Smith Wesson Dates Of Manufacture From Serial Numbers
A revolver is considered to have “operating history” if it is still considered by Smith & Wesson to be in their line. Most of their handguns are expected to be still in production when the Standard Catalog was published, and the Standard Catalog is the only officially published source of information. They are the only line of handguns from which the warranty period is still available. Smith and Wesson handguns are also sold to the public as used in competition shooting (known as “sellers” or “accumulators”), and are typically serial numbers 1 through 20.
A revolver is considered to have “modified history” if it is not still considered by Smith & Wesson to be in their line, but has certain cosmetic features (such as a different frame design, a customized magazine, etc.). These modifications usually modify the functional operation of the revolver; that is, they do not modify the performance of the revolver. These “modified” revolvers are intended to be sold in Smith & Wesson’s retail line. One example is the Model 638 VTS, a.38 S&W short-barreled revolver, which was offered until the mid-1990s, but not after.
Smith & Wesson handguns are often sold to gunsmiths to refurbish and repair, and in some cases even to build new revolvers.
Some Smith & Wesson revolvers are sold as “stainless” or “titanium”. These guns are made from stainless steel and titanium, respectively. Their stainless steel revolvers are made by Smith & Wesson. Titanium revolvers are made by other companies. Smith & Wesson titanium revolvers can be identified by the green-black paint used on the titanium frame.
The year of manufacture is not required on Smith & Wesson revolvers, as well as other American firearms. Early Smith & Wesson revolvers did not feature serial numbers, but had a “K” for “Kebec” stamped on the barrel near the cylinder. The standard Smith & Wesson practice is to always provide the year of manufacture on a pistol serial number. This is because the year of manufacture determines whether a Smith & Wesson revolver may be eligible for Smith & Wesson’s limited warranty. If a Smith & Wesson revolver is made in 1927, but receives a 1911 frame, it may not be eligible for warranty service. Similarly, if a Smith & Wesson
The year ranges listed in the answer are very broad and do not say specifically how old the revolver was when it was manufactured. They also do not specify whether the revolver was new or old. So they would not be helpful in your case.
What you need to do is find the full serial number, including all letters and numbers, and go through the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson. The annual catalog lists the number of production for each year and month.
For example, you have a serial number of “CTR100-03” and the catalog lists production from August 1915 to September 1921. You will find the relevant information:
1915 – CTR100-03
1916 – CTR100-03
1917 – CTR100-03
1918 – CTR100-03
1919 – CTR100-03
1920 – CTR100-03
1921 – CTR100-03
Note that the catalog lists more than the actual number of revolvers manufactured in that year and month. It includes all revolvers produced in the previous calendar years and in previous months.
The link above is a PDF. I suggest downloading it to your computer and printing it out.
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