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Old 02-14-2013, 06:54 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I've also got a VM-Magnum in the shop (customer job) but we have no idea when it was originally purchased. The serial number is D947XXXXX- yes, I'm sure that's a capital D and not a zero or an O.

I can believe the '94 (X94XXXetc.) but no idea what the D means. April, maybe? (fourth letter/fourth month? I know some car manufacturers had VIN and engine codes like that back in the musclecar days...)

On the other hand, my original VM, that I bought well-used back in '93 or so, is roll-marked (as opposed to the later dot-matrix stamping) P099631. The VM (or rather the PMI-III) came out in what, late '89 or early '90? Something like that. If this one was bought in '91 or '92, I'm not sure I can quite believe that even a reasonably sized company like Benjamin-Sheridan could produce 100,000 VMs in two or three years.

To say nothing of selling them- yeah, the sport was growing like gangbusters at the time, and the VM was one of the very first true semiautos to hit the streets, but it was still very much a small, niche sport. 100K VMs in just a few years?

Same thing on the Mirage; no way they made 960,000 Mirages, but 96XXXX could very easily be the production year. So chances are you have #403 made that year.

But, to go in with the excellent idea of comparing serial numbers, I gave a quick glance at a few markers I had laying close at hand:

ICD Freestyle (1st gen) 40104. Again, I tend to doubt that ICD made 40,000 Freestyles in the first run (not impossible, but I don't think it's likely.) They did, however, if memory serves come out in 2004, so that could easily be #104 made in 2004. Anybody got a second-gen they can check the number on?

And if that's true, I also have Freestyle #11.

TT Tribal Mephisto: 3576. The Tribal came out in something like '99-ish and was only produced for less than a year (again, if I'm remembering correctly) so none of those numbers really correlate to a date. But I can easily see a production run of over 3,500.

Doc.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:02 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
TT Tribal Mephisto: 3576. The Tribal came out in something like '99-ish and was only produced for less than a year (again, if I'm remembering correctly) so none of those numbers really correlate to a date. But I can easily see a production run of over 3,500.

Doc.
To add to this, it seems to be widely accepted that no Tribal serials under 1000 or over 4000 were produced. It seems like there were less than 3000 of them made. And there doesn't seem to be any correlation between milling type (BBT, Twister, Mephisto, Addicted, Fluster) and serial number.

EDIT: I have BBT S/N 1937, no idea as to build date. It has header pins for the solenoid rather than socket pins, this seems to place it as 1.0 as opposed to 2.1 or 2.1, so it would have been early in the production run, assuming the solenoid wasn't swapped at some point.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:16 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Found a snippet in the "Dating a VM" thread in the armory from '09, however I believe this only applies to the VM &PMI3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HP_Lovecraft View Post
First, is the serial 6-digit or 9-digit? The 9-digit ones have a 3-digit batch number added to the front which is the month/year the batch was produced.

As for parts, it can be sketchy as the VM was often upgraded, but a quick rundown might be:
non-ambi w/ long-bolt and camo rail: dates to late 1990.
non-ambi w/ short bolt: dates to 1991
ambi w/ metal plates: dates to 1992

after this they should have batch numbers:
1993- switch to 6-hole valve
1994- switch to larger port
1995- notch in feed port
1996- newer style trigger
1997- internal ec and shorter trigger block
1998- production ends.
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