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Thread: Smith and Wesson .38 owl head

  1. #1
    samanthadanyall is offline Junior Member
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    Smith and Wesson .38 owl head

    recently inherited a s&w 38 and can't seem to find any information on a real one. Have found everything on the reproductions from other companies but really nothing on the s&w version. It doesn't have the owl heads on the grip but the circle with the s and w in it, on the barrel out has says Smith and Wesson springfield mass USA some numbers and dates, s and w trade mark stamp on the side, serial numbers on bottom of handle and cylinder, and it's top break down with the side latch and had hammer. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    In cases like these, a photograph or two would be a huge help.

    Guns with owls' heads are not by S&W, but rather by Iver Johnson, and are of lesser quality.
    You seem to have a real Smith & Wesson pistol. It is probably in .38 S&W, which is a shorter, and less powerful, cartridge than the modern .38 Special.

    OK, it's a top-break gun. But with a side latch? (This is why we need a photo or two.)
    I don't know of any S&W top-break pistol with a side latch. The ones I've seen have latches at the top-rear of the frame, near the hammer.

    Pictures! We need pictures!

    (Upload the pictures to Photobucket, and then copy-and-paste the Photobucket-supplied links to your posts here.)

  3. #3
    samanthadanyall is offline Junior Member
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    Mobile Photobucket ......that's the link to the album with pictures, the latch is on the rear near the hammer

  4. #4
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is offline Senior Member
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    I can't enlarge your pictures enough to read details, but they were enough to jar my memory.
    Yes, I have seen this type of pistol before.

    It's the Perfected Model .38 S&W. They were made from 1909 through 1920.
    Finally I did find it in a reference book in my library. See pages 100, 166 (photo), and 205 of Smith & Wesson Hand Guns by R.C. McHenry and W.F. Roper (1945; Standard Publications, Inc.; Huntington, WV).
    It's a five-shot, in .38 S&W (not .38 Special). To open it, you must use both the top-strap latch and the side-mounted button together.
    Ford Truck likes this.

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