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Police issue S&W .38 special - tracking history?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by PVolk, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. PVolk

    PVolk

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    Oct 2, 2009
    Michigan
    Hello folks.

    My father picked up a old police issue .38 special revolver last night. He's a bit of a history buff and bought it because it was old and was police issue and had lots of holster wear. He's always appreciated guns like this. Anyway, we wanted to see if we could learn more about it's history. Primarily, which police department issued it and when it was produced.

    Is there a way to learn more about it using it's serial number? I was hoping there was a database somewhere (similar to the ones I've seen for Glocks and Benellis).

    Model: Smith & Wesson 10-5
    Serial number: D216730
    Also marked: B.P.D. 1487-M
     
  2. pennlineman

    pennlineman

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    Feb 16, 2009
    PA
    The serial number dates it between 1969-70. The B.P.D indicates a police department from a town that begins with B. I assume you know that. The 1487-M might be a butt/rack number assigned to the weapon. The model 10 was a very popular police issued firearm. You may never know which department it was assigned to.
     


  3. PVolk

    PVolk

    1,370
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    Oct 2, 2009
    Michigan
    Thanks for the info.

    I'll keep searching for what the "B" stands for.
     
  4. pennlineman

    pennlineman

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    Feb 16, 2009
    PA
    With a rack number that high I'd start researching the Boston PD.
     
  5. pennlineman

    pennlineman

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    Feb 16, 2009
    PA
    Say a PD has 1000 guns. They will assign each gun a number 1-1000. Within the armory there will be 1000 spots set aside for these guns in numerical order. This is easier to deal with than serial numbers.

    For instance in the AF I had a M-15 assigned to me with a butt/rack number of 57. When I drew my weapon from the armory, the armorer would go to the model 15 rack and give me gun number 57. Much simpler than asking for good old K747471.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  6. Sgt127

    Sgt127

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    Nov 5, 2002
    Texas
  7. Jason D

    Jason D INFRINGED Silver Member Millennium Member

    41,967
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    Jun 16, 1999
    Mivonks, MI
    My gun too has a rack or tracking number on it, but it says on the back strap Detroit Police and the number in full.
     
  8. MajorD

    MajorD

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    Aug 16, 2010
    Rack numbers might suggest a police issue, and larger departments like Detroit or Boston did get guns supplied directly from smith. However back in the revolver days it was very common for large departments ( nypd comes to mind) that required cops to buy their own.
    And many smaller pd's would place orders through gun shops or distributor channels, then stamp rack numbers themselves.
    It is needle in a haystack as far as finding out who or what organization may have issued a gun. A letter from smith is a crapshoot, you pay fifty bucks and you may get info the gun was ordered and sent to the FBI, or just bill's hardware store.
     
  9. S. Kelly

    S. Kelly

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    Jan 31, 2000
    Boston MA
    I believe it's one of our old turn-ins, from Boston P.D. Nice gun!
     
  10. PVolk

    PVolk

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    Oct 2, 2009
    Michigan
    S. Kelly - Is this where Boston P.D. would have marked them?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  11. cityborncountrylivin

    cityborncountrylivin

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    Feb 5, 2013
    a lot of S&W Mod 10's have been around in my neck of the woods since NYPD went to 9mm. $100… $150. Nice gun. I'm pretty sure I read that if you think you have a former NYPD firearm they'll give you what history they have of it. Some have had multiple NYPD owners. As I recall there wasn't even a fee.