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Identity and Date of Manufacture of S&W Revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Brian Williams, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    AC Orange:
    Your Model 60 .38 Chiefs Special Stainless was manufactured in the period 1974 to 1977. Serial range for those years was R100000 to R190000.
    If I had to take a guess at the actual year I would say 1976 as production averaged around 21,000 guns a year over an 8 year period.
  2. The Doc

    The Doc Active Member

    a) caliber - .32 S&W Long
    b) bbl length - 2in
    c) grips shape - square
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores - 6
    e) type of sights - fixed
    f) serial number - AFK 99XX
    g) Model number - 31-1

  3. AC Orange

    AC Orange Member


    Thanks for your quick reply Radagast. The '76 manufacture date sounds about right as I bought the gun new in late Fall of '76. I always assumed it's DOB was '76, although many years later the s/n did not seem to precisely nail it down.

  4. KingMedicine

    KingMedicine Well-Known Member

    Okay, so this one might not make any sense... but im going on the info he gave me... I actually dont get the gun in my hands until Monday, but apparently shes only been shot 20 times and left in a safe... Its a older family friend, so his eyes could be a bit off.

    Model 36
    Chief Special
    1 7/8 barrel
    Round Butt
    Marked 38 special
    S/N 12XXX

    That Serial Number sounds waaaay too young for a 36 to me, but i have no real idea... Any clue? He might have forgot a number and it might be 12XXXX
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  5. Autolycus

    Autolycus Well-Known Member

    A) .357 Magnum
    B) 4 Inch Barrel
    C) Unsure what kind of Grips. (This is my first revolver.) It has a Hogue Monogrip rubber grip.
    D) 6 Shot
    E) Adjustable sights with a bladed front. It has an orange part on the blade.
    F) S&W 686-2

    The Serial Number is AYV9XXX or I believe it to be as it was right above the model number under the cylinder.


    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  6. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    Your Model 686-2 Distinguished Combat Magnum Stainless was manufactured in 1987.
    You are correct about the serial number, you will also find it on the bottom of the grip frame under the grips.
    The serial number is not always duplicated under the cylinder yoke, but on most modern guns it is.
  7. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    The Model 36 designation was used from 1957 on. A serial number in the 12xxx range would be from 1952. in the 12xxxx range 1957 or 1958.
    So if he has left a digit off then 1957/58.
    If he has left a J prefix off then its from 1969.

    Or the number being quoted may be an assembly number taken from under the cylinder yoke and has no meaning at all. The serial number is always found on the bottom flat of the grip frame, it is sometime duplicated under the cylinder yoke, sometimes the numbers there are assembly numbers used to track parts in the factory.
  8. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    The Doc:
    Your Model 31-1 .32 Regulation Police wad manufactured in 1984. The -1 refers to a change from the small I frame to the current J frame.
  9. KingMedicine

    KingMedicine Well-Known Member

    Haha.. Yeah, that serial number was the part number on the crane. The actual serial number is AYP45XX.

    Thanks again for your work.
  10. chhodge69

    chhodge69 Well-Known Member

    a) 38 spl
    b) 4"
    c) sq?
    d) 6
    e) fixed
    f) BNR-34xx
    g) 10-10


    ps: can I shoot +p from this gun safely?

  11. The Doc

    The Doc Active Member

    Thank you Radagast.
  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I'll answer the +P question first. According to S&W any all Steel .38 Special with a model number (1957 on) is safe to shoot with +P ammo.

    The Model 10-10 was released in 1988 and ran to 1997. It looks like your serial number comes back the first few weeks of Mar 1993. It looks like you got the last model before the change over to MIM parts. Good for you...
  13. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    KingMedicine: In that case late 1987, probably shipping by January 1988.
  14. chhodge69

    chhodge69 Well-Known Member

    thank you!
  15. Autolycus

    Autolycus Well-Known Member

    Thanks Radagast. Revolvers are new to me.
  16. evets_56_98

    evets_56_98 Member

    need to know yr.of manufacture

    a-38 b-3.25 in. c-rounded d-5shot e-half moon front fixed dual rear f-c12320 (u.s. revolver 38s&w top break) ps my first post on this forum
  17. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member


    Your gun is not a S&W. U.S. Revolver Co. was an inexpensive brand produced by Iver Johnson. Depending on if it has an internal or exposed hammer, it is either a U.S. REVOLVER CO. AUTOMATIC HAMMERLESS or a U.S. REVOLVER CO. AUTOMATIC HAMMER. For either gun it will be the large frame version.
    Neither has the the "Hammer the Hammer" transfer bar safety of the more expensive Iver Johnson product. The hammerless version has a rebounding hammer, the hammer version does not. Because of this the hammer version should be treated as a 4 shooter, with the chamber under the hammer left empty. Otherwise the firing pin will be left resting on the primer.

    I'm not an expert on Iver Johnson products. I believe that your gun was made between 1918 & 1924.

    Reading through the following thread and any related threads may help you nail it down to a particular year. Unfortunately Bill Goforth has passed away. He wrote the book on Iver Johnson and answered most internet questions on their production.
  18. The Doc

    The Doc Active Member

    Serial number with prefix "J" ?

    a) caliber - .32 S&W Long
    b) bbl length - 3 in
    c) grips shape - square
    d) number of cylinder bores - 6
    e) type of sights - fixed
    f) serial number - J 9873XX
    g) Model number - 31-1
  19. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    The Doc: 1981 for that gun. With that serial number it should be a .38 special Model 36-1, but S&W were not always consistent and the Model 36 & 31 used the same frame so a substitution was possible.
  20. The Doc

    The Doc Active Member

    I was almost sure that it was mod 36 and not 31 that had a J prefix. Learnt something new here. Thank you Radagast.

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