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Discussion Starter #1
Before I have someone local look at it, I was hoping to get some help with an inherited revolver:
S&W hand ejector .38 Special ctg (fixed sight/5" barrel). Serial number S 876693.

I believe the S puts it between '45 and '48 (probably on the later side based on the number)? I just need help confirming this.

I'm inclined to keep it, but a valuation might help me decide whether or not I want to put some rounds through it as it looks barely broken in.
If the attached pictures aren't enough I can post more if it will help that process. I also have to confess some ignorance related to ammo as all of my guns are decades newer. I don't want to assume that just because it says "special" on the barrel that it takes standard .38 special ammo. Is this ok to put through this pistol?

I was also curious about the larger '720' stamped on the butt near the serial number. Is this perhaps a lot number from a bulk purchase? I haven't seen anything about this in my (albeit limited) research.

Anything you can tell me will be helpful.

IMG_4161.JPG
IMG_4162.JPG

Thank you!
 

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You have the classic post war Military & Police and you have the correct time frame. It would become the Model 10 in 1957.

That’s a fine example.

The number in the middle of the grip frame is likely a rack number. Probably a service revolver


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Sorry it took so long. For some reason your post was in moderation status.


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Is that a 5 inch barrel? I think that's somewhat unusual. If it's a pristine Pre model 10, I personally would not shoot it. It's rare to find one that old in that condition.

It will handle the ammo fine, but it's worth a bit more as a collectible Smith and Wesson revolver. That said, if it's labeled S&W .38 Special it should handle today's .38 special ammo without problems.

Sell it to a collector, buy a newer model 10 and pocket the difference. The "720" is most likely a rack number added by the original purchaser. It's not a factory mark.
 
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Very nice example
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Is that a 5 inch barrel? I think that's somewhat unusual. If it's a pristine Pre model 10, I personally would not shoot it. It's rare to find one that old in that condition.

It will handle the ammo fine, but it's worth a bit more as a collectible Smith and Wesson revolver. That said, if it's labeled S&W .38 Special it should handle today's .38 special ammo without problems.

Sell it to a collector, buy a newer model 10 and pocket the difference. The "720" is most likely a rack number added by the original purchaser. It's not a factory mark.
It is a 5" barrel. Someone in another forum with some knowledge of serial numbers and an insane knowledge of the evolution of this pistol helped confirm some specific features of the gun (long-pull, extractor knob shape, etc...) that narrow it down to early '47, probably beginning it's life as a police service revolver in Philadelphia (based on a very similar serial number in a data base). I'm definitely not firing it now! I am going to get the letter from S&W even if it doesn't add value to the gun. It's too interesting a piece not to.

I'm not a collector, but now I don't really want to sell it either. So I guess I WASN'T a collector? I haven't decided yet.
 

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Sweet revolver. Welcome to the forum!
 
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postvictory.jpg I offer this example. While all the SV's were built from cancelled Victory stocks, the surplus frames carried over into the S series guns. The whole born on versus shipped on business. It is reported in the SCSW that the short throw began with S 990184 on April 7, 1948. C supposedly dates from March 22, 1948. If you send a picture with the hammer cocked someone will confirm the short versus long of the hammer throw.

I would keep her. After the wartime hustle S&W settled down and did some of their better work.
 
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