I am sure the die was changed prior to 50,000 serial range and after 44,602. Recorded serial range 60120 - 62242 Identical to Type 4 except for the barrel stamping.Either they used some old frames or returned to making the additional cut of the breech face.The hammer knurling is changed and checkering added to the trigger. Inside of the grip strap of the frame, the mill cut that forms the recess for the lip of the grip is not as deep necessitating a smaller lip on the grip. Recorded serial range 71759 76662 Identical to type 8 except hinge screw changed to flat head flush with frame. It appears that the plain Jane number twos have the flat screw, but the special finished and engraved ones have the rounded head. An assembly mark is found on the face of the cylinder, the rear or the barrel, and on the frame under the grip.
Unfortunately, the Smith & Wesson factory records for this period are incomplete and do not give a comprehensive picture of production. Although these revolvers remained basically the same throughout production, many minor variations were introduced. Barrel lengths are usually 6" and the lowest 5 " noted is #173. Note the overlap in serial numbers between this and Type 2. The new die, although the same length as the previous one, has slightly taller letters.
The first delivery of #2s was made on June 22, 1861, a shipment of three revolvers with 6 inch barrels to J. An easy way to spot the new die is the absence of the period after "Smith" which was present in the old die, It is interesting to watch the breaking up of the old die.
Attempting a research project, making a study, or merely observing is both a rewarding and a frustrating experience.
It is rewarding due to the new findings, the substantiating and documenting of theories, and the clarifying of known data.
This is a transition piece where they were just using up parts they had in inventory. Recorded serial range 62471 - 71467 Parsons, on page 36 of "Smith & Wesson Revolvers" notes that #2 production ceased during 1867 and was not resumed until existing stocks ran out in 1868.