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Fleabus October 28, 2019 12:20

Another Old S&W Joins the Pack
About a month ago I bought a S&W from
a collector in Fl. It belonged to an ex policer
for decades. It is a 38/44 4 inch blued circa
1953 from the 50s. It was returned to S&W in
1976 for a reblue and refreshment. This was
,according to Roy Jinks, just prior to 78 when
S&W stopped their prior old bluing process
for years..It has the inside the grip for the
factory reblue marking. The pc has just a faint
turn line that I might to shoot it just a bit. A large
bonus is that it came with its orig gold S&W
properly marked box w old wax paper..
I will have to source a period set of n frame
diamond magna grips as it came with a 70s
set of lighter target factory stocks. That is the
next endeavor to find mint set of those for
a reasonable price..My dad carried a similar
pc as a 1950s officer and now I have one
like that to remember about the time I was
born in 57..
Best Fleabus..

TenTea October 28, 2019 12:33

I had a 5-screw, 6.5 inch barreled Outdoorsman when I was in my Elmer Keith admiration mode (still am, really).
Great revolver, but heavy for caliber.
The 4 inch should be great.
Is yours a Heavy Duty model?
Hard not to like an N-frame, particularly a 5-screw! :cool:

Fleabus October 28, 2019 13:07

Yes, it is the pre 20 model 38/44 from the early
50s that, after about 49 to 50 Smith changed over
to the short throw hammer style. It still retains its
factory case colored hammer and trigger. Your 38/44
Outdoorsman is a fine pc of S&W history w the target
sights and old last century heritage..
I guess Im just an old throwback still liking the old
revolvers and its easier handling them vs rifles
these days.

TenTea October 28, 2019 13:26

...and no brass to hunt for in snow or tall grass. :)

Fleabus October 28, 2019 13:34

Yeah its a big Smith for 38 special chg holes.
Love the old N frames..I have thought now on
searching for an old box of period ammo to go with it.
Or just an old 40s 50s 38 sp police box mainly to go w/it.

MAINER October 29, 2019 10:17

Might have sumthin' in my stach of old ammo stuff. Will take a look. 50's most likely, 40's not likely.

My only experience with a Smith 38/44 was plinking a few rounds at a tin can in Kentucky with a ex-Navy buddy around '68 or so. Neither of us could hit anything, but didn't have a big enough target to determine where the sights (fixed) were compared to where the bullets were going.

Love a N Frame S&W, got a few of them, nothing as old as your 38/44.

Fleabus October 29, 2019 15:53

The old N frames just appeal to me. When I was younger I
let several go, usually for money reasons. Passed a 4 inch
python and diamondback and others on the alter of supporting my wifes college degrees. Now I collect when
I find a deal once and while.
Mainer if you do find an older box of 50s ish period 38 sp old round you go let go let me know.
Finding a set of late 40s to mid 60s produced diamond
magna grips in great shape is the next fun search
in my current effort..
Best Randy..

K. Funk October 29, 2019 21:21

I picked up one of these Pre-Model 20's several years ago as well. It was beat to hell, but it talked to me and I had to have it. I sent it to David Chicoine for a total professional restoration just prior to him having his meltdown. Lost the $900 + I sent in advance and did not get the gun back for a few years. I eventually had it re-done and it turned out OK, but not as nice as it could have been. Later on I got a 6" Pre-Model 20 and it is one of my favorites, especially for the $200 I paid for it. I hope you enjoys yours as much as I do mine.


Retired Bum October 30, 2019 03:31

I have a pre war 38/44 Outdoorsman made in 1937 with the 6.5 inch barrel. I understand that a few were made with 8 3/8 inch barrels but have never seen even a photograph of one.

I bought mine in 1985 from a co worker at the prison. He inherited it from his father but sold it to me for $400. Superb fit and finish as one would expect from S&W's made back then. The DA trigger is as smooth as oiled glass and the SA trigger pull is crisp and light. The adjustable rear sight is small and not as easy to use as the later micrometer sight.

As factory .38/44 ammo is long out of production I worked up a load using the Lyman #358477 SWC that duplicates the performance of the original load.

I have a real love affair with N frames. Own them in .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .44-40 Winchester, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, and an old 1914 made Triplelock .455 Webley.

And so it goes.

The Retired One

VALMET October 30, 2019 05:50

Vintage N-frames are right up there with FNs and Valmets for me. I own several al and shoot them pretty regularly.

Fleabus October 30, 2019 06:24

I seem to recall your problem you shared about that headache with that Smith and taking you a while to get it back. I remember you thinking you not sure you would it get the pc back
much less the bucks you were out. Glad you got it back.
It was hard to predect that happening with that situation.
Thanks for sharing your Smiths.
Retired Bum, always love you sharing your experiences
and your collecting over the years..I know youve seen a bunch come and go thru your hands.

Recently I had a health set back with a stroke month ago
and getting my feet back under me.
If a loose thought or miss spell forgove my
grsmmer about..Aggravating get yer mind right again..

Thanks for sharing my old buds. Yall the Best, Randy..

FUUN063 October 30, 2019 12:48

Here's my S&W Model 38/44 6 1/2" long barrel with it's original gold box.


Fleabus October 30, 2019 14:16

Hey Leland,
Love your older 38/44 target ourdoorsman.
They dont build them like that anymore..
I'm pawing at the screen trying to scratch those
period grips out to me..Let me trade you at set of
targets and a later set of magnas for them lol..
Thanks for that nice add to this story..

Timber Wolf October 30, 2019 15:49

I bought my model 20 many, many years ago from a pawn shop for around $175 as I recall. Nice shape and a good shooter but somebody “regulated” the sights by filing off the front a bit.:cry: My Outsdoorsman is also a bit of a story. I bought it private sale at a gun show for $200, with a later 4” model 27 barrel. Oh, and the chambers had been bored for .357 Magnum. I have picked up a NOS Outdoorsman barrel I will have installed some day. Not messing with the cylinder as it is serial numbered to the gun.

Fleabus October 30, 2019 16:50

Sounds like you did well as as prices appreciated bit
over time. I've seen the outdoorsman barrel pop up
on ebay time to time. Glad you got one to go on it one
day. Bet it would be a hoot to shoot..
Thanks for your story..

FUUN063 October 30, 2019 20:58

Speaking of barrels, I really NEED an S&W Model 16 6 inch barrel in .32. I have an original 6" revolver, nice shape, but someone bulged the barrel slightly about 3/4 the way down. UGH!! For now, I put an 8 3/8" .32 Magnum barrel on it and it shoots great, but I want the older 6" non-heavy version to put it back the way it was when it left the factory. I really like this gun, but want it back like it was. I still have the bulged barrel, too.


Retired Bum October 30, 2019 23:53

There are a lot more six inch K22 barrels out there than six inch K32 barrels. I recall seeing an article in the American Handgunner some years ago about a Model 34 .22 barrel being rebored and rifled for the .32 S&W Long round by Hamilton Bowen. You would swear that it was made that way if you didn't know better.

Perhaps a K22 barrel bored out and rifled for the .32 could be done but I'm sure that it would be expensive.

I have a 16-4 six inch in .32 Magnum. But this barrel is the full lug model that shrouds the ejector rod.

And so it goes.

The Retired One

Fleabus October 31, 2019 05:24

Fuun063 Good Golly
I was scoping and I saw a 60s K 32 for 4K plus and another asking 6K plus on GB.
I was looking at some sources for parts Ive used for yer
barrel. If I have luck I will pass info on to you..

FUUN063 October 31, 2019 05:42

Retired Bum, I have a NOS .22 S&W barrel, but it would still say that info on the barrel, rather than .32 info. I really NEED a proper 6" tube for that gun.


MAINER November 05, 2019 09:01


Originally Posted by Fleabus (Post 4801709)
The old N frames just appeal to me. When I was younger I
let several go, usually for money reasons. Passed a 4 inch
python and diamondback and others on the alter of supporting my wifes college degrees. Now I collect when
I find a deal once and while.
Mainer if you do find an older box of 50s ish period 38 sp old round you go let go let me know.
Finding a set of late 40s to mid 60s produced diamond
magna grips in great shape is the next fun search
in my current effort..
Best Randy..

I have not forgotten, but I'm not having any luck finding that old box of 38's either. I'll keep looking, but running out of stash hiding options. :confused:

Fleabus November 05, 2019 10:21

Its the thought that counts. I really appreciate looking
for the boxes. We had a rare gunshow last weekend
here in town. Nothing to see really but by luck
one older gentleman had some few period Kleanbore
Rem police marked LRN boxes by chance and I got
the nice condition one he had for 10 bucks with 4
cartridges left in it.. So I have a least a box to represent
the revolver. If they do turn up Id love to have one or 2.
Be happy to pay for them..
My Best to You, Randy...

Fleabus November 08, 2019 20:47

In the meantime of aquiring a period set of nice
diamond magna grips I commissioned Patrick
Grashorn of Grashorn Grips to create a set of
bone grips for the 38/44. He has done a set for
24-3 3inch snub 44 sp that look great and a set
for a 539 9mm the set the blue finish off well.
They arrived and look great on the blued n frame.
I sourced a n frame Tyler T grip adapter a while back
to ck it out with the grips.
Hopely soon the weather will co-operate to ck it
Best, Randy..

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