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Old 03-18-2017, 09:16 PM
dorsey dorsey is offline
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Default Mixed serial numbers Model 36

I just bought a Model 36 having a light cylinder drag line, otherwise no blueing loss.

The serial number on the cylinder crane is 34847 and also has "E17" lightly stamped below that. On the butt is ALH8226.

What do these numbers mean? Which one is the serial number? The dealer used the butt number on the transfer form. When was this gun made? The grips appear to be S&W but probably replacements because they don't fit the frame very closely and have a new look and feel. The checkering is sharp, but there's a double border around it that I don't see on M36s in any photos on this forum.

If pictures would be of any help, I'll submit one or more.

Thanks for any help and opinions.
Dorsey
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:22 PM
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Serial number is on the bottom of the grip frame. Dates to late 1985.
Other numbers on the other parts of the frame and individual parts are factory assembly numbers.
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Last edited by armorer951; 03-18-2017 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:33 PM
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As posted above, # 34847 is an assembly #.

ASSEMBLY (factory work) #s: These multi-digit numbers of 3 to 5 digits, are on the yoke at the hinge, in the ‘yoke cut’ on frame opposite the yoke near the hinge, and inside of the sideplate, for the pre war and early post war period. The assembly # in the yoke cut of the frame was relocated to the left side of grip frame after model #s were assigned and the serial # was added in the ‘yoke cut’ where the assembly #, now moved to the left side of the grip frame, used to be. You know they are assembly (factory work) #s because of those 3 locations that always match on guns that are original, and that’s the only usefulness for them after guns leave the factory: still used to this day, long after serial number locations decreased.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:35 PM
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Welcome! Here is a good post for ID information:

To IDENTIFY your Gun >

Enjoy you new model 36!
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:34 PM
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Welcome aboard from Wyoming.

Yes, photos would be terrific. We love 'em.

Cheers,

Bob
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:55 PM
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The SN is on the butt - ALH8226. The three-character SN prefix started in 1982. I think ALH would be sometime in early 1986, possibly late 1985.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:13 AM
dorsey dorsey is offline
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Thank for clearing that up for me. I'm a little disappointed that the gun is not from the film noir era of the hard-boiled detective, but it's still a super clean little revolver that I won't mind shooting at least once.

The seller had a few more small frame S&W revolvers, some with boxes, and a flat latch in similar condition to the one I bought, but I liked the later latch look better. I paid $380, which seems like a good price. All his small-frame guns were priced about the same.

What got me interested in this particular model was one that my uncle showed me in the late 50's - early 60's. He had plenty of guns, but told me that he "just had to have it" (the Model 36) when he saw it in a local gun store in Daytona Beach. It really appealed to me as a small kid looking and holding a kid-sized "real gun". I had seen a few recently in top-notch condition, but the prices in my area (south central PA) were always above $500, which struck me as too much. So, on an impulse it's now my turn to say that I "just had to have it".
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:59 PM
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Hello I'm new here and have a similar question.
I also just picked up J frame model 36 from a gun show.
I was told at the show it was from the 50's likely around 57 because the barrel was pinned
the number on the crane is 505XX
the serial number is 459JXX
the number on the crane matches the number on the frame under the grips

the number on the grips (in the woood) matches the serial number except its missing the "J"

I called S&W and they said I'd need to submit a form to get the actual history but their best guess was that it was manufactured around 1987.
If I can figure out how I'll post a pic

thanks for any help identifying just what I bought
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:17 PM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is online now
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Welcome to the forum.

The #5055xx is the assembly.

ASSEMBLY (factory work) #s: These multi-digit numbers of 3 to 5 digits, are on the yoke at the hinge, in the ‘yoke cut’ on frame opposite the yoke near the hinge, and inside of the sideplate, for the pre war and early post war period. The assembly # in the yoke cut of the frame was relocated to the left side of grip frame after model #s were assigned in 1957 and the serial # was eventually added in the ‘yoke cut’ where the assembly #, now moved to the left side of the grip frame, used to be. You know they are assembly (factory work) #s because of those 3 locations that always match on guns that are original, and that’s the only usefulness for them after guns leave the factory: still used to this day, long after serial number locations decreased.

The serial number 459JXX is from 1971.

The letter is usually left out of the grip # stamp at the factory.
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:24 PM
outobie outobie is offline
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how about that...my revolver is the same vintage as me (quite by accident)

thanks for the help and welcome!
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:34 PM
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If you want a "film noir era" snubby what you need to look for is a Chief's Special (or an early Model 36) S&W changed from named models to numbered models in 1957. (Film Noir is considered to be post WW2 to about 1959-60)
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:42 PM
outobie outobie is offline
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one more question...when did the dash begin?

mine says "Model 36" on the crane with no dash
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outobie View Post
one more question...when did the dash begin?

mine says "Model 36" on the crane with no dash
The Chiefs Special Model 36 is a bit of an oddity compared to many other S&W revolvers.

The Model 36 with no dash number was made continuously from 1957/58 (beginning of model numbers) until 1988, when it was replaced by the Model 36-2. The Model 36-1 was introduced in 1967, but it denoted a specific configuration - the 3" heavy barrel. From 1967 until 1988, both the 36 and the 36-1 were made concurrently. In 1988, the -1 became the -3 and the "no dash" became the -2.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outobie View Post
I called S&W and they said I'd need to submit a form to get the actual history but their best guess was that it was manufactured around 1987.
Another of many examples of why it is useless to "call the company" to ask about "born on" dates. The people who answer those phones don't have a clue and it would better for everyone if they just said "I don't know."

What your gun has is the so-called "floating J" serial number. It has the J and no more than 5 digits and the J "floats" down the line. These numbers ran from 1J1 to 999J99, and they were assigned only in 1971-1972.

Quote:
their best guess was that it was manufactured around 1987
Heck, by 1987, the J serial numbers were long gone and the 3-alpha, 4 digit numbers had been in use for several years.
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