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Old May 28, 2013, 10:30 AM   #1
SgtLumpy
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S&W Model 17 vs 18 ?

What's the difference in these two .22 revolvers? Mod 17 vs Mod 18? Both K frame. Both adj sights. Ejector rod housing/shroud looks the same.

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Old May 28, 2013, 10:36 AM   #2
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Barrel length, 18 is 4", 17 is 6"
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Old May 28, 2013, 11:26 AM   #3
newfrontier45
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Model 18 is strictly 4" with a Baughman quick draw ramp from sight. The 17 has been made in 4", 6" and 8 3/8" lengths with a Patridge style front sight. Later models had full lug barrels. Those are the only differences.
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Old May 28, 2013, 11:38 AM   #4
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I am not 100% sure, but I think Model 18 came with both style front sights. Unless what I saw was a later 4" Model 17...
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Old May 28, 2013, 11:43 AM   #5
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If you saw a 4" with anything but a ramp front sight, it was a 17.
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Old May 28, 2013, 11:46 AM   #6
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Got it, thanks! I was told it was 18, but never really checked myself...
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Old May 28, 2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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Well, I have personally seen a few model 17s with RAMP aka baughman front sights, and you can bet the farm on the fact that if you ordered a model 18 with a patridge front sight, S&W would have made it for you. At the same time, that would be a rare special order option, but surely possible.

Either gun is rare in nickel finish. From the factory they were available with any combination of TT, TH, TG. The model 18 is much less common than the model 17 as a whole, and was made not as many years. You will hear the 15 and 18 referred to as the "combat masterpiece" and the 14, 16, 17 and 48 as the "target masterpiece."

ERROR above - seen a few model 17s with RAMP front sights***
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Old May 28, 2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
If you saw a 4" with anything but a ramp front sight, it was a 17.
Not quite! The recent M18-7 "Classic" had a Patridge front sight. It also had an unshrouded ejector rod, creating a combination that AFAIK otherwise does not exist in standard-production M17 and M18 history. (I say "standard-production" because unusual exceptions almost always exist when one discusses old S&W's. )
Quote:
Model 18 is strictly 4" with a Baughman quick draw ramp from sight. The 17 has been made in 4", 6" and 8 3/8" lengths with a Patridge style front sight. Later models had full lug barrels. Those are the only differences.
You're essentially correct about the older M18, but the M17 story is a bit more complicated.

Right after the M18 was cut from the S&W lineup in the late 1980s- the exact year escapes me- S&W produced a number of revolvers that were essentially identical to the previous M18, but were stamped M17-5.

When the full-underlug, shrouded-ejector M17-6 was introduced in 1989, S&W brought out a 4" version that essentially served as a de facto M18 replacement. During the model's lifespan, 4" M17-6's were produced with a ramp front sight or a Patridge front sight, although IIRC the Patridge version is a good deal more common.
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Old May 28, 2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
You will hear the 15 and 18 referred to as the "combat masterpiece" and the 14, 16 and 17 as the "target masterpiece."
While this is true, I feel obligated to point out a minor mandatory disclaimer or explanatory note...

The "Target" appellation is an invention of later-day collectors to more easily distinguish between the (generally) long-barrel, Patridge-sight "Masterpiece" models and the (generally) short-barrel, ramp-sight "Combat Masterpiece" models. The word "Target" was not used on factory boxes or literature. IOW the Model 17 and its immediate predecessors were originally sold simply as the "K-22 Masterpiece".
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Old May 28, 2013, 12:49 PM   #10
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How about my model 19?? How is that different, it is a .357 with a 4" barrel.
When was that model made? Thanks!
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Old May 28, 2013, 12:55 PM   #11
newfrontier45
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I thought I remembered the new Classics coming with the correct ramp front sight but I was wrong. I don't really pay too much attention to new S&W's.

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Old May 28, 2013, 12:59 PM   #12
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A distinction that I don't think has been mentioned is that the M-18 has a tapered barrel while the M-17, in any barrel length, has an un-tapered barrel.

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Old May 28, 2013, 01:03 PM   #13
newfrontier45
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The earlier, unshrouded 17's have a tapered barrel too, regardless of length.
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
How about my model 19?? How is that different, it is a .357 with a 4" barrel.
When was that model made?
The Model 19 (known as the Combat Magnum until 1957) was made from 1955 to 1999. It was made in many variations and barrel lengths and could be had in a blued or nickel finish. It always had adjustable sights. A similar revolver constructed from s/s was the Model 66.
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Old May 28, 2013, 01:58 PM   #15
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In any case, the K-22 and M17 and M18 are just about the sweetest-shooting rimfire revolvers around. They are excellent guns for new shooters.
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Old May 28, 2013, 02:07 PM   #16
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In any case, the K-22 and M17 and M18 are just about the sweetest-shooting rimfire revolvers around. They are excellent guns for new shooters.
Indeed, my dads model 18-2 is the first gun I ever shot, as well as the gun I practiced with before I moved on to larger calibers.
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Old May 28, 2013, 02:53 PM   #17
carguychris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave T
A distinction that I don't think has been mentioned is that the M-18 has a tapered barrel while the M-17, in any barrel length, has an un-tapered barrel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfrontier45
The earlier, unshrouded 17's have a tapered barrel too, regardless of length.
AFAIK newfrontier45 is correct. FWIW several different barrel profiles exist for the "Target" Masterpiece series, particularly for the late 40's and early 50's models.

In the late 50's, S&W adjusted the barrel profiles of all three "Target" Masterpieces- the K-22, K-32 (.32 S&W Long), and K-38 (.38Spl)- so that all three models would weigh the same when loaded. This necessitated a more slender and tapered profile for the K-22 barrel, as it has a smaller hole through it than a K-32 or K-38 barrel, so it would have been heavier if it were the same size on the outside.

I don't believe a similar thing was ever done with the Combat Masterpiece series; the M18 has the same tapered exterior barrel profile as a standard M15, making the M18 significantly heavier due to the smaller holes in the barrel and cylinder.*

*Footnote: I am uncertain how the M18's weight compares to the uncommon 4" bull-barrel M15 or the super-rare K-32 Combat Masterpiece.
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Old May 28, 2013, 03:52 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone. Esp for all the info about the more obscure variants.

I'm Jonesin'..


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Old May 28, 2013, 11:33 PM   #19
Winchester_73
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The barrel weight or type issue is true about the mode 14 vs 15 and then 25 vs 26. S&W did often differentiate models by barrel type, but not always as the model 10, for example was made later with a pencil or heavy barrel.

The issue with making either model 18 or 17 heavy, vs 14 or 15 is the bore size. To make a model 17 a heavy barrel would have added significantly more weight to them, when there is basically no reason to do so. Obviously, a taper barrel, same barrel length model 14 will weigh less than a model 17, due to the bore size of the model 14 being much larger. The model 17 simply has more steel, hence IMO, the reason the model 14 had the heavy barrel whereas the model 17 kept a taper barrel. The model 17 cylinder is probably heavier too, although it might be shorter.
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Old May 29, 2013, 07:54 AM   #20
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When Colt revolvers began to take off in price, I decided it was time to find a M18. They were hard to find then and even harder to find now. Then a couple M17's followed. Still haven't purchased a M617. Probably won't unless I run onto a super good deal with one.

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