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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
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    LKLive13:
    Your Model 36 Chief Special was manufactured between 1966 (serial number 392278) & 1969 (serial number 786544).
    If the grips are original and there is an uncheckered diamond around the grip screws, then 1966-1968. If the grips are original and the checkering runs right up to the screws, then 1968 or 1969.

    S&W do not recommend the use of PlusP in guns made prior to 1957, mainly because thats when they introduced model numbers, so it is easy to say 'No model number under the crane, no PlusP. '
    In reality all steel guns made after WWII should be fine with SAAMI standard PlusP ammo, if in good mechanical condition. Current PLusP loads are the equivalent of the old standard pressure load, which was reduced in the 70s or 80s as new pressure measuring equipment became available, and probably due to worries about guns from the 1899-1919 period that were not heat treated.
    European standards are measured in a different way and are not directly comparable, but a rule of thumb comparison is that the European standard .38 Special pressure is equivalent to US PlusP.

    Use of PlusP in early aluminum frame 'Airweight' guns is not a good idea, There have been reports through the years of frame stretching and timing issues after a couple of hundred rounds. I do wonder if this was with the current PlusP level or with earlier ammunition loaded considerably hotter - there was a .38 Special High Speed load from the 1930s to the 1960s that was a predecessor to the .357 Magnum. Regardless, I would only use PlusP in an alloy gun that is marked as suitable for PlusP.

    +P+ is a different kettle of fish, there is no industry standard for this, as it was a way for police departments to get around bans on magnum ammunition. It could be a 20% increase in pressure over standard, or it could be close to .357 magnum pressures. You are unlikely to encounter it as it was not a commercial sales item and few departments have revolvers these days, so I doubt there is any being produced.

    Clear as mud? TL,DR: If in good working order, your gun will be fine with any current manufacture standard pressure or PlusP pressure loads.
     
  2. NapalmMan67

    NapalmMan67 Member

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    Two of them:

    806XX w/Adj. rear sight and target hammer/trigger? I think this one is a Model 17. 22LR, 6 shot

    D569XXX 2" snub This is a 10-5 .38 Special, 6 shot.

    Sorry about the lack of initial info.

    Both all original.

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  3. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Need more data. 5 or 6 shot? What caliber? is there a model number stamped under the cylinder yoke?
     
  4. LKLive13

    LKLive13 Member

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    Thanks radagast... Those dates make sense to me... My grandfather was a police officer from 65-75 so I guess he picked it up during that time as a backup gun. Thanks for the info on +P as well!!
     
  5. LKLive13

    LKLive13 Member

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    Here is another one for you...

    a) 32 S&W Long
    b) 3 in
    c) Round
    d) 6
    e) Fixed
    f) 7246XX
    g) Mod 30-1 and 18267 with S below that

    If you have an approximate value for this one that would be awesome!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  6. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    LKlive13:
    Your Model 30-1 .32 Hand Ejector was manufactured between 1961 & 1970, serial range over those years was 712954 to 826977. The -1 designates a change from the .32 sized Improved I frame to the .38 sized J frame. Unfortunately the Standard Catalog of S&W does not give a year by year serial number breakdown for that model. You can refine it further based on features.
    If the cylinder latch is flat, the 1961-1966. If the cylinder latch is concave then 1966-1970.
    If the grips are original and there is an uncheckered diamond around the grip screws, then 1968 or earlier. If the checkering goes up to the screws, then 1968 or later.

    I am Australian and don't have much knowledge of the current US prices. In 2006 The Standard Catalog of S&W gave a value of $185 in fair condition, $225 in very good condition, $275 in excellent condition and $375 for as new in box. I doubt these prices have changed much, the round is unpopular/expensive for self defense and there is no rarity to cause a price spike due to collecting.

    NapalmMan67:
    Your Model 10-5 .38 Military & Police tapered barrel was manufactured in 1973 or 1974. Serial range for those years was D510001 to D659901, so 1973 seems probable.

    Your other gun is an enigma. If it is the same frame size as the Model 10-5, a six inch barrel & has a K prefix to the serial number then it is a K22 Masterpiece manufactured in 1949, a pre-model 17. If as above but a 4 inch barrel then it is a K22 Combat Masterpiece from 1949, the Pre-Model 18.

    If the serial number is is 806xx, the frame is slightly smaller than the Model 10 and the gun has adjustable sights, then its a .22/34 Kit Gun, the Model 34-1, manufactured between 1960 & 1968. Follow the info given above to LKLive13 to refine the period of manufacture down.
     
  7. LKLive13

    LKLive13 Member

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    Thanks again for the info Radagast! You have provided more info for those two pistols than I have been able to find... They mean the world to me because they were my grandfathers and he is now passed. Even though the two of them are not worth that much they are still worth more to me than any other weapon I own!
     
  8. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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  9. NapalmMan67

    NapalmMan67 Member

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    I believe I gave you the wrong number- let's try this.

    22LR, 6 shot, 6" barrel adj. rear sight. K 291xxx

    Thank you for your patience and info.


    .
     
  10. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    NapalmMan67:
    That serial number makes it a 1957 manufactured K22 Masterpiece. That was the year that model numbers were introduced, so your gun just made it over the line to qualify as a K22 rather than a Model 17. If in excellent condition or above that may bring in a few dollars more from a collector.
     
  11. NapalmMan67

    NapalmMan67 Member

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    Nice. I'd put it about 98%. Won't sell it, it was my grandfathers passed on down to me.

    Thank you very much for the information.


    .
     
  12. gunsablazin

    gunsablazin Member

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    S&W .32 Long Hand Ejector serial # 543359, can you tell me when it was made, and if it has a heat treated cylinder? Thanks! :)
     
  13. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    gunsablazin: The Standard Catalog of S&W does not give a year by year breakdown for that model. It falls in the period 1946 (serial number 536685) to 1956 (serial number 640980).
    If it has a two inch barrel, then 11949 or later.
    If it has a strain spring in the front of the grip frame, then it is an improved I frame and 1953 or later.
    If no strain spring, then 1953 or earlier.

    With production averaging roughly 10,000 a year over that period, I would expect 1946 or 1947 for your gun.

    It does have a heat treated cylinder, it also has the post war positive hammer block safety, so its safe with any current factory ammo and can be loaded with six rounds.
     
  14. USMC8541

    USMC8541 Member

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    44 mag date

    a) 44 mag
    b) bbl length 6"
    c) grips shape square
    d) number of shots 6
    e) type of sights adjustable
    f) serial number, AYU2990
    g) Model number 29-3
     
  15. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    USMC8541:
    Your Model 29-3 .44 Magnum was manufactured in late 1987. It may not have shipped until 1988.
     
  16. USMC8541

    USMC8541 Member

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    Thanks, I know the quality was not good in some of those years but this gun has a deep rich blueing and smooth action. Since I got it used I don't know what has been done to it or if it may have been an employee gun since I live close to the plant.
     
  17. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    The earlier guns were subject to timing issues when given a constant diet of magnums. This was changed in 1987 with the Model 29-3E for Endurance.
    So if you plan to shoot it a lot, stick with mid level loads or .44 specials.
     
  18. Larry GA.

    Larry GA. Member

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    32 long

    Let’s go back to the 32 long for a minute

    BBL length 3
    Grip shape round
    6 shot fixed sights
    Sn # looks like b50100 not sure about the b is found on the front strap of the grip the wood grip come together under the grip straps the diamond on the grip screw is not checkered
    The left side of the bbl says Smith &Wesson the right side has 32 long CTG
    There is a trade mark below the cylinder release thanks for your help
    Larry
     
  19. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Larry GA:
    The stamping of the serial number on the front strap indicates your gun is a .32 Regulation Police. These originally came with square butt grips that enclosed the bottom of the frame, and the serial number was stamped on the front of the grip for this reason. The grip frame was round butt with a notch in the back strap that the square grips fitted to.
    I'm going to take a punt and say your serial number is 560100 or 650100. Check under the barrel and on the cylinder face as it may be duplicated.
    Barrel length should be 3.25 inches.
    The standard catalog of S&W does not give a year to year breakdown on these, but I can give you a close estimation. Production was restarted in 1946 at serial number 536000, and reached serial number 640980 in 1956. Serial numbers were introduced in 1957. So 1946 to 1956 if 560100 & 1956 or 1957 if 650100.
    If there is a strain screw in the front strap of the grip, then 1946-1953 and its an I frame. If no screw then 1953 to 1957 & its an improved I frame using a coil spring.
    If it's an improved I frame I expect the notch in the rear strap will not be present.
    Grips should be checkered walnut, un-checkered diamonds around the grip screws and S&W monograms.
    If the front sight is ramped, then 1956 or 1957, if a half moon or quarter moon style, then 1946 to early 1956.
     
  20. Larry GA.

    Larry GA. Member

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    32 Long

    Radagast

    Thank you for the information that is a whole lot more than we did know I bought it in WIS. In late 1962 in a pawn shop
    Yes there is a screw in the front strap of the grip and it has the half moon front sight. Also I did find a number on the barrel under the extractor and it definitely Has A B x50100
     
  21. Larry GA.

    Larry GA. Member

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    32 Long

    Radagast

    Thank you for the information that is a whole lot more than we did know I bought it in WIS. In late 1962 in a pawn shop
    Yes there is a screw in the front strap of the grip and it has the half moon front sight. Also I did find a number on the barrel under the extractor and it definitely Has A B x50100
     
  22. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Larry GA.

    The number under the barrel will be the serial number with a B prefix, that is normal. I've never worked out whether the B stood for barrel, or for blued. The serial number on the front strap should be all numerals with no B prefix.

    If the serial number doesn't start with a 5 or a 6, PM it to me and I'll look it up.

    If the numeral
     
  23. Kernel

    Kernel Member

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    USMC8541,

    To add to Radagast's posts; your M29’s s/n is in the same range as the famous Custom Service CS-1 revolvers. Those guns were all M686-0 L-frames. Because the CS-1 is so popular and sought after by shooters and collectors, there’s a lot of details on the internet regarding their s/n's and factory ship dates (the date is a four digit code found on the box, so they're pretty exact).

    AYD49XX shipped Mar 3, 1988
    AYD495X shipped Dec 18, 1987
    AYTXXXX shipped Sept 21, 1988
    AYU07XX shipped Sept 23, 1988
    AYU09XX shipped Aug 17, 1989.

    Of course, your M29 is an N-frame. From what I've seen, post 1983, N-frames have similar s/n prefixes and ship in sequence with the L-frames, but commonly precede the L-frames by 1 to 6 months. Given all that, I’d guess your M29 left the factory sometime in the March to July of 1988. If you still have the original box the four digit ship-date-code would be on it.
     
  24. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    Picked this one up today. K-22, S/N K 378xx . I was told 1948. Can anyone verify?

    100_0556_zps6b5f21a5.gif

    100_0557_zpsdf2a6f0f.gif

    100_0558_zps9f983955.gif

    22 LR of course, 6" barrel, six shots. Magna grips and box number to gun.
     
  25. orpington

    orpington Member

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    Radagast,

    Here is one for you to research:

    Smith & Wesson 1st Model Double Action in .44 S & W Russian (Top Break Revolver), Nickel Finish, 6 inch barrel, number 49419.
     

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