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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 02-12-2020, 09:59 PM
GerSan69 GerSan69 is offline
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I just can't leave well enough alone. I've been planning a makeover for my Model 10-10, repatriated from Australia's Victoria Police Armory a few years back. I finally came across a 3" S&W barrel on Ebay a couple months ago for $55, which looked factory-fresh when it arrived. So last week I took it all to the gunsmith up in Apache Junction. He quoted me a price, I agreed and away we go.
I missed a couple calls from him earlier this week and finally got back to him today. "I ran into a little problem. This barrel says .38 Special, but it's cut for a .357." Say what?
"But I have an idea. I have a .357 cylinder here in my parts, and it looks like it fits. I don't know how deep you want to get into this, but I can probably make this work." What's "deep"? "Oh, how's $150 out the door?"
Uh, you ain't started yet?? Let's do it!!
He called me about an hour or so later to tell me it was done. A little adjustment filing on the frame lug and 25-thousandths off the ejector rod and it fit like a charm. "Locks up like a bank vault" and testing with both .38 and .357 ammunition had excellent results.
Bottom line, I have a .357 Model 10 for under $500, everything included, even the original gun.
I'm not a .357 shooter, so it's more the uniqueness of the configuration and the fun factor of how parts from Ebay and the gunsmith's parts box came together with very little fitting to produce even better than I wanted. Couple photos to follow....
Oh, almost forgot: recessed cylinder!
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"New" .357 Model 10-20200212_173458a-jpg   "New" .357 Model 10-20200212_173505a-jpg   "New" .357 Model 10-20200212_173623a-jpg   "New" .357 Model 10-20200212_173628a-jpg  

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Old 02-12-2020, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GerSan69 View Post
"I ran into a little problem. This barrel says .38 Special, but it's cut for a .357." Say what?
First things first, nice looking gun and a lot of fun. But ...

Why does the barrel care if the 38 caliber bullet came from a longer or shorter case? I don't understand "cut for a .357". Wouldn't it be the same barrel?
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:12 PM
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The Ausie revolvers are usually chambered for the 38 S&W cartridge (At least the WWII S&Ws) which used a slightly larger bullet than the 38 Special. Something like .36 caliber. Was that reason for the call? Given the low pressure of the 38 S&W and its use of mostly cast bullets, you would have been OK using the .36" diameter bullets in the .357" barrel. I'm not sure why that was an issue for you gunsmith and the need for a new cylinder.

Many older Colt revolvers had bores of .355" give or take and they handled .357 38 Special and magnum loads just fine.

Now that you have a 357 Magnum cylinder installed, I would only shoot 38 Specials in the revolver. The old WWII revolvers and even the later Model 10s were never made to handle the pressures generated by a magnum and you may very well stretch out the frame with repeated use.

By the way, I've always thought that the 3" barrel was just about ideal for a 38 Special K Frame. Have you checked the zero yet with the new barrel. Hope it shoots well for you.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:15 PM
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I believe the forcing cone is different.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by reccpd101 View Post
I believe the forcing cone is different.
Correct, K frame .38 Special cylinders are shorter than those for .357, so the forcing cone length with a .357 cylinder has to be shorter than with a .38.

Your gunsmith having a .357 cylinder handy and knowing how to make everything work makes you a lucky guy. Enjoy!
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scharfschuetzer View Post
The Ausie revolvers are usually chambered for the 38 S&W cartridge which used a slightly larger bullet than the 38 Special. Something like .36 caliber. That was probably the reason for the call, although given the low pressure of the 38 S&W and its use of mostly cast bullets, you would have been OK using the .36" diameter bullets in the .357" 38 Special barrel.

Many older Colt revolvers had bores of .355" give or take and they handled .357 38 Special and magnum loads just fine.

Now that you have a 357 Magnum cylinder installed, I would only shoot 38 Specials in the revolver. The old WWII revolvers were never made to handle the pressures generated by a magnum and you may very well stretch out the frame with repeated use.
Nothing you have written here has anything at all to do with the original poster's gun. The gun in discussion is a 10-10. Originally a .38 special and on a later modern K frame.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
Correct, K frame .38 Special cylinders are shorter than those for .357, so the forcing cone length with a .357 cylinder has to be shorter than with a .38.

Your gunsmith having a .357 cylinder handy and knowing how to make everything work makes you a lucky guy. Enjoy!
That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:20 PM
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Nice replication of the FBI Model 13, and at a barn burner price.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:43 PM
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First things first, nice looking gun and a lot of fun. But ...

Why does the barrel care if the 38 caliber bullet came from a longer or shorter case? I don't understand "cut for a .357". Wouldn't it be the same barrel?
Totally agree, Al. It's just weird that it was mis-marked. We were both certain that's the case, because the end of the barrel looked untouched, the threads were perfect with no sign of prior fitting, and there wasn't even the tiniest flaw on it anywhere. IMO a great deal at $55. I'll be keeping that seller in mind for future purchases (and I already have a couple in mind.)
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scharfschuetzer View Post
By the way, I've always thought that the 3" barrel was just about ideal for a 38 Special K Frame. Have you checked the zero yet with the new barrel. Hope it shoots well for you.
As was said this is a modern revolver, not a wartime item. As an armed force, the Australian Police seem to prefer American handguns. (EDIT: Or used to... now they're using Glocks. Thanks for the info, Moo Moo!) This one was part of a group of trade-ins sent back to the States. They are somewhat beaten up, but seldom fired. This one has a superb action and was a tack driver with the 4". I haven't fired it yet, but I plan to in the next day or two. (The 'smith has a bullet trap at his shop for test firing, so while it tested perfect, I still have to see where it hits.)
I'm also a huge 3" fan. This is my 3rd 3" K, including one other barrel swap. Have a few others in other sizes as well.

Last edited by GerSan69; 02-13-2020 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Add info from member Moo Moo
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:48 AM
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I was an Australian Police Officer (New South Wales Police Force - NSW is the state with the highest population and is north of Victoria) from 1996 to 2018. Up until 1999, I was issued a 3" Model 10 Square Butt, before going over to Glocks. I believe most states were using either Smith & Wesson or Ruger revolvers.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:33 AM
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I was an Australian Police Officer (New South Wales Police Force - NSW is the state with the highest population and is north of Victoria) from 1996 to 2018. Up until 1999, I was issued a 3" Model 10 Square Butt, before going over to Glocks. I believe most states were using either Smith & Wesson or Ruger revolvers.


I've never seen a 3" SB. i wonder if any of those made their way to the U.S.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:08 PM
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I've never seen a 3" SB. i wonder if any of those made their way to the U.S.
From time to time.

A Victoria Police trade-in 10-5 SB.

"New" .357 Model 10-10-5_3in_left-jpg

"New" .357 Model 10-10-5_3in_rightt-jpg
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:54 PM
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My 10-5 3"
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:06 PM
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Was your 10-10 a factory round butt? I’ve been looking for one of those
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:48 PM
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my ex Victoria 3 square butt 10-5


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
....K frame .38 Special cylinders are shorter than those for .357, so the forcing cone length with a .357 cylinder has to be shorter than with a .38...
The exception to this is the model 12 Airweight K frame which uses a non recessed cylinder that is longer at the front ,
Basicly Model 12 cylinders are the same length as non recessed k magnum cylinders introduced in the model 19-5 revision.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:17 AM
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Was your 10-10 a factory round butt? I’ve been looking for one of those
Yes, it sure was. Slightly interesting that a 4" 10 from the Victoria inventory had a round butt, while the 3" had a square. (IIRC, all of the 3" that Bud's had when I ordered mine were square, while the 4" were a mix of squares and rounds.) Incidentally, this particular model also has grooves on the grip frame, not smooth like others I've seen.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:54 PM
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The “serrated tangs” on the fixed sight, RB K frames were seen in the late 1990s, for an unclear duration.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:16 PM
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Do you know approx when your 10-10 was made? See in 96 every thing switched over to a round butt and it was a whole year before MIM came and changed the dash variation. These 96 round butt guns are the best candidates for 3 inch barrel swaps. I have a 64-5 round butt I converted to 3 inch 357
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:16 PM
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Do you know approx when your 10-10 was made? See in 96 every thing switched over to a round butt and it was a whole year before MIM came and changed the dash variation. These 96 round butt guns are the best candidates for 3 inch barrel swaps. I have a 64-5 round butt I converted to 3 inch 357
Yessir.... 1996.
Incidentally, I also have a 64-5 that I had re-barreled from 4" to 3. (Great minds, etc.) However I kept it as a .38 (I have a 3" Model 65) and mine is a 1995 vintage. That gave me 2", 3" and 4" Model 64s.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:45 AM
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"'I ran into a little problem. This barrel says .38 Special, but it's cut for a .357.' Say what?"

I believe what GerSan69 is saying is that the 3" barrel that is stamped ".38 special" has a short forcing cone like a .357 magnum. That is why it fit so easily to a .357 chambered cylinder.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:57 PM
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From time to time.

A Victoria Police trade-in 10-5 SB.

"New" .357 Model 10-10-5_3in_left-jpg

"New" .357 Model 10-10-5_3in_rightt-jpg
Hum, is that a factory 3" tapered barrel? It is hard for me to tell from the angles and my experienced eyes.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:08 PM
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GerSan69- love the final results of your revolver.
Are you talking about Bob in the back corner of the gun shop? (With his own entrance)
If so, he is great gun Smith and honest guy. He did work for me on a Centennial with broken hammer stud.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:12 PM
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Hum, is that a factory 3" tapered barrel? It is hard for me to tell from the angles and my experienced eyes.
It's the standard barrel, it's tapered. .700 at the frame and .625 at the muzzle.

Here's a link talking about the 3" barrels.

Question - Model 10-5 3-inch Bbl. Square Butt

Better discussion:

Informal Pictorial Essay - 3 inch K frames - Part 1 - 38 Special Models
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:41 AM
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GerSan69- love the final results of your revolver.
Are you talking about Bob in the back corner of the gun shop? (With his own entrance)
If so, he is great gun Smith and honest guy. He did work for me on a Centennial with broken hammer stud.
One and the same. He really is good, and very reasonably priced. I previously took a 34-2 4" to him to swap the barrel to a 2" that I also found on Ebay. That one required a lot of machining to get the barrel to clock up right, but it still didn't cost more than it was worth - far from it.
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