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Should I buy this S&W .38 DA for side match use.


johnmuir2013

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I need some advice.  I’m thinking of buying this S&W .38 DA Perfected for use in pocket pistol side matches (in which I’m totally inexperienced).  Does this pistol qualify?  Is it a good choice?  The SASS shooter’s handbook says it must be pre-1900 design. The S&W .38 DA Perfected was manufactured between 1909 and 1920, but I don’t know when it was designed.  
 

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1017231115

 

Thanks
 

 

IMG_1919.png

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12 minutes ago, johnmuir2013 said:

I need some advice.  I’m thinking of buying this S&W .38 DA Perfected for use in pocket pistol side matches (in which I’m totally inexperienced).  Does this pistol qualify?  Is it a good choice?  The SASS shooter’s handbook says it must be pre-1900 design. The S&W .38 DA Perfected was manufactured between 1909 and 1920, but I don’t know when it was designed.  
 

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1017231115

 

Thanks
 

 

 

 

Looks like a nice side match revolver, but the 1K "buy it now", (which is a good price for this gun), would be too much for me for a revolver I might use once or twice a year,   (It's easy to lighten the mainspring for faster shooting,).  This is the "top of the line" of the break-action pocket pistols.  They were produced in lower numbers and 900-1100 is what they've been selling for.  The blued ones in nice condition are the outliers and sell for much more.  One sold in a Rock Island Auction that realized over 3K.   I'd just wait on the bidding and see if it stays in a comfortable zone.  Then see if you can get it at a price that fits whatever your budget is.   If 1K is in your budget... what the heck, get it.

 

There is one for sale on AncestryGuns for 900.

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I bought one a couple years ago, and figured the production date would make it ineligible for side matches, but PW said the basic design predates 1900, so it's GTG.

 

DoubleActionPerfected.jpg.b99cd6c99d17b646d5bfb01fda1305ad.jpg

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Make sure barrel is 4” or less. IF so good to go. The perfected model was the last SW top break made. They are good. I had one kinda wish I hadn’t sold it. (Especially if they are bringing 1K now!) I think I bought it for 250, sold it a year later for 450. I had other SW pocket pistols I preferred. 

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Top Breaks are kinda something I have an interest in and get lucky ever now and then working on them. There are so many good things and pit falls to look for. The most common problem I see is the timing and cylinder to barrel lock up. Most old top breaks will have cylinder creep when hammer fully cocked. Usually to worn down interfaces. Also observed a few make shift springs and jury rigs. There were so many different makes and models and changes were common from one production to the next, even S&W. I have a shelf full of clunkers but I knew what I was buying at the time. I would not by one of these without inspection and better yet, know the person selling it. And needless to say, ammo can be a beating you don’t want to take unless you reload. I use cut down trimmed .357 brass. I don’t use smokes powder which I’m sure will bring out many different opinions. My oldest top break is a S&W made in 1884 and is rock solid. My other match worthy TB is a .32 S&W  Iver Johnson I use for matches. I paid 200 for each for a bit of info. I give ya this as a data point to make a decision. As stated above, I would not pay 1k for a gun I could not know what I was buying. Folks sell guns for many different reasons and too many folks are grifters. I trust my SASS pards and shy away from the make-a-buck crowd. Just MHO.

tops.jpg

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28 minutes ago, Fallon Kid said:

Top Breaks are kinda something I have an interest in and get lucky ever now and then working on them. There are so many good things and pit falls to look for. The most common problem I see is the timing and cylinder to barrel lock up. Most old top breaks will have cylinder creep when hammer fully cocked. Usually to worn down interfaces. Also observed a few make shift springs and jury rigs. There were so many different makes and models and changes were common from one production to the next, even S&W. I have a shelf full of clunkers but I knew what I was buying at the time. I would not by one of these without inspection and better yet, know the person selling it. And needless to say, ammo can be a beating you don’t want to take unless you reload. I use cut down trimmed .357 brass. I don’t use smokes powder which I’m sure will bring out many different opinions. My oldest top break is a S&W made in 1884 and is rock solid. My other match worthy TB is a .32 S&W  Iver Johnson I use for matches. I paid 200 for each for a bit of info. I give ya this as a data point to make a decision. As stated above, I would not pay 1k for a gun I could not know what I was buying. Folks sell guns for many different reasons and too many folks are grifters. I trust my SASS pards and shy away from the make-a-buck crowd. Just MHO.

tops.jpg

I’m with you Fallon, BP only in these old top breaks.  Some were proofed for smokeless. Many were not. After a while you can tell the ones that have had a lot of smokeless shot thru them. Stretched frames, poor timing etc. 

One of my better shooters is an Iver Johnson, 32SW. Beat up. Barrel sawed off to about 1.5”. But it works! 
most of these little guns were not shot much. The S&Ws obviously of higher quality. 

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How about this one would it be legal .38caliber for side match?

DSCN6252  414.JPG

Edited by Jackrabbit Joe #414
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3 hours ago, Jackrabbit Joe #414 said:

How about this one would it be legal .38caliber for side match?

DSCN6252  414.JPG

 

Howdy Ho Joe!

I think Jackrabbit Joe be joshin' us.

For the rest of the audience, the rules are:

"- A pocket pistol is a small frame, fixed sight, pre-1900 design revolver having a barrel length of four inches or less. Pocket pistols must be .31 caliber or larger. Model “P” Colts, and clones and revolvers with swing-out cylinders are specifically not allowed regardless of caliber, frame size, or barrel length. Colt Model 1877 DA revolvers are LEGAL for use as pocket pistols. Pocket pistols may not be used as or converted to main match revolvers."... SHB Vers 27.4, pg 29

 

Eli

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@Jackrabbit Joe #414 since that pencil barrel S&W ain't legal, go ahead and send it to "DeaconKC's Home for Lonely S&Ws". I will take good care of it I promise!

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20230925_165638.thumb.jpg.e215ddd3c32fd71a029100084defb3e9.jpgLooks nice to me .

I have a S&W model 3 and this looks about the same to me .

Edited by Rooster Ron Wayne
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If ever a "Frontier DA" side match is created, whereby you would use a pre-1900 design DA revolver, then (unless specifically ruled out) your Smith would be okay, IMO.  After all the Model 10 is just a refinement of the Victory Model, which is just a specific version of the M&P, which is a direct development of the S&W Model 1899.  

Kinda  like how a modern 3rd Gen SAA is different from an early 3rd, 2nd or 1st gen.

But that's a whole different conversation. 

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The last time the topic of S&W Perfected revolvers came up I was motivated to buy one off of Gunbroker. Got a nice, clean example with a nickel finish and 4" barrel. Really like the gun!

 

I paid about $400, before sales tax and shipping.

 

The one you've shown on Gunbroker is even cleaner than mine, and in my opinion would be a screaming deal  for less than $500.

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51 minutes ago, Howdy Pardner said:

I have several pocket pistols but hadn't seen one with two latches till now. what is the purpose of the side latch?

It unlocks the top latch.  

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Supposedly, a police officer was disarmed by a bad guy by grabbing his gun, pulling the top latch up, and flipping it open. S&W said, "We'll fix that by putting a side latch on it too". In just a few short years, the company realized the top latch was unnecessarily redundant and did away with the top latch design.

 

The side latch, does NOT unlock the top latch - both of them lock independently and have to be manipulated simultaneously. About impossible for the bad guy, and also pretty clumsy for the cop.

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"The side latch, does NOT unlock the top latch - both of them lock independently and have to be manipulated simultaneously." 

 

Well, I don't consider the top latch to be locked on the earlier models. Let's consider the two terms - latched and locked.  Before the perfected model, the top latch was not locked at all (in the sense of having to unlock it first before you could operate it) - you simply grasped it and lifted up (thus releasing the latching mechanism) -  there was no locking mechanism to prevent the top latch from unlatching when you pulled up on it.  On the  perfected model, the side latch releases an internal lock on the top latch, so it can now be operated just like in the earlier models.  After you push the side latch forward, you can then open the now unlocked top latch, as long as you keep holding the side latch in the forward position. 

Edited by Hellbender
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51 minutes ago, Philosopher said:

Well, John Muir, the auction's over. Sold for $505. Are congratulations in order?

No.  I didn’t buy it.  

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