The British Victory Model
Commonly called "British Victories" by some, the revolvers shipped to our future allies are more properly referred to as Smith & Wesson Model K-200 or .38/200 British Service Revolvers. Like the Victory Models later issued to American troops, the K-200 was a Model of 1905 with a rougher, sandblast blue finish, although early models received a polished or brushed blue finish. Most sported plain walnut grips, but some early K-200s had checkered grips. Unlike the US version, the K-200 had a five inch barrel, and was chambered in .38 S&W, a shorter cartridge, slightly larger in diameter than the ubiquitous .38 special. On the butt was a pivoting lanyard ring. In addition to being stamped "US Property" on the top strap, the British Service Revolvers have British proof marks as well as the occasional proof marks of other countries. Some even had "Not Made In England" stamped into their frames, in spite of a corresponding "Made In USA" rollmark from Smith & Wesson.
After the war, Great Britain disarmed, and many of the revolvers were returned to the United States as surplus over the years. Sadly, quite a few of them were converted to .38 special by reaming out the chambers. Alas, the chambers were too large in diameter for the .38 special, and ruptured shell casings were commonplace on firing them after this conversion.
In addition to the rechambering, some were butchered even further, receiving new ramped front sights on chopped barrels, and a chrome finish to make them more attractive to the US market. The returning K-200s were sold for between $25 and $35. Today, unmolested examples in Very Good to Excellent condition often command prices between $375 and $500. Original accessories can drive the price up a bit more.
I still hope to find a K-200 in unmolested form, as well as a pimped up, chopped and chromed version for a fair price. Somehow, I think I had better buy while the buying is good.