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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Is there a way to find out the specific year it was made? Otherwise I'd be happy with just a vague idea. Also I"m wondering if I can shoot modern ammo in it? I know if it's too old you can't do it. Here's what I know: the man who sold it to me said it was a 38 though I don't see that printed on the gun anywhere. Along the top of the barrel it says "Ivan Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works Fitchberg Mass USA". On the underside of the grip it says "Pat. Nov. 17, 08. Pat's Pending". The serial number is on the underside of the trigger guard and is "795xx". It's a 5 shot. Thank you so much! Some pictures:
 

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Have it check out by a competant gunsmith. If the action hinge is still tight, with no discernable play or woble and it still locks up tight at the rear sight/action lock it would "probably" be fine to shoot. If it is a .38 it's not a .38 Special, but a .38 S-W cartridge. The .38 S-W is not interchangable with the .38 Special, it's lower powered shorter case than the Special. It also has a slightly larger in diameter case and bullet. The .38 Special takes .357" diameter bullets, and the .38 S-W uses .360" diameter bullets with coresponding differences in case diameter as well.

those who beat their guns into plowshares, will plow for those who didn't
 

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Welcome to TFF, Carmen.

You have a 3rd model 'Safety Hammer' .38, and the serial number will be repeated under the left grip with a letter prefix added that will identify the year made. It should be fine with current .38 S&W ammo, but the old round is semi-obsolete and may be hard to find at local sources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There's nothing printed under the left grip, and the serial number I do see does not have a letter prefix. Can you tell me when the 3rd model was generally made? Thanks!
 

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There's nothing printed under the left grip, and the serial number I do see does not have a letter prefix. Can you tell me when the 3rd model was generally made? Thanks!
The book indicates only the third model, third variation made 1918-1941 had the single patent date you list.

They should have the serial number with letter prefix H stamped in the metal butt frame under left grip panel, but maybe yours was a production oversight, and sn H79595 was made in 1928.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok..duh. I realized you meant literally UNDER the panel..so I took it off and there is a prefix, it is "c". What year would that make it?
 

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C795xx dates to 1901. Modern .38 S&W ammo is not going to blow the gun up, but more than a few shots will damage it.

Jim
 

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Jim, her gun is clearly a smokeless powder 3rd model, and the C prefix was used twice: 3rd model sn C79595 was made in 1914.

I'd say the $150 price was OK considering the excellent condition it appears to be in, but about tops for this category.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok so..a smokeless powder 3rd model..I'm assuming that means it can't take modern ammo? Is that true?
 
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