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  #1  
Old 11-21-2011, 09:34 AM
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Question Bought a Model 28-3 Highway Patrolman

Local gunstore known for nice older stuff, rare stuff, and just neat in general stuff has a 4" Highway Patrolman/Model 28 with adjustable sights for a decent price. Looks to be well used but cared for.

Salesguy was nice but I'm fairly sure mostly uneducated about it. I don't know much about them either but he had my BS meter's needle wavering on the high side as he blathered about it.

Been thinking about a .357 and this one looked nice. I was looking for something that could handle heavy .357 loads all day, every day without trouble and was thinking about a Ruger GP100 or maybe a 686 but this thing felt nice in the hand and I am a fan of older guns with "visual history".

So tell me about them. How to ID them, variances to look for, any issues/problems, and whatever I should know in general please.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:39 AM
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HPs are very well thought of by many around here. Spend a couple of hours reading this thread and you'll see and learn a lot.
The ultimate Highway Patrolman thread.including N frame ser# ranges
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:41 AM
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They are built like a tank, and still pretty reasonable. Go for it.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:04 AM
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The 28 is a utility version of the 27..........if you want one (or moer) get them now! The prices for the 28's is going up, 10 years ago you could get them as PD trade ins for next to nothing, but those days are gone.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:15 AM
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So here's a "please help the uneducated noob" question I have...any vintage of them not up to hot .357 loads or any particular load?

I'm only asking as I'd prefer to not have a gun that "can't be shot with X load".

Will I shoot it every day with hundreds of hot .357 loads?

No.

However I'd like to have a gun that I can pretty well be certain (except for flukes/act of god/just plain ol' bad luck/whatever) that no matter what hot Buffalo Bore load, Elmer Keith style load, or whatever handload my buddy and I cook up the gun will go BANG and ask for more. Likewise whatever plus P "Self Defense" or Hunting load I pickup at a store be it a 110 grain screamer or a 170 grain thumper the gun will handle it just fine.
Hence why I was originally considering a Ruger or one of the newer S&W's known for their durability. That's their current claim to fame.

In reality it'll spend most of it's time shooting .38, .38 plus P, and regular .357 loads. I just like to have beef and the security of knowing it's got the strength and durability to handle the bigger/hotter stuff.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:23 AM
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There were not a whole lot of options on the M28. Barrel length (4" or 6"), trigger (0.265" serrated or 0.400" smooth), and stocks (standard or target) was about it.

There are some very rare factory nickel M28s, but these are seldom encountered and very pricey. There are probably many more that have an aftermarket nickel job which sellers try to pass off as original.

Four inch M28s seem to be a little more popular right now. These are an excellent choice for someone who wants to do a lot of magnum power level shooting. The six inch barrel may be the best choice for someone who seeks maximum velocities.

Price as always depends on condition. You don't often see these for under $400. At the upper end, I've seen an "as new in box" four inch M28-2 with the asking price of $650 at every local gun show for the past six months, but so far no takers.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJMBLAZER View Post
... However I'd like to have a gun that I can pretty well be certain ... that no matter what hot Buffalo Bore load, Elmer Keith style load, or whatever handload my buddy and I cook up the gun will go BANG and ask for more. Likewise whatever plus P "Self Defense" or Hunting load I pickup at a store be it a 110 grain screamer or a 170 grain thumper the gun will handle it just fine.

Hence why I was originally considering a Ruger or one of the newer S&W's known for their durability. That's their current claim to fame.

In reality it'll spend most of its time shooting .38, .38 plus P, and regular .357 loads. I just like to have beef and the security of knowing it's got the strength and durability to handle the bigger/hotter stuff.
I'm not sure what the difference is between loads you "cook up" and "regular .357 loads".

I trust you are an intelligent person and know enough to never exceed the maximum loads published by a recognized, reputable, reliable source. Naturally, "some guy on the internet" does not meet these qualifications.

The M28 will handle any load that does not exceed SAAMI specs.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:57 AM
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Well, obviously not anything unsafe but I'd like us to start working towards the Keith loads and other "large pills moving fast" recipes.

I just personally dislike how some guns have "fires x fine but avoid y for function/wear/whatever reasons" caveats about ammo.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:57 AM
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The model 28 is built to take a steady pounding of .357 loads without a hiccup. However, "whatever handload my buddy and I cook up"?? Now that's another story, because just about ANYTHING can be blown up...
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:20 AM
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Default Excellent choice

I carried a 6" HP AS MY DUTY WEAPON for 6 years. It took any load I put in it. Excellent choice.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:06 PM
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The Highway Patrolman is an N-Frame. This is the same frame S&W used to build the .44 Magnum, which produces far higher pressures than the .357 Magnum. Obviously handloads can be produced that are way too strong, but absent that you should be able to shoot this revolver for a very , very long time with factory loads or sane handloads without ill-effect.
You don't tell us what vintage this one is. In the yoke it should say M0D-28. Is there a dash after the 28? This will have some effect on value and desirability to a collector.
The HP is a great revolver. I have picked up two M28-2s this year, both 4 inchers. I have an IWB holster on order and look forward to carrying them. Oh, and post a picture if you can. We like pictures.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:11 PM
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I haven't examined it closely enough yet. I'm resisting the urge to go look it over out of fear that I'm counting my chickens before they're hatched.

I've got some funds coming and am raising some cash and if it happens fast enough I just may go down and look this thing over a lot closer.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:31 PM
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Short of running over it with an M1A Abrams, the Model 28 will handle just about any .357 Magnum load. The N frame .357 Magnum has been around for 76 years, so it's earned its spurs.

As others have mentioned it's a "plain Jane" version of the Model 27, therefore built to the same specs.

The N frame soaks up recoil better than any L or K frame, or practically any other DA revolver out there.

A good set of stocks which fit your hand, is all that you need.

And, I heartily second those who've mentioned reloading. Never, ever exceed the printed values from the traditional manuals.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:41 PM
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I have a 1962 or 63 vintage S&W model 28-2 that was converted to 357/44 Bain & Davis wildcat at some point in its life. Since I got it earlier this year, I have fitted a later 357 cylinder so I now have a "convertible" model. If the N frames will stand up to a 44 magnum that has been necked down to 357 & pushes a bullet out at around 2,200 FPS, I am pretty sure it will hold up to any 38 , +p or 357 loads.

By the way, does anybody know when S&W quit beveling the front edge of the flutes and marking serial numbers on their cylinders? The spare cylinder I have has sharp edges on the flutes and no s/n or assembly numbers, but the chambers are recessed. Thanks, John
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:55 PM
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With the ammo choices you listed "in reality", that M28 will last the rest of your life and your children's, too! Buy it. Just be dang sure the loads you "cook up" fall within SAAMI specs.

Larry
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:00 PM
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I can vouch for the M28's sturdiness.
Back in the mid-70's, I was a young, over-eager new handloader. I got a 6" M28 for the express purpose of using my 'beyond all reason' hot handloads in it. I did not yet own a .44 mag., but determined that I'd have one anyway, just that the hole in the end would be .357!

Never kept up with the number of those sorts of un-wise rounds, but it was in the many hundreds, if not a thousand or more.
It even went through my stages of interest in light bullet/H.V. loads and moved to 'heavy for caliber' cast stuff (I was worshiping at the feet of Elmer Keith about then...) ahead of unhealthy doses of 2400, H110, WW296 and Blue Dot.
The M28, other that becoming a bit smoother, never showed any signs of wear.
(Disclaimer - not advocating doing this to a good revolver, only that in my experience, the M28 withstood the torture well.)
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:28 PM
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So some money is in my hands and I want to spend it.

Can anyone give me the quick and dirty to identifying a Highway Patrolman (pre Model 28?), Model 28, and a Model 28-2?

I assume a pre 28 will have only part of the serial on the crane?
28 will have 28 and 28-2 will have 28-2?
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:53 PM
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The pre 28 will have an assembly number on the crane.The serial number will be on the butt ,the cylinder and a few other places.Highway patrolman will be stamped on the right side of the barrel.

Last edited by arjay; 11-25-2011 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:05 AM
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Any particular price differences between them?
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:34 AM
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In equal condition,older is generally pricier.4 inch barrels seem to be more in demand too.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:33 PM
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The 4" models seem to be in greater demand and harder to find. The first two M28's I owned were both 6" versions. Later I found a 4" model and got that. For every 4" I see for sale it seems that I find two or three 6" models.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:17 PM
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Well, got there as soon as they opened this morning and they sold it the other day. Said the guy was super excited to get it.

At $350 so was I. Ugly finish but sound mechanically.

Ran around town and Bud's Gun Shop had a 28-3 4" in decent shape for $479. I liked it. Had $420 in my pocket so I asked if they'd come down. Guy asked management and they said it's new on consignment so they can't negotiate until 30 days has passed since they got it.

I'll go back in a few weeks.

C'est la vie.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:11 PM
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My first M28-2 4 inch was fed a lot of H-110 loads with 140 to 160 grain jacketed bullets, it worked well until......

I had a top end, but safe load, that the bullets were striking the forcing cone and shaving copper jacket material between the forcing cone and the cylinder. It was as if the forcing cone had lost its dimensions...as in tightened up. It might have been due to a very dirty forcing cone.

Anyhow only about 3 or 5 now over-pressure loads, and they were with flattened primers and stuck cases, and the gun was ruined. It would no longer work properly with any sort of .357 Magnum load. I would get the "sticking cylinder rotation" syndrome without anything apparently causing the hard rotation, no nothing under the ejector star, no nothing hanging between the forcing cone and the cylinder. No indication of anything that would cause a retarded cylinder rotation.

Initially I did have the forcing cone reamed and was told it was under specifications, but I had been shooting it about four years without any problems, then I started having problems with the gun due to the accidental high pressure loads. After reaming the forcing cone the problem still occurred.

Took it back to the same gunsmith who was touted as the "best"...he wasn't. He told me the ejector lugs on the star had been "lengthened" due to the high pressure loads so he filed them down "since they were dragging on the recoil shield and causing my problem."

When I took it out to shoot safe .357 Magnum loads it still bound up. I got rid of it. I have since learned here it might have been "endshake" issues.

Yes, even a N-Frame .357 Magnum can be ruined by too high of a pressure load.

All of the older N-Frames (.357, .41, and .44 Magnum) operated at the same high pressures. Caliber and recoil would not cause problems but the pressures will. Inside the cylinder is a "ledge" that the ejector rod rides upon. High pressure loads "peen" that ledge and cause end-shake.

Metals used in manufacture can be guaranteed to withstand certain pressure loads but after the final manufacture and installation the same metals may exhibit different reactions, as in one cylinder may hold up better than another.

My M29-2 was never fed over-pressure loads but in time it too experienced end-shake which I fixed.

There are many reports here of people who have fired their N-Frames (pick the caliber) a lot and never had a problem.

I do know that when the sport of long-range handgun shooting began there were a lot of S&W .44 Magnums that were being worn out. I have heard that is why S&W did the "upgrade" on the later M29 and 629 versions.

The entire N-Frame can handle a lot of shooting and pressure, except that little metal ledge inside the cylinder that gets peened.

If I wanted a magnum handgun that can handle any top end pressure load, and the occassional mistake of an over-pressure load I would buy a Ruger Blackhawk/Superblackhawk. They ARE tough guns and the design has no weaknesses, unless your loads are too hot and you blow the gun up.

I do not know about any of the other more "modern" magnums such as the Redhawk, etc.

I would suggest you continue to save your dollars and look for a good M28 (and you will find one) and just be careful with your loads.

Good luck.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:21 PM
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You don't want a -3. That's when they eliminated the barrel pin and counter-bored chambers. Th -2 model is much more desirable.

Or just look for a Model 27 (again, -2 or earlier). If the price difference is only $150 the 27 is twice the gun and a much better value.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:52 PM
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So what's the pin elimination and the non counter bored chambers do or not do?
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
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So what's the pin elimination and the non counter bored chambers do or not do?
Truthfully, they really don't make that much difference. An unpinned barrel is almost as secure as a pinned one. Cylinders really don't NEED to be recessed, case heads are pretty strong nowadays. It's just that P&R revolvers are a product of a time when craftsmanship and attention to detail were more prevalent. Plus, they're just COOL.
Guess that's why I'm the P&R Fan.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:29 PM
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Default Mint 28....

Time somebody posted some HP porn....

My newest gun, a mint 28-2 6". Talk about a heavy revolver...

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Old 11-26-2011, 05:30 PM
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Does that affect the value much? If I were able to get this -3 for around $400-420 would it still be a good deal?

Sales guy at Bud's seemed extra interested when I told him I had cash in my wallet.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:34 PM
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You don't want a -3. That's when they eliminated the barrel pin and counter-bored chambers. Th -2 model is much more desirable.
Not correct Frank.

-3 guns were only produced for a very short period before 28's were discontinued.

28-3's are more collectible for this reason.

I have many pre-28's, 28's, 28-2's, and only one 28-3, a 4" gun. I am actively seeking a 28-3 6".

Drew
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:35 PM
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Here is my 4 screw Model 28 (1961). The grips are a little ugly, but I shoot a lot of hot 357s in it and they help my wrist.

My 5" Model 27 is a piece of art, but my 28 may be my favorite 357. It is a tank and will take anything you feed it.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:35 PM
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Oh, and for the record. I've probably muddled it up earlier in the thread but now people are posting specifically about super insane hot reloads.

We will NOT be doing anything crazy. Hottest would be something approaching Buffalo Bore or even well established Keith type loads. That will only be after we have a firm grip on reloading. Nothing insane, no "fill the case and smash the bullet in" type stuff.

We're just starting out and my buddy is down around Cowboy Loads right now in .38 Special. We're far from even pushing our way past WWB .357 generic loads.

Thanks from the concern but I like my hands and fingers and have no intention of blowing up them or a many hundred dollar firearm I worked hard to own.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:55 PM
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Not correct Frank.

-3 guns were only produced for a very short period before 28's were discontinued.

28-3's are more collectible for this reason.

I have many pre-28's, 28's, 28-2's, and only one 28-3, a 4" gun. I am actively seeking a 28-3 6".

Drew
I think he said desirable, not more collectable. And in that sense, he is correct imo.

And this exchange illustrates perfectly the difference between die hard collecting and the shooter/collector/accumulator. Things that will make the die hard collector swoon and reach for the AmEx will make the latter yawn and search for a model that has more "desirable" features.

Such as P&R models. The new "holy grail" of Smith buyers.

But I don't agree that the 27 is double the gun however. Every 27 I've owned (27 no dash, 27-1 and 27-2's) got sold eventually as just too darn pretty to shoot. But 28's? Have that "mean" and businesslike appearance that many find appealing and if you spent time wearing tin, who can resist "Highway Patrolman" rollmarked on your gat?
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:29 PM
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I think he said desirable, not more collectible. And in that sense, he is correct imo.

And this exchange illustrates perfectly the difference between die hard collecting and the shooter/collector/accumulator. Things that will make the die hard collector swoon and reach for the AmEx will make the latter yawn and search for a model that has more "desirable" features.

Such as P&R models. The new "holy grail" of Smith buyers.
So you contend that having a barrel pin and the charge holes a little deeper somehow makes the bazillions of 28-2's more attractive than the damn few -3's?

How does this make the gun a better "shooter"?

28-3's like 25-5's are one of the few examples in Smith collecting where a premium is likely for non P&R guns...

I stand by "Desirable". If for no other reason than the monetary value attached.

BTW, the "NEW grail" is non-IL locked guns. Before that was forged vs. MIM. Then wood vs. rubber stocks before that.

Drew
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:36 PM
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BTW, the "NEW grail" is non-IL locked guns. Before that was forged vs. MIM. Then wood vs. rubber stocks before that.

Drew
If thats all true all you have to do is buy guns made before 1975 or so.... and you got the cream of the crop.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:07 PM
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Default Getting back to the original question...

I bought a GP100 as my first magnum. Took advice on "can't hurt it", etc. They are a tank and basically as big as an N frame. Then I ran onto an HP years later and picked it up because it was the right price and it just looked like it means business.

Quick story is I ended up trading the GP100 for an old Sauer 38H, dies and such. The HP has SO MUCH BETTER A TRIGGER and just POINTS SO MUCH NICER than the Ruger.

The HP can take any loads I need to use. I have 44 magnums for throwing big lead fast.

Remember that Elmer was loading in a .38-44 or other S&W or SAA. He didn't use a Super Blackhawk for his load development...

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Old 11-26-2011, 09:40 PM
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If all one wants is the scarcest variation for a collection then I suppose the -3 would be more desirable. But one probably wouldn't want to use and shoot such a rare and valuable piece, now would one?

If one wanted the best variation for using and shooting then I stand by my assessment that the -2 (or earlier) is a better choice.

As for the advantages of the pinned and recessed models (P&R), the original intent of the recessed chambers was to better contain the pressures of the Magnum cartridge. This is what S&W said a long time ago. Apparently they decided in 1982 that the Magnums really didn't need the added containment. The fact is that Colt never used this feature, and it probably is unnecessary, but it's elimination represents a reduction in quality, in my opinion. It was not dropped to make the gun better. It was dropped for no reason other than to save money in manufacturing. This is not a good selling point (again, in my opinion).

Same with the barrel pin. Colt never used the pin, but there are advantages when swapping barrels is needed. Also, it seems to me that S&W has had tons of QC problems with barrels since the pin was eliminated, suggesting they didn't master the crush fit procedure.

Bottom line: the post-P&R models lack the style and panache of the earlier guns.

All I can say is that I genuinely prefer the P&R variations. This is what I recommend to others. All are free to do what they wish with my advice.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:50 PM
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I buy guns to shoot or to pass on for profit.

This will be a shooter, -3 or otherwise. The -3's already not had a "safe queen" life judging from the handling wear and a few marks.
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:38 PM
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Went and looked again today at the -3 at Bud's. Lockup is tight, crane doesn't have any movement when closed, nice trigger pull, everything physically seems good. Finish is "meh" without being bad. They're still fixed on the price, I asked if they'd move and was paying cash. The guy got his manager to come down $20 but then I'd pay that in taxes so I passed. Told me it was on consignment since November 15th so I'll go back in two weeks and wave cash at them again. Trying to get it for less than $450.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:23 PM
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Got the Highway Patrolman.
Guy didn't even blink and refused me straight up on the $420 cash. Said $460 plus tax.
I said $450 cash out the door.
He said $450 plus tax ($466.40) and it was mine.

I bit. I can deal with it.



Ferk is it great to shoot. Shooting some 158 gr JSP Magnums it's got a noticeable kick but it's not bad. Shooting .38 +P's is easy. Like shooting regular .38's in the K frames I used to have.

Yep, I'm pleased.
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:50 AM
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AJMBLAZER, Great purchase! I looked at one on Sat at a local gun shop. $495 is the price. It looks almost as new. 4" barrel, did not look if it was a -2, or -3. One of the owners told me that it was only there 2 days, and he thought it was unfired. I may go back and pick it up today! Looks too good to shoot, but I don't want a gun that I won't shoot again. Bob
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:41 AM
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Congratulations. Great buy. I've got a 4" 28-2 that I paid way too much for not long ago, but they had it, I wanted it, it had the box and the papers, and they were willing do do a long layaway. I'm not planning to sell it, so the price doesn't matter now.

Someone earlier wanted some gun porn. I'll contribute.



It's got some wear marks on it, but I guess it will do for me. I think I've fired about a dozen rounds of 38 in it.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaman View Post
AJMBLAZER, Great purchase! I looked at one on Sat at a local gun shop. $495 is the price. It looks almost as new. 4" barrel, did not look if it was a -2, or -3. One of the owners told me that it was only there 2 days, and he thought it was unfired. I may go back and pick it up today! Looks too good to shoot, but I don't want a gun that I won't shoot again. Bob
Thanks. Sounds like you need to go get that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunBass View Post
Congratulations. Great buy. I've got a 4" 28-2 that I paid way too much for not long ago, but they had it, I wanted it, it had the box and the papers, and they were willing do do a long layaway. I'm not planning to sell it, so the price doesn't matter now.

Someone earlier wanted some gun porn. I'll contribute.



It's got some wear marks on it, but I guess it will do for me. I think I've fired about a dozen rounds of 38 in it.
Thanks again.

I cleaned it up and mine and yours look similar in the wear marks. Carried often, handled some, and shot little. Has a nice cylinder line but other than that is pretty good. Usual marks around the muzzle and forward edges. Only thing I noticed is the rear sight has some "impact marks". Gun was dropped or maybe used to persuade someone to calm down once? Shoots POA after I got used to it.

I also cleaned it last night and discovered the folks at the store hadn't cleaned it at all. I didn't give it the "Commanding General's Inspection" cleaning but did wipe it all down very good with some CLP and LOTS of the dullness came off. Just powder residue I guess.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:26 PM
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Congrats on a good purchase of an N-Frame.

Shoot and enjoy it............be comforted that if you ever want to sell it, that down the road you will be able to get more for it than what you've got in it.

They are not making anymore of these and there is a market for them. As Drew (Sebago Son) has pointed out there is a segment of collectors that are looking for the 28-3's because there were fewer made in that configuration.....Dr Pig (Saxonpig) is correct also, in that many people want a pinned and recessed gun......doesn't matter you have a desireable gun and someone else will be looking to buy it if you ever want to sell. For now shoot the heck out of it and maintain it and it will still appreciate in value.

Don
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:43 PM
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I think this is a keeper like my M1911A1, AK, dad's 10/22, my Mossberg 500, etc.

They all fit a role and a desire by me to have them and this one does too. I liked my Model 10's but in retrospect while they were neat I wanted something more...like this Highway Patrolman.

Now thinking about a Monica Kuehn Leather holster and belt, Combat style grips, speed loaders, Elmer Keith's books, Col Cooper's books, reloading equipment and supplies, and a big hat.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:58 PM
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Don't forget the bullet molds and cast lead bullets... the heavier the better. Think Elmer Keith's Lyman# 358429.

Cast lead slugs and the Highway Patrolman go togeather like Apple Pie and Ice Cream!...
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:29 PM
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Those are definitely in the plans.
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Old 12-19-2011, 03:56 PM
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Here is a Model 28-3 4 inch. I have box and papers. I guess these were near the end of the line for model 28s.

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Old 12-19-2011, 04:26 PM
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Yours is definitely purtier than mine. What's your serial first few numbers?

Mine's N95 and think that must be a few years before they stopped ('86 or so?).
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:54 PM
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My serial no is AJK36xx
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:47 PM
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I hope to be holding one this Friday. These really are the classic looking revolver.
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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 Thread, Bought a Model 28-3 Highway Patrolman in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; Local gunstore known for nice older stuff, rare stuff, and just neat in general stuff has a 4" Highway Patrolman/Model ...
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