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Smith & Wesson Victory - WWII Era

Discussion in 'For Sale- Members only' started by MikeInNPR, Apr 1, 2012.

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  1. MikeInNPR

    MikeInNPR Member

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    I have a pistol for sale that may interest collectors. This is a Smith and Wesson Victory Model chambered in .38 S&W Special. This is a very early serial number matching gun with some interesting stampings I have not been able to identify. Please PM for more info.


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  2. reddeath

    reddeath TS Member

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    Looks like you S&W was a ww2 lend lease gun. During ww2 england did not have enough wepons to fight the war, so the USA lent / leased firearms to them. These guns were then released for sale to the civilian market in 1955. The markings on the cylinder are the british acceptance marks. Not sure about the markings on the rear of the gun that might be the pressure testing mark. I have a ww2 1911 ithaca 45 with similar markings.
     
  3. MikeInNPR

    MikeInNPR Member

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    Gun is Sold. Thanks
     
  4. Jim R

    Jim R Ljutic Nut TS Supporters

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    I just received this gun from Mike. It was a good deal and Mike is a great guy to buy from.

    I'm headed out to the range to try it out.


    Jim R
     
  5. Steve-CT

    Steve-CT TS Member

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    BNP on the cylinder is for British Nitro Proof
     
  6. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    NO PLUS P'S IN THIS GUN. The load did not exist when the gun was made. Shoot standard ammo in this old war horse.
     
  7. Jim R

    Jim R Ljutic Nut TS Supporters

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    The gun was proof marked in England in 1955 before its return to this country. I took it to our local S&W expert and it is going to drive him nuts.

    It has checkered grips numbered to the gun. The gun is blued and not a reblued. It does not have any inspector marks and is not marked US or Govt. Property.

    It could have made the trip to England with a private war contractor but then how did it end up with British armory marks?

    The local guy here is calling Jinks' office tomorrow and see if he can sort this one out. My guess is that it was an armory rebuild, but who would really know?


    Jim
     
  8. 682LINY

    682LINY Member

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    guns were used to pay back britan when the S&W carbine was a flop and britan wanted there money back,,, they got the pistols instead,,, as S&W was near bankrupcy at the time and had spent the 1 million dollar advance on the
    carbine to keep the company afloat
     
  9. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The serial number range of the original .38 Military & Police guns reached one million on April 24, 1942 so S&W started over at s/n V1. The V in the serial number stands for Victory. Your serial, V8214, would likely have been made in the summer or maybe fall of 1942. The V serial numbers ran until V769,000, when they were changed to VS in late Dec 1944 to show a change to the internal hammer safety. Revolvers already serial numbered that were retrofitted with the new safety had an S added in front of the V, so they'd be SV.

    The bright polished blue finish was used until December 4, 1941, and was replaced by a brushed blue finish. The brushed blue finish itself was discontinued on April 10, 1942, before the V serial numbers started. After April 10, 1942 these revolvers had a sandblasted parkerized finish.

    Most Victory models supplied to the Brits were in .38 S&W, which the British called the .38/200. This is because it had a 200 grain bullet.

    The TKD 10-42 is a British military acceptance stamp, with the date of acceptance. TKD is probably the initials of the inspector, but since it is British I do not know for sure. American military inspectors use their own initials. The British inspector would have been stationed at the S&W plant. This was common with several weapons manufacturers. The BNP is British Nitro Proof, and that testing likely was done in Britain.

    OK, so much for history. Now for how it relates to the gun...

    In my opinion, this gun, originally sent to Britain under Lend-Lease, was returned to the US after the war, and entered the surplus market. It was common at that time for some gunsmiths to rework these guns, as guns were scarce until factories retooled for the civilian market. The finish should have been sandblasted parkerizing. It's not. It's also not a fairly uniform brushed finish, like you'd find on a Model 28 Highway Patrolman. The .38 S&W barrel was probably swapped at this time for a .38 S&W Special barrel. Notice carefully how much sharper the .38 S&W Special marking is than the Made In U.S.A., the BNP and the TKD 10-42 stampings are. Notice the lanyard hole has been filled, a common sign of a rework.

    Here's the rub... During these reworkings, the cylinders were reamed out to .38 Special. Because the .38 S&W has a larger diameter case, this causes case bulging when a .38 Special is fired in such an altered chamber. I'm not aware of any cases splitting from this, but it is not good practice. A gunsmith should inspect the cylinder. I certainly would not put anything more powerful than mild target loads in it, and a gunsmith may well say not to fire it at all.

    Any time you see a Victory model with British markings with a barrel marked .38 S&W Special, alarm bells should be going off. If the cylinder was swapped out (and lack of a BNP will suggest it has), then fine, at least for a shooter. But from a collector standpoint, no.

    BTW, my dad carried a used Victory model in the Korean War. My grandfather took my dad to a gun shop before he shipped out and traded his .22 pistol for the Victory model. He carried it throughout his tour there. Alas, it was stolen on the troop ship heading back to the states. A search was held, but likely the culprit tossed it overboard.
     
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