View Full Version : S&W Dating

November 30, 2008, 05:05 PM
I have inherited a S&W revolver, .22 LR, w/ a SN: 253813. can you inform me of the mfg. date and any specifics of this type of pistol? this is my first gun and i wish to keep it in the fine shape it's in now and educate myself on firearm safety and shooting. i have large tracts of land to do target shooting and small game hunting. thanx in advance for any help you can ssend my way.

December 1, 2008, 11:21 AM
Does your revolver have a serial number prefix ? (Post 1945 models should)

If it does, and it's a "C", it's 1953.
If it does, and it's a "K", it's 1955.
If it does, and it's a "D", it's 1969-70.

You can generally get better answers if YOU'RE more specific about the gun you're inquiring of: finish type, barrel length, type sights (fixed or adjustable), action type (SA, Tip-up, or DA), and any other frame/barrel markings, etc, etc.


December 1, 2008, 11:53 AM
Also a reminder - if you open the cylinder and look at the frame behind the cylinder's swing-out arm, there may be a model number stamped there. It will read Model 17, Mod 17-1 or something similar. S&W has indicated the model number this way since 1957. If there's no number or just a 4-5 digit number, it's likely a pre-1957 model and you'll have to describe it (or post a photo).

December 2, 2008, 04:33 PM
thank you both. the model # has a prefix of "B" and the frame behind the cylinder has a 4 digit # w/ no prefix letter. the gun is a blue steel, 6 in. barrell w/ fixed sights and wording "22 Long Rifle CTG. i'm very impressed you can find this old information so quickly w/ a group like yours. if i've left anything out or if there's more information out there, i'd really appreciate it. Thank you all again. i just took another look at the serial # and there's no prefix on # except the number stamped on the barrell. the cylinder and butt do not have any prefix letter. does that help any?

December 2, 2008, 10:44 PM
We're getting there. But a little more information is needed.

You inherited a .22 Caliber blued S&W revolver with a 6-inch barrel stamped .22 Long Rifle CTG and it has fixed sights. Originally the S/N indicated was 253813, however you say there is a "B" prefix.

We have to discount the "B" prefix for two reasons. First you say it doesn't appear on the butt of the gun. Second is that a "B" prefix would be for a small .22 semiauto pistol, not a revolver. The prefix would be obvious on the butt of the gun, as shown here on a different revolver.

Again, photographs would help if you have them. If you have the original S&W box, any wording on the box would be a clue, especially from the end flap of the box.

Below is an example of a fixed-sight S&W and it should look similar to yours.
Note the rear sight is a fixed "square notch". And the barrel is round with no rib on top. Does yours look different? Does the gun have a round barrel or a narrow grooved rib on top of the barrel?


More questions:
Does the cylinder have a 6-shot capacity?
Is the back of the metal grip frame smooth or serrated(grooved)?
Same question about the front of the grip frame.
Compare your front sight to the photo above. Is yours more rounded? The same? Square at the rear of the blade?
On which side of the frame is the round S&W logo?
Is the logo large (about the size of a nickel) or small (dime sized)?
Is there a screw at the top of the sideplate (right side of frame) just below the rear sight?
Is there a small screw on the front of the triggerguard?
Last, and this will sound odd; can you provide the length of the cylinder in inches? Precision is good, but "close enough" would be just under 1", about 1.25", about 1.5" or a hair over 1.5".

Depending on the answers to these questions we might be able to identify your revolver.

In any case, I'm leaning towards one of two valuable firearms at this point.
The K-22 Outdoorsman
The M&P .22 Caliber ("Post Office" gun)

Most .22 caliber guns, even the small framed guns, have adjustable sights. These are identified by the rear sight sticking up above the top of the frame with screw adjustments at the top rear and side. If the sight has been removed, there will usually be two empty screw holes on top of the frame and a flat horizontal (L/R) notch at the top rear of the frame.

If there is a small "hump" on top of the frame just at the rear sight, your gun should look similar to this nickle specimen.
The 7-shot, M-Frame .22 Long Ladysmith

December 3, 2008, 04:52 AM
I thought this thread was about girls that wanted to meet guys, that had S&@'s...:mad:

December 7, 2008, 04:57 PM
thanx Bill. here's the answers to some of the ? you asked. the barrell is round, no rib on top, just some writing, with patent #'s following. the 6 shot cylinder is 1 1/4 in. long. the front sight is more round like the photo of the nickle specimen. the S&W logo is small and on the right side of the handle. there are screws on the right side under the rear sight and in front of the trigger guard. there isn't a hump at the rear sight like the picture but the rear sight is elevated. there are screws on either side of the rear sight but i can't see where it can be adjusted. i'll take a picture tomorrow or tuesday when i find my camers the wife has hidden on me. as always you amaze me with the knowledge about this stuff.

December 7, 2008, 07:47 PM
here's some photos.

December 7, 2008, 08:10 PM
The pics of your .22 S&W look like it's a standard 22/32 Hand Ejector, with several hundred thousand having been made from 1913-1953.

Because it has hard rubber grips ILO walnut, I would WAG it's DOM as being sometime in the 1920's.


December 7, 2008, 09:26 PM
thanx Pete. i'm going to get it cleaned up a little bit and try some target practice this winter. if it's a really old one, i can keep it in my will for my son to have when i'm gone. you guys do great work!

December 8, 2008, 01:59 AM
PetahW is right - it's a .22/.32 Hand Ejector from the '20s.

The 1920's is about right for the serial number and this is model one of the few 6-inch .22's with a round barrel and adjustable target sights.

In your photos, the gun appears to have been painted black or coated with something over the bluing. There is considerable surface pitting on the cylinder and frame. Corrosion around the rear sight and recoil shield (behind the cylinder) is apparent too.

As is, this is a shooter-grade .22 but only after you have a gunsmith examine it to ensure it is still safe to fire. With the pitting and corrosion, the condition of the bore and chambers must be checked before firing.

If the coating is a paint of some kind, it might be prudent to strip that paint off to determine how much corrosion exists underneath. If not terrible, soaking the gun in Kroil (penetrating oil) will help remove much of the rust and prevent further deterioration. One cleaned up, I'd suggest having it parkerized instead of reblued, which will minimize some of the pitting.

Unfortunately, any amount of restoration or preservation you do to this gun will probably exceed its value. The good news is that it may be a good shooter if the bore and chambers are still in good shape.

December 8, 2008, 08:34 AM

thanx again. there isn't any paint or coating on the gun but the pitting is very shallow and surface only. i will take it to a gunsmith and get it checked out before i fire it. the barrell has no pitting on the inside and the bore is tough for a novice like me to evaluate but i don't see anything that looks like pitting or corrosion there either. the gun was stored for the last 6-8 years in a plastic bag in a holster in a case in an unheated garage in northern Michigan but had sufficient lubricant to allow the surfaces to look the way they do. everything works smoothly so i hope all will be ok after i get it cleaned up and checked out. since i'm a retired mechanical engineer and prone to doing things myself, i'll get some information on how to clean the gun and preserve it.

you've all been a great help and i'll keep you up to date on the mis-adventures of johnny-one-gun.


December 8, 2008, 11:14 AM
After removing the grips, give it a bath in a pail of kerosene from a Hess gas station or some lacquer thinner, and the coating should vanish.

Kero is preferred, because after it dries, it'll leave an oily residue inside, where you can't readily get to.

It also won't hurt either the metal, bluing or grips.


December 9, 2008, 02:38 AM

I'd probably start by have a gunsmith evaluate it and tell you if it's safe to fire after a good cleaning.

If it were me, I'd remove the grips and soak it in Kano's Kroil for several hours and see how much gunk comes off of it. A bit of soaking will help loosen the rust around the sight screws at the least. Using a copper brush or copper Chore Boy pad will help remove surface rust without scratching the remaining finish.

Looking at the close-up of the frame/cylinder it looks as if someone applied paint over some of the rusty areas. I guess this is simply a lighting illusion. ;)

If the bore is clean and fairly bright, you're halfway home. If it's dark and a bit rusty a fine abrasive paste will work to remove most of the crud (a non-whitening toothpaste is about the right abrasiveness - whitening chemicals can damage the bluing).

Looks like you got yourself a winter's project gun! :cool:

January 3, 2009, 02:27 PM
Hi Boyz.
we just got back to GA from our Christmas visit to Michigan. gosh i hate snow! anyway, i took the revolver to a gunsmith in Athens, GA who was recommended to me by some well armed friends. he's going to fix the firing pin which was broken, do a wipe down of the pistol and throughly check it out. he has a resource for old parts or in a pinch can make new ones in his machine shop so if it needs any other repairs he can do them. his initial evaluation was that its in good enough shape to fire but wanted to get it cleaned up a bit first. he going to get me a recommended cleaning product when i pick the gun up but i'll let you all know what he's recommending before i do anything. hope you all had a great holiday. mine was 14 days of shoveling and blowing white crap from the driveway so we could leave as soon as the kids left.
Johnny One Gun