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Identify my Smith & Wesson please

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by w1spurgeon, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. w1spurgeon

    w1spurgeon Member

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    Can someone identify the frame size on this old Smith? I need to buy grips for it but I'm not that familiar with wheel guns. It is .38S&W caliber.

    Thanks

    Attached Files:

  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    You have a real odd-wad of a gun called The Pefected Model. It was the last S&W top break to be introduced (in 1909) and was supposedly in response to complaints that in close quarters combat, an opponent could grab the latch of the normal top break and open the gun. With the Perfected, opening the gun required that the top latch be pulled up at the same time the side latch was pushed forward.

    That "frankengun" was an amalgamation of a top break barrel with a modified rear frame of the Model 1903 Hand Ejector model. Incredibly, they made some 59,400 before the gun was discontinued in 1920.

    One source says the standard grips were hard rubber, with wood used for target grips, so your grips might not be original. You can check the serial number stamped into the inside of the right grip to be sure. Ordinarily unless grips are really bad, it is better to stay with the originals.

    Any grip for the I/J frame round butt, even a modern J frame round butt grip should fit or can be fitted. You might also check

    http://www.gungrip.com/searchresults.jsp?searchTerm=G26

    which should fit.

    Jim
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure those aren't original. They appear to be square-butt grips, and I've never seen a top-break with a square butt.

    I don't think the Perfected came about so much because of "complaints", which would have come from the customers, but more because of competitor's ads - "The assailant could open a S&W revolver, with a quick lunge, and then where would you be? With our new Police Positive, you have no need to worry - that cannot happen."

    Personally, I think the possibility of someone reaching over the top of my gun and lifting the sight, and making it fall open, before I could shoot him, is right up there with the possibility of someone disassembling my Beretta 92 while it's pointed at him (like that guy did to Mel Gibson, in Lethal Weapon IV). Theoretical? Yeah. Realistic? I don't think so.
  4. 6" .38 S W

    6" .38 S W New Member

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    This I wrote yesterday...

    "would like u to help me analizing this IJ .38 S W 6" which I inherited from my father...it was supossedly sold to the Venezuelan government in the earlies 1900. I´m not sure wether my father had it nickeled but the only mark it has is at the bottom of the grip, it is the number 17860...it doesn´t have anything else that i could find...I thought it was because of the nickeled stuff...at first i was convinced it was a Smith & Wesson perfected because of the similarity I saw at the pics but the grips with the owl that I still have, led me to conclude it´s an IJ. The ones in the picture are oversized but the pisol looks very fine to me that way. I´m new at sending messages and will try to insert pics of the gun-"

    and this i got for an answer...
    "your conclusions are wrong it is one of the smith & wesson Prefected models with out the side latch. it is a shame it has been refinished but a S&W collector may would like to have it because of the fact it does not have at side latch.

    the owl head grips were never original to this revolver. the long barrel would indicate it may have originally had oversized S&W grips at one time."

    ...so I´m sending the pics to u so you may help me find the year of making and why doesn't it have any other marks...by the way i found today the same serial number 17860 behind the barrel latch. Does it make it worthier for not having the side latch? as the answer said?

    Please give me an orientation on what it may be its value aand how could I fix what may have gone wrong refinishing it

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  5. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what you have, but I'm pretty sure it ain't a S&W of any kind.

    Aside from a Perfected having a side-latch on the L/H side, the hinge screw on mine goes from left to right. Yours goes from right to left. Even if the thumb-latch had been removed, there would be a hole. The Perfected was on an I frame. That gun, based on distance between the back of the cylinder and the hammer pin, is K frame size. My Perfected has checkering on the piece you lift, to open the top. That one is smooth. The hammer shape is wrong. The trigger shape is wrong. It has been refinished, but you say it has no markings but the serial number? They polished away everything?
  6. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    A few Perfected were made with out the side latch, Looking at the 4 screw side plate I think that a .38 Double Action Perfected is abut the only thing it could be, Except and this is a big except, the serial numbers don't jibe with the S&W book. It is not an Iver Johnson, that's for sure. So as Alpo said, it don't match anything in the book which leaves a very beautiful nickeled Spanish S&W copy. Could be wrong, been wrong before.
  7. 6" .38 S W

    6" .38 S W New Member

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    I took a few more pics...Thanks for the attention given to this riddle...at least it´s been one for me. I focused on the serial numbers, the trigger, the latch, the hammer, the aim...it doesn´t say Smith & Wesson at all and I´ve red Spaniards made clons of S&W pistols, so it may be possible this one is a fake...what do u think? Another thing, the first number is a 4 so the serial number is 47860

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  8. 6" .38 S W

    6" .38 S W New Member

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    2 more

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  9. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Another discrepancy. The font on the SN on the cylinder face is larger than on mine (35000 range). Basing that on the amount of metal shown between the edge of the number and the edge of the chamber. 'Course, being 12000 later, Smith coulda changed their stamp.

    Yeah, the book does say that "a few Perfecteds were made without the latch", but that would have, logically, been early in the run, not 47000 into it.
  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I've changed my mind about the hammer and trigger shape being wrong. Guess it was camera angle and glare. The "cocked close-up". I held my gun, cocked, up to the screen, and moved it out until I got the same size, and trigger, hammer and trigger guard covered each other perfectly. Also, I see in that pic that the top latch is checkered.

    Is there nothing at all on the top of the barrel rib?
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I believe, and said on the other thread, that it is an S&W Perfected, though heavily buffed and refinished. At least some were made without the thumb latch, reportedly about 1917, but that is not definite.

    As to the theory that it is a Spanish copy, the easy way to determine that is to simply release tension on the mainspring and remove the side plate. If the "guts" are normal S&W, it IS an S&W. While the Spanish copies look like S&W's, the internal mechanism is entirely different. As I said, I do not believe it is a copy - that ratchet is pure S&W - but Colt type lockwork would convince me.

    As to grips, the Perfected, like the other I frame revolvers of the era, came standard with a round butt and gutta percha grips, but wood square butt grips were available as an option, and those on the first gun are factory. I would not replace them unless they are really bad. BTW, the Perfected did not have the rear grip strap "step" of the Regulation Police.

    While the idea of having some bad guy in a close up fight snatch at the latch of a top break revolver and open the good guy's gun seems pretty far fetched, remember that Schofield changed the latch on the S&W American for exactly that reason, and it seems to have been a common fear, if not a common occurrence.

    Jim
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  12. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Major Schofield redesigned the latch on the #3 to make it easier for a man on horseback to operate one-handed. Had nothing to do with an opponent opening your gun. It was to make it easier for a cavalryman to reload.
  13. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    :eek: Serial number 47860 puts it in the right ball park . The serial numbers of the perfected from 1909 until 1920 run from 1 to 59400. With that serial number I also believe it is a Perfected made around 1913/1915 ( just a guess). Now the bad news, Your father probably took an old and well used S&W and had it nickel plated to improve the looks, but alas, by doing so he destroyed any collectors value. The value now is as a using or working gun. I don't know the value in your location but here maybe a couple of hundred to some one who just wants an example of that model.
  14. 6" .38 S W

    6" .38 S W New Member

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    Thank u Alpo, thank u Jim K and thank u RJay...I realy was hoping it'd be a real S&W. It´s a pitty it was refinished that way but I´m glad to know what I really have
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  15. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    If it is an S&W Perfected without the side latch, I think it is probably worth more than a couple of hundred, but the beautification job sure wrecked what would have been a pretty high dollar value (probably $4000 to $5000 at least).

    Hi, Alpo, IIRC, he wrote about how his redesign would prevent the gun from being opened by an opponent. It is still hard to open with one hand.

    Jim
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