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Shooting a couple gangster era .38 S&Ws (not Specials)

523 Views 24 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  infamous.jas
The top gun is a 1917 vintage cut down police marked Police Positive. The fat butt 4" gun is from 1930. My friend and I shot them informally last week with some new ammo he bought and we also tried some old Colt New Police ammo I have. I was given three boxes about 10 years ago. We couldn't hit crap with the snub gun but I just love the looks of it. But the 4" gun shot great at defense ranges. It was especially fun. Both ammo shot about the same. I think I might look for some dinged up factory eras correct medallion/checkered wood grips for it.

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In a world were most .38 Specials are spinning .357 length cylinders - I love seeing the proportions of the cylinders on those two '38' special-in-a-different-way guns.

I keep telling myself that I'm going to run-up an outfit specifically to re-load for .38 S&W but never get 'round to it. I really like shooting them and loaded down a bit, even more so. I use a .22 bullet trap with zero ill effect. Almost like shooting a center-fire 'gallery gun' in a way.
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My ol .38 S&W shoots pretty well. Carries well too.
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My ol .38 S&W shoots pretty well. Carries well too. View attachment 847040 View attachment 847041
Nice one. Is that model called the 鈥淭errier鈥? The cylinder appears to be as long as a .38 Special like S&W just made a version in that caliber because it was still fairly popular when it was introduced(?). I know your gun is in my mid 50s Gun Digests I still have from my dad.
Nice one. Is that model called the 鈥淭errier鈥? The cylinder appears to be as long as a .38 Special like S&W just made a version in that caliber because it was still fairly popular when it was introduced(?). I know your gun is in my mid 50s Gun Digests I still have from my dad.
Yes, Terrier or model 32. Look close and you can see the forcing cone extending farther than say a 38 special.
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It was common in that era to cut down revolvers for snubbies. Here is mine:

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This is my 38 S&W. Only way I could join the party.
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This is my 38 S&W. Only way I could join the party. View attachment 847118
Yep, that鈥檒l work! In books about the Wild Bunch they always wrote about Kid Curry confronted in a saloon by two lawmen and drawing and wounding both of them. I always assumed he used a Colt SAA but later it was specified as a S&W New Departure. A couple other references to Butch Cassidy mentioned them owning these guns.
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The only .38S&W I have, one of these days i'll find the ammo for it too.
Rough as the finish is, the mechanics and bore are like new.

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Yep, that鈥檒l work! In books about the Wild Bunch they always wrote about Kid Curry confronted in a saloon by two lawmen and drawing and wounding both of them. I always assumed he used a Colt SAA but later it was specified as a S&W New Departure. A couple other references to Butch Cassidy mentioned them owning these guns.
Which model is that? I've never seen a top break with a button on the side.
Which model is that? I've never seen a top break with a button on the side.
It's called the Perfected model. The last S&W top break.
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38 New Police is one of my favorite cartridges, when left unmolested. It is accurate and can be a effective self defense cartridge .
The only .38 S&W I own...Iver Johnson...
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The only .38 S&W I own...Iver Johnson...
But it's a danged nice one.
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But it's a danged nice one.
It was supposedly my grandfather's...but I have no proof of that beyond what my dad told me...and he was known to exaggerate and didn't know one gun from another.
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Perfected in 38 S&W


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The guy who tried to assassinate Teddy Roosevelt used a 1912 PP .38 that looked just like my cut down gun but with a four inch barrel. The famous shot going through TR's folded speech and glass case in his pocket before interring his chest. I wondered if the cartridges were round nose S&W or flat point Colt NP. Turns out they were S&W.

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The guy who tried to assassinate Teddy Roosevelt used a 1912 PP .38 that looked just like my cut down gun but with a four inch barrel. The famous shot going through TR's folded speech and glass case in his pocket before interring his chest. I wondered if the cartridges were round nose S&W or flat point Colt NP. Turns out they were S&W.

The combination of the round nose, the watch, and the fact that Teddy Roosevelt was tough as a bull they say is why he made it through. When I was shot one the bullets hit my iphone that had an otterbox defender case that was in my front pocket. Probably saved my femur. The .38 S&W sized (.360) 125 grain SWC from Rim Rock Bullets is like the bullet that Buffalo Bore uses in it's 38 S&W personal defense round. If someone had a say, a later solid frame Pocket/Police the 38 S&W could be loaded to make quite an effective personal defense load.
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Another fine revolver for the S&W cartridge is the S&W Victory Model Lend-Lease, typically with 5-inch barrel chambered for the .380 Mk2z cartridge featuring a 178-grain FMJ bullet at 625 fps.
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