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Old March 12, 2016, 12:42 PM   #1
stinky cheese
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Thanks for accepting my opt-in

My Dad passed away and left me a beautiful Smith & Wesson Model 38, serial number 189XXX. Is there any way I can find out when it was manufactured? Thanks-
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Old March 12, 2016, 01:09 PM   #2
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Well it looks like S&W will do it for you but for $50 sheesh! You might be able to find some old PDFs of serial years on the web.

Sorry to hear of this passing. Hopefully the pistol will help you enjoy his memory for many years to come.
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Old March 12, 2016, 01:19 PM   #3
T. O'Heir
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My condolences on your loss.
Like RiponP90 says, there are sites that give production dates by S/N and other stampings. One of the guys here posted this in 2008. Post #131.
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Old March 12, 2016, 10:48 PM   #4
44 AMP
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Well it looks like S&W will do it for you but for $50 sheesh!
I guess that seem like a lot (didn't it used to be more?? like $65?)

anyway, for the money you get more than just the date of manufacture. You get a "factory authorization letter".

While I have never gotten one, I understand that they include all the information S&W has on your gun. That would be date and condition shipped from the factory, and possibly where to.

this factory letter is accepted proof by collectors and I would expect it to be able to stand as "expert testimony" in a court, should it ever come to something like that.

date shipped, sights, finish barrel length, grips and any other features (target hammer & trigger) and any custom ordered features would be named, as would any repair or refinish work done. Such a letter would be proof of a blued gun being aftermarket nickled, or that a certain grip was not factory original, for example.

Maybe that's not worth what S&W charges to you, or maybe it is. Your call.
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Old March 12, 2016, 10:51 PM   #5
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Start here . . .
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Old March 12, 2016, 11:58 PM   #6
Mike Irwin
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Alright, instead of recommending he go here, send this off there, how about we ask our new member (welcome!) a few simple questions that will help narrow things down?

Stinky cheese,

1. How many round does the cylinder hold?

2. How does the gun open for loading? Do you pull a latch on top of the gun and pivot the barrel and cylinder down, or is there a latch on the side of the gun that allows the cylinder to flop out to the left?

3. Is the barrel stamped .38 S&W, or .38 S&W Special?

4. Is "Mod. 38" actually stamped anywhere on the gun?

The number you provided could have been stamped on any of several models of Smith & Wesson revolver, and it's the answers to the questions above that will help narrow down the correct model and time frame.
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Old March 13, 2016, 04:01 AM   #7
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It's only $50 if you want Smith and Wesson to give you an official authentication letter. If you just want to know when it was made, call them and ask. I did that this past summer. It didn't take long for the guy to look it up and he told me for free.
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Old March 13, 2016, 05:26 AM   #8
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Good grief. At the top of this forum (Handguns:revolvers) there is a sticky. "Smith & Wesson Serial Number Search". There are people there who will be happy to help you as much as they can. Post your question (the Serial Number is on the butt of the revolver) and they'll get back to you in a day or two. Read the first post to find out what information they need. The more you can give them the easier it is of course.

And welcome to the forum. Pull up a chair. Coffee is almost ready.
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Old March 14, 2016, 09:55 AM   #9
unit 900
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Location: Maryland
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Based on the info posted, the SCSW shows the following for J frame production years.

1957 - Serial #'s 117770 - 125000
1962 - 295000

No further info is available. Hope that helps narrow the field.
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Old March 14, 2016, 10:33 AM   #10
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I'm really surprised no one pointed out the Smith & Wesson serial number search thread stickied at the top of this forum.

189xxx would be about 1959.

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