View Full Version : Help Identifying S&W

March 3, 2005, 06:07 PM
I purchased this Airweight S&W as my primary carry weapon and I honestly have no idea what model it is. The gun was refinished using one of Brownells' bake on teflon sprays when I purchased it, so some of the markings are hard to see. It is marked "SMITH & WESSON" on the left side of the barrel and "AIRWEIGHT 38 SPL. CTG." on the right. On the right side of the frame it has "MADE IN THE U.S.A. MARCAS REGISTRADAS SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD, MASS" I tried using a white crayon to fill in the marking so they would show better in the pictures, but like I said, the markings had been mostly filled in by the bake on finish. The serial number is 104,xxx. Any info about what model, age, etc would be appreciated. I have never posted pictures here, so I hope I get it right.

March 5, 2005, 02:35 AM
I'm going going to go out on a limb here, mind you this is just a guess.

That revolver looks almost exactly like my Mod 36 Chiefs Special.

Being that yours is an Airweight, I would guess that it is a Mod 37.

Now, please don't take this next part as me trying to belittle your knowledge, because I am not. I simply don't know if you know.
If you open the cylinder, and look at the frame, the model number should be there beside the cylinder yoke on modern S&W revolvers.

Unless of course, it's covered by the finish. In that case I would guess a Model 37 Airweight/Featherweight, whatever they called them.

March 5, 2005, 10:26 AM
Your S&W is most likely an early Model 37 "Airweight" produced sometime between 1957 and 1993. If your gun's serial number does not have a "J" prefix, it was made before 1969 which seems likely given the serial number. Open the cylinder and check the frame below the barrel for the markings "Mod 37" or "Mod 37-x" (where "x" is a number). This will identify the gun more specifically.

If your gun does not have a model number marked on the frame it may have been filled in by the gun coating or it may be a "pre-Model 37" -- named the Chief's Special Airweight. These guns were made from 1953 to 1957 when they started receiving the Model 37 stamping on the frame.

Some of the earliest models were made with alloy cylinders which were replaced with steel cylinders due to cracking. The highest known serial number with alloy cylinders was 44xxx so yours should be steel (use a magnet to test).

A NIB pre-37 is valued at $400 and a much used gun, especially one with a non-factory refinish will probably fetch between $200 and $225.

March 6, 2005, 10:48 PM
Thanks for the replies gentlemen. The only markings on the frame where the model number might be located are the numbers 32221. Those exact same numbers are also stamped on the cylinder yoke. My guess is that Bill is correct and it is a "pre-Model 37" Chief's Special . Fortunately, it does have a steel cylinder. Again, thanks for the help. :)

March 8, 2005, 10:49 PM

S&W serial numbers are often stamped on the bottom of the grip. If yours is covered by wood or rubber grips, removing them will reveal the s/n.

The alloy frames in these guns should not be subjected to too many +P loads if you can avoid it. Stick with standard pressure loads (no +P markings), mostly in the 125gr-130gr weight range. For practice, target load wadcutters or standard pressure 110gr ammo (if you can find it) will work fine too.

I don't think you'll hurt it if you carry 125gr-130gr +Ps and have to use them, but don't make a steady diet of 'em on this little jewel.