Serial Number Gone !!

Serial Number Gone !!

This is a discussion on Serial Number Gone !! within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I bought a S&W 442 and had someone electroplate it with hard nickel. I was cleaning it up this weekend and I noticed the the ...

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Thread: Serial Number Gone !!

  1. #1
    Member Array gwlammers's Avatar
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    Serial Number Gone !!

    I bought a S&W 442 and had someone electroplate it with hard nickel. I was cleaning it up this weekend and I noticed the the serial number under the cylinder and on the bottom of the grip has been plated over.

    Does this mean I can't ever sell this gun? Is it illegal to have a gun without a discernable serial number?

    Please no replies on why I had the gun nickel'd or other general comments about my lack of intelligence. Thanks.


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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Uh oh . . . . .

    I do believe it is illegal to own a production (manufactured) firearm without a discernible serial number. Since it was a manufactured firearm and sold retail through an FFL, its number is recorded in the journal.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Contact the local ATF field office,if you know the original serial number it may help,I believe the ATF will assign you a serial number and you will need to have a gunsmith put it on,either that or have the plant that electroplated the gun strip it and then use whatever they have to put on the serial number to keep it from filling in.
    As far as your intelligence you had no way of knowing the outcome,but the person doing the electroplating should have been aware.I would make him strip it and refinish it without obliterating the serial number,and if he balks tell him your gonna not only sue him but turn him into the ATF for Illegally removing a serial number from a firearm
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwlammers View Post
    I bought a S&W 442 and had someone electroplate it with hard nickel. I was cleaning it up this weekend and I noticed the the serial number under the cylinder and on the bottom of the grip has been plated over.

    Does this mean I can't ever sell this gun? Is it illegal to have a gun without a discernable serial number?

    Please no replies on why I had the gun nickel'd or other general comments about my lack of intelligence. Thanks.
    If you bought it through a FFL, go back there, with your bill of sale, and ask the dealer for the serial numbers that he has in his books regarding the gun. Take the numbers given to you by the Dealer, and a copy of the work you had done to the gun by having a nickle finish done, the ATF might be able to either issue you new numbers or maybe you can have the original numbers re-stamped (possibly by S&W)
    You can also contact the firm that re-finished the gun and see if they have a chemical process that might draw the numbers out where they're stamped (this is a acid process)
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLASS3NH View Post
    If you bought it through a FFL, go back there, with your bill of sale, and ask the dealer for the serial numbers that he has in his books regarding the gun. Take the numbers given to you by the Dealer, and a copy of the work you had done to the gun by having a nickle finish done, the ATF might be able to either issue you new numbers or maybe you can have the original numbers re-stamped (possibly by S&W)
    You can also contact the firm that re-finished the gun and see if they have a chemical process that might draw the numbers out where they're stamped (this is a acid process)
    You can probably get that S/N to show up with a judicious application of an etching solution on the appropriate areas. "Nital" (2% nitric acid in alcohol) is a common etch that works on carbon steels, but chrome plate likely requires a different etch. If your plater was a commercial firm and not just a hobbyist, give them a call and ask for advice.
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    Call the ATF. They would know a lot more then any of us.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knightrider View Post
    Call the ATF. They would know a lot more then any of us.....
    To tell the truth I would try to get the numbers restored without getting the ATF involved,too many horror stories,and they could possibly confiscate the firearm citing that it is now an Illegal gun
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    A smart man would immediately have the plating removed before he ended up in federal court.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    To tell the truth I would try to get the numbers restored without getting the ATF involved,too many horror stories,and they could possibly confiscate the firearm citing that it is now an Illegal gun
    Perfectly innocent people have had their days ruined by an ATF agent earning brownie points...get the gun back to the place that did the work because they need to make it right. The shop that did the work doesn't want ATF problems either.
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    VIP Member Array ctsketch's Avatar
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    bring it back to the smith first, have them remove the plating and try and restore the SN. if that doesn't work THEN the ATF
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    The ATF has said before that the person who posesses the gun is responsible for it, even if the illegal modification wasn't their fault. I've contacted them about guns with obliterated SNs a couple times over the years. No reason the plating company (or garage WECSOG hobbyist) shouldn't make it right for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Perfectly innocent people have had their days ruined by an ATF agent earning brownie points...get the gun back to the place that did the work because they need to make it right. The shop that did the work doesn't want ATF problems either.
    I agree. The shop messed it up and they have an obligation to do the job right. The onus is on them and I'm sure they don't want anyone from the atf knocking on their door. If they give you any grief about it, tell them you'd rather resolve it without involving the atf or your lawyer, but the choice is up to them. You paid them to do a job, and they didn't do it right. Was this shop a place that normally does firearms or just a general plating shop that usually does other stuff? Seems like a place that regularly does firearms would have made sure that didn't happen. That's negligence.
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    If it was me I would like to solve that situation asap. What I should do is to go back to the shop that did the job and tell them to fix it; after all they were the ones that did it. I should not contact the ATF.
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    Everyone is in full panic mode, calm down. In the first place, the gun does have a serial munber, it's under the plating. (must be really thick plating???) The serial number is also on the case it came in (unless it's a used gun with no case). What you can do is get a medium grit sand paper and sand the bottom of the grip. Only sand enough to remove the plating from the bottom of the grip. The plating will remain in the serial number and the number will be visible. It will be like you used one of those silver inlay kits and filled it in.
    No need to contact ATF, the dealer, or the plater who would probably just mess it up again.
    I'm curious, if the plating filled in the serial number, what about the lettering on the barrel and frame?
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