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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Smith and Wesson Top Break!

So my Curmudgeon at large whips this out last weekend. Says he has had it for over 30 years. Wants to know if I can find anything out about it. I'm in over my head here. All I can find is serial numbers on the cylinder, top of the back strap, and butt. They all match. 

There are patents stamped on the top of the barrel. First patent seems to be Jan. 24 '65 and reissued with the last date Jan 03 '82 (I think). Hell even the big honking magnifying glass is letting me down! 

Big pictures! Click to enlarge! 


It will not go in to battery. It has a small bulge slightly over half way in the barrel. I don't even know what caliber it is. 

So what to do? You know I want to fire it! Clean it? Leave it alone? I know I can zip some money to the S&W Historian to find out more but I thought I would ask for some help here first (*cough, cough, Tam*)! Any would be appreciated! 

Oh the Curmudgeon has a lap top and stalks constantly! Typing is not his thing! 

Thanks again for any help you can offer!



  1. If I were at the office I'd check the date of manufacture for you...but, here I am at home. Will check back tomorrow.

  2. If it's got a bulged barrel, DON'T even think about shooting it...

  3. It looks a lot like this .38

    <a href="</a>

    I could be wrong, but I think this is it.

  4. I gotta agree with Old NFO. It'd be dangerous to fire it with that barrel. I think it's a Model 3, .38 or maybe a .32. You might have to slug the barrel to find out. Take a look at this Shooting Times article.

    That revolver under Model 3 looks much like that one.
    Hope this helps but if not Tam'll identify it in a second flat (and call me a weiner for getting it wrong).

  5. After spending a few minutes perusing Tam's Arms Room blog, I'm going to go out on a limb and call this one a .32 Double Action Fourth Model.

  6. I have one that looks identical it is a 32 long. Mine still shoots well.

  7. Absolutely awesome! ME WANT!!!

    I'd totally clean her up and fire her. She wouldn't have it any other way.

  8. Brooke's husband here. Based on what I know this is a S&W Scholfield Model 3. They were manufactured in the late 1870 till about the turn of century. Calibers 44 was the original sizing. Later it was manufactured in 44-40 and 45, I sure other calibers were produced. Based on the numbers stamped on yours it was reissued in the 60's and 80's.
    Several companies make reproductions of these really awesome revolvers. Uberti, which I happen to own an 1873 Colt Peacemaker. Cimarron Firearms.

  9. Looks like a .38 Double Action 3rd Model.

    Gimme the S/N with the last couple digits X'ed out and I'll try for a rough date of manufacture.

  10. Keads,

    .38 DA 4th Model.
    Latter half of the 1890s. :)

    (1895-1905: 322701-539000)

  11. Tam- Thank you, oh great one! Now I can at least fill out the first field on the S&W Letter of Authenticity Request Form! It is "Model #".

    Thanks again! I know you are busy being bossed around by house cats =)

  12. That one is a wallhanger. Any gun that has been overstressed to the point that the barrel is bulged should be retired. The lock up problem also may be related to an overpressure event in the gun's past.

    It could be "repaired" enough to get it to go into battery and is an interesting curio, but I would not want it in my hands when the trigger was pulled on a live round. There are others out there that can still be fired with light loads, why risk it?