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S&W experts?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by ronin.45, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    A friend of mine just picked up a 4h model safety hammerless in .38S&W. He wants to get nice grips for it. What frame size is it? Is it the same as a J? Can J frame grips be modified to fit? Is it a unique obsolete frame that nobody makes grips for? If its unique, are there any grips being made?

    Any help is appreciated!
  2. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Oct 11, 2004
    Avondale, AZ.

  3. pennlineman


    Feb 16, 2009
    Interesting question. So I did some digging. Your friends 4th model was made between 1898 and 1907. The 5th model continued on to 1940. From what I've been able to find out is that these grips are the same as those on the old I frames. Which is good news. The I frame inturn was improved to the J frame around after WWII to handle the longer 38 spl. The J frame grip was lengthened about 1/8th of an inch.

    So the short answer would be any of the older grips that came off of an I frame should work without modification. The newer J frame grips should work but will have to be shortened about 1/8". Use the round butt grips, not the square butt.

    This is not knowledge based off of experience, only what I've been able to research. I would try to borrow a set of modern J frames grips to see how they fit before buying anything.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  4. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    Thanks guys! I'll let him know.
  5. Now assuming you don't already know make sure he knows that the .38 S&W is not the same chambering as the .38 S&W Special a.k.a. .38 spl. The .38 S&W is an older weaker blackpowder cartridge I believe is also referred to as the 38/200 by the british. Just wanted to put it out there if it wasn't already known.

    I knew a guy a few years back who bought an old Victory model thinking it was a .38 spl and was shocked as hell when I had to explain to him what he had.
  6. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    He is aware of the difference. He is getting reloading dies for it.