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Hey guys,
I'm trying to help out a friend with evaluating an old revolver. He has a S&W that is stamped "Smith & Wesson" on the left side of the barrel and "Regulation Police" "38 S & W CTG" on the right side of the barrel.

The serial # on the inside of the frame is 1353.

The # on the inside of the pistol grip is #6439.

This gun appears to be original and has "PAT June 5 19(?)17" ...I think it's a 1, being 1917, but can't say for certain.
On the top of the barrel is stamped:
"Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass USA PT'D
"OCT 8.01.DEC17.01.FEB8.08.SEPT.14.09.DEC.29.14"

I'd be happy to provide some pics if someone can help me out with how to load them on this post (explain like I'm 5yo please)

Basically, I'm looking for an estimated value on the gun.

Thanks in advance for any help/info provided.
 

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BDSaint, welcome to the forum. Here's a quick tutorial on photos:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=100

The gun you describe is a .38 Regulation Police, a model that was introduced in 1917. The patent date impressed into the wood is for the patented way of mounting the larger wood RP stocks to the small steel frame underneath. If you take the stocks off, you will see that there is a long notch in the steel that answers a contour in the wood. That helps mount the oversize stocks securely on the small frame.

That serial number (6439) indicates the gun was probably made about 1920-21. Somewhere around 55,000 were made before production of this model was suspended in 1940 to allow tooling up for wartime production contracts.

The Regulation Police models (which came in both .32 and .38 caliber) were built on the company's small I frame. The .38 does NOT chamber the .38 Special cartridge, but rather the shorter and somewhat less powerful .38 S&W cartridge. The .38 Regulation Police is sometimes referred to as a .38/32 Hand Ejector, meaning that it is a .38 caliber revolver built on the .32 caliber frame. "Hand Ejector" is the generic term for S&W guns with a swing-out cylinder.

Regulation Police models are not exactly rare, so there is no collector's premium for scarcity. If new or almost new in the box, they can be expensive, as any old model in new condition is. Guns in more ordinary condition are usually regarded as shooters. If this gun is in shootable condition but with only half to three-quarters of original blue preserved, it may be worth $250 or so. If it still has 95-98 percent blue, it could be up to twice that much. New in box -- I'm just guessing -- maybe 900 or eve more.

The Prewar I-frame guns were the predecessors of the J-frame guns that are made today.

David Wilson
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dave,

Wow. Thank you for the quick and detailed response.

I will have to log on and post pics from home, as I can't access photobucket.com at work.

Thanks again! Much appreciated.
 

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I just bought one in the same serial number range as yours, all original, works fine, finish about 75 % 175 dollars. As has been said they are not rare, but still nice small revolvers.

Boats
 

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I forgot to mention on the high side local shop had as nice a Regulation Police as I have ever seen 99 %. He had it priced at 450. Looked it over a lot before I bought the lesser quality gun for a shooter and to experement with the 38 S&W cartridge. Last visit he had sold the nice one, said he reduced the price a little bit.

That gives you a range depending on conditon 175 to 450 or so at retail. Selling to a dealer you get less.

Boats
 

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I've got one with SN in the 31000 range. It belonged to my grandfather. I'm desperately trying to locate ammo for it, but it seems that everywhere i look is out of stock. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
 

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z.kevino said:
I've got one with SN in the 31000 range. It belonged to my grandfather. I'm desperately trying to locate ammo for it, but it seems that everywhere i look is out of stock. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Welcome to the forum. Since there is not much call for .38 S&W ammo these days (as opposed to .38 Special), you will find that only the most serious gun or sporting goods stores will carry it. For some of these older and now little-used calibers, it is often better to order from an internet ammunition supplier. Good luck!

With that serial number, your grandfather's revolver would have been shipped around 1926. You are extremely fortunate to have a family heirloom. My parents and one set of grandparents were not gun people. I did inherit a small Colt automatic from the estate of one of my mother's brothers, but that's it.
 

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I've got the same gun, although slightly newer. Like it's been said, they aren't generally very valuable, but if yours is anything like mine, it was well built and is still tight. I have a question though for anyone who knows, is the number on the frame supposed to match that on the cylinder? My cylinder has a number that's about 3k higher than the number on the frame.
 

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Make sure you are talking about the correct number on the frame. The numbers you see on the frame when you swing out the cylinder are process control numbers and can be ignored. The serial number on an RP is the number on the forestrap behind the trigger guard. That number should be the same as the one on the back of the cylinder, the flat underside of the barrel, and in a couple of other harder to see places -- the underside of the ejector star and the rear facing surface of the yoke. Sometimes you can read that last number looking through one of the charge holes while holding a strong sidelight at the front face of the cylinder.

If those numbers do not match, parts from different guns have been mixed together. Sometimes, if for example a barrel has been replaced by the factory, the new part will have no number on it.
 

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on mine, the only number not rubber/filed off is the one on the back of the cylinder. It doesn't matter much to me, because I know it was my grandfathers. Why some of the numbers are missing isn't important. I will never sell it - too much sentimental value.
 

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z.kevino said:
on mine, the only number not rubber/filed off is the one on the back of the cylinder. It doesn't matter much to me, because I know it was my grandfathers. Why some of the numbers are missing isn't important. I will never sell it - too much sentimental value.
The sentimental component of a gun's value is important. I wish more of the people I descend from had been gun people, because I would like to have a couple of guns that had been in the family for generations. I have a small automatic that a favorite uncle kept in his pocket for a while back in the 1930s, but it's not the same as something that comes from a grandparent.

A caution: without a legible serial number on the frame, your gun is not legally marked. If it ever comes to the attention of law enforcement agencies, it will be confiscated. You may wish to look into having the serial number restamped on the grip strap in an ATF- approved process to keep the gun on the good side of the laws. (If you have wrap-around stocks that cover part of the grip frame, take them off and see if the serial number is there but concealed by the wood. The gun is OK in that case.)
 

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that's a good idea. strange that both FFL dealers in NY and FL transfered/received the handgun without problems.
i plan on keeping it in a safe, but will look into getting it stamped. any ideas where to look to get it done?
 

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Re: S&W regulation Police 38 CTG revolver -AMMO

I have recently discovered a source for 38 S&W ctg.
Find or be a reloader, cut down 38 spl or 357 brass to .775, Resize with 38 spl die, reload and crimp with the 380 dies to a total cartrdge length of 1.24 or less. You will need to use a 38spl shell holder and a #1 shell holder for priming. Some of the cartridge dimensions are 3 to 6 thousands different and the slug is 3 thousands smaller but they work fine. The old guns are very forgiving with these differences. Go to Handloads.com for powder measure data. The new brass can be picked up for free off the ground at your local range. Enjoy!
 

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Hello!

I'm from Brazil and inherited an old revolver which I’d like to evaluate.
It is an original Smith & Wesson that is stamped "S W trade mark" on the out side of the pistol.

On the left side of the barrel is stamped: “38 S&W CTG”.

The Serial # 514970 is on the butt.
On the top of the barrel is stamped:
"Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass. USA PAT’D MAY 11 1880 JAN 03 1882 APRIL 09 1889”.

It’s a 5 round cylinder and 3 inch barrel pistol.

Wood handle and blue steel.

Basically, I'm looking for an estimated value on the gun.
Any idea of the worth?

Thank you so much for any help provided.

Junior.
 

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Hello Junior and welcome to the forum from Arizona.

I would need to see a picture to help you identify your revolver.............is it a top break model? My "GUESS" is that it's a .38 Double Action 4th Change, 1895-1909.

I don't have the slightest idea of the value of handguns in Brazil.

Hopefully one of our resident experts (I'm not one) will see your post and provide you with better information.

Post a picture if you can................

Best Regards,

Geezer
 
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