View Full Version : Mis- marked S&W - is it worth any more?

December 3, 1999, 12:06 AM
A friend was showing me a gun his father left him. Its a K-frame S&W .38 spl with adj. sights and a four inch heavy barrel that was bought in 1968. For all intents and purposes, its the Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. The gun is in excellent condition having maybe 200 rounds put through it in its whole life.
Here's the thing, the gun is marked Model 14. The books I have say that the only difference between the 14 and 15 is the barrel length. 14s should have six inch barrels and 15s should have four inch barrels. He has the original box and sales reciept which confirm that this is indeed a Model 14 with a four inch barrel.
So, the question is, does the fact that the factory marked this gun wrong add any to its value? Does it give it any special collector's value? Or is it just a fine old revolver that he can just shoot and enjoy?

Big Bunny
December 3, 1999, 12:45 AM
I would be interested in this info from the expert as I thought all K14s were 6" barrel, sounds a nice pistol anyway, and probably very accurate.

James K
December 4, 1999, 08:04 PM
The factory may have mismarked the gun or more likely an owner had them rebarrel it. When they do, they number the barrel to match the frame but don't change the model number. Look to see if there is a diamond mark on the barrel or frame which would indicate an S&W factory rebuild.

Either way, I don't think it is worth much if any more than any Model 15.


[This message has been edited by Jim Keenan (edited December 04, 1999).]

Rocky Road
December 7, 1999, 10:24 PM
I don't think this particular revolver is a mismarked fluke, but a legitimate variation.
I don't know exactly how rare this variant is, but it was not particularly prized when I first saw it.

I recall when I first ran across the four-inch Model 14. I thought they were a few guns that had been custom chopped to four inches. Closer examination, however, showed the barrel roll marks to be properly placed for the four inch, not for a cut-off six inch.

These guns were in the armory of a security company in Dallas, set up for issue to the limited number of armed guard posts that company maintained. I first saw them, six or eight of the same model, in the late 70s or early 80s. The then-owner of the company was a firearms enthusiast, and I think he paid extra for these revolvers, just so his guys would have something different. For the life of me, I can't recall if he told me anything about the origin of that particular model. It comes to me that they were set up for the U.S. Air Force, during the time when they were frantically acquiring revolvers to equip aircrews. They still kept the 1911s in inventory for airbase security and special purposes.

I saw the one survivor of these revolvers about a year ago, in the safe of the now-owner of the same security company. I expressed a certain feeling fo nostalgia and the now-owner offered to sell it quite reasonably. Well, reasonably for a re-blued, beat up, rather loose .38 revolver with unusual features.

Grayfox--carefully examine the revolver. It should have a BROAD rib down the top of the barrel, like what you see on a Model 19 Combat Magnum, the Model 13 .357, or, of course, on the six-inch barrel of the conventional K-38.

The Model 15, Combat Masterpiece has a narrow rib atop the barrel, like unto that on the Model 28 Highway Patrolman, the N-frame .357. I really don't recall the rib configuration on the Model 27, except that it was finely checked.

Best regards--

---The Second Amendment ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights---

December 8, 1999, 12:08 AM
Thanks Rocky,
I finally got ahold of a serious S&W collector who informed me that this is a rare varient of the model 14. I posted his response in the Handgun and Pistolcrsft forum if you care to read it.