Serial number prefix on S&W 29?


February 5, 2009, 08:43 PM
I'm not sure if this is really the right forum for this question, but I've been curious about this for ten years. Does every model 29-2 have an N prefix on the serial number?

In October of '99 some guns were stolen from me. I had the serial numbers recorded on two of the four. One was recovered (my .45 auto, ironically one that I hadn't written down the serial number). The others I'm sure are very long gone.

My S&W model 29-2, I had the serial number written down as 19671, and reported it to the police as such. After that, I would take my list to any gun show I went to, and had one person tell me that I had obviously written the serial number down wrong, as all 29-2 revolvers had an "N" prefix, and it should be "N19671" and that I would never see it again because if it was recovered or checked it would not show up as stolen.

I apologize if this isn't the place for this question. I was just curious because I just ran across the old paper I had the numbers written on. BTW, also taken was a Ruger 10-22 serial number 121-68301, and a Remington 788 in .243, stock painted black, and serious headspace issues. I'm sure they're long, long gone but you never know.

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Ron James
February 5, 2009, 10:00 PM
The N frame pre-fix of N stated with N1 in 1969. If your Model 29 was manufactured afte 1969 It would have a N pre-fix. Other wise no.

Jim K
February 5, 2009, 10:10 PM
The Model 29 started with an "S" prefix which was assigned to all post-war N frames, then went to the "N" prefix from 1969 to 1986 along with the other N frames. AFAIK, the current guns are in the new numbering system which uses a letter-number combination that is not model specific.

The 29-2 was made from 1962 to 1982, so it could have either an "S" or an "N" prefix.


February 6, 2009, 09:04 AM
To get to the nut of your question, the answer is yes - your 29-2's S/N would have been "N19671."

There was no S-prefix number issued to the number code "19671" - the S's started at around 63000 after WWII, higher than your number. The 29-2 wasn't around then, anyway, as Jim Keenan has explained. It would be impossible to have a 29-2 with the S/N "S19671."

So, if you feel you want to update the S/N in the police report or in your search, then feel confident that the correct one would have been "N19671."

February 6, 2009, 11:24 AM
Great! Thanks for the info. I figured this was the right place to ask this question.

I wonder if there would be any way to update it? After all this time I'm sure it would be totally pointless, but I do wonder once in a while.

The loss of the guns didn't bother me near so much as the thought of what some thug might be using them for.

February 6, 2009, 12:47 PM
As an aside, the S prefix was first used to indicate the gun had the new hammer-block Safety system after WWII.
Then the N was the frame size.


Jim K
February 6, 2009, 10:50 PM
The original "S" was used as an addition to the "V" serial number on the so-called Victory Model, (M&P)to indicate that the gun had the new hammer block safety.

At the end of WWII, the V was dropped, but the "S" continued as a prefix from S811338 until S999999 in 1948 when the prefix "C" was substituted.

At the same time, "S" was used as a prefix on the N-frame revolvers but there were no duplicate numbers as the N frame guns started at S62489 in 1946. The number picked up where the .44 frame serials left off in 1941.

My bad on the statement that a .44 Magnum could have had either an "N" or an "S". That is true, but somehow, I missed that gun's serial number; Oro is correct.


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