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Old January 21, 2013, 04:51 PM   #1
scot6416
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Smith model 15 age?

Can anyone help me with determining the age of my revolver? It is a Smith & Wesson Model 15-3 SN 5K86XXX. Thanks for the help.
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Old January 21, 2013, 06:10 PM   #2
highpower3006
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Old January 21, 2013, 06:58 PM   #3
mordis
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Here is a question. I have a M15-3 as well and mine is blued. Are you sure yours is a m15? Secondly How are the front sights on M15-3 revolvers attached? I was thinking of having a fiberoptic front put on, but it involves removing the front sight blade. Any ideas? I asked a gunsmith that did some work on the gun and he didnt see any pins or anything.
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Old January 21, 2013, 07:56 PM   #4
scot6416
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Thanks Highpower. Mine is a 15-3 and is stamped as such. All the numbers match however I believe it may have been nickel plated post production. The front sight is fixed with the rear sight being removable and adjustable.
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Old January 21, 2013, 10:30 PM   #5
highpower3006
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Actually, while it is hard to see from your picture, The fact that the hammer, trigger and sights are not plated leads me to believe that it may have left the factory as a nickel plated gun.
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Old January 22, 2013, 07:28 AM   #6
Mike Irwin
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Given the VERY high sheen, to the point where you can clearly see the OP's fingers as he photographs the gun, I would say that it is nickel plated.
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Old January 23, 2013, 01:03 PM   #7
scot6416
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I have been told that those are the "target" hammer and trigger. Not sure what that means but you are correct. They are not plated.
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Old January 23, 2013, 01:47 PM   #8
carguychris
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Quote:
How are the front sights on M15-3 revolvers attached? I was thinking of having a fiberoptic front put on, but it involves removing the front sight blade.
The front sights on the older M15's are integral with the barrel.

Having an aftermarket front sight installed will sacrifice the collectible value of the gun; however, the collectible value of a run-of-the-mill 4" M15-3 is not that high, although it has climbed somewhat in the last several years.
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The fact that the hammer, trigger and sights are not plated leads me to believe that it may have left the factory as a nickel plated gun.
+1. A factory nickel S&W from this era should have:
  • Color case finish on the hammer and trigger
  • Matte black finish on the rear sight base
  • Blued finish on the ejector star with natural metal on the pawls
  • Blued finish on the ejector rod, although the finish is typically thin and rapidly wears off with use
  • A shallow capital letter "N" stamped on the cylinder face, and another on the grip frame under the stocks
Quote:
I have been told that those are the "target" hammer and trigger. Not sure what that means but you are correct.
I don't believe this is correct, although it's a little hard to tell from the picture. A standard M15-3 came with a "semi-target" hammer and trigger, which are slightly wider than the "service" hammer and trigger used on most fixed-sight .38's, but are not flared as much as the target hammer and trigger.

The target hammer and trigger are about 1/2" wide and were usually ordered in conjunction with oversize Target stocks that cover up the frontstrap. Your gun very obviously does NOT have Target stocks, and the trigger definitely does not look wide enough, although the hammer is hard to distinguish.
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Old January 23, 2013, 08:55 PM   #9
scot6416
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Thanks for the info. I measured the hammer and it is 3/8". Got to looking around and found a "N" stamped on the underside. Sweet!!!
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Old January 23, 2013, 10:48 PM   #10
scot6416
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Anyone have an idea on what the value might be?
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