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We received a Revolver from my wife's grandfather after he passed away. I was wondering if anyone could help in giving a rough date for it, the model information, and a general estimate of what it is worth.

The serial number is: '501131' which is listed on the bottom of the grip, on the cylinder, and under the ejector rod. On the bottom of the grip it has an '*" after the number.

On the one side of the barrel it has '38 S.&W. Special CTG and on the other 'Smith & Wesson"

Under the cylinder release button it has a trade mark stamp and on the other side has 'Made in U.S.A.'

On the inside of the cylinder arm it has '4884' and also the same number opposite it on the frame where it rests.

I took some pictures...

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Thanks,

David MacDonna IV
Dover, DE
 

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welcome01 to the forums from the Wiregrass, David! That is the quintessential S&W .38 Military & Police revolver (AKA the Model 1905, 4th Change) from the late 1920's. The star indicates it was returned to the factory for service work. If you remove the grips (which are not original, BTW), and look on the left side front of the grip frame, there will be a MM.YY stamped there. That is when the gun was serviced. There may also be some other stamps to indicate what was done. Look on the rear face of the cylinder and on the barrel flat for a diamond. That usually indicates a replacement. The reason I mention the diamond is I believe your gun's barrel was changed. I believe your SN is too low for it to have the barrel shaped ejector rod knob. If the gun was sent back to S&W for barrel replacement, they would have to change out the rod to match up with the notch in the barrels made after 1928. I think your gun originally had a mushroom shaped ejector rod knob which was typical of those prior to 1928 and would have looked like this.

 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks! I checked under the grips and it appears to have '2. 4 6' stamped on the bottom. '95' on the top. And a square or diamond on the other corner of the bottom. I think there is a diamond on the under barrel along with the SN. I attached pictures of both (the under barrel shot cropped weird but should be legible):

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-David IV

(edited to reflect closer examination of the stamping under the grips)
 

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Okay. The gun went back to Smith & Wesson in February of 1946 for a barrel change. It also probably had a refinish which is why the diamond is stamped on the butt. They changed out the ejector Rod knob to match up with the barrel notch. The barrel that put on it was likely from World War II as they should have had plenty of them to use.

Guy
 

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Do you know if this M&P pistol was one of those "Gifted" to many Gi's by law enforcement at the start of the war?

A fair number of GI's received packages from their local police or sheriff containing a revolver like this.

The timing of the barrel replacement could relate to the GI returning home, and sending his well used pistol in for a new barrel...

BTW, you can stabilize the red oxide rust that is starting under the grips by using well oiled 0000 steel or bronze wool on an oiled rust surface. Just rub lightly until only the black oxide (bluing) remains. It's a good idea to eliminate active red rust oxidation before it turns into pitting.

It may be possible to find out who your revolver was originally shipped to by ordering the document available from Roy Jinks / S&W Historical Society. http://www.theswca.org/forms/Letter_request_form.pdf

Marc
 
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David, as a recap, your gun was originally manufactured in the 1920's...my guess is 1926-27. We don't know what length barrel it came with, but that original barrel was replaced at the S&W factory in Feb. 1946 as was the ejector rod. It was likely refinished at that time. As Marc suggests, an historian's letter of authenticity will tell you how it was originally configured, and when and to whom it was shipped for $75. He won't be able to tell you about the service work, however. Bill is probably correct about the stocks. They were not installed by the factory during the rework because they are aftermarket. Your gun is an heirloom but not valuable. Maybe $300-400 as a shooter. It is not collectible since it is not in original condition and is somewhat degraded from its refinished condition in 1946. But, what it has lost in beauty, it has gained in character!

The .38 M&P revolver is one of the finest handguns S&W made. They have sold over 6 million of them since 1899. I love the older long throw action and I believe you will too. I hope you and your wife shoot it often in remembrance of her grandfather.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the help. Will work on getting rid of the rust. And will ask her family more if they know any more of the history. I am not sure when or where he got the gun. I believe he was in training at the end of the War and served in Europe with the Army of Occupation.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Nice gun, and even better heritage - family heirloom, for sure.

Might be a good idea at this point to run an oiled cloth over the whole gun, with the grips off. Run an oiled patch through the barrel, and spray a light coating of oil into the mechanism through the hammer slot and up through the mainspring, then work the action a few times. Light coating - don't want it drooling, especially don't want it sogging-up the grips. Please don't use WD-40 but get a good sports oil, Ballistol is as good as you can get, Strike Hold is very good, there are others. RemOil is good. Idea is to keep it from rusting anywhere. if you shoot it (please do!) then it'll come clean afterwards more easily, too.
 
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