Hapy New Year , Ok I am a bit early, does anyone know how to indentify a original USAF M13 Aircrewman ??
I have seen several forsale and I have been told there are many fakes out there , any help??
Last edited by robsroost; 12-27-2007 at 07:27 PM.
Only buy from well known, reputable dealers/vendors/auctioneers who will stand behind what they sell. Does it have a factory letter? If not, why, S&W letters are easy to get. Buy a copy of the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 3d Ed, Supica & Nahas, and a Copy of the History of S&W, 10th Ed, Jinks. Join the S&W forum - www.smith-wessonforum.com, there are some very advanced M13 collectors there who can pin down likely blocks of serial numbers for the Aircrewman. If you are looking at the one on currently on Cabellas web site note that the smooth backstrap is marked "U.S. PROPERTY" and not "PROPERTY OF U.S. AIRFORCE", the right side of the barrel does not seem to be marked "AIRCREWMAN" over the .38 Special marking and it has other issues I won't go into, my point being that you need reference material to check and even a big firm like Cabellas can make a mistake.
I see fakes two to three times a year at the local shows, well at certain of the local shows, and I know guys are getting taken on these all the time.
Last edited by will5a1; 12-27-2007 at 08:57 PM.
Perhaps the following information, from the August and October 1998 issues of The Gun Report will be helpful in identifying legitimate M13 Aircrewman revolvers.
Both Colt and Smith & Wesson produced M13 Aircrewman revolvers. Both have aluminum frames and cylinders. Both have two inch barrels and both are chambered for the .38 Special M41 cartridge.
With regards to the Colt Aircrewman. Colt produced 1,189 Aircrewman revolvers. The Colt Aircrewman used the lightweight aluminum "D" frame. The left side of the barrel is marked "AIRCREWMAN" above the caliber marking. The grips will have Air Force medallions instead of Colt medallions. The back strap is roll marked "PROPERTY OF U.S. AIR FORCE". No M13 marking will be found on Colt Aircrewman revolvers. The butts were marked "A.F. NO. 1" through "A.F. NO. 1189". In addition to the Air Force numbering, these Aircrewman revolvers were also commercially serial numbered by Colt on the frame where Colt normally serial numbered their revolvers. Colt commercial serial numbering of the Aircrewman will be found in the 1902-LW through 7775-LW range which was also shared with the Colt Cobra and Currier revolvers.
With regards to the Smith & Wesson Aircrewman. Approximately 50,000 Smith & Wesson Aircrewman revolvers were manufactured. The Smith & Wesson Aircrewman used the lightweight aluminum "K" frame. The first 1210 Smith & Wesson Aircrewman revolvers were considered prototypes and included 605 aluminum frame and cylinder Chiefs Special. The back straps are roll marked "PROPERTY OF U.S. AIR FORCE". The butts were serial numbered A.F. No. 1190 through 2399, a continuation of the butt numbering applied on the Colt. No commercial Smith & Wesson serial numbers were applied. The left side of the barrel is marked "SMITH & WESSON" and the right side is marked "AIRCREWMAN" over ".38 SPECIAL CTG". The grips will have Air Force medallions instead of Smith & Wesson medallions. The left side of the frame will have a "P" proof mark. When the "K" frame Aircrewman was adopted by the Air Force, changes were made. The "AIRCREWMAN" marking was eliminated from the barrel and the caliber marking was shortened to ".38 SPL CTG". The left side of the barrel remained the same. The back strap marking was retained and a top strap marking "REVOLVER, LIGHTWEIGHT, M13" was added. The Air Force medallions were replaced with Smith & Wesson medallions. The left side of the frame continued to have the "P" proof mark. The Air Force butt marking and serial numbering was replaced with commercial Smith & Wesson serial numbers. The serial numbers of these Aircrewman revolvers fall into the C247000 to C405000 range shared with other Smith & Wesson "K" frame revolvers. At approximately serial number C400000, the back strap marking "PROPERTY OF U.S. AIR FORCE" was replaced with "US".