Inside A Smith & Wesson

New Departure Safety Hammerless

.38 S&W 4th Model

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Inside The Smith & Wesson New Departure

Safety Hammerless  Revolver

--.38 S&W 4th Model--

Updated 09/01/22

The following articles approach this Safety Hammerless revolver from two different angles.  Both presented on seperate web pages using the links below.  One using graphic and descriptive representations of how this model functions internally and the other presents reasoning as to why this particular speciman ended up in this final configuration.

The revolver described and pictured in this article is in well used and is barely into what I consider NRA antique firearm FINE condition.  It has seen a lot of use and although worn from that usage, was well taken care of for most of its life.  S&W New Departure Safety Hammerless revolver #144954 is a 4th Model manufactured about 1904.  The pistol retains approximately 40% of its original factory bluing.  The barrel bore and cylinder chambers are both near pristine.

This Top Break revolver has yet to receive a factory letter although it has been applied for.  Here are the current specifics: 1 ½” barrel.  1 9/16” cylinder length.  Serial #144954 is on the frame, cylinder, and barrel lock.  The black factory grips are retained.  When the factory barrel length was shortened, a Baughman Ramp type front sight blade was configured and installed.  The work appears to have occured a long time ago but was completed by an experienced machinist/gunsmith.

While the article will discuss only this example, some historical background on this type revolver is needed to understand where this specific gun falls into the lineage for New Departure firearms.

From: Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson
.38 Safety Hammerless Revolvers (1)

".38 Safety Hammerless 1st Model ("Z-bar")……….manufactured ca. 1887"
".38 Safety Hammerless 2nd Model ……….manufactured ca. 1887-1890"
".38 Safety Hammerless 3rd Model ……….manufactured ca. 1890-1898"
".38 Safety Hammerless 4th Model ……….manufactured ca. 1898-1907"
".38 Safety Hammerless 5th Model ……….manufactured ca. 1807-1940"

(1) Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, by Jim Supica & Richard Hahas, 3rd Additon, 2006, Gun Digest Books, pages 85-87

This link: "Inside This S&W Safety Hammerless" directs you to images and a discussion about how the revolver functions.

This link: "S&W New Departure Safety Hammerless 38 Snub Nose" directs you to my conclusions concerning how this particular revolver came to its current configuration.

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Copyright: Bruce Varner, 1972 - 2022