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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. metzgarj

    metzgarj Member

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    1st of 4 needing info

    This is one of 4 S&W revolvers passed down to me from my grandfather.

    .32 long
    6'' barrel
    round grips
    6 shot
    fixed sights
    s/n: 513904
    Model number? 42 38 3 (not sure if this is what's needed.)

    I'm also trying to attach pictures.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. metzgarj

    metzgarj Member

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    2nd of 4 needing info

    This is the 2nd one and I've been able to find some good info on it but still would like to know if what I've found is correct. I believe this one to be the most valuable and oldest of the 4.


    .22 short
    3 1/8'' barrel
    round grips
    7 shot
    fixed sights
    s/n: 131750
    I believe this is referred to as a Model 1 3rd issue.
     

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  3. metzgarj

    metzgarj Member

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    3rd of 4 needing info

    .38 S&W caliber
    3 1/4'' barrel
    round grips
    5 shot
    fixed sights
    s/n 51746
    Don't know the model on this one.

    This one has 2 small pin holes about mid way down the barrel that I'm curious if they should be there? They are about the size of the pin holes holding the sight at the end of the barrel but I can't see any purpose for them where they are.
     

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  4. metzgarj

    metzgarj Member

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    4th of 4 needing info

    This final one I believe is typically referred to as the "lemon squeezer" or "saftey hammerless" and I believe it is one of the more recent modifications in the series.

    .38 S&W caliber
    3 1/4'' barrel
    round grips
    5 shot
    fixed sights
    s/n: 231831

    Thanks in advance for any information you are able to provide on these 4 guns. This is a great thread with lots of good information.

    Jeff
     

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  5. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    metzgarj:
    Gun 4, assuming a top break action and enclosed hammer, is a .38 Safety Hammerless 5th Model manufactured between 1907 & 1940 in the serial range 220000 to 261493. For the decade up to 1907 the 4th Model was produced at a rate of roughly 10,000 a year. If I had to guess I would place your gun somewhere between 1907 & 1917. In 1907 Colt released its swing out cylinder Pocket Positive/Police positive and in 1917 S&W began production of the swing out cylinder .38 Regulation Police in the same caliber began. After that demand for the old top breaks would have died.
    It should be fine with modern factory ammo, S&W started advertising their guns as safe for smokeless powder sometime between 1906 & 1909. It lacks a hammer block safety and could fire if dropped. Leave the chamber under the hammer empty.

    Gun 3 Serial number 51746, assuming a top break with exposed hammer, is a .38 Double Action 2nd Model manufactured between 1880 & 1884 in the serial range 4001 to 119000.
    If a top break hammerless, then it is a .38 Safety Hammerless 3rd Model produced between 1890 & 1898 in the serial range 42484 to 116002.
    Either way this is a black powder gun, don't shoot modern smokeless ammo through it.
    The pinholes are not a factory item. If they are through the rib I don't see an issue with them. If they penetrate the barrel consider it unsafe to shoot.

    Gun 2 serial number 131750 is potentially a Model Number One 3rd issue. These were manufactured in a serial range 1 to 131163 between 1868 & 1881. As your gun falls outside of that range it may be a counterfeit, or it may be production ran a little longer than researchers think. In which case it is almost certainly an 1881 gun. Value in excellent condition is around $600, as new $2500, the original case may be worth up to $6000 if present. Do not shoot this gun. It was manufactured for use with a black powder .22 short cartridge, not modern smokeless ammo.

    Gun 1, if it has a square butt is a .32 Regulation Police, if a round butt a .32 Hand ejector 3rd Model. Either way it was manufactured sometime between 1929 & 1940.
    This gun is fine with any factory .32 S&W Long ammo. Be aware that it lacks the modern internal hammerblock safety. If dropped it could fire, so leave the chamber under the hammer empty.
     
  6. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    OK pics are now visible.
    Gun one is a .32 Hand Ejector 3rd Model. The markings under the cylinder yoke are not model numbers, they arre assembly numbers used to track parts in the factory. They have no meaning after the gun is assembled.

    Gun two does appear to be a Model Number one 3rd Issue and in that condition may be worth around $1500.

    Gun three is a .38 Double Action 2nd Model. The pinholes match the locations for the sight pin on a 1.5 & 2 inch barrel. Someone may have test drilled it and then decided not to convert it.

    Gun four is a .38 Safety Hammerless 5th Model.
     
  7. deaf wish

    deaf wish Member

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    hi. i dont have all the info but will update as soon as i can.

    S&W 32 long cartridge

    s/n 179006

    pics attached
     

    Attached Files:

  8. TatonkaII

    TatonkaII Member

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    Thanks for your help

    I just inherited this pistol from my grandfather. Story has it that it was his old police/constable pistol.

    .38 special, 4" barrell, 6 shot,

    We'd need to know :

    a) .38 sp
    b) 4"
    c) round
    d) 6 cyl
    e) fixed front, adj rear
    f) Bottom of grip: K664849

    g) on the gun where the cylinder swings down:
    K664849 and mod 15-2

    on the cylinder that swings down:
    03717
    xa
    6

    Pics:
    [/ATTACH]



    That number, if it is the s/n, should come from the butt of the grip (or under the barrel or face of the cylinder).

    A picture or two is worth A LOT of words in this case...
     

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  9. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Deaf wish:
    You have a .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1903 5th Change manufactured between 1910 & 1917 in the serial range 102501 to 263000. The 5th Change refers to the the 5th minor design change to the 1903 design.
    Be aware that this gun lacks a modern internal hammer block safety. If dropped it could fire. Leave the chamber under the hammer empty.
    It also predates heat treatment of cylinders, so do not use hot handloads in this gun or you may have a bulged or cracked cylinder. Modern factory ammunition or equivalent hamdloads should be fine.
    The screw in the front of the grip is the strain screw that applies tension to the spring that drives the hammer. It should be flush to the frame. Many shooters back it out to obtain a lighter trigger pull, but this can lead to light strikes on the primer and failures to fire. I suggest you tighten it if you wish to shoot this gun.
    Value in that condition is not high, probably $150 to $200. If in good mechanical condition treat it as a shooter, not a collectors piece.

    TatonkaII:
    Model number is Model 15-2, specifically a Model 15-2 K38 Combat Masterpiece The other markings on the cylinder are assembly numbers used to track parts in the factory. They have no meaning after the gun is completed.
    K664849 is the serial number and dates your gun to 1966. The K38 Combat Masterpiece was S&Ws premium .38 special service revolver. Unfortunately in the condition it is in it is not worth a great deal, probably around $250 due to the lack of finish. If it has a lot of sentimental value you could have S&W refinish it for around $125, bringing it back to as new condition. Otherwise treat it as a shooter. Assuming good mechanical condition it should be safe with any factory .38 Special ammunition.
     
  10. slicksleeve

    slicksleeve Member

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    I've got another one. This one is a Model 66-1, 4" barrel, square butt. The serial number is 41K178x. What would be an approximate Date of Birth? Thanks in advance, as always.
     
  11. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    slicksleeve:
    1978-79. Serial range was 25K0001 to 56K9999.
     
  12. deaf wish

    deaf wish Member

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    Appreciate the help!

    Is the 32HE nickel or SS finish?
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  13. TatonkaII

    TatonkaII Member

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    THANKS... that was fast!
     
  14. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Deaf wish: It's nickel. Stainless steel guns were not available until the 1960s.
     
  15. BossHogg

    BossHogg Member

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    45 acp
    4 in
    square
    day57xx
    22-4 model 1950
    6 shot
     
  16. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    BossHogg:
    I can't give you a year as your gun was made after the Standard Catalog of S&W was published.
    Your Model 22-4 Model of 1950 .45 Army, is also known as the Thunder Ranch Special. This was a short run reintroduction of the Model 22 in 2005 using firearms trainer Clint Smith's Thunder ranch logo on the grips, with a TRRxxxx serial range.
    Your gun has a serial number that appears to be from the last couple of years, if it has regular grips and not ones with the Thunder Ranch logo then it is probably a S&W Classic model manufactured in the last three years. The Classic is only listed on S&Ws website with a 5.5 inch barrel, so if a classic yours is probably one of a few.
    Because it is so new a call to S&W should get you the year of manufacture.
     
  17. BossHogg

    BossHogg Member

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    Thanks, that's more than I could fine.
     
  18. Shienhausser

    Shienhausser Member

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    .357 Magnum
    Stainless
    6" Barrel
    Square Butt
    6 Shot
    Adj. Sights
    BJB20xx
    Model 686-3

    Thanks!
     
  19. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Shienhausser:
    Your Model 686-3 Distinguished Combat Magnum Stainless was manufactured in 1992.
     
  20. Shienhausser

    Shienhausser Member

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    Thanks bud!
     
  21. Northmen

    Northmen Member

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    .38 S & W Hammerless

    I have an old S & W which is a top break 38 No 2 Safety Hammerless Model 3 (I think) in 38 S & W calibre, 5 shot, fixed sights. Barrel length is 3 1/4". Serial number is 77XXX. It is in mint shape and probably never fire. It was issued at one time to the North West Mounted Police in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Could you please tell me when it was made ? Also how hard it is to find ammo for this revolver ?
     

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  22. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Northmen:
    You have a .38 Safety Hammerless 3rd Model manufactured between 1890 & 1898 in the serial range 42484 to 116002. If unfired value to the right collector may be as high as $750. This will drop if you shoot it.

    Your gun predates modern smokeless powder and is only suitable for blackpowder or blackpowder substitute rounds such as Goex. Smokeless rounds even when loaded to the same maximum pressure will have a much faster pressure spike, stressing the cylinder and latch.

    Ammunition may be available from Old Western Scrounger http://www.ows-ammo.com/store/
    Otherwise you will need to handload. If you don't want to handload check out your local SASS cowboy shooting group, you may find someone already loading it who will sell you some.
     
  23. jaimelaz

    jaimelaz Member

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    need information

    I have an old S&W .38
    4" barrel;
    wooden grip
    6 shot
    fixed sights,
    C 5228X.
     

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  24. Northmen

    Northmen Member

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    Great and thanks for your help. I am in Canada and trying to find ammo is slim in he bst of times. I will have to go to an annual gun show and look for some there. Not that I will fire it but just want to get a box of ammo to have with it. I do have a couple of rounds that is head stamped D.C.Co. 38 S & W. For some reason they do not fit in the cylinder and appear to be slightly larger in diameter near the base of the round. Why is this ?
     
  25. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    jaimelaz:
    If the barrel markings are .38 S&W Special then you have a .38 Military & Police Postwar manufactured between 1948 & 1951 in the serial range C1 to C223998.
    In 1957 the .38 Military & Police was designated the Model 10 and continues in production today.
    If the barrel markings are .38 S&W CTG then you have a .38/200 Military & Police manufactured in the same time period and serial range. In 1957 the.38/200 designated the model 11 and discontinued in 1965. The .38/200 was mainly for sale to the British Commonwealth which at one time used a .38 S&W case with a 200 grain bullet as their standard service load. Hence .38/200.

    Northmen:
    The .38 S&W Cartridge has a a taper to it. It is very similar in shape to a 9mm round. This explains the case head being wider than the rim.
    Are you sure the gun is a .38 S&W and not a .32 S&W?
     

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