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Old April 28, 2009, 11:12 PM   #1
Samadams2000
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S&W .38 Revolver Recommendation? 4 inch barrel

Looking for a vintage .38 S&W w/ 4 inch barrel. I should add that I am looking for a smaller frame. Is there a defacto must own?
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Old April 28, 2009, 11:21 PM   #2
longranger
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Smith and Wesson Mdl 10 .38's do not come in better package.Some folks like the pencil barrels I like the heavy barrel. You are going to hear get a .357 so you can shoot .38's just bear in mind the .357 will come in a heavier frame.
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Old April 28, 2009, 11:42 PM   #3
tech4061
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Quote:
Smith and Wesson Mdl 10 .38's do not come in better package.Some folks like the pencil barrels I like the heavy barrel.
Mine happens to be a pencil barrel model 10, but I agree, everyone should have a K-frame Smith in their collection.
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Old April 29, 2009, 05:24 AM   #4
Elvishead
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Quote:
I should add that I am looking for a smaller frame. Is there a defacto must own?
Small, smaller, or smallest? Is it the weight factor too?

OK, give me twenty laps for not being specific enough.
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Old April 29, 2009, 06:18 AM   #5
Radagast
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There are three cartridges to consider here:
.38 S&W
.38 S&W Special
.357 magnum
.38 S&W is the original .38 centerfire cartridge, introduced in 1870. It is not interchangeable with the .38 special round.
Guns to look for would include:
K (medium) framed .38/200 British Service revolver. Chambered in .38 S&W 5 inch barrel, six shot, often called a Victory model as it shares the same serial number range as the victory model. I know you requested a four inch barrel, but it would have been cut down to make that, losing collectors value. These were produced from 1940 to 1945.
or
.38 Regulation Police. Chambered in .38 S&W. Four inch barrel, 5 shot, manufactured on the small I frame, produced from 1917 to 1940, then from 1949 to 1969, with later production on the slightly larger J frame.

.38 Military & Police model of 1905 Fourth Change or Victory Model, Both chambered in .38 special, K frame, 7 shot they are the predecessors to today's model 10 service revolver. Guns with serial numbers after 316648 have heated treated cylinders.

If you are willing to come forward in time a bit, the K38 Combat Masterpiece was introduced in 1947, continuing in production until 1999 as the model 15. 6 shot .38 special K frame, four inch barrel with adjustable sights.

In 1955 the .357 magnum was chambered in the four inch Combat Magnum for the first time, later known as the model 19 and continued in production until 1999. Four inch barrel, six shot on the K frame.

If you are willing to go back in time, the .38 Double Action Fifth Model, the .38 Double Action Perfected Model & the .38 Safety Hammerless Fifth Model are all top break revolvers chambered in .38 S&W, four inch barrels are available, these are small framed guns designed for pocket carry and are and evolution of the original gun that the .38 S&W was chambered for as a black powder cartridge in the 1870s. These models are all later production and should be safe with factory ammunition.

Check out the revolver picture threads and S&W date of birth threads to find out more about these guns.

My personal pick would be a Combat Magnum. It tends to get picked a lot in 'If I could only have one gun' type discussions. It's carriable, classic and versatile.
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Old April 29, 2009, 06:36 AM   #6
Keltyke
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S&W broke the mold and set the standard with the Model 10 in .38 spcl. and the Model 13/19 in .357 mag. There may be equals out there, but none better, IMO. A "K" frame S&W is a sweet ,sweet gun.
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Old April 29, 2009, 11:05 AM   #7
Leejack
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Did anyone mention how saweeeet the Model 10 is?

It's my favorite S&W!
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Old April 29, 2009, 01:50 PM   #8
stevieboy
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The Model 10 surely is the quintessential S & W K frame .38 special revolver. However, there are other K frame S & W revolvers of very similar configuration - both in .38 special and in .357. These include the models 13, 15, 19, 64, 65, 66, and 67. All, btw are of the same frame size and overall weight. The fact that some of them (for example, the models 19, 65, and 66) are in .357 doesn't make them heavier. Their metalwork has received special treatment to enable them to withstand the extra pressure of .357 rounds but the size and mass of the gun is identical to the K frame .38 special models.

I own a model 66 from which I fire .38 special rounds almost exclusively. It is a delightful gun. I agree, everyone should have one like that!
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Old April 29, 2009, 01:55 PM   #9
KingEdward
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I picked up a used model 10 heavy barrel at the last show for $300.

you simply cannot go wrong. Reliable, great quality, and durable.
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Old April 29, 2009, 02:37 PM   #10
gb_in_ga
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Do you want fixed or adjustable sights?

Fixed -- model 10
Adjustable -- model 15

SWMBO's 4" 15-2 is the sweetest shooting revolver I've ever shot.
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Old April 29, 2009, 02:52 PM   #11
Stainz
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The venerable Model 10 is a hard act to follow. It's production run has been so long, you can find early models which should never see +P loads, median runs which could carry +P's, as long as you practice with regular .38 S&W Spcls, and modern 10's that can use +Ps continuously. The absolute best choice would be to call S&W (800#) and ask them about your S/N before loading +Ps. A great milder stopper is simply a full wadcutter 148gr - common target ammo.

If you aren't fond of blued revolvers, the SS version of the 10 is the 64 - and they, in later runs, are clearly marked on the barrel as +P. I lucked into an unissued LNIB current production 4" 64-8 last spring - for $315 OTD. Sadly, it is both a great HD revolver, my intended purpose for it, and a fine plinker. Check your dealers, pawn shops, and a few surplus mail order dealers for such stock. Below is mine with six Remington +P 158gr LHPSWCs - and an HKS #10 speedloader with a reload - a great bedside protector. The OEM square conversion Uncle Mike's Combats are also standard on the blued version, the 10, and suitable for use with nearly anyone's hand, the insulated backstrap distributing the minor recoil.



Classic but curent. If adjustable sights better fit your needs, consider for a 67. Both are currently available as new products.

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Old April 29, 2009, 09:18 PM   #12
Samadams2000
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Thank you all very much. Model 10 it is. A dealer in San Jose has 5 of them all of average quality for $399. Spensive here in Cali. Regards.
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Old April 30, 2009, 10:56 AM   #13
Elvishead
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Good choice.
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