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---"VICTORY"38 PISTOL, VALUE?---

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Bvr Tail, Sep 29, 2010.

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  1. Bvr Tail

    Bvr Tail Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone help me with the value of a S&W "Victory" 38 Cal. pistol.

    I'm told it is in fair condition to look at, but is in good working order, and I can fire it before purchase.

    I know a little about them, but not much. Actually I am looking for one for a friend who just wants one to own, not shoot.

    This one has the V in the serial no. and was brought back from WWII.

    Any help on value and things to look at would be appreciated.
     
  2. Jim R

    Jim R Ljutic Nut TS Supporters

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    Check here.

    http://smith-wessonforum.com/classifieds/
     
  3. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    Bvr Tail, according to the blue book The US.Gov. Model is worth $350 at 90% less 25 for 80% and again for 70% condition. The Lend-lease mfg. and Commercial sales ones are $210 at 90%, $190 @ 80%, and $180 for 70% condition. Some Post WWII Victorys were sold from Defense Supply Commission and had no US markings and will bring a premium price. Be careful of fake markings is also listed in book. Hope this helps you out. Break-em all. Jeff
     
  4. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Also, there are two chamberings. The US models were chambered in .38 Special and are so marked. The British and Commonwealth versions are generally marked .38 Ctg. or something similar and are chambered for the .38/200. That's a British version of the .38 S^W, which is NOT interchangeable with the .38 S&W Special. The problem here is when someone, ignorantly or with intention to defraud, reams the cylinder out to accept .38 Specials. The .38 S&W has a larger diameter case and causes bulging in .38 Special brass.

    My grandfather bought a surplus S&W Victory Model in 1950 and gave it to my dad, who was shipping out to Korea. Dad carried it during his tour there in a shoulder holster. Alas, it was stolen aboard his troop ship on the way home.

    I've had a couple of Victory Models. The British production runs started with just numbered serial numbers, the US version (.38 Special) started with a V (for Victory). In 1944, a new internal safety was incorporated, and the serial numbers started with a VS (the S denoted the new safety). A few that were retrofitted had an S stamped in front of the V, so they started with SV. The US models were 2" and 4" only. The 2" models are scarce. The British models were made in 4", 5" and 6", with 4" being the most common. The finish was bright blue, changing to brush blue (like a Model 28 highway Patrolman finish) in Dec 1941. After April 1942 the guns were sandblasted and parkerized. Any non-parkerized models with a V, VS or SV serial number were probably polished and reblued by someone after the war. Those stamped with only an S are postwar and are not true Victory models. (There are reports of a few being made postwar with lanyard swivels and an S serial number. It is thought these were parts cleanup.)
     
  5. Bvr Tail

    Bvr Tail Well-Known Member

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    Brian

    Check the other thread to contact me

    Danny
     
  6. Bvr Tail

    Bvr Tail Well-Known Member

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    I now have the gun in hand. I have more questions if anyone can answer them.

    Serial no is 334xxx. Has five inch barrel. About what year is this firearm?

    It has "U S Property GHD" on top of frame, has "3 1/2 Tons per Square in." on left side of barrel above "Smith & Wesson",and above that it has what looks like "BNP 38" ,767" ".

    It has the "V" before the serial no., but no "S" or "P" by serial or on sideplate.

    Right side of barrel has a mark then "S&W CTG" then the same mark again.

    It appears to be re-blued, because there is very slight pitting under the blueing, but all numbers and writing are extremely crisp.

    On left side of frame, on the top ridge behind the cylinder release, and again on the lower ridge between the trigger guard and the grip, there are two "notches" cut or filed into the frame. One on top and one on bottom edge. What might these be??

    Also on left side of frame, just under the front of cylinder, and in front of trigger, is a mark that looks like two S's that are crossed out???

    It has no lanyard and the hole for it has lead or solder in it? Are lanyards and attaching piece available?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Danny
     
  7. Bvr Tail

    Bvr Tail Well-Known Member

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    up please
     
  8. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As you said, the serial number has a V in front of it. So it is V334xxx. The V series was made starting in April 1942 and continued until December 1944 when the internal safety was added and the serial suffix changed to VS (or in rare cases, SV). The V serial numbers began at V1 and went to V769,000. Therefore, your serial number is approximately 43% through the production cycle, assuming steady output, and that's a BIG assumption. That's a 32 month run, and 43% of that would be about 13 months in, so we can arbitrarily set an APPROXIMATE date of March 1943. That's as close as we're going to get and again I stress it is far from precise.

    The U S Property GHD is a common stamping. U S Property was stamped on almost all of these guns from serial number V300000 on. (One source states this stamping, known to start around V30000, began in May 1943. This shows that the date above I calculated for March 1943 could be off by a few months. Your date likely is late summer or even autumn 1943.)

    Even British contract guns had the U S Property marking, and of the 541,629 .38 S&W guns made for Commonwealth countries, 384,100 were supplied by the US Army Ordnance program and thus have U S Property on them. The terms were these were a lease, and when the British and others were gone with them, they were to be returned to the USA.

    The GHD stood for Guy H. Drewry, who was the Ordnance officer accepting these guns. The GHD stamp took over from a WB stamp (another officer) in 1942 at s/n 145000. However, the GHD stamp was originally on the butt, but was moved to the top strap in May 1943 at approx s/n V300000. Another sign your gun was probably made in late summer or autumn 1943.

    The BNP stands for British Nitro Proof for the 38 S&W. The 3 1/2 Tons per Square inch marking is what the gun is proofed to. I do not recall what the 767 is, but it is part of the proof testing. I vagely recall it might be an inspector number of the person doing the proof testing, but I don't remember.

    The 5" barrel is standard for British contract guns as well as those supplied via the US Army to Britain and Commonwealth countries, but, 4" and 6" barrels were made too. These were all chambered for .38 S&W, also know as the .38/200 British Service Cartridge. The .38 S&W Special did not start production until Feb 1941, and they were only made in 2" (rare) and 4" barrel lengths. Most did not have U S Property markings, though some were marked U S Navy.

    The finish should be a satin brush blue, not a shiny blue. Few doing a reblue would bother to put a satin refinish on it. They're either polish it, or bead blast it. If it is a reblue, the collector value is ruined. It only has shooter value.

    Can you provide photos of the notches and the crossed out twin S's? I have no reference for them.

    At one time Gun Parts and others had lanyard parts. Whether they still do, I don't know.
     
  9. Bvr Tail

    Bvr Tail Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much Brian. This will help with the history for the owner.

    I do not have pictures, so can not post them.

    I really appreciate the help everyone on this site has given over the years.

    Danny
     
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