While looking for a nameless 7.65 Browning pistol, suggested to me by a friend…
The pistol was post WW2, making it a bit too new for my collection. But I did see and purchase a revolver chambered in the widespread and common caliber of .38 Special. It is as the title describes.
This particular revolver has a two inch barrel. This configuration was intended for plain clothes police under the reasoning it would be easier to hide. In my experience, they are no easier to hide than a four inch. But the short version is far more cool. All the private eyes in the 1950s and ’60s television shows carried this revolver.
The revolver is in pretty good shape. When found it was a bit rusty – but only on the surface, and was terribly filthy. I know how to clean.
The rust was all superficial. There were spots of rust on the barrel and top strap. A combination of oil (I use penetrating oil/lubricant) and very fine steel wool will remove the rust spots without damaging the bluing underneath. Then the arm was detail stripped and the major parts were run through a sonic cleaner. Following that, I used WD-40 (the WD stands for ‘water displacement’) and wiped everything with a clean rag (shop rag).
Upon examination, there is no holster wear. So it was not carried in a holster for any length of time. The rust spots noted are most likely the result of being kept in a drawer of the chest of drawers so common in homes. Some dampness found a way in. The stocks have some bumps. they are used. (Upon reflection, the stocks are more beat up than the metal parts.) They are the original stocks by the way. (S&W numbered stocks on the inside bottom of the right piece.)
The photos show the rust spots. This is after cleaning and removing the rust. (Next time I’ll photograph prior to the process.) (Yes, I should make the photos of such things more uniform. I’ll work on it.) It’s really not bad at all.
As much as I like the S&W revolver, I do have two criticisms. One is the horrible short extractor throw on the two inch versions (only gets about half of a .38 Special cartridge out). The second gripe I have is the stocks are designed for persons with malformed hands. The middle finger does not belong behind the index finger.
The short extractor rod is what fits on a two-inch barreled K frame. (A common alteration was to shorten a four inch ‘pencil barrel’ to three inches, remounting the front sight, allowing for a full throw.) Also when this feature (the two inch barrel) was added, users were expected to actually hit the target or adversary seriously within the first six rounds. Not firing ten or twelve wild shots into the air. But I digress…
In the old days, when these were in production, I would replace the stocks with a suitable aftermarket product. Pachmayr grips were very popular, and I must admit they are comfortable and very utile. However, I preferred Herrett Shooting Star grips. (I was a snob then as well. Herrett grips are comfortable and very utile AND rather handsome. However, this is not the old days and these grips have the diamond around the stock screw, so I am not going to replace them. I’ve ordered a Tyler T-grip. An excellent way to make a revolver much handier and not increase bulk; only increases weight about an ounce.
Speaking of weight, the revolver weighs one pound, twelve ounces, unloaded. It will fit in most trouser front pockets and not sag. It is just heavy enough to allow most any sensible (not over loaded) ammunition and control doing so.
Trigger pull is good to excellent. Using a Wheeler electronic trigger scale, the single action breaks at 3 pounds, 11 ounces: double action requires 10 pounds, 11 ounces. The single action is crisp and free of creep. The double action is smooth and uniform all the way and the hammer releases instantly without ‘jump’ of the arm. One of the nicest double action pulls I’ve found without a revolver ‘smith working on it.
I am waiting the T-grip to arrive to shoot this.
As yet, I’ve not decided to put this revolver in my selection of carry handguns. But all my modern handguns are on the possible list; hence the T-grip coming. And I have appropriate ammunition.