View Full Version : Beretta 1919/419 .25 serial # history?

October 28, 2002, 03:04 PM
I'm in CA, and have to jump through hoops to buy one of these. I have only a serial # for a gun I want to buy, and need to check what year that number was made to confirm it is a curio--does anyone have a reference for these #s?

The number I have is 236xxA .

Any fast help MUCH appreciated!

October 28, 2002, 05:48 PM
The Beretta 1919 ceased production in the 1940's, so all of them should be C&R guns in the eyes of the Feds. Now, I can't tell you about the screwy California laws, they may be assault weapons out there. ;)

You must be shopping on Gun Broker. :D:D

October 28, 2002, 06:33 PM
Shhhh. :)

I guess the issue then is, how does one tell the difference between a true 1919 and a 418?

October 29, 2002, 08:24 AM
I think there were a number of variations of the 1919 pistol in it's 25 year production run, I'm not sure where the 418 fits in. I don't have a book with sufficient detail on the production run to know the sub-varieties of the gun.

I wonder who actually won the bid on this one? I was bidding, but I didn't want to pay as much as it went for. :)

October 29, 2002, 10:41 PM
I won, I was pretty determined. :) It's a high price compared to the typical 418s, but the year and older model spoke to me. Thanks for your help. If anyone's interested I'll post details about this one vs. the 418s once I get it.

(Yes I've edited this endlessly but I promise to stop now...)

October 30, 2002, 09:07 AM
You were pretty determined. I had spotted that one when it first listed, but I guess it wasn't to be. Hope it turns out as nice as it is described and looks in the pictures. :)

November 2, 2002, 12:01 AM
I found a little bit more information in one of the many books on gun values. This book (name escapes me for the moment) includes serial number ranges, so I take it as hopefully just a wee bit more accurate than the often contradictory information in other books.

1919 was the original .25 model, there was also a 1926 and a 1926-31, then in 1936-37 Beretta produced the 318 for a 'limited run'. The 418 started production in 1937 and went on until 1961. The later of these guns had serial numbers ending in a, b, or c. (the gun I bought is a 418, not truly a 1919.)

Based on information taken from various books, and a collection of pictures of particular examples, I would rough out the timeline of changes for these guns something like this:

The original 1919 had the early-style tapered grip frame. In 1936 the grip was changed to a slightly flared and rounded shape for the 318. In 1937 for the 418 a loaded champer indicator was added. Around 1950 the grip safety was changed from a rounded protrusion to a crescent shape following the frame; around 1953 the slide serrations were angled. These middle-period 418s were the ones marketed in the US as the 'Bantam'. By the late 1950s further changes were made including flatter grip panels which curve back to follow the back of the frame just under the slide, which variation was marketed in the US as the 'Panther', which is printed on the grips (several sources list the 318 as the 'Panther', but the examples I've seen referenced were made in the late '50s).


[edited with additional information.]

November 2, 2002, 02:43 PM
Actually, that's more than I knew about them, so there's no corrections coming from this end! :)

November 19, 2002, 03:56 PM
Well I finally got this thing in hand, it is a nice little gun and I am really looking forward to taking it out to the range. The gun lies in the hand remarkably well for a small gun in my view--I have medium-sized hands FWIW.

The one I got turns out (I am nearly certain) to also have an alloy frame, but in rather better condition than most of the ones from the '50s one sees. I would really love to get another '40s era example in all steel.

I can see why Beretta changed the shape of the trigger in the early '50s, you have to be careful how your finger goes over the trigger or it will pinch you when you shoot.

Does anyone have hints on takedown? I gather older Berettas generally you lock back the slide, remove the magazine and the barrel comes out and you can then remove the slide?

Correction: the indicator is a cocking indicator, not a loaded chamber indicator.