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Old 06-14-2012, 12:06 PM
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Default S&W Model 15-3 with 6" barrel

Hi everyone,
New to the forum, but I've been reading through here for sometime now and have learned a lot about Smiths.

I'd like to learn more about my Model 15 I picked up over a year ago in a gun auction. It's a Model 15-3 with a 6" barrel, reading on Wikipedia it seems that the model 15-3 did not originally have 6" barrels on them. So it got me wondering about this gun. It shoots very well and the DA trigger is very smooth and light. It had some aftermarket old cracked wood grips that I replaced with some Smith target grips.

The serial number starts with 5K86XXX.

Could anyone tell me more about this particular model.

Here are some pictures:




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Old 06-14-2012, 12:17 PM
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Welcome! Very nice. The 15-3 did not come with a 6" barrel. There was a later variant, I think the -6, that did have this length. This one almost certainly has a model 14 barrel installed. The SN shows the frame shipped in 1974. Enjoy!
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:25 PM
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Thanks murphydog. That's helpful. Whoever did the barrel swap did a great job. Does the swapped barrel lower the value of it? I'm looking to possibly sell it, but not sure if what I can get for it makes it even worthwhile to sell, because the enjoyment I have with it maybe worth more.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:20 PM
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It would be negatively impacted as to value for a true "collector",but for anyone looking for a NICE .38 to own and shoot,probably not.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:23 PM
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Agree, it would not be worth what an unaltered model 15 (or 14) would go for, but it's still a nice gun.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:36 PM
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You will notice the 6in barrel is wider than the tapered front of your m-15 frame. The original 4in barrel had a much narrower rib.
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:15 PM
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Your guns too early to be a transitional gun ,
The 15-6 and later versions did use that style barrel style but your frame was cut to mate with a tapered barrel.

Interestingly the older style 5 screw pre 1950 six inch K38 had a tapered barrel just like the 4" Combat Masterpiece and would actually mate up perfectly to your tapered frame,

A Problem existed in that the Model 14 and Model 15 had different frames and the Model 15 snub used a Model 14 frame.

So to simplify matters when the Model 14 and 17 got full underlug barrels they dropped the tapered barrel 15 and 18 frame style and used the Model 14 "Heavy" masterpiece frame for all K38/K22 versions in all barrel lengths.

Here is a six inch 15-6


now here is a four inch 15-7
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:49 PM
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I saw a 6" heavy barrel Model 15 some time back. It had a quick-draw ramped front sight with a red insert and the frame was not tapered. I don't remember the dash number.

At the time, I though it was just a miss-marked or altered model 14. I wish I had snapped it up.
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