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Can you date a gun from its serial number?

Q: I have an old Remington 1100. I know it is at least 20 years old. Is it possible to date it accurately from the serial number?

Remington Versa Max


In an ideal world, all manufacturers would agree to incorporate the date in the serial number, in a mutually-agreed formula using plain language. For instance, at the end of the number the figures 03.2016 could indicate manufacture in March of this year. The fact we have to live with, however, is that manufacturers, and some proof houses, seem to delight in mysterious codes that have us searching in a load of reference books and websites.

For instance, Browning and Miroku have a date code of their own, as do Spanish manufacturers and the Italian proof house. And so do Remington, but it is far too complex to list here. However, if you get online and visit Gun Collections Online all will be revealed.

Incidentally, if you buy a new gun, don’t be surprised if it was made last year, or even before that. It is quite usual for guns to take months to get into the hands of UK wholesalers, and then get out to gunshops.