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  1. #1
    Junior Member Frosty is on a distinguished road Frosty's Avatar
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    Default Need help with Smith and Wesson Serial number

    Hello to all. I have received an old Smith and Wesson 38 special pistol which was passed to me from my grandfather. I have no documentation on the gun and would like to know how old it is and any details the serial number might tell. The serial number is a five digit number on the bottom of the gun between the two sided hand grip. The number is " 50978 ". Rumor within the family is that my great grandfather carried this gun as a police officer many years ago. Any hep would be greatly appreciated.

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    Texas Legal Gunslinger TX1911 will become famous soon enough TX1911 will become famous soon enough TX1911's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forum. I'm sure someone will be along shortly to assist you with that.

    In the meantime, why don't you pop in over at the new member's section and introduce yourself to the folks here.
    The Constitution preserves "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. . . (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -- The Federalist, No. 46 - James Madison


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  3. #3
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    To aid in identification, make sure it's a .38 Spl and not a .38 S&W. That will make a difference.It will likely be engraved on the barrel.

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    Senior Member NGF Addict! enzelow will become famous soon enough
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    There are several diiferent models of S&W 38 specials out there, first you should open the cylinder and look at the part of the frame below the barrel, if there is a set of numbers there they would be the model, like 10-6 or 19-2 , knowing the model number can make a difference in dating , and valuing your pistol.
    If there are no model numbers on the yoke frame then your pistol is pre late 50's, since you said 38 special , it is probably not a top break,
    Anyway you look at it, just saying I have this old S&W 38, whats it worth, won't get you an answer, there are many models , and they are all valued differently. Pictures help too, some of the folks on here can better tell what it is with a couple of good in focus pictures. Good Luck

  5. #5
    Dr. of Loadology Gunrnr is a member to emulate Gunrnr is a member to emulate Gunrnr is a member to emulate Gunrnr is a member to emulate Gunrnr's Avatar
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    Given the 5-digit serial number, I suspect it's a pre-1955 model. The number on the butt is definitely the S/N and if there is a model number on the frame inside the yoke, I would be surprised.

    "If my contributions to this forum don't meet your standards, by all means, lower your standards"

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    "Participating in a gun buy back because you believe that the criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you believe that the neighbors have too many kids."

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  6. #6
    Junior Member Frosty is on a distinguished road Frosty's Avatar
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    I have taken some pictures and will try to get them uploaded ASAP. I looked again, and there are no numbers or markings in the cylinder area or on the inside of the frame when the cylinder is open. The left sid eof the barrel states " 38 S & W SPECIAL U.S. SERVICE CTG'S" The top of the barrel reads " SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFILED MASS USA PAT'D APRIL 9, 89 MARCH 27, 94 MAY 21, 96 JULY 16, 95 AUG 4, 96 DEC 22, 96 OCT 4, 98 OCT 8, 01 DEC 17, 01" The only other marings on the gun are the five digit serial number on the butt of the gun and the S & W trade mark symbol near the hammer. I am missing the correct hand grip, although I was told it should be a small two piece wood grip. The pistol has been well used and probably needs to be serviced and cleand. The trigger guard is slightly bent and pitted. I have no real interest is getting rid of this gun, so the current value if any is not that important. I would just like to determine the year and model, so I can know a little more about something my grandfather passed on to e after his death. Again, i will get the pictures upload as soon as I can. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NGF Addict! enzelow will become famous soon enough
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    Yes, definately pre 50's, it could be a M&P or even a 38/44. Smith and Wesson used the same serial numbers in different models over the years, and although a frame was made in one year , it might not have left the factory until a year or two later, so narrowing down the year can be difficult, If you really want to know more about your pistol, you could get in touch with Smith&Wesson, Roy Jinks is the S&W historian and for a modest fee can give you the definative answer to your questions.
    There is also available a book ,The Standard Catalog of Smith&Wesson, that lists all models, semi auto and revolver, that have ever left the S&W factory 8)

  8. #8
    Junior Member Frosty is on a distinguished road Frosty's Avatar
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    Here are the pics, I hope they uploaded correctly. I will definitely get a catalog and research it more. Thanks for the help. I have a couple of other older firearms that I will be trying to figure out the details on as well, but I will save them for another day.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NGF Addict! enzelow will become famous soon enough
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    That appears to be a 38 M&P Hand Ejector, second Model ,made maybe around 1905-06. When I hit the link I received a virus warning so all others who want to look , be advised.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Frosty is on a distinguished road Frosty's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the help with identifying this pistol. I will be getting the catalog form Smith and Wesson soon. Sorry about any virus warniings associated witht he pics. I scanned them, and no viruses were found.

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