Sunday, January 9, 2011

Help with S&W Revolver, with British proofs?

It's a long and winding story, but the short version is my wife and mother in law were traveling, and took one of my father in laws handguns as a precaution. I have it at home, waiting to take it back to him. I got to looking and couldn't contain my curiosity. I want to know about it.

Since I know so little about S&W revolvers, here are some photos. Funny thing is, it looks like it has British proofs.

So, anyone know anything about it?

Mr Fixit


Carteach0 said...

Looks like a 1917 model, chambered in .38 S+W (Like .38 special short)and shipped to Britain for the war. They couldn't make enough of their odd, and complicated, Webley revolvers so bought S+W revolvers to fill in.

This one looks like it was nickel plated, and heavily polished first. Maybe a Bannerman job.

Anonymous said...

Not gonna be a Model of 1917, but a Model 10, most likely given to England as part of the Lend-Lease Act. If you look closely, there ought to be stamped (or the remnants of a stamp) "United States Property" on the topstrap. There also ought to be a hole for a lanyard attachment (most likely plugged) at the base of the gripframe. British proofing indicates it was proofed for the .38/200 cartridge, which was merely the .38 S&W, loaded with a 200-grain lead bullet. It differed from the comparatively newer .38 Special in that the case was shorter, but slightly fatter; older guns that were bored out to handle the longer .38 Special cartridge had a problem with the cases bulging at the rear, due to the differences in case diameter.

The nickeling is aftermarket; originals were blued, and I believe some were refinished in parkerizing, but don't quote me on that. The grip panels are aftermarkets; originals should be solid walnut.

I'm also betting that the barrel was shortened to 4" at the same time it was nickeled; it looks to have been cut down and the sight put back on.

I have absolutely no idea who did the refinishing and chopped the barrel; your father-in-law may know more about that, and what kind of history this pistol has in your family. Commercially, due to the refinishing, grips, and barrel job, it's really not worth much, maybe $150. However, that pistol may have a rich history in your wife's family; I'd definitely do some digging, try to find out how it came into her father's possession, and from where. It could be "I bought it from a store," or it could be a "bring-back" from a USGI or British soldier during WWII.

Either way, I think you've just gotten started finding out the history of that old gun.

Anonymous said...

And there I went and used the wrong model name - it's technically an M&P, -not- a Model 10; the Military and Police was renamed the Model 10 sometime in the 1950s.

Recently, S&W has resurrected the M&P name, but applied to a series of autoloaders.

TOTWTYTR said...

As anonymous says, those were Lend Lease pistols made for the British. They came in a variety of blue finishes and some were parkerized. Some were originally made with 4" barrels, but I think most had 5 or 6 inch barrels.

They were officially called the K-200 S&W Pistol #2, they were a pre Model 11, not Model 10. Renamed Model 11 in 1957.

Yours may nor may not have the original grips, I think not. Five screw frame, pinned barrel, maybe recessed cylinder holes.

Some were converted to .38 Special, but if so that should be marked on the barrel.

My information comes from the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson, not from my great intellect.

These were made concurrently with the US issued "Victory" model. The difference being that the Victory model was chambered in .38 Special and only came in 4" and 2" barrel versions.

SpeakerTweaker said...

I don't know about it, either, but I think I can safely say that wheelgun redefines "well-worn." That things been around!

Still nice, though.