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Old 02-24-2018, 08:24 PM
MarkLH MarkLH is offline
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I have the opportunity to purchase a used S&W .38

Original owner, apparently barely used.. ie only a few dozen rounds- with box and pkging items

Just got the serial # and photo


Its a K38 Masterpiece Model 14 6” barrel
Serial # 79K4xxx

Can someone help w the year, and your expert eval as to what its worth I think its from the 70’s

Its likely a unique find ( so little use ) - but I want a shooter.. don’t really care to pay for something re: collectible.. and dont want to pay too much because the seller THINKS it’s collectible worthy...

and- Can this model shoot +p rounds?

tnx in advance for any help
Mark
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:36 PM
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Mark,

The revolver alone is worth $600. Add at least another $100 for the box and tools. The owner thinks it's collectible worthy - and it is. Please don't shoot +P loads out of it.

Don

P.S. - Made in 1980.
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:37 PM
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Very likely from 1980. I would guess it is worth about $550 and you can shoot as much + P .38 Special through it that your hands and wallet can stand . Hope this is helpful.
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:50 PM
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Those are very nice accurate revolvers. I shot mine in PPC matches years ago. +P rounds won’t hurt it at all. You’re going to really enjoy it.
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:55 PM
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$700 revolver all day long. And that's NOT being gouged. Get it and shoot it.
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Old 02-24-2018, 09:10 PM
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I shoot Elmer's 38 special load from my K38! Still as tight as when I got it in 1973!
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:47 PM
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Yes. All 79K serial numbers were issued in 1980. It would be a Model 14-4.

And +P ammo will be just fine in it. The gun won't know the difference, although you will feel the recoil more and it will sting your wallet a bit. For accuracy, you might be better served by using 148 grain match wadcutter ammo. But your K-38 Masterpiece will digest handily any .38 Special factory ammo sold today.
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Old 02-25-2018, 12:00 AM
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Thanks ( everyone ) for the great info !

curious: how do the models 14 & 15 differ as they sound almost identical...

I see reference to K-38 Masterpiece, Target Masterpiece and combat masterpiece.. that sound similar

and current version of a .38 is the model 67 in stainless - at a price in this ballpark ( $600-$700 )


are there things that would make one preferable over others ?

my sense from forum comments in general is people prefer older S&W’s over current production

thanks for the info so far - sounds like I should pursue this at $600 - $700 ... if he wants more i might have to let it go - he’s been told it’s worth abt $1,000 ��

will keep you posted how things go

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Old 02-25-2018, 12:25 AM
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The Model 14/K38 Masterpiece is a premier target revolver from when revolvers ruled pistol matches. Some saw police duty, but it was in it's glory on the target range when loaded with 148gr wadcutters. The 6" barrel was preferred. Generally, these would be ordered/purchased with the 3Ts: target stocks, target trigger, and target hammer. A single action version was also available.

The Combat Masterpiece (Model 15) was a 4" version that usually saw police duty.
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Old 02-25-2018, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkLH View Post
curious: how do the models 14 & 15 differ as they sound almost identical...

I see reference to K-38 Masterpiece, Target Masterpiece and combat masterpiece.. that sound similar
First, there never was such a thing as a "Target Masterpiece." That moniker somehow got adopted in street talk, but the gun was never called that by the company. Unfortunately, the Standard Catalog used that name for a long time, but finally dropped it in the 4th Edition (except it still appears in some of the text explanations of the various models).

From its introduction in the early postwar period (late 1946), the six inch version was called the K-38 Masterpiece, a target revolver. It was equipped with a Patridge target front sight. In 1949, a duty version with a 4" barrel and (usually) a Baughman ramp front sight was introduced. It was called the .38 Combat Masterpiece. Sadly, the Standard Catalog insists on calling it a "K-38 Combat Masterpiece," but again, the company never called it that. So the 6" version is the K-38 Masterpiece and the 4" version is the .38 Combat Masterpiece.

In 1957, when model numbers were assigned, the K-38 became the K-38 Masterpiece Model 14; the .38 Combat Masterpiece became the .38 Combat Masterpiece Model 15.

Quote:
current version of a .38 is the model 67 in stainless
The Model 67 was introduced in 1972, and it was the stainless version of the Model 15. It was called the .38 Combat Masterpiece Model 67. Incidentally, the Standard Catalog gets this one right - no "K-38" in front of the name - even in the 3d Edition.
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Old 02-25-2018, 02:27 AM
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A pristine 14-4 with everything...I shoot mine at 100 yards with accuracy.
Love those new bores. Keep the bore clean. I second or third 148 grain lead semi wadcutters. I've watched people take 40 pictures, place them on an auction site, and sell it for around a grand. They pay a fee and have to box the gun for shipping. They may have to open an account to do so. Most likely, it will be years before they are worthy of that price off the auction sites. Big difference in what they sell for and auction prices.
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Old 02-25-2018, 07:57 AM
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K38s are the best shooter in my collection they will eat the center of a target if you do your part. The 14s are the best for target shooting using 148 wadcutters and the 15s are a very close second.

Here's some photos of both pre-14 on the left, 15 no dash right.
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Old 02-25-2018, 03:26 PM
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thanks again for the excellent info..

re:
these would be ordered/purchased with the 3Ts: target stocks, target trigger, and target hammer.

is there a way for me to ascertain if this gun has the 3T’s ?

I didnt get the impression he custom ordered it ...

would Smith & Wesson have recorded this with serial # reference, or perhaps when I can physically examine the gun ...

or( since I dont know what they would look like: perhaps its evident from the attached photo in post#1)
tnx!
Mark

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Old 02-25-2018, 05:34 PM
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You can tell if the hammer ot trigger are target varities by the width. The target versions are.500 wide. Basically the trigger will be exactly as wide as the trigger guard if it is target. The hammer will also be half inch wide. The regular are more narrow. The target grips wrap around bottom of frame handle. If you look at bottom and only see wood they are target grips. Regular magna grips you will see two pieces of wood samdwiching the metal frame.
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Old 02-25-2018, 05:48 PM
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ok thank you. I got the serial from a seller photo where it shows on bottom of the handle - metal sandwiched between the two grip halves..
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Old 02-25-2018, 05:52 PM
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And a picture of the white label on the end of the box will list the type of trigger, hammer, and stocks.
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Old 02-25-2018, 06:21 PM
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Yes it will shoot +P's. The question is why would you want to. I always figured the whole point of shooting a gun was to see if you could hit what you're shooting at. Once you can do that, the next thing is to see if you can hit what you're shooting at time after time after time. After that, the next thing is to see if you can shoot all the shots after the first one through the hole made by the first one. That's going to take some extra effort. Start off by feeding your gun what it likes to shoot. +P's ain't it!!

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Old 02-25-2018, 06:59 PM
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Buy it. It will make anyone who puts in the effort look like a really good shooter, even if they aren't all that great. I shoot mine the most with the wadcutter loads, mostly because I am not shooting it for serious purposes. If for some reason I was carrying it for personal defense use, I would use standard velocity 158 SWCs with confidence.

You can likely shoot all the +P you want, but for the vast majority of the uses for which this revolver is best suited, I am not sure the juice is worth the squeeze. If you want to shoot stout loads for hunting or some such purpose, the .38 with a +P heavy for caliber hard cast SWC (like the reference to the Keith load above) might be adequate, and a good shot with that would likely take a deer, but your game regs may not allow it. An N frame in .41./.44/.45 Colt with a similarly heavy hard cast SWC would be more appropriate for such use.
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Old 02-25-2018, 07:17 PM
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i know im being repetitive, but again thanks to all for so much helpful info...

For what its worth: the +p was just a curiosity... I have no real interest in it

my absolute main interest is for recreational target shooting, with accuracy my objective.. to become a good shooter

this gun sounds like it would be perfect for me ...
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Old 02-25-2018, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkLH View Post
i know im being repetitive, but again thanks to all for so much helpful info...

For what its worth: the +p was just a curiosity... I have no real interest in it

my absolute main interest is for recreational target shooting, with accuracy my objective.. to become a good shooter

this gun sounds like it would be perfect for me ...
Yes I agree, it would be perfect. Your post had me pull my 14-4 out the safe. I'm going to buy some boxes of match wadcutters myself. I bought my 14-4 from a little sporting good store in Lewistown, MT in 1980. The condition of my revolver is a conservative 97%. Bought mine with no target features. However, a year ago I bought a set of period correct target stocks for it because I can hold it so much steadier with them. You really did come upon a golden opportunity in my opinion.
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Old 02-25-2018, 11:12 PM
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Hey cool EricR !

well, the discussion has my hopes up that the seller isn’t married to the idea his gun is worth $1,000

the situation gets more involved in that my interest started with his other gun- a K22 Masterpiece model 17 that I also want, same scenario - he’s the original owner, very few rounds and ( supposedly) in mint condition

i only learned of the 14-4 after making contact regarding the 17

id take ‘em both if I can -

im wondering if $1400 - $1500 cash would be fair to both of us- in that he could realize a quick sale without incurring auction, paypal, charge card fees etc

if I could only get one , the 14-4 might be the more unique item to be able to get ...
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Old 02-26-2018, 07:06 AM
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I just bought a 14-2. I'm sure about the value or how much you are willing to pay, but based on shooting mine. I say buy the K-38. Mine is by far the best shooting handgun I own.
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Old 02-26-2018, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkLH View Post
Hey cool EricR !

well, the discussion has my hopes up that the seller isn’t married to the idea his gun is worth $1,000

the situation gets more involved in that my interest started with his other gun- a K22 Masterpiece model 17 that I also want, same scenario - he’s the original owner, very few rounds and ( supposedly) in mint condition

i only learned of the 14-4 after making contact regarding the 17

id take ‘em both if I can -

im wondering if $1400 - $1500 cash would be fair to both of us- in that he could realize a quick sale without incurring auction, paypal, charge card fees etc

if I could only get one , the 14-4 might be the more unique item to be able to get ...
You could say that the Model 17 is even more popular than the Model 14. But you've already figured out what you need to do. You have to try to get both. A K22, my late Dad's, was the first Smith I ever owned. That was the whole reason I bought my 14-4 in 1980. Yes if condition of seller's 17 is as great as the 14 then make the offer you mentioned. Good luck!!
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Old 02-26-2018, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkLH View Post
Hey cool EricR !

well, the discussion has my hopes up that the seller isn’t married to the idea his gun is worth $1,000

the situation gets more involved in that my interest started with his other gun- a K22 Masterpiece model 17 that I also want, same scenario - he’s the original owner, very few rounds and ( supposedly) in mint condition

i only learned of the 14-4 after making contact regarding the 17

id take ‘em both if I can -

im wondering if $1400 - $1500 cash would be fair to both of us- in that he could realize a quick sale without incurring auction, paypal, charge card fees etc

if I could only get one , the 14-4 might be the more unique item to be able to get ...
This pairing is about as good as it gets in the revolver department. I have the same two, only a couple of decades older (1948 vintage) and out of a couple of dozen guns they are two of my favorites. Others might disagree, but if I were going to be limited to one of the pair, I’d probably go with the K22 because it gets the most range time for me, while YMMV.

As far as hurting collectibility, if you put the box and docs away in a clean, dry place and take proper care of the guns themselves as you use them, their value will rise a lot faster than any loss due to usage... this is pretty much true of any good firearm, but especially of classics like these. BTW, if the cleaning kits are unopened, they are best left that way and stored away with the boxes. Cleaning kits and supplies are cheap compared to the prices these items bring in a sale as a collectible.

Good luck with your negotiations and for guns of this quality don’t try to “cheap out” too much on the seller or he’ll probably find another buyer. I’m thinking that in today’s market your $1500 cash offer sounds about reasonable to you both.

Froggie
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:01 PM
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I have a Model 14-3 and Model 17-3. They are about the best you can get for shooting .38 Special and .22lr. If you want to become a good shooter, these will hasten the process.

My pair cost a total of $1320 several years ago, and they were in near-flawless condition, but neither came with box and papers, just the guns. They go to the range often and still look great.
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:47 PM
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They make a nice pair. They look great and they shoot great. Can't get much better than that.

'47 K-22 and '51 K-38

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Old 02-26-2018, 03:37 PM
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sure purty .. !!

Looks like the .38 ( foreground gun ) has:

the 3T's

< ? >
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Old 02-26-2018, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
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sure purty .. !!

Looks like the .38 ( foreground gun ) has:

the 3T's

< ? >
Alas it doesn't. Sigh.

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Old 02-26-2018, 08:57 PM
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no matter, still purrrty

offer being made to seller for the pair, so we’ll see how it goes
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Old 02-26-2018, 09:12 PM
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Good luck!
I think the $1500 for both is fair. But if I fell in love when I saw them I'd likely be tempted to add a bit if I had to to take them home. Give them a close inspection. One mans 'mint' may not be what I call 'mint'.
As for +P in the K38.... I do not see the need, therefore would not. Your target shooting experience IMHO will not be enhanced with +P, so why bother?
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Old 02-26-2018, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
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As for +P in the K38.... I do not see the need, therefore would not. Your target shooting experience IMHO will not be enhanced with +P, so why bother?
I agree with this completely. But as I understood the original question, it was "will the gun handle it?" The answer is "yes." Whether it makes much sense is a completely different question.
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Old 02-27-2018, 08:43 AM
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To address the “+P issue,” while I wouldn’t dream of subjecting the gun (or my wallet) to routinely shooting heavy loads intended primarily for defense. OTOH, the gun will stand shooting them in it, especially if you wish to secondarily utilize the gun for self defense as well. In fact, I carry Federal +P loads from an old FBI stash in my Baby Chief, not to shoot them routinely in practice but so they are available if defending myself. Works for me, but YMMV.

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  #33  
Old 02-28-2018, 12:09 PM
Lobster Picnic Lobster Picnic is offline
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The Model 14 would work for home defense, but I prefer a short barrel for that role because A) - easier to maneuver in tight spaces, and B) - long barrel could more easily be grabbed or diverted by bad guy.
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  #34  
Old 02-28-2018, 12:31 PM
John Fugate John Fugate is offline
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Value if nice, 850.00
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  #35  
Old 03-02-2018, 09:45 AM
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Well, did you get them? One, both?
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  #36  
Old 03-03-2018, 05:10 PM
MarkLH MarkLH is offline
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Hey Eric
Im going through - my brother - to the seller ( it’s his acquaintance)

havent heard back ... 😐
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  #37  
Old 03-03-2018, 05:19 PM
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So you’re saying there’s still a chance ��
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  #38  
Old 03-03-2018, 05:34 PM
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absolutely possible still

this is not high on his priority list, and will definitely give me first right of refusal ..

im hoping he figures this sale would make his life easy, cash boom done...for both the 14 & 17

no photo, listing, auction, fees , shipping etc etc

we’ll just have to see how he responds,'

if he doesnt respond soon tho, I may put an “expiration date” on my offer, so he’s not sitting there shopping them around while he figures my offer is a bird in the hand

S or G O T P ! 😊
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  #39  
Old 03-03-2018, 07:39 PM
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Well, I wish you luck. You know how many of us nuts think that combo is like one of the best possible you could ever acquire.
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  #40  
Old 03-03-2018, 11:23 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Originally Posted by MarkLH View Post
absolutely possible still

this is not high on his priority list, and will definitely give me first right of refusal ..

im hoping he figures this sale would make his life easy, cash boom done...for both the 14 & 17

no photo, listing, auction, fees , shipping etc etc

we’ll just have to see how he responds,'

if he doesnt respond soon tho, I may put an “expiration date” on my offer, so he’s not sitting there shopping them around while he figures my offer is a bird in the hand

S or G O T P ! 😊
Just be aware that when you have successfully bagged this pair, nothing will do but that you find their long lost but beautiful sister, the Model 16 (K-32.) There, I've planted the seed in your head and you won't be able to get it out (at least I couldn't!)

[Fading sound of cold blooded laughter as the Frog hops away...]
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  #41  
Old 03-04-2018, 03:27 PM
MarkLH MarkLH is offline
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you dirty dog Green Frog ...😊

a quick Google on those says they’re in the $3k range for nice ones, rare little birds...

my two aren’t bagged yet by any means... slow as she goes here matey !

send all your collective good luck S&W aficionados ! fingers crossed.....😊
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  #42  
Old 03-05-2018, 05:27 PM
Lobster Picnic Lobster Picnic is offline
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Though not usually part of the traditional Masterpiece triumvirate, I think the Model 48 (.22 Magnum) makes a fine addition to the Masterpiece series if you don't have the scratch (or the itch) for a Model 16.
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  #43  
Old 03-05-2018, 05:45 PM
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I purchased a s&w k38/ pre 14 and a s&w k38/ per 15 soon after I got the grandson a ‘48/k22 and found out how smooth these older s&w revolvers were. I had no intention of looking for them or buying them but just couldn’t pass them up. Lucky kid.
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  #44  
Old 03-07-2018, 10:14 AM
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Model 14's are 1 fine shooter. Accurate to boot. With wad-cutters kinda like a .22. They look good too. I picked up my -3 in 2014, for $410 shipped & insured. (no box) Best money I ever spent! Bob
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  #45  
Old 03-09-2018, 05:17 PM
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well looks like I need to buy a S&W Tee Shirt

as: a deal has been struck!

I'm jumping into the deep end of the pool with the acquisition of a K22 Model 17 AND the K38 Model 14 .. my FIRST Smith and Wesson Firearms!

Will take a few weeks before the seller is back in the area, for delivery.. but; they're MINE

8-)
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  #46  
Old 03-09-2018, 05:50 PM
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So many fantastic replies and mine will offer no new opinions but I'll add them anyway because it's a fun subject.

One of the BEST things about a Model 14 is that S&W made soooo many. They exist in a sphere of other (awesome) Smith & Wesson handguns that are fantastic AND sold so well that they made so darn many and the net result is that they are a bargain (comparatively.) Due to the volume of production, the "collectible" value is kept in check. If it doesn't have extremely rare original features AND in mint/pristine original condition AND with original box, they don't carry an eye-popping collectible "value."

Thus, if the seller has a high price, that's fine. He may find his buyer but it doesn't have to be you... as there are plenty more for you to find at a price you like.

Other S&W guns like this: Model 10, 15, the 17(!) the 28-2(!) the 64, the 19/66 and the 39-2(!), 59, 5906 and 4506. I have marked the ones that are, IMO "must own!"

To the +P question, I believe it truly helps to understand it from a numbers perspective rather than an emotional one. SAAMI max pressure for .38 Special made today is 17,000 PSI. For .38 Special+P it is 18,500 PSI. For .357 Mag it is 35,000 PSI.

Not only does S&W officially say that .38 Special +P is fine in a 1980 production Model 14... the numbers make even the suggestion that you shouldn't almost a laugher. The .38 Special ammo they made before the advent of modern pressure testing was higher pressure than the .38/.38+P offered today.

A modern Model 14 could eat enough .38 Special +P ammo with no worries that the cost of even attempting to buy that volume of ammo would eclipse the price of the revolver a few times. Any call for "NO +P!!!" in a post-1957 K-frame .38 is an emotional response that isn't backed by tangible reason.

Just for clarity however, the rarely (but sometimes) seen .38 Special +P+ is a whole different animal and quite literally follows -NO- industry standard. Such ammo should always be considered a risk, just as you would with any ammo that is not SAAMI approved.
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  #47  
Old 03-09-2018, 07:33 PM
USSR USSR is offline
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To the +P question, I believe it truly helps to understand it from a numbers perspective rather than an emotional one. SAAMI max pressure for .38 Special made today is 17,000 PSI. For .38 Special+P it is 18,500 PSI. For .357 Mag it is 35,000 PSI.

Not only does S&W officially say that .38 Special +P is fine in a 1980 production Model 14... the numbers make even the suggestion that you shouldn't almost a laugher. The .38 Special ammo they made before the advent of modern pressure testing was higher pressure than the .38/.38+P offered today.

A modern Model 14 could eat enough .38 Special +P ammo with no worries that the cost of even attempting to buy that volume of ammo would eclipse the price of the revolver a few times. Any call for "NO +P!!!" in a post-1957 K-frame .38 is an emotional response that isn't backed by tangible reason.
Note Sevens: I said "Please don't shoot +P" out of respect for a finely crafted target revolver, not that it wasn't possible to do so. I also don't shoot hard ball out of my .45 ACP wad gun, so I tend to respect a handgun for what it was designed to do.

Don
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  #48  
Old 03-09-2018, 08:46 PM
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The 14 is, in my opinion, a must have for any revolver nut. I got this -3 from a forum member a couple years ago. Mint condition, with the beautiful box and tools, from the year I graduated high school -1974. This is a piece of art!



And to scratch another itch, I just took delivery of its mirror image twin, a model 48.




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  #49  
Old 03-09-2018, 09:17 PM
Sevens Sevens is offline
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Note Sevens: I said "Please don't shoot +P" out of respect for a finely crafted target revolver, not that it wasn't possible to do so. I also don't shoot hard ball out of my .45 ACP wad gun, so I tend to respect a handgun for what it was designed to do.

Don
I can agree with this and I don't have a problem with what you said -- apologies if my post came off as such.

Even still, the realities of the ammo are that in .38 Special... +P is much ado about nothing and I believe the conversation warrants the discussion.

I believe that if someone bought that 14 when it was new and put a box of even 10-year old ammo through it, he may have slapped it harder than factory .38 or .38+P made currently.
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  #50  
Old 03-10-2018, 12:28 PM
MarkLH MarkLH is offline
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all great info thank everyone

FWIW - I have no real interest in +P , was just curious if the gun could handle it - IF say I wanted to use it for HD,

my real use will be target shooting.. plan on learning reloading.. even pouring our own bullets .. should be a fun extension for the hobby
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