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This is a question for the pre war DA experts. Can anyone tell me if a 1938 new service in .38 with a four inch barrel is a common or odd configuration ? Does anyone know a production in this caliber and barrel length ? Or even an estimate. Any information would be much appreciated.

Thank You

John Fugate
 

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I've been under the impression that while the 4-inch was the most common configuration for the .38 Special chambering in the New Service line, the .38 Special chambered New Service wasn't the most common variant. Colonel Charles Askins famously took delivery on a batch of those 4-inch .38 Special New Service revolvers and was said to have personally sighted them all in.

A fellow loan officer at a bank in which I was once employed inherited his father's 4-inch .38 Special New Service. His dad had retired as a Texas Highway patrolman. The revolver had a roll mark on it's back strap. If I remember correctly it was "Texas Public Safety Dept." It was in really fine condition and shot a treat. Neither of us knew much about it at that time or thought it was an oddly large revolver for the .38 Special cartridge. It was just a nice shooting revolver for range trips or plinking sessions out in the country. OOOooo...I'd love to have it now.
 

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I believe you will find that the standard barrel lengths in .38spl were 4" and 6" this does not match the standard lengths of 4.5 5.5 and7.5 for .45s .44s and .38wcf.
 

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The Consummate Collector
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John. I have found that the 5" is the rarest then the 4" with the 6" being the most common. This seems to agree with Colonel Whittington's study as well. When it comes to the .357 the 4" is the rarest and highly collectable as they are seldom encountered. Hope this helps, Cam.
 

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John,

The caliber part of your question can be estimated by also looking at Col. Whittington's monograph. .38 Special was #7 on his rarity list, where #1 (.41 Colt) was rarest, and #12 (.45 Colt) was most common. This list is for commercial models only, so .45 ACP is not the most common (#6 on the commercial list).

Buck
 
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