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Old 01-21-2011, 10:38 PM
indymike indymike is offline
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Default Manufacture date and fired case date

I recently purchased a NIB S&W 5904 from Lew Horton's. It came with a fired case that was marked April 2010 and I was wondering if this means that the gun was manufactured around that time. Would S&W ever take new old stock and do the test fire before releasing them to a distributor or do they always do the test fire right after they manufacture the gun.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:03 PM
jdesro1911 jdesro1911 is offline
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My understanding is that there might be a delay of a few weeks or so from when it is manufactured to the test firing, but once it is test fired and the case collected, the gun is given a quick cleaning, and the fired case and gun go into the box, and the box is put into the vault until it is time to go to the distributor.

So, there is a good chance that your pistol was made in early 2010. if you have the box, on the end label there is a date code that tells you when the pistol was manufactured. There is a four digit number on the label (I can't remember at this time what S&W calls this number), but it should say something like, for example, "0053". This example woul show that the pistol was made in 2010 (the first "zero") on the fifty-third day of the year (the 053).

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:31 AM
indymike indymike is offline
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Excellent and very informative info, much appreciated.

Last edited by indymike; 05-01-2015 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:32 AM
KurtC KurtC is offline
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The number on the label is the Spec Ord. They are usually pretty close to the fired case date, but I don't believe either is done until the pistol is ready to leave the factory. There is a good chance the pistol might sit around the factory for years before it is boxed up and shipped.

Is your pistol an early version or a TSW?
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:54 PM
indymike indymike is offline
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The number on the label is the Spec Ord. They are usually pretty close to the fired case date, but I don't believe either is done until the pistol is ready to leave the factory. There is a good chance the pistol might sit around the factory for years before it is boxed up and shipped.

Is your pistol an early version or a TSW?
It is the early version 5904, not a TSW which is why I was doubtful that it could be recently manufactured.

Last edited by indymike; 05-01-2015 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:29 PM
KurtC KurtC is offline
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Serial numbers aren't the best way to date a S&W (certain blocks of numbers can be set aside for future use). However, judging by the laser etched markings, your pistol left the factory in recent years. A lot of unique models (in low quantity) have turned up over the last few years, and may have been an effort to clear out leftover parts and such.

Nice pistols, by the way.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:07 AM
indymike indymike is offline
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Serial numbers aren't the best way to date a S&W (certain blocks of numbers can be set aside for future use). However, judging by the laser etched markings, your pistol left the factory in recent years. A lot of unique models (in low quantity) have turned up over the last few years, and may have been an effort to clear out leftover parts and such.

Nice pistols, by the way.
Thanks, I'm getting more and more intrigued with each bit of input. I may end up shelling out $50 to get a S&W history report on it. But even if they say it was manufactured in 2010, that could still just mean it could have been assembled, finished and laser marked in 2010 with parts manufactured years before. Is that what you mean?
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:32 AM
jdesro1911 jdesro1911 is offline
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But even if they say it was manufactured in 2010, that could still just mean it could have been assembled, finished and laser marked in 2010 with parts manufactured years before. Is that what you mean?
This is entirely possible.

I know a number of people who work a S&W, and I've been in the plant, and let me tell you, there are parts lying around everywhere.

I'm pretty sure that all steel framed handguns are being made in the plant in Houlton, Maine now, and I don't know much about what happens up there. But I think it is safe to say that, based on the date code you provided, you have a pistol that was at least finally assembled in early 2010, and I think the letter you get will verify this.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:41 PM
KurtC KurtC is offline
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Originally Posted by indymike View Post
Thanks, I'm getting more and more intrigued with each bit of input. I may end up shelling out $50 to get a S&W history report on it. But even if they say it was manufactured in 2010, that could still just mean it could have been assembled, finished and laser marked in 2010 with parts manufactured years before. Is that what you mean?
If the slide was from the original series, it would be roll marked instead of laser etched. That puts it from the later 90's. In 1999, the TSW series came out, which has different slide/frame rails than yours. That tells me your parts were most likely made in the late '90s, and your pistol was just recently assembled, marked and shipped.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:03 PM
indymike indymike is offline
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This is entirely possible.

I know a number of people who work a S&W, and I've been in the plant, and let me tell you, there are parts lying around everywhere.

I'm pretty sure that all steel framed handguns are being made in the plant in Houlton, Maine now, and I don't know much about what happens up there. But I think it is safe to say that, based on the date code you provided, you have a pistol that was at least finally assembled in early 2010, and I think the letter you get will verify this.
That makes sense and pretty much negates the need to get a history report as I am more interested in the actual manufacture date of the parts and I would not get that in the report. I'd really be interested to know if they made non-TSW parts after the TSW series began, which it sounds like they don't. I don't think it's worth the $50 and time to find out when it was assembled as it is pretty obvious that it was recently assembled and marked.

By the way, do you or anyone else know if S&W has public tours of their manufacture facilities or anything like that? The deeper I get into this hobby the more I would like to learn about the manufacturing process. I'd probably drive them nuts with questions.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:59 PM
jdesro1911 jdesro1911 is offline
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By the way, do you or anyone else know if S&W has public tours of their manufacture facilities or anything like that? The deeper I get into this hobby the more I would like to learn about the manufacturing process. I'd probably drive them nuts with questions.
Yes, they do public tours. If you ever find your way into this area it would be well worth it to see. What I find particularly interesting is how at S&W, since they are such an old company, they can have a brand new multi-million dollar CNC milling machine, and right next to it is some machine that they have had since the 1930's, and it is still in use!
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:07 PM
indymike indymike is offline
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Yes, they do public tours. If you ever find your way into this area it would be well worth it to see. What I find particularly interesting is how at S&W, since they are such an old company, they can have a brand new multi-million dollar CNC milling machine, and right next to it is some machine that they have had since the 1930's, and it is still in use!
That's very cool to hear. I am definitely going to plan for a trip out there later this spring or summer.

Last edited by indymike; 05-01-2015 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:17 PM
jdesro1911 jdesro1911 is offline
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Nice pictures! The part you are referring to is for the magazine disconnect feature. They call it the "ejector depressor plunger". It keeps the ejector from rising when there is no magazine in place, thus activating the magazine disconnect feature, rendering the pistol unable to fire without a magazine in place.

Funny how they went from a plastic part to a metal part - it's usually the other way around!
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:22 PM
indymike indymike is offline
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Nice pictures! The part you are referring to is for the magazine disconnect feature. They call it the "ejector depressor plunger". It keeps the ejector from rising when there is no magazine in place, thus activating the magazine disconnect feature, rendering the pistol unable to fire without a magazine in place.

Funny how they went from a plastic part to a metal part - it's usually the other way around!
Cool thanks for identifying that for me. Looks like they may have had old stock frames and slides for the 5904 and when they assembled it in 2010, they used recently manufactured barrels and parts that are used in the TSW models. Appreciate the help with that!
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