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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. Jake Chandler

    Jake Chandler Member

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    Thank you taking the time to research my S&W revolver.

    a) .38 ctg special
    b) 4"
    c) round
    d) 6
    e) fixed
    f) from the butt handle # 227xxx 9no letter)
    g) from the crane B # 227xxx

    thank you
    Jake
     
  2. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    Jake Chandler:
    You have a S&W .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 3rd Change, manufactured between 1909 & 1915. This is a direct ancestor of the Model 10 revolver manufactured today.
    Your gun predates heat treatment of cylinders (introduced in 1919) and also lacks the modern internal hammer block safety (introduced in 1944).
    Because of this the gun should only be fired with standard velocity lead bullets. The 158 grain lead round nose is the round the sights would have been regulated for, so stick to that or the 148 grain lead wad cutter or a similar handload.
    Lacking the modern hammer block, it would be prudent if the gun is kept loaded to leave the hammer down on an empty chamber. The modern hammer block was introduced after a sailor was killed when a gun was dropped on it's hammer and discharged.
     
  3. badasp97

    badasp97 Member

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    OK guys, this is what I've got; a S&W .38 Special that originally belonged to my grandfather. The gun was purchased in WV in the early 1900's. It's a six shooter with a 6" barrel, nickel plated, and has pearl handle grips.
    On the left side of the barrel it says "38 S&W Special CTG"
    On top of the barrel it has a list of patent dates starting with March 27, 1894, and ending with Sept 14, 1904, with 6 other dates listed in between those two.
    The serial # is 241117
    Any info about this gun would be greatly appreciated.
     
  4. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    Badasp97:
    You have one of the last .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 3rd Change made, as the switch over to the 4th Change occurred at serial no 241704 in 1915.

    This is a direct ancestor of the Model 10 revolver manufactured today.
    Your gun predates heat treatment of cylinders (introduced in 1919) and also lacks the modern internal hammer block safety (introduced in 1944).
    Because of this the gun should only be fired with standard velocity lead bullets. The 158 grain lead round nose is the round the sights would have been regulated for, so stick to that or the 148 grain lead wad cutter or a similar handload.
    Lacking the modern hammer block, it would be prudent if the gun is kept loaded to leave the hammer down on an empty chamber. The modern hammer block was introduced after a sailor was killed when a gun was dropped on it's hammer and discharged.

    Nickel was a factory option, if the trigger and hammer care color case hardened it is probably a factory finish. If the trigger and hammer have been nickeled the gun has been refinished.

    If the pearl grips are real mother of pearl then they will add somewhat to the guns value. Fake plastic ones will detract from it and real mother of pearl with factory medallions will be more desirable than without.
     
  5. badasp97

    badasp97 Member

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    OK guys, this is what I've got; a S&W .38 Special that originally belonged to my grandfather. The gun was purchased in WV in the early 1900's. It's a six shooter with a 6" barrel, nickel plated, and has pearl handle grips.
    On the left side of the barrel it says "38 S&W Special CTG"
    On top of the barrel it has a list of patent dates starting with March 27, 1894, and ending with Sept 14, 1904, with 6 other dates listed in between those two.
    The serial # is 241117
    Any info about this gun would be greatly appreciated.
     
  6. Jake Chandler

    Jake Chandler Member

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    Thank you very much Radagast for your reply, help and advice it's greatly appreciated.
    I'm going to replace the grips back to the original style, is there a frame model number I need to make reference to or just provide the info you posted?
    Thanks again
     
  7. Shadan7

    Shadan7 Member

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    Hey everyone,

    So, as noted here, I am trying to determine exactly what model revolver was issued to my dad as a police officer in the 1960s in a St. Louis suburb. From what I remember (I was 11 when he was killed in the line of duty) it was a 4" barrel Model 10 or 15 .38 special, and I have the serial number: C484 666.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Jim D.
     
  8. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    Jake Chandler:
    The Frame is a K frame, any K frame round butt grip will fit it. If you want to go for original style grips then look for round butt hard black rubber grips or round butt checkered walnut grips with a round top and a gold medallion in the round top. The Magna type grip with the timber 'horns' that run up to the top of the frame were not introduced until 1938.

    Shadan7:
    C484666 dates your fathers gun to 1961 or 62. With that serial number it would be a Model 10, 11, 12, 45 or Aircrewman. The Aircrewman was a US Airforce variant, the Model 12 was the fairly rare aluminum framed Airweight Military & Police, the Model 45 was a very rare .22 caliber Military & Police and the Model 11 was in .38 S&W, mainly for export orders. So it's very likely that your fathers gun was a Model 10 and that serial number probably falls in early 1961.
     
  9. Shadan7

    Shadan7 Member

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    Radagast, thank you very much for such a complete answer. Given what you say, it confirms what I had been thinking: a Model 10. Thanks - now I can send in the request for a Letter of Authenticity as part of this research project!

    Cheers!

    Jim D.
     
  10. Terripan

    Terripan Member

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    Hey yall. First post and first question at the same time. First though let me say that I've been looking over the site and it rocks! Thanks for having this available in such an easy to read and friendly site.
    My questions are about a S&W revolver that was given to me recently. It fires like a dream and I fell in love with it on sight. Do they still manufacture this size and if so, why not?

    a) caliber----32 long CTG
    b) bbl length (from cylinder to muzzle)----4"
    c) grips shape (round or square)----round
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores----6
    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----155987
    g) Model number if it is under the crane.----155987
    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).


    DSCF6947.jpg
     
  11. circuitspore

    circuitspore Member

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    A coworker of mine has two old M&P revolvers he'd like to get some info on:

    #1

    a) caliber: 32 WCF
    b) bbl length: 4"
    c) grips shape: round
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores: 6
    e) type of sights: fixed
    f) serial number: 88811
    g) Model number if it is under the crane: forgot to look! :(

    #2

    a) caliber: 38 S&W Special (is this the same as '.38 special'?)
    b) bbl length: 3"
    c) grips shape: round
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores: 6
    e) type of sights: fixed
    f) serial number: 269131
    g) Model number if it is under the crane: forgot to look! :(

    The #1 revolver is pretty worn, lots of finish surface rust, and a rusty/pitted barrel. Can you even get 32 WCF cartridges? Are they safe to shoot in this gun if so?

    Thanks for the help, as always.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  12. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    Terripan:
    You have a .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1903 5th Change, manufactured in the serial number range 102501 to 263000. There is no model number under the crane because it predates model numbers, which were introduced in 1957.

    The frame size is the I Frame, basically it was sized to allow chambering the .32 S&W long cartridge, while using the grip from the top break revolvers in .32 S&W that predated it. In the 1940s the I frame was modified slightly to the Improved I frame with a coil main spring instead of a leaf spring. In 1950 this I frame was stretched to allow chambering of the .38 Special round. This larger frame is know as the J frame.
    The popularity of the .38 special chambering eventually killed off the .32 long guns, the .32 Hand Ejector surviving as the Model 30 until 1960.

    the J frame was again stretched in the 1990s to allow chambering of the .357 Magnum round. Last year the J magnum was chambered in .327 Magnum, a stretched and more powerful descendant of the .32 S&W long, so the development has gone full circle and come back to where it started - a .32 caliber six shot gun in a small frame.
    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...d=10001&productId=86957&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y

    Your gun has been refinished, the trigger and hammer would not have been nickeled from the factory. This wipes out any interest from a collector, but the value of small frame .32s is is fairly low anyway. Keep it, shoot it and enjoy it.
     
  13. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    circuitspore:
    Gun number one is a .32-20 Hand Ejector Model of 1905 4th Change manufactured between 1915 & 1940 in the serial number range 65701 to 144684. Heat treating of cylinders began at serial number 81287 somewhere between 1917 & 1919, so this gun probably dates to the early 1920s. .32 WCF is more commonly known as .32-20. Do not use jacketed rounds designed for rifles in this gun, as they have a bad habit of bulging the barrels. Get cowboy loads for it, Old Western Scrounger should be able to provide them if your local gunshop can't.
    Have the gun inspected by a gunsmith before attempting to fire it. Guns with pitted barrels are often fired, but a barrel full of rust may be unsafe.

    Gun number 2 is a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905-4th Change manufactured between 1915 & 1919. It predates heat treatment of cylinders so it should only be fired with standard pressure lead ammunition, not modern Plus P or jacketed rounds. .38 Special is the Same as .38 S&W Special - Colt didn't like stamping S&W on their guns! Standard barrel length on these guns was 4, 5 & 6 inches, so it may have been cut down at some point. If the lug under the barrel to lock the end of the ejector rod is missing then the gun should definitely not be fired with anything other than standard pressure rounds.
     
  14. Terripan

    Terripan Member

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    Thanks for the info, but I'm confused about the date of manufacture. The last 2 dates on the barrel are Feb 8, 06 & Sept 14, 09. I don't know what the crane is on a gun. I thought it was the part of the barrel closest to the cylinder. The serial number is visible at that spot only when the cylinder is open...
     
  15. walgetty

    walgetty Member

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    I have 2 for you to research for me when you have time.


    #1
    A) .45 Auto Rim :D
    B) 6"
    C) Square Butt
    D) 6 shot
    E) Adjustable Rear Sight
    F) N451012
    G) Model 25-2


    #2
    A) .357
    B) 6"
    C) Square Butt
    D) 6 shot
    E) Adjustable Rear and Red Ramp Front
    F) AAA 1761 :D
    G) 586


    Thanks for any info :)
     
  16. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    Terripan:
    I screwed up and left out the dates! The model of 1903 -5th change means the gun was originally released in 1903, but has undergone 5 engineering/design changes since then. Guns were manufactured to the 5th change design between 1910 & 1917, which matches your dates.

    The crane (colt terminology) is also called the cylinder yoke (S&W terminology. It is the section of metal that hinges on the bottom of the frame below where the barrel meets the frame and swings out carrying the cylinder with it. The area of the frame that has the serial number that is hidden when the crane/yoke is closed is called the yoke cut out.



    walgetty:
    Originally manufactured as the 1955 Target Model (Heavy Barrel), in 1957 it was designated the Model 25. The 25-2 variant was manufactured from 1961 to 1988 in .45 ACP. Some guns were also manufactured in .45 Colt caliber in the 25-3, 25-4, 25-5 variants during this period. Your gun dates to 1977 or 1978.

    Your 586 dates to 1980 and is one of the first made. There is a recall on all early 586s, when shot with magnum loads some experienced primer flow back into the firing pin bushing, locking the cylinder. S&W will install a new hammer and bushing for free if you wish to have the gun modified. If it has already been modified there should be an M stamped after the model number under the crane.
     
  17. victory model

    victory model Member

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    Found in local shop - M&P (or so the tag says - finish looks really good), .38 Special, 4", Serial # S 8893xx

    Thanks.
     
  18. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    victory model: You have a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 4th Change, probably manufactured in the period 1939 to 1942.
     
  19. victory model

    victory model Member

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    Thanks! I can get it for $350. Too high?
     
  20. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    I'm in Australia, so I can't give you current US prices. In 2006 the Standard Catalog of S&W gave a value of $335 in excellent condition, $450 in excellent plus, so that price sounds right.
     
  21. Jake Chandler

    Jake Chandler Member

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    Thank you Radagast, I appreciate your help! And also over at the other forum.
    Jake
     
  22. sfc_mark

    sfc_mark Member

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    Looking for DOB on a Model 10 Police Trade-In I picked up at the local gun show (unfortunately, it is overmarked by CAI, but the price was decent).

    a) 38 Special
    b) 4" Heavy Barrel
    c) Round Butt
    d) 6-Shot
    e) Fixed Sights
    f) SN BSL0775
    g) Model 10-10
     
  23. Radagast
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    Radagast Member

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    sfc_mark:
    Between August 1994 (BRFxxxx) & January 1996 (CAMxxxx).
     
  24. sfc_mark

    sfc_mark Member

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    Radagast:
    Thanks a bunch.
     
  25. agg

    agg Member

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    grandfathers pistol

    Barrel stamped (38 S&W special CTG

    a. 38
    b. 3"
    c. square butt
    d. 6 shot
    e. fixed sight
    f. 503XX
     
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