Smith&Wesson Police special Two Serial Numbers


February 2, 2013, 02:08 PM
I have a S&W .38 that I got from an estate of a former LE. On the cylinder # 3600XX on the Frame # S on top of #417XX. Can I assume the cylinder was replaced at one time? Thanks Guys

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February 2, 2013, 02:28 PM
I don't know what the number on the cylinder might be, but that won't be the serial number, for sure.

February 2, 2013, 02:52 PM
yep the 2nd # is inside the cylinder about where case head sits

February 2, 2013, 03:11 PM
Can I assume the cylinder was replaced at one time? Yes.

Early S&W's like yours would have the serial number on the butt, on the rear face of the cylinder, and at least a partial of the same number inside the crane cut. Also on the barrel under the ejector rod.
They should all be the same number.

If your cylinder number doesn't match the frame & barrel numbers, it has been replaced.


February 2, 2013, 03:18 PM
Yep just checked..Cylinder and butt match..Thanks Guys.. RC as always the voice of knowledge

February 2, 2013, 03:25 PM
#3600XX anyone have an age on this piece? I tried a serial # lookup but seems clear as mud to my OLD Brain

February 2, 2013, 03:26 PM
Wait, the cyl matches the butt? Then it IS the serial number, as rcmodel so wisely said.

February 2, 2013, 03:32 PM
Yes the # inside the strap is the one of the 3 that doesn't..:confused: It has a strange (OLD) set of after market grips that I had to take off to see the butt # I should say the 4 numbers because the barrel # matches the other 2. So now that I have confused the world..cylinder, barrel, and butt all match..Ha Ha

February 2, 2013, 03:46 PM
I'm still confused by what you posted in the first post.

I'm not at all sure what a "S&W Police Special" is, as that was sort of a name for a Colt revolver.

However, if it's a K-Frame with S417XX?
Does not compute.

If it's an N-Frame with S3600XX?
Does not compute either.

I suppose it could be an M&P made between 1903 & 1942 that had a S overstamp when the safety conversion was done in WWII??

But right now, I'm clueless without more info.
How bout we start over with a photo or something and the exact serial number you found on the butt & cylinder.


February 2, 2013, 03:49 PM
Ha Ha..Of the 4 numbers on the handgun 3 match..I should post a few pics. As the old saying goes..picture is worth a thousand words. Rifles are my bag..So I show my ignorance

February 2, 2013, 04:07 PM

Well here she is

February 2, 2013, 04:22 PM

It's an early Military & Police Model of 1905 - 4th. Change that has been refinished & plastic grips added.

Again, I can't pin it down as to exact year, as SCoS&W only shows a serial number range of 241704 - 700000 going from 1915 to 1942.

Where did you find the S you mentioned earlier???


February 2, 2013, 04:24 PM
Franzite target grips.:barf: Look on ebay for a set of diamond Magna factory grips and life will be good. You can get a set for $50-60 .

February 2, 2013, 04:39 PM
The "S" can be seen in pic 4 Blurry

February 2, 2013, 04:43 PM

That S and other letter N? M? are just assembly marks used by the factory fitters.


February 2, 2013, 04:54 PM
As Always..Thanks for the ID Help..You guys are the best!

February 2, 2013, 06:58 PM
Still not right. That's a post war gun with the short action. There HAS to be a letter prefix. The front sight is the type seen starting around 1952 (although examples with the "half-moon" sight are noted until around 1957). Could it possibly be C360,000?

I don't why, but 99% of the time people asking about their S&Ws on a forum like this ignore the letter prefix found on most S&Ws. C360,000 would put it around 1954-55 and that would be consistent with the ramp front sight. No model number is seen on the frame and that started in 1957 further suggesting the 54-55 date is correct.

Edited: I can clearly see the C prefix under the barrel and on the cylinder. The correct serial is C360,000 and that would be 1954-55.

I REALLY wish people would provide accurate serials.

Driftwood Johnson
February 2, 2013, 08:14 PM
I REALLY wish people would provide accurate serials.


I understand your frustration. But some newbies are just not aware that a letter is part of the SN. On most newer guns a letter prefix is stamped right along with the digits, there is no separation so it is obvious that the letter is part of the SN. But as I am sure you are aware, with a lot of older guns the letter prefix is spaced some distance away from the digits. The view of the rear of the cylinder in this post is a good example, the C is spaced far away from the digits. Sometimes a newbie just does not realize the letter is part of the SN.

But thanks for your always helpful information.

February 2, 2013, 08:29 PM
I guess I need a new computer monitor.
Or new glasses.
I still ain't seeing no C.

But I do agree.
This whole fiasco could have been avoided with a single picture of the serial number on the butt.

But that would have involved a screwdriver, and a little effort.
Instead of half a day deciphering posts and looking at books.


February 2, 2013, 09:17 PM
My eyes are just as old as the rest of me, too. But I can see the C at the 9 o'clock position on the rear cylinder face and the numbers are at the 11 o'clock position. The C is faint but visible on the barrel flat, too.

Maybe I should be forgiving of newbs but I ain't. I have always noticed the letters in serials and I ain't no genious. It is NOT uncommon for guns to have letters in the serials. It's been happening since guns started having numbers stamped on them I don't understand why people ignore them.

Jim Watson
February 2, 2013, 09:19 PM
But it is just so easy to look at the number under the "swing arm."

Old Fuff
February 2, 2013, 09:24 PM
I think, but am not sure, that the letter "C" is part of the serial number on the back of the cylinder in picture #3. I suspect the serial number on the butt, under the stocks is: C 3600xx. If I am correct the date-of-manufacture would be 1954-1956. The various style points match this date.

February 2, 2013, 11:47 PM
The C is well separated from the rest of the serial number on the barrel flat, much like the original V stamps were seperated from the machine stamped serial number on the victory model. Its not as deep, so probably hand stamped. Ditto on the cylinder face, its one chamber over from the machine stamped number.

I'm not willing to jump all over the OP for this, as its easy to think the C is a separate stamping.

February 2, 2013, 11:53 PM
Just to add, as mentioned by Saxon and old Fuff, serial number is C300xxx, making it a pre-Model 10 .38 Military & Police Postwar manufactured 1954 to 1956 in the serial range C277555 to C402923, the grips are non-original, probably Franzites, which were popular in the 50s. Correct grips would be diamond magnas.

February 5, 2013, 11:35 PM
Yep, a pre-model 10 from the early fifties. A fine revolver too. If you can find some nice original "diamond" S & W "magna" stocks it will really make a nice set up!

Here's what diamond magnas look like. These are on my own pre-Model 10, simply referred to back in the day as the S&W M&P Model when this one was built in 1950. They still had the half moon front sight at that time, before going to the new front sight yours has.

These revolvers came in either a blued, or bright nickel plated finish back "in the day." Hope this helps!

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