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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 11-01-2008, 05:21 PM
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Here is an update about my M14-1 4". I have done some research into Sergeant Harold Wilkins and his M14-1.



To bring you up to speed, here is the salient part of my letter from Mr. Jinks:

"We have researched your Smith & Wesson Model Model 15 K-38 Combat Masterpiece .38 S&W Special, revolver in company records which indicate that your handgun, with serial number K43179x was shipped from our factory on April 20, 1961, and delivered to K.M. Williams Co., Kansas City, MO, picked up by PTL Harold Wilkins, Columbus, Ohio. The records indicate that this firearm was shipped with a 4 inch barrel, blue finish and checkered walnut grips. This revolver may be marked as a Model 14-1, but the invoice lists it as a Model 15. There six units all in the same configuration. K.M. Williams was Smith & Wesson's Sales Representative for the Midwest. It appears to me that these revolvers were built to fill a rush order, but the invoice does not provide any additional information."

A forum member pointed me to a friend of Sergeant Harold Wilkins. This gentleman is very active in shooting sports and the NRA to this day. Please remember I was asking this gentleman to remember back 48 years, so take all of this in the spirit it is given. Below is a compilation of his information and my supposition.

1961 was the last year that what became known as PPC was sponsored by Colt. At that time there was a rule that said the gun must qualify as a service weapon in the department in which you serve. Because of that, the Columbus Police Department's shooting team was required to use 4" revolvers. In 1962 when the PPC championship was taken over by the NRA that rule was relaxed and allowed the team to use 6" revolvers.

PTL Wilkins went to the factory in April 1961 order to complete armorer school. In that time frame, your final exam was the gun you built from scratch. If you choose to, you could purchase that revolver. It seems that this revolver was PTL Wilkins' take home gun.

It appears that the six revolvers listed on the invoice were made to be used by the Columbus Police Department's Shooting Team in the 1961 National Police Revolver Championship. It is possible that these guns were invoiced as Model 15's in order to get past the CPD purchasing department as duty weapons. I was told the department won both the individual and team 1st place trophies that year.

So while there is no documented proof, it appears that this gun along with it's 5 siblings was used in the 1961 National Police Revolver Championship.

PTL Wilkins went on to a long and distinguished career as a Patrol Sergeant for CPD, and a range officer/instructor for the Columbus Police Academy. He retired in the late 70's and passed on, in the 80's.

I have heard on the forum "buy the gun not the story" and I agree, but isn't it fun when the gun you buy has a story? This unique history all took place months before I was born in October of 1961. I feel blessed to have a unique gun with an interesting history that dates to my birth year.
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:21 PM
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:09 PM
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That is a very interesting gun to me in that I recently aquired a "Dayton" Model 14.

Thanks for the post.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:21 PM
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A gun with History even looks better to me. It can be a wall hander and look like new when you read the History on it.
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:22 PM
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Well I was born in Oct. of 1961 and I have a 4" mod 14 to.Small world aint it.
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:30 PM
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Congratulations on owning a unique and interesting S&W! Thanks for the story and picture.

Jerry
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Old 11-02-2008, 06:46 PM
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The setups on those few seem somewhat similar, though not the same, as the Roper 4" Model 14s.
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Old 11-02-2008, 06:53 PM
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Very cool gun and story.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:42 AM
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Thanks guys!

Interesting tread of guys born in October of '61 having 4" Model 14s. Anyone else have a 4" 14-1?
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45Wheelgun View Post
I have heard on the forum "buy the gun not the story" and I agree, but isn't it fun when the gun you buy has a story?
You bet! Sure, you don't necessarily want to have to "pay" for the story, but I would rather have a gun like yours than a similar one, NIB, with no history. Cool gun AND story!
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Old 12-09-2020, 04:18 PM
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I like to update this thread. I now own this revolver. It has a pretty interesting history. The only additional information I got from the second owner was that it was found in a pawn shop in Columbus, OH. I'm not sure if any of the other revolvers in this order have surfaced or anyone else has more to add.

The SN is K431798. It is obvious that the patridge sight was installed on an existing Baughman ramp. The sight is pinned in place. No way to know who did that. The target stocks are not numbered or marked.

It is in amazing condition after perhaps being used as a competition revolver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 45Wheelgun View Post
Here is an update about my M14-1 4". I have done some research into Sergeant Harold Wilkins and his M14-1.



To bring you up to speed, here is the salient part of my letter from Mr. Jinks:

"We have researched your Smith & Wesson Model Model 15 K-38 Combat Masterpiece .38 S&W Special, revolver in company records which indicate that your handgun, with serial number K43179x was shipped from our factory on April 20, 1961, and delivered to K.M. Williams Co., Kansas City, MO, picked up by PTL Harold Wilkins, Columbus, Ohio. The records indicate that this firearm was shipped with a 4 inch barrel, blue finish and checkered walnut grips. This revolver may be marked as a Model 14-1, but the invoice lists it as a Model 15. There six units all in the same configuration. K.M. Williams was Smith & Wesson's Sales Representative for the Midwest. It appears to me that these revolvers were built to fill a rush order, but the invoice does not provide any additional information."

A forum member pointed me to a friend of Sergeant Harold Wilkins. This gentleman is very active in shooting sports and the NRA to this day. Please remember I was asking this gentleman to remember back 48 years, so take all of this in the spirit it is given. Below is a compilation of his information and my supposition.

1961 was the last year that what became known as PPC was sponsored by Colt. At that time there was a rule that said the gun must qualify as a service weapon in the department in which you serve. Because of that, the Columbus Police Department's shooting team was required to use 4" revolvers. In 1962 when the PPC championship was taken over by the NRA that rule was relaxed and allowed the team to use 6" revolvers.

PTL Wilkins went to the factory in April 1961 order to complete armorer school. In that time frame, your final exam was the gun you built from scratch. If you choose to, you could purchase that revolver. It seems that this revolver was PTL Wilkins' take home gun.

It appears that the six revolvers listed on the invoice were made to be used by the Columbus Police Department's Shooting Team in the 1961 National Police Revolver Championship. It is possible that these guns were invoiced as Model 15's in order to get past the CPD purchasing department as duty weapons. I was told the department won both the individual and team 1st place trophies that year.

So while there is no documented proof, it appears that this gun along with it's 5 siblings was used in the 1961 National Police Revolver Championship.

PTL Wilkins went on to a long and distinguished career as a Patrol Sergeant for CPD, and a range officer/instructor for the Columbus Police Academy. He retired in the late 70's and passed on, in the 80's.

I have heard on the forum "buy the gun not the story" and I agree, but isn't it fun when the gun you buy has a story? This unique history all took place months before I was born in October of 1961. I feel blessed to have a unique gun with an interesting history that dates to my birth year.
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Update on my 4" M14-1-14-1-jpg   Update on my 4" M14-1-14-2-jpg   Update on my 4" M14-1-14-3-jpg   Update on my 4" M14-1-14-4-jpg   Update on my 4" M14-1-14-5-jpg  

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Old 12-09-2020, 05:21 PM
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Glad it is being enjoyed. Wish I knew about it when I was competing in PPC. One of the groups I competed against came from Columbus PD.

Kevin
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Old 12-09-2020, 05:44 PM
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Back in the day, Columbus PD was famous for its PPC shooting team! One of the officers was a female, if I remember correctly and a very good shot!!

That gun sure looks like it has the heavier model 14 barrel, even if it is 4 inches. I would call it a model 14 anyway.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightowl View Post
That gun sure looks like it has the heavier model 14 barrel, even if it is 4 inches. I would call it a model 14 anyway.
It has a model 14 frame, the barrel isn't tapered and stamped 14-1.

While there are exceptions, M15s of that Era had the corners of the frame where it meets the barrel notched to meet the tapered barrel.

Notable exceptions are the 2" 15-2s. Later model 15s (once m14s were discontinued) were also non-notched frames without tapered barrels.

Since this was a special order, and a model 14 wasn't a duty weapon (which was a requirement at the time), I think there was hanky-panky involved with the invoice. These guns were hand delivered by the S&W regional sales rep, which wasn't SOP.

I'm glad it's found a new home with someone who enjoys it. It shot better than I do. A really great gun.


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Old 12-09-2020, 08:25 PM
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Default PPC Revolvers

Thanks Dave. I really appreciate the info. By the time I started shooting PPC circa 1973, the rules had changed, it was an NRA competition. I still have my gun that I shot for several years while a deputy in FL as well as a couple of years at SS (not on their team though). When I decided to start shooting, I bought a Model 14. I immediately discovered this was a mistake as it needed the requisite Douglas barrel, Bomar rib, etc. I should have bought a trashed Model 10 but I was in a hurry. This revolver was built by Walt Sherman, who was the Florida Highway Patrol armorer, an accomplished PPC competitor himself as well as the boxing "coach" at the FHP academy. In reality, Walt didn't do much coaching. You had to survive a few rounds with him to get out of the academy.

I hope you enjoy the pics. Sorry to get off-topic.
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:07 PM
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I have a Model 14 (no dash) 4 inch that, according to Roy, shipped July of 1958. His note on my date request was “neat gun” and I noticed he rarely makes such a remark unless there’s something unusual. Maybe it’s only that it’s a 4 inch gun but I’m looking forward to receiving the factory letter back. Recently, another Forum member commented that he thought it was one of the earliest model marked K frame serial numbers he had seen. As I’m not really a K frame collector, I’ll likely put it up for sale after I’ve received the letter. This is an interesting thread and I’m glad I have something of interest to add.
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Old 12-10-2020, 11:14 AM
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I think it's really interesting that he actually built the gun himself and then used it to win a championship! I'm betting he took the Armorer's school with that goal in mind.
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Old 12-10-2020, 03:29 PM
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I'm not sure about the pistol team and championship. I'm in the process of attempting to find the records of the team and members. They have to have been printed somewhere but no luck so far. Need to check the American Rifleman and possibly Colt who sponsored the matches prior to the NRA. Google hasn't been my friend on this one. When I find out more details, I'll post.
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Old 12-10-2020, 03:52 PM
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10 years ago I couldn't find the results of the 1961 tournament. Everything I posted was from the officer's friend's memory., He was recalling an event which took place 48 years earlier.

I recall him stating that the event was held in Indianapolis and that CPD won both the team and individual honors. I don't remember it being suggested that this officer was the one the win the individual honors (he may have) but only that a member of the CPD team did.

The internet has changed a lot in the last decade, hopefully you will have more success than I did.

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Old 12-13-2020, 03:33 AM
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Nice to read a story about an almost-grail gun for me: th 4" HB 14 with Patridge sight. My good friend and supervisor carried one as a uniform weapon and I always thought it was cool.

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Old 12-18-2020, 02:03 PM
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Default Patrolman Harold Wilkins - Columbus, OH PD

Was able to obtain some further, amplifying information on Patrolman Harold Wilkins who owned this revolver. I'm attaching some articles. Hope they aren't too big. Basically, he won an Indiana championship and was on the winning team of the first NRA police revolver championships in 1962. This was the first year that a 6" bbl. was allowed so we can't say if he was using this revolver or not, or if he ever used it. But it is great back-ground on a fine marksman.

My files are too big. I'll try and see if I can figure out how to size them so I can get them on here.
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Old 12-27-2020, 01:48 PM
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If you email them to me I'll post them for you.

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Old 01-11-2021, 04:49 AM
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Wow, that era hearkens back to the days of the Central Ohio Pistol League.
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