Questions about S&W Victory Revolvers (pics)
Two Smith & Wesson Victory Model Revolvers , the first revolver shows Sn. V 339,684 on the butt strap, back of the cylinder, and under the barrel. The Sn .on the Crane and Crane recess match each other. There are no markings at all on top of the barrel. No other markings beside the right and left side barrel markings .38S&W CTG,and Smith & Wesson . On the right frame the S&W logo and "Made IN U.S.A" markings are apparent .
Both guns I believe may have been used by the Canadian National Railway Police . They were purchased back in 1974 from a gunshop that used to supply different police agencies with all kinds of equipment and arms.
Both guns have the same checkered grips, and modified front sights.
The second revolver Sn. is V 560,105,(with the lighter colored grip pannels) showing a "4" on the butt strap and a "Crown over BNP" on the underside of the frame as well as other Birmingham proof markings under the barrel. (British,) "Birmingham",Commercial nitro proof and firing proof markings?)
The "P" U.S. firing proof marking is stamped on three different places on the gun, left side plate, under the barrel, rear of the cylinder.
I must admit, I don't know much about these guns,...and I certainly don't know about the holster.
Any insight from people that know these guns would be appreciated.
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Two Smith and Wesson Victory Models with holster 006.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Two Smith and Wesson Victory Models with holster 010.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Two Smith and Wesson Victory Models with holster 015.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson Victory Models with holster 003.jpg
Rear holster marking 124 over 4 over 38.
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson Victory Models with holster 008.jpg
Given the SNs, I'd say that both revolvers should be unpolished, Parkerized, and have smooth walnut grips.
BNP is indeed Birmingham Nitro Proof, a commercial proof stamp.
There is no way to determine date of manufacture. You can obtain a letter from S&W historian Roy Jinks that will tell you the date of shipping and the destination. The letters are only $30 each.
Go here and select Customer Support at the top. There is a factory letter request form you can print out.
Most all Lend-Lease revolvers are in .38 S&W (.38/200 in Britain). What caliber is stamped on the right side of the barrel?
There is a wealth of information about these arms in Charles Pate's excellent work U.S. Handguns of WWII: The Secondary Pistols and Revolvers.
Amazon usually carries this book.
Here are two in their original dress. Top is U.S. ussue .38 Special. Bottom is New Zealand issue in .38 S&W.
I have posted some additional photos below.
Jacobtowne, thanks for your response and nice photos showing your two guns,and rig.
My late father purchased these two revolvers back in 1974 for $20 Cdn. each, as shooters, and I never got around to researching their origins (until now).
Both guns have the "38 S.&W. CTG" barrel marking, and in looking more closely yesterday, I noticed for the first time, that the front sights on both guns have been modified from their original rounded contour, and Sn. V 560,105 has the Springfield Mass. barrel address and Patent dates , and the other gun does not show any barrel address at all.
Right barrel marking on Sn. V 560,105,(with the lighter colored brown grip pannels), 38 S.&W. CTG , also showing the (British) Birmingham Crown/BNP Commercial proof , and the Springfield. Mass. U.S.A. barrel address and patent dates with the modified front sight.
The following photos show the different markings found on Sn. V 560,105 , some British ,some American.
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson Markings 010.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Sn. V 560,105 Copy of Crown over BNP Birmingham Commercial Proof..jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson Barrel address 012.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson other British markings 002.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson cylinder marking 003.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson P marking 011.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson crane number Y 14942.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson Logo markings 014.jpg
Download Attachment: [img]images/icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Copy of Smith and Wesson and holster open 011.jpg
I remember my father mentionning something about these guns possibly coming from the Canadian National Railway Police when they were replacing their side arms.
I guess the puzzling issues with this gun is the existance of the Birmingham proof marks on the underside of the frame and barrel , with the #4 on the butt strap, the "P" proof mark on the left frame and cylinder, with no other U.S. Property markings, the modified front sight, and it's possible encroachment on the barrel address, the checkered grip pannels, instead of smooth pannels, as well as the blued finish on the gun , instead of the typical parkerized finish.
(Were these guns issued to the C.N.R. Police after the war, when these guns came back to Canada??? ...or were they used in Canada during the war???)
The only reference book I have is Roy Jinks' book "History of Smith & Wesson , Revised Tenth Anniversery Edition.
Thank you for your advice regarding Pate's book.
At least one of them looks like it had the barrel shortened, also.
Jacobtowne, the question of a shortened barrel occured to me as the barrel address seems to be somewhat abbreviated. Could that be because of the modification to the front sight? Both guns have the same sight modification.
The photos I have added above show the "P" proof on the frame , the British proof under the barrel, the "P" proof on the cylinder.
I copied a letter from Smith & Wesson that was sent to the owner of a Victory. There are two paragraphs in the letter that you might have a better understanding of than I do,.. and perhaps you might be able to clarify for me.
"The Victory Model was supplied to all branches of the U.S.Armed Services in the .38 Special caliber. Guns produced for England, Canada, and other allies were chambered fot the .38S&W cartridge and were supplied under the Lend Lease Program. These revolvers since they were on loan to the Allied Forces were United States property and so marked on the revolvers."
"A small group of Victory Models were sold to commercial companies and Police Agencies during the war time production. The orders for commercial sales were submitted to the United States Governments Defense Supply Commission which would then issue sales orders to Smith & Wesson directing them to sell to the various listed companies. These Defense Supply Commission ordered revolvers were shipped without U.S. or other military markings."
"P" proof marks are stamped on this gun , there are no other U.S. Property markings , and the rest are Birmingham (British) proof markings as shown in two of the photos above.
The wear on the gun is very uniform, including the grips....there is no doubt that the front sight has been modified. Should it have been definitely parkerized if it was part of a separate commercial contract?
I would be interested in any additional thoughts you might have, as this is a totally new field for me. I have never looked as closely at this gun in the last 32 years, as I have done in the last few days.
Briefly - parkerizing started about March, 1942, long before your revolvers were made.
The DSC (Defense Supplies Corporation) ordered from S&W directly in the early months, as did everyone else - the Army, Navy, British Purchasing Commission. This was so confusing for the factory that Army Ordnance became the only organization to place contracts.This happened about mid-1942.
The property stamp is on the topstrap. The ordnance stamp was on the butt on early guns, then moved to the topstrap.
Since these are most likely Lend-Lease revolvers, the stamps might have been buffed off during polishing.
These would not have been DSC guns - wrong caliber.
Jacobtowne, thanks for responding , I appreciate your comments.
I came upon a reference in a letter from Smith & Wesson to the owner of a Victory marked revolver , that read as follows;
The Victory Model was manufactured between 1940 and August 1945 . The total production of this model was 850,000 units. The Victory Model was supplied to all branches of the U.S. Armed Services in the .38 Special caliber.
A total of 571,629 of these guns were manufactured for the British Commonwealth Countries and other allies and were chambered for the .38 S&W cartridge. They were supplied in the following manner;-Between June 1940 and December 1940, a total of 112,854 were sold directly to the British Purchasing Commission.-Between February 1940 and June 1941 21,347 were sold to the Union of South Africa.-Between June 1940 and June 1941, 45,328 were sold to Canada.-In April 1941 8,000 were sold to Australia.
The remaining 384,100 guns and were supplied by the U.S. Army Ordnance under the Lend Lease Program between 1941 until the end of the war.. These revolvers since they were on loan to the Allied Forces were United States property and so marked on the revolver.
This gun is chambered for the .38 S&W cartridge, it has the U.S. "P" firing proof on the back of the cylinder, under the barrel, and on the left side plate, and Birmingham firing proof marks under the barrel. (Certainly the underside of the grips pannels do not have any markings.)
There are no U.S. Property markings or Ordnance stamps on the gun ,
if they were buffed off ,...I have no idea, I don't see obvious signs of that.....but ,.what do I know?
(Unfortunately I don't have any reference benchmarks regarding Serial number implications, which is probably a reasonably definitive criteria.)
With regard to caliber, were DSC guns sold to the British Commonwealth Countries in .38 Special CTG or .38 S&W CTG ???? (I would have thought .38 S&W.. which is what the gun is.)
Thanks for your help Jacobtowne.
On both early and late arms, the property stamp is on the left side of the topstrap. On early ones, before yours, the inspector's initials and ordnance bomb are on the butt. Sometime in 1942, all three stamps were placed on the topstrap. In the case of your revolvers, this would be GHD.
The topstrap stamps were struck very lightly, unlike barrel and frame stamps. It would be very easy to lose them during refinishing.
Until mid-1943, the proof 'P' was stamped on the butt. Afterward, it was stamped in the three places you note.
Your lower SN revolver is, and this is a wild guess, likely mid to late 1943. The other later, probably 1944.
I have the opportunity to purchase a S&W Victory 4" barrel, parkerized, serial #V107430. I would guess it is a early model due to low serial number. There are no US marking on this revolver or markings of any tpye. Finish is 98% though.
Would appreciate any and all information on this revolver.
George I would really like to help you,...but I am still confused about my own guns.
I would suggest you describe all the markings you can find on your gun. (including finish description.)
You might want to check the markings( if any) on all of the various components. (butt strap, under the barrel and frame,left & right frame ,on top of the frame, barrel top, rear of cylinder, rear of extractor star, inside the right grip.
Jacobtowne should be able to give you a sense of what you have.