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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Trying to identify the model and date of this gun. The serial number is 710106 I believe.
When I slide out the cylinder the numbers on the open part of the frame is 44 818, I don't know if that is a model number or assembly number. It was not rode hard but it was put up wet for sure. The nickel coating is trashed. I bought it for the grips for my model 10 so I'm hoping the fit but it is an interesting gun when I compare it to my other one.
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! I think you have a .38 British Service Revolver from WWII that the barrel has been shortened and has been refinished in nickel. These guns were chambered for .38 S&W cartridge (CTG). The caliber should be stamped on the right side of the barrel. Most of these guns were reamed to permit shooting .38 S&W Special which is a smaller diameter, longer and more powerful cartridge. The grips are post 1966 when the diamond around the escutcheon was eliminated. Show us some more pictures, please.
 

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s/n 71138x shipped 1/1941. If it is a .38SW vice .38 Special it is most probably what Wiregrassguy says. The closest I have to yours is s/n 7651xx. It shipped 4/1941 and is a .38 Special. 5" barrel also.

490540
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for your help so far. Here are some more photos. I actually bought this for the grips to go on my Model 10-11(picture). Once I got it home and realized it was a much older gun I started to rethink it a bit but if the grips are not originals then I'll probably stay with that plan. I was told it is functioning and the gun smith said he fired it several times. I'm a little leary about using 38 special in it if it was not originally chambered for it. What is the difference? As you will see from the photos, it is pretty rough shape so I'm happy for suggestions. Main question though is it worth trying to restore it to anything original or just get it going as a good shooter? The history behind it does facinate me though and I may have caught a collecting bug. 😉
 

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It looks like the s/n is 710106 and it has a plugged lanyard hole. Very likely a BSR. Barrel shot says it is a .38SW. Check your cylinder out to see if it has been reamed for the .38 special.

490612


If you see the two concentric circles it has. You may get a little brass bulging depending on how good of a job the reaming was.

490613


You will have no issue if you shoot .38SW's in it.

I bought a modified BSR that shipped in Dec 1941 ( a little after yours) with a reamed cylinder and a .38 special barrel and got the results pictured above. I replaced the barrel with an old Victory .38SW barrel (5 inch) and the gun shoots really good now.
490614




490615
 

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The difference between .38 S&W and .38 S&W Special. Handgun manufacturers, in order to capture new revenue streams and keep their products from being copied, introduced new models with a different caliber from time to time. In 1876, S&W introduced the top break .38 Single Action, also called the Baby Russian. This gun was chambered for S&W's new centerfire cartridge, the .38 S&W. The .38" was the diameter of the casing and the bullet was .360 in diameter. Of course, it was loaded with black powder but was still a rather anemic cartridge by today's standards. But, it provided a more powerful cartridge than the .32 rimfire and .32 S&W centerfire cartridges. S&W rapidly expanded their product offerings for this cartridge which were very popular. So popular that the British adopted it as the .38 Webley and made it their standard sidearm cartridge from the 1870's up through WWII.

In the late 1800's, the standard US Army cartridge passed from .45 Colt to .38 Long Colt which was a smaller diameter cartridge than .38 S&W. However, the Philippine Rebellion in 1896 and the Tagalog Insurgency showed up the .38 Long Colt for the anemic round it was. So, seeing an opportunity to capture the Army contract with a new round, they stretched the .38 Long Colt casing which added more black powder and thus, more power. In 1899, they introduced .38 S&W Special and the 1st Model .38 Hand Ejector, AKA the Army-Navy Model. Thus, .38 S&W Special is, like the .38 Long Colt, a smaller diameter but longer cartridge than .38 S&W. They are close enough in size to allow .38 Special to be shot in cylinders chambered for .38 S&W but reamed to allow the longer cartridge to fully insert. As K22 shows, .38 Special will swell and may crack when shot in the larger diameter .38 S&W cylinders. If you reload, this is a problem for reusing the shell, but it is not a safety problem.
 

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.38 S&W
Case length: .775 in (19.7 mm)
Base diameter: 3865 in (9.82 mm)
Rim diameter: .440 in (11.2 mm)
Neck diameter: .3855 in (9.79 mm)
Bullet diameter: .361 in (9.2 mm)
Rim thickness: .055 in (1.4 mm)

.38 Special
Case length: 1.155 in (29.3 mm)
Base diameter: .379 in (9.6 mm)
Rim diameter: .44 in (11 mm)
Neck diameter: .379 in (9.6 mm)
Bullet diameter: .357 in (9.1 mm)
Rim thickness: .058 in (1.5 mm)


.38 Short Colt
Case length: .765 in (19.4 mm)
Base diameter: .379 in (9.6 mm)
Rim diameter: .445 in (11.3 mm)
Neck diameter: .379 in (9.6 mm)
Bullet diameter: .375 inches (9.5 mm) for original heeled bullets,.358 inches (9.1 mm) for some modern loads
Rim thickness: .060 in (1.5 mm)

.38 Long Colt
Case length: 1.031 in (26.2 mm)
Base diameter: .381 in (9.7 mm)
Rim diameter: .445 in (11.3 mm)
Neck diameter: .381 in (9.7 mm)
Bullet diameter: .357 in (9.1 mm)
Rim thickness: .060 in (1.5 mm)


.38 S&W and .38 Colt New Police are the same cartridge, however.
 
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