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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. aviators

    aviators Member

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    Thanks! That is some great information.
     
  2. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Geezer Glide:
    !970 for your Chiefs Special Airweight.
    Airweight refers to an Aluminum frame, so stick to standard pressure .38 special loads. PlusP or +P+ will wear the gun faster and may even cause the frame to stretch. S&W didn't start marketing their airweight guns as OK for PlusP until the 1990s.
     
  3. Onapar

    Onapar Member

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    30-1

    I just picked up a 30-1 serial # 812xxx 2inch snubbie any help with the date of manufacture would be appreciated.
     
  4. captdavidjm

    captdavidjm Member

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    Thinking this may be a first (four digit serial number less than 4000) or second model. Looks like it's lived the life of a highly respected safe queen, about 90-95%

    .38 double action top break
    the left side has what appears to be a removable, round(ish) panel between the cylinder and grip with one screw. black grips with S&W logo.
    top of barrel is stamped as follows: SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A. PAT'D JAN 17&24 65 JULY 11 65 AUG 24 69 JULY 25 71 DEC 3 79 MAY 11&25 1880
    (the dates are as accurate as I could read without a magnifying glass)

    a) caliber - .38
    b) bbl length (from cylinder to muzzle) - 3-1/4"
    c) grips shape (round or square) - round
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores - five (5)
    e) type of sights. - fixed, front 1/2 round, rear, very small notch
    f) serial number, and if there is a letter in front of or anywhere near the s/n on the bottom of the grip - four digit 30xx
    g) Model number if it is under the crane.
    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).
    Thanks for the help
     
  5. SWSS

    SWSS Member

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    gramps couldnt remember

    This is specimen is from my grandfather. since i am part of the S&W family, he thought it would be a nice gift.

    a) .38
    b)
    c) square
    d) 6
    e) fixed front, adjust rear
    f) K 97712
    g)

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

    pic should be attached, taken with my X2, sorry not so clear.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Onapar:
    Unfortunately the Standard Catalog of S&W does not give a year by year break down for that model. The following will give you a fairly close idea of its year of birth.
    Your Model 30-1 .32 Hand Ejector was manufactured between 1961 (serial number 712954) & 1969 (serial number 826977), After that serial numbers received a H prefix.
    The -1 in the model number refers to a change to the J frame from the slightly smaller Improved I frame.
    If the cylinder release is flat. then 1961-1966.
    If the cylinder release is concave and the grips have an uncheckered diamond around the grip screws, then 1966-1968.
    If the grips have checkering all the way to the screw heads, then 1969 or 1969.
    The above assumes the grips are original.

    With such a high serial number I would guess 1968 or 1969.
     
  7. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    SWSS:
    That is a very nice gift.
    You have a K38 Target Masterpiece manufactured in 1950. This was S&Ws premium target revolver, reputedly with extra hand fitting. There was also a K32 in .32 S&W long and a K22 in .22lr, the set being intended to fill the needs of shooters at Camp Perry.

    Introduced in 1946, the K38 was designated the Model 14 in 1957, continuing in production until 1982.

    captdavidjm:
    Assuming it has an exposed hammer, then you have a .38 Double Action 1st Model manufactured in 1880. Serial range for that model was roughly 1 to 4000. The
    sideplate should have a straight edge closest to the grip running the full depth of the frame at that point. If the sideplate is not the full width of the frame, being somewhat rounded wthen you have a second model, still from 1880 and the Standard Catalog of S&W numbers are wrong.

    If it is a hammerless gun then you have a .38 Safety Hammerless 1st Model manufactured in 1887. Serial range for that year and model was 1 to 5250.

    Either way the gun is a blackpowder only proposition, it predates modern smokeless powders.
     
  8. mrjefe2u

    mrjefe2u Member

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    Mod 624
    3"
    44 spcl
    brushed stainless?

    ALW78**

    Thanks
     
  9. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    mejefe2u:
    You have a Model 624 Lew Horton Combat Special listed as manufactured between 1985 & 1987, in an ALUxxxx to ALWxxxx serial range. This was a run of 5000 guns. Product code was 103580. A fitted holster was part of the deal. The first 100 guns had some laser engraving and a cherry wood case.
    As the ALCxxxx serial range was used in November 1985 and the AVBxxxx was used in July 1987 my guess is that all the frames were probably manufactured in late 1985 or early 1986, with shipping in batches over the next two years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  10. Gondo

    Gondo Member

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    I have two guns I'd like to check out.
    the first one is a Model 37 no dash, round butt, 1 7/8 in. barrel, 5 shot .38 special. the ser. no. is: 54279X.
    The second is: Model 65-4 SB, 4" HB 6 shot .357 magnum/.38 special. ser. no. BER822X.
    Thanks alot folks.
    Gondo
     
  11. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Gondo:
    Your Model 37 Chiefs Special Airweight was manufactured between 1962 (serial number 295000) & 1969 (serial number 786544).
    If the cylinder release is flat the 1962-1966.
    If the cylinder release is concave and the grips have an uncheckered diamond around the grips screws then 1966-1968.
    If the cylinder release is concave and the grips are checkered up to the grip screws then 1968-1969.
    The above is dependent on the grips being original.

    Your Model 65-4 .357 Magnum Military & Police Stainless Heavy Barrel was manufactured in late 1989 or early 1990. Serial numbers in the BEPxxxx range shipped in December, in the BFNxxxx range in March 1990.
     
  12. Sealevel

    Sealevel Member

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    Radagast, your assistance please.

    A. .38 Special
    B. 5 3/4"
    C. Square (with orig. diamond magnas.)
    D. 6
    E. Fixed - half Moon front and notch rear
    F. 1547XX followed by a star symbol (found under the barrel where it protects the ejector rod as well as the usual bottom of the grips spot.)
    G. No model number, just this number under the crane 14444 likely attributed to a process step. It is nickel finished. I believe it is a pre model 10.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  13. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    2rqonde.jpg

    a) .32 S&W Short
    b) 3" not including the cylinder
    c) Seen in the picture
    d) 5
    e) Not sure if there are any other kind, seen in picture
    f) 192142
    g) Don't know model number and can't see one

    If someone has a guide on how to take one apart and where I can find parts, I'd appreciate it. Single action doesn't work because the sear is broken.
     
  14. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    sealevel:
    yes it is a premodel 10, the serial niumber indicates a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 3rd Change manufactured between 1909 & 1915 in the serial range 146900 to 241703, so 1909 seems likely. The star means a factory rework. The serial number on the barrel flat should have a B prefix. If it has a star i would assume it was rebarreled as part of the re-work.
    The barrel length from forcing cone to muzzle should be six inches.

    FIVETWOSEVEN:
    You have a .32 Double Action 4th Model manufactured between 1883 (serial number 43406 & 1898 (serial number 209301). This is a blackpowder only firearm. Use of modern smokeless loads will apply stresses it was not designed for.
    http://www.gunpartscorp.com/ is the first step when looking for spares for antique firearms. They may an exploded diagram as well.
     
  15. Sealevel

    Sealevel Member

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    Thanks Rad!

    Upon closer measurement the barrel is not 5 3/4" but 6" as you suggest. And it does have the "B" or maybe "P" prefix under the flat. For a gun over 100 years old she cleaned up well and now for a trip to the range to test that smoooth trigger.
     
  16. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    Black powder? I'm surprised. I think the old old ammo I have is smokeless but then again, I haven't shot it in a long time.
     
  17. jameslovesjammie

    jameslovesjammie Member

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    pix122772311.jpg

    pix746138287.jpg

    pix328376082.jpg

    a. 32 S&W Long
    b. 4 1/4"
    c. Round (I have been told grips are Bekheart?)
    d. 6
    e. Fixed rear
    f. 160,XXX
    g. Hand Ejector 1903 (5th Change I am told)
     
  18. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    jameslovesjammie:
    You have a .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1905 5th Change manufactured between 1910 & 1917 in the serial range 102501 to 263000.
    The grips are the target style but the gun is not. Bekeart was a gun dealer in San Fransisco who in 1911 convinced S&W to manufacture a run of .22lr target pistols in the .32 hand Ejector frame. some 3000 Bekeart guns had numbered grips. These guns have been found in the 139xxx serial range. In 1915 S&W cataloged the new .22lr target model around serial number 160,000. So we can narrow your guns DOB down to 1911 to 1915.
    If the grips are numbered with a number between 1 & 3000 then they may be true Bekeart grips off a Bekehart .22lr. In which case the grips are probably worth more than the gun and you should ask about them at www.smithwessonforum.com.

    Caveat:
    Your gun lacks the modern internal hammer block safety. If dropped it may fire. So leave the chamber under the hammer empty. Treat it as a 5 shooter.
    It also predates heat treatment of cylinders. Do not experiment with hot handloads or you may have a bulged or cracked cylinder. Modern factory .32 long and equivalent handloads should be perfectly safe.
     
  19. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Sealevel:
    I forgot my standard caveat. Your gun predates heat treatment of cylinders. Stick to lead only standard pressure loads. No jacketed, semi-jacketed, PlusP or +P+ ammo.
    It also lacks the modern internal hammer block safety. If dropped it could fire. Treat it as a five shooter and leave the chamber under the hammer empty.
     
  20. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    FIVETWOSEVEN:
    Yep blackpowder. Smokeless pistol ammo came available with the .32 S&W long in 1899. S&W didn't start advertising their topbreaks as being suitable for smokeless ammo until (IIRC) 1906 or 1909.
    Modern ammo is loaded to the same pressure as the original blackpowder loads but has a much faster burn rate, so the pressure in the chamber spikes faster and the bullet is likely to start jumping from the case faster.
     
  21. jameslovesjammie

    jameslovesjammie Member

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    Thank you very much Radagast! When I take delivery of the gun I will check the serial number on the grips. If I understand correctly, if they are numbered less than 3,000 they are the Bekheart and if they are over they would be the target grips?

    I am going to baby this gun! I actually got it with my son in mind, and will only be shooting a 100 grain HBWC around 550 fps or so with Trailboss.
     
  22. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    jameslovesjammie:

    The grips will have the serial number of the gun that they were originally fitted for inside the left grip panel. This will tell you if they are original to your gun.
    If they are Bekeart grips then they may have a number between 1 and 3000 stamped on the exposed bottom of the grip panel, in addition to the serial number internally.
    The grip was originally the target grip for the .32 hand ejector. Because the Bekeart .22s used the .32 Hand ejector as a base they also received the grip. Because the Bekeart guns have an interesting story the grips have the name attached, even though they predate the Bekeart guns. Real Bekeart grips would be from a gun that shipped to Bekeart.
     
  23. Jonah71

    Jonah71 Member

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    S&W Rev.

    Need mfg date and approximate value on:

    S&W .38 spec. 6 shot DA with 6" bbl., square butt, ser.#5238XX, not sure if this is mod. #9592(on the frame in front of cylinder) Numbers on the crane I can't make out. Need someone with better eyes plus they are kinda worn. Was told it was a 1905 but don't know if that was the mod. # or mfg. date. codition looks too good for 1905 mfg. carried a lot but bbl gooves still ok.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  24. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Jonah71:
    You have a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 4th Change manufactured between 1927 & 1930. Serial range over that period was roughly 500000 to 630000, so 1927 seems likely.
    The Model of 1905 was a major design change on the original M&P revolver. the 5th change refers to the 5th consecutive engineering change to that design.

    The numbers under & on the crane are assembly numbers, used to track parts in the factory. Model numbers were not introduced until 1957 when the Military & Police became the Model 10.

    Your gun has a heat treated cylinder, so it should be safe with any modern factory standard or PlusP pressure load. I would avoid any +P+ loads as there is no industry pressure standard for +P+.

    Your gun lacks the positive hammer block safety introduced during World War II. If dropped it could fire, so leave the chamber under the hammer empty. It does have a non positive hammer block, but a fatality with a dropped gun during World War II led to the design of the positive hammer block.
     
  25. bdb benzino

    bdb benzino Member

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    38 spl, 1 7/8'' barrel, 5 shot, round butt, model 36 no dash, serial # is AYY27xx, it has fixed sights.
    Thanks alot for your info and time!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011

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