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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. joelblevins

    joelblevins Member

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    I have a 38 s&w special ctg with the serial number 400858. I know that it is pre 1930's atleast. It has a 6 inch barrel and there is another number behind the hinge of the cylinder which is 28331. I fired it today and it is in excellent working condition and looks very good also especially for its age. It has fixed sights with original holster. any idea on a more definitive year and rough value of this pistol. any feedback is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. litman252

    litman252 Member

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    Model and DOM please-
    airweight .38
    "38 SPL CTG"
    5 shot
    # at bottom of grip- 8101*
    cyl crane & frame has "21127" with a "1" above that on the frame
    1 7/8" barrel
    I belive it's a square butt, very small grip

    Through searching it looks just like a 37 if it's not one itself....


    Thanks, it's not a 1911 or a mauser so I'm confused :)
    Tony
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  3. thefresh2o

    thefresh2o Member

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    Cheers Radagast - much appreciated - I've just amended my SN#... AFD2448
     
  4. Radagast
    • Contributing Member

    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    litman252:
    8101x is the serial number. The other markings are assembly numbers used to track parts in the factory. They have no meaning once the gun is assembled.
    If there is no model number stamped under the crane then the gun predates 1957, when model numbers were introduced.
    Your gun is either a pre model 37 Chiefs Special airweight (exposed hammer) or a pre model 38 Bodyguard Airweight (only the tip of the hammer is exposed). In either case the gun dates to between 1955(serial number 75000) & 1957 (serial number 117770). So 1956 seems likely.

    joelblevins:
    You have a .38 Military & Police Modle 0f 1905 4th Change manufactured between December 1920 (serial number 358xxx) & 1927 (serial numbers in the 500xxxx range).
    Your gun was manufactured after heat treatmentof cylinders was introduced, so it should be fine to shoot with any non +P+ pressure ammunition. S&W don't recommend use of PlusP in guns made before 1957, but THR member SaxonPig has fired 1200 rounds pf PlusP through a pre war gun with no ill effects.
    Your gun is fitted with an internal hammer safety, but in WWII a similar gun was dropped on a naval vessel and fired with fatal consequences, leading to the development of the modern hammer block safety in 1944. it may be prudent to leave the chamber under the hammer empty if you keep your gun loaded.
    Unfortunately I can't give you a more accurate date as the Standard Catalog of S&W doesn't give any more info on that particular period of time. If you would like an exact shipping date and address, for a fee of $50 the S&W historian Mr Roy Jinks will look up the original factory records and send you a letter detailing his findings. You will need to contact S&W if you wish to go down this path.
    Value is not great, in 2006 the Standard Catalog of S&W gave a value of $335.00 in excellent condition. A period holster would add to that.
    The number under the cylinder crane is an assembly number, used to track parts in the factory. It ihas no meaning after the gun is assembled.

    thefresh2o:
    Your Model 19-5 Combat Magnum dates to around November 1984. Th Standard catalog of S&W notes guns in the range AEVxxxx to AFJxxxx shipping that month. Potentially your gun sat on the shelf for a while, but it was probably manufactured in or prior to that month.

    duns:
    Your Model 64-5 .38 Military & Police Stainless heavy barrel was manufactured between August 1994 (serial number BRFxxxx) & January 1996 (serial number CAMxxxx). If the grips are original to the gun then 1994, as that was the last year that wooden grips were standard.

    bushrod2:
    Your .38 Military & Police (Postwar) was manufactured between September 1945 (serial number S811120) & 21st october 1947 (serial number S924878).
    Your gun is considered a transitional model between the Pre-war Model of 1905 4th Change and the Model 10, as it has the pre war 'long action' which was replaced by the current 'short action' in 1950 combined with the modern hammer block safety introduced in 1944. FWIW long actions tend to be very smooth, and although they don't have the huge collectors value of the early .357 magnums, they are still fine guns to shoot.
     
  5. thefresh2o

    thefresh2o Member

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    Excellent Radagast. Much appreciated.
     
  6. litman252

    litman252 Member

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    +1, I just picked this up and am quite happy with what I got. It is the exposed hammer Chiefs Special.

    Thanks again,
    Tony
     
  7. JoeMal

    JoeMal Member

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    a) .38 Special
    b) 4"
    c) Square?
    d) 6 shots
    e) Fixed, unsure about other details
    f) K 330XXX

    I know it's a Military and Police gun (was my grandpas personal sidearm) but don't know anything else
    6a882114.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  8. bigred0383

    bigred0383 Member

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    Request removed by OP. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    JoeMal
    a) .38 Special
    b) 4"
    c) Square? (Yes, all of that model were square butt)
    d) 6 shots
    e) Fixed, (The gun in the photo has an adjustable rear sight.)
    f) K 330XXX

    You have a Model 18 K-38 Combat Masterpiece. Not an M&P.
    Serial # dates it to 1958.

    If you open the cylinder and look inside the frame it should say Model 18.

    It appears in the photo the mainspring strain screw might be backed out and sticking out of the front of the grip frame too far.
    Tighten it fully!!

    rc
     
  10. JoeMal

    JoeMal Member

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    Duh, should have noticed that

    Interesting. My grandpa thought it was a Military and Police (looks a lot like them, too. Especially for a non-revolver person). Any difference between the two worth noting?

    It does not say Model 18 anywhere...

    I did...it took 2 full turns. Thanks for noticing that.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Both are K-Frame .38 Specials.

    The Model 10 M&P has a fixed rear sight. Just a notch milled in the top of the frame and a plain front sight without the ramp.

    The K serial number guns all have adjustable rear sights & ramp front sights.
    Your Combat Masterpiece has a semi-wide target hammer.
    M&P's normally do not.
    The K38 Masterpieces in general were better fitted & finished then the less expensive M&P duty guns.

    S&W Model 10 M&P:
    [​IMG]

    Hmmm? All I know is that S&W started marking the model inside the frame one year before your serial indicates it was made. But the model stamping was phased in over several year period and yours may not have been marked.
     
  12. JoeMal

    JoeMal Member

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    rcmodel

    Interesting notes about the differences in guns and markings. Thanks for all of your help. This thing is a blast to shoot and extremely accurate! My first time shooting it (and first time shooting a revolver, I might note) I was putting all 6 rounds in a 1" group from about 10 yards....not terribly far away, but far enough ;)
     
  13. 6pointbuck

    6pointbuck Member

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    Joemal
    357
    4''
    square
    6 shot
    adj.
    n43081
     
  14. m33p0n3

    m33p0n3 Member

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    a) 357 Magnum
    b) 4"
    c) not sure, bought it used and had aftermarket grips.
    d) 6
    e) adjustable
    f) ABW6XXX
    g) Mod 686
     
  15. bushrod2

    bushrod2 Member

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    Thanks radagast

    Thanks RADAGAST I really appreciate the info!
     
  16. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    JoeMal:
    You have a K38 Combat Masterpiece, later known as the Model 15. The .22lr K22 Combat Masterpiece, later known as the Model 18 was it's little brother. The Standard Catalog of S&W doesn't note any production in 1957, with the 1958 serial range starting at K317823. As RCModel noted, it may have been that the model stamping had yet to be phased in, or the frame may have been finished prior to the stamping being introduced. Ocasionally a gun managed to escape the factory without a model number stamping, even years after they were introduced.

    6pointbuck:
    You have either a Model 27 .357 Magnum or Model 28 Highway Patrolman manufactured in the period 1969 to 1972 in the serial range N1 to N99999. The model number should be stamped on the frame in the cylinder yoke cut out. The Model 27 had checkering on the topstrap and a higher polish, the Model 28 was the plain jane 'duty' gun.

    M33p0n3:
    Your Model 686 Distinguished Combat Magnum was manufactured between January 1983 (ABLxxxx) & October 1983 (ADExxxx). There is a recall on this particular model, with some magnum ammunition it was possible for the primer to flow back into the firing pin bushing, locking up the cylinder. Under the recall the firing pin and firing pin bushing were replaced and the letter M stamped beside the model number under the cylinder yoke cut out (indicating it has been modified). If your gun lacks the M stamping and you wish to take advantage of the recall, contact S&W and they will pay shipping both ways.
    FWIW In ten years as an active member of gun forums have yet to read of a case of a gun locking up in this fashion, so it appears to be a fairly rare to non existent problem.
     
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Thanks for catching my mistake Radagast!!

    I must have had a Senior Moment when I answered that one yesterday!! :banghead:

    rc
     
  18. bigred0383

    bigred0383 Member

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    Thanks in advance!


    a) .357 Magnum
    b) 4" bbl
    c) Square
    d) 6 Shot
    e) Fixed Sights
    f) BNT84XX
    g) 13-4
     
  19. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    rcmodel:
    No problem, I have made a few mistakes over the years myself. :p My favourite gun is a Model 18, so that was an easy one for me to pick up. :)

    Bigred0383:
    Your Model 13-4 .357 Magnum Military & Police Heavy Barrel was manufactured around February to March 1993. The Standard Catalog of S&W notes serial numbers in the BMBxxxx to BNWxxxx range shipping in those months.
     
  20. bigred0383

    bigred0383 Member

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    Thanks, that means it is almost exactly 10 years older than me (within the month). How cool!
     
  21. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    bigred0383: I hope you are ten years older than it, because if it is ten years older than you then you are only seven years old. :p
     
  22. bigred0383

    bigred0383 Member

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    Rad:

    Good catch. Yes, I am ten years it's senior. Either way, I love it.
     
  23. Grumpy shooter

    Grumpy shooter Member

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    If you could please provide me with any information available. I've had this pistol for many years and only recently got it out to take my cc permit class. Scored 100% of 48 with it so it still shoots fairly well.

    Barrel length from cylinder is 6"
    6 shot
    Fixed sight
    serial number is 514xxx
    DSCF0774.jpg
    DSCF0773.jpg
    DSCF0770.jpg
    DSCF0768.jpg

    Thank you in advance for your help!
    John (Grumpy Shooter)
     
  24. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    Grumpy shooter:
    You have a .38 Military & Police Model of 1905 4th Change manufactured between 1927 & 1930. This is the predecessor to todays model 10.
    This version used the old long action, which gave a smoother trigger pull than the current short action. Such guns tend to be good shooters.

    Your gun was manufactured after heat treatment of cylinders was introduced, so it should be safe to fire with any standard pressure or PlusP ammunition. Avoid any ammunition marked +P+ as there is no industry standard for such loadings and they could be closer to .357 magnum pressures than .38 Special.

    Your gun was also manufactured prior to the introduction of the modern hammer block safety in 1944. Although it does have an earlier style of internal safety, it was the failure of this safety with fatal consequences when a gun was dropped that lead to the development of the new safety. It would be prudent to leave the chamber under the hammer empty if the gun is kept loaded.

    There have been many design changes since your gun was produced, so modern parts will not fit in many instances. If you ever need spare parts contact www.gunpartscorp.com
     
  25. Grumpy shooter

    Grumpy shooter Member

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    Radagast,
    Thank you very much for your time, trouble and expertise.
     

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