S&W 38 pocket pistol Circa 1895
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S&W 38 pocket pistol Circa 1895


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Old 04-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #1
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Default S&W 38 pocket pistol Circa 1895

I have aquired a S&W 38 pocket pistol that appears to be not fired. I am wondering if it is safe to fire. Its a neat gun and would make a nice carry piece. Any comments?
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
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If your worried about it take it to your local gun dealer or gun smith to have it looked at...If you don't want to do that just check the barrel for any obstructions or stress cracks and give it a shot...Be sure to wear some protective clothing and especially eye protection.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:54 PM   #3
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I can not know what model you have but it would be safe to carry only with one empty chamber if it has no hammer block/transfer bar. If it locks up tight and there is no cracks it is most likely safe to shoot(low power ammo).
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:31 AM   #4
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depends on the revolver. If it is an 1895 date of manufacture (not a patent date) they were still making BLACK POWDER .38 S&Ws. I would NOT shoot modern smokeless ammo in it.

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Old 04-14-2012, 10:46 AM   #5
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Absent the patent dates, most S&W revolvers from that era will be marked on the barrel if they are safe for smokeless (modern) powder.
If the barrel is marked 38 caliber S&W CTG.,and providing your gun is in good mechanical condition,it should be safe for factory loads.

CTG is the abbreviation for cartridge and was the designation S&W,H&R and a few others used to let owners know if their guns were likely safe with smokeless powder.Incidentally it's actually fun to load with black powder or substitutes and its a lot easier on this old iron as long as you clean up shortly after shooting.

I think most of the collector groups don't suggest shooting the break tops unless they're made after the turn of the century and carefully verified for condition.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:48 PM   #6
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Thank you for your reply. My pocket pistol has the correct markings on it, so I will try shooting it with 38 S&W ammo. Again Thank You for responding. I might try loading some of the spent brass with black powder. DFD
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:42 PM   #7
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G.R. If you do start loading for the smoky stuff,be sure to check out the additional safety warnings.(brass and plastic tools,no steel sparks on the loading bench..etc..etc..) Make sure to mark your specials at least with magic marker and remember that black powder can keep burning even after the flash is over.

Old dogs and new tricks....After seeing my lady put on a grounding cuff to replace a chip in the computer...I now use a homemade cuff to ground my body to a water pipe when loading BP....static electricity has caused some pretty famous explosions ...YEAH..sometimes I look at that face in the mirror and just say..DUH!!!

Remember that there is a diminishing supply of parts and gunsmiths for that older iron and you might want to make shooting them a special event or celebration more than a habit.The first time you shoot vintage revolvers it's a reasonable habit to wear a leather glove and grinding type goggles.
Forget what you've seen on YOU-TUBE,just remember that some of those guns had cast iron frames and even cast iron cylinders;don't be shy about a little common sense.You can also Google some great sites on BP shooting and many will tell you a lot more about your gun.Remember that even though your gun is rated for smokeless powder it came from a BP design.
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