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Thread: Two Types of S&W 76 Factory "Production" Mags

  1. #1
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    Two Types of S&W 76 Factory "Production" Mags

    There are at least two different kinds of production S&W 76 magazines, which I detail with photos below. This post deals with prodcution S&W 76 magazines, and NOT tool room magazines which are different in design.

    There has been some opinion stated here and elsewhere that S&W 76 magazines with the "long tab" floorplate with "9mm Ctg" stamped toward the front of the mage are not genuine and are somehow fakes. I disagree.

    I have 13 S&W 76 magazines that date back to 1970-71 and 11 of the 13 have a long tab floorplate which is stamped "9mm Ctg" toward the front of the floorplate.

    The other two S&W 76 magazines have floorplates stamped with "9mm Ctg" toward the back wall of the mag.

    The followers in ALL 13 of the S&W mags identical, made of stamped steel.

    There are welds up the front and the back of ALL 13 of the mag bodies.

    The stiffening groove in the sides of all 13 of the mag bodies is in an "offset-V" rather than a radiused curve found in MK 760 mags, identical to the S&W 76 mag in Sub Gun Fan's photos in his S&W 76 vs MK760 mag sticky.

    The cartridge witness holes are also identical on ALL 13 mags, as are the round count numbers, right down to the vertically offset "6" in the "36" stamping.

    The location and appearance of the stitch welds that attach the front and rear pads and the floorplate retainer stirups are again identical on all 13 mags.

    Finally, the floorplate keeper buttons are flat in profile on ALL 13 mags.


    Photos of my mags:

    "Short tab" mags on left:


    Note the "6" in "36" is raised a bit on all of the mag bodies, including the two "short tab" mags at left:


    Pads and pad welds are the same . . .


    . . . as are the front pads:


    Same for the stiffening ribs:


    Closeup of the floorplates:


    Closeup of followers:



    The reason that I can say with certainty that ALL 13 of the S&W 76 magazines in my posession are genuine is due to where and when I got them. All 13 that I own came from a dealer/gunsmith in my hometown who bought them in late 1970 or early 1971 as part of an order of three S&W 76 subguns and 30-some magazines, one for himself and two for eventual sale. For years I used to "hang out" at this dealer/gunsmith's shop in his basement, and was his extra pair of hands, gunshow table-sitter, and shop cleaning person, getting paid in boxes of 22LR ammo. He bought the three S&W 76s and the mags when I was a junior in HS. I got to fire his 76 a few times, the last being shortly before I left for Parris Island in August of 1972.

    The dealer passed away in 1978, and I attended the estate sale and among other things purchased the 13 S&W 76 mags in a "mixed lot" carton of M14, M1911, and M1 Carbine magazines and other items. Nobody bid on the box, and the opening bid was $20 and I bid that and won. I was interested in the M1 Carbine and M1911 magazines but held onto the M14 and S&W 76 mags "just in case."

    Since the gunsmith/dealer bought the 13 mags from S&W, and the mag bodies are IDENTICAL with only the floorplates being different, I am 100% confident that regardless of the difference in floorplates, all 13 mags are the "real deal."

    Last year I purchased 10 more S&W 76 mags with the long tab floorplate, and they are identical to the "long tab" mags that I got from the deceased dealer's estate sale.

    If the "long tab" S&W 76 mags are fakes, somebody went to A LOT of trouble back in the early 70s to exactly counterfeit everything but the floorplates. As an MG dealer told me a few years ago, it's his opinion that S&W likely made the floorplate tab longer on subsequent mag orders so that the longer tab could be used as a disassembly tool (screwdriver) in removing the handgrip screw.

    William of Occam stated in so many words that "the simplest explanation is most often the correct one," (Occam's Razor). Given the provenance of my 13 S&W 76 magazines that were all purchased by the same dealer in the early 70s, and that S&W likely changed the floorplate design at some point, and that all 13 of my S&W 76 mags run without fault 100% of the time, I can only conclude that they are genuine.

    Noah
    Might as well face it, you're addicted to guns . . .

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    Thanks for a great post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawksnest
    Thanks for a great post.
    Noah,

    I "second" that! Thanks for taking the time and effort to share this info. I was about to "dump" a bunch of mags because I didn't think they were original.

    (BTW - great pictures!)

  4. #4
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    Yes, thanks Noah.

    I saw your S&W 76 mag info on the other thread and am glad you made this thread a sticky.

    Hey......... Are all your mags "army green", or is that just the lighting.....?

    .
    Better to have it and not need it.... Than need it and not have it...................

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubGunFan
    Hey......... Are all your mags "army green", or is that just the lighting.....?

    .

    They are standard gray-green phosphate. I was using a blue towel and a light green piece of scrap cloth as background and fluorescent lighting, so that's where the color shift comes from.

    Noah
    Might as well face it, you're addicted to guns . . .

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    Hmmm I'll check over the weekend...we have three 76s in inventory that were bought in the late 60s. I will check the magazines and see what we have.

    One 76 is still NIB...it has a big sticky note on it "fingerfxxk only-don't fire"

    and all three are transferable too!

  7. #7
    Registered User mondabottle's Avatar
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    What does CTG mean

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondabottle
    What does CTG mean
    Abbreviation for "Cartridge."

    Noah
    Might as well face it, you're addicted to guns . . .

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    Yesterday I took pictures of our NIB SW76. It is unfired and this was probably the third or fourth time it's been unwrapped from its protective paper.

    We have three SW76s at the department...we received then in September of 1969...they came straight from SW.

    The little white box below the 76..today was the first day that box was opened..the tape on the sides was not cut.

    Inside that box was a brand new magazine...unwrapping it shows that the magazine is a "short tab" . This should support the theory that the short tabs came first and the long tabs are a product improvement.
    Attached Images      

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    Additional photos of the department's 76 and mags:
    Attached Images    

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    I'll go out on a limb here and make this observation.

    The first mags had the short tabs and could be inserted into the gun upside down and actually lock in place. Not the thing you want to be able to do. Imagine during a midnight skirmish you load a mag by feel and in the heat of battle you get it into place (but it is upside down!). Oh oh...

    So they added the long tab so that would not happen, mag now will not go in upside down when it has the long tab.

    Just a thought.

  12. #12
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    Bob T:

    WOW, lock in upside down..... I need to try that.

    Thanks for the "heads-up".

    .
    Better to have it and not need it.... Than need it and not have it...................

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    Registered User DIck's Avatar
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    Yep, I just tried my short tab SW mag and it went in, and locked in, upside down. I noted thay my Suomi mags have long tabs and wouldn't go in.

    Wonder how long it took them to learn of that 'design' flaw.

  14. #14
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    Lots of good bits of info here.

    My 76 came to me with two mags that were claimed to be factory mags, but I had my doubts about one. I felt OK about one since although it was like new, it still looked to be about the right age; and it was marked like every other S&W 76 mag I'd seen.
    The other one made me wonder. It was a little different. It also had some scuffing and dinging on the floorplate like it had skidded across something pretty abrasive (rocks?), so I wondered if that was real-world damage or an attempt to hide something in the past. But the differences match what is in this thread, so I'm now pretty sure it's genuine, but just got used as a monopod on some unforgiving surface.

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    Hey, mhpdblue, I notice the manual in your pictures. Is there anyway I can get a copy of that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by maggie
    Hey, mhpdblue, I notice the manual in your pictures. Is there anyway I can get a copy of that?
    Yeah - that would be nice - I could use a copy of it also !
    WE ARE GOING TO LOSE !

  17. #17
    Mr. Miata
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    There is a gentleman that makes an excellent reproduction copy of the manual on Sturm. I bought one and it is very nicely done. It comes on a hard cardstock. I can't seem to find his contact info, though.

    Jake
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    REAL MEN DRIVE MIATAS

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    I arrived at Parris Island in Aug 72 also- Plt 397

    Which Platoon were you with ?
    S/F.....Bob

  19. #19
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    Why won't S&W Start making these mags again! Im sure they would do well in terms of sales. Im sure S&W still has the tooling! Love this forum, a lot of fellow PA members!

  20. #20
    Registered User lugercarbine's Avatar
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    As far as I know, and that is from talking to the designer of the S&W76, Dwayne Charron - the mags were jobbed out in the Springfield area to a company called Dickman or something like that. A lot of the pressed metal stuff was not done 'in-house'. When I talked to Dwayne it was about 4 to 5 years ago and he was in his early eighties, the curator of the S&W museum - he broke out the blueprints on the factory silencer which is actually the tube with ported barrel with 3 chambers with bronze inserts. FWIW
    Last edited by lugercarbine; 01-20-2012 at 08:04 AM. Reason: spelling

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