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Posted: 2/11/2002 4:23:23 PM EDT
My father has a Smith and Wesson that he's had for over 30 years. Its a nickle plated revolver 38 special on a 44 magnum frame. It has a 5 inch barrel and black pearl grips. The model number is 5389. On the side it says "38 Smith & Wesson special CTG". He was told that the 38 on the 44 mag frame was rare and their were very few made. One gunsmith told hime he has never seen one before but has heard of them. He also said he has never heard of them being nickle plated, that they were all blued.

Does anyone know anything about this model? I would appriciate any info on this pistol. Thank you.
Link Posted: 2/11/2002 5:48:58 PM EDT
I don't know a lot, but I'll do the best I can.

I believe these revolvers are referred as a 38/44. They were made during the 30's-40's(?) for LEO to handle the high-pressure .38spec loads. I think the number you refer to as a model number is actually the serial number. S&W revolvers didn't get model numbers until the mid-fifties.

I doubt the nickle plating is factory. Same for the pearlite grips. It is a unique pistol but I don't think it's all that rare. They were quite popular with police.

Hope this helps, I'll try to do a little more research.
Link Posted: 2/11/2002 7:31:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/11/2002 7:46:21 PM EDT by 455SD]
Does it look like this?



Or maybe this


Ok. Check out this site-
.38-44
Link Posted: 2/11/2002 8:12:07 PM EDT
This is most likely a S&W 38/44 Heavy Duty. It was introduced in 1930, redesignated as the Model 20 in 1957, and discontinued in 1966.

It was introduced to give LEO’s of the time something better than a regular .38 Special to penetrate vehicles and body armor. It used a souped up .38 Special cartridge initially designated as “38/44 S&W Special”, and later as “.38 S&W Special Hi-Speed” or “.38 S&W Special-X”. Regular .38 Special rounds can be used in it.

Essentially, it was the forerunner of the .357 Magnum.

It was built on the .44 Special frame, not .44 Magnum (which didn’t exist at the time). It was available in both blue and nickel finishes with wood grips. Most commonly it had a 5-inch barrel. It had fixed sights. (There was an adjustable sight version called the 38/44 Outdoorsman, but I think it was only made with a 6 ½ inch barrel.)

It is somewhat uncommon pistol to see nowadays (esp. compared to S&W K-frames), but it is certainly not rare.

It is definitely a well made handgun with an interesting history behind it.
Link Posted: 2/11/2002 8:55:54 PM EDT
I used to have a 38/44 Outdoorsman. An outstanding revolver. Real Quality....Wish I hadn't traded it off...
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