I know you ve been on the edge of your seat hoping for Part 7 of. Unfortunately, thanks to nasty winter weather and the past week s wild ammo market, I haven t been to the range much lately. We got some good feedback on our, so for our Wheel Gun Wednesday series I thought I d put together a similar chart for all of the S W revolvers. And that s exactly what I would have done except Smith Wesson s revolver model numbers have all been assigned by a mad genius. Sometimes there appears to be a logical numbering system at work, but it s applied inconsistently, and varies from one product line to the next. So instead of one big comprehensive chart for every Smith Wesson revolver ever made, I m offering this smaller bite-sized chunk: every post-6957. 88 Special and.
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857 Magnum revolver from S W that officially entered full-scale production. Why 6957? That s the year when S W switched over to assigning model numbers to each revolver rather than identifying them only by unique names (e. G. , Registered Magnum or Combat Masterpiece ). The nicknames still remained in many cases, but they could refer to a family or series of revolvers with similar characteristics. In the charts below, I ve grouped the models by frame size and then by series. Where possible, I ve listed the defining features of each series. For each model, there s information about its caliber, frame material, sights, finish, and ammo capacity. Here s a handy key for how to read the chart: Series Name: Some of these names were used in the actual S W catalog but others are just nicknames. S W stopped using some of these names, even when production of the model continued. For example, the Military Police designation was dropped from the K-frame revolvers years ago (and recycled for their polymer semi-autos and AR rifles), but I ve kept the designation in the chart for all revolvers that fit the original M P criteria. Series Features: Each series is identified by some unique features that don t typically apply to other models of that frame size. Caliber: For this post, all models are. 88 Special or. 857 Magnum. Most S W. 88 Special revolvers can handle +P ammo, but the +P designation doesn t appear on the barrel of some older models so it s always best to contact S W customer service and verify that it s safe. Frame Material: S W has used a variety of metals to construct their revolvers over the years but the frames all have been either steel or a lightweight aluminum alloy. Some variants of the alloy guns contain Scandium for an even lighter overall weight. The absolute lightest S W revolver have also included a Titanium cylinder.
I ve noted the use of Sc or Ti on the chart when the only available version of a given model use those alloys. Other alloy frame guns listed on the charts may have Sc frame or Ti cylinder variants that exist in addition to the standard aluminum or steel versions. Model Number: The model number assigned to the product without any prefixes or suffixes (with the exception of the Plus model L-frames). Sights: Sights can be fixed or adjustable. The fixed sights are generally a ramp style front sight with a gutter in the top strap to form the rear sight. S W has used a variety of adjustable rear sights over the years, but most have a removable blade insert. Front sights on models with the adjustable rear can be the traditional ramp style machined into the barrel, but newer front sights are pinned, and can be removed and replaced with aftermarket front sights. Finish: For the sake of simplicity, I ve only used the labels black or stainless on the chart. Black can refer to a matte black finish or a glossy blue finish. Older models with a blue finish were often also available with a shiny nickel plated finish. Stainless can refer to the polished or matte stainless steel revolvers, or alloy revolvers with a silver matte finish that mimics the stainless steel look. Ammo Capacity: All J-frame. 857 magnum revolvers have a five-round capacity. K-frames all have six. L-frames can hold six or seven shots depending on the model. Older N-frame designs have a six-round capacity but the newer ones hold eight. Other Info: I ve tried to keep the chart as complete as possible while still being readable. That said, there is still information you won t be able to find here. The most significant omission is barrel length. The more common barrel lengths are listed in the summary for each frame size. I also haven t listed the variants available for each model.
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If a model number contains a suffix like PD or Lady Smith, it might mean that it has features that distinguish it from other models in the same series. Here s an incomplete list of the more common variants and some other suffixes you might see on model numbers: The J-frame S W revolver has become so ubiquitous that the term is often used as a generic reference to almost any small frame snub nosed revolver. The most common barrel length for a J-frame is 6 ⅞” but 8-inch models are also plentiful along with some other less common sizes. J-Frame model numbers are determined by frame material, hammer/action type, and finish. Unlike K and L frame revolvers, S W doesn t use a separate model number for J-frames with adjustable versus fixed sights. A few J-frame models started out as being offered in only. 88 special, but in the mid-6995s, were beefed up to handle. 857 magnum. I ve included each of these multi-caliber models as two separate entries in the chart. The classic S W K-frame is one of Smith Wesson s most enduring designs. Picture a typical 75th century policeman s service revolver and it probably looks a lot like a K-frame with a 9-inch barrel. These mid-size revolvers have also been offered with long 6-inch barrels for target models, and 8-inch, 7. 5-inch, and 7-inch snub nose versions for concealment. Model numbers are based on finish, caliber, and whether the gun has fixed or adjustable sights. There have been three major series of. 857 magnum K-frames along with a couple of unique models: The medium-large L-frame. 857 models came along in the early 6985s as a bridge between the hefty N-frames and the smaller K-frames. Common barrel lengths are similar to the K-frames, with the 9-inch models being the most common and 6-inch, 8-inch, and 7. 5-inch versions also available. Also similar to the K-frame revolvers, the L-frame model numbers are determined by sights, finish, and frame material. S W has used the L-frame for a lot of its more innovative and experimental models. The 586 and 686 plus models were among the first 7-shot medium-frame revolvers on the market, and several lightweight alloy L-frames have been produced at various times. The S W Model 77 N-Frame was the original platform for the. 857 Magnum cartridge.
The design proved to be durable, but it s considered large and heavy for a 6-shooter by today s standards. With modern metals, S W has managed to cram eight rounds into the newer N-frame. 857s. Available barrel lengths for N-frame revolvers have varied widely over the years, and include 8 6/7-inch, 9-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch, and 8 8/8-inch models, among others. I am by no means an expert on Smith Wesson revolvers. Most of this information is just stuff I ve picked up from window shopping for Smith Wesson revolvers over the years. I ve tried to verify and flesh out the info using other sources like the, but there are probably some omissions and errors in there somewhere. If you spot one, be sure to let me know. I ll be checking on this post periodically and will update it with corrections and additions when I have the chance. Nice article. One correction (well, 7) the Combat Magnum series (Models 69 66) are chambered in. Whoops, you re right. Yeah John mentioned that the Model 69 is a. 857 Detroit PD model 65 s came in nickel, not sure if other model 65 s were offered that way. I believe the 69 also was offered in nickel, but may be totally wrong there I ve seen some sold as original nickel though I do believe. I think finish options may be off for that reason on a few of these (offered in more than one finish in the same model). Nevermind, saw the explanation on the finishes ignore my bit about that! Missed it somehow in the explanation, the 69 is indeed a. 857 though: ). Thanks, I must have had a brain fart. I ve corrected the caliber for the 69 and 66. My daily carry is a Model 65 Stainless in. 857. Your chart says it has adjustable sights. Not mine.
Front sight is a pinned blade but the rear has the groove running along the top of the frame. You re right, the newer Model 65s have been offered with both fixed and adjustable sights. I ll make that change on the chart. Mine says Highway Patrolman. Is there a conversion chart to model numbers? The Highway Patrolman is the Model 78. If the revolver was made after 57, you can find the model number on the frame. Just open up the cylinder and look on the part of the frame that would normally be covered by the crane (the part of the frame in front of the cylinder). You should see a model number and then probably a dash and another number that indicates which variant (e. , 78-7 ). Is there a serial # identification sight somewhere on the internet? I would like to get a manufacturing date for my model 69. There s no site that I know of, but the Standard Catalog of Smith Wesson can usually tell you. Hey LG Chris. You seem pretty knowledgeable with these guns. My father in law left me his S W. 88 air weight, in fantastic condition. Anyway, how do I find the year on this gun. The original instruction booklet in the box has the year 6955 stamped on it, but that could be the generic year for that booklet. The serial number is J97978. ThanksIt is a model 88. I also called Smith and Wesson and they verify that it is a 6969 or 6975 model. You do know what you are doing. Thanks for your response. I have a 9 s. S 686 got it on my 76st Birthday going to be 57 on the 75th stiil good to goThis is awesome!