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harleyhank
April 8, 2010, 10:39 AM
I have a snub 38 special S&W and I was looking for some history. The Serial number is C598xxx. Any idea on age and origin.

Thanks

Mike Irwin
April 8, 2010, 11:48 AM
5 or 6 shot?

RJay
April 10, 2010, 05:03 PM
The C would make it one of the model 10 variants, made in 1961/1962. If you open up the crane the model number will be stamped there. This information would really be helpful when asking for information.

BillCA
April 10, 2010, 06:13 PM
From the serial number, your S&W was made in the 1961-62 time frame.

It should be marked as a Model 12, 12-1 or 12-2. To determine the model number, open the cylinder and look on the frame exposed by releasing the cylinder. You should see the model stamped below the barrel.

The Model 12 is an "Airweight" revolver, meaning it is built on an Aluminum alloy 'K" size frame, making it lighter than steel models. Your 2" should weigh in about 18oz. It is a six-shot, .38 Special revolver with a round butt, fixed sights and may be blued or nickel plated. It should look much like this one:
http://home.comcast.net/~blackgtx/guns/model12.jpg
The gun is a lightweight version of the S&W Model 10 Military & Police (M&P) revolver. On the earlier airweights, like yours, the grip frame is slightly narrower than the standard steel K-Frame Model 10. Thus, standard grips for S&W K-frames will have a .040" gap on each side due to the narrower grip frame -- so be careful with the existing grips if they fit snuggly!

The Model 12-1 was issued sometime in 1961 and deleted the screw just forward of the triggerguard. The 12-2 was issued in 1962 with a wider 1/8" ramp front sight.

The very early Model 12's also had an alloy cylinder which was quickly replaced by a steel cylinder due to cracking issues. Your gun was made well after the switch to steel cylinders and should attract a magnet. If it isn't magnetic, it is unsafe to shoot (highly unlikely with yours unless someone swapped out the cylinder).

Early Aluminum frames were designed with lightness as the first priority. I would not shoot .38 Special +P ammo in this gun. It will recoil harder and the extra pressure can, over time, stretch the frame until the gun will not lock up. Modest shooting of standard pressure .38 Special ammo is fine, but these guns were not designed to shoot thousands of rounds per year.