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Discussion Starter #1
This was given to me by a long-time friend in exchange for some work on a 1911. I was kind of looking for another Covid project anyway.
Before:
S&W 38.JPG


It appears to have been refinished and the action didn't work. The cylinder would rotate but didn't lock up. Single action and double action worked well. I finally got it apart down to parts and pieces and and scrubbed all the dried oil varnish and discovered the bolt was broken. I order the part from Jack First. Waiting for it to arrive, I found out that the original nickel gun had case-hardened triggers and hammers. The trigger guards and barrel latch were blued. I found a local plating outfit that would work on gun parts and had them strip the parts and blued everything with Brownell's Oxpho Blue.
Getting it all back together was an exercise in frustration but I think it looks pretty good and now the cylinder locks up!
S&W After-2 (1).JPG

S&W After-2 (2).JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great restoration & great friend, but what you have is a 3rd or 4th Model .38 DA, not a #3, which was SA.
Thanks! I am obviously new at older S&W revolvers. 3rd or 4th Model .38 DA...got that.
How do I tell the difference between a 3rd and 4th Model?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That's easy enough, should have added it in the first post.
Serial # on the butt is 424332 and the same on the back of the cylinder.
On the left side of the barrel: "38 S & W CTG"
On top of the barrel rib in two lines:
SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS USA
PAT'D MAY 11, 1880 JAN 3, 1882 APRIL 9, 1889
 

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Makes it a 4th M., about mid-way in the production run that began 1895 & ended 1909. There's a chance it might come in under the 1899 "antique" wire, but I don't know how you'd find out for sure without spending 100 bucks for a factory letter--not worth it, in my opinion. Maybe someone here has one already dated he can compare with your ser. no.

Presume you know the difference between .38 S&W & Special?
 

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.38 DA serial 421367 was shipped in May 1902. 427013 was shipped in August 1902. So, it likely shipped in May or June 1902.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Makes it a 4th M., about mid-way in the production run that began 1895 & ended 1909. There's a chance it might come in under the 1899 "antique" wire, but I don't know how you'd find out for sure without spending 100 bucks for a factory letter--not worth it, in my opinion. Maybe someone here has one already dated he can compare with your ser. no.

Presume you know the difference between .38 S&W & Special?
.38 DA serial 421367 was shipped in May 1902. 427013 was shipped in August 1902. So, it likely shipped in May or June 1902.
Yeah, I discovered the difference between 38 Special and 38 S&W a while back. I don't plan on shooting it much but would like to fire it a few times just to say that I have. Maybe not being a very popular caliber will work in my favor finding a box or two of ammo.

Getting a factory letter would be interesting but not $100 interesting at this point. Maybe the next stimulus check or the lottery windfall I am due to get. It is a refinish gun and probably shipped to a hardware store somewhere. BTW, the grips are numbered to the gun.

I do appreciate the information and help.
 

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I wouldn't bother with a letter...not worth the money for that gun. Collectors won't touch it and it's mostly a conversation piece. Yep, most of them shipped either to a NY distributor or a hardware chain like Shapleigh Hardware in St. Louis, MO. I have found .38 S&W at the big box sports stores like Academy and Bass Pro/Cabelas. It's a bit pricey, though. If you're going to shoot a lot of it, it would be better to order by mail, IMO...or reload.

You're welcome! Good to have you with us, Mark!
 
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