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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I have a small frame Smith&Wesson revolver.It's five shot and snub nosed. It resembles the 'Chief's Special' but has no mark indicating what model that it is.
Do some S&W revolvers have No model markings on them?
Also,the serial# is 1886xx. Can someone tell the year of manufacture?
Thanks,
Frank
 

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A lot can be explained by a bit more information. Is it a .38Specail or a .38SW (or .32SWL)? Before there was a numbering system, S&W just marked their revolvers with serial numbers (and assembly numbers). After the fact, we came to name the frames as J, K.L. and N. Before the J there was a slioghtly shorter frame called the "I". If you take teh grips off and there is a big leaf mainspring, it's an 'I" frame...so it's earlier than the 1957's when everything got a number in place of a name...but the name was not stamped on the revovlers, just on the boxes. The mainspring is almost 100% fool proof...but were were some transitional guns with the longer "J" frame but still using the leaf spring of the "I".

So...if it is a .38SW 2inch "almost J-frame" it is probably a "Terrier". If it's a .38specail 5-shot 2" and not marked with a model number, then it's one of the trasnsitional models that became the #36. If it's a .32SWL 2", then it's either a 'Hand Ejector' (if it has a round butt) or a "regulation police" (if it has a square butt).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks,Fellas
Onthe crane,under some grease,it's clearly marked 'Mod 36'.
It's a 2 inch barreled 38 Special.
Can some one date it from the serial number?
Thanks again,
Frank
 

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Frank,

Probably 1959-60. Supica & Nahas have a gap from 1957 to 1962 (125000-295000).

For Ribbonstone,

The sequence is "I", Improved "I", then "J". "I" frame guns are flat mainspring guns, Improved "I" are the same frame length with the coil mainspring, and "J" are the longer frame needed for the Chief's Special guns which are ALL coil mainspring. All small frame production went to "J" frame for all calibers in 1961.
 

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You'd think so, but have seen very early 5-shot .38specials that used the flat spring. They also had the short grip frame (I-frame)...seems the grip was mde longer not just for human hands, but with the trtansition to coil mnain-spring, the grip got longer. Know tht's not supose to be, but have bounced one of these transitional revolvers in my hand. Had all the I-frame feathres (small trigger opening, short grip, flat spring, half-circle front sight) but the frame oepning was larger (J-frame sized) and a .38specail cylinder.

Looked hard to see if someone had self-modified a .38SW "terrier", but found no weld marks and the barrel stamping looked original.

S&W has many "never made" models out there...either their pre-production models got loose or they just do odd things to keep people guessing.

Speaking of which...the current "J" is different from the "J" of a few years ago...once they started making the .357 on a J frame, all of them are made on the slightly streached J-frame even if not .357. Not a great deal of differnce until you lay them side-by-side (or take a caliper to them).
 
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