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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 11-14-2020, 11:10 PM
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Default 2 out of 3 narrow rib masterpieces

Most of us know that after WW2 S&W developed the K22, K32, and K38 Masterpiece revolver line. They started as narrow ribbed barrels until the end of 1950 they started making the heavier masterpieces with wider ribs on barrels but all 3 still having identical dimensions so target shooters would have no changes between the 3 calibers. I am sure I will be corrected on the history but I am just trying to lay out the jist of the situation. I have been able to add 2 of the 3 calibers to my collection. Both a K22 and a K38 Masterpuece from 1949. It will require some really good luck for me to find an affordable K32 to add, but for now I am content having 2 out of the 3. They are not perfect, having been shot but I am happy with the condition and complete originality of the 2 I found. The grips even number to guns but on the K38 a small sliver was knocked of the top of the horn on 1 of the grips. I included 1 picture of box showing the companion advertising. Thanks for looking and please feel free to share any of your sets or partial sets of masterpieces heavy or narrow ribs welcome!
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:02 AM
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That's a nice pair, daddio!

Here's a picture of my narrow rib K-38, shipped in April, 1949.


I don't have a picture of my narrow rib K-22, but it is in its original box and is slightly older than yours. It still has the one line address, and shipped in December, 1947.

One slight amendment for your info:
Quote:
but all 3 still having identical dimensions so target shooters would have no changes between the 3 calibers.
Actually weight was the issue. Wider ribs, etc. were added to the barrels to make the weight exactly the same.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:38 AM
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I have a very nice "one line" k22, a wide rib k38 , and a k32 (kinda rough)...I have a second k22 and the latter 3 are all 1955-56 vintage... affordable and k32 dont go in the same sentence...i have been looking to upgrade mine with one from the same time period, but the cost is low end registered magnum range....ouch...you have a nice start to the masterpiece tri fecta
...save a few extra bucks each month and pass on a few 95% model 10s....one day that elusive k32 will find you...or if I find my upgrade, I will pm you about my "affordable" one...as long as you are ok with "used"

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Old 11-15-2020, 08:10 AM
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Very Nice!!! Congratulations.
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:00 AM
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I started with a K38 (all matching) that I got in a trade when actually my collecting interests lay elsewhere. About 25 years later, just as my interest were turning toward things S&W, I picked up a K22 at auction. Serendipitously they were both ďnarrow ribĒ guns from 1948, the year befor my birth. To say my search for a matching K32 was long and frustrating is putting it mildly!

I now own a ďsortaĒ trifecta, having built a recreation of a 16-3 (heavy barrel, of course) around an original K-32 barrel and a Model 14-3. It may not be perfect, but I have my set of the important three Masterpieces. I guess I really should seek out a Model 53 to go with them, but that really hasnít become a priority for me.

The image below shows the trio with the K22 on the bottom, the K38 on top and the K32 with its heavier barrel and distinctive Baughman style front sight in between.

Froggie
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:19 AM
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Here are my K-22, K-32 and K-38.
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:35 AM
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As noted above, the Heavy Masterpiece was developed in the K38 and then K32 and the 1st K38 Heavy Masterpiece was made on 2/4/49 according to my notes. I am certainly not a good enough shot to determine how much of an advantage the weight difference makes, but shoot my narrow rib K22 and K38 along side of my early K38 Heavy Masterpiece and they all shoot great!!

The gold box is for the Heavy Masterpiece and the picture shows how wide the barrel rib had to be in order to match the weight of the K22.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:45 PM
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The Masterpiece series is absolutely my favorites of all my Smiths, and of course the K32 is the hardest to find. Mine is not perfect, but itís the pride of my small collection. I saw a beautiful one sell recently on a well known site for $4675, far more than double what I paid for mine just last year.

K22 - 1953
K32 - 1955
K38 - 1949

Enjoy those beauties, and if the elusive K32 comes along, grab it if you can, since only 3,630 were produced over 26 years of production, they certainly will not be getting any less expensive.
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Old 11-15-2020, 02:57 PM
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Very nice, Daddio!

I just picked up my narrow rib K-38 about 6 weeks ago. And it was my first "birth year" gun too, 1949. So now I have the K-22 and K-38 Masterpieces in narrow rib and heavy barrel configurations covered. I will most likely never obtain a K-32, so will have to be satisfied with my 16-4. It "ain't" the same though.

The K-22s are both narrow rib models from 1947 and 1953 along with a 17-4 from 1979. The K-38s are a narrow rib from 1949, a heavy barrel from 1950, along with a 14-1 from 1961.
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:09 PM
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And you may be getting that message sooner than later... just won an auction on a nicer example than my current k32.

Robert
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:22 PM
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My only narrow rib K-38 Masterpiece, a four digit one liner. Bought off of GB with the modified hammer pictured, had intended to change it out but liked it so much just left it in.
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:37 PM
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That is a real beauty Keith!! I would leave it too. Bunches of really nice Masterpieces pictured in the other posts too. Just to clarify I already did own a model 14 no dash 4 screw gun , so the wide rib variation of K38 I had. I just wanted a visually identical K38 to my early 1949 K22.
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:50 PM
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Having matching sets for whatever reason we come up with is great fun. The K-38 Heavy Masterpiece is my favorite, have always shot it well and enjoy nothing more than a K-38 and a couple boxes of home cast and loaded wadcutters.

This is my favorite
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Old 11-15-2020, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
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My only narrow rib K-38 Masterpiece, a four digit one liner. Bought off of GB with the modified hammer pictured, had intended to change it out but liked it so much just left it in.
I believe I remember that one on GB. I watched the auction, but decided not to bid on it. I'm glad you got it and are enjoying it now.
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:57 PM
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Hello Jack, the gun sold wearing a nice set of dished gold medallion prewar service grips, they went into storage. Had this set on the shelf and knew right away I wanted them on this gun. The downside was that the extractor didn’t number match, and of course the original grips were long gone so it’s just a shooter but that’s what I wanted it for anyway. Perfectly timed and just scruffy enough to not worry about.
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Old 11-16-2020, 08:01 AM
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Great era for case hardening colors - look at those hammers!

Someone please explain why the K38 has a taller front sight.
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Old 11-16-2020, 11:42 AM
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All calibers do not have the same bullet trajectory. Front sight height is determined by the cartridge, it's associated bullet weight and load.
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:09 PM
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Beings that this is a wide rib, it has very little collector interest. Best I could do for a poor boy, I picked this 10-1952 shipped K32 up on this Forum for $2,250 shipped. It's about a 95%+ revolver and is 100% matching including the stocks. Big Larry

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Old 11-16-2020, 02:25 PM
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Well, if we are posting deplorable guns. I resurrected this poor baby out of Maine. It must have been a lobster boat gun because it had severe salt water or chemical corrosion and someone had cut an inch off its nose, I suppose to allow installation of a ramp front sight. It's a K-32 Model 16 from 1959.








Unfortunately, that's all the Masterpieces I still have.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:07 PM
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Who did the restoration?
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Old 11-16-2020, 04:46 PM
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Accurate Plating and Weaponry in Newville Al.

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Old 11-16-2020, 05:27 PM
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Well, if we are posting deplorable guns. I resurrected this poor baby out of Maine. It must have been a lobster boat gun because it had severe salt water or chemical corrosion and someone had cut an inch off its nose, I suppose to allow installation of a ramp front sight. It's a K-32 Model 16 from 1959.








Unfortunately, that's all the Masterpieces I still have.
Yeah Wiregrassguy, but you sure made that one look pretty.....

Robert
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Old 11-16-2020, 07:49 PM
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Beings that this is a wide rib, it has very little collector interest. Best I could do for a poor boy, I picked this 10-1952 shipped K32 up on this Forum for $2,250 shipped. It's about a 95%+ revolver and is 100% matching including the stocks. Big Larry

Nice K32 Big Larry! But in my humble opinion they are ALL very nice! All matching K32ís are about as good as it gets, especially for those of us who canít afford a Registered Magnum.

Poor Boy? Right Marine...If I had your money Iíd throw mine away 😜.

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Old 11-17-2020, 01:34 PM
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Nice K32 Big Larry! But in my humble opinion they are ALL very nice! All matching K32ís are about as good as it gets, especially for those of us who canít afford a Registered Magnum.

Poor Boy? Right Marine...If I had your money Iíd throw mine away 😜.

Semper Fi
Well, after this K32 sold on Sunday, I may have to start looking at Registered Magnums.
Smith & Wesson Pre Model 16 K-32 Masterpiece RARE 4-Screw LETTER ANIB ! - Revolvers at GunBroker.com : 883230943

Granted, this particular specimen is exceptional, and there probably does not exist a nicer one. $7,000 is way above my pay grade.
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Old 11-17-2020, 02:12 PM
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my k22 rib starts out at 1/4'' and tapers to 3/16 at the front sight, so is it a
''narrow'' rib?, if so it dates to 1953
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Old 11-17-2020, 04:30 PM
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Saw that one too and wondered... seems high for a k32...

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Old 11-17-2020, 06:46 PM
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Well, if we are posting deplorable guns. I resurrected this poor baby out of Maine. It must have been a lobster boat gun because it had severe salt water or chemical corrosion and someone had cut an inch off its nose, I suppose to allow installation of a ramp front sight. It's a K-32 Model 16 from 1959.








Unfortunately, that's all the Masterpieces I still have.
Nice find my birthday gun and state still lookin for one
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Old 11-17-2020, 08:25 PM
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Well, after this K32 sold on Sunday, I may have to start looking at Registered Magnums.
Smith & Wesson Pre Model 16 K-32 Masterpiece RARE 4-Screw LETTER ANIB ! - Revolvers at GunBroker.com : 883230943

Granted, this particular specimen is exceptional, and there probably does not exist a nicer one. $7,000 is way above my pay grade.
Whoa!!! I absolutely agree thatís an incredible example, maybe the best out there, but youíre right, that getting into RM territory. I think I mentioned it earlier (who knows with my memory), but I saw a very nice example sell at $4675 within the last couple of months.

As you said, way out of my league too in either case.
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Old 11-18-2020, 12:40 AM
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What about this one makes it worth $5k less? Sometimes I just don't get it. A great example, I know, but 3x the price.....

Smith & Wesson S&W Rare K-32 Masterpiece (Pre-Model 16) .32 S&W Long w/ Box - Revolvers at GunBroker.com : 883241140

Robert
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Old 11-18-2020, 08:43 AM
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You bought it. Why did you pay so much less for it?

Guy
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:59 PM
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Robert,
I re-read what I wrote and realized it sounds a bit harsh. That was not my intent. Congratulations on the acquisition of a K-32 Masterpiece. I think the description the seller provided contains all the info you need to compare a poor non-factory refinished gun that the bluing is going purple combined with a lot of usage wear to a like new in box K-32. Also, collectors want as pristine a gun as possible. And, some are willing to pay a premium price because they know eventually the market will reward them. Sometimes, they will open the bidding at a price they believe will not be challenged because they want the gun. I don't know if that was the case for the K-32 referenced or not. But it comes down to comparing a rare gun in absolute pristine condition to one that has been ridden hard and put up wet. So, you get a shooter grade gun for a discount.
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Old 11-18-2020, 05:54 PM
raljr1 raljr1 is offline
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2 out of 3 narrow rib masterpieces 2 out of 3 narrow rib masterpieces 2 out of 3 narrow rib masterpieces 2 out of 3 narrow rib masterpieces 2 out of 3 narrow rib masterpieces  
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Originally Posted by Wiregrassguy View Post
Robert,
I re-read what I wrote and realized it sounds a bit harsh...... a shooter grade gun for a discount.
Often in classes I attended, I would ask a question, the answer to which would be informative for those who might not choose to ask, but would wonder nonetheless. Exhibit one in this thread is a time capsule, that looks like it just left the factory yesterday. Probably the highest price I've seen for a K32. Obviously, whoever bought it collects in a different stratosphere than I. I bought this gun, exhibit two, knowing it was a shooter grade gun. It looks to be in better mechanical condition than my current K32, finish was advertised as original, so we will have to evaluate that once we have it in hand. All of mine are shooter grade, some nicer that others, but none in the condition of exhibit one. The flaws in exhibit two that you point out, are educational for those who look at these with a less practiced eye and wonder why.
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