Analysis of a Victory
US Navy marked Smith & Wesson M&P.This revolver is presented for auction as an original finish gun in the seller's opinion. It clearly is not. It has a parkerized finish, which also covers the ejector rod and most likely the extractor (which the seller is careful not to show.) Original finish Victory revolvers have blued extractors and ejector rods. The original finish of these revolvers was not parkerizing.
This is not a "Victory" model.
Frame serial number: 969XXX
Parkerized finish that looks near mint. Based of the sharp clear lettering, in my opinion, this is the original finish.
This gun looks unfired (but it has been) and I think it would be very hard to upgrade. As with all military weapons they do get test ("proof") fired.
BARREL: 4". Rifling appears to be sharp with no pitting (bore is dirty, could use a good cleaning). Marked "38 S.& W. SPECIAL CTG" on the right side, "SMITH & WESSION" [sic] on the left side and a two line address with patent dates on top. No import marks.
FRAME: Marked "PROPERTY U.S. NAVY" on the left side under the cylinder release latch and the right side has the S&W logo with "MADE IN U.S.A." No import marks.
SERIAL NUMBERS: matching on the grips (stamped into the wood), butt and cylinder. Assemble numbers matching on the crane and frame. This is all as it should be.
Hammer, trigger and lanyard ring are case colored.
Matching numbers on the butt, cylinder, barrel, grips and extractor rod.
Matching numbers on the frame and the crane.
The Property of US Navy marking on the left of the frame is interesting. These markings were applied by the US Navy, after receipt of the revolver, resulting in a damaged finish. The letters were often filled with red paint, as shown at right, to prevent rust in the bare metal at the bottom of the stamping. The commonly used red paint led to the moniker "Red Navy Victory" among collectors. This mark is also perhaps the most commonly faked marking among S&W revolvers. Finding this marking filled with parkerizing is a certain indication of a refinish.
The seller hedges his bets, stating his offering is a "US Navy marked Smith & Wesson M&P" True enough, but marked by who? He goes on to state "This is not a "Victory" model." Again, true enough. He even states it is parkerized. It appears to me this seller is guarding against a return on the gun, banking on the buyer's enthusiasm and ignorance at the time of the transaction.
The seller claims a serial number of 965XXX, and states that the grips match. There, the serial number can be discerned. 965675. Only Roy Jinks can say for certain whether this revolver shipped from Springfield to the US Navy, but since the seller gave his opinion on it's authenticity, I'll give mine. It didn't. Someone at sometime though, wanted to make it appear as though it did.
Postscript: The auctioned revolver went for $717.00.