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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 11-18-2020, 12:33 PM
Dave.357 Dave.357 is offline
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I have seen several pre 14's
advertised as heavy barrel.
Do they really mean wide rib,
Or did some have tapered barrels.
I have only saw wide rib narrow rib
never a light contour barrel on
a 14 or pre 14 but I am still learning.
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Old 11-18-2020, 01:23 PM
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Not an expert but I think some had a wider rib. No idea what years or other details. One of the experts will be along with details.
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Old 11-18-2020, 01:33 PM
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Default Fixed a typo

Hi Dave

I started out my serious collecting activities nearly 50 years ago with the K-38 and only recently reached my original goal with them. Hence, I have a great interest in them and enjoy them to the hilt. So much for an irrelevant opening comment!

You've asked a reasonable and interesting question.

Yes. The early narrow rib K-38 Masterpiece had the tapered barrel. That was discontinued in the early 1950s (we believe the last of those barrels were used up in 1952-1953, to satisfy a special order - an interesting story in itself).

The replacement version had the wide rib, but also a different barrel profile. We tend not to call it a "heavy barrel" because it is not the same as the heavy barrel used, for example, on the M&P (Model 10). There actually were some Model 14s that used that barrel, known as the Hanen Special, or Dayton Special. What the factory called the wide rib, straight side barrel K-38, was K-38 Heavy Masterpiece, so we prefer that terminology over "heavy barrel." Technically, this nomenclature began to disappear after the tapered barrel version became a thing of the past. However, I own a Model 14 that shipped in 1959. It is in its original box and the box carries the Heavy Masterpiece label.

Here is a picture of a narrow rib K-38 Masterpiece from April, 1949. If you look closely, you will see that it has the tapered barrel.


On the other hand, look at the barrel profile on this K-38 Heavy Masterpiece, five screw variation, from February, 1951.


I hope this helps.
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Old 11-18-2020, 02:04 PM
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Thanks for the answers, So narrow
Rib is tapered barrel and wide rib
Is untapered and considered a heavy
barrel.
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Old 11-18-2020, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave.357 View Post
and considered a heavy
barrel.
If you must. I prefer to call it a "straight side barrel."

Quote:
untapered
Yes. Sort of. If you put a micrometer on it, you will see that it does have very slight taper toward the muzzle. But the sides are straight, with no dramatic taper just in front of the frame bridge. That's where we get the term "tapered barrel" on the earlier edition.

Again, the point of the straight barrel and wider rib was to bring the dry weight of the revolver up to the point that it matched that of the K-22 Masterpiece. Hence, the name "K-38 Heavy Masterpiece."
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
If you must. I prefer to call it a "straight side barrel."


Yes. Sort of. If you put a micrometer on it, you will see that it does have very slight taper toward the muzzle. But the sides are straight, with no dramatic taper just in front of the frame bridge. That's where we get the term "tapered barrel" on the earlier edition.

Again, the point of the straight barrel and wider rib was to bring the dry weight of the revolver up to the point that it matched that of the K-22 Masterpiece. Hence, the name "K-38 Heavy Masterpiece."
Thanks ,good explanation
I never had both in front of
Me at the same time. The rib
Is easy to notice but the barrel
contour went unnoticed by me.
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:13 PM
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A pic is worth a buncha words.




Pre 14 question-img_3298-jpg


Pre 14 question-img_3296-jpg


Pre 14 question-img_3300-jpg
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Pre 14 question-img_3298-jpg   Pre 14 question-img_3296-jpg   Pre 14 question-img_3300-jpg  
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:28 PM
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Excellent posts , guys! You clarified issues I’ve read about but never quite understood. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2020, 04:50 PM
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Here is something else.

In Lee's third picture, you can see a slight difference in the frame bridge, where the barrel threads into the frame. With the tapered barrel, it fades off to the sides more. On the Heavy Masterpiece with the straight barrel, it is flat and bevels down only forward.

When the early K-38 Masterpiece transitioned to the Heavy Masterpiece, that change showed up. But on the .38 Combat Masterpiece (which later became the Model 15), the tapered barrel was retained and the frame bridge maintained the correct side taper to match the barrel. This difference between the two models remained until 1982, when the Model 14 was discontinued.

This is why many of us believe the special order 5" revolvers that went to the Missouri State Highway Patrol in 1952-53, were Combat Masterpiece revolvers, not K-38 Masterpieces. Here's a picture of one in my collection. Notice the barrel and the frame bridge.
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Old 11-18-2020, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP@AK View Post
In Lee's third picture, you can see a slight difference in the frame bridge, where the barrel threads into the frame. With the tapered barrel, it fades off to the sides more. On the Heavy Masterpiece with the straight barrel, it is flat and bevels down only forward.

When the early K-38 Masterpiece transitioned to the Heavy Masterpiece, that change showed up. But on the .38 Combat Masterpiece (which later became the Model 15), the tapered barrel was retained and the frame bridge maintained the correct side taper to match the barrel. This difference between the two models remained until 1982, when the Model 14 was discontinued.

EXCEPT on the 2" Combat Masterpiece, which has a wide rib (and "Heavy" barrel), and therefore does not have a beveled frame so the rib will match the frame. If you install a heavy (or "wide rib") barrel on a beveled frame, the rear corners of the rib stand away from the frame.
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Old 11-18-2020, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
EXCEPT on the 2" Combat Masterpiece, which has a wide rib (and "Heavy" barrel), and therefore does not have a beveled frame so the rib will match the frame. If you install a heavy (or "wide rib") barrel on a beveled frame, the rear corners of the rib stand away from the frame.
Good point, Lee. But, of course, the Model 15 2" didn't show up until 1964, in the 15-2 range. As you say, it had the heavier barrel. It didn't come to my mind, since we were discussing much older revolvers. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2020, 06:28 PM
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New can of worms...or maybe kettle of fish. Same situation with the K22s or did they all have the same barrel contour? My K22 shipped 12/28/52 and appears to my non expert eye to have the narrow rib/tapered barrel configuration. All like that?
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Old 11-18-2020, 06:35 PM
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Is one barrel more looked for over the other? Thicker barrel vs thinner barrel?
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Old 11-18-2020, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
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Same situation with the K22s?
Yes. The early examples had the tapered barrel and the narrow rib. Sometime in the early 1950s, they got the straight barrel and a slightly wider rib, but not so wide as the one on the K-38. I'm sure they were still matching the weight between the two calibers. I'm not a K-22 collector, although I have owned several and still have a few, including a narrow rib unit from 1947.

Quote:
did they all have the same barrel contour?
No. See above.

One of our K-22 experts will weigh in, I'm sure. I collect K-38s so I am much more knowledgeable about them. Sorry.
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Old 11-18-2020, 07:23 PM
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Is one barrel more looked for over the other?
The narrow rib, tapered barrel version was made for only a few years in the postwar era. Hence, they are more scarce, and all of them have five frame screws. So, generally speaking they are a lot more desirable to collectors.
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