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Need Help Identifying An Old Revolver?

14986 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Forester
A lot of us on the forum really enjoy helping folks identify and age firearms. People often come here with an old inherited revolver and would like to know more about it, when it was made, history, etc. Always interesting, sometimes, these threads reveal hidden gems and treasures. To help us help you, please use as many of the following guidelines as possible:

1. Details, Details, Details – Give us as much information as possible. How many shots, swing out cylinder, top break, etc.? How long is the barrel measured from the end of the cylinder to the tip of the barrel? Type of grips? Is it blued, stainless, nickel? Photos obviously are best but some details are not in photos.

2. Serial Number – Give us the serial number. You can X out the last digit or two but this is critical in dating the gun.

3. Model Number – On revolvers made post 1957, the model number is located on the inner frame, under the forcing cone of the barrel when the cylinder is open. This also helps with ID and dating.

4. Please Be Clear – I know that smartphones are not as easy in terms of typing, but please do your best to make complete sentences with punctuation. Not trying to be a typing/grammar nitpicker but the better it is written, the easier it is to understand what you are trying to ask us. Sometimes, with textspeak and auto-correct, it is like trying to translate hieroglyphics. :eek:

5. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures – Worth their weight in gold, pictures are fairly easy to post here. You can use a third party hosting site like Photobucket® or Snapfish®, or you can upload them directly to the forum. Here is a tutorial: Http://

6. It may take more than two minutes for someone to come along and answer your questions. ;)

Model Number Location:

Serial Number Location on Most S&W Revolvers:

Revolver Nomenclature

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Great post, Forester! Also, note:

7. Prior to the stamping of model numbers, there were only assembly numbers stamped in the yoke area in front of the cylinder. These are NOT serial numbers and won't ID the gun.

8. S&W revolvers made before WWII use up to 6 numbers for the serial. During WWII, they used V or SV for the .38 S&W Special and .38 K-200 Victory revolvers. After WWII K, S, C, D, J and N prefixes began. Some later models have the letter mixed in with the numbers. After mid-80s, SNs begin with 3 letters, followed by 4 numbers.
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