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I inherited this from my dad. It's been passed down a couple times already but originated from his great-grandfather. The gun was originally bought in Chezch (sp) and was brought over to the states from there when he moved in the 190x's.

If anyone knows what it is and what it's worth, I'd be HAPPY t know something about it. I think it's really a beautiful gun but I know nothing more about it.



There are also more pictures including close ups of different parts of the gun from different angles HERE
 

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Do you know what caliber it is? That's real old school craftsmanship there!
 

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38 Smith and Wesson. It has on the top of the barrel also, Empire State Arms Co. I did some research and found that that was a name used by Crescent Firearms. I'd still like to know if it is something that was sold here int he states or overseas only. And an about how much it might be worth.
 

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Obviously patterned on the top break Smiths and probably from around turn of the century, but I'm no gun historian.
 

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I was told that the 38 SW cartridge was like a 38, but smaller. I do know that the 38 spl round will not fit in the barrel. If it did, it would be to long to be functional.
 

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Flyer said:
I was told that the 38 SW cartridge was like a 38, but smaller. I do know that the 38 spl round will not fit in the barrel. If it did, it would be to long to be functional.
According to the Speer #11 manual....

The .38 S&W is one of the oldest American handgun cartridges still in production. Smith and Wesson introduced it in a hinged frame revolver in 1877. Over the years, revolvers for it have been made by a number of US firms, most of whom have long been out of existence. Spain and some other Spanish speaking countries have used it, although it has seen little use by other than countries on the European Continent. Britain adopted it as a service cartridge prior to WW2 and it has been used in most other countries under British influence.

Both Remington and Winchester still load the .38 S&W (this book is copywrited 20 years ago) with a 146 grain lead bullet. Over the years, it has been known by several other names including .38 New Colt Police, .38 Super Police, and .38/200.

The .38 S&W was once a popular cartridge that found much of its appeal in the small break open pocket revolvers chambered for it. As a defense round it is only slightly less powerful than the .38 Special in its several standard loadings and it is superior to most .32s.

The typical .38 S&W revolver had a small hinged frame, 5 chambered cylinder, and 3-4" barrel. It was light and easy to carry in one's pocket, but at best the hinged frame was not too strong. Locking parts commonly were small and frail. They tended to wear rapidly and in such condition may permit the gun to fly open on firing. This is a most disconcerting and potentially dangerous occurrence. Some of these break open revolvers were not even safe when new. This applies to many of the US makes as well as a lot of foreign makes. For safety's sake, all hinged frame revolvers made prior to WW2 should be regarded as relics of a bygone era and placed in honored retirement. The .38 S&W sees little use and is fast fading into obsolescence.

The .38 S&W case is larger diameter than the .38 Special and they should not be shortened and substituted for them. They will nearly always split upon firing.

Maximum working pressure for the .38 S&W is 14,900 CUP.
I left out non-relevant text.
 

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I had a twin to this... except for the engraving. Don't plan on shooting it, they are pretty fragile guns with the top lock system. Evidently they were designed as pocket guns... I'm guessing the precursor to the Saturday Night Special. Yours has some historical value, so enjoy it. I bought mine for $10 from a police sale of guns used in crimes... someone had ground off the original serial numbers and the police had stamped new numbers on the frame. I bought it on a lark... finally found a box of .38 S&W and I seem to remember having to punch out the hulls from the chambers after it fired. I tried reloading it with black powder since I had the dies for the .357 (which also is the a .38 S&W case stretched) so I could also reload the .38 and at the time was casting bullets. It never worked well and I can't remember how I disposed of it, but was only good for one thing... and the police should have ground it up instead of selling it.

Now that REALLY dates things... it's been a long time since police departments have sold inventory of guns used in crimes, they just melt them down I think.
 

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It's been far too long ago to remember. The one I had was sort of chromed... and it was flaking and had plastic type ivory grips which has been wrapped with electrical tape because of some nicks... it was a very rough gun. But I remember the shape and the type. Sorry.
 

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Forehand & Wadswor and Merwin and Hulbert also made revolvers along that pattern. Looks like one of them could have made that particular revolver. Gun Traders Guide says that values are in the same ballpark as Harrington and Richardson revolvers. Not much over $150 to $200 for very good or even excellent specimens. Engraving and other embellishments would add some extra value. Any markings at all on that example or numbers of any kind?
 

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Check out the pics in the link I put in the initial post. There are some really good detailed pics of them. Fair warning though ... they are HUGE!

This one is stamped with Empire State Arms, which I believe was produced by Interarms once upon a time.
 

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Maybe I am off on this, but Interarms in the states was an importer. Are you saying the gun company or dealer was also called that?All of Interarms guns in the USA were imported. I haven't found anything through the library on Interarms or the other names or markings you have told us about. Smith & Wesson had a factory over in England that made that model you have and gave it another name instead of the American version built by S&W here in the States at the same time. The factory in England couldn't compete with the indigenous revolvers and closed down prematurely. So the markings and names on the revolver should be from there. There were also unlicensed built ripoffs of S&W revolvers built in Europe as well. Our British brethren might be able to shed some light on this. At www.gunboards.com there are several boards just for English firearms and connect with our fellow shooters over in Blighty Old England. Might be worth a trip over there via the net and ask.
 

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The MFG name on the top of the barrel is Empire State Arms. I read something somewhere that it was a division of InterArms. From what I'm told, this gun originated in Chezk (spelling) and journeyed from there over here sometime around the early 191x's or late 190x's.
 

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That spelling suspiciously sounds like a Czecheslovokian spelling.Might be the forerunner of BRNO or a related Czech arms maker. There were a few others than CZ itself prior to WWII. It would be a place to start.Parts could be Europeon and assembled here. That did happen. Will look on an old Bannerman catalog copy I have.Since it is a copy or model put out by S&W a call or e-mail to the S&W historian, Roy Jinks, might get you a clue or info.He's user friendly and will normally bend over backwards to requests. His staff is also pretty good. Usually there are armorer,acceptance,arsenal rebuild, or military cartouches stamped some where on the firearm.
 

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Interarms had nothing to do with this gun. It was made long before Interarms existed. I'm on dial-up, so I can't look at the pictures right now. I'll look from home and see what I can tell you.
Bill
 

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I don't think this gun has ever seen Czechoslovakia. It appears to be American made. Hopkins & Allen, Harrington & Richardson, Iver Johnson, and several others made guns like this. I see no foreign proof marks. "Empire State" means New York.
Bill
 

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Interesting thought ... perfaps the story got lengthened as it aged.
 

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http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=8308822

This has more information. Looks like you have a "high grade" model.

BTW, Cimarron, I really dislike the term "Saturday Night Special." Think you might try using something with less racist roots and popular with the anti-gun crowd? For what it's worth, inexpensive revolvers like this one were commonly deemed "Suicide Specials" back in their day, their low cost leading the control freaks of that time to opine that someone contemplating suicide would purposely choose something of low power like this to do themselves in.

ECS
 

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If it doesn't have any serial number guns you might be out of luck but if it has english writing on it then there's a good chance it was produced in america, or U.K. this looks like a copy of a Smith and Wesson or HR, there was a period of time when everyone was copying their pistols just like everyone is producing a 1911 and AR-15. I'd head over to ArmsCollectors.com and there is a page devoted to these types of pistols. I found out what year my HR topbreak was made, odds are there is someone whose heard of that brand, and can tell you more information about it than you would ever want to know .
 
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