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Old December 11, 2007, 10:43 PM   #1
Join Date: November 30, 2007
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Smith & Wesson Model 19


I have this revolver with the four inch barrel and the original target grips. It must be a model of the late seventies, as the barrel is pinned and the chambers in the cylinder are chamfered for the head of the cartridge.

The cylinder is quite tight when at full cock and the bluing is pristine; based on this observation, I don’t think my father shot this gun much.
I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try this gun at the range, but I think I want one of the Pachmayr neoprene grips for the K frame on this gun. The shape of the target grips is all wrong for double-action shooting, flaring too much at the end and affording little grip for the last two fingers.

I think Bill Jordan had some special grips made that had a reduced diameter at the butt, but the guy still had enormous hands and could have gripped anything.
By the way, the model 19 was conceived with Bill Jordan's input on how a police revolver had to be made. In some circles he is considered the father of the model 19.

I put some dummy rounds in the cylinder and I cycled the gun a few times. The action feel very smooth and quick.
I like my revolvers with some kind of high-visibility colored sights; this one's are just black, the typical target sights, showing well in the buff and black targets but poor for street business.

The finishing of the parts and bluing is just perfect, the top strap and barrel sports an anti-glare rib that works really well and gives the revolver a touch of class. Great workmanship in general from a gun from the seventies.

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Old December 11, 2007, 10:50 PM   #2
James K
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You might or might not find new grips that will better fit your shooting style, but those "pinned and recessed" Model 19s are in high demand and are starting to bring some pretty big bucks, so I wouldn't alter it in any way that can't be undone (e.g., if you take those grips off, save them).

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Old December 11, 2007, 10:55 PM   #3
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I have a model 66 and have Pachmayr "compac" grips on it and found them far better than the originals, if you decide to go with wood though try something smooth like cocco bolo the gun will not only stay pretty but it will be easier on DA fire.
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Old December 11, 2007, 11:02 PM   #4
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For the front sight you can rub a crayon or white grease pencil to help you see it better. It can be removed easily without alteration. Back in the late 80's I was buying and selling pin and reccessed 19's for $250. Everyone wanted the 686's or GP 100's or high cap 92F and Sig 226. Prices for those were going $400, $325, $500 and $600 in that order. Funny how old is new again.
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Old December 11, 2007, 11:32 PM   #5
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Great guns. I like the Butler Creek/Uncle Mike's grips. Herretts probably still makes custom wood stocks but plan to speed $125+. If it is a keeper, a good smith can install a front sight insert. I paint my shooters front sights with a good nail polish with colors like "Tequila Sunrise" or "Candy Corn".
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Old December 11, 2007, 11:36 PM   #6
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Herrett Shoting Stars. Even the off the shelf ones.
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Old December 12, 2007, 09:25 AM   #7
Mike Irwin
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I have 3 Model 19s, a 2.5", a 4", and a 6".

By far my favorite revolver of all time.
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Old December 12, 2007, 10:15 AM   #8
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I have Hogue grips on my Model 19. It it my best gun and has become my wife's favorite.
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Old December 12, 2007, 11:16 AM   #9
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Good luck with that 19, Pharaohawk27. That looks like a really nice one.

I have wanted one for a couple years, but I have ended up buying other guns that I just "have" to own.

I'll probably get one later in 2008 when they are really expensive and hard to find.
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Old December 12, 2007, 01:41 PM   #10
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I think the early S&W Model 19 is one of the best handguns ever made.
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Old December 12, 2007, 01:43 PM   #11
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Congrats on your model 19 ! It dosen't get any better than that, and sadly probably won't. Regards 18DAI.
S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum. Everything you need in a revolver, and nothing you don't.
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Old December 12, 2007, 02:53 PM   #12
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Sweet 19. Take care of her.
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Old December 12, 2007, 04:17 PM   #13
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That's one beautiful revolver, 4" k-frames are one of my favorites. This gun needs no gunsmithing, nail polish or paint, like others suggested for the front sight and aftermarket grips, if needed. Other than that, your set.
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Old December 12, 2007, 10:32 PM   #14
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If it were me, I'd tuck that one away unless you don't have a 357 mag revolver. I finally picked up my Model 19-3 at a shop that I had on layaway for several months. Nice gun, especially this one as it's NIB.
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Old December 14, 2007, 10:30 PM   #15
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Open the cylinder and look at the model #

It will be either a model 19, a 19-1, or a 19-2. I believe the pinned barrel and recessed chambers went away with the 19-3, about 1982 or so. Perhaps one of our S&W experts will correct me if I am wrong.

I had a 6" M19 many years ago, but got rid of it, as I felt it was too light for extensive shooting of heavy loads. Since I don't pack it around much, I am better served by the N-frame Model 28.

Your gun is a nice example of the high end service revolver. Some model 19s had target sights, triggers and hammers. Others have the red ramp front and white outline rear sight, and may have either style hammer and trigger. Several different variations can be found and they are all generally fine guns, unless abused or neglected.

The model 19 is a near perfect blend of weight and power. They will last a very long time shooting .38 Specials, and somewhat less with a steady diet of hot magnum loads.

Although you may get an argument from model 19 lovers (and I used to be one) the fact is they are just not big and beefy enough to stand up to thousands of magnum loads year in and year out without periodic trips to the repair shop. I don't mean to imply that they won't last, they will last a long time, just not as long as a bigger gun with more steel in critical areas. Competition shooters at top levels actually wear out guns from the amount of shooting they do, but most of us never will come close. The 19 is a fine gun for nearly everything most folks want to do with a .357. Enjoy yours.
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Old December 15, 2007, 08:18 AM   #16
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44 AMP--

My 19-4 is pinned and recessed. The counterbore was eliminated with the 19-5. There's a brief history of the 19's changes in the blog mentioned below.

Here's a quote from (and a link to) a short summary piece (unsigned) about the 19 that appears at a blog called (, where there are many pix, too.

The Smith & Wesson 19-3 is one of the more common Model 19s out there. This is not a bad thing. Smith & Wesson realized they had a good thing there, and made a ton of them between the 1960's and 1990's.

The Combat Magnum

In 1899, Smith & Wesson introduced the new sixgun and new cartridge that were destined to be the hands down favorites of several generations of peace officers. The cartridge was the .38 Special in the first K-frame, the new sixgun that would be known as the Military & Police Model or simply the M&P.

Originally the M&P was chambered in both .38 Special and .32-20. During the time between the World War I and II, we would see the M&P evolve into the .22 Outdoorsman, the K-22, K-32 and K-38 revolvers. After World War II, the latter three became the Masterpiece Target sixguns, and we also saw the arrival of the .38 Combat Masterpiece, a beautiful 4" peace officer's sixgun, as well as the same revolver chambered in .22.

In 1954, Bill Jordan of the Border Patrol was asked by Smith & Wesson to design the ultimate peace officer's sixgun. Big Bill looked at the Combat Masterpiece and said "Why not chamber it in .357 Magnum?"

The engineers went to work and the Combat Masterpiece was fitted with a longer cylinder to fill in the frame window more completely, that cylinder was chambered in .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum type heavy bull barrel with enclosed ejector rod was added. The Combat Magnum was born.

The 4" Model 19 would be made in both bright blue and nickel and, as Jordan proposed, was definitely the perfect peace officer's sixgun. As new .357 ammunition arrived that ate forcing cones alive, the Model 19 would be given a bum rap. Jordan said just use it with .38 Special loads for practice and carry .357 loads for duty and there would be no problem. He, of course, was right.

In the 1960s, both a standard squarebutt 6" Target Model and a roundbutted 2[1/2]" Plainclothes Model would arrive. Regardless of barrel length, for most of us the K-frame grip frame is the easiest to stock. I prefer the Skeeter Skelton style stocks on my K-frames. These were developed by Skeeter with simple modifications of the Roper grips.

Both the .44 Magnum and Combat Magnum project went on side-by-side with the first guns of both models being delivered in late 1955. What a banner year that was! It was also the year that the Ruger .357 Blackhawk and the Colt .357 Python arrived. Somebody was doing something right!

Now a look through the Smith & Wesson catalog shows the Model 19 has joined the Model 27 and Model 29 and it is gone.

As a traditionalist, I miss the old sixguns. Gone is the deep blue in which one could see one's ancestors, all the way back to there and then some. Gone is the nickel plating, done only as Smith & Wesson could, that reflected a thousand sunsets. Gone are the silky smooth actions that no one has ever been able to duplicate on any other line of double-action sixguns. [1]


The "Pinned & Recessed" features are some of the best parts of old Smith & Wesson magnum-caliber revolvers. How cool is it when the case heads go flush with the cylinder?

The small pin on the barrel/frame junction is the barrel pin. It helps prevent the twisting forces of the bullet that tend to unscrew the barrel. Truly needed? Probably not, but it's nice to have.

The small screw on the topstrap is the screw securing the rear sight leaf to the frame. Don't mess with it. You could mess up the threads or the sight leaf.

Look for flame-cutting on the topstrap or case outlines on the recoil shield. The absence of these means the gun was fired very little. That's good.

The small device behind the trigger is a factory installed "trigger-stop" It's meant to limit the amount of trigger travel in single-action mode for competition. Under heavy double-action shooting, like what police would use in a self-defense situation, the stop would get loose, rotate, and jam the trigger back. This happened MAYBE one in a million, but that's not good enough for cop guns, so Smith & Wesson redesigned the stop. Yours should have the newer stop. These problems were happening in the late '50s / early '60s guns and were corrected by the '70s. (Much of the following information from [2])

The gun is sought after because it is simply the finest .357 Magnum ever made. Actually, according to it's creator, Bill Jordan, it's a ".38 than can occasionally fire .357." He envisioned a gun police could carry often and shoot little. ".38s for practice and .357s for business."

The model 19 is, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the best balance of power, practicality and handling anyone's ever seen. Medium frame: easy to carry, handles and points like a dream. Powerful Caliber: drops badguys DEAD, with the option of soft-shooting .38 Special. The Model 19, or "Combat Magnum" as it was originally called, was the Gold Standard for police sidearms from it's introduction in 1955 until the "wundernine" revolution of the 1980s. Accurate, powerful and ergonomically perfect. What more could you ask for?
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Old February 17, 2009, 11:48 AM   #17
Glenn E. Meyer
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I resurrect this thread from the dead because I just got a Model 19-3 for $400. It had some wear on the blueing, so I followed instructions for Birchwood-Casey goo and touched it up.

It was prone to some light strikes. However, the story I bought it from Dury's in San Antonio has a life time warantee on guns you get there and I brought it back. The smith found the springs had been altered and they replaced them.

Thus, it shoots just fine. Given the prices I've seen for 19s, it was a good buy. I bought it because one needs a 357 and for IDPA.

I feel this is absolutely necessary to make a new reply because if one cannot discuss a new gun, what can we do? Also, why start a new thread when there is already a 19 one on the books.
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Old February 17, 2009, 12:38 PM   #18
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My next purchase will very likely be a 19 if I can find one that's priced reasonably. I presently own a 66 no-dash, made in 1970. It's the 19's stainless cousin and it has all of the things that Smith fanciers look for, including a pinned barrel and recessed chambers. I can't think of a single reason for wanting a blued version of what I already have except to say that I like what I have so much that I'd like another!
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Old February 17, 2009, 04:50 PM   #19
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I just bought a 19-3 with a 4" P&R. It had a set of jordan troopers by herret. The finish is worn on the muzzle like holster wear and a few scratches. But other than that it locks up tight, haven't shot yet. Only 390 out the door. Just wanted to share, and tell everyone who want's something to persevere and keep looking.
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Old February 17, 2009, 04:55 PM   #20
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Herrett Shooting Stars. Even the off-the-shelf ones.

I've got vintage walnut Shooting Stars on my 19-4. They fit my hand better than the standard targets.
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Old February 17, 2009, 05:39 PM   #21
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S&W 19-2 shipped in 1965, wearing Ivory magna girps. The blueing on this pistol is superb and rivals my first year of production .44 Magnum. They had a master polisher on duty when this 19-2 was finished.

The 19 is one of the all time great revolvers. It points and balances very nice. It is probably my favorite K-frame Smith.

S&W 19 no dash shipped in 1959, wearing it's original Diamond Target grips.

I really need a better pic, I took that one when I was first cleaning it and the S&W letters are full of Pre-Lim surface cleaner. Oh well, its out now.
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Old February 17, 2009, 07:00 PM   #22
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The model 19 is, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the best balance of power, practicality and handling anyone's ever seen. Medium frame: easy to carry, handles and points like a dream. Powerful Caliber: drops badguys DEAD, with the option of soft-shooting .38 Special. The Model 19, or "Combat Magnum" as it was originally called, was the Gold Standard for police sidearms from it's introduction in 1955 until the "wundernine" revolution of the 1980s. Accurate, powerful and ergonomically perfect. What more could you ask for?
An old post, maybe, but I don't think the Model 19's impact and relevance can be synopsized any better.
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Old February 17, 2009, 09:23 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
I resurrect this thread from the dead because I just got a Model 19-3 for $400. It had some wear on the blueing...
Interestingly, I got my own 19-3 a few days ago, for the same price ($400 + $2 background check = $402 out the door).

Mine is in excellent shape, with some bluing loss at the muzzle and high-points on the cylinder, and a bit of bluing wear around the trigger guard. The lockwork was in excellent shape, but I swapped out the trigger spring for a lighter one (I don't know how heavy it is now) and the standard trigger for a chromed target trigger--the single-action trigger breaks between 2.0 and 2.5 pounds now, and the double-action trigger is the smoothest I've ever felt on any revolver I've ever tried. I put a set of Ahrends finger-groove cocobolo grips on it, too:

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Old February 18, 2009, 01:53 AM   #24
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I want a Model 19. Today I found the first one I've ever held in my hands - a 19-1 with diamond grips. It's got lots of worn blue on the bottom of the trigger guard and the backstrap under the hammer. There are various knicks and dings, and what looks like lead crud on the outside of the cylinders toward the front.

It's probably over-priced for its condition at $450 - but the trigger is the smoothest thing I've ever pulled in both DA and SA. I mean smoooooth...*click*.

What to do? If I buy it, does cold blue work without hurting the value? Can an old Smith be re-blued sucessfully? Is it worth it?
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Old February 18, 2009, 02:00 AM   #25
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Perhaps some of that stuff will come off, but yeah, the price sounds pretty high. I think any refinish job will hurt the value (not that a 19 is a rare gun, though).

There's a nice 6", Nickel-plated 19-4 for sale in the classifieds for $475, shipped. If I hadn't just bought my 19-3, I'd be looking real hard at that one.
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