Homerun or Stikeout? S&W Mod 38
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Thread: Homerun or Stikeout? S&W Mod 38

  1. #1
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    Default Homerun or Stikeout? S&W Mod 38

    Picked this up today, advertised as never shot. Thoughts, how did I do? Is it righteous, or has it been messed with? It looks better in person than I can photograph.

    Let me know.

    Thank you.

    Dave
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  2. #2
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    It looks like it was made in 1976, not as old as I thought...

    Dave

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    I can't speak to value, but I bought a nickel one new in around 1984 after reading Gordon Dickson's Wolf and Iron. (Good post-Big One survival book not otherwise germane to your acquisition, except the revolver plays a minor role and both are cool.)

    The book made-me-look, which "raised my consciousness" to this feature of the airweight Chiefs, the real reason I bought it: Five rounds of a not-insignificant cartridge in a compact 13 ounce-empty package. The world has advanced, but that still seems to me like a lotta whoompah for the weight. I've always thought of it as my "backpacker's" pistol.

    I've hardly shot mine, test-fired only, really. Not plus-P capable, which I knew.

    Classic mistake not affected by nickel or modern fabrics: I left it inside a little nylon ditty bag inside the safe for a few years and when it came out the finish was permanently damaged in several places. Sigh. It's still a lot of .38 foot-pounds for 13 ounces.

    There's a Glock in the bedside drawer and more now, but it's still nice to have a little something you can easily slip into a pocket for a casual stroll in the woods or wherever. Still one of my favorite guns, even among some fancy stuff.

    (NAA .22 mag 1 5/8" in that same "faves" category - six ounces of stainless loudness; the ultimate backpacker's model.)

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    Looks righteous to me. Good find, nice piece. S&W warns away from +P. I think they are correct to do so, though the gun won't blow up. Might even keep one cylinder full if I was using it for my bedside gun. But I would understand I might do it harm if I had to shoot.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    + p will break frame where barrel screws in...
    seen one next day after it gave way!
    one box of ammo.
    he didn’t know one 38 from another?
    correct no +p
    "Christ’s Grace + being constitutionally solvent !"

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    Wow & Contrats! I'm always a bit amazed to see nice S&W specimens in original box! I've more than a few myself, but as adding 'minty'... very few & with tools/all; even less! The "J" Frame, sweet guns and your vintage yet well within 'Smith quality'!
    My only 'minty' J Frame, an early vintage Centennial, SN 2xx, pix below.
    Thanks for posting and...
    Best!
    John
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 88 - 5U.jpg  

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    It's got a noticeable turn line on the cylinder, so I'm dubious of the never been shot claim, but it still looks like it's in great condition and should be a good shooter.

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    Beautiful!
    Purists of the world, unite!

    “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 arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
    Samuel Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by iskra View Post
    Wow & Contrats! I'm always a bit amazed to see nice S&W specimens in original box! I've more than a few myself, but as adding 'minty'... very few & with tools/all; even less! The "J" Frame, sweet guns and your vintage yet well within 'Smith quality'!
    My only 'minty' J Frame, an early vintage Centennial, SN 2xx, pix below.
    Thanks for posting and...
    Best!
    John
    Very cool, love it.

    DAVE

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard in NY* View Post
    Beautiful!
    Thanks man.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwagon View Post
    It's got a noticeable turn line on the cylinder, so I'm dubious of the never been shot claim, but it still looks like it's in great condition and should be a good shooter.
    The turn line is minor, but I am listening.

    Thank you.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by DK PHILLIPS View Post
    + p will break frame where barrel screws in...
    seen one next day after it gave way!
    one box of ammo.
    he didn’t know one 38 from another?
    correct no +p
    Thanks for the advice, will avoid the hot stuff.

    DAVE

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    Looks righteous to me. Good find, nice piece. S&W warns away from +P. I think they are correct to do so, though the gun won't blow up. Might even keep one cylinder full if I was using it for my bedside gun. But I would understand I might do it harm if I had to shoot.
    Thanks, I paid $500, figured it was fairly safe ether way, but happy to hear.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest2 View Post
    I can't speak to value, but I bought a nickel one new in around 1984 after reading Gordon Dickson's Wolf and Iron. (Good post-Big One survival book not otherwise germane to your acquisition, except the revolver plays a minor role and both are cool.)

    The book made-me-look, which "raised my consciousness" to this feature of the airweight Chiefs, the real reason I bought it: Five rounds of a not-insignificant cartridge in a compact 13 ounce-empty package. The world has advanced, but that still seems to me like a lotta whoompah for the weight. I've always thought of it as my "backpacker's" pistol.

    I've hardly shot mine, test-fired only, really. Not plus-P capable, which I knew.

    Classic mistake not affected by nickel or modern fabrics: I left it inside a little nylon ditty bag inside the safe for a few years and when it came out the finish was permanently damaged in several places. Sigh. It's still a lot of .38 foot-pounds for 13 ounces.

    There's a Glock in the bedside drawer and more now, but it's still nice to have a little something you can easily slip into a pocket for a casual stroll in the woods or wherever. Still one of my favorite guns, even among some fancy stuff.

    (NAA .22 mag 1 5/8" in that same "faves" category - six ounces of stainless loudness; the ultimate backpacker's model.)
    I have the NAA .22 mag, pretty cool. Sorry to hear about the damage on the MOD 38, it happens.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by DK PHILLIPS View Post
    + p will break frame where barrel screws in...
    seen one next day after it gave way!
    one box of ammo.
    he didn’t know one 38 from another?
    correct no +p
    +1

    had to break one down into a parts kit from an estate,

    not sure if it was +P, but it was cracked at the barrel,



    otherwise, they are like any Smith J frame, good to go,


    that one has a minor cylinder ring,


    if unfired, or not fired since bought, it should have 2 or 3 smoke rings on the cylinder face from test firing, maybe,
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

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    I would have bought it because I love S&W revolvers. Price was right. It’s missing the wax paper wrapping and the cleaning tools which come in the box. Most non collectors tend to “lose” the non essential collectible parts.

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    Looks as close to NOS as you can get.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyman1903 View Post
    +1

    had to break one down into a parts kit from an estate,

    not sure if it was +P, but it was cracked at the barrel,



    otherwise, they are like any Smith J frame, good to go,


    that one has a minor cylinder ring,


    if unfired, or not fired since bought, it should have 2 or 3 smoke rings on the cylinder face from test firing, maybe,
    Good input, thank you.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by alund View Post
    I would have bought it because I love S&W revolvers. Price was right. It’s missing the wax paper wrapping and the cleaning tools which come in the box. Most non collectors tend to “lose” the non essential collectible parts.
    I hadn't thought of either of those items. I remember the wax paper but not the cleaning rod.

    Thank you.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITWORKEDOUT View Post
    Looks as close to NOS as you can get.....
    Yeah, it caused me pause when I saw it that it might be messed with, but for the price took the chance. Now that is is home and I can look at it closer I think it is all good.

    Dave

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    I carried one for a BUG for years. I liked it, and think you made a killer deal. No +p, but you know that. I like being able to shoot it SA, unlike the 442 I have now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iskra View Post
    Wow & Contrats! I'm always a bit amazed to see nice S&W specimens in original box! I've more than a few myself, but as adding 'minty'... very few & with tools/all; even less! The "J" Frame, sweet guns and your vintage yet well within 'Smith quality'!
    My only 'minty' J Frame, an early vintage Centennial, SN 2xx, pix below.
    Thanks for posting and...
    Best!
    John
    Lovely Revolver,


    my Daily Carry is that exact model, only the mid 60's dated flat latch,

    shoots very very well
    what's so funny about peace love and understanding?

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Ben Uzi View Post
    Thanks, I paid $500, figured it was fairly safe ether way, but happy to hear.

    Dave
    You done good. Keep it and enjoy. If you want to keep the value high, don't shoot it, but I would shoot it if it was mine (NOT with +P, my comments about what I MIGHT do if it was my bedside or BUG piece to the contrary) and if it lost a little value from a turn line, sobeit. Would think the fun was well worth it based on shooting a (few) J-frames.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene l View Post
    I carried one for a BUG for years. I liked it, and think you made a killer deal. No +p, but you know that. I like being able to shoot it SA, unlike the 442 I have now.
    Thank you Gene, I also have a 640 so I think I will put this one away. The SA ability is very cool.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyman1903 View Post
    Lovely Revolver,


    my Daily Carry is that exact model, only the mid 60's dated flat latch,

    shoots very very well
    Very cool, thanks.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    You done good. Keep it and enjoy. If you want to keep the value high, don't shoot it, but I would shoot it if it was mine (NOT with +P, my comments about what I MIGHT do if it was my bedside or BUG piece to the contrary) and if it lost a little value from a turn line, sobeit. Would think the fun was well worth it based on shooting a (few) J-frames.
    Thanks man, solid counsel and advice.

    Dave

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    Sweet revolver Dave! I carry one myself. I traded an old Charter Arms Undercover for it a few years ago and haven't regretted it a bit. I'm still trying to figure out when mine was made. It has no pinned barrel so after '82. Also the new has definitely been knocked off of it so I don't feel bad about wear and tear from use. It's a keeper.Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpcullen View Post
    Sweet revolver Dave! I carry one myself. I traded an old Charter Arms Undercover for it a few years ago and haven't regretted it a bit. I'm still trying to figure out when mine was made. It has no pinned barrel so after '82. Also the new has definitely been knocked off of it so I don't feel bad about wear and tear from use. It's a keeper.Click image for larger version. 

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    Very cool.

    Here are the manufacture date ranges:

    1969-1970 = J1 - J99999
    1971-1972 = 1J1 - 999J99
    1973-1974 = J100000 - J250000
    1975-1976 = J250001 - J370000
    1976-1977 = J370001 - J610000
    1977-1978 = J610001 - J670000
    1979-1980 = J670001 - J760000
    1981 = J760001 - J915400
    1982 = J915401 - 1J18600
    1983 = 1J18601 - 1JXXXX

    Dave

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    I don't think it can lose any value due to acquiring a turn line from usage, since the turn line is already there. This revolver has had the action cycled many times to have developed such a noticeable scratch.

    Now. Judging from the lack of primer imprint in the recoil plate, it has not been fired much since testing. But it has been cycled, perhaps dry fired or with snap caps.

    Still, great condition overall. And I would have had no qualms about adding it to a collection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by martin08 View Post
    I don't think it can lose any value due to acquiring a turn line from usage, since the turn line is already there. This revolver has had the action cycled many times to have developed such a noticeable scratch.

    Now. Judging from the lack of primer imprint in the recoil plate, it has not been fired much since testing. But it has been cycled, perhaps dry fired or with snap caps.

    Still, great condition overall. And I would have had no qualms about adding it to a collection.
    Thank you Martin for the comments.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Ben Uzi View Post
    Very cool.

    Here are the manufacture date ranges:

    [FONT="]1969-1970 = J1 - J99999[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1971-1972 = 1J1 - 999J99[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1973-1974 = J100000 - J250000[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1975-1976 = J250001 - J370000[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1976-1977 = J370001 - J610000[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1977-1978 = J610001 - J670000[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1979-1980 = J670001 - J760000[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1981 = J760001 - J915400[/FONT]
    [FONT="]1982 = J915401 - 1J18600[/FONT]
    1983 = 1J18601 - 1JXXXX

    Dave
    Thanks for the serial number information Dave. Mine starts with AWE. Best I can figure it was made in 1986 or maybe '87.

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    Very nice! I guess that one will be a safe queen. Any pre-lock S&W will increase in value, especially if it is truly unfired.

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    The pinned barrel guns, like yours, are not as susceptible to frame cracks like the later crush fit barrels are reputed to be. Forcing cone cracks are something to watch for. The advice to restrict any Airweight to standard ammo is sound.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Old Tanker:

    Any idea how many rounds were shot before the crack formed and the type(s) of ammo used?

    Some guns were made to be carried a lot and seldom shot and the various S&W Airweight revolvers definitely fall into that category.
    Purists of the world, unite!

    “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 arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
    Samuel Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by GunHobby View Post
    Very nice! I guess that one will be a safe queen. Any pre-lock S&W will increase in value, especially if it is truly unfired.
    Thanks, I have a 640 that I shoot so you are right, this one will to the back of the safe.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by old tanker View Post
    The pinned barrel guns, like yours, are not as susceptible to frame cracks like the later crush fit barrels are reputed to be. Forcing cone cracks are something to watch for. The advice to restrict any Airweight to standard ammo is sound.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Good to know, thanks.

    Dave

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    The crack was discovered during a 'how to inspect your gun' lesson during a concealed carry class. The student had bought it used and hadn't fired it yet. She took it back and after some discussion they gave her full credit towards another gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old tanker View Post
    The crack was discovered during a 'how to inspect your gun' lesson during a concealed carry class. The student had bought it used and hadn't fired it yet. She took it back and after some discussion they gave her full credit towards another gun.
    Wow, that was fortunate.

    Dave

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    After it was put to the shop owner this way, she didn't shoot it and unless you shot it before you sold it and it cracked then, the crack must have been there when you took it on trade. So you either failed to see the crack and sold it by mistake or you knew it was cracked and sold it anyway. Either way it was caught in his trap. A lot less damage to his reputation to concede he missed it than to have people think he hid a known defect from a customer.

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