The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > General Discussion Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 18, 2015, 04:12 AM   #1
Noddy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 7, 2015
Posts: 4
Duplication of serial numbers on firearms.

Please share your view. What is the possibility that one manufacturer would manufacture two firearms of different calibres, but with the exact same serial number. Say for instance a .38 special calibre revolver and a .22lr calibre revolver, but both firearms have the same serial number.
Did any one find something like that in the past?
If you did, would you mind sharing the information?
Recently a question in this regard was put to me regarding Iver & Johnson revolvers.
Looking forward to any replies.
Noddy is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 04:18 AM   #2
JimmyR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 4, 2012
Posts: 1,070
I can't speak from experience, but I believe manufacturers may only assign a serial number to a single firearm within a model classificiation.
__________________
"Come on baby, light my primer"
-------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by 45Gunner View Post
JimmyR nailed it.
JimmyR is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 04:27 AM   #3
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 19,091
Duplicating serial numbers defeats the purpose of going to the trouble and expense of applying serial numbers.

That said, before there were laws mandating and controlling serial numbers, it's certainly possible that manufacturers made errors that resulted in duplicated serial numbers. I can't ever recall seeing/hearing conclusive proof that it ever happened, but it seems reasonable that it could have.
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 06:25 AM   #4
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 11,406
The 1968 GCA specified that manufacturers cannot use the same serial number more than once:

Quote:
§ 479.102 How must firearms be identified?

(a) You, as a manufacturer, importer, or maker of a firearm, must legibly identify the firearm as follows:

(1) By engraving, casting, stamping (impressing), or otherwise conspicuously placing or causing to be engraved, cast, stamped (impressed) or placed on the frame or receiver thereof an individual serial number. The serial number must be placed in a manner not susceptible of being readily obliterated, altered, or removed, and must not duplicate any serial number placed by you on any other firearm.
__________________
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
Tom Servo is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 10:28 AM   #5
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 6,122
Thank you Tom !!!

So when you see a listing on a match set of firearms and it reads; Matching Serial numbers, what they really mean, is Consecutive serial numbers. From time to time, I have run into this question and finally glad to see a definitive answer. ....


Thank you Tom !!!
Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 11:23 AM   #6
Aguila Blanca
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 7,375
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noddy
Please share your view. What is the possibility that one manufacturer would manufacture two firearms of different calibres, but with the exact same serial number.
Possibility = zero (or as close to zero as you can get while still allowing for an exceedingly unlikely mistake).
Aguila Blanca is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 11:31 AM   #7
Aguila Blanca
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 7,375
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo
So when you see a listing on a match set of firearms and it reads; Matching Serial numbers, what they really mean, is Consecutive serial numbers. From time to time, I have run into this question and finally glad to see a definitive answer. ....
Except ...

When Colt brought out the first M1911 reproductions, the model O1911, it was to be a "limited production" run of 4,000 pistols. Based on their experience with the less-authentic M1911A1 reproduction, they didn't expect to sell all 4,000 ... but they did. They first proposed to just keep going, but the people who had bought theirs howled(rightly) that Colt should not unilaterally raise the limit of a 4,000 piece run. So they changed the finish and called it a model O1918 -- and started the serial numbers over. The difference was that the serial number included the initials "WMK," for William M. Keyes, the then-president of Colt. On one of the models, the "WMK" came ahead of the numerals, on the other model the "WMK" followed the numerals.

Same numbers, different serial numbers.

Ruger did the same thing with their Blackhaw anniversary models. It was possible to buy a .357 and a .44 anniversary Blackhawk with matching serial numerals, but there was a letter or two involved that made each one unique. At one time I had a pair of 50th anniversary Blackhawks, and they were bought as "matching serial numbers."
Aguila Blanca is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 12:15 PM   #8
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 6,122
Works for me !!!

Quote:
Same numbers, different serial numbers.
I think that is what I said but not sure anymore .....


Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 02:44 PM   #9
4EVERM-14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2006
Location: Pennsy
Posts: 604
My friend is a forensic examiner. He had a case where a man was arrested for possession of a stolen revolver. A detailed search listed showed the stolen revolver to be Chrome with 2" barrel. The revolver taken as evidence was a 4" blue steel. Prior to 1968 records showed different models sometimes were issued numbers that had already been assigned to other models. As already posted prefix letters are now used to individualize firearms.
__________________
David
NRA Benefactor Member
Distinguished Rifleman #731
Presidents 100
4EVERM-14 is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 04:55 PM   #10
steveno
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 18, 2004
Location: Minden , Nebraska
Posts: 1,339
I think that when S & W was using "S" serial numbers there was a chance you could get a "K" frame and a "N" frame with the same number. I think this would have been before 1968
steveno is online now  
Old July 18, 2015, 05:13 PM   #11
Mk VII
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2000
Location: England
Posts: 375
In the past, cheap (and not so cheap) firearm manufacturers would number guns any way they felt like it. If a major chain wanted 5,000 numbered from serial 1 they would do it. A glance at Flayderman shows many models from the same maker starting at #1.
FN would do a run of Hi-Powers like that if the buyer wanted it (not now though).
Of course many firearms registration systems did not record the suffix letter on Lugers (hard to read anyway, in many cases) so there was the possibility of repeats every 9999 units
Mk VII is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 09:33 PM   #12
Aguila Blanca
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 7,375
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo
Quote:
Same numbers, different serial numbers.
I think that is what I said but not sure anymore .....
No, you said matching means consecutive.

What I'm talking about is where one pistol's SN would be "3025 WMK," and another pistol's SN would be "WMK 3025." The "WMK" is part of the serial number, so even though the actual numbers are the same, the serial numbers are unique because of the placement of the letter characters.

In the case of the Ruger 50th Anniversary Blackhawks, the three numbers before the dash made the difference. As in

.357 Mag == SN 520-13895
.44 Mag === SN 870-13895

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; July 18, 2015 at 09:39 PM.
Aguila Blanca is offline  
Old July 18, 2015, 09:49 PM   #13
DPris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 19, 2004
Posts: 5,228
In older guns, a possibility from the same manufacturer, on different models.

Between makers, quite possible a gun made by A would have a duplicated serial on a gun made by B.
Denis
DPris is online now  
Old July 18, 2015, 10:47 PM   #14
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 7,648
Ruger did it with Single-Action revolvers and the Mini-14 in the '60s.

It involved a block of serial numbers accidentally being reused, after they had previously been applied to a different model.
Those that they caught before they shipped were stamped with a "D" before the serial number.

...But somewhere between 600 and 800 Single Sixes are out there with serial numbers previously used on centerfire revolvers (Blackhawks, I believe). There are said to be about 300 Bearcats with uncorrected duplicate serial numbers (the number varies greatly, depending upon your source).
And, there are some Mini-14s with duplicate serial numbers.

I have seen claims that there are 10-22s with duplicate serial numbers, but I have never seen any numbers or photos to back it up. (There are collectors that spend a great deal of time tracking down Ruger duplicates, so they have the matched pairs.)


I do not, however, know of any of these duplicates being shipped after the 1968 GCA, except for the Mini-14.


Edit: The Mini-14s with duplicate serial numbers were even more limited than I thought. Although they did ship well after the 1968 GCA (between 1997 and 2000, actually), there are/were, apparently, only six rifles with duplicate numbers. They are not marked with a D, and are true duplicates.
The duplicates are in the serial number range of 195-31768 to 196-09535.
The duplication occurred when the each serial number was used for standard Mini-14 rifles and then again for Mini-14 "Ranch" rifles.

When Ruger realized their mistake, they notified the ATF that they would attempt to recall the duplicates and re-stamp them with the 'D' if those Minis ever made it back into Ruger's possession.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."

Last edited by FrankenMauser; July 19, 2015 at 03:55 PM.
FrankenMauser is online now  
Old July 19, 2015, 12:23 AM   #15
DPris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 19, 2004
Posts: 5,228
Ruger's Mini was not available in the '60s.
(I know- I was there. )
Denis
DPris is online now  
Old July 19, 2015, 11:44 AM   #16
laytonj1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 1, 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 3,590
Quote:
Prior to 1968 records showed different models sometimes were issued numbers that had already been assigned to other models.
That was common practice for S&W. When they came out with a new model the serial number would usually start at 1. This practice had ended by 1968.

Jim
laytonj1 is offline  
Old July 19, 2015, 02:28 PM   #17
dogrunner
Member
 
Join Date: June 22, 2009
Location: E/Cntrl Fla.
Posts: 98
Had that precise issue occur with a Ruger. Years back, while a LEO I, out of idle curiosity, ran the # on a revolver I acquired new (brand new and from a reputable dealer) years prior to that data base's existence. The # kicked back a .22 auto made by Ruger bearing that precise SN.....listed as stolen in the NCIC data base.

Poses the interesting question of what sort of hassle I'd have had if another LEO ran that # on a stop or out of state.

Tell, you another. Had occasion to utilize a data bank that listed SSN's...........not a Gov't site, rather one utilized by PI's..........had my personal # show up credited to another person in my state of SSN origin .


Dupes, DO happen. The consequences are kinda murky tho. On the latter I personally contacted the SSN head in my jurisdiction and was told to just 'not worry about it'!!!!
dogrunner is offline  
Old July 19, 2015, 03:40 PM   #18
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 7,648
Quote:
Ruger's Mini was not available in the '60s.
(I know- I was there. )
Forgot about the Mini-14 being in the group.

Wish I could upgrade my memory. It ain't what it used to be...
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser is online now  
Old July 19, 2015, 03:59 PM   #19
DPris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 19, 2004
Posts: 5,228
Been There (can't recall where), Done That (can't remember what), Got The T-Shirt (dunno where I left it).
Denis
DPris is online now  
Old Today, 12:05 AM   #20
Catfish King
Member
 
Join Date: July 28, 2015
Posts: 19
Years ago a Glock enthusiast once told me that his return on a defective G19 received a new part that had the same serial number. As I understand it now, Glock will use the same serial number on such concurrence, but they will also add a "suffix" to the new part's serial number.

So instead of receiving say a new barrel with the number 123456, you'd get one with 123456-X.
__________________
'Keep your powder dry.'
Catfish King is offline  
Old Today, 01:36 AM   #21
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 7,648
Quote:
Years ago a Glock enthusiast once told me that his return on a defective G19 received a new part that had the same serial number. As I understand it now, Glock will use the same serial number on such concurrence, but they will also add a "suffix" to the new part's serial number.

So instead of receiving say a new barrel with the number 123456, you'd get one with 123456-X.
That's not at all uncommon for unregulated but manufacturer-restricted parts. (They're not Federally regulated, but the manufacturer wont' ship one to Joe Billibob, just because he wants one.)
You'll often see that just on repaired parts, not just replacement parts.

Remington, Marlin, Winchester, for example, have used or still use special codes on replacement barrels (whether or not they're serialized). It allows them, should the rifle ever end up back in the repair center again, to see that the barrel is not original. And, in some cases, prevents misidentification or mis-dating of the firearm.

I actually have a barrel that shows a variation of that system, in my gun safe. There's a barrel originally manufactured by Remington, that was shipped on a Marlin 444 (after the merger/buyout/takeover). It made at least three (I'm told more like FIVE) trips back to the repair center, before the owner gave up and had a gunsmith put another barrel on the receiver, because Remington kept screwing up the clocking, kept stripping sight base screw holes, kept twisting dovetails, and/or kept breaking sights or sight base screws.
Somewhere in the process, Remington stamped the barrel twice as being repaired (not replaced, but repaired).


Some manufacturers even use prefixes, suffixes, or special codes to classify receivers at initial production.
DPMS AR-15 lower receivers are a perfect example. Serial numbers beginning with the letter "F" are forged lowers. Serial numbers ending in the letter "K" were manufactured as stripped receivers (simply a "firearm" - not designated as a 'rifle' or 'pistol'). ...And the list goes on. Last time I saw a list compiled with all of the known DPMS codes, there were about a dozen options.

And if you get a lower receiver from one of the DPMS military unit special runs, it is not uncommon to find special prefixes or suffixes on those lowers, either. In some cases, DPMS even allows special serial numbers to be assigned. Those that I have seen were used in conjunction with a special prefix, in order to prevent duplication with any previous or future production run.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser is online now  
Old Today, 10:30 AM   #22
Catfish King
Member
 
Join Date: July 28, 2015
Posts: 19
Interesting, correct me I'm wrong, but isn't there some federal reg somewhere that indicates semi-autos have to have serial numbers stamped or otherwise permanently attached to different parts of the gun?
__________________
'Keep your powder dry.'
Catfish King is offline  
Old Today, 10:42 AM   #23
Don P
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,969
Our engraving machine at work changes/increases by 1 the serial number each and every time it engraves a lower receiver.
__________________
NRA Life Member, NRA Range Safety Officer, IDPA Safety Officer, USPSA NROI Range Officer
As you are, I once was, As I am, You will be.
Don P is offline  
Old Today, 12:45 PM   #24
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 7,648
Quote:
Interesting, correct me I'm wrong, but isn't there some federal reg somewhere that indicates semi-autos have to have serial numbers stamped or otherwise permanently attached to different parts of the gun?
Federal law, to the best of my knowledge, only requires a single serialized part - whatever it is that is determined to be the most important part of the firearm. Generally that's the receiver (or one of the receivers, if it's a split design). But there are some examples where it's a smaller part; such as the Sig P250 with its serialized trigger housing / slide rails, or some older designs where the barrel trunnion was the serialized part.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser is online now  
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 01:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2015 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12329 seconds with 9 queries