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Thread: S&W 38 Special

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    bnichols is offline Junior Member
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    S&W 38 Special

    I just joined this forum a few minutes ago. Thank you for accepting me.

    I have 2 older 38 specials. The serial numbers are on them, but no model numbers. The only thing I see on the barrel is "38 S. & W. special CTG" Can anyone tell me anything about these hand guns?

  2. #2
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is online now Senior Member
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    Not without pics and more info.

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    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Look for any manufacturer names, addresses, or logos on the top/sides of the frame or the hand grips/stocks. Swing open the cylinder (if it swings open) and look into the frame cutout below the rearmost end of the barrel; sometimes model numbers or other info is stamped there, too. A full description, including ANY numbers or markings (and the locations of each number or marking) would be very helpful. If you don't want to post the entire serial number on a public forum, then replace the last few digits with "X"es. So, if your serial number was 3K45678, you could post "Serial number is 3K456xx".

    The number of chambers (holes in the cylinder for ammo) is also useful; larger-frame revolvers in this caliber are usually 6-shot weapons, while smaller-frame guns usually have a 5-shot cylinder. The barrel length (in inches), which is measured from the front face of the cylinder to the front end of the barrel, would also help.

    Welcome to the site! Hope we can help you find out more about your guns.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

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    bnichols is offline Junior Member
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    bnichols

    Quote Originally Posted by tony pasley View Post
    Not without pics and more info.
    I will try to get some pics, but both have the serial #'s on the butt and again on the cylinder. The other stampings are on the left side of the barrel "SMITH & WESSON, and also their logo just in front of the grips. On the right side of the barrel "38 S. & W. SPECIAL CTG. Also just below the cylinder is stamped "MADE IN USA" The serial #'s are 486179, and 413413
    I can not find any other numbers anywhere. Does this help you at all?

    Thanks,

    Bob

  5. #5
    bnichols is offline Junior Member
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    bnichols

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
    Look for any manufacturer names, addresses, or logos on the top/sides of the frame or the hand grips/stocks. Swing open the cylinder (if it swings open) and look into the frame cutout below the rearmost end of the barrel; sometimes model numbers or other info is stamped there, too. A full description, including ANY numbers or markings (and the locations of each number or marking) would be very helpful. If you don't want to post the entire serial number on a public forum, then replace the last few digits with "X"es. So, if your serial number was 3K45678, you could post "Serial number is 3K456xx".

    The number of chambers (holes in the cylinder for ammo) is also useful; larger-frame revolvers in this caliber are usually 6-shot weapons, while smaller-frame guns usually have a 5-shot cylinder. The barrel length (in inches), which is measured from the front face of the cylinder to the front end of the barrel, would also help.

    Welcome to the site! Hope we can help you find out more about your guns.
    The serial #'s are 486179, and 413413. They are large frame 6 shot revolvers. One has a 4" barrel, the other a 6" barrel. On both guns, the left side of the barrel is stamped "SMITH & WESSON" the right side of the barrel is stamped 38 S. & W. SPECIAL. CTG" In front of the grips on the left side is stamped with S&W logo, and on the right side of the frame under the cylinder is stamped "MADE IN USA" The serial numbers are stamped on the bottom of the butt, and also on the cylinders of both guns. There are no other markings in the frame cut-out or under the wooden grips. Does this help?

    Thanks,

    Bob

  6. #6
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnichols View Post
    The serial #'s are 486179, and 413413. They are large frame 6 shot revolvers. One has a 4" barrel, the other a 6" barrel. On both guns, the left side of the barrel is stamped "SMITH & WESSON" the right side of the barrel is stamped 38 S. & W. SPECIAL. CTG" In front of the grips on the left side is stamped with S&W logo, and on the right side of the frame under the cylinder is stamped "MADE IN USA" The serial numbers are stamped on the bottom of the butt, and also on the cylinders of both guns. There are no other markings in the frame cut-out or under the wooden grips. Does this help?

    Thanks,

    Bob
    We're getting closer! Answer each of these questions for the 4-inch gun, and then again for the 6-inch.

    - Fixed rear sight (a simple notch in the frame above the hammer), or adjustable (separate sight assembly with top and right-side adjustment screws)?

    - Barrel gets thinner (tapers) toward the front end, or about the same thickness for the entire length?

    - Ramp-shaped front sight, or rounded (kinda looks like half a coin stuck on the end of the barrel)?



    Does either weapon look like the ones in the links below? (still need the answers above to get an exact model):

    Revolvers For Sale - S&W .38 hand ejector M&P 2nd model, 1st change - Auction: 7852916 (Ended 02/12/2007, 18:00:00 PST)

    http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-han...th-change.html

    If similar to either of your guns, note any differences in sights, grips, barrel shape, etc. and list the differences.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  7. #7
    bnichols is offline Junior Member
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    bnichols

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
    We're getting closer! Answer each of these questions for the 4-inch gun, and then again for the 6-inch.

    - Fixed rear sight (a simple notch in the frame above the hammer), or adjustable (separate sight assembly with top and right-side adjustment screws)?

    - Barrel gets thinner (tapers) toward the front end, or about the same thickness for the entire length?

    - Ramp-shaped front sight, or rounded (kinda looks like half a coin stuck on the end of the barrel)?



    Does either weapon look like the ones in the links below? (still need the answers above to get an exact model):

    Revolvers For Sale - S&W .38 hand ejector M&P 2nd model, 1st change - Auction: 7852916 (Ended 02/12/2007, 18:00:00 PST)

    .38 Special Military & Police Model of 1905 - 4th Change

    If similar to either of your guns, note any differences in sights, grips, barrel shape, etc. and list the differences.
    My pistols look exactly like both in the links you provided.

    4" barrel has a fixed rear sight, tapered barrel and ramp shaped front sight.
    6" barrel has a fixed rear sight, tapered barrel and ramp shaped front sight.

    I'll try to figure out how to send a pic of both.

  8. #8
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    If you've never done any photo posting online, this thread has some info which you might find helpful:

    http://www.handgunforum.net/forum-ho...g-version.html



    It looks like you have two revolvers of the same basic model which were produced 10-15 years apart, one in the early 1920s, the other in the late 20s or early 1930s. This was before model numbers were used by S&W, but the equivalent revolver today would be known as the Model 10. The full name of your revolvers (I believe) is ".38 Special Hand Ejector Military and Police, Model of 1905, Fourth Change." To shorten this long name, sometimes "HE" was used in reference to the Hand Ejector portion, and "M&P" for Military and Police. ".38 Special" is the caliber designation.

    .38 Special is still a common caliber used today in many revolvers, but it has been improved to get higher velocities by loading most of the ammunition to higher pressures, which can be a problem for owners of very early guns in this caliber (like yours). You should only use standard-pressure lead bullet ammunition in your guns, and only after the weapons have been checked by a gunsmith to make sure they are safe to use. If any .38 Special ammunition you find is labeled "+P", it is NOT safe for use in your guns.

    These are very nicely made revolvers, and the few I've shot were very smooth and accurate. Please remember these are 80-90 year old weapons, and if you decide to use them, there is a risk of parts breakage. Parts for models this old can be very hard to find, and expensive when you do find them, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to shoot them.

    Congratulations!
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  9. #9
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    • How did you end up with these weapons?
    • Are they registered?
    • Are you licensed to own a handgun?
    • What is the provenence of the weapons?
    Most states have a procedure for dealing with inherited weapons. If this is the case you should check that out.

    You risk legal consequences if you don't register the weapons in most states. You cannot sell them until you do.

    I'm not trying to upset you. A call to your local precinct should get you the answers.

  10. #10
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Packard View Post
    • How did you end up with these weapons?
    • Are they registered?
    • Are you licensed to own a handgun?
    • What is the provenence of the weapons?
    Most states have a procedure for dealing with inherited weapons. If this is the case you should check that out.

    You risk legal consequences if you don't register the weapons in most states. You cannot sell them until you do.

    I'm not trying to upset you. A call to your local precinct should get you the answers.
    While some (or all) of this MAY be true in A VERY FEW states, I think it may be a stretch to say that in "most states" you have to do this and that. In 4 of the last five states I've lived in, NONE of the above was required -- including ANY "registration" of any kind, even for handguns.

    I can understand how a person who lives in a state where some/all of this is required might think that the law is the same everywhere, but I am happy to say this is NOT the case; and to tell folks otherwise is a bit irresponsible, in my view. Mentioning that they might want to check into it? Probably a good idea. Factually stating that they cannot own/possess or sell the guns, without the weapons being registered and the owner being licensed, in most states? Incorrect, at best, for a wide swath of America.

    Personally, I'd start with a call to the local gun shop or sporting goods store to ask a few questions, ask a local firearms instructor, or a have a several-hour Google-fest online, before I'd call the local police and start blindly asking whether I was in violation of any laws.

    Relevant reading:

    http://www.lcav.org/content/registration_firearms.pdf

    http://www.statemaster.com/graph/gov...n-laws-permits

    http://www.handgunlaw.us/

    (Click on your state for more info and links)
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  11. #11
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
    While some (or all) of this MAY be true in A VERY FEW states, I think it may be a stretch to say that in "most states" you have to so this and that. In 4 of the last five states I've lived in, NONE of the above was required -- including ANY "registration" of any kind, even for handguns.

    I can understand how a person who lives in a state where some/all of this is required might think that the law is the same everywhere, but I am happy to say this is NOT the case; and to tell folks otherwise is a bit irresponsible, in my view. Mentioning that they might want to check into it? Probably a good idea. Factually stating that they cannot own/possess or sell the guns, without the weapons being registered and the owner being licensed, in most states? Incorrect, at best, for a wide swath of America.

    Personally, I'd start with a call to the local gun shop or sporting goods store to ask a few questions, ask a local firearms instructor, or a have a several-hour Google-fest online, before I'd call the local police and start blindly asking whether I was in violation of any laws.

    Relevant reading:

    http://www.lcav.org/content/registration_firearms.pdf

    Gun Laws permits by state. Definition, graph and map.

    Handgunlaw.us

    (Click on your state for more info and links)
    Permits and registration are not the same thing. Even states that don't require permits generally require that the dealer register the weapon as far as I know. The Google search I did, did not show registration requirements anywhere--they were only addressing permits. Even in VT where no permit is required for any handgun carry, the dealers have to register the weapons and do a background check. The sites you referenced only relate to permits, not to registration.

    I think my questions were appropriate and the suggestion to call the local precinct regarding this was appropriate too. To ignore the possibility that the writer was violating the law would have been inappropriate.

  12. #12
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Packard View Post
    Permits and registration are not the same thing. Even states that don't require permits generally require that the dealer register the weapon as far as I know. The Google search I did, did not show registration requirements anywhere--they were only addressing permits. Even in VT where no permit is required for any handgun carry, the dealers have to register the weapons and do a background check. The sites you referenced only relate to permits, not to registration.

    I think my questions were appropriate and the suggestion to call the local precinct regarding this was appropriate too. To ignore the possibility that the writer was violating the law would have been inappropriate.
    The OP already HAS the weapons, therefore they do not need to go through a dealer. Dealer is the operative word. If, in most states... (yes most) you do a face to face purchase, there are not any requirements to "register" it with anyone.

  13. #13
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhurdan View Post
    The OP already HAS the weapons, therefore they do not need to go through a dealer. Dealer is the operative word. If, in most states... (yes most) you do a face to face purchase, there are not any requirements to "register" it with anyone.
    OK. I don't know enough about this to argue further. I still think the OP should check with the local precinct to make sure he is on firm legal footing owning the weapons without any sort of registration.

    Of course we still don't know how he obtained them; if he got them by breaking into a home and stealing them, leaving a string of dead occupants in his wake, then perhaps he should not call the local precinct.

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    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Packard View Post
    OK. I don't know enough about this to argue further. I still think the OP should check with the local precinct to make sure he is on firm legal footing owning the weapons without any sort of registration.

    Of course we still don't know how he obtained them; if he got them by breaking into a home and stealing them, leaving a string of dead occupants in his wake, then perhaps he should not call the local precinct.
    Finally, some solid advice I can agree with!

    Quote Originally Posted by Packard View Post
    Permits and registration are not the same thing. Even states that don't require permits generally require that the dealer register the weapon as far as I know. The Google search I did, did not show registration requirements anywhere--they were only addressing permits. Even in VT where no permit is required for any handgun carry, the dealers have to register the weapons and do a background check. The sites you referenced only relate to permits, not to registration.
    Registration is generally defined as linking a particular weapon (by using the serial number, caliber, and specific description) to a particular person (by using a name and address provided by an approved form of identification, such as a driver's license), and filing the records created in such a manner that they are readily available and able to be searched. Two examples of possible uses of a firearm/owner registration database might include: the police find an abandoned weapon, enter the weapon info, and the database displays who owns it; or, you enter a name and address, and you get a list of firearms owned by that person.

    The federal forms you fill out when you buy a firearms from a federally licensed dealer contain all the information needed to register a firearm, but unless the state has a law requiring the dealer to report this information, the information is never compiled into a searchable format. The filled-out federal forms stay at the retailer's business address as long as it is open, and if it permanently closes, or the license is revoked or is not renewed, the paper records are sent to the BATFE for safekeeping. I believe there is still a federal law in force that specifically prevents the BATFE from entering these old paper records into a registration database. Because of this, it is usually NOT considered registration, although it is very close and could be re-configured into a registration-type system very quickly, if the wrong law got passed. Given all this info, however, newly manufactured weapons CAN be traced to the first retail buyer by starting with the gun's manufacturer, giving them a full description of the weapon (including serial number); then, they consult their records and report which distributor it was sold to; the distributor's records show what store/shop it was sold to; and then an agent must show up at the shop and look through the shop's records to find out the person it was sold to. This can take a week or more, depending on how fast each business can find the records they need.

    Registration is not a word that is often used, even by those who practice and advocate it. Historically, registration has been shown to be nearly useless in crime prevention and only marginally better in investigations of crimes after the fact. When that is combined with the history of governments using registration to ultimately ban and/or confiscate firearms, "registering" guns gets a well-deserved bad reputation. You'll more often hear terms like "Safety Inspection" (used by my birth state of Michigan for decades) to collect the same information (no longer done, I understand). The MA FID card and LTC permits also compile most/all of the same info, and then the FID card or LTC info can be cross-linked to purchase info compiled by the State Police (overview here):
    http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopsterm...ome&csid=Eeops
    This is de-facto registration, it's just being performed inefficiently and called something else for political reasons.

    Thankfully, most states do not waste valuable resources treating their law-abiding residents like criminals until "proven" otherwise (using the citizen's time and money, of course). Here's hoping that eventually, the brain-dead states that foist these follies on their citizens will see the light and change their ways. I'm not holding my breath, though; bureaucratic momentum can be an awesome thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Packard View Post
    I think my questions were appropriate and the suggestion to call the local precinct regarding this was appropriate too.
    As appropriate as assuming a person posting about their new/used car is a unlicensed driver and auto thief.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

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