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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up this poor little thing. It's been chopped, dropped, etc. But what caught my eye is the lack of the side latch, and I wanted to pick your brains about it. Apparently nobody knows how many were made without the extra latch? Serial number matches in all three places and is 5068X.

Best regards, and thanks in advance!



 

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It's a top break, no cylender latch. The latch is located on top of the pistol, right in front of the hammer.
 

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These fine little guns along with the S&W Safety Hammerless Revolvers were made from about 1880 thru to the late '30's. The Safety Hammerless also called a Lemon Squeezer was a true Double Action Only with a Grip safety. Both were made in .32 S&W (not the long) and the .38 S&W (not the Special).

Ian Hogg's Pistols of the world show that S&W made almost 600,000 in .38 caliber with the fifth or final variation being made from 1911 to 1920 (approximately 60,000)

Rex Applegate (of WWII OSS lineage) was supposed to have been carrying a .38 Safety Hammerless in Mexico and it's almost failure to stop lead him to talking S&W into bringing out the Centenial in .38 Special in the early '50's

Nice piece of history
 

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You're right, that's a scarce gun. Too bad it's not in better shape. it is worth double to triple what a regular Perfected (or.38 DA 5th Model if you prefer) would be valued at. The few that have been seen are usually serialized (1 - 59,400, 1909-1920) in the low 50,000nds and the speculation is that S&W was cutting some corners due to heavy production of the Military M1917 during WW1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks a lot for your answers, folks.

Carver, what sets the Perfected apart is that is an hybrid between a 32 hand ejector and a topbreak, and usually has both the top and the side latch.

Fatstrat, it is tight and in time, but the single action sear appears to be broken.

Sarge, thanks a lot!

Deadin, thanks for the explanation... it makes sense!
 

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It uses the same lock work as the .32 hand ejector, perhaps the present hammer can be replaced. The metal is not really that bad. This would made a good candidate for restoration, not refinish, but a good restore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
It uses the same lock work as the .32 hand ejector, perhaps the present hammer can be replaced. The metal is not really that bad. This would made a good candidate for restoration, not refinish, but a good restore.
Yes, I am already on the prowl for a hammer.

Are you sure it's been chopped? They were available with 3 1/4" barrels.
Not sure, as I know zilch about topbreaks. But the crown seems too rough, and the sight is brazed on. Also, lenght would be non standard (it measures about 2 1/4).



 
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