December 7, 2020
I know the common ones: B = Blue Steel, S = Stainless......
But, I have seen the following in the last few months: X, C, A, AB.....(MA for Mitchell Arms), etc;
There are certainly more. "P" maybe?
I am guessing that the "X" is "experimental"?
If anyone knows specific education about the "A" prefix, I would appreciate the education.
November 17, 2008
After studying Dan Wesson serial numbers for several years now I have come to these conclusions.
First there are a multitude of ways DW did there serial numbers with many changes along the way not to mention custom serial numbers.
Here are some patterns I have noticed. Although I cannot guarantee my conclusions to be exact or historical proof.
Early guns had no letters at all.
At some point DW began adding the letters and also the caliber to the front of the serial number. But not always.
Stainless guns will commonly have a letter S but not always.
Blued guns will commonly have a letter B but not always.
Letter A. Sometimes found on model 22, 722, and 22Mag.
Letter B. Commonly found on any blued DW and also model 44 and 744. Or a Norwich era 732
Letter C. Commonly found on model 41 and 741.
Letter D. Commonly found on model 715.
Letter E. Commonly found on model 40 and 740. Or a Norwich era 741.
Letter F. Commonly found on model 32M. Or a Norwich era 744.
Letter M. Sometimes found on model 375. Or a Norwich era 360.
Letter R. Found on model 460 Rowland.
Letter RV. Sometimes found on a Norwich era 7445 and 360. I read somewhere it stands for Revolver.
Letter S. Commonly found on many stainless models.
Letter SM. Common on model 375. I read somewhere it stands for super mag.
Letter X Found on a Norwich era 740.
Letter Y. Found on a model 7414.
Letter Z. Common on Norwich era 445 or 7445.
Other common letters in or with DW serial numbers.
ETG = Elgin T Gates.
IHMSA = International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association. IHMSA members could order guns with their member number as the serial number.
IFP = IHMSA Field Pistol.
SDI = The 2 1/2" Wesson 44 mag "fixed barrel" revolvers. There were two batches of these made. The first was with standard serial numbers and either 25 or 50 were produced. The second batch had a gold plated trigger and a special serial number with the letter prefix "SDI". 50 were made. This was a special order from the distributor (SDI)
An upside down letter Y at the end of the serial number denotes a blemish gun, found on some 1911 models and revolvers.
For a while CZ era 1911 guns have the letters CZ on the end of the serial number. CZ has now dropped putting the CZ on the SN.
Hope this answers your question.
Wisdom is merely the realization of how little one knows, therefore I am wise.
January 17, 2015