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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/24/2005 5:09:52 AM EDT
Im pretty much a newbie when it comes to revolvers, but no matter what forum I goto I see alot of talk about this frame or that frame, J-Frame, N-frame or what have you. So I would like to know more about the different frames that S&W have or had in there history and on which models. I have a Ruger so now I would like to get a S&W too, but not sure what all the frame talk is about. Anyone have a link or perhaps can give a run down about the frames, might be good to sticky this one, alot of us noobs just don't know. Sorry if this is already answered elsewheres I just havent found it. Thanks!
Link Posted: 7/24/2005 7:58:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/24/2005 3:48:27 PM EDT by mic214]
S&W handguns come in the following frame sizes:

"J" frame (the smallest) in calibers of .22, 38spl and .357mag. The most popular is the "Chief's special. Originally the .22's held 6 rounds, while the .38's and .357's held 5. Now there are some .22 versions that hold 8 rounds.

"K" frame (probably the most common) in .22, 38spl, .357mag. This is the frame commonly referrred to as the M&P (Military and Police). Originally the .22's held 6 rounds and now are up to 10 rounds and the .38's and .357's hold six rounds.

"L" frame (slightly larger than the "K" and the barrels usually have a full length lug) and comes in .357 caliber. These originally came with 6 round cylinders but now later ones hold 7.

"N" frame (used to be referred to as the "Magnum frame") in .357mag, .41mag & .44mag. These were the largest framed guns until the recent advent of the "X" framed guns. These guns hold 6 rounds, with the newer .357's holding 8 rounds.

"X" frame is the newest and biggest now and it is for the .460 and .500 magnums with a 5 round cylinder.

S&W revovlers, of course, have come in numerous other calibers (.22mag, .22Rem Jet, .32, .38S&W, .9mm, .44spl, .45acp, .45lc, etc....) although some have been discontinued but the ones I mentioned are the most common you will find. As for model numbers, that is a science in and of itself. You used to be able to tell frame size by model number, but not anymore as S&W has more model numbers then I can recount.

To relate these sizes to Rugers, The "J" frame is similar to the SP101, The "K" frame is similar to Security six, the "L" frame is similar to the GP100 and the "N" frames are similar to the Redhawks and the "X" frames would be similar to the Super Redhawks.

This is the link to the S&W site:


And this is the link to the GunsAmerica site that probalby has the best representation of S&W revolvers you will find on the net:

Link Posted: 7/24/2005 10:01:43 AM EDT
Mic214, thats a wealth of information, thanks, Im printing it up as this will help me a tremendous amount!!!!
Link Posted: 7/24/2005 2:39:17 PM EDT
Just wanted to add the "L" frame can also be had in a 5 shot .44 Special
The N frame in .45 auto and 10mm using moon clips
Link Posted: 7/24/2005 8:26:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/7/2005 5:57:29 AM EDT by warlord]

Originally Posted By dSmith45:
Just wanted to add the "L" frame can also be had in a 5 shot .44 Special
The N frame in .45 auto and 10mm using moon clips

That is correct. I have a L-frame brushed SS S&W 696 and an aluminum frame/Ti cylinder S&W 296 in 5-shot 44spl.

Also the J-frames have coil mainspring rather than leaf as in the larger S&W frames, probably to save room.
Link Posted: 7/25/2005 6:08:03 PM EDT
This link has some interesting info.

S&W model changes
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 3:02:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mic214:
S&W handguns come in the following frame sizes:

There used to be the I frame also:

The "I" frame was the first, and was introduced with the S&W 32 HE (Hand Ejector) First Model in 1896. It can be thought of as the typical frame size for a 6 shot .32 revolver. It is no longer produced, but with the introduction of the Chief’s Special in 38 Special caliber, the I frame was enlarged slightly to accept the longer cartridge and became the "J" frame.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 7:37:34 PM EDT
tag for referencing later.
Link Posted: 8/3/2005 10:20:09 AM EDT
Very good information, thanks!
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