December 24, 2006, 12:10 PM
:cool: I tried this on the S&W Forum with no response. So, I'll try here.

How rare is the S&W 642-1? I just picked up a nice used one for $300.00 in excellent shape (no lock but MIM trigger). A friend said that this variation was made for one year only, in 1996, before they changed to the 642-2, with MIM parts and locks.

Any info is appreciated.

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December 24, 2006, 01:20 PM
I don't know all that much (the S&W Forum guys are the S&W experts) but I am under the impression that the internal lock thing started in 2000.

There are tons of 642 fans on this site, too. Someone will be along with the answer soon.

Old Fuff
December 24, 2006, 03:06 PM
This was a time of transition:

The 642-1 was reintroduced in 1996; built on a J-Magnum frame, but chambered in .38 Special and authorized to use Plus-P ammunition. Early production had MIM hammers but regular triggers. Later production had all MIM lockwork. During 1997 they added the lock.

I don't know that they are rare, but are scarce - and in big demand by those that detest the lock.

December 24, 2006, 03:56 PM
Thanks, Fuff...
Now I have to start kicking myself in the rear for not grabbing that no-lock 642 I saw at the gun show a couple months ago...

I wanted a no-lock 342 (or 642), but almost never see them.

I eyeballed that one, walked on, and didn't come back :banghead:

Old Fuff
December 24, 2006, 08:22 PM
Keep in mind that the model 642 (no dash) was introduced in 1990, and built on the standard model 42 (aluminum) frame with a stainless steel cylinder and barrel. They were not rated for use with Plus-P ammunition, but had steel lockwork and no lock. They were discontinued sometime in 1992, or more likely, 1993.

Your choice sort of depends, what's more important - Non MIM lockwork and no lock, or Plus-P certification.

Some time back I saw a no-lock 342 NIB on one of the auctions. It want for $600 +

Cocked & Locked
December 25, 2006, 01:02 AM
Here's a pic of my 642-1 marked gun that I bought new in early 1997. It is not +P rated like some 642-1's are. The barrel is not stamped +P and the instruction manual does not rate it for +P...but the manual does not list a -1 version, just the 642 no dash.

A phone call a few years ago to S&W resulted in an answer of, "...don't shoot +p ammo in it. It's too old".



Old Fuff
December 25, 2006, 09:30 AM
Cocked & Locked:

So we live and learn - the 642-1 series were supposed to be rated for Plus-P.

If you would, please post a partial serial number (use xx for the last 2 numbers) and we'll see what we might find out. When it was bought isn't so important as when it was made or shipped.

December 25, 2006, 10:03 AM
I shoot +P ammo in a 442 and 642-0 without problems. However, they're not rated for a steady diet of the stuff. Now and again is fine, routinely is not!

Cocked & Locked
December 25, 2006, 10:14 AM
After pulling the sales receipt and checking the date, I actually bought this 642-1 on 10-28-97...not early in '97 as I previously stated, but late '97.

The serial number is CBY34XX. My copy of the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson indicates CBN prefix serial number guns shipped in August of '97 and that CCD prefix serial numbers shipped in October of '97.

So, according to THE BOOK, my CBY gun would have shipped in the time frame of somewhere between those dates of August - October of 1997.

Of course as we know with S&W's, the only real way to determine an actual exact ship date for a specific handgun is to have that info in a S&W Factory Letter from Roy Jinks.

As an example, I've got a factory lettered 29-2 nickel and blue "Pinto" that according to the factory letter, shipped several years after other guns in that serial number range are catalogued to have shipped.

Lot's of people have told me there was no way I have a 642-1 in the J-magnum frame that is not +P rated, and that I was crazy as no such gun was made. :scrutiny:

Old Fuff
December 25, 2006, 10:44 AM
I can't tell from your picture, but look at the back of the trigger and see if it's hollow or flat. Hollow would indicate MIM and might give an indication of when the revolver was made. I find that the 642-1 series has all kinds of mix & match lockwork, and by late 1997 I would expect one to have the lock. I think that S&W was in the process of using up a lot of previously made parts and/or frames. In this case I suspect an earlier barrel not marked for Plus-P. Why it wasn't rated for Plus-P ammunition I have no idea. Maybe this one might be worth getting lettered by Roy Jinks. I have a feeling that the collector value might exceed that of an ordinary shooter.

December 25, 2006, 11:57 AM
:) My 642-1 has serial number CBU72XX. I took the side plate off and it has an MIM hammer as well as trigger, but no lock. My gun looks exactly like the one in the picture posted; it has no +P stamping on the barrel. I believe the one in the picture has a forged trigger, and not MIM. I thought that I read somewhere that all J-frame with the new "magnum" frames are safe for limited amounts of +P.

Thanks for all the replies.

Cocked & Locked
December 25, 2006, 12:05 PM
Mine definitely has a MIM trigger. I too feel it probably is the J-magnum frame with an older stock barrel. For what it's worth, I do carry it with +P but do not make a practice of shooting +P.

The finish has held up well, especially considering I have carried it almost daily either loose in my pocket or in a Wild Bill's horsehide pocket holster. The vertical mark visible on the frame is from the holster wear.

December 25, 2006, 03:49 PM
NIM parts, +P rated, finish was flaking off when I bought it.

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