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Need some help with a Smith and Wesson revolver

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by FEDLEO, Feb 18, 2012.


    FEDLEO Spread Out!

    Aug 13, 2006
    State of disbelief
    A person that I work with asked me if I could find the replacement parts for this pistol and fix it. I called Smith and Wesson and gave them the serial number of the gun. They said they THOUGHT it was a model 10 38 special made in the early 60s. Which goes along with it being a M&P pistol.

    So I ordered the missing parts (cylinder, crane, extractor, rod, you get the idea.) I thought being a model 10 the K frame parts should fit it and so did the person I ordered them from. They don't. At this point I find myself wondering if it is even a model 10 for sure. I am hoping someone can look at it and tell me for sure.


    In this picture it says U 35 12 9

    Box info:

    On the right side of the 2 inch barrel it is stamped
    38 Special CTQ.

    Can anyone help and would really appreciate a line up on the missing parts:whistling:
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  2. banger


    Nov 8, 2005
    Where evil lives
    The answer is simple...

    The box does not go with that firearm.

    The weapon in the photo appears to be a "J" frame revolver of early design. Pre model number in the frame.

    If the revolver is .38 spl. cartridge, it would be a pre model 36, Chief Special.

    The serial number will appear on the base of the grip frame.

    Be aware however, finding the parts is only half the battle. Cranes, cylinders, and extractor stars were hand fitted, and unlikely to simply drop in.

    EDIT: Have you looked into sending the frame back to Smith and Wesson to have them fit the missing parts?

    Lastly, approx. how much did they charge in total for the wrong parts. (I know they can be returned for credit) simply wondering what a cylinder complete with crane is going for these days.

    Second edit: Sorry I missed the part of your post in which you indicated that the revolver is stamped "air weight", this would make it a Pre model 37. The rest of my post remains accurate though.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

  3. Bruce M

    Bruce M

    Jan 3, 2010
    S FL
    Looks like a J frame to me also. Be aware that the "gold box" by itself may have some value to someone.
  4. pennlineman


    Feb 16, 2009
    Hi sfguard. Here is what I've been able to find out. The is a M&P, however it is not a model 10. It is actually a pre model 12. AKA a military and police airweight. S&W did not start assigning model numbers until 1957. So it seems that this revolver is older than 1960. This is not unusual in that S&W did not ship their guns in serial number order all the time. In fact models 10 and 11 fell in the same serial number block.

    The frame on these was was .080" thinner than the steel model 10's. This may explain why your parts don't fit. I suspect the crain was an aluminum alloy but don't know this for certain. The early examples of this gun had aluminum cylinders as well. These were changed to steel in 1954 due to cracking.

    Also note that many of the parts on these guns were hand fitted. As I said earlier I suspect the crane is where most of yor problem lies. I doubt you'll be able to locate an aluminum cylinder, really this is a good thing as they don't recommend shooting them unless they have the steel cylinder.

    Certainly an interesting project, good luck!
  5. Chup


    Feb 11, 2008
    N. Ohio
    looks like a 37 to me?? not positive
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  6. DPris


    Mar 3, 2006
    If you're trying to install K-Frame parts in a J-Frame gun, that's your first problem. :)Added to which there have been enough variations in the J-Frames over the years that's it's not realistic to expect to order the parts you mention & drop 'em in yourself.
    They're fitted.

    The caliber marking will be .38 Special CTG, not CTQ.

    The K-Frame is a six-banger, the J is a five-banger.
    There's no way the crane & cylinder for a K could possibly fit in a J.
  7. I'd agree with this. For the size of the "project" I'd have sent it to a very experienced gunsmith, or sold it for parts and bought something different. I'm betting you'll have more in the gun then it's worth, if you can get it finished.

    FEDLEO Spread Out!

    Aug 13, 2006
    State of disbelief

    After some research on Smith and Wessons forum and lots of looking on the net I an thinking you are correct. I will just take it back to the guy and wash my hands of it. Thanks
  9. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I sure looks like an older J frame from early sixties or older based on the flat latch and long ramped front sight.
  10. pennlineman


    Feb 16, 2009
    I agree, but the early model 12's came with the flat latch. They also had a 1/10" serrated front sight ramp. If he would post the serial number that would clear things up quickly. the K frame should have a C or S prefix, the J frame will not.

    ETA: Compare some pictures of actual pre model 12's and 36's from the flat latch period. The 12's have the S&W logo on the right side while the 36's have it on the left. Also look at the contour of the trigger guard near the front where it meets the frame. I am convinced this is a pre model 12.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  11. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    Jul 14, 2008


    That gun is definitely NOT a J-frame, but it isn't a Model 10 either.

    It is a "pre-Model 12."

    Before 1957 or so when the factory began to use model numbers, they called it the "38 Military & Police Airweight."

    These were 6-shot revolvers built on an aluminum alloy variant of the K-frame.

    The box shown is correct for this model.

    (SOURCE: Pics from the S&W Forum via Google)

    A Note on Pre-Model 12 Cylinders

    Some pre-Model 12s were made with aluminum alloy cylinders. These were determined UNSAFE and "recalled" by the factory, but a few survived to become high-dollar collector items.

    I suspect the subject gun was one of these, and the cylinder was either KB'd, or simply lost when a replacement was sought at sometime in the past in order to make the gun usuable. Probably the latter (or something like it...).

    Repair Parts, Etc.

    There have been many, many engineering changes in the K-frame line in the last 50 years or so. Some current parts fit older models, but many do not.

    As seen here, a current-production Model 10 Cylinder & Crane Assembly will not fit a Pre-Model 12. Since this assembly is a major hand-fitted part on Pre-Model 12s, options for replacement are limited.

    The only reputable firm I know of who might take on a restoration of this complexity and magnitude is David R. Chicone & Son. Others might be found at the S&W Forum.

    HTH :wavey:

  12. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    Jul 14, 2008

    A Note on the Numbers (and Letters)

    The number shown above is not the serial number. It is what is called an "assembly number."

    Assembly numbers were stamped during manufacturing to ensure that mating fitted parts were reunited after finishing. Here, the missing finished mating part is the Crane (also called 'Yoke').

    The serial number on virtually all S&W revolvers can always be found on the butt of the grip portion of the frame.

    Since all pre-Model 12s were made in the C-series, the serial number of the subject revolver should be prefixed with the single letter "C."

    HTH :wavey:

    PS: No J-frame serial number was ever prefixed with the single letter "C" only.

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012