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  1. #1
    jhomley1 is offline Junior Member
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    Looking for age and potential value

    I have a .38 Special that belonged to my father in law. I am looking for its age and approximate value if anyone can help. On the right side of the Barrel is stamped “38 S.&W.SPECIAL CTG." On the Left side of the barrel is simply "Smith & Wesson". It has the stamped logo with trade mark in circular text, on the Right side of the gun which is partially covered by the grips. It has wooden grips with the Logo embedded into the wood. There is a screw going into the grip on the left side. There is also the embedded logo on the right side grip as well. There are 3 screws in the body on the right side, one of which is covered by the Right grip. On the Right side, it is stamped with "MADE IN USA" below that it says "MARCAS REGISTRADAS" below that it says "SMITH & WESSON" and below that it says SPRINGFIELD, MASS". It has a six round chamber. The barrel measures 4 inches. The number stamped into the metal on the butt of the weapon is “D658302”. On the crane it has “D658302” as well as”71953”followed by a sideways “S” It is also stamped with “MOD 64-1”. It is Nickel plated. On the inside face of the chamber, there is a stamp of the Letter “V”. The Left side grip is grooved as a thumb rest. The screw goes into the grips from the Left side. Under the grips… There is a screw that goes into the metal and looks to be some kind of tension screw for the trigger? On the Left side it is stamped with ”71953”, the number “7” by itself, the letter “D” and above that the Letter ”S” which is much larger than the number ”7“. On the right side under the grip is a letter”k” with a circle around it. There is also a stamp that appears to be a partial triangle with the letter “X” in the center. I hope I didn’t give you too much information. If I did, please tell me so I will know what not to bother you with. Many Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    The weapon you have is commonly known as the Model 64 Stainless Steel Military and Police, and as the name states, it's actually made of rust-resistant stainless steel (instead of nickel-plated carbon steel). If the finish is very shiny and reflective (mirror-like), then it's probable that someone polished the weapon, as the normal finish should be more of a satin/brushed bare-metal color/texture. The numerical model number is the 64-1 you found, and that, along with the serial number range, puts the approximate year of manufacture around 1974. This model could be found with a tapered barrel that gets smaller/thinner near the front of the weapon, or a "heavy" barrel, which is about the same thickness from front to rear. It has a fixed notch in the frame for a rear sight.

    These are great guns, smooth shooting and occasionally very accurate, once you find the ammunition they "like." It sounds like someone might have replaced the grips (very common on revolvers), as the original grips were fairly small and would have lacked the thumb-rest (or speedloader cutout) you described; also, they would probably not block the logo on the side of the frame. If your weapon has the heavy barrel, it should look something like this one (grips will be different based on your description; these are the normal factory grips for this model):



    Determining the value of a firearm can be a tricky thing, as it will vary according to the condition of the weapon, the demand in your local area, along with the economy in general. I think I can safely say if it is in "good" or better condition, it would be worth at least $250-$300 as a shooting-grade gun, and possibly more if it's in better condition. If I had the money and was looking for one, I'd pay $300 for a clean and mechanically solid model 64-1 (I don't, and I'm not). Most gun shops or pawn shops will value it much lower than that (if you are trying to sell it), as they want to buy low and sell high to make some money on each deal. If I was trying to sell this at a gunshop or pawn shop, I'd be surprised if they offered me more than $200 for it, and in most shops the offer would probably be closer to $125-$150.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

  3. #3
    jhomley1 is offline Junior Member
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    Many thanks

    I really appreciate the info. It was super helpful. I don't think I will get rid of it. Can you have to many guns? It actually is in almost perfect shape. My wife used this when she took the class for her concealed permit. The grips kind of have me confused since they have the embedded logo as well. I think I sense a call to S & W in my future. Again, many thanks.

  4. #4
    DJ Niner's Avatar
    DJ Niner is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    Oh, I'm sure they are original S&W grips, I just don't think they were the ones that originally came on that model (unless it was a special order gun; always a possibility). The oversize target grips were standard on many other S&W revolvers, usually the ones with adjustable sights, in the magnum calibers. Many folks with smaller hands didn't like the feel of the large target-style grips, and so they would sell them or trade them for the smaller Magna grips that were often standard on the fixed-sight guns, or the .38 Special calibers (vs. the magnums). Besides the used grips, you used to be able to buy brand-new S&W target grips, over-the-counter, at many well-stocked gun shops that carried or sold a lot of S&W guns. The target grips have changed over the years, but here are two examples:





    The grain patterns can vary quite a bit, and some will have lots of stripes while others will have one or none; it all depends on the piece of wood they came from. The thumbrest/speedloader cutout can be small and shallow, or large and deep. They also offered smooth grips (no checkering), and finger-groove models. All similar, yet different.

    If you decide to try different grips for your model 64, you need to buy ones that are listed to fit a K-frame square-butt S&W revolver. There are other grips that look VERY similar in size and shape, but if you get the wrong size, they won't fit the frame properly and could crack, or shift on the frame under recoil while you're shooting.

    Sounds like you have a very nice weapon, and with some sentimental value as well, I would think. Now that you've clarified the overall condition, you could probably bump that value up into the $350-$400 range. I saw one like yours in a gun shop earlier today, but it had the tapered ("skinny") barrel; used but in mint condition with box and all accessories, and the store had $499 on the tag.

    And no, I don't think you can have too many quality firearms, although my wife might disagree...
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

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