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Old 10-09-2007, 10:09 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: East Texas Near Jasper, TX
Posts: 218
U.S. Revolver Co.

I have a friend who knows even less than I do about firearms, and is not a collector, but spotted this ad that caught his eye, and asked me what I thought.

".38 s&w 5 shot by U. S. Revolver Co. made in 1909 with 4 digit serial number. In excellent condition, price reduced to $200."

Would some of you gun people tell me what to tell him. Things about the company, good or bad, things about the pistol, again, good or bad, and just general info.


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Old 10-09-2007, 11:01 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SW Ohio
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U.S. Revolver Co.

First, would this be a tip-up or solid frame?

The tip-up versions of these old revolvers have gone up a great deal in price the last few years, because they are being used in "Pocket Pistol" side matches at Cowboy Action events. Most of the competitors favor either Smith and Wessons or H&Rs, as they seem to be made better and hold up to more shooting. Best I recall the U.S. Revolver Company products were a step or so below the Smith & Wessons in quality, and priced accordingly both at the time of their manufacture and now.

Of late the S&Ws have been selling around here in the $250 and up range in good working order, so I'd guess the gun you saw in the ad would be priced a little high, especially if it is less than pristine.

Don't take my word on that as anything like gospel though, have a look at the latest Blue Book of Gun Values pricing. (If mine was in front of me instead of at home I'd be doing that on your behalf right now.) Also, I believe that the Blue Book info is available online.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:35 AM   #3
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U.S. Revolver Co.

Howdy Mr. Kellar,

I am certainly not an expert, but I can offer what little I do know sir. I know nothing about the company. Obviously it appears from the ad this particular unit was made in 1909. Since he is not a collector, I will make the assumption he does not intend to become one with this revolver. I will assume he is debating it as a shooter, carry revolver, or night stand weapon.

So let me explain what I can about the caliber. First do not confuse .38 S&W with .38 Special. This is not the same round expressed differenty. Using the analogy of .38 spc and .357 mag, the .38 S&W would be the .38 spc and the .38 spc would be the .357 mag. However in my view the differences would be more severe/dramatic between the S&W and Special than exists between the Special and Magnum - if I have not totally confused you with that statement.

The .38 S&W was an earlier development and is a much less powerful loading than is the Special. If I recall correctly the standard loading is about a 146gr Lead bullet, and ammunition would probably be more scarce and more expensive when it can be located. To me the caliber is really one for a reloader willing to work with the smaller brass, and accept the options with bullet selection are very limited, and restricted to lead loads.

It is probably best considered as a caliber for someone who is so recoil sensitive that shooting a .38 spc would be too difficult or painful for them.

I pulled out a couple of reloading manuals and was surprised when the first one I checked did not even list loads for it any more. The second did, but showed only lead bullets could be used.

I will use that manual to give you some comparative data sir.

The useful case capacity of the:

S&W is 0.62 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 0.775", MV of 600+ fps

Spc is 1.15 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 1.155"

Mag is 1.30 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 1.290"

.380 is 0.49 cc, with the OAL of the brass being 0.680"

I am certainly no historian of calibers, and hopefully another member can offer more informative comments for you sir. But I suspect the .38 Spc was developed by lengthening the S&W case substantially and using it's lead bullets as they do take the same diameter projectiles.

But most likely you two may be thinking this is the same as the Spc and it is not sir. I had a friend who bought a J frame Smith revolver chambered for this round 3+ decades ago. He thought he was buying the Spc caliber, and was confused when a .38 Spc round would not allow the cylinder to close and fire. I had to reload all of his ammo for the round and he opted to get rid of that one and replace it with a J frame in .38 Spc asap. He was a police reserve and wanted a back up revolver for duty and off duty use.

Reloading the caliber reminded me a great deal of reloading the .380acp round - a lot of work and not much fun, lol. In fact for comparion, the useful case capacity of .380 acp is 0.49cc, with OAL of brass .680" (also added above).

If your friend is looking for a good deal on a shooter, my advice would be for him to pass this one up. I know nothing about the manufacturer, and suspect spare parts would be very difficult to locate if not impossible now.

Not a very helpful answer, but I hope it at least gives you some feel for what to tell your buddy.

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Old 10-09-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: East Texas Near Jasper, TX
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U.S. Revolver Co.

Thanks. I don't have the slightest idea what Steve wants to do with this handgun, but my guess until I talk to him again is that he wants to put it back sort of like a collector, maybe to sell it later at a profit, or to pass it on to his boy who is about 10 years old for an investment.

Go to this site for a picture of the pistol.

http://www.southeasttexas.com/classified....0&type=gen eral

I trust none of you will buy it out from under him so to speak if you deem it a good buy. However,

from what twoguns and Brian D said I gather it is not a good buy.


Edit. It looks like the above link will not work. It is a top break revolver to answer Brain D's question. If any of you really want to look at a picture, go to http://www.southeasttexas.com, click on classifieds, then firearms, and go down to No. 29.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:50 PM   #5
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U.S. Revolver Co.

The .38 S&W was first used in the 'Baby Russian' in 1876. Being inside lubricated, it was a big improvement over the Colt rounds and the CF/RF generics. The case is shorter but larger in diameter than the .38 Special. Lots of them were made in WWII for the British, and later rechambered for .38 Special. The brass comes out with a step on it and sometimes splits.

.38S&W is still commercially loaded, but is nearly $30 a box.

The .38 Colt New Police is identical except loaded with a slightly heavier (150gr) bullet with a small flat on the nose. No longer made.

In a S&W or Colt solid frame, it's one of my favorite rounds for rambling around in the woods. Adequate for small game, and if you feel like plinking a bit it doesn't split your eardrums. Bit light for defense, though a hardcast Keith bullet at 650FPS will certainly get their attention.

My I frame Terrier is really _cute_ compared to a J frame snub and very popular with LOLITS taking a CCW course. No buck, no roar, no blisters. Have a devil of a time getting it back.

Also have a J frame Terrier, a prewar Regulation Police, and a .38-200 Military and Police made for the Brits during WWII. Traded the Baby Russian I had to a friend who has coveted it for years.

Hope this helps a little.



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