What do I have?

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by Cgiggity, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Cgiggity

    Cgiggity New Member

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    I have a smith and wesson 38 with two contradicting markings. On several places it has BNP with a crown. But on the top of the gun it has U.S property G.H.D . Can someone offer me some info as to what I got? The serial number starts with V and then 416xxx. Check out the pics.

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  2. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Its a Victory Model Smith & Wesson. Many were shipped to England during the war.
     

  3. Cgiggity

    Cgiggity New Member

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    So what about the GHD? did it become a police gun in the states after the war?
     
  4. 30-30remchester

    30-30remchester New Member

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    It APPEARS to be a lend lease revolver, loaned to Britian during the war. A quite common occurence. The caliber is most likely a 38 S&W not a 38 S & W special, these are 2 entirely different calibers. It also looks to have had the barrel shortened and a new rear sight installed. Without closer photos it is hard to be certain.
     
  5. Cgiggity

    Cgiggity New Member

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    Does this help? What would something like this be worth?

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  6. chucksolo69

    chucksolo69 New Member

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    It looks like it is chambered for the .38 Special, albeit the letters are hard to read. It would probably be worth what a military arms collector of this period would be willing to pay. I would think there are a whole lot of these in circulation.
     
  7. Cgiggity

    Cgiggity New Member

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    Thank you all for the help. By the way I have had an offer of 150 from someone who is not a collector. Should I take it?
     
  8. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    I would look at some prices on Gunbroker before i sold it, at least for comparison. Most of them on Gunbroker are listed for twice that but may be in better shape.
     
  9. Cgiggity

    Cgiggity New Member

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  10. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    a friend just sold his for $250.
     
  11. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, production started in 1942, went to Aug 45, 811,119 were made. 39,999 were made in 38 S&W, rest were .38 S&W Special. It was made in a 2, 4,5, and 6 inch version. Front sight should be rounded over, half-moon shape. Thee should be a lanyard loop on the butt. It would appear that barrel has been shortened, and different front sight, so value AS A COLLECTIBLE dropped sharply.

    The were made for the US Govt, and were issued to some pilots, guards at War production plants, etc. The govt inspector was Guy H. Drewry, whose initials you see on your revolver.

    Many of these went to Great Britain as part of lend-Lease, and were proof tested as the Brits did with all firearms. BNP is the proof mark for Birmingham Nitro Proof. So yours has been over the pond and back- you've got a veteran there!
     
  12. Cgiggity

    Cgiggity New Member

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    Thank you for that, I'm glad to know I have a small piece of history.
     
  13. Cgigity, I think I have some less than happy news for you.

    That is a Victory model. Since it has U. S. and British markings, it is undoubtedly a 'Lend-Lease' property handgun.

    The bad news is this: It's been modified and doesn't have much 'collector' value to it. The original barrel length was four inches. Yours has been cut off just in front of the extractor lug - a very common modification for use as a defense gun. The front sight is not the original. It probably works well for shooting, but it's a replacement. These revolvers were originally chambered for .38 Smith & Wesson, not .38 Special (as 30-30 Remchester said). It has most likely been 'converted' to fire .38 Special, which in dog years means it has simply been lengthened in the chamber to accept a .38 Special round. This isn't particularly dangerous, as the pressures of the standard .38 Special is well within the limitations of the basic revolver cylinder and frame. Do NOT shoot .38 Special +p through it.

    The .38 S&W round is physically larger in diameter at the base, just in front of the rim, than a .38 Special. So a .38 Special is going to be unsupported at the back end (maybe half?) of the case. They will bulge. In extreme instances, they will split there and release hot gas. More than likely not blow up the gun, but it is disconcerting. Usually the recoil shield will force the hot gasses to blow out the sides, so normally gas won't get the shooter in the face. Wear safety glasses/eye protection anyway. The gas can get to the tops of one's hands.

    .38 S&W ammunition is available. It is not common in retail shops, but places like Midway or larger shops like Cabella's will probably have it. The ammunition is nearly always 146 grain RNL at pretty insipid velocities. There really aren't any guns or enough users to justify developing a '+p' load or jacketed hollowpoint ammo for this round. (It is reloadable if you get the urge.) You might find some runs of surplus British ammunition marked "380/200" which is the British version of the round. It fires a FMJ 200 grain bullet at less velocity than the lighter lead bullet round. The Brits seem to think it was all right, but it's not exciting by modern U. S. standards.

    You didn't say where you obtained it. If it has family history, that is of far greater value than the probably sale price. They are fun old guns, if a bit 'odd'.

    I have one such revolver. It too has been shortened, bored out to .38 Special (sort of) and nickel plated. It has genuine plastic stag grips, even. I got it for $150 about two to three years ago at a gun show. I've never fired it yet.
     
  14. I love it. The man asked one question and received several answers, all pretty much on the spot and correct, but from different perspectives.

    America! What a country!
     
  15. Cgiggity

    Cgiggity New Member

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    Just wanted to thank everyone for the help. I unloaded 50 rounds today, and the gun shot great. (Once I sighted it in). It's a neat little gun as well as a conversation piece, so it's a keeper. Thanks again!