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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors WITH Model Numbers


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  #51  
Old 06-14-2012, 09:20 PM
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Great article... I always enjoy the historical center-piece articles in The Blue Press more than the articles on the newer stuff...

I bought a LNIB Nickle Model 40 (c. 1974) in the early 90's but it got eaten by a Python about a decade ago (it was a partial trade on a 2 1/2 inch Python)...
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by phubai8 View Post
Paladin
Thanks for putting this together. It is very informative. I've been looking at these for years but never saw any real advantage over the bodyguards. You have enlightened me.
Biggest advantage of the Centennial may be that its better sealed than the Bodyguard against the entry of debris in pocket carry.
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  #53  
Old 06-14-2012, 10:40 PM
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Default This pre-40 has it's pin

I asked earlier if someone had a picture of the pin discussed on guns like the pre-40. This one is numbered 2992 and has the pin and factory numbered matching grips. It is original finish but was well used but not terribly abused. Here's some pics.
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  #54  
Old 09-08-2012, 10:08 PM
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I know this isn't really a pic thread but these are from early 1954. Alll the S/n's and the grips match. I think these early ones had the High horns as standard. I haven't seen any info to the contrary.When I have these lettered I will also letter 4458. I am curious if it is a an airweight pre 42 or a pre 40. If it's a pre 40 then I have found consecutive pre-42's. It might also give me a clue as to where 4458 is located. BTW I shot the 1st one and it performed like my 642-1! Like it was made yesterday.
Mike

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:01 PM
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Often wondered why S&W deleted the grip safety , though it was probably due to expense. Or didn't offer it on other models.

I also wonder why it was never reintroduced , especially in these times of lasped personal responsibility , and blaming the gun for negligent discharges.

Surprised no lawyer ever used this feature , and it's discontinuation , in a lawsuit, "ladies and gentlemen of the jury , in putting profit before safety , this greedy gun company chose to eliminate a very effective safety feature which would have saved the lives of countless children. The very reason this feature was introduced."
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  #56  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mkk41 View Post
Often wondered why S&W deleted the grip safety , though it was probably due to expense. Or didn't offer it on other models.

I also wonder why it was never reintroduced , especially in these times of lasped personal responsibility , and blaming the gun for negligent discharges.

Surprised no lawyer ever used this feature , and it's discontinuation , in a lawsuit, "ladies and gentlemen of the jury , in putting profit before safety , this greedy gun company chose to eliminate a very effective safety feature which would have saved the lives of countless children. The very reason this feature was introduced."
Actually, in 2007, as I mentioned in the original post, S&W DID re-introduce the grip safety on the Model 40-1 Centennial. It's been offered in blue, nickeled, and case-hardened finishes. The grip safety cannot be locked out on this one, and there is no ugly and dangerous external lock. Here's a picture of one that I own.

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Old 09-10-2012, 01:37 AM
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Here's my Pre Mdl 40 shipped in 1953, SN 147, it still has the little "safety pin":





And here's my mdl 632 in 32 Mag shipped in 1991;






Three older 32 cal Safety hammerless:

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Old 04-13-2013, 04:18 PM
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Default A very early Centennial SN 105

I bought this at a local gun show yesterday as a carry gun for my niece. I didn't look at the serial number until I got home. Does anyone have a lower number? I see that Jinks states they began at 104. It could be carefully pried from my hands.

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

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  #59  
Old 04-13-2013, 04:37 PM
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Default Later, but uncommon.

Thought I'd jump in with this one.... 3" Centennial Parabellum.





Hope you don't mind...



I see the Centennial as the pinnacle of J-Frame development. I rely heavily upon the 640-1 Centennial Magnum in the warmer months when wearing a larger autopistol is more difficult with lighter clothes.

Here shown with one of Lefty Lewis' designs the "Half Breed"





... and here with the "New York Reload".





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  #60  
Old 04-13-2013, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten-mile View Post
I bought this at a local gun show yesterday as a carry gun for my niece. I didn't look at the serial number until I got home. Does anyone have a lower number? I see that Jinks states they began at 104. It could be carefully pried from my hands.
Actually, Roy says on page 231 of his History of Smith & Wesson ('79 edition) that the steel frame Centennials started with the number 1 on Dec. 1, 1952. Still, you do have a very early serial number; it's quite a find and in great condition. Congratulations!

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:30 AM
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Default Centennial 105

The first steel frame Centennial shipped from the factory was #104, shipped December 1952. That's the only one shipped in '52. #105 shipped April 1953. I don't know yet which numbers may have shipped from January 1953 to April 1953.
Quoting an email from Roy Jinks...
there was only one .38 Centennial sold in 1952 and it was serial number 104. The production records indicate the following; November 1952 the factory finished 7 units all airweights, the first steel unit was finished in December 1952. In March 1953 the factory finished 8 units and full production began in April 1953 with a total production of 639 units. I hope that this helps. Roy
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  #62  
Old 04-20-2013, 11:46 AM
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There was a run of 5000 model 640's designated "Centennial." They had a suffix on their serial number of "CENT."
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:27 AM
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Excellent post. I have Centennial #105 (in nearly mint condition) and recently received the factory letter. According to Jinks, Centennials began at #104 which I have been told was the only steel frame shipped in 1952. #105 was shipped April 16, 1953 and there were "several revolvers with higher serial numbers that were shipped earlier in April than your revolver".
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:12 PM
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I just purchased #5436 in nickel, and the dot on the top of the safety bar is red, rather than white. I wonder if that is so on other nickel guns?
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  #65  
Old 09-02-2017, 09:19 AM
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Good article. These little guns deserve a good writeup.
Agreed. Very good informative read on these under appreciated revolvers!!!
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  #66  
Old 01-11-2018, 04:51 PM
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Default Manufacturing year

Very informative article. I'm writing from Italy.
I would know the manufacturing year of my Airweight Mod. 42, SN 27691, someone can help me?
I'know that is possible to request the "Letter of authenticity" but is really difficult to pay for it from Italy.
Thank you in advance
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  #67  
Old 01-12-2018, 03:38 PM
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Very informative article. I'm writing from Italy.
I would know the manufacturing year of my Airweight Mod. 42, SN 27691, someone can help me?
I'know that is possible to request the "Letter of authenticity" but is really difficult to pay for it from Italy.
Thank you in advance
In "ballpark" terms, serials from 1 to 30160 were shipped from 1952 to 1971. Your serial is near the end of this range, so I would estimate that it was shipped somewhere around 1970. Of course you never know with S&W as guns were seldom shipped in straight serial number order.

Hope this helps.

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Old 01-12-2018, 06:21 PM
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Default cool thread

I love the centennial J frames. I have 2, a 640nd .38 and a 642-1 nl. Correction- wife procured my 642 for her SD use.

IMG_0043.jpg

The 640 is getting more and more carry time.
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  #69  
Old 01-12-2018, 07:13 PM
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I love the Centennials as well. I have a an early steel frame version from December 1953, and a model 42 airweight from September of 1963. I also have four modern versions: a model 340 PD, a M&P 340, a 640-1, and a 640-1 Pro Series. So I guess I reall like the style of these little pocket guns.



Lots of folks forget that James Bond was issued an Airweight Centennial at the same time as his more famous Wlather PPK!!:



How about a BBQ Centennial?:



More modern Centennials:



Best Regards, Les
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:23 PM
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I am a little late to the party but after reading this thread I had to dig out my old pre-40 shipped in May, 1956. Mine has the screw at the top of the frame, flat latch and lock down pin. However, the finish is bright and I can only find the sn 761X on the butt. The flat on the barrel is blank as is the back of the cylinder. Ejector star does not appear to have any markings either. Trigger has been replaced at some point as it is thin, smooth and non-case hardened. This revolver belonged to a good friend who got me into the shooting sports but passed away a few years ago. Itís a keeper.
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:24 AM
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My EDC when home is a 442 Pro. Only modifications is painting the front sight white then neon orange and lastly adding CTC grips. Gotta give every advantage to getting those 5 to the target.



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Old 01-14-2018, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PALADIN85020 View Post
In "ballpark" terms, serials from 1 to 30160 were shipped from 1952 to 1971. Your serial is near the end of this range, so I would estimate that it was shipped somewhere around 1970. Of course you never know with S&W as guns were seldom shipped in straight serial number order.

Hope this helps.

John
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thank you. I hoped that there were registers with serial number and year of manufacture
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:05 PM
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thank you. I hoped that there were registers with serial number and year of manufacture
Roy Jinks, the official S&W historian, has access to the company records, which can provide the definitive answer you seek. Only a "factory letter" from him can provide you with an exact date of shipment.

As an alternative, you can become a member of the S&W Collectors Association, and have access to the special section of this forum which is for members only. Then you can simply request a month and year of shipment from Roy and he can give that to you by way of reply.

It's worth noting that the "Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson," now in its 4th edition, has some data on MOST S&W firearms that give general ranges of serial numbers by year. These are only ballpark - as noted, S&W hardly ever ships in consecutive serial number order. However, with the earlier Centennials, a more definitive listing is not available, and the serial number range in which your gun falls is addressed only by the broad range I quoted.

John
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:27 PM
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Anyone here got Centennial #890? If so, please contact me as I have the red box for your revolver. They deserve to be reunited.

And John, I join in the praise for your article. Well done and informative.
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  #75  
Old 01-14-2018, 08:34 PM
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While I like the humpbacked Bodyguards, the Centennial series long ago impressed me as the perfect pocket revolver, for all the reasons Applegate cited.

In 1999 I bought a very lightly-used 1990-built 640 .38 Special, one of the early CEN-prefix models . It's been in my pocket or within easy reach every day since. I'll never part with it.

Thanks for the history, John.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PALADIN85020 View Post
Roy Jinks, the official S&W historian, has access to the company records, which can provide the definitive answer you seek. Only a "factory letter" from him can provide you with an exact date of shipment.

As an alternative, you can become a member of the S&W Collectors Association, and have access to the special section of this forum which is for members only. Then you can simply request a month and year of shipment from Roy and he can give that to you by way of reply.

It's worth noting that the "Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson," now in its 4th edition, has some data on MOST S&W firearms that give general ranges of serial numbers by year. These are only ballpark - as noted, S&W hardly ever ships in consecutive serial number order. However, with the earlier Centennials, a more definitive listing is not available, and the serial number range in which your gun falls is addressed only by the broad range I quoted.

John
thank you! I would request the "factory letters" for my revolvers but I do not know how to make the payment for letters to S & W.
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
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thank you! I would request the "factory letters" for my revolvers but I do not know how to make the payment for letters to S & W.
Here is a photocopy of the official factory letter request form. Print it out in the standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch size. As you are not a member of the S&W Historical Foundation, the cost to you will be $75 in U.S. funds. How you can provide that, I do not know. I would suggest contacting someone at your local bank. All the information you need is on this form. Note that an additional $8 for the overseas postage is also required, since you are in Italy.

Hope this helps.

John

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