The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 4, 2012, 05:11 PM   #1
Hazmat
Junior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2012
Posts: 4
S&W Serial Number Help

Guys;
First post and I need an assist. I just inherited an S&W model 30-1, blue with a 4 inch barrel. I'm trying to figure out when it was manufactured. It has two different s/n's on it...one on the yoke (79884) and a different one on the butt of the stock (796141). The gun was my farther-in-law's and it looks to be almost unfired. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hazmat is offline  
Old October 4, 2012, 06:05 PM   #2
laytonj1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 1, 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 3,467
Quote:
and a different one on the butt of the stock (796141)
Serial numbers ran from 536685 in 1948 to 826977 in 1976 with the 30-1 variation starting in 1961 at SN 712954.

Jim

Last edited by laytonj1; October 4, 2012 at 06:31 PM. Reason: added more info
laytonj1 is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 12:23 AM   #3
FLChinook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 344
I understand the main S/N is on the yoke just above the model number. In some pictures, I see another (different) number on the arm holding the cylinder. What number is that? Thanks
FLChinook is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 04:48 AM   #4
Hazmat
Junior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2012
Posts: 4
Please excuse me if my terminology is not correct but the s/n that is one the cylinder swing out is 79884. The other side (stationary part) of the swing out has the model number, 30-1 stamped but no additional numbers. The other s/n (796141) is on the bottom of the handle.

Thanks for the attempts to help.
Hazmat is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 06:37 AM   #5
highpower3006
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 30, 2011
Location: Reno NV
Posts: 417
The number on the butt is always the serial number. On earlier guns the number in the crane is an assembly number used only by the workers at the factory to keep the various components together during assembly.

On guns that typically came with target stocks that covered the base of the butt, they would stamp the serial number in the crane. Your 30-1 did not come with target stocks so the number in the crane is not relevant as a serial number.
highpower3006 is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 06:53 AM   #6
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,501
Quote:
I understand the main S/N is on the yoke just above the model number.
This is not always the case. The number on the frame inside the yoke cut is sometimes the serial number, but it's often an assembly number, which was used during production but became meaningless after the gun left the factory.

The serial number on a S&W swing-out cylinder revolver is almost always found on the butt, i.e. the bottom of the grip frame. On some pre-WWII models that shipped with factory "extension stocks" or oversized grips that cover the butt, the serial number was stamped on the frontstrap above the butt.

The number stamped in one of these two places is THE serial number. Differing numbers in other places should be disregarded.

Other minor notes:
  • A S&W lacking serial numbers in both the butt and frontstrap locations has probably had the serial number removed in violation of federal law. However, prior to the passage of the Gun Control Act, S&W built a few "club guns" (for giveaways at special events) with serial numbers consisting of one or more zeroes, and there are a few non-serialized "lunchbox guns" floating around that were snuck out of the factory in pieces by employees, then assembled at home (kinda like the song "One Piece At A Time" by Johnny Cash). Such guns can be valuable in collectors' circles but should be approached with extreme caution by novices.
  • S&W did not place the serial on the frontstrap of postwar guns with oversize grips. On such guns, you may have to remove the grips to see the number. [EDIT: Highpower3006 beat me to it re: this one.]
  • On guns built prior to ~1950, the serial number was repeated on the cylinder face and the underside of the barrel above the ejector rod. On some guns built prior to ~1920, the number is also found on the back of the hammer below the cocking spur. However, the numbers in these places should only be used to verify whether the gun is a "numbers matching" example with all-original parts. These numbers should NEVER be used for formal recording of "the" serial number, as these parts may have been replaced with parts from another gun.
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak

Last edited by carguychris; October 5, 2012 at 07:10 AM. Reason: above --> below, oops!
carguychris is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 07:06 AM   #7
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,501
Quote:
On guns that typically came with target stocks that covered the base of the butt, they would stamp the serial number in the crane.
This is typically true, but the number on the butt should always be checked.

First, many postwar guns wearing oversize Target stocks did not ship with these stocks originally; they were added by a former owner.

Second, there are numerous S&Ws floating around with incorrect numbers inside the yoke cut, and I used to own one of them- a Model 19-5. It appeared to have been built with an "8" inside the yoke cut where there was supposed to be a "9"; a factory inspector apparently caught the error and attempted to correct it by overstamping the bad digit with a "9", but since the two numbers are so similar in shape, the correction did NOT make things much clearer.

In cases where the numbers do not match, the number on the butt or frontstrap is treated as definitive.

ALWAYS check the butt or frontstrap!
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak

Last edited by carguychris; October 5, 2012 at 07:08 AM. Reason: minor reword
carguychris is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 10:12 AM   #8
FLChinook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 344
Quote:
First, many postwar guns wearing oversize Target stocks did not ship with these stocks originally; they were added by a former owner.
I'm thinking specifically of the model 66 which seems to have target grips on most (not all... I know a number of 66 owners prize the original standard grips) pieces. Is the number on the yoke of a 66 the S/N?

Not relevant to this discussion, but I'm mystified by a gun maker would stamp "assembly" numbers into parts that appear directly adjacent to the key S/N
FLChinook is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 02:07 PM   #9
laytonj1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 1, 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 3,467
Quote:
Not relevant to this discussion, but I'm mystified by a gun maker would stamp "assembly" numbers into parts that appear directly adjacent to the key S/N
S&W has stamped the serial numbers in numerous locations over the years. The one constant has been the grip butt.
While it may have other numbers (assembly / inspector) and the SN stamped on other areas, the grip butt is still the "go to" location.

Jim
laytonj1 is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 04:39 PM   #10
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,340
How hard all this stuff on S&W revolvers is to remember....why most of us buy a copy of the "Standard Catalog of S&W " .... 3rd edition is the latest one ( 400 + pages ) of great info on all these great guns...

Its a great addition to anyone's gun library ...in my view.../ they're about $ 40 ....but I routinely see them at my local gun shows for around $ 30...( its a gun digest book / by Jim Supica and Richard Nahas..

( cover says over 770 Models in 6 grades of condition )....
BigJimP is offline  
Old October 5, 2012, 05:09 PM   #11
Hazmat
Junior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2012
Posts: 4
All good information, so I've concluded that the s/n to use is the one on the grip butt. That one is 796141. Can one of you smart fellers provide any information about that particular number?
Hazmat is offline  
Old October 7, 2012, 08:46 PM   #12
laytonj1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 1, 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 3,467
Quote:
Can one of you smart fellers provide any information about that particular number
I did in post number 2. What else do you want to know?

Jim
laytonj1 is offline  
Old October 8, 2012, 08:58 AM   #13
Hazmat
Junior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2012
Posts: 4
Nothing...I just overlooked the previous post. Thanks for the help.
Hazmat is offline  
Old October 10, 2012, 02:20 PM   #14
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,471
AFAIK, the only S&W that had the serial stamped on the front strap was the Regulation Police Model, which always came with wood "filler" stocks to make it round butt. Those guns also have a "step" in the backstrap, the only S&W's to have that. Its purpose is, again AFAIK, not known at this time though there has been speculation.

One point that confuses folks. S&W (with the above exception) ALWAYS put the serial number on the butt. But at times, Colt put theirs on and under the crane, where S&W put its assembly numbers.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old October 10, 2012, 06:03 PM   #15
carguychris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 5,501
Quote:
AFAIK, the only S&W that had the serial stamped on the front strap was the Regulation Police Model, which always came with wood "filler" stocks to make it round butt.
I've also seen this placement on the .22/32 Heavy Frame Target aka "Bekeart".
__________________
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak
carguychris is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09348 seconds with 9 queries