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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. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    cerberus sometime in 1987...

    bill larry
    S8626xx This would be an early Post-War. like 1945 called a .38 Special M&P tis not a 1905, just a M&P

    The other
    4530XX is sometime betwixt 1915 and 1942, more likely nearer to the late 20s and is called .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 - 4th change.
     
  2. bill larry

    bill larry Member

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    Thank you good sir!
     
  3. avan47

    avan47 Member

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    a) 38 S&W Special
    b) 3 inch
    c) square
    d) 5
    e) fixed
    f) 7J69XX
    g) MOD. 36

    a) S&W .357 Magnum
    b) 6 inches
    c) square, target grips
    d) 6
    e) adjustable
    f) K9035XX
    g) MOD. 19-3
     
  4. cerberus65

    cerberus65 Member

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    many thanks!
     
  5. jasonp

    jasonp Member

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    This is my first post and I'm curious to see the history of this gun I've inherited from my wifes grandmother. As far as I know she was issued this gun when she became a police officer in Montgomery, Alabama in the late '50s or early '60s (she was the first female officer in Alabama). The gun is all black.

    a) .38
    b) 4 inches (I measured from the front of the cylinder to the end of the barrel, not sure if this is right)
    c) rounded off
    d) 6
    e) not adjustable
    f) On the bottom of the handle it says 57035
    g) The number stamped on the butt matches what is on the cylinder.


    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  6. Walter

    Walter Member

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    Date my Model 36?

    It's a:
    .38 Spec.
    1 7/8" barrel
    square-butt
    5-shot
    fixed sights
    ser. # J423XXX

    Thanks for any help you may be able to give me.

    Walter
     
  7. csmkersh

    csmkersh Member

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    a. .22 LR
    b. 6 inch
    c. Square
    d. 6 shot
    e. adjustable
    f. K 325XX
    g.

    The barrel and cylinder has the same SN as found on the butt. On the frame under the crain is a 9P with 8773 under it and the 8773 is also on the crain itself. Is this the Outdoorsman or another model? Thanks.



     

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  8. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    avan47: The best I can do on your Model 36 is sometime after 1983. Maybe Brian has some further info, but the Standard Catalog lists serial numbers with a number, followed by 'J', followed by more number starting in 1983. Prior to that S&W used the letter J followed by numbers. Your model 19-3 was produced sometime in 1969.

    jasonp: Brian may know what you've got, but with that serial number, I am having a difficult time figuring it out. Are you certain there's no letter in front of the serial number? Also, what other markings are on the barrel?

    Walter: Your Model 36 appears to date to 1976.

    csmkersh: Your K-22 Masterpiece appears to have been made in 1948. This is the 3rd model K-22, the pre-model 17.
     
  9. jasonp

    jasonp Member

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    jasonp: Brian may know what you've got, but with that serial number, I am having a difficult time figuring it out. Are you certain there's no letter in front of the serial number? Also, what other markings are on the barrel?


    There are no letters in front of the serial number, it definetly says 57035 in both places. The barrel says 38 S.&W. CTG
    The very top of the barrel says:
    SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A.
    PATD AUG.4.95 DEC.22.96 OCT.8.01 FEB.6.08 SEPT.14.09

    Here is a picture:
     

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  10. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    Ahh, that helps. Here I was looking for a hand ejector...

    What you have is the .38 Double Action Perfected Model. Chambered in .38 S&W (a different beast from .38 special), the model was S&W's last top-break revolver and produced from 1909-1920. Your serial number puts it somewhere toward the end of that date range since there were 59,400 of these revolvers manufactured.
     
  11. jasonp

    jasonp Member

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    What is it's value? Would it make a decent home defense gun?

    I went to the local sporting goods store and bought some .38 special bullets for it but they did not fit. Where can I buy them from? I'm planning on getting this gun cleaned up before shooting, it's been stored for many years.

    Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The photo does the trick, and you have a relatively scarce model. :)

    It’s a Smith & Wesson .38 Double Action, Perfected Model. It was introduced in 1909 and discontinued in 1920. Serial numbers ran from 1 to 59, 400. Standard barrel lengths were 3 ¼, 4, 5 and 6 inches. Cylinder should be chambered to hold five cartridges. Standard finishes were blue or nickel plate. Stocks were usually black hard rubber, but checkered walnut or pearl were extra-cost options. It appears to be in pretty nice condition, and if so it would have a maximum value in the $400 range.

    The Perfected Model was the last of S&W’s top-break revolvers, and the “perfected” name referred to the barrel latching system that required the user to both push on a thumb piece while lifting the barrel latch to tip down the barrel. This was to prevent a close-up bad guy from reaching over the top of the gun, lifting the latch, tipping the barrel down, and ejecting all of the cartridges. Colt and other advertising had ragged them on this, so Smith & Wesson designers came up with an answer. Unfortunately the day of top-break revolvers was ending as the market turned to stronger Hand Ejectors.

    The revolver is chambered to use .38 S&W (not Special) cartridges. Ammunition is available, but not commonly carried in many gun shops. While there may be better choices, it was made with home defense in mind, and S&W advertised it for that purpose. It will still do the job.

    Given this gun's history within your family, I suggest that you get it "lettered." To do so you will need a snapshot of the gun, a full description including the serial number on the butt, and a check in the amount of $30.00 made out to Smith & Wesson. In exchange the company's historian, Roy G. Jinks, will research the original records (which are not computerized by the way) and send you a letter containing the details of what he finds.

    This comprehensive document will contain an overview of the model’s history, followed by the details of your particular gun. This usually includes the caliber, barrel length, finish, and the exact date it was shipped from the factory, and to what distributor or dealer. If there are any special features they will be listed too. This information is often invaluable to both you and future generations.

    Additional information on a historical letter will be found at the Smith & Wesson company website at:

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...catalogId=11101&content=25301&sectionId=10504
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  13. skoro

    skoro Member

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    DOB: S&W Model 37 flat latch

    I just purchased a very nice (in original box) Model 37 - no dash revolver. It's a square butt with the wide serrated trigger. Serial number is 2180XX. I'm guessing it's a late 50s product.

    Could any of you experts pinpoint the year of manufacture?

    Thanks!
     
  14. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    No problem. We're here to help.

    As for the gun's value, that would depend on the mechanical shape as well as the cosmetic condition. The Standard Catalog puts an Excellent condition example at $375, but IMHO, if it is truly in excellent shape, a collector might be willing to pay more. Which is the ultimate answer: it is worth whatever someone will pay for it.

    .38 special will not fit as it is actually a .357 caliber bullet. Can't remember how it goes, but .38 S&W is a fatter cartridge since the .38 is actually the bullet diameter, whereas maybe the .38 special is the cartridge diameter. .38 S&Ws are available at most big box stores, i.e. Bass Pro Shop and maybe Academy, but beyond that you'll have to call local gun shops or order online. The cheapest I found those cartridges was $19 a box online, but I can't remember where, and last time I checked I believe they were sold out.

    Hope that helps.

    Edit: Of course you beat me to it, Fuff. :p
     
  15. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    Serial number 2180xx of Model 37, the Chief's Special Airweight, was built sometime between 1957 and 1962. 1957 production ended with serial number 125000, while 1962 production started with serial 295000. To get anymore specific you will need a letter from Roy G. Jinks, S&W historian.

    By the way, for future reference, there is now a stickied S&W date of birth thread at the top of this forum.
     
  16. jasonp

    jasonp Member

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    Wow, you guys are awesome. Thanks for the responses! This is a piece of family history and we will never get rid of however I do want it operational. I also plan on getting my letter from S&W so I can see exactly what date it was originally purchased.

    Again, thanks for the valuable info!

    Edit - this dumb old Alabama boy can't count! It indeed does have 5 holes.
     
  17. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    Gosh, I forgot to mention - jasonp, the .38 S&W is generally considered... hmm... how to put this nicely... a highly impotent self-defense round. It beats nothing at all, but I don't think it would qualify as "enough gun."
     
  18. jasonp

    jasonp Member

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    Like you said, it beats having nothing! I plan on upgrading one of these days.

    I've got another relative that recently passed away that was a City of Birmingham cop under Bull Conner in the late 40's and into the 50's. He gave me a few pretty interesting firearms as well including a riot shotgun an M1 carbine automatic rifle. My father also recently gave me his British .303 as well. I'll take some pics and share them with you as soon as I can....
     
  19. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Oh Poo..... :eek:

    In it's day the .38 S&W was considered to be good enough for the New York City Police Department, and the Old Fuff has carried a little S&W Safety Hammerless chambered for the same cartridge on many occasions. I don't believe anyone looking down the muzzle from the front end is going to debate about what the bullet might or might not do to his widdle body... :scrutiny:
     
  20. skoro

    skoro Member

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    Model 37 DOB?

    a) caliber
    b) bbl length (from cylinder to muzzle)
    c) grips shape (round or square)
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores
    e) type of sights.
    f) serial number, and if there is a letter in front of or anywhere near the s/n on the bottom of the grip
    g) Model number if it is under the crane.

    a) 38 Spl
    b) 2"
    c) square
    d) 5
    e) fixed, rear notch front short blade
    f) 2180XX
    g) 37
     
  21. blkbrd666

    blkbrd666 Member

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    Haven't bought it...

    19-3
    a) .357 Magnum
    b) 4" barrel
    c) Square
    d) 6 rounds
    e) Adjustable
    f) 4K409xx

    It's about 98% and the grips have been changed to smooth glossy dark hardwood. $499.99 seems too high to me, but I'm no S&W expert. My wild guess at date is early 70's.
     
  22. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    I'm not one to debate the Ol' Fuff, but I was just letting ya know what the 'general' consensus is about the .38 S&W. Honestly, I would sure hate to get hit by one, but at least if I got hit with a .38 S&W LRN I'd feel like I had a shot at surviving.

    skoro: answered above before the thread merge. Here's a repeat:Serial number 2180xx of Model 37, the Chief's Special Airweight, was built sometime between 1957 and 1962. 1957 production ended with serial number 125000, while 1962 production started with serial 295000. To get anymore specific you will need a letter from Roy G. Jinks, S&W historian.

    blkbrd666: 1973 is your year of manufacture. $500 is steep. $400 is about the max I would pay for a 19 in beautiful shape. Of course, that's just me and may not be real world at all. Others may pay $450.
     
  23. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    Alright here is the Serial for my 28-2 Highway Patrolman-

    N55247

    What does the X G15 on the cylinder crane mean? There is also a number, 34763 above that on the inside of the crane.

    I will post the S/N when I get home, and a picture if possible,
    a).357
    b) 4"
    c) Square
    d) 6
    e) Adjustable
    f) serial number, and if there is a letter in front of or anywhere near the s/n on the bottom of the grip
    g) 28-2, says Highway Patrolman on the barrel, .357 CTG or .357 S&W CTG. I am pretty sure the S/N starts with 'N'
    __________________
     
  24. blkbrd666

    blkbrd666 Member

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    Thanks Shade! That's what I was thinking on the price...300(no brainer)...400(fair if you really want one).
     
  25. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Shade00:

    Back when, Smith & Wesson recommended the .38 S&W cartridge for home protection because they knew that most of the folks that bought a revolver for this purpose weren’t practiced gunnies. In addition there were also issues concerning bullets out of more powerful handguns going through walls and windows.

    I know what the “general consensus” is, but I’m not always sure about the background of the folks who have it. The relatively few, but genuine gunfighters I have known put a heavy emphasis on bullet placement.

    Ya might be interested to know that during World War Two the O.S.S. arranged to divert a whole bunch of .38-200 S&W revolvers that were supposed to be going to the U.K. I don’t know what for, but the purpose was undoubtedly nefarious.

    Anyway they had to obtain some jacketed ball ammunition and so ordered the following:

    Cartridge: .38 S&W
    Bullet: 125 grain copper clad/steel jacketed/lead core
    Muzzle Velocity: 625 FPS +/- 25 FPS (measured @ 25 Ft. out of 4” barrel)
    Chamber pressure: 13000 PSI

    Obviously this was not a barnburner of the highest order. But they lacked any input from 21st century tactical types expounding on the Internet.
     

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