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Hello my name is Bryce, and I was recently handed down my Great Uncle's p38 ac45. It was just the frame and magazine though. The frame has the eagle over 359 on the side and no serial number. I'm looking to restore the gun back to its original state so it can finally again be in my family fully there. I am looking for all the bits and pieces from the barrel all the way to the magazine catch. If anyone has any info on where I can buy all these pieces it would be terrific. I've done all my research and looked at every ad and website that I could find. So far no luck. Really looking forward to a response. Thank you.
 

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There are two possibilities:

1) Somebody filed or ground off the serial number. This would be fairly easy to see.

2) Your great-uncle found an unnumbered frame and brought it home. You can't "restore it to its original state" because it was never complete to begin with.

M
 

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The good news here is that if it's an un-numbered AC45 frame, it's obviously pre-1968 and a serial number is not required in the US for firearms made prior to 1968, so you could acquire the parts needed to finish it and have a legal to own and shoot P.38.

There's also a somewhat murky ATF provision that allows individuals to build firearms for their personal use that do not require serial numbers. Since 1968, firearms without a serial number cannot be built for sale, but they can be sold by the maker after a reasonable period of use. That's the murky, legal minefield issue as the ATF is more or less the entity that might determine the original intent was to eventually sell it. Fortunately with the AC 45 frame marking you really don't have to go there.

On the other hand, if the serial number has been ground off, that's a legal issue as it's not legal to remove or deface the serial number on a firearm. What constitutes removing or defacing a serial has however varied a bit over the years.

For example, some square butt to round butt S&W revolver conversions resulted in part of the serial number being removed when the butt of the grip frame was re-contoured. These revolvers were then re-numbered elsewhere on the grip frame and ATF never batted an eye. Now, I'm not so sure that would be the case.
 
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