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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought this from a friend many years ago and I don't have any factual information as to what it is and what it may be worth in its current condition.

5-shot, top break, small chip in one of the grips at the bottom, serial # 97361 which is at the butt and on the rear face of the cylinder. A 38 special round fits into the cylinder (diameter wise, not length wise).

The condition of the bluing is excellent, with minor wear. Thanks for any information!

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A very nice .38 Single Action, Second Model; that's .38 S&W, not Special. Made between approximately 1881 & 1891, yours toward the end of that period. Too bad about the chip--wonder if it can be repaired with epoxy?
Thanks for the info. I've tried to find a replacement grip, but no luck. As far as a repair, I would not try it for fear of making things worse, since the finish is so nice.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum!
 

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Very nice! I have an early nickel version that is fully functional but nowhere as pretty. Yours is in such nice condition I'm wondering if it has been reblued. If so it was very well done. But it may be all original. The case hard finish is very visible. Could be one of those "sock drawer" gun I hear about. Bought, stored away, and forgotten. The chip on the grip is a common occurrence with the old gutta percha type.
I have heard of good repairs being made with epoxy loaded up with carbon black. Have never done it myself though, and do not know of anyone doing it commercially.
You can get reproduction grips here. S & W Single Action .38 Model 2 Revolver - Vintage Gun Grips - Reproduction Pistol Grips, Buttplates and Grip Caps.
They run about $60 with the screw kit. However, the S&W emblem shown on repro grips is the original block letter type used on the very early revolvers, not the later script as seen on your grips.

John
 

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Yours is in such nice condition I'm wondering if it has been reblued.
Very nice indeed, but not "brand spanking new"--there are minor signs of usage, such as the drag line around the cylinder, blue wear at the muzzle, etc., which point to absolutely original cond. Small pocket pistols in this condition are not that rare--I've seen many of them, some looking factory new. And it's because they were kept, literally, in a bureau or desk drawer, or some other protected place in the home, for the owner's peace of mind, never used for anything else. This one looks like it has actually been shot at least a few times in the past.

Good to know replacement grips are available. (But certainly keep the originals!)
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Very nice refinished single action! Would probably not know if they had been more careful around the sideplate seam. Also, the case coloring on the hammer doesn't look like original S&W to me...but it could be the lighting. Nevertheless, quite a nice example of a blue antique .38! The grip panel can be repaired using epoxy and some hard rubber dust. It's the right panel which should have the gun's serial number scratched into the back. These grips were fitted to the guns in that era and they wanted to ID the parts so the gun could be put back together if disassembled. There is another serial number under the latch. There was a guy out in Commiefornia that did hard rubber repair but he has retired. There are instructions on repairing the grips over on the Blue forum if you search. Replica grips can be purchased from NC Ordnance (gungrip.com).

OBTW, the grip panel likely was broken by someone trying to pry it off the gun. The correct way to remove grips is to loosen the grip screw completely but leave it in the escutcheon. Then, push on the screw head to pop off the right panel, then the left panel can be pushed off from behind. If the grips are stuck, remove the grip screw, hold the gun by the barrel and cylinder, take a wooden or plastic handled tool and rap the grip frame sharply at the knuckle with the handle. The panels will vibrate free. (Same technique is used for removing the sideplate.)
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Very nice refinished single action! Would probably not know if they had been more careful around the sideplate seam.
The sideplate screw & the sideplate itself are not fully seated, so obviously someone took it off, or tried to, maybe by prying on it. Are you sure that's not why the seam doesn't look quite right?
 

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Partly. Look closely at the polish marks on the frame around the pivot pin and on the topstrap near the latch. Of course, it would be better to inspect it in hand. Whoever did the work did a professional job.

For those that don't know, Windows 10 has a magnifier feature. Windows Key+ launches it. It will magnify the whole screen or you can set it to magnify a window, like a magnifying glass. I usually blow up the images first using right click-View Image, then the magnifier.
 
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Of course, it would be better to inspect it in hand. Whoever did the work did a professional job.
VERY professional--all the more unusual on a gun not of high value. The edge of the rib looks as clean & sharp as when it left the factory, & no obvious buffing over the ser. no. I see what appears to be some blue loss on the outer edge of the pivot hinge, but I don't have Windows 10 (& never will until 8 stops working altogether).

This gun has seen use, not much, but some, as the cylinder line indicates, & it has been tampered with as the loose sideplate & possibly the chipped grip suggest.

If anybody's doing refinsh work of that quality today, I'd sure like to know their name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the input and opinions. Whether or not it has been reblued really doesn't matter to me since I have always planned to keep it and pass it along. I did find another example of this pistol and it should be arriving next week, complete with intact grips!!! Like with some of my coins from that era, I wish they could tell their story.

Thanks again.
 
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