a BSR (British Service revolver) from 1940 or a bit earlier. has post war grips
Built on the S&W model of 1905 M&P 38 special line, but chambered in the British military standard 38 S&W cartridge. Its an earlier serial number - after # 999,999 Smith started using the V prefix for the well known Victory revolvers..
Appears to be in very nice shape, most of these have in/out of service and commercial stampings all over.. May not have made the crossing, or never made it to the surplus ranks post war..
696081 likely shipped in summer of 1940 when a lot different things happened or not. Had there not been a photo I would guessed your piece would have been built to commercial standards similar to the 4 inch South African which shipped in May of 1940, blued with nickel medallion arch topped grips. The five inch phosphate type finish and slick grips became standard in the upper 900K serials and continued through the V serials (Victory Model). There are known out of serial sequence shipping dates. We also know that weapons that entered commerce in the UK went through either the Birmingham or London Proof process and got marked up at either location. Yours missed that. I assume it also does not bear Canadian, New Zealand, Australian, or South African property marks.
Another WWII mystery. Enjoy. Also see if it was rebored to accept .38 Specials.
The number on the crane, in the frame recess and inside the sideplate is called a soft parts assembly number and only has meaning during the handfitting of those parts. The butt, barrel, extractor (on the front) and inside one grip are the serial, only the butt number counts. It does tell us how "original" the gun is.
Thanks to all for helping this newbie with my questions. What a great forum and group of people to be associated with! I am a small pawn and gun shop in Vinton, Virginia and would welcome any and all of you to come and have a cup of coffee with me if your travels bring you to our part of the state. Pollard Street Pawn and Gun. I have listed this item on Gunbroker for our client and referenced the great information I learned from all of you on this site. Thanks so much and blessings to all of you!