Dating the Smith & Wesson Model 1
Without a doubt, this is the most common question that I get asked. A reasonable estimation can be made of a Model 1’s age based on the issue and the gun’s serial number, which is always located on the bottom of the grip.
The following serial number tables can be used to further estimate the gun’s age. Please note that these serial number ranges are just estimates. The guns didn’t ship in precise order of serial number; shipments were deliberately chosen at random. That was true in the 1860s and it’s still true today.
For a more accurate date, you’ll need to request a Letter of Authenticity from the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation.