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MY newest non-CAS acquisition: WW II S&W .38 Special "Victory Model"

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Tuolumne Lawman:
My dad fought on Iwo Jima in 1945. I  He was with the advance party of the 142 Army Garrison force, and landed on the island on D-Day +5.  He was on the Island and in the Army advance party compound the night they were attacked in the "Big Banzai Charge, on March 25th."

He was armed with an Inland M1 carbine. He also carried a S&W Victory Model .38 Special.  As a senior NCO, he had access to a 1911A1, but said he couldn't hit anything with the 45, so he had them issue him a S&W 4" .38 special.  He liked the 38 revolver he carried, and felt he could hit what he aimed at with it.   I know he used the carbine that night of the charge, him saying that it never let him down. I don't know, however, if he also used the revolver during the fight.

Where I am going with this, is that I finally acquired a Victory Model 38 Special.  I won it on Gunbroker.  This will go with my Inland M1 Carbine and all my dad's WW2 stuff to honor him, my uncles, and all of that greatest generation.

Generally, shooting martial arms always gives me a sense of History.  Shooting the Inland is an intense personal experience for me, that goes above that normal sense of History.  My dad and his brothers, now all gone to their eternal rest, all used the Carbines in the Pacific.  I hope that shooting the Victory Model will also give me that heightened sense of personal History that shooting the carbine does.

Well, My baby came to her new home.  Vintage Western .38 Special 158 grain Lubaloy rounds in a reproduction shoulder holster from World War Supply.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to pop a few rounds in the woods tomorrow.  I have about 1,000 rounds of .38 Special, about 700 rounds of it is vintage standard velocity 158s and 148 wadcutter.  Another couple hundred is current production wadcutter and semi-wadcutter.

Tuolumne Lawman:
First impressions, now that I have had a chance to fondle it a bit... ;D

First I cleaned it up and scrubbed the bore and chambers of the cylinder.  The bore is shiny, crisp and has sharp rifling. Fortunately what I thought might be "frost" was just a really dirty bore. 

Second,  timing and lock up (using the S&W used revolver diagnostic guide PDF) is perfect and centered on the bore.  Free play fore and aft on the cylinder is negligible. No contact with the recoil shield, with case bases while rotating.

Third, double action is VERY smooth, just as you would expect from a vintage S&W revolver.

Fourth, single action is AWESOME at about 2.5 pounds, crisp, with no creep.  This should shoot very well.

Fifth, while the cylinder gap is .020", I suspect that it will shoot fine.  I doubt if wartime production revolvers would adhere to a .006" to .010" cylinder gap, especially for a combat arm, expected to possibly subjected to terrible conditions.

Sixth, The used grips I put on fit much better than the NOS replacement (non-serial numbered) grips that were on it.  They were in much nicer condition than the revolver.  The wear on the used (serial numbered) grips I put on was a good match.

Anyone know what the wartime cylinder gaps specs were?  I have had several British Webley and Enfield martial revolvers, and they had a much wider gap than civilian revolvers I have had.


I have a S&W Victory model too but mine saw service with the British in WWII and then later in the early 1950's. I amazes me how well traveled many of these old revolvers are and the condition is usually good. I read an article dated back in the 00's that said many of these old warhorses are still seeing service in former British colonies.

Tuolumne Lawman:
Took it today and fired about 100 rounds.  I had a ball.  There was a bit more side blast from the .020" cylinder gap, but the shooters on either side didn't seem to notice, so it could not have been too bad.

The Victory has a smooth and quick double action, even though the pull seemed about right.  Very east to be "surprised" by the break. 

Single action was a joy, with the trigger probably being close to two pounds.  Here's 6 shots, off hand, single action from 10 yards.  1.5" x 2".  I am a lousy bullseye shooter, and this thing made me look good.

pony express:
Nice pistol, T.L.! And a nice tribute to your Dad's service. I have some of my Dad's Navy uniforms, his discharge papers, dog tags and campaign medal (European occupation). No weapons, though, I think the BATF would frown on me displaying a depth charge! He was Aviation Ordinance on an escort carrier doing antisubmarine patrols.



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