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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. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    N170880 shipped in 1973 or there abouts.

    The Highway Patrolman was made between 1954 and 1986. It became the Model 28 in 1957.

    Standard barrel lengths were either 4" or 6", with fewer then 100 in 8 3/8".
    (measured from the cylinder face to the muzzle.)

    It was an "economy" version of the much finer finished and expensive Model 27 .357 Magnum.

    S&W will refinish it with a standard polish & blue for $190.00.

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...catalogId=10001&content=18302&sectionId=11522

    rc
     
  2. Websquirrel

    Websquirrel Member

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    model 36 ladysmith

    a. 38 spl
    b. 1 7/8"
    c. round butt
    d. 5 shot
    e. fixed sights
    f. serial BDF8xxx
    g. mod. 36-2

    I went in the store intending to buy a model 60 in .357 when i noticed this gun. It has the firing pin built into the hammer and smooth thin rosewood grips. I'm looking for its DOB.

    Did I do good or should i have gone with the 60?
    Also, what is the consensus on carrying +p's in it?

    Thanks,
    squirrel
     
  3. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Websquirrel: Between February & April 1989. The J-magnum framed model 36, officially rated for Plus P did not come about until the 36-9. Limited use of PlusP shouldn't harm your gun, but it will accelerate wear.
     
  4. jeep5ter

    jeep5ter Member

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    DOB on S&W Model 32

    OK, I have one:


    a) caliber - .38 S&W
    b) bbl length - 2"
    c) grips shape - round wood
    d) number of shots - 5
    e) type of sights - Fixed
    f) serial number - R28129
    g) Model number - Mod 32-1, also the number 8708 is stamped on the cylinder arm.
     
  5. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    jeep5ter: 1969.
     
  6. jeep5ter

    jeep5ter Member

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    Thanks

    Radagast: Thanks. Had it for years; ex-police back up gun.
     
  7. Two Cold Soakers

    Two Cold Soakers Member

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    Model 60 in .38 SPL Please?

    a) caliber 38 S.&W. SPL.
    b) bbl length (from cylinder to muzzle) 1-7/8"
    c) grips shape (round or square) Round
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores 5
    e) type of sights. Front- blade; Rear-fixed.
    f) serial number, R121483
    g) Model number Model 60


    Thank You!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009
  8. Whiteymin

    Whiteymin Member

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    My DOB Smith

    38 special
    1 7/8" barrel
    Square bottom
    5 shot
    fixed sights
    J frame
    model 637
    seial # CMB4XXX

    Thanks guys
     
  9. Gatorbait

    Gatorbait member

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    What a great help this is to a non-collector! Just received as a gift from a Chosin Few jarhead younger than I; gunsmith gave it an okay to shoot and fired it himself.

    Is modern .38 Special safe to use? I'd love to know in which century it was built an perhaps narrow it to a decade or so. Also, I wonder what model designation it wold have now. Thanks in advance. G'bait



    Here's about all I know:

    Revolver
    Caliber stampe on barrel: 38 S&W Special CTG
    Serial number: 261199
    Barrel length: 4 inches

    Left-side barrel marking (exactly): " * 38 S&W SPECIAL CTG * " [Where I've put asterisks are stamped markings the same depth and approximate size as the rest of the marking. I can't identify them as letters or numbers; they look as though they might be decorative]

    Right-side barrel marking: There is a stamped Maltese cross at each end of the lines that give the patent dates.

    The only other marking is the S&W logo on the right side of the frame behind the cylinder. When I swing out the cylinder I see nothing else, and I didn't remove the grips.

    Square grip; appears to be wood

    6-shot cylinder

    Nickel plated

    Sights: Fixed front, half moon, appears to be integral with the barrel; I can't see any groove that might allow it to be replaced. Rear sight, none; only a groove that ends about 3/8-inch forward of the cylinder.

    (My wife--Eagle-Eye--is away and would be better able than I to read that stuff. It's clear and the impressions are clean, but I can't hold the piece and magnifier still.)
     
  10. henry-ctc

    henry-ctc Member

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    Pls. help.
    a.- .32 SW long
    b.- 3"
    c.- Square butt
    d.- 6 shot
    e.- fixed
    f.- A22 7X4xx
    g.- 31-1

    Thanks in advance
     
  11. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Two Cold Soakers: Your model 60 Chiefs Special Stainless was made between 1974 & 1973 (serial range was R100000 to R190000).

    Whiteymin: The Standard Catalog of S&W cuts off it's serial number ranges at CHMxxxx in 2004. It was taking them roughly 18 months to cycle through one letter in the prefix, so I would guess your gun is fairly recent. All we can say for sure is that it was manufactured sometime after July 2004.


    Gatorbait: You have a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 - 4th Change. This is the predecessor to the Model 10. Manufactured between 1915 & 1942 in the serial number range 241704 to 1000000. Heat treating of cylinders began at approximately serial number 316648, so I would not fire the gun with anything other than standard pressure 158 grain round nose lead ammunition.
    I've read variously that heat treating began in 1917 & 1920, so we can safely say that your gun dates from between 1915 & 1920, probably a lot closer to 1915. Nickel plating was a factory option, a lot of guns have aftermarket nickeling. If the hammer and trigger are color case hardened then it is probably a factory finish. The half moon front sight was standard for that period. The groove in the top of the back strap is the rear fixed sight.

    henry-ctc The number you have given is not the serial number, it is probably an assembly number used to track fitted parts in the factory. The serial number should be on the bottom of the grip frame. The model 31-1 .32 Regulation Police was introduced in 1961 on the J frame, replacing the old model 31 which was built on the slightly smaller I frame. It continued in production until 1988 when the 31-2 replaced it. Between 1961 & 1970 the serial range was 712954 to 826977, when the serial range started again at H00001. Post the correct serial number and I'll try and narrow it down.
     
  12. Gatorbait

    Gatorbait member

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    Radagast, maybe I can prevail on you to clarify a bit. I prefer that the gun stay in one piece while it's in my hand. You wrote: "Heat treating of cylinders began at approximately serial number 316648, so I would not fire the gun with anything other than standard pressure 158 grain round nose lead ammunition."

    Does standard pressure include some .38 special as made today, or is that only found with what I've seen on this site called something else, like "S&W 38"? Does the CTG mean I need to get something out of the ordinary. I try to find ball ammunition anyhow because of the cost and if .45 bll was good enough for the nutty Moros in the Philippines it's good enough for me. Hoe I'm ot being a pest?
     
  13. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    CTG is just an abbreviation for cartridge.

    .38 S&W is an earlier round than .38 special. It was introduced in the small top break S&W five shooters in 1877 and was originally a black powder cartridge. It is still loaded today with smokeless powder, in a fairly anemic load that emulates the black powder round. It has a wider cartridge base than the .38 special and will not chamber in any quality .38 special firearm.
    The .38 S&W was also known as the .38 Super Police, .38 Colt New Police (Colt didn't want to put S&W on their revolvers) .38/200 (British Service) .380 Rim ( Indian).

    .38 S&W Special was introduced in 1899 and was the first revolver cartridge designed for smokeless (modern) gun powder. It is a stretched version of the black powder .38 Long Colt cartridge. As such it has a lot of room in the case (not as much smokeless powder is needed for the same velocity as an equivalent black powder charge) and with reloads it is possible to double charge a case and potentially blow up the gun.

    Because of the extra case capacity, some .38 Special rounds are loaded with more powder to higher pressures and sold as faster 'premium' ammunition and should not be fired in older guns.

    The original standard pressure loading was a .158 grain round nose lead bullet.

    Any cartridge marked .38 special, .38 S&W special, .38 Smith & Wesson Special with this loading should be fine.

    Any cartridge marked PlusP, +P, +P+ or old ammunition labeled .38 High Speed will have higher pressures and for safety's sake should not be used in old guns.

    Also, .38 Super pistol cartridges may chamber in .38 S&W Special revolvers. Never do this. The maximum pressure for the .38 special load is 17000 PSI. the maximum pressure for the .38 Super load is 36500PSI, more than double.

    Hope this helps.
     
  14. 496 polara

    496 polara Member

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    Location:
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    .38 special
    4"bbl
    notch(?)rear sight
    mod 15-8
    K930423
    wood grip with oval(?) butt
     
  15. Gatorbait

    Gatorbait member

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    Radagast, Thank you so much for that very complete (to me, at least) clarification. I enjoy firearms in sort of the same way I did saltwater fishing tackle when I was i shape to use it. The variations available, though, in "gun stuff" are far more numerous than I ever encountered in the gear I employed out on the briny.

    I now feel I can proceed with some assurance of coming home with my hand(s) intact after a day on the range.
     
  16. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    Hi Gatorbait,



    The so-called 'Cowbow Action' Ammunition in .38 Spedial should be just fine for your old S&W...and is usually flat-point rounded Lead Bullets and 'sensible' Loadings.

    Copper Patch, or .38 Military Ball or Hard Ball or Jacketed in any way, would not be good for your Revolver.

    Any Standard Loadings in .38 Special having the traditional 158grn 'plain' Lead Bullet (ie: not a Silvertip, not a hollowpoint, etc)...and any traditional standard Loading 'Match' or Wadcutter Ammo, should be fine.


    Do not shoot any one else's re-loads or bargain re-loads sold at Target Ranges.



    Phil
     
  17. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Gatorbait: Plus one to what Oyeboten said. The standard 148 grain wadcutter .38 special should be fine in your gun. The 130 grain FMJ loadings, although standard pressure rounds, in theory the harder jacket will take longer to deform into the rifling, causing a pressure spike behind it. Probably not a problem, but why ask for trouble? Cowboy loads _should_ have lower pressure than standard velocity ammo. The round your guns sights should be regulated to is the 158 grain roundnose.

    496 polara: The serial number you give dates your gun to 1969 (serial number range K848782 to K946391). This would make it a 15-3. The 15-8 was a S&W Performance Center gun made in 2001.
     
  18. 496 polara

    496 polara Member

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  19. abchoppers

    abchoppers Member

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    Hi all, just got my first S & W

    -38 Special
    -3" bbl
    -notch rear sight
    -model 64-5
    -BFV4498
    - wood grips with square butt

    Thanks in advance!
    Ryan
     
  20. abchoppers

    abchoppers Member

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    Here's a pic
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    abchoppers: August 1990 to January 1991.
     
  22. abchoppers

    abchoppers Member

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    Radagast - Thanks for your time and the dates!
     
  23. Geezer Glide

    Geezer Glide Member

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    I recently picked up a revolver I would like the date of mfg on, please.

    Smith & Wesson Model 31-1
    32 S&W
    J Frame
    Blue
    Square Butt
    3 inch barrel
    SN 8187XX

    Thank you in advance.

    31left.gif
     
  24. skoro

    skoro Member

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    Model 13-2

    a) .357 magnum
    b) 3"
    c) round butt
    d) 6
    e) fixed
    f) 8D461XX
    g) 13-2

    Thanks!
     
  25. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Geezer Glide: The model 31-1 Regulation Police was introduced in 1961 with the switch from the small I frame the slightly larger J frame. Your gun falls intot he date range 1961 to 1970 (serial number range 712954 to 826977. Your gun lacks the uncheckered diamond around the grip screws, which was dropped in 1968, so I would place your gun in the period 1968 to 1970.


    Skoro: Your 13-2 .357 was manufactured in 1981, serial number range for that year was 7D10001 to 9D44500. The 13-2 was introduced in 1977 & was replaced by the 13-3, deleting the recessed cylinder (enclosed cartridge rims) & pinned barrel.
     

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