Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > >


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-19-2017, 05:51 PM
arjay's Avatar
arjay arjay is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 10,583
Likes: 44,132
Liked 13,268 Times in 4,786 Posts
Default K-38 5" ?

I'm looking at a 5 screw tapered rib gun.Seller says factory,but has no documentation.The roll marks on both sides look centered and it has a ramped front sight.What are the odds that it's factory?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-19-2017, 05:56 PM
wheelgun610's Avatar
wheelgun610 wheelgun610 is online now
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Grinder's Switch, TN
Posts: 919
Likes: 208
Liked 330 Times in 188 Posts
Default

Is the seller measuring the whole barrel, or just from the muzzle to the front of the frame? That would be my guess.

Mark
__________________
S&W Forum Member #721
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #3  
Old 05-19-2017, 06:06 PM
arjay's Avatar
arjay arjay is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 10,583
Likes: 44,132
Liked 13,268 Times in 4,786 Posts
Default

I'm not sure,but eyeballing his pix,it looks like 5" to me.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-19-2017, 06:09 PM
DWalt's Avatar
DWalt DWalt is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: South Texas
Posts: 19,203
Likes: 2
Liked 9,964 Times in 5,717 Posts
Default

I believe there were some five inch K-38s, and I think I even saw one once. Someone else will know more about them, as I don't remember the details.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #5  
Old 05-19-2017, 06:12 PM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 6,232
Likes: 652
Liked 11,700 Times in 1,791 Posts
Default

S&W made some large shipments of K-38s with a 5-inch barrel in the 1950s. Below is one of them. Click on the photo for a better look.

Bill

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-19-2017, 07:15 PM
4-Screw's Avatar
4-Screw 4-Screw is offline
SWCA Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Chicago...via Scottsdale,
Posts: 1,000
Likes: 413
Liked 1,367 Times in 157 Posts
Default

Bill, is that an ISP gun? Nick
__________________
S&WCA #2079
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-19-2017, 07:34 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
US Veteran
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: The SW Va Blue Ridge
Posts: 9,189
Likes: 19,149
Liked 5,862 Times in 2,498 Posts
Default

I believe the Missouri State Police had 5" K38s with a tapered rib.
__________________
John 3:16
WAR EAGLE!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #8  
Old 05-19-2017, 07:41 PM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 6,232
Likes: 652
Liked 11,700 Times in 1,791 Posts
Default

Nick...Yes it is.

Bill
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-19-2017, 07:41 PM
H Richard's Avatar
H Richard H Richard is offline
US Veteran
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Central IL
Posts: 16,049
Likes: 6,812
Liked 8,629 Times in 3,918 Posts
Default

Hopefully Linde will respond to this post as he is the expert on these. The tapered barrel was probably from the shipment to the MO State Police, the Heavy Barrels were from a couple shipments to the IL State Police.

This is an IL State Police version. The 5" are not exactly rare, but are considered pretty scarce.

__________________
H Richard
SWCA1967 SWHF244
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-19-2017, 08:18 PM
Dillyp's Avatar
Dillyp Dillyp is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Bakersville NC
Posts: 373
Likes: 261
Liked 611 Times in 150 Posts
Default

The baughman ramp would be a dead giveaway. I can't recall ever seeing a 6" k-38 with a ramp front sight. Of course, someone will be along shortly to prove me wrong.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #11  
Old 05-19-2017, 09:20 PM
linde linde is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ozarks of Missouri
Posts: 2,895
Likes: 1,741
Liked 1,844 Times in 727 Posts
Default 5" Combat Masterpiece

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay View Post
I'm looking at a 5 screw tapered rib gun. Seller says factory,but has no documentation. The roll marks on both sides look centered and it has a ramped front sight. What are the odds that it's factory?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
I believe the Missouri State Police had 5" K38s with a tapered rib.
Yes, the Missouri State Highway Patrol special ordered 5" Combat Masterpieces in 1952. If arjay will sent me the complete serial number I will be able to say if it was one of those 365 units. There were also a few (very few) overruns of that special order that shipped to select S&W distributors who had a passion for 5" barrel lengths &/or overruns of any special orders.

Russ
Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Like Post:
  #12  
Old 05-19-2017, 10:21 PM
jsfricks's Avatar
jsfricks jsfricks is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kennesaw,Ga
Posts: 2,112
Likes: 2,921
Liked 3,938 Times in 824 Posts
Default

Below is my MSHP 5" CM. It's the perfect barrel length for a K frame IMHO. It was purchased from the officers son. The officer carried it from the day it was issued to him until his retirement. With original finish and replacement grips.



__________________
Jeff

Last edited by jsfricks; 05-20-2017 at 03:51 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-19-2017, 11:06 PM
shawn mccarver shawn mccarver is offline
SWCA Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,241
Likes: 2,792
Liked 5,288 Times in 2,150 Posts
Default

As a follow up to these posts, I will add that when Russ and I did the article for the Journal on the Missouri State Highway Patrol 5 inch Combat Masterpiece revolvers, we came across factory letters for ISP 5 inch K38s which speculate that up to 5,000 of the 5 inch variation were made.

There are two points to make concerning the ISP and the MSHP 5 inch revolvers.

First, they are different. The ISP is a true straight wall barrel K38. The MSHP is a tapered barrel Combat Masterpiece, and the boxes were so marked.

The second point is that we have reason to believe that the estimate that 5,000 of the 5 inch revolvers were made is a GROSS over estimate.

Apart from the 5 inch MSHP revolvers and an EXTREMELY small number of overruns (less than a dozen), we could find no additional 5 inch Combat Masterpiece revolvers. It should be noted that Roy Jinks gets great credit for looking into this. He spent his entire Thanksgiving weekend that year scouring factory records looking for more 5 inch Combat Masterpiece revolvers. If there were ever any more of them, they are few and EXCEEDINGLY far between, and they have evaded discovery despite a very thorough examination of factory records.

We are certain that there are far more of the ISP version (5 inch K38) than of the MSHP version. This is, in part, because of Herbie Harris over at Chicago, who ordered the 5 inch K38s for customer sales. One was sent to Elmer Keith, who reviewed it in his column in the March 1960 Guns Magazine, along with the Chiefs Special with the Micrometer Click adjustable sight also being sold as a special at H. H. Harris.

There is likely another reason that the 5 inch K38 outnumbers the MSHP version of the 5 inch CM.

Russ and I came to a working hypothesis that the MSHP version, which was made in 1952, was made up on leftover original K38 barrels with the tapered contour. You will recall that the K38 was originally made with both the tapered version, and then the heavy or straight wall barrel, which ultimately survived in the line whereas when it was introduced, sales of the tapered version dwindled. Since the ISP guns came along 5 years later, it made sense that 5 inch K models would be made using the 6 inch straight wall barrel, shortened, as opposed to the 6 inch tapered barrel, shortened as was most likely the case for the MSHP revolvers.

Russ, feel free to step in here, but I think that explains a few additional points about these excellent 5 inch K frame models. These are models which I believe balance best and should have stayed in the line.

Shawn

Last edited by shawn mccarver; 05-19-2017 at 11:09 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 9 Users Like Post:
  #14  
Old 05-20-2017, 01:15 AM
JP@AK's Avatar
JP@AK JP@AK is offline
US Veteran
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Palmer, Alaska
Posts: 7,836
Likes: 2,366
Liked 5,800 Times in 2,503 Posts
Default

I have been collecting the K-38 since about 1980. When I read the article about the Missouri State HP guns, written by Shawn and Russ, published in the Journal, I decided I had to have one in my collection. After looking for some months, I found a guy here on the Forum who owned two. One had been his father's duty gun (that trooper now deceased), the other had also been purchased from the MSHP by the father. After some negotiations with the owner and some consultations with Russ and Shawn, I was able to purchase the one that had been carried by the owner's father. I was more than pleased.
Not only did I get the gun, it came with the Model 66 box that the MSHP armorer had packaged it with when it was sold to the trooper through a local FFL. It also came with some documentation, which is now safely stored in my small safe (the gun lives in my large safe with its fellows). Later, I obtained a letter from Roy on the revolver, which is also in the safe. The gun left the factory on October 3, 1952.

As Shawn points out above, the Missouri guns are much less common than the ISP revolvers. I am very pleased to own one of them. Eventually, I hope to add an ISP example to my K-38 collection. Anyone who owns one they want to sell can feel free to contact me!

Here are a couple photos of my Missouri 5" K-38.



One interesting aspect of this discussion is whether the frame is a Masterpiece or a CM. Shawn and Russ can address this, but as I recall their tentative conclusion in the article was that these were considered special 5" Combat Masterpiece revolvers. But the letter refers to them as "Pre-Model 14" revolvers. Since, in 1952, the tapered barrel Masterpiece was still available, the two frames would be indistinguishable - that is, the tapered barrel K-38 Masterpiece would have the same shape on the forward edge of the frame boss as the CM. Only the heavy barrel version would lack the side-taper. So, in one sense, the argument is moot. The frame is what it is - a K-38 frame meant for the tapered barrel. I continue to refer to the gun as a 5" Combat Masterpiece. Model numbers were five years in the future when my gun left the factory anyway.
__________________
Jack
SWCA #2475, SWHF #318

Last edited by JP@AK; 05-20-2017 at 01:16 AM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 7 Users Like Post:
  #15  
Old 05-20-2017, 03:50 AM
jsfricks's Avatar
jsfricks jsfricks is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kennesaw,Ga
Posts: 2,112
Likes: 2,921
Liked 3,938 Times in 824 Posts
Default

Jack,
Mine also lettered as a Masterpiece instead of a CM. I called Roy and asked him if that was a mistake and he said it was lettered correctly since they were made from a 6" Pre 14 Masterpiece. But I do have the article stating they are considered a Combat Masterpiece. Either way, Potato, patato, I'm just glad I own one!
__________________
Jeff
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Like Post:
  #16  
Old 05-20-2017, 08:33 AM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 6,232
Likes: 652
Liked 11,700 Times in 1,791 Posts
Smile

A copy of the invoice for a shipment of the ISP revolvers.

Bill

Reply With Quote
The Following 7 Users Like Post:
  #17  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:49 AM
H Richard's Avatar
H Richard H Richard is offline
US Veteran
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Central IL
Posts: 16,049
Likes: 6,812
Liked 8,629 Times in 3,918 Posts
Default

Russ or Shawn,can you estimate the total # of 5" K Frames built? Both IL and MO? Plus the very few overruns?
__________________
H Richard
SWCA1967 SWHF244
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05-20-2017, 10:50 AM
Peak53's Avatar
Peak53 Peak53 is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tincup, CO
Posts: 1,819
Likes: 3,016
Liked 2,842 Times in 928 Posts
Default

Arjay - sounds like you need to buy this one and give us some pics. Or, let me know where it is.

ETA: 5 tapered inches adds up to big plus!
__________________
Some collect art; I shoot it!

Last edited by Peak53; 05-20-2017 at 01:27 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #19  
Old 05-20-2017, 01:24 PM
jsfricks's Avatar
jsfricks jsfricks is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kennesaw,Ga
Posts: 2,112
Likes: 2,921
Liked 3,938 Times in 824 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by H Richard View Post
Russ or Shawn,can you estimate the total # of 5" K Frames built? Both IL and MO? Plus the very few overruns?
I'm not Shawn or Russ but according to their article there were 365 MSHP 5" revolvers built. And at least two more were in the serial number range but not part of that order but sent to other distributors. The number of overruns is believed to be relatively few. I have no info of the IL models.
__________________
Jeff
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
  #20  
Old 05-20-2017, 02:41 PM
Doc44's Avatar
Doc44 Doc44 is offline
Moderator

K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 6,232
Likes: 652
Liked 11,700 Times in 1,791 Posts
Default

The ISP received at least 380 of the 5-inch revolvers (sold through H. H. Harris in Chicago).

Bill
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Like Post:
  #21  
Old 05-20-2017, 09:27 PM
linde linde is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ozarks of Missouri
Posts: 2,895
Likes: 1,741
Liked 1,844 Times in 727 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by H Richard View Post
Russ or Shawn,can you estimate the total # of 5" K Frames built? Both IL and MO? Plus the very few overruns?
As others have reported . . . there were 365 in the MSHP order plus (I estimate) another 35 overruns . . . making a total of 400 of the tapered barrel 5" CMs. Of the heavy 5" barrels, there were 470 in three direct shipments to the ISP plus another 25 that shipped to H. H. Harris for the ISP. Then there were several other shipments to Illinois S&W dealers like Fishman's in Springfield that sold to individual Illinois troopers and the general public.

Combined, the MSHP and ISP orders account for less than 1,000 units.

We know from factory letters that have surfaced that there were other runs of the heavy barrel 5" K-38s but I am not aware of any attempt to summarize such orders. Herbie Harris alone is likely to have ordered and sold several hundred K-38s in his favorite 5" barrel length.

Roy has estimated there were as many as 5,000 total 5" (CMs & K-38s combined) but that seems high based on the numbers that have surfaced.

It could be as more factory letters are issued and the Historical Foundation records are made available to us, that we will discover some larger numbers. In the meantime I would answer the question of how many there were as "precious few"!

Russ

Last edited by linde; 05-21-2017 at 08:49 AM. Reason: grammar
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Like Post:
  #22  
Old 05-21-2017, 12:50 AM
shawn mccarver shawn mccarver is offline
SWCA Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,241
Likes: 2,792
Liked 5,288 Times in 2,150 Posts
Default

Thank you Russ for stepping in after my post.

As to overruns of the Missouri variation, I apparently underestimated and I will gladly go with Russ' estimate.

As to the name for the Missouri variation, all of the surviving boxes used CM labels, and the 4 inch was changed to a "5."

Just to add some further confusion to the naming issues, here is the ad H. H. Harris used to run for the 5 inch straight wall barrel K38 Masterpiece. Notice he refers to this straight-walled 5 inch K38 as a "S&W .38 - 5" Combat with Target Hammer."
Attached Thumbnails
K-38 5" ?-s-w-ad-h-h-harris-co-chicago-il-pdf  

Last edited by shawn mccarver; 05-21-2017 at 12:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Like Post:
  #23  
Old 05-21-2017, 02:33 AM
Be still's Avatar
Be still Be still is offline
SWCA Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: SE USA
Posts: 1,432
Likes: 1,173
Liked 560 Times in 256 Posts
Default

Could calling them "combat" be a mistake?
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 05-21-2017, 09:25 AM
linde linde is offline
Member
K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ? K-38 5" ?  
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ozarks of Missouri
Posts: 2,895
Likes: 1,741
Liked 1,844 Times in 727 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Be still View Post
Could calling them "combat" be a mistake?
I don't believe so.

There are many (myself included) who accept the convention that a 6" barrel length with target sights is the standard for a target grade revolver and so it was appropriately named the "Masterpiece" . . . anything less than 6" is considered a "Combat Masterpiece". I believe that is the factory nomenclature used since the introduction of the 4" in 1949.

The 5" was not a standard (catalogued) item in 1952 when the MSHP special-ordered theirs (nor has it ever been to my knowledge) so, as Shawn explained, a group of 6" Masterpiece barrels were modified by cutting the barrel and replacing the Patridge front target sight with a Baughman ramp. It's easy to see how this group of revolvers could be referred to as Masterpieces that were simply modified to the customer's specs . . . rather than their Combat Masterpiece name.

Russ
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Like Post:
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thinking of ordering a 686P 4" 7 round .357 .... "Help"!! Need some reviews on them... Is the 6" better or is the 4" equally good? .460V & XVR Magnum Man S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present 37 07-06-2017 06:26 PM
For All You "Squids", "Swabbies", and "Anchor-Clankers" semperfi71 The Lounge 37 02-07-2016 03:06 PM
If you liked "Red Dawn" and "Jericho" - "Falling Skies" starts Sunday GatorFarmer The Lounge 15 08-14-2012 11:58 PM
"SPF" 5906 Square TG, W/ 2 ext. mags "Shipped" "SPF" Rone GUNS - For Sale or Trade 7 12-15-2010 12:40 PM
Use caution when dealing with "roniva123", a.k.a. "PB Firearms", a.k.a. "Snubbies" allglock Feedback 17 08-07-2009 04:31 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 10:43 AM.


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