S&W .22 revolver model 34 - How old?


September 20, 2007, 12:41 AM
I bought my wife an anniversary (32 years!) present and gave it to her tonight. It is a nice little Smith & Wesson .22 revolver with a 4" barrel. I was told at the gun store where I bought it that it is a model 34 kit gun but they didn't know how old it is. It seems to be nickel plated and in very nice condition with some type of wood grip, rounded at the back and not square, and has a serial number on the butt of M613xx (I put the xx in the serial number just because I have noticed that others do this but I don't know if that is some type of security measure or what). Any help in helping me to figure out exactly what this handgun is and when it was made would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Ron James
September 20, 2007, 11:19 AM
Serial number sequence M60001 to M99999 was used was1973 to 1977. What is it? I'm not sure what you're asking. It's a J frame Model 34 Kit gun. Originally started production in 1935 as the .22/.32 Kit gun build on an I frame, in 1953-54 it was build on the J frame and picked up the title of Model 34 Kit gun. Officially discontinued in 1994. Made in several barrel lengths and configurations, in MOHO it is one of the best small frame .22's ever build. These small frame revolvers have gone many a mile with many a hunter/fisherman, hiker/camper. I now have the stainless version ( Model 63 ) and it or one of its predecessors have been with me for many a mile. In hunting camp I always bring several boxes of .22 shorts because every one wants to shoot it. Unlike a .22 automatic the M-34 will eat CB's, Shorts , Longs, Long Rifles and CCI snake shot. A very handy little gun.

September 20, 2007, 07:30 PM
I have an identical gun (mine's M624xx, also nickel) and it is a favorite with our novice shooters. They much prefer the Mod. 34 to the heavier K-frame revolvers.

You have selected an outstanding gun. Enjoy.

September 20, 2007, 09:31 PM
Thanks Ron and Starter52! Based on my wife's new gun's serial number being in the very low range of what you specified as being between 1973 and 1977, I'm guessing it was probably made in 1973? If so, that's pretty cool because that is the year my wife and I met back in high school. And are those walnut grips? I picked up a variety of ammo when I bought it. The guy at the store sent me home with standard velocity .22 long rifle lead round nose 40 grain, CB long conical ball .22 long lead round nose 29 grain, high velocity .22 short copper plated round nose, and .22 LR shotshell 31 grain. Did he set me up with everything it can shoot and did he give me the right stuff? He seemed to know what he was talking about. It's great to be able to shoot this wide variety of ammo (and so inexpensive!), although I must admit to not knowing what each of these different cartridges are designed to do (I mean, other than obviously put holes in things). Thanks again and any additonal information would be great because, as I'm sure you can tell, my wife and I are both rookies at this stuff.

September 20, 2007, 09:36 PM
Ooooops!!! Accidental post. Fat fingers! Skip this post .......

September 20, 2007, 09:39 PM
Oh wait, he also sent me out of there with some "CCI .22 LR shotshell 31 grain pest control" for the big rattlers we occasionally run into on our property here in New Mexico. I would leave them alone except my stupid dogs won't!

Ron James
September 21, 2007, 05:41 PM
The CB caps are for close range pest control or tin can killing. Depending on the type of CB's they can contain no powder of in the case of the CB longs a 1/2 grain of powder. They are very quite. In a revolver they sound like a small ladyfinger firecracker (the type you can hold in your hand). You know what the shot shells are for. Just remember it too is short range. If a snake is more than five to ten feet a way just wave good by to it. Because of the rifling in the barrel the shot pattern will have a doughnut effect. The farther away from the target the bigger the hole in the pattern. As far as the rest. Each type of fire arm and sometimes two different firearms of the same make and model will have a preference of ammo, You will have to shoot your revolver with different types until you find that brand that will shoot the most accurate. Hope that helps. BTY my little Smiths always shot very well with Standard velocity Winchester and CCI's

September 21, 2007, 06:31 PM
If you call S&W and ask, they will provide you with the ship date over the phone.

September 21, 2007, 08:59 PM
I've had great luck with CCI target shorts (not plated) in my J-frame revolvers. They are quiet enough that ear muffs aren't really needed.

I would not trust those .22 shotshells to kill a rattlesnake.

September 21, 2007, 10:48 PM
Great info, Ron, thanks! And interesting comment about the rattlesnakes, Starter 52. Would the "CB Long" be a better choice or maybe load three of each in the revolver? And what makes a "CB" get listed as "pest control" in the CCI chart I found online? Is it just the lower velocity than the other cartridges they sold me (CCI Standard Velocity 22 Long Rifle and 22 Short Copper-Plated Round Nose) that makes the "CB's" good at pest control?

Ron James
September 22, 2007, 12:02 AM
CB,s are low velocity, in fact it's been recommended that they not be used in rifles because they may get stuck in the barrels. A fact I never knew until I had fired hundreds of rounds through my Stevens 15A. I live in rattlesnake country, and given a choice between a revolver with standard rounds and a long stick, I would choose the stick, If you don't get him in the head with the first shot you just might make that old snake mad. I have seen experienced handguners miss all six shots, bullets flying all over and the snake just getting madder.:)

September 22, 2007, 12:09 AM
Hmmmm ...... interesting. What about putting six rounds of "22 LR Shotshell" into the snake from the S&W model 34? It seems like that would wreck the snakes day and it would be hard to miss unless a person was too far away.

Johnny Guest
September 22, 2007, 02:35 AM
u-boat, Ron James has provided some very good information. I have personal experience with all the loads you list, and I'd suggest NOT popping a snake with the shotshell. It is for good reason the Winchester loads were called "rat shot." These were specifically for rodent control in barns, granaries, hen houses, and so forth, so they wouldn't overpenetrate, endangering livestock or putting holes in the structure. They do a decent job on mice, but usually require follow-up shots on rats. These rodents have soft skin and thin fur.

If you hit a snake just right, it would probably penetrate at very close range, but this is distinctly iffy. Remember, snakes have rather slick heads, and the dust-like shot (I think it is #12) may simply slide off. You'd be (slightly) better off using the CB caps on snakes. I still wouldn't trust one to kill a large rattler. The little sidewinder or pigmy rattle snake might be a different story, but these are rarer, and even less of a threat.

Do yourself a favor and go out and do some testing. All you need is a few sheets of paper. Go ahead and make a 1-1/2" circle and use that for your aiming point. You'll likely find that at three feet, you have a fairly dense pattern, but it rapidly becomes sparse as you move back. By six feet, you probably see that the pattern is totally ineffective.

I've had a Kit Gun with two-inch barrel for thirty-odd years, and it does a decent job on mice with shotshells. My son's Browning Buckmark with 5-1/2 inch barrel is far less effective. I agree that the increased length of rifled barrel disrupts the pattern. I recently acquired a second Model 34, this one with a four-inch barrel, but haven't tested it with shotshells.

Shoot the .22 shorts in your Kit Gun if you wish, but be sure to clean it throughly afterward. The front end of the chambers lead rapidly with the soft bullets in .22 rinfire ammo, even worse than a .357 chanber fired with .38 Special ammo. As little as two cylindersful of .22 shorts make it difficult to insert .22 LR cartridges into the chambers of my old Kit Gun.

Shotshells can be kinda fun to play with, but their utility is distinctly limited, even in .38 and .44 revolvers, due to the scattered shot pattrerns. Ilong ago decided that I really don't need them. Any snake within the limited range of the shotshells, I can easily head shoot with a solid bullet. If it's any farther out, then it's really no danger to me. Also, shot loads in the chambers make the revolver useless for other, more common field needs.

Congratulations on your nice find. I hope the Kit Gun gives your wife (and you, of course, :D many years of enjoyment. You MAY find it helps to use a black Marks-A-Lot to darken the nickeled front sight. It catches A LOT of that desert sunlight. ;) My Kit Guns are very accurate, and like Federal bulk pack .22 LR hollow points very much.


September 22, 2007, 03:54 AM
Thanks, Johnny! Man, is that some great information, as is all of this. I can see what you mean by not putting too many .22 shorts through the gun. What I'll do is make sure to test the .22 shorts last so I won't be inserting any other ammo types after that.

I can also see what you're saying about the problems with trying to put away a large rattler with shotshell, especially with a .22 hand gun. But my wife likes to wander off into the wild on morning hikes before I get up and until now all she's had with her is a camera. She doesn't even take a hiking stick. I was trying to get her something small enough that she would be willing to carry and yet could still take care of relatively minor business like snakes (there are bears up there, too). So what is her best bet regarding the ammo for a snake? A snake is about the only thing on our mountain that she would want to shoot with a .22. Neither of us likes to shoot anything without a rock solid reason. Bull snakes are fine and we leave them alone. It sounds like maybe either the "22 CB Long" or the "Standard Velocity 22 Long" might work. The trouble is, we never see (or hear) these things until we're right on top of them. I'm thinking the best strategy would be to carefully and slowly move back out of striking range (in anticipation that you're about to make the snake mighty angry), then pull out the gun and pop him in the head if you can with a solid round, then pausing and re-aiming between four more shots, and save one for the Coup de Grāce after careful examination. And if it gets to that point, we know to be very careful as those suckers can still bite and inject their poison even after they've been cut in half with a shovel and have stopped moving.

We haven't had a chance to fire the revolver yet and, with all the rain expected in northern New Mexico this weekend, it looks like it may have to wait at least another week when the weather allows us to get up to our property.

Once again, great information and thanks! And all answers to my questions are sincerely appreciated. I may take the suggestion in the one reply that said I should call Smith & Wesson and they will give me the date when it was originally shipped over the phone. I really hope it is that easy but somehow I doubt it.

P.S. Yep, that's it ..... German U-boat. I'm kind of a WWII buff as my father was in the Philippeans on several destroyers and an oiler throughout most of the war.

September 23, 2007, 05:26 AM
So for taking care of a rattlesnake (and we have some big ones here and the only weapon my wife has is her S&W model 34 .22 revolver), is her best bet for ammo the "22 CB Long" or the "Standard Velocity 22 Long"? It sounds like the consensus is to forget the "CCI Shotshell" rounds (which is generally called "snakeshot" around here but I guess that is a misnomer? At least for a .22?).

Ron James
September 23, 2007, 02:17 PM
Take a half dozen styrofoam cups, paint a snake head on them with a magic marker. place them at different distances from yourself, 5 feet, 10 feet, 15 feet, so on and so on. After shooting the cups from different distances you can see the results and make up your own mind. I have always carried at least two CCI shot loads in my .22 revolvers and when I'm just out and around a I'll only have a .22 magnum derringer in my pocket loaded with shot loads. Yes .22 CCI shot shells will kill a snake at 5 to 10 feet. As Johnny Guest stated the Winchester shot shells are almost useless so make sure they are CCI shot shells. Just remember, they are not magic cartridges, from 15 feet a single layer of denim will stop the small shot, but at 5 feet they will play hell with a snakes head. Vaya con Dios:)

September 23, 2007, 11:43 PM
Thanks, Ron! That is exactly what we'll do, i.e., make some target phoney snake heads and try all the ammo on them. We were going to do that this weekend, but we got washed out by rain so we still haven't had a chance to fire a single round through my wife's anniversary present. But next week, well let's just say I wouldn't want to be a phoney snake head.

Ala Dan
September 30, 2007, 07:50 PM
I bought a S&W model 34-1 that dates back to 1982~! :cool:

It is factory nickel, has a 2" barrel and square butt*. This little J-frame
is in 99%+ N.R.A. condition; but without box or docs, so I gave $350 for it.
It is not going any where, as it achieved "permanent party status" upon
its arrival at my home~!;):D

*FootNote: It also has adjustable sights~! :D But, what do you need
adjustable sights on a 2" barrel revolver for~? :eek:

October 8, 2007, 05:07 AM
Thanks for the info, Dan. Is there a difference between the 34-1 and the model 34 that I bought for my wife, other than the shorter barrel you have? By the way, I paid more than a hundred dollars more than you.

Well, we FINALLY got a chance this weekend to try my wife's new ca. 1973 Smith & Wesson model 34 revolver. We took my gun and hers up to our property and shot some holes in a target taped to cardboard and, the bottom line, she outshot me when we totaled up the four rounds of six shots. We're both rookies in our first couple of months of shooting. She was using her new model 34 and I was using my S & W 686. I was using a combination of .38 specials & .357 and she was using .22 CB long and one cylinder of .22 long standard velocity. Of course I'll still take my Roscoe over hers against a bad guy, but she scored more points than me, fair and square (not that either of us are any threat to Annie Oakley).

October 8, 2007, 05:28 AM
Oh, yeah. I should report what happened with regard to the snakeshot ammunition in the S & W model 34. We fired at some cardboard from six feet away and didn't notice any "doughnut pattern" which was a good thing. The spread was centered and uniform.

I must say upon first examination of the cardboard we weren't very impressed with the damage inflicted by the snakeshot, but upon looking at the back of the cardboard we revised our opinions to acknowledge that a shot of snakeshot would definitely wreck the day of any rattlesnake that got in the way. On this trip rattlesnakes took a back seat as we discovered that two pack rats had taken over the area around our RV and so I was hunting them all weekend (only to come up empty but the dogs scored one of the two without a revolver between the three of them!).

Ron James
October 8, 2007, 05:24 PM
Sounds as if you had a lot of fun. Just remember the main cardinal rule of firearms. Always, I mean. always assume it is loaded. even if it's only been a few minutes since you laid it aside. Good luck and shoot safe,

Ala Dan
October 14, 2007, 04:29 PM
The 2" barrrel was introduced in 1957, with J-frame production (model 34-1)
begining in 1960 at serial number 70,000. Also, 34-1 denotes a slight change
in cylinder length to1.44"~!

Source: Standard Catalog Of Smith & Wesson 3rd edition by Jim Supica
and Richard Nahas.

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