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nvcdl
March 03, 2016, 09:57
Won this auction for a 38/44 Heavy Duty the other day.

Think I did OK on it - hopefully will arrive today.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=543928077

W.E.G.
March 03, 2016, 10:46
That's a peach!

yellowhand
March 03, 2016, 10:52
Darn nice!

nvcdl
March 03, 2016, 12:25
I'm hoping the grips are original as stated in listing - they look to be in almost too good to be true condition.

Retired Bum
March 03, 2016, 17:57
Those grips on the .38/44 HD if original to the gun should have the serial number stamped on one of them.

After looking at the photo I got my 1937 made .38/44 Outdoorsman out of the safe for a comparison. They look just like the grips on the featured HD.

I am still pissed off at myself for selling an early postwar .38/44 HD in cherry condition some years ago. Oh well.....

And so it goes.


The Retired One

19&41
March 03, 2016, 18:54
Just the way I like a revolver. Experienced but plenty of shine and finish.

nvcdl
March 03, 2016, 20:24
Just picked it up - finish is pretty nice - has some slight freckling is a couple spots and some wear on edges but overall I'd say it is good to very good condition. The grips look age appropriate and it has a nice trigger pull :]

Not sure why but it was a three day aucion that started & ended during the work week and ended during the day - think it would have gone for much more if it had been a 7-14 day auction.

BUFF
March 03, 2016, 23:45
You got a good deal on that. I have it's twin, a couple years older, and it has the same stocks. The serial number should be on the right panel if you take them off. Yours was probably made in 1938.

D P Six
March 05, 2016, 23:24
Looking at any of these old beauties reminds me why I haven't bought a new Smith since the irritating internal lock hole appeared on the left side of the receiver.

VALMET
March 06, 2016, 00:56
Very cool old S&W- I've always liked those old Heavy Duty guns, congrats!

Bayernwolf
March 06, 2016, 01:20
Been looking for one for years! Congrats to you!

BUFF
March 06, 2016, 05:50
This revolver was designed to shoot an extra-powerful .38 Special cartridge known as the .38-44 Hi-Speed or Super Police. The cartridge fired a 158 grain bullet, usually round nose lead but sometimes with a pointed tin cap on top, intended to penetrate extra metal, and labeled "Metal Piercing" on the package. The cartridge case was the standard .38 Special case but some batches were given large pistol primer pockets instead of small pistol primer pockets. The bullet was propelled from a 6-1/2 inch barrel at 1,115 feet per second, and it was the original "Plus-P" type of it's day.

Gun and cartridge became available in April, 1930, and was marketed as a variant of the Third Model .44 Special Hand Ejector, being the same gun as the .44 Special except for the bore and chambering. Same under-barrel ejector rod shroud, same finishes and grip options, same barrel lengths. It got it's name, .38-44 Heavy Duty, because it was a .38 Special built on the .44 frame, the N frame, then S&W's largest. Same frame the S&W 1917 .45 ACP used.

Most of the .38-44's got 5 inch barrels early on. 4 and 6 inch barrels were offered later, and 3-1/2 and 8-3/8 inch barrels were special ordered and rare. Blue and nickel finish were available.

A more deluxe version of the Heavy Duty, the .38-44 Outdoorsman came out November, 1931. These differed by having a 6-1/2 inch barrel and adjustable target sights, The Outdoorsman lead to the development of the .357 Magnum in 1935, physically the same gun as the Outdoorsman with the addition of counter-boring on the chambers' rear to enclose the cartridge rims, and a barrel top rib that was finely checkered, along with the rear sight body and frame top strap.

There is no commercial .38-44 Heavy Duty ammo made by the Big 3, Winchester, Remington or Federal, these days, but some of the boutique loaders like Buffalo Bore have things that come close.

I worked up my own load for such guns with Winchester new brass, a home-cast SWC bullet of 160 grains sized .358" and lubed, over 11.5 grains of H-2400 sparked by Winchester LP primers back in the day. I got about 1,000 fps out of my 5 inch .38-44 with some leading. Switching to a different bullet that could be cast as a 150 grain hollow point SWC with a gas check attached let me load a bit more powder for a smidge more velocity and eliminated the barrel leading.

Today, factory .38 Special Plus-P lead hollow point gives you about 870 fps in a 5 inch gun. Jacketed bullets run slower.

.357 Magnum revolvers were hard to get until the late 1960's and shooters often rechambered their .38-44 cylinder to .357 Mag. I wouldn't do it but have owned two H.D.'s and one Outdoorsmen so rechambered. I shot Magnums in two of the three without peril or apparent damage. I sold one to a fellow at my range who then shot thousands of his .357 Magnum reload of a cast 158 grain SWC over 14.0 grains of 2400 through it, a coffee can-full at a time, for several years. These are likely the strongest .38 Specials ever made.

Colt advised that their similarly sized New Service revolver would handle the .38-44 cartridge, as would their Single Action Army.

The stocks on the O.P.'s new gun are called "service stocks" and will beat your hand up with warm ammo, they are thin. I recommend something bigger for shooting. The next bigger S&W stock is called the Magna, and is more handfilling. The frame will fit any stocks designed for the square butt N frame, so if you want something more comfortable, you have plenty of choices. My old Heavy Duty has the original small service stocks with a Merschon grip adaptor added. The Merschon is about the same as the Tyler Y-Grip but was around a lot sooner.

I'm just relating my experiences. Don't use my data without carefully working up charges using your bullets, your powder in your gun.

ftierson
March 06, 2016, 12:06
This revolver was designed to shoot an extra-powerful .38 Special cartridge known as the .38-44 Hi-Speed or Super Police. The cartridge fired a 158 grain bullet, usually round nose lead but sometimes with a pointed tin cap on top, intended to penetrate extra metal, and labeled "Metal Piercing" on the package The cartridge case was the standard .38 Special case but some batches were given large pistol primer pockets instead of small pistol primers. The bullet was propelled from a 6-1/2 inch barrel at 1,115 feet per second, and it was the original "Plus-P" type of it's day.

Gun and cartridge became available in April, 1930, and was marketed as a variant of the Third Model .44 Special Hand Ejector, being the same gun as the .44 Special except for the bore and chambering. Same under-barrel ejector rod shroud, same finishes and grip options, same barrel lengths. It got it's name, .38-44 Heavy Duty, because it was a .38 Special built on the .44 frame, the N frame, then S&W's largest. Same frame the S&W 1917 .45 ACP used.

Most of the .38-44's got 5 inch barrels early on, 4 and 6 inch came later and 3-1/2 and 8-3/8 inch barrels rarely special ordered. Blue and nickel finish were available.

A more deluxe version, the .38-44 Outdoorsman came out November, 1931. These differed by having a 6-1/2 inch barrel and adjustable target sights, The Outdoorsman lead to the development of the .357 Magnum in 1935.

There is no commercial .38-44 Heavy Duty ammo made by the Big 3, Winchester, Remington or Federal, but some of the boutique loaders like Buffalo Bore have things that come close.

I worked up my own load for such guns with Winchester new brass, a home-cast SWC bullet of 160 grains sized .358" and lubed, over 11.5 grains of H-2400 sparked by Winchester LP primers back in the day. I got about 1,000 fps out of my 5 inch .38-44 with some leading. Switching to a different bullet that could be cast as a 150 grain hollow point SWC with a gas check attached let me load a bit more powder for a smidge more velocity and eliminated the barrel leading.

Today, factory .38 Special Plus-P lead hollow point gives you about 870 fps in a 5 inch gun. Jacketed bullets run slower.

.357 Magnums were hard to get until the late 1960's and shooters often rechambered the .38-44 cylinder to .357 Mag. I wouldn't do it but have owned 2 H.D.'s and one Outdoorsmen so chambered. I shot Magnums in 2 of the 3 without peril or apparent damage. I sold one to a fellow at my range who then shot thousands of his cast bullet .357 Mag reload of a cast 158 grain SWC over 14.0 grains of 2400 through it, coffee can-full at a time, for several years. These are likely the strongest .38 Specials ever made.

The stocks on the O.P.'s new gun are called "service stocks" and will beat your hand up with warm ammo, they are thin. I recommend something bigger for shooting. The next bigger S&W stock is called the Magna, and is more handfilling. The frame will fit any stocks designed for the square butt N frame, so if you want something more comfortable, you have plenty of choices.

I'm just relating my experiences. Don't use my data without carefully working up charges using your bullets, your powder in your gun.

Thanks for all that info...

Forrest

ftierson
March 06, 2016, 12:07
Won this auction for a 38/44 Heavy Duty the other day.

Think I did OK on it - hopefully will arrive today.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=543928077

Very nice...

Forrest

nvcdl
March 08, 2016, 09:48
Good info - I like the old N frames. The Heavy Dutys & 1917s are still fairly affordable to collect and shoot.