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Model number and value of S&W airweight 38 spl?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by oudoc, Oct 15, 2010.

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  1. oudoc

    oudoc Member

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    I have a S&W airwight 38 spl ctg. I've looked under the cylinder and the number there is 33058. The revolver is made of steel (or nickel...I don't know) and has what appears to be wooden grips. Can anyone tell me the model number, and approximate value, or where else to look?
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Can't help much because Smith & Wesson made several different models that meet that description. More information is necessary.

    Is the cylinder chambered to hold 5 or 6 cartridges?

    How long is the barrel? Measure from the front cylinder face to the end of the muzzle.

    Is there a different number stamped on the bottom of the butt? And if so, does it have a letter(s) prefix?

    Does this revolver have an exposed hammer that you can cock with your thumb?

    We may need to know more, but that will get things started. ;)
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    If it was made before 1958 it doesn't have a model number, Smith & Wessons used to have names. People call them "pre-model xx" but I don't.
     
  4. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Member

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    If it is an "airweight", the frame is made of an aluminum alloy not steel. The barrel and cylinder will be steel. I suspect you are refering to the color, and with no model number on the frame under the crane, then it will be a nickel plated gun. The nickel and blue guns come in both all steel and airwieght versions.
    The stainless steel guns, which are similar in color to nickel did not appear until after model numbers were assigned in 1957.
    We need more info to narrow down to a specific model.
    Does it hold 5 or 6 rounds?
    If 6 then it is a "Military & Police Airweight" also refered to as a "pre model 12" although the former would be the correct term.This would be a K frame sized revolver.
    If it is a 5 shot then there are more questions. Any of these would be a J frame sized revolver.
    Does it have an exposed hammer, either with a spur, or without? This would make it a "Chief's Special Airweight" or a "pre model 37". While to the best of my knowledge these guns all came from the factory with a hammer spur, it is not an uncommon modification to remove it.
    Is the hammer only accessable for cocking through a slot in the rear of the frame with the sides of the frame being somewhat higher than normal? This gives the revolver what some describe as a humpback appearance. This would be an "Airweight Bodyguard" or "pre model 38".
    Does it have no visible hammer? This would be a "Centennial Airweight" or "pre model 42".

    Hope this helps
     
  5. oudoc

    oudoc Member

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    It is made to hold 5 cartridges. The barrel is 2 inches long and the number on the bottom of the butt is 105213. It does have an exposed hammer (I can cock it with my thumb...but can also shoot just by squeezing the trigger).
     
  6. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator

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    That serial number dates to 1956. Model numbers were introduced in 1957, which is why yours doesn't have a model number stamping.
    If the hammer spur is fully exposed then you have a Chiefs Special Airweight, later known as the model 37.
    If the hammer is mainly enclosed by a raised hump on the rear of the frame, with only the tip of the hammer spurt exposed, then it is a Bodyguard Airweight, later known as the Model 38.
    Condition affects value. In very good condition it's probably worth around $375 or so. You would need to posts decent quality pics to get a better aproximation.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  7. oudoc

    oudoc Member

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    Thanks for the info!
     
  8. Mike Donnigan

    Mike Donnigan Member

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    info on 38 Spl ctg

    Mine is a 5 shot 1&7/8" barrel. The number on the hinge of the cylinder is 34371. What is the significance the number "mod .37" that stenciled on the frame and visible when the cylinder is open? The number"29j***" is on the the handle of the gun. Any info is really appreciated. Also is it true that it is not a good idea to shoot +P loads.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  9. Clifford

    Clifford Member

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    Mike, look at the stickys at the top of the revolver forum.
     
  10. springfield30-06

    springfield30-06 Member

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    You have a Model 37 Airweight revolver (J-frame)
     
  11. jhvaughan2

    jhvaughan2 Member

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    Mike; the numbers inside the crane are assembly numbers that do not really mean anything (as far as has been documented yet.) It looks like your 37 is in the 71-72 time frame.
    S&Ws line is that any "model numbered" revolver is ok with +P. However it is possible for the alloy frame revolvers to stretch or crack from overuse, but this is not common.
    As long as it is locking up tight and has no cracks in the frame, +P is ok for occasional use and carry. (If it has cracks, it is not wise to shoot at all.)
    The 37 is my favorite pocket revolver. -- enjoy.
     
  12. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    I have a S & W airweight ---early model--after firing 5 or so +P the frame moved about
    1000"--I had to sand down part of the gun to make tha cylinder fit back in the gun.
    I don't use +P in it anymore.
     
  13. bumblefish

    bumblefish Member

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    .38 Airweight

    I have an Airweight(pictured) model 38, according to the frame stamp. Ser # is 95J6XX. I would like to get a rough idea of age and value as i plan on selling and replacing with something a bit heftier for my wife(she's not hefty, she just needs a better fit: )

    Gun is tight, no dings, metal is good, nice furniture.
     

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  14. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator

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    bumblefish:
    Your Model 38 Bodyguard Airweight was manufactured in 1971 or 1972. In 2006 the Standard Catalog of S&W gave a value of $325 in excellent condition, for more up to date values you will need to look at completed auctions on sites such as gunbroker and auction arms.
     
  15. bumblefish

    bumblefish Member

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    Thanks for that. Much appreciated.
     
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