I just inherited
a S&W 38spl revolver that was my grandfather's. He died in 1931, so I know it was manufactured before then. The latest patent date on the top of the barrel is 1898. It is a K-frame with a 4-digit number "8763" stamped, in the frame web, where I would expect to see the model number. This number is different from the 4-digit serial number that is stamped on the butt, the rear of the cylinder and even hand engraved on the inside of one of the factory plastic grips.
I think this weapon started life as a nickle plated one, as traces exist, but the finish is long gone. Before my grandfather received it, it must have had a hard life. the checkering on the factory plastic grips is worn off on the rear sides. It has evidently been fired enough that the index "star" on the rear of the cylinder is worn to the point the cylinder will not rotate far enough to lock if the trigger is pulled slowly.
As the story I vaigely remember goes, during my Grandfather's term (in the 1920s) as mayor of my home town, one of the police officers gave this confiscated pistol to my grandfather. No way to know if the story is true as all the "players" in the chain of custody of this gun, up to me, have all passed on.
I have sent an email to S&W, but as yet have had no response.
I guess my question is; Is "8783" a valid model # and if not will the 4-digit serial # alone yield any info on this pistol?
Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; November 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM.