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Old September 25, 2012, 11:12 PM   #1
FLChinook
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S&W Revolver model numbers on guns?

This is the dumbest of questions for which I will apologize in advance; does S&W put the model number of a revolver on each gun? All my non-S&W handguns have the model numbers engraved but I don't see a number in any of the S&W pictures.
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Old September 25, 2012, 11:32 PM   #2
cpallen
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S&W Model #s

Open the cylinder - the model number and engineering revision is engraved on the frame under the crane.
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Old September 25, 2012, 11:46 PM   #3
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Old September 26, 2012, 07:54 AM   #4
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Unless... it is an older gun. For instance, you will hear S&W people say, "That's a post-War M&P, a pre-Model 10." Or "There's a K-22." "What's that?" "You know, a pre-Model 17."

Lots of the older models had "names" before they had model numbers. Sometimes those names were engraved on the guns. Like Highway Patrolman. Pre-Model 28. So if you pick up a 1954 Highway Patrolman it will say Highway Patrolman on it. It won't say Model 28. Opening the cylinder and looking inside.. there won't be an M28. That didn't show up until 1957.

Just trying to be clear. Especially since these are the guns I like the most!!

Gregg
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Old September 26, 2012, 08:51 AM   #5
carguychris
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Lots of the older models had "names" before they had model numbers.
Well, kinda.

S&W's initial tip-up SA revolvers had model numbers. The first two original models were the Model No. 1 (5-shot .22 Short) and the Model No. 2 (6-shot .32 rimfire). Some time later, they decided to introduce a smaller 5-shot .32 model but wanted to continue numbering models in order of increasing frame size, so the new gun got a rather entertaining designation- the Model 1½, often spelled out One-and-a-Half.

When S&W retired the tip-ups and introduced centerfire top-breaks, the new SA 5-shot .32-caliber revolver was designated as the New Model 1½; the relatively unpopular 5-shot .22 and 6-shot .32 models were dropped. The company introduced a SA large-caliber model and designated it as the Model No. 3. However, they also introduced numerous double-action top-breaks during this time period, and these guns were given names rather than model numbers (e.g. .38 Safety Hammerless). The DA guns were soon outselling the SA models by huge margins.

When S&W started introducing swing-out cylinder revolvers and dropping the top-breaks ca. 1900, the swing-out models were also named. As the SA top-break models were dropped, the model numbers disappeared with them. Initial swing-out cylinder guns were named rather than model numbered, which causes all sorts of confusion among novices because S&W only marked two of these guns with the name- the .38 Regulation Police and the Highway Patrolman (.357Mag large frame). The model names were shown on the boxes, catalogs, and owner's manuals, but most of this stuff was thrown away or lost by prior owners many decades ago. These guns must usually be distinguished by correlating the chambering, frame size, and sometimes the type of rear sight (e.g. .38Spl + 6-shot + K frame + adjustable rear sight = .38 Military & Police Target).

In 1957, S&W started using the present model-numbering system and marking guns inside the yoke cut. When the system started, the numbers 10-19 were assigned to K frames, 20-29 to N frames, 30-38 to I or J frames (all I frames were later replaced by J frames), and the number 39 was assigned to the 9mm DA/SA semi-automatic pistol.

Subsequent models were assigned model numbers in a haphazard semi-consecutive fashion. 60 thru 69 have SS finish, but for the most part, 40-59 are a mess.
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Old September 26, 2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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I'm so glad I asked this question. Members of this forum literally make this the "Wikipedia" of guns. And cargurchris needs to change his name to gunguychris. Thanks so much.
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Old September 26, 2012, 09:55 AM   #7
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Subsequent models were assigned model numbers in a haphazard semi-consecutive fashion. 60 thru 69 have SS finish, but for the most part, 40-59 are a mess.
Yeah, there's JUST ENOUGH consistency to make you expect things to hold together for the entire model line. It's enough to drive a man mad.

Things like with the three digit model numbers for revolvers, 5xx indicates blued carbon steel frame, 6xx indicates stainless steel, and 3xx indicates Scandium/Aluminum frame. But then the 642 has an aluminum frame, and isn't a stainless version of the model 42 (which was also an aluminum J frame, but in lemon squeezer configuration), but more closely related to the model 40 (but not in .357), although the 340 and 640 adhere decently to the nomenclature. The 242 is a K frame, not a J frame like the 642, and does have the aluminum frame, but they are both clearly not evolutions of the model 42.

One will finally need to just kick back and relax with some gin and tonics* in order to get over it.





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Old September 26, 2012, 10:36 AM   #8
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Subsequent models were assigned model numbers in a haphazard semi-consecutive fashion. 60 thru 69 have SS finish
Not quite. The S&W 22lr semi escort aka model 61 was blue or nickel. I don't think the model 69 ever existed and for the life of me I can't remember what a 62 is. For the models 60, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67 and 68 you are right.

Quote:
When S&W retired the tip-ups and introduced centerfire top-breaks, the new SA 5-shot .32-caliber revolver was designated as the New Model 1½; the relatively unpopular 5-shot .22 and 6-shot .32 models were dropped.
The 6 shot 32 rimfire aka model 2 "old army" or "army model" was replaced by the 1 1/2 tip ups, which arrived before the 1 1/2 centerfire. Actually, both the model 1 (1st, 2nd, 3rd issue) and the model 2 old army were very popular. At the time, S&W had the rollin white patent and so no one could make a ctg revolver with a bored through cylinder. Many model 2s were carried through the civil war because of this advantage. Model 1 production went over 100k.

Quote:
The company introduced a SA large-caliber model and designated it as the Model No. 3. However, they also introduced numerous double-action top-breaks during this time period, and these guns were given names rather than model numbers (e.g. .38 Safety Hammerless).
The model 3 arrived in 1869/70. The double actions you speak of (the DA and the new departure) didn't arrive until the 1880s. Before them, there was a 38 SA aka new model 2 (1876), 5 shot 38 centerfire, basically a larger version of the 32 SA centerfire model.

Quote:
And cargurchris needs to change his name to gunguychris.
You call carguychris for copying and pasting my old posts "knowledgeable" but I call it "plagiarism"
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:37 AM   #9
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It is not true that S&W had no coherent model numbering system. They did - at least three or four of them.

The original 2-digit system was coherent and relatively simple. Then they went to a three digit for revolvers in which the first digit was the metal used for the frame (carbon steel, stainless steel, light alloy). Which would have made sense if they just added that to the front of the old number, which sometimes they did, but sometimes they used new second and third digits.

Then the autos started with the two digit, 39, 41, 59, etc. Then they went to a four digit number with the old two digit first. Then they put the caliber first, then .....

I don't know why. They used to just say "M&P .38 Special", then blue or nickel was an option. Perhaps it was due in part to the law in CA, under which every variation and model has to be separately approved. So if Model 12345 (stainless) was turned down for some reason, Model 12346, identical except for being carbon steel would be OK. I don't know, but it is crazy.

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Old September 26, 2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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It's enough to drive a man mad.
+1. Here's one of my favorite fun ways to play with the model numbering system...

The Model 22 is a .45.
The Model 32 is a .38.
The Model 41 is a .22.
The Model 44 is a 9mm.
The Model 45 is a .22.
The Model 357 is a .41.

At least the Model 38 is in fact a .38!
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Old September 26, 2012, 11:33 AM   #11
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S&W models 62 & 69 were experimental, tested but not released for consumer use.
If you want to try to understand/collect S&W best bet it to get a copy of the 'Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson' by Jim Supica & Richard Nahas. It will not tell you everything there is to know about S&W but, it is the best single source for S&W identification and date by serial number book I have found.
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Old September 26, 2012, 11:35 AM   #12
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S&W models 62 & 69 were experimental, tested but not released for consumer use.
If you want to try to understand/collect S&W best bet it to get a copy of the 'Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson' by Jim Supica & Richard Nahas. It will not tell you everything there is to know about S&W but, it is the best single source for S&W identification and date by serial number book I have found.
It has a lot of typos and a few inaccuracies. Use it carefully
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Old September 27, 2012, 08:06 AM   #13
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One nice thing about the S&W model numbers is that, because they insist on using a different model number for even relatively minor variations, their model numbers often refer to something pretty specific. While confusing at first, it can help to avoid a lot of confusion once you're familiar with the numbers. For example, if I tell you that I have a S&W 629, you can know from that statement that I have a large frame, stainless steel revolver chambered for .44 Magnum. On the other hand, if I told you that I have a Ruger Redhawk, all you would know is that I have a large frame revolver as the Redhawk has been offered in .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 Long Colt in both blue and stainless.
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Old September 27, 2012, 03:57 PM   #14
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During the "name" era, Smith & Wesson used a model numbering system for in-house use and was never cataloged for public use. This consisted of a alpha-numeric system, using the letter to designate the frame size and the numeric bore size of the revovler, and a suffix of "T" to denote target sights.

I'm not familiar with all model numbers, but the Model 1950 .44 Military bore the model nimber "N-430" while the model 1950 .44 Target bore the model number "N-430T". N, the frame size, 430, bore size of the .44 Special. This became complicated by the .38-44 Outdoorsman and the Three Fifty Seven Magnum, both of which were N-357T.

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Old September 27, 2012, 04:09 PM   #15
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It's also fun when some S&W guns have the same name...such as
Military & Police or Outdoorsman.
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Old September 28, 2012, 07:18 AM   #16
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"It's also fun when some S&W guns have the same name...such as
Military & Police or Outdoorsman."

Please do NOT get me started on the company's latest "brilliant idea" to spread formerly distinctive names all over their product universe...

Hey Fred! How's it going?

Hi, Ted. How do you like my S&W Combat Magnum mountain bike? It has the Combat Magnum tire and brake package, too.

Very nice, Fred. I myself picked up a Combat Magnum tire pump, a Combat Magnum hydration pack, and a Combat Magnum fix-a-flat kit for my Military and Police Model road bike!

Hey Ted, did you also get the Combat Magnum groin protector kit?

No, Fred... They told me at the bike shop I needed a snubnose version...



Real brilliant to dilute the name...
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Old September 28, 2012, 07:28 PM   #17
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How do you like my S&W Combat Magnum mountain bike?
I suppose that's a decent enough one, but my Registered Magnum unicycle is a real collector's item, especially with the five screw pedals.
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Old September 28, 2012, 08:05 PM   #18
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What irritates me a bit is that the Model 25 and 625 can be either .45ACP or .45LC, so I can never tell without digging further, except for the 25-2 that to my knowledge is ACP-only.
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Old September 28, 2012, 08:17 PM   #19
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Mike, you forgot their M&P can opener, M&P safety glasses, M&P blender, M&P ice skates, M&P beanbag, etc.

Jim
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Old September 29, 2012, 05:36 PM   #20
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A friend of mine went to the loca gun store, and asked to see a M&P, meaning one of the auto-loaders.

He was quite chagrinned with the clerk showed him a 4-inch M&P .38 Spl, I liked to have falled over laughing
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Old September 29, 2012, 11:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
"It's also fun when some S&W guns have the same name...such as
Military & Police or Outdoorsman."

Please do NOT get me started on the company's latest "brilliant idea" to spread formerly distinctive names all over their product universe...

Hey Fred! How's it going?

Hi, Ted. How do you like my S&W Combat Magnum mountain bike? It has the Combat Magnum tire and brake package, too.

Very nice, Fred. I myself picked up a Combat Magnum tire pump, a Combat Magnum hydration pack, and a Combat Magnum fix-a-flat kit for my Military and Police Model road bike!

Hey Ted, did you also get the Combat Magnum groin protector kit?

No, Fred... They told me at the bike shop I needed a snubnose version...



Real brilliant to dilute the name...
Well, Mike Irwin has lost it. He's talking to himself and answering himself but doesn't even know his own name.
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