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Old 10-09-2018, 07:13 PM
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Thumbs up 38/44 Transitional

Well, I picked up my 38/44 Transitional from my FFL this morning, so I brought my pre war Outdoorsman as well, for some double action shooting.

The Transitional is shooter grade with wear on the cylinder and barrel, as if holstered a lot. All the numbers (70148) and grips match, and other than the wear & fading, the action and lock up are very good. It shoots great!

So I shot 200 rounds, approximately 100 each gun, switching between the two, but I kept gravitating to the '48 over the '37, I guess because of the heft and the sights (not sure).

I shot double action, 10 yards 100 rounds, then 15 yards, 100 rounds. Please don't laugh, I didn't bring a shot gun along, I think I just seemed to loose concentration and my old eyes!

Switched from Xring to Perfection ammo after 50 rounds (15yds) and started shooting high, but again no real excuse (I was gonna say the sun got in my eyes, but it was indoors), and I still had a good time!

Anyhow two great Smith 38's, with a lot of character, that are a lot of fun to shoot! Thought I would show them. Comments, insults, or "you could have bought a .357" remarks, welcome!

PS, I put some "Big Mountain Man" stags (aka Elks), on the pre war for range duty. The right side is the Transitional and left the pre war.
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38/44 Transitional-20181009_110053-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181009_110106-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181009_111948-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181009_112151-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181009_112349-jpg  


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Old 10-09-2018, 07:22 PM
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I don't blame you for going with the Outdoorsman and a transitional .My last 4 guns have been ODs and a trans.

I did the same as you and brought both guns out for a test drive just to see how they stack up against each other.



Trans is a bit modified by King so I might have been biased.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:16 PM
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I understand your "shotgun pattern" quip, but have seen worse 15 yard DA groups from a revolver, in the case of the two lower groups.

I'd say that you're pretty safe from a burglar across the bedroom, but need more skill to be sure of a head shot on a snake, and I'd shoot SA for that need.

You anticipated my thought that if you can lug around a .38-44, you may as well wear a more versatile .357. But those old guns shoot well, and are beautifully made.

Will you try Buffalo Bore's hot .38 load in your Outdoorsman guns? I think it'd kill well enough for most needs to at least 50 yards.
Post some targets showing how well these guns will shoot at 25 yards, fired SA, maybe from a secure two-handed sitting position.

If anyone here doesn't know the proper positions for field shooting, get Elmer Keith's, Sixguns, preferably the 1961 rev. ed. that includes some guns not in the 1955 edition, inc. the great .44 Magnum and the Combat Magnum. Either ed. has photos of Keith and blue grouse taken with his Outdoorsman like your older gun. Thinking about them, I can almost taste the birds! Dang! Now, I'm hungry. May have to go out for a BBQ deli chicken.

Last edited by Texas Star; 10-09-2018 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:28 PM
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I wouldn't let the snide comments about buying a 357 Magnum instead get under my skin. My observation is most 357 owners put 38 Specials in them. Your post made me want to get mine out and go shooting.

Very nice guns!
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:41 PM
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Bob-

I wasn't trying to be snide! It just puzzles me why one would buy a Model 23, etc. in lieu of a M-28 or M-19.

I guess many felt that way, for few .38-44's were sold after .357's became generally available.

To clarify, if I had the loose cash, I might buy a .38-44 just out of nostalgia and for the overall quality of those old guns. That's especially so if I found a Bright Blue M-23.

I probably wouldn't wear it in bear country if I owned a more powerful gun, but that hot BB load or one with the hard Keith bullet that penetrates until next payday might just deck a dangerous bruin.

Sure, most shoot more .38 ammo in a .357, but if you need more power, it's an option in the .357.

As a parallel, I don't buy .32's or Terriers in lieu of Model 36's, or better, Model 60's. The bulk is very close indeed, and I prefer the more potent .38 Special power. And in Model 60, one also has a stainless construction.

I realize that tastes differ. If someone else varies, it's his gun and his money and maybe, taking his chances with a dangerous foe, two-legged or four-legged. I'm just saying that I have trouble following the reasoning in buying a .38-44 after .357's were an option. Basically the same thing, but the Magnum offers more of it, if needed. And today, one can buy many .357's for less than he can an old .38-44.

I hope that better explains my comment and no disrespect is meant to the OP. I really enjoyed this thread and the pictures.

Last edited by Texas Star; 10-09-2018 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:44 PM
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I don't blame you for going with the Outdoorsman and a transitional .My last 4 guns have been ODs and a trans.

I did the same as you and brought both guns out for a test drive just to see how they stack up against each other.



Trans is a bit modified by King so I might have been biased.
Very nice, and love the grips! Wish King modified mine!
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
I understand your "shotgun pattern" quip, but have seen worse 15 yard DA groups from a revolver, in the case of the two lower groups.

I'd say that you're pretty safe from a burglar across the bedroom, but need more skill to be sure of a head shot on a snake, and I'd shoot SA for that need.

You anticipated my thought that if you can lug around a .38-44, you may as well wear a more versatile .357. But those old guns shoot well, and are beautifully made.

Will you try Buffalo Bore's hot .38 load in your Outdoorsman guns? I think it'd kill well enough for most needs to at least 50 yards.
Post some targets showing how well these guns will shoot at 25 yards, fired SA, maybe from a secure two-handed sitting position.

If anyone here doesn't know the proper positions for field shooting, get Elmer Keith's, Sixguns, preferably the 1961 rev. ed. that includes some guns not in the 1955 edition, inc. the great .44 Magnum and the Combat Magnum. Either ed. has photos of Keith and blue grouse taken with his Outdoorsman like your older gun. Thinking about them, I can almost taste the birds! Dang! Now, I'm hungry. May have to go out for a BBQ deli chicken.
Yeah, I like the Buffalo Bore stuff, and these 38/44 guns are really special with the N frame and able to handle very stout .38 spl. I primarily shoot DAO due to my combat & point shoulder shooting, from my LEO training, which stuck with me. Not that I won't try it however SA, it certainly does not hurt my hero, Hickok45! I'll be a little sharper next time out though!

I will have to get that Six Guns, book! Thanks for the input!
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:02 AM
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I wouldn't let the snide comments about buying a 357 Magnum instead get under my skin. My observation is most 357 owners put 38 Specials in them. Your post made me want to get mine out and go shooting.

Very nice guns!
Thank you and good if it brings out yours. They are fantastic revolvers, that once you shoot you develop a great appreciation for, not to mention the history.

Cheers!
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:09 AM
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Say what you want about your groups......I still refuse to be your target!!
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:13 AM
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Bob-

I wasn't trying to be snide! It just puzzles me why one would buy a Model 23, etc. in lieu of a M-28 or M-19.

I guess many felt that way, for few .38-44's were sold after .357's became generally available.

To clarify, if I had the loose cash, I might buy a .38-44 just out of nostalgia and for the overall quality of those old guns. That's especially so if I found a Bright Blue M-23.

I probably wouldn't wear it in bear country if I owned a more powerful gun, but that hot BB load or one with the hard Keith bullet that penetrates until next payday might just deck a dangerous bruin.

Sure, most shoot more .38 ammo in a .357, but if you need more power, it's an option in the .357.

As a parallel, I don't buy .32's or Terriers in lieu of Model 36's, or better, Model 60's. The bulk is very close indeed, and I prefer the more potent .38 Special power. And in Model 60, one also has a stainless construction.

I realize that tastes differ. If someone else varies, it's his gun and his money and maybe, taking his chances with a dangerous foe, two-legged or four-legged. I'm just saying that I have trouble following the reasoning in buying a .38-44 after .357's were an option. Basically the same thing, but the Magnum offers more of it, if needed. And today, one can buy many .357's for less than he can an old .38-44.

I hope that better explains my comment and no disrespect is meant to the OP. I really enjoyed this thread and the pictures.
No offense taken, I appreciate your perspective. I have numerous .357's, 41mags, 44mags, 44spls, .40s, .32mag, etc. They all have a place and I appreciate the different varieties of Smiths. These 38/44s are still very desireable for many shooters and collectors, as you know.

I see in the catalog they only produced 2300 of the 38/44 Transitional post war guns, and 6000 of the pre 23s.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:22 AM
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THANK YOU FOR SHARING your beautiful Outdoorsmans with us. I also think the shooting is great and based on your post it sounds to me like the enjoyment level was off the charts!

I would say that my primary S&W love is the N-Frame 357 (pre-war and post war). My secondary S&W love is the Outdoorsman (both pre-war and post war). And my first S&W love (i.e. the gun that got me interested in S&Ws) is the Combat Magnum. I love them all! However, there is something about the 38/44 Outdoorsman that holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps it is the history of the gun and its role in the creation of the .357 Magnum, or maybe the beautiful lines and proportions of the pre-war Outdoorsman. Whatever it is, I regularly pull them out of my safe and admire the wonderful craftsmanship that went into those guns.



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Old 10-10-2018, 11:30 AM
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Thumbs up 38/44 Outdoorsman Pre war & Post war

[QUOTE=RKmesa;140194086]THANK YOU FOR SHARING your beautiful Outdoorsmans with us. I also think the shooting is great and based on your post it sounds to me like the enjoyment level was off the charts!

I would say that my primary S&W love is the N-Frame 357 (pre-war and post war). My secondary S&W love is the Outdoorsman (both pre-war and post war). And my first S&W love (i.e. the gun that got me interested in S&Ws) is the Combat Magnum. I love them all! However, there is something about the 38/44 Outdoorsman that holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps it is the history of the gun and its role in the creation of the .357 Magnum, or maybe the beautiful lines and proportions of the pre-war Outdoorsman. Whatever it is, I regularly pull them out of my safe and admire the wonderful craftsmanship that went into those guns.

I think you nailed it, with your description of the Outdoorsman appeal, that applies to most of us. I don't own anything like those beauties, you have but I sure can appreciate such an outstanding collection. I would really like to stumble into some of those King modified guns.

RK, thanks for sharing your beauties! PS, I love those grips on the top left (post war) Outdoorsman, "Sanderson" perhaps?

Last edited by Kingspoke; 10-10-2018 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:33 PM
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...I would really like to stumble into some of those King modified guns.
You have good taste - that King Super Target is one of my favorite guns in my collection. To me, it just screams "COOL" - especially with the Roper Thumbrest target stocks...







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...I love those grips on the top left (post war) Outdoorsman, "Sanderson" perhaps?
I've looked at those stocks many times, and they don't have any marks on them. I don't think they are Sandersons, but they do provide a very comfortable hold and a very natural feeling position. At one time I thought that they may be Fitz grips, but I have another pair of Fitz grips and they are stamped with a Fitz mark. Maybe someone else will have a better idea on the maker - here are some old a closer up (but not so great) photos:



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Old 10-10-2018, 06:26 PM
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Bob-

I wasn't trying to be snide! It just puzzles me why one would buy a Model 23, etc. in lieu of a M-28 or M-19.

I guess many felt that way, for few .38-44's were sold after .357's became generally available.

To clarify, if I had the loose cash, I might buy a .38-44 just out of nostalgia and for the overall quality of those old guns. That's especially so if I found a Bright Blue M-23.

I probably wouldn't wear it in bear country if I owned a more powerful gun, but that hot BB load or one with the hard Keith bullet that penetrates until next payday might just deck a dangerous bruin.

Sure, most shoot more .38 ammo in a .357, but if you need more power, it's an option in the .357.

As a parallel, I don't buy .32's or Terriers in lieu of Model 36's, or better, Model 60's. The bulk is very close indeed, and I prefer the more potent .38 Special power. And in Model 60, one also has a stainless construction.

I realize that tastes differ. If someone else varies, it's his gun and his money and maybe, taking his chances with a dangerous foe, two-legged or four-legged. I'm just saying that I have trouble following the reasoning in buying a .38-44 after .357's were an option. Basically the same thing, but the Magnum offers more of it, if needed. And today, one can buy many .357's for less than he can an old .38-44.

I hope that better explains my comment and no disrespect is meant to the OP. I really enjoyed this thread and the pictures.
I buy Outdoorsmans because its the most affordable way I can own and shoot a N frame prewar target gun.

I also get to enjoy the same craftsmanship and finish of a RM

Also just guessing, if your mostly a target shooter I would think 38 special is likely still outperforming 357 ?

Now don't get me wrong 357 is a great round but even most of my self defense rounds are 38 special.

Last but not least looking at RK Mesa's SKT how could you not want to own that lovely piece of art.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:56 PM
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Arrow King Super Target

Yes, RK, that King Super Target is a fantasy gun for me, and now that I think about the other target grips that I really like, I'm thinking Herretts. Of course I have little knowledge other than what I glean from you expert collectors. So if I'm wrong ....

Here's some more pics of my Transitional, and I think this sharp investigator has figured out who previously owned this one!

So, I found the serial number stamped on (6 for 6) the barrel, yoke, extractor star, cylinder, butt, & grips! These older guns were really given attention.
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38/44 Transitional-20181010_092739-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181010_092512-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181010_092802-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181010_093305-jpg   38/44 Transitional-20181010_093442-jpg  

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Old 10-10-2018, 08:18 PM
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Richard the stocks on your post war 38/44 are Herrett


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Old 10-10-2018, 08:24 PM
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...Here's some more pics of my Transitional, and I think this sharp investigator has figured out who previously owned this one!

38/44 Transitional-20181010_092739-jpg
Love that photo - the color and presentation turned out great!


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Richard the stocks on your post war 38/44 are Herrett
Thanks Kris. That info is going in my notes so I can remember it...


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I buy Outdoorsmans because its the most affordable way I can own and shoot a N frame prewar target gun.... Last but not least looking at RK Mesa's SKT how could you not want to own that lovely piece of art.
Rich:

I seem to recall someone else that has TWO King Super Target 38/44s...

Pair of 38/44 Superkings

Because, as I always say "one is never enough" when it comes to collecting something And of course, your two are not the same with the one having the smooth back strap and the other serrated - quite the pair.
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:59 PM
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Love that photo - the color and presentation turned out great! Thanks!

Because, as I always say "one is never enough" when it comes to collecting something And of course, your two are not the same with the one having the smooth back strap and the other serrated - quite the pair.
So true!
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Old 10-14-2018, 11:05 PM
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Thumbs up 38/44 Transitional Matching Numbers and more!

Well, the timing was off slightly in one cylinder, so that gave me an excuse to do a more thorough cleaning, as I had not had the side plate off.

I'm very appreciative to Smith & Wesson in stamping all the major parts and even more glad this gun has the original matching parts, with serial number on the barrel, cylinder, yoke, extractor star, and butt. The assembly numbers on the yoke, side plate, and frame also match. Even the trigger has a stamping!

As you can tell I appreciate some of the fine details of the older Smith & Wessons.

As you can see it was very dirty.
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Old 10-14-2018, 11:15 PM
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Lightbulb 38/44 Transitional

I replaced the rebound slide spring, because it appears to have been cut and slightly unsprung. I also replaced the hand to get the gun back in correct timing.

Got her all cleaned up and right on time!
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Old 10-14-2018, 11:24 PM
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Thumbs up 38/44 Transitional - Looking good!

I realize the war on two chambers and the left side barrel was from being stored on one side for quite some time, and is not actually holster wear, though there is some of that on the muzzle.

I absolutely love the condition and appearance of the grips, at 70 years!
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Old 10-14-2018, 11:34 PM
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Thumbs up 38/44 Transitional - All Cleaned Up!

She's all cleaned up and ready to go back to the range, for function testing, but mostly fun!
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