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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. Oro

    Oro Member

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    Shade, what you mean is that 700,000+ were made up to 1942. That is when they hit 999,999 and rolled over to V1. (God, wouldn't it be cool to find that - probably in a museum or somewhere, they usually gave those away as honoraria or kept them in the vault).

    His gun, if it is does not have a V or C prefix, will date to the mid/early 20's I think. If so, it should have a 1/2 moon front sight, single line address on the r. frame (e.g., "Made in USA" as opposed to blank or the later four line address), and a mushroom head ejector (deleted in 1930 I think). Heat treating started at S/N 316xxx, and I have it on good sources that was in 1921 (could be wrong). So his should be shortly after that. It's after 1929 and until 1940 that all S/N's get screwy, because the depression played hell on production/shipping/sales dates.

    Shande, since you like doing this so much, there's another source for dates. It was posted at the S&W forum by SaxonPig last fall, and he put it in the sticky at the top of this forum about "common S&W identifying features" a month or so ago. It is mostly good only for post-war K and N frames and pre-alpha/numeric sequence, but is more accurate than the SCSW 2nd appendix.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  2. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    kamerer, it's Shade, not Shane. ;) I had seen that post previously, but assumed for some reason that it might've been taking from the SCSW. Live and learn. I just likes helpin' people out.
     
  3. Oro

    Oro Member

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    Shade, I'm sorry about the name goof. My girlfriend was making drinks tonight!

    yeah, it's a different list, and better. I keep meaning to ask SP where he got it. I have a few guns in there and it is more accurate than the SCSW. Hey, it's like west coast time out here, so I can make a credible excuse for being up. Aren't you in the central zone? You need to sleep. Are't' you in law school? Don't delude yourself staying up studying is helpful - I learned that in med school!

    Cheers.
     
  4. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    You're right... due to night classes, I seem to be staying up later and later. Which is not good... I just can't get into a good sleep pattern. At any rate, how else can I give people accurate inorrect dates for their S&Ws? :p This stuff is always going to be best guess without a Jinks letter, but at least it pacifies the large majority of folks. Off to look at a Ruger Speed Six and then do some catching up on classwork!
     
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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  6. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    I had that little guy on my watch list. I did a :what: when it went past $600, and I almost had a heart attack when it ended at that price. Explain that, will ya?
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I can assure you that you weren't outbid by me... :evil:

    This is another case like the K-22 Masterpiece we followed before. :scrutiny:

    I'm pretty sure the winning bidder didn't buy it to use. The only one left that occasionally carries a .38 S&W revolver is the Old Fuff, and he has to do it in the dark of night so that no one will know... I can't say that for sure about the K-22.

    But as I read it, certain select model hand ejector models (other then those made on the N-frame which are in a class by themselves) during the 1930's to mid-1950's are becoming collectable if they are in perfect condition. Previously if they were considered at all it was in the context of being shooters. This is interesting to me, because such revolvers sometimes pop up in ordinary gun shops at "shooter prices." Again, you need your copy of Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson to keep informed, but I notice that pre-war Terrier's in this condition are valued around $500-plus (maybe) and pre-model 32's at about $100 less.

    So something happened. :confused: :eek:
     
  8. timburn

    timburn Member

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    Follow up with pictures

    Shade and fellow Gurus,
    Hopefully these pictures will come through. There is: L
    95894
    3
    On frame below yoke and 95894 on yoke. Serial number repeated on cylinder and barrel. Hope some of this helps. Grips not original. It came with large custom too large for my girlfriend and did not look right.
    Tim ( new Guy)
     

    Attached Files:

  9. timburn

    timburn Member

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    And another thing

    Do not know how I missed this, but there ia "c" apx 3/4" in front of serial#.
    Tim
     
  10. Shade00

    Shade00 Member

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    Old Fuff: My theory is that diamonds are secreted away in the cylinder. I am always on the lookout for pre-model # guns, and I happen to be fond of the little Terrier, but have yet to run into one in a shop. I would be forced to pass it up at half that price too.

    timburn: Pre-Model 10, 5-screw with serial # C95894 was produced sometime between 1948-1951.
     
  11. timburn

    timburn Member

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    Thanks

    Shade and others,
    Thanks for the input.
    Tim
     
  12. Haze

    Haze Member

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    DOB for Model 29?

    Would anyone have an approximate age of a model 29 with a serial number BCA9xxx?
     
  13. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    Late 1988 or early 1989?
     
  14. Haze

    Haze Member

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    Thanks. Sorry I posted the question in the wrong place the 1st time. I'm new here.
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    New members are allowed to make mistakes, we only hope you will keep coming back. :)
     
  16. Haze

    Haze Member

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    I will. Nice site. Thanks again!
     
  17. Downrange

    Downrange Member

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    Hi, just a quick post on a new acquisition today of a 38-2, SN BNT 33##. Curious why this isn't a "638" like current production models that look identical to these eyes, anyway...
    Thanks.
     
  18. Catalina25

    Catalina25 Member

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    Old Fuff, once more if you please

    Shade00 you're from the south so you must be used to the high heat and humidity I would think. And Old Fuff I'm guessing you're what, a desert rat, so the heat is O.K. by you? Well let me tell you, man it was a brutal one here in the New York metro area and sitting in an air conditioned truck and taking a ride up the Hutchinson River Parkway to retrieve that revolver that Old Fuff was helping me out with a few pages back was a cool thing to do. Cool get it.
    Before I write about the gun I'd like to apologize for a lack of pictures. I know how frustrating it can be to not be able to put an eye ball on an item that is being explained. Something always gets lost in the translation. It's hard being an analog man living in this digital age but before I purchase some gee wiz digital camera for what ever money, brother on my budget I'm buying ammo. Or gas.
    Anyway, the gun came from the Smoke N Guns shop in Mount Vernon about a half hour to forty five minute drive north of New York City, I live an equal amount of time east. I'll tell you what it was the most pleasure I've ever had buying a gun, Though we struggled communicating trough the internet in the beginning they ended up being great to do business with.
    So the gun comes out, paper work is being done and I'm eye balling my new gun and the owner of the shop and I start to converse about said gun and this is what I find out.
    The gun it seems has spent most of it's life locked up in a vault with some two hundred other old M&P's with holsters and eleven High Standard 12 gauge pump shot guns with bead sights and eighteen inch barrels one of which, the shotguns that is, they have in the store and it's worn and weathered and very, very COOL. Much like my '52 870 I'll have to say.
    So I'm holding and looking at my new gun with it's, what looks like new S&W grips and really kind of nice bluing for such an old gun and I say to Mike the shop owner, so when do you think it was refinished? "Refinished?", "Never, I can't explain the grips but I'd be surprised if the gun was ever fired" he says. Well O.K. I mean refinished or not I'm happy, the gun is tight and I've only spent a buck seventy five with a drive, I'm more than happy.
    But there is more Mike says it was one of the nicer gun to come from the lot, the other guns had a lot more wear than this one and a few others.
    So the vault turns out to be in a bunker in the basement of Yonkers Raceway a horse racing track not far from the gun shop and the track had it's own security thing going until a private security company took over. When that happened I don't know but thats when the guns were put away. Neat right?
    So I get home and I'm messing with the gun and I take off the grips and notice that although they look like S&W diamond grips the the medallion is in fact not an S&W anchor but a bird, an eagle I'd say, but nice grips none the less.
    Old Fuff like you I too believed that this gun had been re-blued but now I think not. Here's why on my work bench is one of those large round jeweler's lamps you know the kind, on a crane. Well as I was moving about cleaning the gun and retrieving and returning stuff from my cleaning kit when the light from the lamp caught the gun just right and I could see the ghost image of where the old original 3/4 type grips ended. With that I spotted the gun under the lamps magnifying glass and was I surprised by what I found nothing not a spot of wear on the forcing cone nothing but blue. Wait....O.K. with gun in pocket beer in hand and pretzel in mouth one of those big hard sour dough ones from UTZ, yum tasty. I went back to the bench to be certain that what I saw and felt this afternoon still held. And it does. No sign of etching on top strap no blast wear around the breach holes on the front of the cylinder, clean. There is also this, I've owned brand spanking out of the box new Smith revolvers and their triggers have a certain, oh say stiffness. Wouldn't you agree? Well this gun is just like that.
    If this gun shot more than a cylinder full well paint me red call me late to dinner and beat me with a stick cause cousin I've got it coming. Old Fuff, yourself, Brain Williams, Shade00, Kamerer the jellyroll, SaxonPig well I trust your guys opinions over my own. Thats not to say I can't find my way around a K frame but you all know the nuances.
    So Old Fuff if you saw something in the pictures of that gun on gunbroker that has you sitting there saying to your computer screen Thomas {Catalina25} you're a dope, then please enlighten me. Please
    Two more quick things if you read the serial number on this gun you can see right above the serial number, but, upside down a number stamp into the frame. It's Yonkers Raceway's control number.
    Also my ex-wife that would be my second as I rarely see my first and don't ever ask about my third well she took the ride with me to get the gun and it was much appreciated. Not that she'll ever know cause she ain't gonna read this and well I'll never tell her. Ah the games we play. Thanks guys Be cool and be safe TKM
     
  19. Oro

    Oro Member

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    Downrange,

    A 38-2 is a carbon steel Bodyguard. It can be blued or nickel-plated from the factory. A "6" prefix on a S&W indicates a stainless steel, not carbon steel gun, whether it's a two or three digit s/n. If your 38-2 looks like a 638, that's because the 638 has been bright polished (or your 38 is a little hazed/worn!).

    Does that make sense?
     
  20. Downrange

    Downrange Member

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    Thanks kamerer. I don't think this gun is carbon steel. It says "Airweight" on the barrel, and feels as light as my 642. I thought all the Airweights had aluminum alloy frames? Anyway, it sure feels light, and it doesn't look like any nickel finish I've ever seen. It looks exactly like my 642.
    So color me a bit confused. It does shoot to point of aim and feels tight and great, so I'm happy.
     
  21. Oro

    Oro Member

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    Downrange,

    Color me tired after a long gun show and working some horses for a show next week. Your's is a hybrid gun, the frame is alloy and the cylinder is steel.

    What I was trying to say and made a hash of it was that your gun is available in blue or nickel, with an alloy frame and carbon cylinder. The 638 has a different alloy frame, and a stainless cylinder - since it's not "blue-able" it gets a "6" model name. Yours must be nickel, and you are looking at a picture of brightly polished stainless 638 that looks like your nickel one. That is my best guess. Also, the newere 638s are on the "improved" J frame (j magnum), and i think the 38-2 is on the original J frame.

    modern J-frame varieties get pretty tricky. As if the old ones were a piece of cake to begin with.
     
  22. cmp944

    cmp944 Member

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    3
    .357 Mag
    4"
    Square
    2K1511
    Model 19-3
    Fin BT
    Stock T
    Special features P-913
    Adjustable rear sight
     
  23. Oro

    Oro Member

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    That's 1970. I'm not sure about the "BT" and the special feature. Can you post a picture of the box label? "BT" as a finish means bright, so maybe that was the special feature. Most 19s had a "standard" or "brush" blue finish, though it varied by year as to what that consisted of. Interesting.
     
  24. cmp944

    cmp944 Member

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    Hi Kamerer,

    I am unable to post pictures at this time but I did email you two pictures from my cell phone.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  25. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    Model 19-4.

    357

    4"

    Nickle

    Target sights, trigger, hammer, and grips.

    50K0077
     
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