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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Delmonico, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: Something I've not seen before: Smith & Wesson 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Something I've not seen before: Smith & Wesson  (Read 971 times)
Niederlander
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« on: October 12, 2017, 06:00:20 am »


Gentlemen,  I found a Model 10-5 Smith & Wesson I'm using as a stand-in for an 1899.  Overall it's in great shape, but has an import mark, so I'm assuming it came back from somewhere overseas.  When I looked in the chambers, I noticed two "steps" instead of the usual one.  Sure enough, someone ran a .38 S & W reamer into it to convert it to that caliber.  I got into it reasonable enough it's not a big deal, as cylinders are everywhere, but just one more thing to look into when you're looking at used stuff.
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 06:06:30 am »

So you're saying it was originally a 38 Colt?
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 07:36:22 am »

Probably was in .38 Special, and reamed for .38S&W, or maybe the other way around, S&W reamed for Special. 38S&W is about .005-.006 larger diameter than Special. A lot of Victory models go that treatment, I think. Maybe this one was one of the guns that were sent to help England early in WWII, that actually came back home instead of getting melted after the war? Anyway, should shoot ok, but the cases will swell a little . But if you just dedicate some brass for that one gun you can neck size only to avoid overworking the brass.
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Niederlander
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 08:20:29 am »

This one definitely started life as a .38 special.  My guess is it went somewhere the .38 S&W round is a lot more common.  Like I said, I'll just put a different cylinder in it.  It's sort of like converting 7.65 Mausers to .30-06, just run a chambering reamer in it and see what happens.  What could possible go wrong?!
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 09:06:44 am »

If it was a Lend-Lease piece, the barrel will be 5", and it'll be chambered for .38-200 (.38 S&W).

It should also have smooth walnut grips, Proof Marks, a 'BNP' (Birmingham Nitro Proof) and possibly be marked 'Not English Made', as well.

Thousands were released post-WWII and many were rechambered in the more common US round - .38 S&W Special.

'If' it's in original condition and chambered for the British round, it's more collectible when left alone, and should be easy to swap for the ubiquitous Model 10 in like shape.

Scouts Out!
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Niederlander
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 09:22:40 am »

This one is a Model 10-5.  My guess is it went to a foreign government where it got modified.  If it was a Victory Model I'd trade for something that suited me better.
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pony express
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 09:52:35 am »

Or you could just shoot .38S&W in it.
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Galen
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 10:15:38 am »

Back in the day many of the revolvers made for the British during WW11 were brought back into the states originally chambered 38-200. The importers Service Armament, Hunters Lodge to name a few ran a 38 special reamer through the chambers. This was to enhance sales here in the States.
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RattlesnakeJack
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 10:30:15 pm »

Back in the day many of the revolvers made for the British during WW11 were brought back into the states originally chambered 38-200. The importers Service Armament, Hunters Lodge to name a few ran a 38 special reamer through the chambers. This was to enhance sales here in the States.

This wouldn't seem to make sense:  the British .380 service revolver cartridge and the .38S&W cartridge from which it was derived have a case diameter of .3865" just ahead of the rim, and .3855" at the case mouth, whereas the diameter of a .38Spl. cartridge case is .379' ....
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2017, 06:21:45 am »

This wouldn't seem to make sense:  the British .380 service revolver cartridge and the .38S&W cartridge from which it was derived have a case diameter of .3865" just ahead of the rim, and .3855" at the case mouth, whereas the diameter of a .38Spl. cartridge case is .379' ....

Correct....but the  .38special case is longer then the S&W/380 case. The reamer is to make the chamber long enough for .38spl to fully chamber. Resulting in a 2 step chamber, .3865 at the base, and .379 at the neck.
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Niederlander
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2017, 07:16:15 am »

This one has a two step chamber now, too.  It looks like they ran a .38 S & W reamer into the chambers so they'd chamber the fatter round.
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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 12:10:39 pm »

Slug your bore. If it runs about .362 in the grooves the chamber was 38 S&W. If it runs .358 in the grooves the chamber it was .38 S&W Special.
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 05:58:18 pm »

I suspect this was a .38/200 to start with, and was rechambered for .38 spl upon import back to the US.  It would still show the step in the chamber.  You can see a very slight step in my Colt New Service, originally a .455 Webly, rechambered to .45 Colt.  (British 1916 contract)

If this is a post ww1 revolver, it would have the .358 bore barrel regardless of chambering.  I would just go ahead and shoot it with .38 spl, you'll never notice it.  And you do have the extra flexibility of using .38 S&W if  you want, makes for better ejection.
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Niederlander
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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 08:28:02 pm »

It's a Model 10-5, and according to the serial number search I found online, it's from 1966-1967, so it's the same excellent vintage as its new owner.  (Ahem..........)  The barrel marking is .38 S. & W. SPECIAL CTG.  When you look in the chambers you can tell it's definitely had a .38 S & W reamer run into them.  It was fairly crudely done, too.  I've already got a different cylinder on the way.  Like I said, just something else to look for when you're buying used guns!
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 08:39:26 pm »

I like .455s that have been rechambered into .45lc as it doesn't change the look of the revolver. The lc case rim goes slightly into the cylinder while the .455 case with the larger rim rests on the uncut face of the cylinder. You've just got to use at least .454 dia bullets in these old soldiers to get any accuracy.


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Galen
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2017, 07:39:20 am »

A tapered reamer perhaps.
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2017, 10:12:33 am »

I agree that it would be safe to shoot with either cartridge. 

Now, reloading that 38 Special brass would offer special challenges and shorten case life as well.
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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2017, 03:43:15 pm »

You can find Model 10 cylinders on Gunbroker. I have a source that produced a mint condition cylinder with extractor for my Model 36 no dash. Let me dial back to find his site. Swaps are easy.
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Niederlander
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2017, 04:10:27 pm »

I can always use another source for parts.  I've got a cylinder on the way, now.  While I'm at it, I'm going to change out the barrel, as well.
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Niederlander
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« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2017, 08:14:50 am »

This Smith continues to be something of an enigma.  I just noticed yesterday the mainspring tension screw head was ground down to blend in with the front strap.  To make a long story short, it looks as if the gun may have at one time been a square butt changed to a round butt.  If so, they did an exceptionally nice job of contouring the grip frame.  This thing gets "curiouser and curiouser"!  On the other hand, I installed an older sculpted hammer (post war) to go with an earlier look.  (I know, it's still not correct, but it looks better than the semi-target version it had.)  I put it in just to see how much fitting it would require, and presto, works perfectly, both single and double action!  Even a blind squirrel............
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« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2017, 09:06:11 am »

See if you can locate gun ads from a1950's Argosy magazine. In these ads you will find a plethora of surplus revolvers that various purveours modified for for the American market. Your S&W sounds like one of these surplus revolvers.
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Barracks (Moderators: Delmonico, Pitspitr)  |  Topic: Something I've not seen before: Smith & Wesson « previous next »
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