Quantcast The .38-Caliber Revolver

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You will find the .38-cal. S&W revolver (fig. 3-18) in some ships and ashore armories where it is used by personnel assigned to guard or police duties. Because it is lighter than the .45-cal. pistol, the .38-cal. revolver is frequently issued by flight personnel. This weapon has about the same maximum and effective ranges (1,600 and 50 yards, respectively) as the .45-cal. pistol. Figure 3-19 shows the revolver disassembled to the extent usually required for normal care.


In this discussion, operation of the revolver is limited to loading, firing, and unloading. To load the revolver, swing the cylinder out by pushing forward on the thumbpiece and applying a little pressure on the right side of the cylinder. The thumbpiece will not release the cylinder if the hammer is cocked


The cylinder should not be flipped out sharply because this can cause the crane to be bent, throwing the cylinder out of timing and/or alignment.

Insert a round in each of the six chambers of the cylinder and swing the cylinder back into position. The weapon is now loaded and ready to be fired.

This revolver can be fired by single or double action. For single-action firing, the hammer is pulled back with the thumb to the full-cock position for each round. This

Figure 3-17.-Removing the barrel from the slide.

Figure 3-18.-.38-cal. special Smith and Wesson revolver: A. Left side-(1) thumbpiece (cylinder release), (2) stock screw, (3) stock, B. Right side-(1 and 2) side-plate screws, (3) side plate, (4) stock.

action also rotates the cylinder. The hammer is held in the cocked position by the sear until released by the trigger. In double-action firing, pulling the trigger causes the hammer to be raised to nearly its full-cock position. The hammer strut will then escape the trigger, and the spring-loaded hammer will fall and strike the cartridge. In double-action firing, the cylinder is rotated by pulling the trigger. Since it requires considerably less trigger pull for single action, this method should produce better accuracy.

The empty cartridges are ejected by swinging out the cylinder to the left and pushing the ejector plunger toward the rear of the cylinder. There are two built-in safeties on this revolver-the hammer block and the rebound slide. 'The hammer block prevents the hammer from going far enough forward to strike the cartridge primer when both the hammer and the trigger are in the forward or uncocked position. Thus, if the revolver were dropped or otherwise struck on the hammer, the round would not be freed. The rebound slide actuates the hammer block to prevent the hammer from traveling far enough to strike the primer should the hammer slip from the thumb while being manully cocked.

Figure 3-19.-.38-cal. Smith and Wesson revolver, completely disassembled.

Disassembly and Assembly

To disassemble the revolver, do the following:

1. Remove the stock screws and liftoff the stocks. (See fig. 3-18.)

2. Push forward on the thumbpiece (No. 1 in fig. 3-18, view A), which actuates the cylinder latch, and swing the cylinder out to the left. With a small screwdriver, remove the side-plate screw (No. 1 in fig. 3-18, view B) located directly under the cylinder. This screw retains the crane (or yoke) of the cylinder and ejector group.

3. Remove the cylinder and ejector group by pulling the ejector forward.

4. Remove the three remaining side-plate screws (No. 2 in fig. 3-18, view B).

5. Remove the side plate. (Do not use excessive force.)

6. If the revolver has a hammer block that fits over a pin in the rebound slide, remove the hammer block If the revolver has the type of hammer block that is staked to the side plate (early models), removal is not required.

To reassemble the weapon, if the hammer block has been removed, place the hole in the hammer block over the hammer block pin (No. 12 in fig. 3-19) so that the L projection of the hammer block will fit between the hammer and the frame. Assemble the side plate, making sure the hammer block fits in the recess in the side plate (do not force). Install the remaining parts, following the reverse order of disassembly.

For further information on the .38-cal. revolver, refer to the U.S. Army TM 9-1005-206-14&P-l.


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