Year of Manufacture on S&W K frames


April 27, 2007, 06:42 PM
I have two S&W K frame revolvers and was hopeing to find out how old they are. The first is a 22LR revolver. It does not have a model number. It is a 4 in blue with adjustable sights. It has a target hammer and standard grooved trigger. It has a grooved ramped front sight that is held on by two pins. It is a 5 screw frame. The S&W seal is on the right side and four line markings on the front of the frame. The serial number is K198xxx.
The second is a 15-4 38 Spec. The serial number on it is AJL71xx. Thanks.

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April 27, 2007, 06:51 PM
My Blue Book does not give serial number ranges for S&Ws. Your .22 might be a Model 17 (K-22), but I'll have to defer to the experts for a year of mfg.

Navy Vet & SWIFT Boat OIC

April 27, 2007, 08:08 PM
K198XXX - 1953, from your description I'd think it was a K-22 Combat Masterpiece, that became the Model 18 when Smith started numbering models.

AJL71XX - if its a 15-4 it should have been made between 1977 - 1982, but that serial prefix seem to indicate a little latter production.

April 28, 2007, 12:37 PM
Combat Masterpiece .22 info above is correct. All K frames with target sights were serialed with a K prefix until 1982 when S&W went with the 3-letter system. That AJL gun is from the mid to late 1980s.

April 28, 2007, 02:00 PM
I agree that prefix SN should be mid - late 80's, but the 15-5 was introduced in '82, he says its a 15-4, so is it possible Smith the had the older frames serialed after the engineering change? I guess only a letter would tell.

April 28, 2007, 09:13 PM
Thanks for all the info guys. That little 22 was rough. I found it in a pawn shop for $125. A hour of cleaning and at least the cylinder will turn. The oil inside had varnished up. It had a light coat of rust, but no pitting. Should I have it refinished or leave it alone?

April 29, 2007, 11:55 AM
As you describe the condition I think its safe to say its not a revolver that is going to be of much interest to collectors, so its not going to lose any more value by having it refinished. So if you want it to look good, have it reblued, but find someone that does quality work - I've learned through hard experience that a lot of guys know how to blue a gun but don't know, or won't, take the time to do the prep work of correctly polishing it beforehand. About 10 years ago I had a nice but well worn .38-44 HD reblued locally, the "gunsmith" almost buffed the S&W logo off along with the lettering on the barrel. You will probably end up paying $250 to get a decent reblue, so you'll have what, $375 total in it. You may or may not get that back out of it if you go to sell it, I wouldn't pay that much for a refinished Pre-18 but it wouldn't suprise me if it went for that.

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