The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

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NVGdude
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The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby NVGdude » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:23 am

Well, I finally found one. What may be the "Holy Grail" for Dan Wesson aficionados, the 5 shot Dan Wesson Snub Nosed revolver.

Dan Wesson has been in and out of business several times. (They are currently a wholly owned subsidiary of CZ-USA) The reason is, that despite an excellent product, DW was plagued by bad business decisions, or perhaps charitably what could be called "right decisions at the wrong time".

In the 80's, when the hot item was high capacity 9mm self-loading pistols, Dan Wesson concentrated on marketing .357 revolvers.

In the 90's when state after state was adding right to carry CCW laws, Dan Wesson concentrated on marketing extra-large framed revolvers for Silhouette shooting. (and stopped making small carry revolvers)

In the 00's, when companies such as Smith and Wesson were busy introducing new large framed revolvers, DW decided to enter the very crowded 1911 market.

Now the DW .357 Revolvers are very good revolvers. At roughly midway between a Smith K and L frame they are as robust as an L frame, and handle almost as well as a K frame. Their tensioned barrel means they can outshoot almost any Smith product, and their modular nature makes them far more versatile.

The .445 Supermag (a lengthened .44 magnum) was introduced as metallic silhouette shooting was loosing it's popularity. It's actually far to powerful for silhouette, .44 mag and .357 Maximum are sufficient to the task. It's an incredible hunting cartridge though, with greater penetration, ballistic coefficient, and retained energy than the .454 Casul.

The DW 1911 series is frankly very good, but lets face it, it's a pretty crowded field right now. ( I still want a Dan Wesson 10mm Bobtail Commander though)

All of these products were simply cursed by being introduced or marketed at the wrong time.

In my opinion though, their greatest business failing was when they discontinued their snub offering, again, ironically, just as states were passing pro carry legislation.

The Dan Wesson Model 38P was a 5 shot snub nosed revolver, essentially the same size as a Smith and Wesson J frame. As with standard DW nomenclature a 7 in front of the model number indicates a Stainless Steel gun. (Smith uses a 6 for this purpose, obviously 7 is one better than 6)

Now, on a Smith, you look under the crane to determine the model number, on a Dan Wesson, you need to look in the catalog, as the model number is nowhere on the firearm itself. As a result, the 38P/738P earned a variety of nicknames and was generally (and affectionately) referred to as the "Little Dan" or "Lil' Dan" revolver.

The lil' Dan is actually a fairly rare little piece. I have only ever seen one example in the flesh, and seen a total of two ever offered for sale. Because of it's rarity, I know a good number of folks who actually doubt its existence.

Values tend to be fairly low, both because the Dan Wesson name is not that well known, and because the primary buyer for such a piece would be someone who already owns a Dan Wesson revolver, and wants a matching CCW, (identical controls and all that)

I can say for certain however that the lil' Dan does in point of fact exist, and offer the following as photographic evidence. In the first picture one can see the forward mounted cylinder lock that DW was known for. The second image, though somewhat out of focus, shows the nut for the removable barrel and shroud that the Dan Wesson is famous for.

Image

Image

One of the AZ folks posted it to our local board last night, and I jumped on it before any of the other jackals could beat me to it.

This one is the stainless version (i.e. the 738P). The blued version (the 38P) is even harder to find. Oh, and the Wife has already claimed it as hers. Ah well...

Anyone else have one of these?

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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby clyde621 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:04 am

Very Nice. Nope I haven't seen one around either. Wear well and be sure to give a range report on it. ;)
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Combat Controller
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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby Combat Controller » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:39 pm

Nice! Now does the barrel swap with my regular Dan Wesson? If so, you need an 8 inch barrel to go with that puppy!
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NVGdude
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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby NVGdude » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:39 am

CombatController wrote:Nice! Now does the barrel swap with my regular Dan Wesson? If so, you need an 8 inch barrel to go with that puppy!


Negative, I just checked. Barrels for the Model 15 don't fit. Threads are the same pitch, the the actual barrel OD is different. The barrel steel on the .357 is thicker. (otherwise I'd take a picture with an 8" full underlug :mrgreen: )

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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby Combat Controller » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:18 am

Bummer, that would have been cool. I bet spare barrels are rare. Unless there are some unsold at Dan Wesson right now?
Winner of the prestigious Автомат Калашникова образца 1947 года award for excellence in rural travel.

rebel

Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby rebel » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:58 pm

i just bought one of these for 200.00 and had the numbers ran by police i didnt know if it was a good deal or not. have photos if any one wants them

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NVGdude
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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby NVGdude » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:10 am

rebel wrote:i just bought one of these for 200.00 and had the numbers ran by police i didnt know if it was a good deal or not. have photos if any one wants them


If I'd managed to get one for $200 I'd think it was hot as well. Good buy. You should go over to the Dan Wesson Forum and gloat.

rphanes1

Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby rphanes1 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:26 am

Hi this paul in colorado I just picked up a 738P LiL Dan I read your artical and im looking to get a value on the gun some colector told me because its so clean 650 would be a good price and because ther so rare what do you think Thanks Paul

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NVGdude
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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby NVGdude » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:12 pm

Ask over on the Dan Wesson forum. It's one of those deals where replacement value is going to be much higher than sale value.

They do NOT come up for sale very often, but when they do they do not tend to go for a lot more than a snub nosed Smith.

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Evyl Robot
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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby Evyl Robot » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:28 pm

I'd never heard of such a thing before. Cute little guys, aren't they?

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Re: The Dan Wesson Lil' Dan 738P Revolver

Postby Bob02911 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:29 am

hello guys ,
Wow I have ONE these , I bought it in 1992 or maybe 93 not sure I probably only shot 100 rounds thru it .
I may sell it .
Bob


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