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Thread: S&W Victory Markings ?

  1. #1
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    Default S&W Victory Markings ?

    I recently acquired a S&W Victory pistol; .38 S&W caliber, lend-lease, 5" barrel, US Property - G.H.D on top strap, P marked, V697803 serial number, and either British or some sort of a Commonwealth markings under the barrel. Every other lend-lease Victory pistols I have seen has markings of one kind or another on the right side below the cylinder. This one has nothing on the right side other than the typical markings; a S&W logo and the "Made In USA" stamping. However, under the barrel are a four neatly stamped markings: a proof (?/BNP), .38 S&W caliber, a pressure rating in "bar" and the crossed swords with "R" at 9:00, "C" at 3:00 and "4" at 6:00. I'm going off the photo, which could be better. Can anyone offer a good source of information to decipher these markings or insight into their meaning?

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    Last edited by Like_Old_Guns; 07-17-2010 at 12:36 AM. Reason: Corrected
    Roger
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  2. #2
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    The markings are recent British Commercial Proofs. The pressure is in curent pressure ratings, crossed flags refer to the proof house date of proof, by whom and who was in charge. I am sure others can expand on it in further detail.

  3. #3
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    Here are much better photographs (new macro lens for the DSLR). I thought I had found a website that identifed the crossed swords as a Birmingham proof, but it said the righmost letter should be a "B" where my marking has a "C" so it may not be Birmingham. The investigation continues.

    The first photo shows the complete underbarrel marking. The second photo is a blow up of the crossed swords, and the last is a blow up of the first proof mark.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Victory W 02.jpg   Victory W 01.JPG   Victory W 03.JPG  
    Roger
    NRA Endowment Member and CRPA
    Handgun Racks - http://www.ArmoryRacks.com

  4. #4
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    Caliber, proof pressure, the crossed swords, as Paul said, will yield the date and chief inspector, and lastly...Birmingham Nitro Proof. I don't have my reference materials handy, but somebody ought to be able to come up with the date of proof (or is it approval for commercial sale?) based on the crossed swords stamp.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  5. #5
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    Re the crossed swords inspection mark...an 'R' in the left segment would normally indicate 1966, and there should be a 'B' in the right segment. There was supposedly a mixup in 1952 (code: 'C') whereby the datecode 'C' was in the right segment, and the Birmingham 'B' was in the left due to an error in producing the stamp. Yours looks clearly to be an 'R', but I wonder if there was some sort of mistake made in the cutting (or translation) of the stamp or stamping system. "BNP" is certainly a Birmingham mark. The '4' at the bottom indicates the inspector's rank, in this case the chief inspector.

    Hope this doesn't confuse the issue even more...
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhead75 View Post
    Hope this doesn't confuse the issue even more...
    I am afraid that it does! The date code system you are referring to was introduced in 1950. Given that the letter J was not used they would have run out of letters by 1975. The proof marks on this S&W are clearly later than 1975 because Britain had not gone metric by then.

    I am sure that I have seen a post on this forum in the past by someone who knows about the coding system that followed the 1950 one; who are you?

    Peter

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Like_Old_Guns View Post
    I recently acquired a S&W Victory pistol; .38 S&W caliber, lend-lease, 5" barrel, US Property - G.H.D on top strap, ...

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    "US Property" is self explanatory. "G.H.D." are the initials of Guy H. Drewrey, the officer commanding the ordnance district in which the Smith and Wesson factory was located. These are often mis-described as the actual army ordnance inspector's initials.

  8. #8
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    RC dates it to 1990

  9. #9
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    Well spotted! I think I have a precis of the later system saved somewhere on my computer (from the post you mention, IIRC), I'll check when I get home if nobody's chimed in by then.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJGP View Post
    I am afraid that it does! The date code system you are referring to was introduced in 1950. Given that the letter J was not used they would have run out of letters by 1975. The proof marks on this S&W are clearly later than 1975 because Britain had not gone metric by then.

    I am sure that I have seen a post on this forum in the past by someone who knows about the coding system that followed the 1950 one; who are you?

    Peter
    Did a little digging, and found the reference pages I'd saved (they were posted during a similar discussion some time back). Unfortunately, not much help in the confusion dept. The date codes stayed the same, starting again with A in 1975, but the symbol changed from the crossed swords to a trisected circle, and shortly thereafter (exactly when is unspecified), changed again to a plain circle.

    Unfortunately the pages were untitled and I neglected to add any notes to attribute them, so input from the abovementioned "someone who knows about the coding system that followed the 1950 one;" would still come in handy.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  11. #11
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    Very strange! I have seen the trisected circle mark, but with imperial dimensions and pressures. The Birmingham Proof House website (at http://www.gunproof.com/Proofing/proofing.html ) is somewhat confused as to the dates of their "Rules of Proof", but it would seem that the metric system was introduced in 1989 (see the example proof marks). My guess is that a new dating code was introduced at that time.

    Peter

  12. #12
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    Here's the referenced article that I'd saved. Unfortunately, I can't provide other context but that it was posted during a very similar conversation here on Gunboards, and have no attribution besides the author's name.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails datecode3a.jpg   datecode2a.jpg   datecode1a.jpg  
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

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