Guns, Firearms, Projectile Weapon Sports/38 sw


can you tell me approx. age of my 38 sw,,it has a hammer,top opens,numbers on bottom of handle are 111097,,,patent numbers on top of barrel are jan 17 & 24 68,july 11 66,aug 4 69,dec 2 70,may 11& 25 1880,,,any info on age and value would be apprccated,,any info on gun all,,,,thanks

OK - I can give you some basics but you did not give me a lot of information, so I can't give you a lot of detail.

BUT I really like the old S&W Top Break revolvers and have a few of them here we go.

The numbers on the bottom of the grip frame - or handle - 111097 - is the serial number. This alone indicates your Smith, which is called a .38 Double Action Revolver, is a Second Model. They were made roughly from 1882 to 1884, but there were a LOT of them made - they were good, solid and reliable small revolvers in a good caliber, the .38 Smith & Wesson.

This link will give you some info on these great old revolvers in general...

These revolvers were made with blue and nickel plated finishes, the nickel being far more common - they were rust resistant. The most common barrel length was 3 1/2". The grips - Smith calls them stocks - are hard rubber and are VERY BRITTLE - Do not remove them, and treat them gently -  there are not many remaining and those for sale are very expensive.  These guns were made for black powder cartridges, but many S&W Experts say they can be fired VERY OCCASIONALLY using modern .38 S&W ammo. This is NOT .38 Special or .38 anything else, but .38 S&W. It is very expensive.

Condition is all important. The gun should be working, and the cylinder bores line up with the barrel bore. The barrel bore should not be rusted out or very rough. If you think it is mechanically OK, I would take it to a good gunsmith and have him look it over to make certain it is working properly.

The Top Break S&W revolvers were popular carry revolvers and home security guns - Smith made various models in various calibers from around 1880 till the start of WWII.  

I can not give you any idea of value because I don't know more about your gun. Condition is everything, but also blue guns generally sell for more than similar plated guns, barrels in other than the 3 1/2" length are more costly, etc. Many people really like these guns and they are very popular with collectors at all levels. MOST of these were carried or used regularly and show wear...a really clean example is far more money than an average gun...maybe $800 or more vs $250/$350...

Before you do anything with that revolver, I strongly suggest you look here -

Look around and maybe ask questions of the real experts there...Pics will really help a lot.

These old revolvers are still popular as collectables - they were well designed and well made and there are a LOT of them sill around in working condition.
Enjoy yours!


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Mark Schmidt


General questions relating to various handguns - shooting, recommendations and general information on older/antique Smith & Wesson, Colt and other US made and European made pistols and revolvers. I am NOT an expert collector, but I have had several hundred handguns over the last 45 years+. I have repaired and refurbished several and shot hundreds of various handguns, and I am pretty knowledgeable on them.


Started shooting in Cub Scouts at age 10. US Army veteran in the late 1960's. Owned several hundred handguns including revolvers and autoloading pistols made by Colt, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Merwin Hulbert, H&R, Iver Johnson, Hopkins and Allen, Charter Arms and European pistols made by Mauser, Beretta, Star, Llama, Tanfoglio Guseppe, Dreyse 1907 and FN. I am mostly interested in and experienced with late 19th and all 20th century pistols, not current guns using plastic.

Have a degree in Social Work, with minors in Sociology and Fine Art (Painting)

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