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Old 10-06-2017, 10:29 PM
foxy320 foxy320 is offline
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Default Pre Model 15?

The pawn shop guy who takes a lot of my money has what he calls a 5 screw pre model 15. Know about the model 15 but not the pre 15. What can you guys tell me about this gun and give a rough value. gun looks in good shape, haven't actually held it & appears in about 80 to 90 percent condition.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:42 PM
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"Pre-Model 15" is a sort of shorthand for the .38 Combat Masterpiece, made before it was designated with a model number and started shipping as such in 1958.

From its inception, it had five frame screws. A management order to eliminate the top sideplate screw was issued in 1955, and sometime in 1956, four screw .38 Combat Masterpiece revolvers started shipping from the factory.

So the one you are looking at would be no later than mid-year 1956. If you give us the serial number (it starts with the letter K) we can give you an approximation of when it was made.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:45 PM
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Incidentally, it is a .38 Combat Masterpiece if it has a 4" barrel. If the barrel is 6" long, it is a K-38 Masterpiece. The latter became the Model 14.
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:25 AM
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they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

Pre-Model 15


Model 15-3
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:44 AM
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Default PRE-MODEL 15

This is a .38 Combat Masterpiece ca. 1951



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Old 10-07-2017, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
Incidentally, it is a .38 Combat Masterpiece if it has a 4" barrel. If the barrel is 6" long, it is a K-38 Masterpiece. The latter became the Model 14.
Actually, its a K-38 Combat Masterpiece with 4" barrel (and some 5" barrels).
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
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Actually, its a K-38 Combat Masterpiece with 4" barrel (and some 5" barrels).
This can be debated, but the box label on the Combat Masterpiece said .38 Combat Masterpiece; on the 6" guns it said K-38 Masterpiece.

All the advertising I've ever seen used .38 Combat Masterpiece, not K-38 Combat Masterpiece. I have a catalog from 1976 sitting beside my computer as I write. It conforms to this pattern.

Unfortunately, the SCSW continues to perpetuate the myth that the factory called the CM a K-38. I can find no evidence they ever did that.

Added: We see the same thing with the Model 17 & 18. K-22 Masterpiece and .22 Combat Masterpiece. That is how they are listed in the catalogs.
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:53 AM
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And yes, some - very few - did have a 5" barrel. Here is a picture of one in my collection that shipped in October, 1952.


Here it is again, alongside a Model 15-2 with the standard 4" barrel.


The Model 15 also later acquired a 2" barrel option. The one in my collection is a 15-3, but I don't have any pictures of it.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:18 AM
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All through the pre-serial numbering period of its production, it was advertised only as "The Combat Masterpiece." I feel adding the K-38 as a descriptor is appropriate, as it is a K-series revolver and to designate its caliber. It was also available in .22, so the K-22 is also appropriate.

Last edited by DWalt; 10-07-2017 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:17 AM
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I won't argue it isn't "appropriate." What I am saying is that it wasn't identified that way on the box labels or in company advertising. Hence, we have to conclude that the company didn't think of them as K-38 or K-22 revolvers. That moniker seems to have been reserved for the 6" barrel Masterpiece.

I'll have to dig a manual or two out of the safe, but if I recall correctly, on the Model 15 spec sheet, it is referred to as the Model 15 .38 Combat Masterpiece. This is consistent with the catalog listings and the box labels.
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:21 AM
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I'm still amazed at how many different models S&W produced.

It seems like they blew Colt away on variety and production numbers. I guess while Colt was worrying about military contracts, S&W was worried about LEO and civilian needs. Thus many different types of gun for many different types of taste and needs.

Oh why do I have to love the V spring action, why!!! So many good Smiths out there if it wasn't for that.

Last edited by iPac; 10-07-2017 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:29 AM
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Nothing I show from the 1960s advertising calls it anything other than the Model 15 (or 18) Combat Masterpiece. No K-38 or K-22.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
This can be debated, but the box label on the Combat Masterpiece said .38 Combat Masterpiece; on the 6" guns it said K-38 Masterpiece.

All the advertising I've ever seen used .38 Combat Masterpiece, not K-38 Combat Masterpiece. I have a catalog from 1976 sitting beside my computer as I write. It conforms to this pattern.

Unfortunately, the SCSW continues to perpetuate the myth that the factory called the CM a K-38. I can find no evidence they ever did that.

Added: We see the same thing with the Model 17 & 18. K-22 Masterpiece and .22 Combat Masterpiece. That is how they are listed in the catalogs.
I wouldn't lay the blame solely on SCSW; I've read this description of the Model 15 and Combat Masterpiece as a K-38 in many, many publications over the last 40 plus years. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:37 AM
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I had a beautifully fully engraved, silver plated, custom stocked, Combat Masterpiece that I carried on those days when I wore plain clothes. It used to drive my Texas Ranger friends nuts. After we adopted the 220 Sig, I was also issued a compact 9mm for those occasions, so I eventually traded the CM in on a nice shotgun. Should have kept the Masterpiece.

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Old 10-09-2017, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iPac View Post
[...] Oh why do I have to love the V spring action, why!!! So many good Smiths out there if it wasn't for that.
You'd best get your group therapy sessions here paid for under Obama care while you still can!

In case you've forgotten -- contributing to the discomfort of Python "investors," I'm the grumpy curmudgeon who recalls his V spring carry up troubles back in the 1970s. Your long winded post disagreeing with me in another thread talked me into trying a V spring that starts out with no wear. However, I was not going to dump a truck load of money into the idea. I bought a 1977 4th issue 4" Police Positive that was still unfired a week ago. I'm not the one who fired the first rounds through it and have not fired it yet. Perhaps I'll do that this afternoon.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled brand. I stand corrected for any erroneous posts that implied K-38 or K-22 are part of the name Combat Masterpiece. However, those are still worthwhile terms for describing Combat Masterpieces. Perhaps you can agree that k-22 Combat Masterpiece is correct. That would make my screen name include Model 18s and pre-18s as I intended.

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Old 10-09-2017, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k22fan View Post
I stand corrected for any erroneous posts that implied K-38 or K-22 are part of the name Combat Masterpiece. However, those are still worthwhile terms for describing Combat Masterpieces. Perhaps you can agree that k-22 Combat Masterpiece is correct. That would make my screen name include Model 18s and pre-18s as I intended.

My friend, you can call them anything you like. No skin off my nose. All I wanted to do is point out that S&W didn't do that, ever, so far as I can determine. And it was the same with the .22, as I noted above in Post #7 (the appended part that I added a few minutes after I first posted it). K-22 and K-38 Masterpiece for the 6" target guns; .22 and .38 Combat Masterpiece for the 4" combat arms. That is the way they were listed in the catalogs, the enclosed spec sheets and on the box ends.
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:12 PM
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I suspect that you did not notice my small case k.
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:34 PM
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I suspect that you did not notice my small case k.
THAT made me laugh!!!
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:50 PM
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Not factory advertising, but FWIW, I have a factory letter from Mr. Jinks that states...."your Smith and Wesson Model K-22 Combat Masterpiece Pre- Model 18....".
Another letter also lists the CMs, including the .32 as Ks.
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