The Firearms Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Full disclaimer: This gun has, by far, the most sentimental value of all of my father's collection and I have no intention of ever parting with it. This old soul comes courtesy of the Philadelphia Police Department - it was dad's service revolver for the latter part of his career before leaving the PPD in 1978.

There's obviously some "hard miles" on this gun, and I don't expect it to have any real monetary value - perhaps this post is more a technical question than an appraisal request. Aside from the sentimental value, this gun has that "like a glove" feel to me. It's just begging to be fired. My concern is that it likely hasn't been used in over 35 years. The cylinder doesn't fully "lock" - it has the slightest of "wiggle" - maybe not an issue, but it goes against the little knowledge I have about revolvers. Checking the cylinder lock was kind of burned into my brain by dad when I was a kid. I'm also not sure about the condition of the firing pin - it also has a bit of movement to it, and doesn't appear to protrude far enough to reach the casings.

Ultimately, I'd like any opinions on whether or not this is safe to shoot. It would obviously need an extensive cleaning, but my gut says I should probably have it looked at by a shop or gunsmith before trying it out. Thoughts?

IMG_0245.JPG
IMG_0246.JPG
IMG_0247.JPG
IMG_0248.JPG
IMG_0250.JPG
IMG_0251.JPG
IMG_0253.JPG
IMG_0255.JPG


Here's a closer look at the firing pin. I tried to backlight it to illustrate that it's not visible inside the frame with the hammer down...

IMG_0249.JPG
IMG_0252.JPG
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,004 Posts
It has what is known as a floating firing pin. It is supposed to move a little up and down. The cylinder lockup should be tight but a tiny amount of wiggle should be OK. I would advise cleaning the gun both inside and out before firing it. It may have some old dried up grease inside causing things to bind a little. It is hard to tell too much about it with all the dirt and corrosion. The frame is aluminum and it is starting to corrode a little, it may also be doing this on the inside which would cause things to drag and not function correctly.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,979 Posts
Not to worry about the firing pin not protruding through the recoil shield when the hammer's at rest - that's the way it's supposed to work. With the cylinder closed (and unloaded!), cock the hammer, and while keeping your thumb pressing down on the hammer spur pull the trigger, then while still with thumb on hammer spur allow the hammer to go fully forward. Once fully forward, and with the trigger being held back, you'll notice the firing pin protruding through the recoil shield. Once the trigger's released and allowed to move forward the hammer will move back and the pin will withdraw from the face of the recoil shield. As this occurs a safety bar (not visible externally) will rise between the front internal surface of the hammer and the frame of the pistol, thus preventing any forward movement of the hammer and pin if the pistol were dropped or battered. As to the firing pin's "wiggle", it's designed to do just that - nothing wrong. While going through the above procedure with hammer and trigger, once the hammer's in full forward position and trigger still held back, try the cylinder for any looseness - it's at the moment of firing (with hammer and trigger - and cylinder hand - positioned as described) that looseness might be a problem. With regard to safety: first and foremost have your revolver checked by a qualified gunsmith. If mechanically sound - which I'd bet it is, then firing standard velocity .38 Special 148 grain target rounds or 158 grain round nose service loads should present no problems at all. Under no circumstances try shooting any +P or +P+ rounds in this pistol - it wasn't designed with those types of rounds in mind. Hope that info helps.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,979 Posts
If you could provide the serial number (bottom of the grip, so you'll have to remove the Pachmayr rubber grip), and possibly repeated inside the frame just below the barrel threads, I think I might be able to come up with a production time frame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
0A12EB9D-800F-4B9D-90B1-257FD62E88B3.jpeg
Not to worry about the firing pin not protruding through the recoil shield when the hammer's at rest - that's the way it's supposed to work. With the cylinder closed (and unloaded!), cock the hammer, and while keeping your thumb pressing down on the hammer spur pull the trigger, then while still with thumb on hammer spur allow the hammer to go fully forward. Once fully forward, and with the trigger being held back, you'll notice the firing pin protruding through the recoil shield. Once the trigger's released and allowed to move forward the hammer will move back and the pin will withdraw from the face of the recoil shield. As this occurs a safety bar (not visible externally) will rise between the front internal surface of the hammer and the frame of the pistol, thus preventing any forward movement of the hammer and pin if the pistol were dropped or battered. As to the firing pin's "wiggle", it's designed to do just that - nothing wrong. While going through the above procedure with hammer and trigger, once the hammer's in full forward position and trigger still held back, try the cylinder for any looseness - it's at the moment of firing (with hammer and trigger - and cylinder hand - positioned as described) that looseness might be a problem. With regard to safety: first and foremost have your revolver checked by a qualified gunsmith. If mechanically sound - which I'd bet it is, then firing standard velocity .38 Special 148 grain target rounds or 158 grain round nose service loads should present no problems at all. Under no circumstances try shooting any +P or +P+ rounds in this pistol - it wasn't designed with those types of rounds in mind. Hope that info helps.
Ahhhhh.... Thank you for the explanation! I now clearly see the protrusion (and have a better understanding of the mechanics).

Ironically, just before seeing your comments I found these notes tucked away with some of dad's reloading dies:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
E6D0ECEB-D119-460F-9116-90C06210FC9D.jpeg
If you could provide the serial number (bottom of the grip, so you'll have to remove the Pachmayr rubber grip), and possibly repeated inside the frame just below the barrel threads, I think I might be able to come up with a production time frame.
Thank you! I didn't have time to remove the grip before leaving this morning, but I did find some of dad's inventory notes... This may help(?)...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,888 Posts
All of the loads listed are overloads. +P, maybe even +P+. Shooting them in that heavy barrel 10 would probably be okay, but that Model 12 was not made for that.

For years (after +P showed up), Smith said not to shoot them in their aluminum-framed guns, and lots of people did anyway, under the theory of, "I'd rather have to buy a new gun, but stop the bad guy, than I would have my gun last forever while I'm in the hospital or the morgue".

New J-frame aluminum guns are safe with +P, but that was made in the early-mid 60s. Don't beat it to death.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sonofzell

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
All of the loads listed are overloads. +P, maybe even +P+. Shooting them in that heavy barrel 10 would probably be okay, but that Model 12 was not made for that.

For years (after +P showed up), Smith said not to shoot them in their aluminum-framed guns, and lots of people did anyway, under the theory of, "I'd rather have to buy a new gun, but stop the bad guy, than I would have my gun last forever while I'm in the hospital or the morgue".

New J-frame aluminum guns are safe with +P, but that was made in the early-mid 60s. Don't beat it to death.
I appreciate the advice, but I think you're giving me too much credit lol - I couldn't tell you anything about what those notes mean, and I certainly wouldn't intentionally try to exceed the recommended loads. When I get this back into shooting condition, I'll definitely be on the conservative side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
S&W Model 10-6 4" Heavy Barrel s/n D432906 was produced between late 1972 and early 1973. The revolver in your photos is a Model 12-2 2" barrel.
Very interesting... so perhaps this inventory note is for a gun that he got rid of at some point. I'll definitely pull that grip tonight and see what it reveals.

I'm really going to be bummed if it turns out that this isn't his service revolver as I always believed it to be, but his "owned by city of Philadelphia" comment on the card seems to indicate that. :(
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,979 Posts
Very interesting... so perhaps this inventory note is for a gun that he got rid of at some point. I'll definitely pull that grip tonight and see what it reveals.

I'm really going to be bummed if it turns out that this isn't his service revolver as I always believed it to be, but his "owned by city of Philadelphia" comment on the card seems to indicate that. :(
Was your dad a uniformed officer, or was he a detective. If the former, the Model 10-6 Heavy Barrel would've been department property issued to him for service use, and upon his retirement probably reissued to another officer. If the latter, the 12-2 2" barrel would likely have been a private purchase and utilized as his service revolver when in plain clothes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Was your dad a uniformed officer, or was he a detective. If the former, the Model 10-6 Heavy Barrel would've been department property issued to him for service use, and upon his retirement probably reissued to another officer. If the latter, the 12-2 2" barrel would likely have been a private purchase and utilized as his service revolver when in plain clothes.
He was originally uniformed, but in 1973 he was member of a newly formed unit known as "A.C.T." (Anticrime Tactical Force). He was a member of "ACT1" which operated in West Philadelphia, and worked as a plain-clothed officer (but not a detective) the majority of the time. I believed he remained in the ACT unit until his retirement.

This revolver lives in a concealed back-waist holster that has his initials and badge # "scratched" into it. It's also a lefty draw, which adds up as he was 100% southpaw.

Perhaps this was a secondary issue firearm given to him when he changed assignments(?)

Found this with some of his old documents - I thought it was pretty damn cool...

1975-04-ACT.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,888 Posts
The Model 10 was a steel-framed holster gun. They came two ways. The "skinny barrel" (sometimes called "pencil barrel", but that tends to offend collectors), and the "heavy barrel".

These are a pair of mine. The skinny is from the mid 50s and the heavy from the mid 80s. The frame on that heavy is all mottled-looking, because it's got my greasy fingerprints all over it. :oops:

S&W Model 10 differences.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
If you could provide the serial number (bottom of the grip, so you'll have to remove the Pachmayr rubber grip), and possibly repeated inside the frame just below the barrel threads, I think I might be able to come up with a production time frame.
Okay, I finally had a chance to pull the grip and found serial D45983. There's also some stamps shown below, as well as a closer shot of the barrel - it looks like perhaps it was changed at some point(?)

IMG_9391.JPG
IMG_9392.JPG
IMG_9393.JPG
IMG_9394.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
6E4DE5D0-5FF3-4FB3-BDB9-F72BD7B95FE2.jpeg
E5529CCD-BB92-43EE-9AED-F53ACD5CB521.jpeg
Believe it or not I've actually come across the original transfer receipt for this pistol, dated 7/17/72. It indicates "S/W 12-2" with 2" barrel (you guys are good).

I've also gotten to dad's ammo stash, which I'm actually going to "ask the pros" about in a separate thread. There's roughly 300 live 38cal rounds as well as about 200 empty cartridges. I've attached some shots of the different rounds and welcome anyone's thoughts on safety of use with this gun...

The slugs on either end are (I beleive) hand-cast (dad had a 38 mold and about 25 formed slugs), so I can only assume they're hand-loaded. Obviously, my father had played around with some special recipes, so I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be using them. The other rounds have a brass slug or a small "shotgun shell" attached. The latter is something I've never seen before in my life - I'd be curious to know if they're common (or LEGAL).

My point being, I'm guessing the two in the middle are not hand-loaded, and should be safe to put through this gun. That being said, I'd like to have more assurance than a guess before heading to a range... Any thoughts?

BTW, this guy cleaned up very nicely, considering its age & wear. =)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
38,396 Posts
If you are looking for information about his ammunition, you might be better served by posting in the Ammo & Reloading Forum.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top