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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ran across a pre-war S&W 5 screw 2" in .38 Special. The frame and Cylinder numbers match, but the barrel does not. How big a deal is that assuming it was replaced by a competent gunsmith/armorer?

Due to the age of the gun, I would assume that +P loads would not be a good idea. Are there any standard pressure commercial loads still made with LSWCHP bullets or anything like the old NyClad loads?

Thanks for your time.

R/ DocV

Modify- Let me restate the question regarding loads since I noticed in other post they are still available just not easy to find... Does anyone see a problem with using the current standard pressure loads?
 

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Hiya Doc,

First, age does make a difference. Prior to WWI most cylinders aren't heatreated. I'd be especially wary of those. Next, I'm assuming its a K frame M&P. Does the barrel look to have been shortened or replaced?

There are several threads on +P in older guns around here. I tend to be more conservative than other folks, but then I have newer guns to play with also. I carry a (barely) postwar 5-screw from time to time. The action is sooooooooo smooth. :)

I do shoot prewar (even pre-WWI) guns in good shape. I don't hotrod them. My opinion only.

There are still some standard pressure loads available, but not many. If I didn't still have some Nyclads stashed away I'd lean towards standard lead SWC loads. Buffalo Bore has some standard pressure loads that deliver good speeds. Hornady makes a load. Winchester and Federal have light bullet (110gr) standard pressure loads that might even expand, if not penetrate.

If the gun is post-WWI and the lockup is all correct, some would say that limited +P useage is OK. I might do it myself someday, but I won't tell others to.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pat,

It's a 1905 3rd Change which if I am correct is a K frame. It has a square butt and the cylinder is not recessed. I am leaning towards thinking the barrel was replaced with a 1 7/8" barrel. The barrel is pinned and the bore is shiny. It appears to have been commercially re-blued as it is fairly even but dull. The trigger and hammer appear to be color case hardened. The serial number is 1725XX

It caught my eye because I have a M&P 4 inch square butt made in 1922 (factory letter from S&W). The 4 " M&P is beat to heck, the muzzle is chewed up, but it is a great shooter and has a very smooth trigger pulled compared to other pistols I own. I got it for $50.00 from a pawn shop. (I have a habit of collecting "Charlie Brown" guns). The price is pretty good on the 2" so I thought they would make a nice pair.

I'll have it checked out by a competent 'smith, but I would like to shoot it and maybe even slip it into a pocket for an evening ramble.

V/R

DocV
 

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Re Doc,

If it checks out you'll have a seriously cool old gun to slip into the pocket. People with no sense of history will never 'get' it, and I pity them.

It's definitely not a heatreated cylinder at that vintage, though it was quite safe with the loads at the time, e.g., standard pressure in todays parlance.

If it has the factory rework markings then it might letter to being a factory barrel change. Worth a shot.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pat,

Thanks. That gives me some more warm fuzzies. I remeber my Dad and my Grandad carrying what would be considered old school weapons by the young pups today, Smith revolvers with 4 and 2 inch barrels. My Dad was a cop in the fifties so his were issued then. My Grandad's was a 2 inch of unknown vintage. All of them were sold off long ago

An interesting note, that shows how little things have changed:
My Grandad was a physician. He made house calls from aboput 1925 until the early 70's. He bought the revolver when he first started out in practice because he didn't want "some dope fiend" (his words) trying to "hit him on the head and steal his bag."

V/R
DocV
 

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Doctor - assuming you can locate a barrel, go and look at the web site for Hamilton Bowen. He can put that old 5 screw back just like when it left MA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Doctor - assuming you can locate a barrel, go and look at the web site for Hamilton Bowen. He can put that old 5 screw back just like when it left MA.
Herr Oberst,

Very nice! Now to find another 4 inch barrel. I had considered taking a marble and emory cloth and try to smooth out the muzzle pits, but I think replacing the whole barrel would be the ultimate way to go. The frame has a few minor pits and one area where it looks like someone went ofter the rust with a 3M pad or steel wool. The revolver had sat in a holster for years before I bought it.

R/
DocV
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I picked it up the yesterday. Clicking the picture will enlarge it.
I ran through the revolver checklist and everything seems good to go. It has been re-barrled, but I don't know if it was factory or not. It appears to have been carried a lot. The grips are worn smooth, but evenly. The sides of the frame an cylinder appear to be factory blue, the top strap and grip appears to have been parkerized or is a bead blasted, matte blue. The front sight has a brass or gold bead inset in it. Range report to follow. I ordered some Buffalo Bore 158 gr LSWC and I have some generic 148 gr LWC.

I think I did okay on price. I added a Tyler T-grip when I got it home. I used a j-frame one because it seemed to feel and balance better. It's riding in an old school Brauer paddle tab holster I picked up on E-bay.

Thanks for looking. Hopefully I'll get my act together and do a better quality photo spread of my whole collection.



 

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Thats a dandy old smith. just from the picture it appears to have been completely refinished. it looks like the side plate has been buffed?

I don't know how much you have in it but I'm not sure I would restore it any further. I bought a 5 screw 2in K-frame with almost perfect factory nickel last week for $350.00.

as far as ammo? I'ld probably shoot standard pressure and carry +p if I carried it at all.

This heat treat question confuses me. I talk with Smith&Wesson and they say of course all guns are heat treated. Metal is worked in an annealed state and heat treat to a desired hardness after the tooling is complete?

The metallurgy of the day not withstanding, post war S&W .38's are plenty tough, but when you consider age and condition maybe semi retirement is in order for this old gun :))

good luck

I might back off the +p ammo if that is a pre-war gun
 

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All guns are heat treated NOW; prior to WWI it wasn't always so.

Those old style grips are a bit more fragile than the newer Magnas, plus I prefer the 'feel' of the Magnas. The old grips are worth maybe $50+ depending on condition so don't bugger them up. Newer Magnas can be found at $10 or so at shows. Might have to relieve them on the underside for the rear sideplate screw if it protrudes into the grip.

Cool on the front sight. I want to do something of the sort on the .32 Dick Special I have.

The matte topstrap would not have been standard then, so is more custom work someone had done.

Sounds like someone was setting it up for carry.

Notice in the pic that the locking bolt is protruding a bit. Make sure the extractor rod isn't unscrewing.

Cool piece!


Regards,

Pat


PS: what is the S/N range on the barrel (if any)? Might help narrow down when the work was done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pat,

Thanks. I'll check the extractor rod when I get home. (We're underway for the week)

I think the serial number on the barrel started with 15x but I'll have to check that too.

Refinished or not, it's a sharp little gun. I was considering replacing the grips on all my S&W K frames with something along the lines of the checkered cherry ones from Ajax.

DocV
 

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I'm reading modern heat treat began with serial number 316648.
That is correct.

Happened early in the 1905 4th Change. Doc's is earlier: 3rd Change, 1909-1915.


Regards,

Pay
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the info Gentlemen.

Yes, mine is older so no +P for it. I put a pair of beater grips on it in preparation for the range. I also checked the extractor rod, it's in all the way. The locking pin seems to stick out?

I have two boxes of Buffalo Bore .38. One box is the soft lead LSWCHP and the other the hard cast SWC. I also have a box of old 148 gr WC to try out in it. All of them standard pressure loads.

I hate to say it, but I have given this pistol more attention than the CD HP I picked up too. Must be something about those snubbies (wait...that's another thread!)


R/

DocV
 
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