Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > >


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-16-2015, 02:36 PM
Al(Gilbert,AZ) Al(Gilbert,AZ) is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Posts: 6
Likes: 1
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?

Recently acquired this well used K38, serial number 208537.
It has a 4" barrel with a Patridge front sight. I can't tell if the barrel has been customize, it doesn't look like it has been to me, but I'm no expert. Would appreciate your thoughts.
Additional info.....
It has a target hammer, and serial numbers on frame, cylinder, and barrel, all match.
So is it a Masterpiece with a 4" barrel, or a Combat Masterpiece with a Patridge front sight, or just a customize K38?
Attached Thumbnails
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-20151016_062306-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-20151016_061915-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-20151016_061707-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-20151016_061813-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-20151016_062601-jpg  

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-16-2015, 02:38 PM
arjay's Avatar
arjay arjay is online now
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 10,434
Likes: 42,404
Liked 12,872 Times in 4,669 Posts
Default

I'd say it's a cut down 6" barrel,the 4" of that era had a taper.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-16-2015, 05:16 PM
smithman smithman is online now
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 205
Likes: 3
Liked 68 Times in 27 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay View Post
I'd say it's a cut down 6" barrel,the 4" of that era had a taper.
Would the lettering on the barrel be so centered if it were cut down?

Is that a dollop of JB weld holding that front sight on??!!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #4  
Old 10-16-2015, 05:37 PM
zonker5's Avatar
zonker5 zonker5 is offline
SWCA Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: North Texas
Posts: 1,135
Likes: 2,093
Liked 1,087 Times in 387 Posts
Default

I'm with Smithman, if the barrel had been cut I don't think the lettering would be so well centered.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-16-2015, 06:04 PM
JP@AK's Avatar
JP@AK JP@AK is offline
US Veteran
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Palmer, Alaska
Posts: 7,610
Likes: 2,277
Liked 5,559 Times in 2,390 Posts
Default

The key factor here is the shape at the top of the frame boss, just behind the barrel. That frame came with a heavy barrel, not a tapered barrel. Given that a serial number of K208537 puts shipping in 1953, this gun could not have shipped as a .38 Combat Masterpiece. None of those, by that time, had lost the angle taper on the front frame boss, because they were all still shipping with a tapered barrel. Only the K-38 Masterpiece at this time would have the flat frame boss.
I can't speak to the origin of that barrel and sight arrangement. But I'm absolutely convinced of the frame model.
__________________
Jack
SWCA #2475, SWHF #318
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #6  
Old 10-16-2015, 06:09 PM
JP@AK's Avatar
JP@AK JP@AK is offline
US Veteran
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Palmer, Alaska
Posts: 7,610
Likes: 2,277
Liked 5,559 Times in 2,390 Posts
Default

Okay. I'm going to retract my comment about the barrel.

Take a look at the five screw revolver in this picture. It shipped in 1951, with a 6" heavy barrel. You can clearly see that the location of the cartridge designation is in the same place as the one in the OP's photo.

As previously established, the OP's frame is a K-38 Heavy Barrel Masterpiece frame that should be wearing a 6" barrel. Ergo, it almost certainly has a cut down six inch barrel.

__________________
Jack
SWCA #2475, SWHF #318

Last edited by JP@AK; 10-16-2015 at 06:11 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Like Post:
  #7  
Old 10-16-2015, 10:50 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Florence, Alabama, USA
Posts: 1,190
Likes: 4
Liked 331 Times in 215 Posts
Default

Why, oh why.
Bubba did a very nice job on the barrel crown after sawing it off, and then ruined it all by setting the sight ramp wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-16-2015, 11:41 PM
OIF2 OIF2 is offline
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Back home, for now
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1,543
Liked 2,016 Times in 400 Posts
Default

Good chance that's an old LAPD-issued K38 that was cut down. Probably several hundred K38s got that treatment; a gunshop in Alhambra did the work. It also has a target hammer and narrow trigger, which most of the K38s from that era had.
Bob
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-17-2015, 01:05 PM
Al(Gilbert,AZ) Al(Gilbert,AZ) is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Posts: 6
Likes: 1
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Thank you all for the information provided, it's greatly appreciated. As a result, the seller has agreed to take the gun back. He said he was not aware the barrel was shortened and I believe him. Any idea what this gun is worth? Thanks again for your help.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-17-2015, 01:45 PM
duckloads duckloads is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Nicholasville, Kentucky
Posts: 903
Likes: 1
Liked 15 Times in 11 Posts
Default

The last time I was in Bud's gun shop, they had 4" K-38, (M10's) police trade-ins for around $280-$300.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-17-2015, 01:45 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Florence, Alabama, USA
Posts: 1,190
Likes: 4
Liked 331 Times in 215 Posts
Default

I don't know the dollar value, but if it were cheap enough, I would buy it for a shooter. I don't have a 4" K frame except my Show and Tell early M19.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-17-2015, 01:51 PM
Absalom's Avatar
Absalom Absalom is offline
SWCA Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Oregon
Posts: 4,041
Likes: 2,201
Liked 5,286 Times in 2,000 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by OIF2 View Post
Good chance that's an old LAPD-issued K38 that was cut down. Probably several hundred K38s got that treatment; a gunshop in Alhambra did the work......
Bob
Bob:
Was that done FOR the LAPD or to surplussed guns? If it was an on-duty modification, that would give it a certain interest from a police gun collector's point of view.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-17-2015, 02:41 PM
SaxonPig's Avatar
SaxonPig SaxonPig is offline
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: The kidney of Dixie.
Posts: 8,783
Likes: 35
Liked 8,264 Times in 2,193 Posts
Default

I think at some point the LAPD mandated 4" barrels on all duty revolvers. The 6" guns had to be swapped. Some guys loved their old guns and didn't want to swap them

BTW- Whenever I see a Patridge sight on a 4" K38 I am 99.99% certain it's been cut. I have never seen one that came that way.
__________________
I chose the name.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #14  
Old 10-17-2015, 03:15 PM
Engine49guy's Avatar
Engine49guy Engine49guy is offline
SWCA Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: South Florida
Posts: 6,329
Likes: 1,225
Liked 5,690 Times in 1,948 Posts
Default

Early first year 4" tapered CM's have been observed with the Patridge FS / short ramp base , IIRC special order 4' Wide rib 5 screw Masterpieces have also popped up but IMO the revolver pictured in the OP is a cut down 6" "Heavy Masterpiece" as indicated by the muzzle crown and FS mounting method.

Although collector value is gone if mechanically correct and shoots good I would have no problem paying up to $300 for it,

Last edited by Engine49guy; 10-17-2015 at 04:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-17-2015, 03:34 PM
Engine49guy's Avatar
Engine49guy Engine49guy is offline
SWCA Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: South Florida
Posts: 6,329
Likes: 1,225
Liked 5,690 Times in 1,948 Posts
Default

On a side note while not an "Official" S&W product name I refer to a 4" wide rib 4 or 5 screw revolver as a "Heavy Combat Masterpiece",
This is not to be confused with the 14-2 Heavy Barrel "Hanen Special" aka Dayton gun .

Model marked guns are easier as you can just say its a "Factory four inch Model 14-3" etc.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-17-2015, 03:46 PM
DWalt's Avatar
DWalt DWalt is offline
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: South Texas
Posts: 18,361
Likes: 2
Liked 9,150 Times in 5,313 Posts
Default

"Although collector value is gone if mechanically correct and shoots good I would have no problem paying up to $300 for it"
As would be the case today for most any K-frame meeting that description that's short of being downright ugly.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #17  
Old 10-17-2015, 10:04 PM
iskra iskra is offline
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Oceanside, California
Posts: 256
Likes: 3
Liked 212 Times in 104 Posts
Default

Below file photos of a Combat Masterpiece, K87xxx, Masterpiece K23xxx and a Heavy Barrel K185xxx; all in 38 Spl.
Just from the pix, I don't see any clear frame difference between the two light weight barrel models. The heavy weight does appear different in frame top - forward region. Sorry no better pix readily available, but hope these help!
iskra
Attached Thumbnails
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-26-3-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-98-4-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-107-3-jpg  
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #18  
Old 10-17-2015, 10:48 PM
Engine49guy's Avatar
Engine49guy Engine49guy is offline
SWCA Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: South Florida
Posts: 6,329
Likes: 1,225
Liked 5,690 Times in 1,948 Posts
Default

The post war 6" Masterpiece and 4" Combat Masterpiece had the same frame and tapered barrel profile with different lengths and front site styles until 1950 when the 6" wide rib "Heavy Masterpiece" appeared ,
Initially both versions were produced simultaneously but by 1955 the 6" wide rib Masterpiece had totally supplanted the 6" tapered barrel version.

After 1955 the 4" CM and 6" Masterpiece had a frame design that did not interchange because of the barrel profile where it meets the frame.

During the dash 5 revision the Model 14 and 15 frames finally shared the same frame but again had different style barrels.

Last edited by Engine49guy; 10-17-2015 at 10:55 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-21-2015, 10:31 PM
dnater dnater is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central AZ, USA
Posts: 77
Likes: 2
Liked 22 Times in 7 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by OIF2 View Post
Good chance that's an old LAPD-issued K38 that was cut down. Probably several hundred K38s got that treatment; a gunshop in Alhambra did the work. It also has a target hammer and narrow trigger, which most of the K38s from that era had.
Bob
Had one of those cut down guns issued to me at Alhambra PD when I was a Reserve. It shot surprisingly well. Done by "Wayne the Gunsmith" who had a shop at New and Valley in Alhambra. APD had him cut down all their 6" guns around 1979 or so.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-21-2015, 11:07 PM
JP@AK's Avatar
JP@AK JP@AK is offline
US Veteran
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Palmer, Alaska
Posts: 7,610
Likes: 2,277
Liked 5,559 Times in 2,390 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Engine49guy View Post
The post war 6" Masterpiece and 4" Combat Masterpiece had the same frame and tapered barrel profile with different lengths and front site styles until 1950 when the 6" wide rib "Heavy Masterpiece" appeared ,
Initially both versions were produced simultaneously but by 1955 the 6" wide rib Masterpiece had totally supplanted the 6" tapered barrel version.

After 1955 the 4" CM and 6" Masterpiece had a frame design that did not interchange because of the barrel profile where it meets the frame.

During the dash 5 revision the Model 14 and 15 frames finally shared the same frame but again had different style barrels.
This is correct. If you go back to my post #6, the point I was making is that the OP's frame came on a Heavy Barrel model and since the CM did not have heavy barrels at this time, the frame could not be a CM frame, it had to have been a K-38 frame.
__________________
Jack
SWCA #2475, SWHF #318
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 05-19-2017, 03:50 PM
automan71 automan71 is offline
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Bayou country
Posts: 62
Likes: 171
Liked 70 Times in 21 Posts
Default

I have one serial# k790xx, dates to 1949. I started a thread about it recently, and I'm in the process of having it lettered. Yours is the only other one I've seen with this configuration. Mine has the wide rib, non-tapered barrel as well. The only difference I see with mine is that the sight is about 3/16 from end of the barrel. Most that have looked at it, say its appears to be factory. I guess with the letter we will see. Lol
Attached Thumbnails
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-smiths-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-img_0658-jpg   Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-img_0665-jpg  

Last edited by automan71; 05-19-2017 at 03:54 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 05-19-2017, 11:56 PM
GerSan69 GerSan69 is offline
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: metro Phoenix
Posts: 1,455
Likes: 5,443
Liked 1,084 Times in 517 Posts
Default

How about another one?
4-inch .38 Masterpiece
I picked mine up back in January here in the Phoenix area.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 05-22-2017, 06:16 PM
iskra iskra is offline
Member
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?  
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Oceanside, California
Posts: 256
Likes: 3
Liked 212 Times in 104 Posts
Default

Below is a photo of my 'normal' 6" barrel c. 1951 "Heavy Masterpiece" 38 Spl., SN K185xxx. File pix, quality-mediocre, yet perhaps discernible the nomenclature location. The positioning appears identical with the subject gun. Also in an adjacent Thread (above) within this Forum, discussion concerning a 5" Masterpiece. There including photo(s) of such like guns. Visible nomenclature also appearing in quite similarly close (1 mm) positioning.

My impression that the subject gun serial number does not refute such special configuration. That the nomenclature placement does not especially support it. The side observation, A partridge sight perhaps inferentially inconsistent with four inch barrel configuration.

Without supporting factory documentation, the case for non-factory alteration seeming greater under 'more likely than not' probabilities.
Just my take
Attached Thumbnails
Is this a K38 Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece?-107-3-jpg  
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Target Masterpiece or Combat Masterpiece? Ed59 S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 12 07-16-2015 08:22 AM
A pair of Combat Magnum's, Combat Masterpiece(M67(No dash)and M64-3 bigun S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 2 04-10-2013 12:44 PM
Masterpiece vs Combat Masterpiece? duckloads S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 15 01-05-2009 10:24 PM
32 Combat Masterpiece Beaver S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 3 11-02-2008 09:13 AM
Pre-18 K22 Combat Masterpiece WPWarhawk S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 10 04-26-2008 08:06 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
smith-wessonforum.com tested by Norton Internet Security smith-wessonforum.com tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:13 PM.


S-W Forum, LLC 2000-2015
Smith-WessonForum.com is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)