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Old 02-26-2015, 08:34 PM
SVTVinson SVTVinson is offline
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What's up guys -

I have here a revolver that was my great grandfathers. I am unaware of the model or the year it was made in. It is a Smith and Wesson .38 Special with a 5" barrel, adjustable sights, and double action. I took off the grips and saw what I am assuming to be the serial number. It reads K 320586. When I open the cylinder, it has a small N and under that it reads 44576. Any information on this revolver would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:43 PM
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That is a model 14 or pre model 14 or K38 masterpiece. 3 screw or a 4 screw?
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:47 PM
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Barrel length is measured from the front face of the cylinder to the muzzle, and it looks to be 6" (as is normally the length for that model). What you have is called a K-38 Masterpiece (Model 14) target revolver. K320586 is in the 1958 manufacturing date range, which is K317,823 – K350,547.

It appears that someone has performed some "customization" of the target grips, as they did not look that way when they left S&W. Also, they date from considerably later than the revolver - sometime between 1969 and the early 1980s.

The K-38 was a very popular target revolver, and also saw limited police use in some areas of the country. Open up the cylinder and see if "MOD. 14" is stamped on the frame in the yoke area. If not, it is what many collectors would call a "pre-Model 14" Masterpiece. In good condition, these are worthwhile revolvers to have, and quite desirable. Do you have the original box?

Last edited by DWalt; 02-26-2015 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:54 PM
SVTVinson SVTVinson is offline
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Great, thanks! I'm not sure.

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That is a model 14 or pre model 14 or K38 masterpiece. 3 screw or a 4 screw?
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:56 PM
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Thanks for your response, very good information. There are no markings from inside of the cylinder other than the 5 numbers listed above. As far as the original box, I'm sure it is in my grandmothers closet somewhere.

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Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
Barrel length is measured from the front face of the cylinder to the muzzle, and it looks to be 6" (as is normally the length for that model). What you have is called a K-38 Masterpiece (Model 14) target revolver. K320586 is in the 1958 manufacturing date range, which is K317,823 K350,547.

It appears that someone has performed some "customization" of the target grips, as they did not look that way when they left S&W. Also, they date from considerably later than the revolver - sometime between 1969 and the early 1980s.

The K-38 was a very popular target revolver, and also saw limited police use in some areas of the country. Open up the cylinder and see if "MOD. 14" is stamped on the frame in the yoke area. If not, it is what many collectors would call a "pre-Model 14" Masterpiece. In good condition, these are worthwhile revolvers to have, and quite desirable. Do you have the original box?
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:59 PM
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In 1958, it would be what is called a 3-screw. It's nothing very important. Some just feel that the 4-screw revolvers are a little more collectible. The 3 (or 4) screws in question concerns those which fasten the sideplate to the frame. Look for the box - it enhances the value, especially if the original tools and paperwork are in it. Model number stamping started in the 1957-58 period.

Last edited by DWalt; 02-26-2015 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:05 PM
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Great, will do, thanks!

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Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
In 1958, it would be what is called a 3-screw. It's nothing very important. Some just feel that the 4-screw revolvers are a little more collectible. The 3 (or 4) screws in question concerns those which fasten the sideplate to the frame. Look for the box - it enhances the value, especially if the original tools and paperwork are in it. Model number stamping started in the 1957-58 period.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
In 1958, it would be what is called a 3-screw.
In 1958 it should be what collectors call a "4-screw" (as opposed to a "5-screw"). With the three screws on the side plate and one cylinder stop plunger/spring/tension screw in front of the trigger guard. The 4th screw in front of the trigger guard was eliminated in the early 1960, generally after the "-1" model number era.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKmesa View Post
In 1958 it should be what collectors call a "4-screw" (as opposed to a "5-screw"). With the three screws on the side plate and one cylinder stop plunger/spring/tension screw in front of the trigger guard. The 4th screw in front of the trigger guard was eliminated in the early 1960, generally after the "-1" model number era.
I was trying to keep the "screw" explanation simple, and therefore avoided talking about the other screws, i.e., it has only 3 screws holding on the sideplate.
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:02 PM
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If you see the N and 44576 on the frame just under the barrel with the cylinder out, it may have been produced just before the model 14 stamping began (or conversely, it was one of the last K-38 Masterpieces to not be model stamped ).

Here is a post that describes the 5/4/3 screw stuff and a lot of other details:

To IDENTIFY your Gun >

PS Given the brand preference of the members here, I am shocked no one has yet commented on your choice of gun prop in the third photo! Something along the lines of "you found a good use for the brand C gun" .
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:29 AM
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Looks like a later Colt Woodsman. I have owned two different Match Target Woodsmans (Woodsmen?), one from 1947, one from the mid 1970s. No finer and more exquisite .22 automatics were ever built. I wish I had them back.

Last edited by DWalt; 02-27-2015 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
No finer and more exquisite .22 automatics were ever built. I wish I had them back.
Wow!
The Woodsman is a fine pistol, but let's not forget the S&W Model 41. I personally think your description fits them better than it does the Woodsman! But that's just me.
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:01 AM
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From the stocks and other details, it looks to be a 3rd series Woodsman Target with the 4.5" barrel. They are nice.
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