of the cylinder if it is unmodified. I don't see the shoulder in the picture you posted above, but it is likely the angle wasn't right to see far enough down the cylinder. However, I do see what looks like reamer marks at the mouth of the chamber. Or it could be soot from lack of cleaning.

Check out https://38-44heavyduty.com/ for more info on this interesting gun.
 
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