A couple classic S&Ws: Updated w/Technical Question

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Aqualung

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
675
Location
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Well, it looks like I've dipped my proverbial toe into the S&W "pool" with a couple classics I couldn't pass up.

A friend's father-in-law passed away recently and had a few guns that he left. They included these two classic revolvers that I couldn't let get sold off to a pawn shop with the others by his widow and daughter.

They were in storage for at least the last few decades, but in really good condition and luckily, rust-free.

We did the transfer last weekend and I finally got to sit down and clean them up thoroughly, get a good look at them and get some pics. Previously, I'd only seen a couple mediocre phone photos, since they were in FLA. They really cleaned up nicely, needing just a bit of CLP to un-gum some of the workings and clean off some old oil that had congealed.

Thanks to @WendyZXZ for guiding me in some directions to get more info on these as well!

The first is a Model 36 Chief's Special J-Frame (round-butt). The S/N (once we found the real one) puts it being manufactured in the 1960s (S/N 4426xx, my references say '62-'69). Original grips are gone and it's got the oversized, grip of which I absolutely hate the looks, but make the gun so comfortable. I'll be ordering a set of vintage grips to get it back to original, but the big grip may stay on, or be replaced with a Pachmayr grip of the same vintage...I'm thinking this will become Mrs. Aqualung's gun, so we'll see what she likes.

This little gun really did well with some CLP love. When I got it, pretty much everything was a bit stiff, cylinder spin, ejector, cylinder release and closing, etc. The action was very smooth, but also seemed a bit on the sluggish side. A few drops of CLP in strategic areas and some swabbing freed things up greatly. I even went so far as to take the side plate off to make sure none of the innards were gunky...and once I saw those guts that would make a Swiss watch cringe, I screwed the panel back on...a hammer-handed Ruger barbarian like me has no business mucking around in *there*! 😲

Anyhow, the bluing is very nice and shows very little wear, even though I believe Bob carried it as his off-duty or backup gun when he was a deputy sheriff in CA, many years ago.

Here it is, all cleaned up:
J-Frame(G)_L.JPG


J-Frame(G)_R.JPG


As I previously mentioned, this may become Mrs. Aqualung's bedside gun if the trigger pull fits her (and maybe then I'll get my SP101 back...:D). I don't think it's as much as my SP101 (with 10# Wolff springs installed, so she can pull it), but my trigger scale only goes to 8# (S/A pull is a crisp 3.5lbs). I've ordered a couple speed loaders for it.

Next up is a true beauty, though in a slightly more used condition...I think it was Bob's duty gun.

It's a Pre-14, K38 Target Masterpiece. S/N (again, when we found the right one) puts it as 1955 manufacture date (S/N K2555xx). This one too needed the CLP love. It was similarly stiff from disuse and storage. However, the results were shockingly different. I'd heard about how classic Smiths performed, but this one has made me a believer. I don't know if Bob had this one worked on (he was also on shooting teams), or if it's the nature of such guns (hence the "Masterpiece" moniker), but this one operates very nicely. I didn't even go near the side plate screws...wasn't monkeying with what I think is perfection at this point. I was actually surprised that I could measure the D/A trigger pull, a smooth 8# D/A pull and 3# S/A pull.

There is a very little bit of bluing wear and the grips look like they've "been there" with dings and scratches, which make me think it was his duty gun.

K38_R.JPG


K38_L.JPG


The guns came with holsters, too. The one for the K38 is pretty neat, having a retention strap, but also being fully open at the back and tensioned, so it can be pulled fairly quickly without having to draw the whole length out the top. Another indication that the K38 might have been his duty revolver.

Anyhow, I know it's a Ruger forum, but I know there are others on here that appreciate classic S&Ws, like I recently have come to do.

Aqualung
 

Snake45

Hawkeye
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Good stuff--very nice! The custom grips on the J-frame look like they might be Mustangs.

Congratulations!
 

Aqualung

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
675
Location
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Neat classics for sure! And your cleaning supervisor is cute too!

Yep, Bean's taken over from his predecessor, Sarge as Assistant/Supervisory Armorer for the Aqualung family. Bandit hasn't gotten too involved yet, but I'm sure he will, in time.

Good stuff--very nice! The custom grips on the J-frame look like they might be Mustangs.

Congratulations!

There are no markings on them, inside or out, but they fit very nicely. As much as I hate the looks of them, they do feel good.

We'll see what Mrs. Aqualung thinks about them. If she starts carrying, this may be the one and she may want smaller grips for in her purse.

Aqualung
 

Snake45

Hawkeye
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I think they're pretty sharp-looking, but I'd be willing to bet they're adding unnecessary bulk.

If Mrs. Aqualung has small hands, the smallest good option would be the factory grips with a Tyler T-Grip Adapter.
 

fiasconva

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
405
Location
York County, Virginia
Great find and I'm sure you'll enjoy those Smiths as much as any other firearms you own, including your Rugers. As my students used to say, "Ya dun gud."
 

Johnnu2

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
1,767
Location
NYS
Old Smiths and a cute cat..... what more can you ask for (OK, maybe a cool dog to keep the cat outta trouble).

p.s. I put a pair of old S&W 'gangsta grips' on my J-frame for the lovely woman to handle if she ever wanted to... she didn't.

 

Mauser9

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 20, 2022
Messages
257
Location
Ma.
Thanks for sharing. I miss the glossy bluing from those days on guns. Glad some can still be found on the used gun market.
 

larryofcc

Bearcat
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
65
I had a cat that liked my 94-22. Sadly he is gone now. His name was Mikey, AKA Rifle Cat. Although I have many cats, Mikey was dear to me and my late wife. Big Larry
Copy of DSCF5592.JPG
 

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