By Bob Walsh
The Gun of the Week this time around is the Smith and Wesson Outdoorsman revolver.
This is a large N-frame six shot revolver with a 6 ½ inch barrel. It is chambered for the .38/44 cartridge, which was the .357 magnum of its time. It is a heavily loaded .38 special with more oomph than it was thought the smaller K-frame guns were capable of dealing with it. In fact once the .357 magnum became available a lot of people had the cylinders reamed out to take the new cartridge.
These weapons were made from 1930 thru 1941, and again briefly after the way. This particular one was made in 1938. They have an excellent adjustable sight with a very good sight picture.
The original .38/44 load was a 158 grain hard alloy lead bullet with a copper tip designed to penetrate body armor of the day and automobile bodies. It left the muzzle at 1,125 fps compared to the normal .38 special which pushed a 158 grain lead bullet at 755 fps.
As time went by they were offered with a 4 inch barrel as well. They were available blued or nickeled.
This particular one is in very nice shape and is almost certain a re-blue. It has a very smooth trigger and shoots nicely, much better than I can hold. It is one of my favorite revolvers. Besides it just looks cool.