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Ok I have this old K-frame 38spl. that my father-inlaw carried when he was with the Pittsburgh PD. He bought it off a friend of his when he started on the job. He gave it to me a few years ago before he passed on to that big DONUT SHOP IN THE SKY! Well anyway I did some research on it and found out it was made between 1946 and 1949. It not in bad shape and shoots pretty good. When I first got it I cleaned it real good and took the side plate off and blasted the inside with some gun cleaner and put a few drops of oil on the moving parts and closed it up. Now after all was clean and oiled up I put some snap caps in it and started to dry fire it a little bit. Like I said I have shot it and it shoots great,but I noticed on the triggers return about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way back to reset there is noticeable hitch in the trigger. You dont notice it that much if your running through 6 rounds one after another, but taking one shot DA you notice the hitch alot more.Is this something I should be concerned about or not? One other thing,the side plate has 4 screws in it,and what is the screw for in the front of the trigger guard? And should it be tight?
 

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The hitch you are feeling is originating from the trigger's sear contacting and slipping past the hammer's double-action sear as the trigger is returning to rest. Secondarily, the trigger's simultaneous contact with the cylinder stop is also being felt as the trigger returns to rest.

The screw in front of the trigger guard is the cylinder stop screw. It retains the cylinder stop plunger and spring which gives function to the cylinder stop. Yes it should be tight. It's possible that a very loose cylinder stop screw could minimally affect the feel of the trigger return. By completely loosening a cylinder stop screw in one of my K-Frames so configured just now I could detect a small change in the feel of the trigger's return. Not enough to affect operation of the gun; the worst problem would be that the trigger stop screw and plunger assembly might fall out and become lost, tying up the revolver because the cylinder stop would then lose its function.

Later, this cylinder stop screw was deleted, the entire cylinder stop assembly being retained and housed internally. This change began to be incorporated in the mid-1950s. The older system is slightly easier to deal with when detail stripping the revolver in my view.

All screws should be tight on a Smith & Wesson revolver. You might check your main spring strain screw while you're at it as some try to achieve a light, smooth action feel by simply loosening the strain screw. That can foul up the feel of an action and render the revolver unreliable due to light primer strikes. Go ahead and check that strain screw for length. Some have shortened the strain screw then screwed it down tight in order to accomplish the same that that simply loosening it does. Either practice is ignorant.

All Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector models, regardless of the frame size will have a discernible "hitch" in the trigger as it returns. As Smith & Wesson revolvers tend to wear in rather than wear out, the more one is used the less hitch will be apparent though it will never go away entirely. It shouldn't go away entirely either. One should always be able to detect that hitch. It's a part of the function of the revolver's action design. Things are happening in there as the trigger returns. A proper dab of lubrication is your friend here.

Now if the trigger is stopping during its return or if one feels that it is subject to stopping on a trigger stroke (as in "almost, but not quite nearly" stopping during trigger return) then the revolver must be analyzed for a possible issue. This could be the result of accumulated crud, dirt, dust, hardened grease inside somewhere your revolver that didn't get blasted out with the cleaner. A detail strip, cleaning, and lubricating might be "just what the doctor ordered" and might contribute to smooth action operation.

Problems of this nature also typically arise when nit-wits having no understanding about action timing and the interrelationship of hammer and trigger sears as well as the trigger contact point with the cylinder stop, yet persist in undertaking to mutilate hammer and trigger sears in some misguided effort to accomplish an "action job." A police armorer from bygone days, whether he was good, bad, or otherwise, may have had the revolver on his bench. If he was a good and knowledgeable gunsmith then you'll have a smooth revolver with no apparent issues. If he was a hack, then you'll have a hinky revolver with an action that that prematurely wears, operates with the impediment of timing problems and could be unsafe. Unsafe as in being able to "push-off" the hammer from its cocked position by pushing on it with the thumb. This is indicative of sears excessively worked and altered.

Thing is, do you feel the hitch is excessive, is enough to arrest trigger return? I'm gonna make a wild guess that your revolver is just fine and your fears are much ado about nothing. It may not have had that many rounds fired through it in the past 70 years and only needs some shooting use. Of course we can't know from this distance and a look-see by a good gunsmith might be a good plan.

Sounds like you have a really neato post-World War II "transitional" K-Frame Smith & Wesson revolver. Most important engineering change introduced to the design was the change from the "long action" to the "short action" giving the revolvers a shorter lock time. Other changes have do with markings, configuration of stocks, and ejector rod head changes. It would be nice to know the serial number range of your "S" series revolver, just the first three or four digits. Photos would be appreciated here too.
 

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Thanks for the reply bmcgilvray! Your right on one thing,there's no way of knowing how many rounds went through this gun,but I have a sneakey feeling that its not been very many! The info I got has this guns serial no. ( S 862348) came from a group of S 811120 to S 999999 made from 1946 to 1948.The only other markings are on the crane when the cyl. is open and its G 4 over the no. 34699 . Sorry but I cant post any pictures
 

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If I could add anything to Bryan's post it would be... pics would be nice :yup:
 

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The last Victory Model contract K-Frame of World War II fame was said to be serial numbered VS811119. Yours isn't so far from that.

I'm guessing that it is a blue 4-inch. The 5-inch and 6-inch Military & Police .38 Special revolvers still retained a modicum of popularity at that point in time though they where more of a chore for the lawman to use while sitting in a patrol vehicle. Nickel was less common then, but admired by some lawmen so some nickel revolvers exist.

Does yours have a large knurled "mushroom" ejector rod head that may be unscrewed from the ejector rod or a simple knurled end on the ejector rod? That fact could say something about where your revolver falls in that transition period.

Victory Model with "mushroom" head and having the "long" action with pre-war styled hammer.


Mid-1950s commercial Military & Police with post-Transitional knurled end ejector rod and short-action featuring the fishhook-styled "Speed Hammer originating in the late 1940s.
 

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It has a 5" barrel and looks just like the victory model with the mushroom head ejector rod, but it didnt have the smooth grips ,they were the checkerd S&W wood grips. Sorry Pa I cant post pictures or I would!
 

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Smooth walnut stocks were a specified in government contract, probably to keep cost of the finished revolvers down. Commercial guns like yours were provided with checkered walnut stocks.

Cool that it's a five-inch barrel. A five-inch barrel isn't rare enough to command a premium, but sure is harder to find.

Dumb me! I once had one similar to yours, blue with five-inch barrel and let it get away years ago. It was a good shooter too.
 
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Thanks for all the info bmcgilvray, now I know what the hitch is in the trigger return and shoot it without any worries! Thanks again Bill
 

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Does a revolver of that vintage have a hammer block safety? If not want to be careful handling and probably have hammer on empty chamber when carrying.
 

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Yes jack7659, they do.

Colt developed it's famous "Positive Lock" and introduced it in 1905. It's activated by mechanical cam action, clever, sturdy, simple, and fool proof.

Smith & Wesson also attempted to engineer their revolvers to be drop safe, yet with somewhat less initial success than Colt. Perhaps Smith & Wesson was attempting to get around patents. Initially the rebound slide had a simple safety lug on its top that supposedly kept the hammer from striking the primer of a loaded revolver, this lug interposing itself, retracting the hammer and supposed to aid in defeating the hammer's ability to travel further forward than would be safe when the rebound slide is at rest. This seems effective if one observes it, but it apparently was inadequate for in 1915 Smith & Wesson chose to add a hammer block design that was its own spring, a leaf spring which was actuated initially by a plunger arrangement on the hand which retained the hammer block into a slot on the revolver's side plate and thus out of the way when the trigger was rearward, as at firing. In 1926 this was further revised from a plunger projection to a sturdier and more easily fabricated ramp machined on the hand that accomplished the same thing as the plunger in actuating the spring hammer block.

Both these work fine if the revolver's innards are kept clean and lubricated. If dried grease, accumulated gunk from firing the gun, or dirt fouls this style of hammer block then the fouling can prevent the hammer block from doing its job just as effectively as the mechanical means on the hand which were designed to retain it at moment of firing. The gunk holds the hammer block back out of the way all the time, whether hammer is cocked or resting. It really takes very little gunk to keep the leaf spring hammer block from functioning properly. Also, this hammer block is staked into the inside of the side plate. It is subject to becoming unstaked or can break, which renders it useless for its task.

You have to be as "ate up with it" as I am, to own Smith & Wesson revolvers having each of these different early style hammer block designs so that they can be studied. The first of the three pre-World War II designs to prevent unintentional firing if the gun is dropped or otherwise suffers a blow must be considered primitive. The other two pre-World War II designs must be considered as excessively convoluted and easily defeated due to simple fouling. There is also the specter of breakage to consider.

I am willing to take my chances with all but the first of the hammer block designs discussed and would carry a pre-war Smith & Wesson revolver so equipped loaded with six rounds. A pre-World War I Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector, no. It would need to be carried with an empty chamber under the hammer in my view. Most prudent folks probably wouldn't even trust the other two, also carrying them with an empty chamber under the firing pin, however I keep the inside of my revolvers scrumptiously clean and freshly lubricated so trust the convoluted system to work.

A famous tragedy occurred during World War II when a Victory Model in Navy service was dropped to the deck of a ship. The blow caused the revolver (one having the leaf spring hammer block) to discharge and a sailor was killed as a result. Carl Hellstrom, the then president of Smith & Wesson, was said to be very distraught over news of this incident and directed that a positive, fail-safe hammer block be designed and incorporated into all future revolver production as well as retro-fitting as many of the military contract revolvers as possible. This order was carried out rapidly and the new design was incorporated in the Victory model contract revolvers beginning in December of 1944. The World War II military contract models' serial numbers all feature a "V" prefix. After adoption of that new hammer block in 1944 a letter "S" was added to the prefix of the serial number and was also stamped on older, retrofitted Victory revolvers. Incidentally, upon conclusion of World War II the "V" was dropped and the "S" prefix and numbering sequence continued on commercially until 1948 when the "C" prefix of the short-action revolvers was introduced.

The wartime expedient Smith & Wesson hammer block was such a good design that it remains to this day as a safety feature of the Smith & Wesson revolver. In my uneducated opinion it appears to be a complete rip-off of the Colt "Positive Lock" design of 1905. Someone with more knowledge may come on to point out the error of my opinion there.

For that matter Iver Johnson may have been the first manufacturer to develop an effective hammer block safety devise and they incorporated it in the early 1890s for their inexpensive lines of revolvers. Their ads certainly hark back to a different time!











I know I always let my granddaughters play with cheap top-break revolvers when they come to visit, don't you?

Razors too!

 
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