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Any logic to the S&W revolver model numbers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by gunnutery, Apr 1, 2010.

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  1. gunnutery

    gunnutery Member

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    I've never really been a fan of S&W, but the 686 is kind of sparking my interest (I'm not sure why). I see some on this site that look nice also, but I can't seem figure out any system of numbering for S&W's models.

    Does anyone know if there's a formula for figuring this out?
     
  2. joed

    joed Member

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    There is some logic to the numbers. In general if the model is 6XX it will be stainless. That's about all I can tell you. The models aren't hard to memorize.

    I was never a fan of the 686 (L frame) though, I prefer the 66 which is a K frame. No other S&W revolver feels so good in my hands. The 686 is a tough one.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, there is a logic, but it takes some study to figure it out.

    Here is the sticky from the top of this forum explaning some of it.
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=4430546&postcount=2

    In short, the old two digit model numbers starting with 1,2,3,etc, were all blued carbon steel or nickle finish carbon steel .

    The three digit models starting with a 6 were the same guns, only stainless steel.

    So a model 29 is a blue .44 Mag, and a 629 is a stainless .44 Mag.

    A three digit starting with a 3 is a scandium frame model of the gun.
    So a 329PD is a Scandium Model 29 or 629.

    Here is a fairly good list.
    http://www.handloads.com/misc/Smith.Model.Changes.asp

    rc
     
  4. Oro

    Oro Member

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    There's even more logic to it than revealed so for. When introduced in 1957 (before stainless guns), the system was not to:

    Originally, a "1" prefix meant a K-frame, a "2" an N-frame, and a "3" a J-frame. A semblance of this survives with the current system, but obscured with all the proliferation of materials and models.

    Study that list rcmodel linked a while and you'll start to figure it out. Bookmark it, then reference it whenever you see a model you don't fully understand. Eventually, it will start to make some sense. Also, keep in mind that list is current only to about 1985; everything since then is missing.
     
  5. Hardballing

    Hardballing Member

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    Just to add to what others have said.

    You will also encounter models with a -1 or -2, -3, etc. designation. This denotes an engineering change within a specific model. For example, using the above data with this post, the first K frame .357's were the Model 66's. These original versions used an all stainless rear sight that proved to be difficult to see in direct sunlight. It was shortly followed by the 66-1, identical in all respects, except that the sight was now a blued steel variant.

    To get the whole skinny, with all variations to date (except that SMith is now churning them out so fast, this book too is now dated, but NOT obsolete) I suggest you buy the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson/ Supica & Naha; Volume 6 (IIRC?). It is the current illustrated works of S&W from 1852 to publishing date and is AWESOME in its content, pics, etc. About 45.00 or so at Barnes and Noble.

    Hope this helps. But be careful, getting "into" Smiths is highly addictive and can lead to drooling and large expenditures of cash. You've been warned :).
     
  6. S&W-Keeper

    S&W-Keeper Member

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    Pick up a nice pre-lock 686, and you will soon figure it all out. It is not complicated, but be warned,it will not be your last S&W.
     
  7. jhvaughan2

    jhvaughan2 Member

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    to add confusion

    the 6x models are stainless models prior to the 6xx models but the numbers do not match the blued in any way, they were j or k frame ss versions of 1x' or 3x' based on the order they came out.
    60 = ss 36
    63 = ss 34
    64 = ss 10
    65 = ss 13
    66 = ss 19
    67 = ss 15
    but a 68 is a .38 special 66 :rolleyes:
    and a ss 17 is a 617 :neener:

    3x's are J-frames but they ran out so the 40 and 42 are too.

    22,39,41,52 and 59 are automatics :banghead:

    Best just to memorize them
     
  8. gunnutery

    gunnutery Member

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    Excellent information, thanks for all your input. That is quite handy just to know the "6" stands for stainless. I'll be studying the list rc posted.
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    in that same vein :
    the "4" series denotes alloy (aluminum) - 442
    the "3" series denotes alloy (scandium) - 342

    of course on the M42, the 642 only means that the non-alloy parts are stainless and the alloy frame has a "white" appearance
     
  10. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    "IF" the model numbers are three digits.
     
  11. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    ...are there four digit models in the revolver line?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  12. bubbaturbo

    bubbaturbo Member

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    Actually a 22 is a 45ACP revolver, a 22A is a semiauto 22LR.
    Also a 422 was a blue 22LR semiauto and a 622 was a stainless 22LR semiauto.
     
  13. logical

    logical Member

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    I think the point was that the rule doesn't apply for two-digit revolvers...34 is a blue .22 J-frame revolver "kit gun", etc.
     
  14. bubbaturbo

    bubbaturbo Member

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    And a model 10 is a 38 special in either blue or nickel, but a 610 isn't the stainless version, it's a 10MM revolver while a 410 is a blue 40 cal semiauto. And a model 357 is a 41 magnum. Confusing sometimes.
     
  15. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    as with much of firearms nomenclature, Smith & Wesson revolver model number assignments can be rather arcane.
     
  16. Jubjub

    Jubjub Member

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    They are somewhat whimsical. Some of it has to do with the names given before the introduction of model numbers. A J frame .22 is a Model 34, unless it has a 6" barrel, which makes it a Model 35. They were previously described as "kit gun" and "target". Like most human endeavors, the installed base has a heavy influence.
     
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