October 3rd 1970 …Thats what the receipt read when I opened the box. Almost 41 years since it was purchased, There is sat in its original box with instructions , receipt from Gell’s Sporting Goods of Detroit Michigan, and the little green “Safety Inspection Card” from the Royal Oak Michigan Police Department. My inheritance from my Grandfathers estate.. a like new Smith & Wesson Model 49 “Bodyguard” chambered in .38 S&W Special. Yes I had other inheritance from the man I only knew to admire while he relaxed in his golden years after years of dealing with the politics of the UAW and Chrysler Corporation, BUT this was rare indeed. My grandfather Richard D. Dembroski was not a “gun guy” I’m betting that before his entry into World War II in 1942 he most likely never owned or shot a gun, So how did this come into his life? Stories is all I know about from my father and my Grandmother before she passed, dealings with angry people who lost their jobs apparently made my Grandfather choose to protect himself and his house with this handy little pocket revolver, instead of relying on the Royal Oak Police Department. More on the shiny steel framed revolver needs to be looked at before we get into the practice range time. In 1970 the Federal Minimum Wage was $1.60 an hour, the receipt from Gell’s shows a cost of $94.78 (tax included) for the pistol and 1 box of 50 rounds of ammo. That equates to 59.23 HOURS of work at the minimum wage, almost a week and a half of some form of manual labor. At today’s cost that is $429.41 ($7.25 and hour as of 2011). The thought of what this would have cost in comparison to other goods is also baffling, BUT to be honest as a General Foreman which he was at the time he was not an minimum wage employee at all. NOW for the good stuff … Pictures and range time .
The 2″ barrel on the .38 S&W special was a bit of a shock to be honest i’d never shot a snub nosed pistol let a lot a double action revolver. First I loaded the pistol up using 5 rounds of American Eagle 130 grain full metal jacket ammunition. Zombie target firmly attached to stand and the firing line hot I eased my thumb onto the concealed hammer and cocked the pistol. Sight picture is terrible on the little gun and it became obvious this was meant to be a conceal carry piece or a pocket gun, no long range with this little guy 7 yards MAX I would say. Slowly squeezing the trigger the hammer fell and the 130 grain bullet went hurdling down the range at 810 feet per second containing 188 foot pounds of energy. Very very noticeable muzzle rise for someone not expecting it to be there . Impact , low hitting the target in the Liver / Diaphragm area , maybe not instantly fatal but would defiantly make an attacker think twice and could be fatal if not treated rather quickly. 4 more slow shots and generally all in the same area. Good enough , maybe not my best marksmanship but seeing as how this was going to be the only time I fire it , I felt confident in the build and quality of the piece. As I cleaned the pistol I felt great , I had reconnected with a piece of my family history , one that I will smile about whenever I show the pistol off. Not many of my gun friends have the connection like I have with a family gun collectable. Enjoy my pictures below , Thanks for letting me chat .