One of the most asked questions is, “when was my gun made?” Manufacturing dates for any firearm are difficult to ascertain since the manufacturing process can be a lengthy one. Shipping dates are more commonly discussed among collectors, since they are more readily obtained from the company’s records.
It’s important to note that guns aren’t made and shipped in order of serial number. The only way to positively ascertain the exact shipping date of a gun is to procure a factory letter from the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation. This should indicate the date that the gun was shipped from the factory, where the gun was shipped to, and its original configuration (grips, finish, etc.). Record keeping was an imperfect science in the 19th century, so some guns are better documented than others.
That said, the serial number of a Model 1 can be used to approximate its date of manufacture. I have spent years tracking the shipping dates of Model 1’s and can usually estimate a shipping date to within a month and year. Fill out the form below and I’ll do my best for you.
Caveat emptor: I provide this service as a courtesy to my fellow collectors. This is in no way meant to compete with or supplant the excellent research services that the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation provides. I don’t have access to the factory records so I could be wrong, and I make no representations that this is anything other than an estimate. If you do get a factory letter for your gun and you want to help me out, please email me the issue, serial number and ship date of your gun and I will add it to my database. The more data I have, the more accurate my estimations will be!