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Old 07-19-2013, 09:53 PM
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Default Model 49 "humpback" s/n question: 2 numbers?

I just picked up a very nice S&W model 49, 2" bbl j-frame revolver in about 93+% condition.

I have a question of what (or where to find) the serial number is on this revolver.

It is blued, all steel, pinned barrel, and a 3-screw. The number stamped on the bottom butt of the pistol grip (visible with the grips on) is 588xxx.

There are also two other numbers. One is located on the pistol grip, UNDER the grips (toward the bottom) of the left side (the side with the cylinder release). It is 61xxx. This same number (61xxx) is also stamped on the cylider crane (not on the frame under the crane). That area is stamped "MOD-49".

What is the official serial number? The 61xxx or the 588xxx? The "61xxx" stamped number is about 1/2 the size of the "588xxx" number.

If I go by the 61xxx number for manufacturing date, my quick internet research puts in in the 1955 area.

If I go by the 588xxx number, the mfg date is late 1960's (maybe 1967-68?).

Could an informed Model 49 expert please help educate me on what the two different numbers are, and what is the true s/n?

Thanks in advance.

Got it for $350 (and 1/2 box of factory ammo, and the holster).

My s/n reference (scroll to post #131)
Smith and Wesson serial number search - Page 6 - The Firing Line Forums

Last edited by catboat; 07-20-2013 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:29 PM
Rpg Rpg is offline
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You got a great revolver (much superior to the plastic pseudo bodyguards of today) at a good price.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:38 PM
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The number on the bottom of the grip frame (588xxx) is the serial number, and that's what you use to date it. Best I have is:
1962 = starts at 295000
1969 = ends at 786544
So you're in the right ballpark.

Someone here may be able to narrow it down some.

Last edited by DAinTX; 07-19-2013 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:19 PM
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I shot the M49 today at my range. Fired two loads:

148 grain Lee tumble lube wadcutters over 3.5 grains /Bullseye. Got a 10 shot group, 2 handed, 7 yards of about 1.5 inches diameter, centered 1 inch to the right of point of aim. Good for elevation.

148 grain HBWC over 2.5 grains/Bullseye. Printed about a 2" 10 shot group, 2-handed, 7 yards, about 1" to the right of point of aim. Good for elevation.

Moved back to 25 yards for a giggle, and was getting about 4-5 inch groups with the 148/3.5 grain Lee tumble lube wadcutter, about 5" to the right, and ~ 3+ inches low of point of aim.

The 3.5 grain /148 gr wadcutter had decidedly more kick than the 2.5 grain load. I had these loaded from some past accuracy testing of a Model 14, so I figured I try them. I think I'll cut it back to 3.25 grains or so. It was my first outing with a snub nose. Frankly, I wouldn't want to shoot a 357 mag in a Model 49/649.

I did learn that I COULD take the model 49 squirrel hunting, as it is accurate enough for head shots. I just have to get within 5 yards of my quarry.

Fun to shoot.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:42 PM
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Humpbacks are my FAVORITES. The serial number is on the bottom of the frame. Open the cylinder and on the frame is, after 1957 is where the model number is stamped. The rest of the numbers mean nothing. They are factory assembly numbers for keeping things in order.............well S&W order anyway.

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Old 07-20-2013, 08:46 PM
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The official serial number (and the one you pay attention to for records, etc., in the event of a conflict in cases where the serial number also appears in the yoke, or on the barrel or cylinder) is the serial number on the bottom outside of the grip frame, visible between the stocks or, if target stocks, then by removing the stocks.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:47 PM
Rpg Rpg is offline
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Good shooting!

The inherent accuracy of the older j frames far exceeds our ability as shooters.
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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 Thread, Model 49 "humpback" s/n question: 2 numbers? in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; I just picked up a very nice S&W model 49, 2" bbl j-frame revolver in about 93+% condition. I have ...
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