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Old 01-06-2020, 01:25 PM
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Default Questions about 1948 K22 Masterpiece

I recently purchased a K22 Masterpiece 1948 I think. #K54265..It's in great condition,slight turn ring, slight muzzle wear beautiful shooter condition.my question is that it is wearing a beautiful pair of non-relieved target grips,and has a target hammer and trigger. they were likely added later for target shooting, what I'm doing with it!..values are all over the place for these,so how much,if any,did these additions hurt value? I gave $725 OTD, because I wanted it! I had a hard time putting a $$$ on it?...please comment, I'm learning here!
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:37 PM
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That is my birth year gun! I also have an original 1948 K22 and K38. My notes state that target stocks and hammers were introduced January, 1950 and Target triggers came around 1953. My K22 has original Magna stocks, and does not have either TT or TH.
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:37 PM
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Wow, that's a beautiful shooter right there. Those target options just make it that much better. Didn't think the NR stocks were available till 1950 or 51-56?

I think you got a great deal on that one! Enjoy!
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:39 PM
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That looks like a nice K22. Have you checked the numbers, like the one stamped under the barrel? Are there any re-work stamps on the grip frame, under the grips?
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:45 PM
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Very nice gun that has just the right factory add ons to make the perfect target .22. No doubt that you will enjoy shooting this one for years to come. Very Nice!
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Old 01-06-2020, 02:19 PM
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Babysitr

Your question seems to be, "did I pay too much?" The answer is an emphatic NO. Heck, with those stocks on it, you got a bargain, in my opinion.

Take it out and put some lead down range.
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Old 01-06-2020, 02:23 PM
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At $725 you paid about $300 too LITTLE!
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:13 PM
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Good buy on a great revolver. The earlier K-22's with the tapered barrel/rib and the post war brushed finish have class.
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:50 PM
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Thanks all! please don't hesitate to comment further. I've taken some lumps on gun buying also! Muley, all the numbers match, and I looked for a rework stamp, none there! the grips have nothing marked inside them...Man, S&W did some nice work in them thar days!!!!!
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:17 PM
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That is an excellent (low) price on an extremely high quality revolver.

Those old K22s are really great shooters!

What a bonus to get the target stocks, instead of the magna stocks (which never fit my hand properly, unless fitted with a grip adapter).
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:42 PM
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I think you did ok, maybe better than ok, on price, looks like you can't resist those unrelieved target stocks any more than I can. I bought this one from about 1955 largely because it had the unrelieved stocks and paid about $720 (some trade stuff involved) three years ago. No way to know if the ones on mine came on it from the factory but I like to think they did. Not too long ago I paid a little too much for a M53 because it had the same type stocks. Very nice, enjoy it.

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Old 01-06-2020, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babysitr View Post
. . . I've taken some lumps on gun buying also! Muley, all the numbers match, and I looked for a rework stamp, none there! the grips have nothing marked inside them...Man, S&W did some nice work in them thar days!!!!!
We have all been there with making bad decisions when buying guns, but what is important is if we learn those hard lessons and not repeat them. I think that Masterpiece revolvers were some of the best guns that S&W ever made.

Theoretically, non-numbered stocks in those days should have meant the gun did not come from the factory with them, BUT . . . most non-relieved target stocks do not have serial numbers. It is known that the factory packaged and sold target stocks through their distributors, hardware stores, gun shops etc. and probably tens-of-thousands were sold that way. The target stocks did not need fitting and anyone with a screwdriver could install them. I have watched ebay and over the years, and have seen thousands of numbered K frame Magna stocks go up for sale. I can only guess that they were likely leftover from the owner buying targets and throwing the Magnas in a box to be forgotten or hardware stores changing out stocks at point of sale and doing the same thing with the original Magnas. Also, Masterpiece revolvers fitted with target stocks do not fit in the standard gold box, so how were they shipped? I have seen later pre-model guns with targets that came in N frame blue boxes, but don't know about the early 1950s guns?
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:34 PM
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I'll bet it shoots as great as mine, a Jan 53 version.
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:51 PM
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I love the little nick that often shows on the left grip panel of the non-relieved target stocks. That shows some love and use that eventually led SW to the the relieved versions. Valuable. My only pair reside on a M-19
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Old 01-07-2020, 02:18 AM
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I've got a 1951 version with the unrelieved targets that letters as having shipped with them. It does not have the target hammer and trigger. Looks to me like you found a great new year present to you!
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Old 01-07-2020, 08:58 AM
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Default Wow! - Gorgeous - great find

Babysitr, you did extremely well on that buy. Grips alone tell a great story by their condition. I agree that it MAY have shipped with them but only a Letter would tell. You don't often see original diamond, non-relieved K frame Targets for sale alone, at least I don't anymore.

I love that configuration on an early Masterpiece. My K22 Masterpiece Letters as shipping in 1947, however the invoice that came with the Letter, shows it described as a 1946 gun. The stocks (Magna's) are numbered to the gun, but for shooting I "cheat" and use a spare set of K frame football relieved Targets.

Whatever you do, take that gun to the range. Mine is actually smoother (to my feel) and slightly more accurate than my Model 17-3, with whatever factory 22 ammo I'm running that day.

Enjoy for sure....you are way ahead money wise.
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:53 AM
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These revolvers are seldom worth the $100 fee to tell what hardware store they went to?? Having no personal history with the gun until your recent purchase and already knowing it was manufactured in 1948 may already be enough information. Factory letters are great to have if there is a chance that something important or exciting might be found, but it would be a huge long-shot with a Masterpiece revolver.

Charlie, based on research of the experts on this Forum and their knowledge on changes for the Masterpiece line, my question is how can a 1948 gun come with target stocks that were not available until 1950?

Mike, does your set of target stocks have a serial number?? We don't often find a lettered Masterpiece that states it came with targets, so that information would be interesting.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:08 AM
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Asking whether you paid too much at $700 for that treasure sounds like a “humble brag” to me. About 8 years ago I paid $425 at auction for a ‘48 vintage K-22 in about 85-90% condition and felt real good about it back then. Prices on desirable pieces like this have not gone down!

IMHO, the presence of the 3 Ts may harm collectors’ value a little, but adds immeasurably to the fun value. I’d say just like it is, you’ve got yourself a winner there. Enjoy it!

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Old 01-07-2020, 07:31 PM
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Thanks Frog, not a humble brag, but I was sure it was a great buy for me since I love .22's.....it will get shot often! I've has a couple S&W buying stumbles. hate to make any more....learned about spotting a great deal from info on this forum...thanks,all
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Old 01-07-2020, 08:00 PM
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Default K-22 beauty



I just got this beauty yesterday. Serial number in 47K range. The shop had it priced at $449 and I didn't even haggle. Now I start trying to find out more about it. Serial numbers on barrel, cylinder and square butt all match but grips have a higher serial number. Maybe I'll finally get around to requesting one of those factory letters for this one.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:46 AM
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Default reply for glowe re: my statements on 1948 K22 w/1950 stocks

Charlie, based on research of the experts on this Forum and their knowledge on changes for the Masterpiece line, my question is how can a 1948 gun come with target stocks that were not available until 1950?

Gary,

In my post above (# 16) I said it MAY have shipped with the target grips and that only a Letter would tell. What I was thinking was that because the OP gun is a 4 line address, that makes it after 1948 for sure, but we don't know when it shipped. There also was no pic of the backstrap, so can't tell if 6 groove, or the later 10 groove.

I also based my statements somewhat on my own K 22 Masterpiece, which Lettered as a August 1947 shipment, but the invoice shows a "1946" gun, and with serial number K 905, I like to think it may truly have been manufactured in 1946, but not shipped until the following year.

It has been my understanding that the Forum usually considers Lettered ship dates when talking "year" of any particular gun, unless there is some other provenance of conflicting date(s).

If I am wrong, or am misleading anyone, I apologize in advance, but if the OP's gun was (or at least the frame numbered) in late 1948, and then not shipped until early 1950 for example, I thought it just MAY have shipped from the factory with the non-relieved target grips. Also, IMHO, if the Target grips were available in 1950 (say at the beginning of the year) they would have been manufactured in 1949.

Or....are my thoughts too much of a stretch to make sense?

Also I apologize for the thread drift.........the OP still snagged a very nice specimen, for an extremely nice price...so can't go wrong no matter what.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:05 PM
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I don't think it was mentioned here, but a letter will not distinguish between non relieved and relieved stocks.I have a few that just say walnut or Goncalo Alves target stocks. Big Larry
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:21 PM
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Sorry,. thanks for the correction Charlie. It is said that the K22 Masterpiece revolvers went out the door faster than they could be manufactured in the early years of production, and there is always the chance that the gun could have shipped the next year, but unlikely sat in inventory for two years. The last K frame revolver made in 1948 73,121. My K22 was made in shipped in December 1948 and had serial number K61189. It also has a 4 line address. The 4 line address started around K30,000 to K40,000, or around mid-1948, so about half the 1948 production was MADE IN USA.

You are correct that ship dates are what is normally used in historical letters. I think this is mostly because there were not too many models of S&W that have an associated manufacture date. K frame revolvers, on the other hand did have a published list of manufacture dates from 1946 to 1981.

Just a quick add: I love these images from the factory and while it only shows a very small amount of finished S&Ws that probably existed on that day, it is easy to see why they did not bother to ship in serial number order.
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:09 PM
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Thanks, Charlie and Gary.. and others...all this knowledge is why I'm here daily!...
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Old 01-08-2020, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowe View Post

Theoretically, non-numbered stocks in those days should have meant the gun did not come from the factory with them,
There seems to be a growing misconception that a LOT of Target grips were numbered to guns if they shipped on them.
This is NOT the case, and NEVER was.
I suppose there is some misinterpreted wording in SCSW that may have caused that. I've also noticed that a few "new guys" in the last few years (who may have gotten the idea from SCSW) have probably promoted that misconception by constantly asking people posting their guns with Target grips if the grips are numbered to the gun.
Here is the ONLY time Target grips were numbered to guns:
When the Factory introduced three "premium" models in the mid 50s that were going to ship standard with Target grips, some of the very earliest specimens of those models had fitted and numbered grips. Those three models were the Combat Magnum, the Model of 1955 Target .45, and, I THINK a very few of the earliest 44 Magnums.
The Factory VERY quickly determined that the fitting was unnecessary because only the backstrap was visible, and since they were grooved in jigs they were uniform enough to forego fitting.
It was abandoned so early, most of the grips that had been numbered for the Combat Magnums did not even get put back on the correct guns! So, IF an early Combat Magnum has numbered grips, it is quite common to find that the number does not match the gun. The same thing occured on a few early 1955 Targets.

Summary- ONLY three models in the mid 50s are ever likely to be found with numbered Target grips, and only the very earliest examples at that.





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Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
What I was thinking was that because the OP gun is a 4 line address, that makes it after 1948 for sure,
The four line address was ordered in April, 1948, so it is safe to say that many, many guns were built in 1948 with the four line address.




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Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
I also based my statements somewhat on my own K 22 Masterpiece, which Lettered as a August 1947 shipment, but the invoice shows a "1946" gun, and with serial number K 905, I like to think it may truly have been manufactured in 1946, but not shipped until the following year.
I do not think the "1946" refers to the date of manufacture, but rather an internal Factory designation for what was a new model at the time.



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Old 01-08-2020, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowe View Post
K frame revolvers, on the other hand did have a published list of manufacture dates from 1946 to 1981.
There is such a published list to 1983 actually if you use the latest edition of Roy's History of S&W, and it is correct 99.9% of the time, but I'd never bet my life on it, and advise you not to.
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Old 01-08-2020, 06:04 PM
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[QUOTE=JDBarrister
I just got this beauty yesterday. Serial number in 47K range. The shop had it priced at $449 and I didn't even haggle. Now I start trying to find out more about it. Serial numbers on barrel, cylinder and square butt all match but grips have a higher serial number. Maybe I'll finally get around to requesting one of those factory letters for this one.[/QUOTE]

Looks very nice for the price. Usually a $450 K22 looks like a trot line weight. I wonder if that shortened barrel was done at the factory on a special order? Let everyone know what you find out.
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:51 AM
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Default My '48 K-22

Here's my '48 K-22, 3rd Model, s/n K40403. Well used and worn (85%+ bluing), but still tight, accurate, and fun to shoot. Picked this up a local gun show a few years ago for $500.
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Old 02-08-2020, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
Babysitr, you did extremely well on that buy. Grips alone tell a great story by their condition. I agree that it MAY have shipped with them but only a Letter would tell. You don't often see original diamond, non-relieved K frame Targets for sale alone, at least I don't anymore.

I love that configuration on an early Masterpiece. My K22 Masterpiece Letters as shipping in 1947, however the invoice that came with the Letter, shows it described as a 1946 gun. The stocks (Magna's) are numbered to the gun, but for shooting I "cheat" and use a spare set of K frame football relieved Targets.

Whatever you do, take that gun to the range. Mine is actually smoother (to my feel) and slightly more accurate than my Model 17-3, with whatever factory 22 ammo I'm running that day.

Enjoy for sure....you are way ahead money wise.

Hi Charlie B,

I am new to the forum. My dad passed away last June and I inherited a 1952 K-22 Masterpiece serial # 165xxx in great condition and a beautiful shooter!!

It has the Target S&W grips, semi target hammer and not sure about target trigger, but there is no diamond where the screw goes through. Your pics in this post were the first time I saw this anywhere on the forum. Are these remakes or were some of the target grips made this way?? I have attached your picture from your post and a few pics of my K22. Appreciate any input!!
Paul

NOTE- The first picture I posted with only the grips were the ones in your post!!
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Last edited by Pauly67; 02-10-2020 at 02:43 PM. Reason: add comment about pics
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  #30  
Old 02-10-2020, 05:04 PM
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cmansguns cmansguns is offline
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Default hopefully correct answers for Pauly67 in post #29

Hello Pauly67 and welcome to the Forum from Virginia;

The grips that came on my K22 Masterpiece (s/n 905) are called Magnas. As I posted if I'm shooting this gun I usually use some "football" relief Targets.

You inherited a very nice K 22 Masterpiece from your Dad. If your serial number has a K prefix, then the s/n 165XXX does put that gun about 1952. I personally do not think those grips shipped with that gun in 1952 (or whenever it did ship....only a Factory Letter will tell you when it actually shipped and where to).

The way I understand it from reading SCSW 4th is that K frame guns starting mid to late 1950's were available with "football" Targets. The football shape is actually a cut-out because the extractor would hangup with spent shell rims hitting the left panel thus putting wear on the grip itself. Obviously this was not the case with 22's (rim fire) but was a problem with M&P (later Model 10), and other 38 Special (model 14, 15) and also the 357 Magnum (Model 19) which are also K frames. By the mid 1970's grips like yours started to be available and these have the big cut-out specifically made for speed loaders, again...not necessary for a 22 but essential to LEO's and Agencies running wheelguns for duty in centerfire calibers.

The football relief Targets I have came off an older early 60's Model 14, but fit like a glove on my 1947 K 22 Masterpiece so I use them to keep the numbered to the gun original Magnas safe and secure.

Keep yours too......the speed loader grips are always in demand by other Collectors and your Dad evidently liked to punch some paper and those Targets do give a little better control in my opinion.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:46 PM
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Welcome to the Forum. Here is what I have in my notes on Masterpiece Target stocks. Your stocks were most likely purchased over the counter somewhere in the 1970s or later. The large football reliefs are from 1965 to 1969.

K frame Targets
• Early non relieved late-1948 to 1955
• Small relief cut sharp checkering turn 1954 to 1961
• Small relief rounded checkering turn 1961 to 1965
• Larger football relief in walnut or GA 1965 to 1967
• Diamonds were eliminated around 1969.
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Last edited by glowe; 02-10-2020 at 06:51 PM. Reason: added list
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Old 02-17-2020, 09:30 PM
Pauly67 Pauly67 is offline
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Default K22 Masterpiece original box & magna grips

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
Hello Pauly67 and welcome to the Forum from Virginia;

The grips that came on my K22 Masterpiece (s/n 905) are called Magnas. As I posted if I'm shooting this gun I usually use some "football" relief Targets.

You inherited a very nice K 22 Masterpiece from your Dad. If your serial number has a K prefix, then the s/n 165XXX does put that gun about 1952. I personally do not think those grips shipped with that gun in 1952 (or whenever it did ship....only a Factory Letter will tell you when it actually shipped and where to).

The way I understand it from reading SCSW 4th is that K frame guns starting mid to late 1950's were available with "football" Targets. The football shape is actually a cut-out because the extractor would hangup with spent shell rims hitting the left panel thus putting wear on the grip itself. Obviously this was not the case with 22's (rim fire) but was a problem with M&P (later Model 10), and other 38 Special (model 14, 15) and also the 357 Magnum (Model 19) which are also K frames. By the mid 1970's grips like yours started to be available and these have the big cut-out specifically made for speed loaders, again...not necessary for a 22 but essential to LEO's and Agencies running wheelguns for duty in centerfire calibers.

The football relief Targets I have came off an older early 60's Model 14, but fit like a glove on my 1947 K 22 Masterpiece so I use them to keep the numbered to the gun original Magnas safe and secure.

Keep yours too......the speed loader grips are always in demand by other Collectors and your Dad evidently liked to punch some paper and those Targets do give a little better control in my opinion.

Thanks for the replies guys! After reading your feedback, I wanted to dig deeper, since my Dad was always so organized with most things especially his guns. I happened to be looking through his pistol permit folder and I came across a letter he sent to the historian at S&W.....In the letter he said he was in possession of the original box, so i knew it had to be somewhere and we just moved my mom in the fall so i was worried it may have got tossed in the madness of moving. I remembered there were two hunting boxes marked hunting supplies that I hadn't gone through yet. Well low and behold.... at the bottom of the box was the original k-22 masterpiece box with the matching original serial# magna grips, along with oil paper and other paperwork!! I also found a second pair of target grips like the ones on the gun now. I took it to the shooting range on Wednesday and really enjoyed shooting it!!
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