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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 06-28-2020, 07:09 PM
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Default Model 24-3 Finally Just Right

When the Model 24-3 revolvers were released I wanted a 4" version, but couldn't find one. About 10 years later I found a NIB 6" model in the LGS and purchased it. I didn't really like the long tube and it languished in the safe for a long time.

Eventually I found a NOS 4" barrel on the eBay. It had a two pin front sight so it must be pretty old. I sent the barrel and revolver off to the factory to have the short barrel properly installed. Some time after it arrived at the factory, I got a call saying that the 6" barrel was so tight in the frame they would have to saw it off in order to remove it. I immediately said OK as the long barrel had little interest for me.

The factory did a fine job of replacing the barrel and even returned the sawn 6" tube. But the revolver was still not quite right. I really wanted a pair of Elmer Keith style ivory handles with the steer-head on the right panel. Those handles were not forthcoming and the 24 still sat in the safe. It didn't help that .44 Special is a hard cartridge to find in anything but really expensive factory RNL "poof" loads.

Couple weeks back I spotted what were listed as smooth, finger groove walnut stocks on the web. They didn't have finger grooves in the pictures, and the wood didn't look like walnut - but rosewood. I made the purchase and when they arrived I was not disappointed ...





Turns out these were made by Herrett's and they appear to be an older pair. While not carved ivory magna, they fit my hand well and really dress up the 24-3. It took a long time but this revolver is now "just right".

Would sure like to see other Model 24 revolvers especially those with special stocks!

Last edited by 153; 06-28-2020 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:44 PM
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This is my 24-3, 3". The RB combat grips just don't fit my hand, so I looked around until I found a "donor" set of stocks. They were full size Sq Butt, finger groove. I shortened them about a 1/4", sanded off most of the finger grooves, and contoured the butt. They are much slimmer, and actually carry pretty well. Wood is rosewood. I've been happy with them for several years now.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:58 PM
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If I am ever tempted to get another N frame...
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Old 06-28-2020, 10:02 PM
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Not a fan of finger groove stocks, they seldom if ever fit my hand.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:32 PM
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The barrel you found on e-Bay was a new VERY old stock 1950 Target four inch barrel. Very rare. Hang on to that cut barrel. It could be used someday to reline a barrel.
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:53 AM
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Did you also have the target hammer and trigger changed to service type? My 4” 24-3 I bought new in 1983 has the service hammer and trigger like every other 4 incher I’ve seen. My 6 1/2” 24-3 has the target hammer and trigger and I thought they were all that way. I think I read here that the 24-3 barrel was actually 4 1/8” to keep 1983 barrels from being faked on older guns. Sure enough mine is that length. Your’s is probably a true 4” if it’s an old one.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:39 AM
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beautiful 44
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:58 AM
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My 4", that I bought new in late 1983' also has the 4 1/8" barrel . My serial # puts it at the beginning of the production run . I have seen 2, 1 4" & 1 6" that had pinned barrels they both had serial #'s over 6500
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:14 AM
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24-3 family photo, poppa bear, momma bear, and baby bear..
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:46 AM
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How much did they charge you to change the barrel? How long did it take?

I have a 686 no dash that has the best double action trigger I have ever encountered on a revolver, but it's a six inch. I would much prefer a 4 inch, but I am hesitant to just sell the 6 inch and buy a 4 inch because I'd hate to say goodbye to that trigger. Thus I have been considering getting S&W to swap out the barrel for me. I might also have them do the modification of the firing pin bushing, which has not been done yet.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:55 AM
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Mr. Burp,

The barrel is indeed 4” - just measured it.

I had forgotten that I replaced the target trigger with a service one. At the time I couldn’t find a service hammer so I ground the pad down on the target one.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:00 AM
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I've always been a fan of the .44 special - "just right," not overly powerful and not weak-kneed, either. Both of these are 99% guns, fired little but treasured a lot,

John

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Old 06-29-2020, 11:35 AM
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That's a really nice looking end result. Given the wear and tear on my hand and wrist over the years I've disposed of everything bigger than 38/9mm, but if I ever went to something bigger again my preference would be a 44 Special. (Hard as they seem to be to find, I'll have to win the lottery first.)

But I'm just curious - how does sawing off a barrel make it easier to remove the threaded stub in the frame? Do they have some kind of screw extractor tool (that isn't 6" long?) Seriously - just wondering.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:44 AM
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My 4" with the Skeeter article that motivated me to spend $375 on this gun new in 1983. Also with the 6 1/2" which wears modified Herretts. They were bland blond and checkered. I removed the checkering and the subtle thumb rest on the left side but kept the trigger finger rest on the right. Then oiled them. Being left handed it's now a thumb rest, but not at all obtrusive. Smooth sambar stags bought from Eagle in 1984 on the 4".



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Old 06-29-2020, 11:58 AM
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I was never much of a Skeeter Skelton fan, but read a lot of his material beginning in the '60s. That one SHOOTING TIMES article, however, impressed me to the point where I finally located a new 4" 24-3 in the fall of 1983 from Walter Craig Distributors. It may have been the only one they had in stock at the time. S&W made fewer of the 4" guns, but as I recall, the long-barreled models weren't easy to find either for the first year or two of production.

I later bought a 6 1/2" and another 4". I can see virtually no difference in any of these guns as far as accuracy or anything else. All are great cast bullet shooters and I shoot mine a lot.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:05 PM
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I wanted a model 24-3 since I first saw that same article by Skeeter. By the time I had the money, the initial production run had sold out. It took until 2012 until I found one at a gun show for a very reasonable price. After I filled out the paperwork I asked the seller if he had a gun rug for it that I could give to the transferring dealer to protect the gun while it was being held for the prerequisite 10 day waiting period. He reached under his table and produced the original box with tools and paperwork. I added a set of smooth Goncalo Alves Target Stocks.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:08 PM
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In ‘83 when I bought my 4” 24-3 I was staying at my parents for a couple months. I got home from work around 2AM and my dad said four guys got out of the car across the street and disappeared into the shadows. I took my loaded .44 and went out to get the license #. The guys were back in the car in a hurry and my dad had already called the cops. They came to our house and asked me to ride with them. They then drove up to a car pulled over by another cop car asking if that was them. I said no. They smiled then moved on. They were testing me I think, because then there was another one pulled over and I said that’s them. They had robbed a house down our street and got caught instantly. I think about that sometimes when I look at my bellicose little .44.

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Old 06-30-2020, 09:16 AM
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For those who shoot their 24-3 often ... reloads or factory?
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:52 AM
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Always cast bullet handloads.
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:38 PM
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I haven’t shot mine in a long time but loaded 7.5 Unique & 240 grain lead, but have settled on 6.4 Unique and 240 or 215 store bought lead SWC bullets.
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:55 PM
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If you haven't tried it, the 250 grain lead SWC and 7.5 grains Unique has been recommended for years. It's quite accurate. However, and keeping in mind that felt recoil is different for all of us, try a few rounds of this load if you're curious about it.

If the recoil doesn't bother you, then load up a bunch. I think it's a bit stout if I'm doing a lot of shooting.
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
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For those who shoot their 24-3 often ... reloads or factory?
I've never shot a factory load in my 24-3. The handloads I use are very accurate, the 6 inch will shoot one ragged hole groups at 20 yds off a rest. The 3.5 inch is good at 20 yds but not as good. The 4 inch is ANIB and has not be fired outside the factory.
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:16 PM
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Not a 24-3 but close enough, maybe. With my preferred grip combination of smooth stag magnas and a grip adapter. Actually, a couple of them.

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Old 07-01-2020, 02:59 AM
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StrawHat,

The ivory stocks look like some of my old Sol Wisenfeld stocks!
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
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StrawHat,

The ivory stocks look like some of my old Sol Wisenfeld stocks!
153,

The only ivory in that photo is on the 22-4 in the upper right. The rest are smooth elk antler or American ivory, if you will humor me.

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Old 07-01-2020, 09:13 AM
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I shoot 240 gr cast bullets with HS-6 powder in my 4" 24-3. Haven't shot it lately and thinking of selling it, because I shoot my 629 much more often.
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Old 07-01-2020, 04:02 PM
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I will accept the title of "chief knucklehead" because I sold not one, but two, Model 24-3's, both with 4" barrels. One of them even had the box and papers.

Today, I do still have a Model 24, but it's a -6, with a 3" barrel. A Lew Horton, 1 of 250 model. The stocks are Altamont "cokes." I've ordered a replacement front sight, but it hasn't shown up yet. It too came with the box and papers, but not the original stocks.



I've put about 100 or so rounds through it, but that was before the Covid stuff started up. I haven't fired it since. I've got a box of Berry's 220 grain plated bullets and 100 pieces of new Starline brass set aside.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
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Mr. Burp,

The barrel is indeed 4” - just measured it.

I had forgotten that I replaced the target trigger with a service one. At the time I couldn’t find a service hammer so I ground the pad down on the target one.
A target trigger had no place on my 3 1/2” 27-2 so I had a service trigger installed. The trigger was a gift from a forum member. I liked the target hammer, though, so left it that way. You did a great job on that hammer.
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:48 PM
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I went through a phase when I wanted the service style hammer and trigger on all my S&W revolvers. It was an easy exchange three or four decades back. By the time I found the 24-3 parts were getting scarce.

I finally learned that it’s best to just leave things be ... well almost!
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:31 PM
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I bought the first 4" blue M24-3 to arrive in Birmingham, Alabama. Got it from McCain Uniforms. I took it and round butted it and put some Packys on it. It rode fine in my Safariland Model 29 holster.

I wound up selling it about 14 years later. That was another one that I wish I had back.
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Old 07-02-2020, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
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I bought the first 4" blue M24-3 to arrive in Birmingham, Alabama. Got it from McCain Uniforms. I took it and round butted it and put some Packys on it. It rode fine in my Safariland Model 29 holster.

I wound up selling it about 14 years later. That was another one that I wish I had back.
Rounding the N frame must have been a “thing” back then. I did the same to a Model 28-2 when I reworked it to 45 ACP. It can be seen in the photo in post 23, lower left. The stainless revolver is also a round butt that I fitted conversion stocks to. I intend to do the same with the 28-2, eventually.

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Old 07-03-2020, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunBass View Post
I will accept the title of "chief knucklehead" because I sold not one, but two, Model 24-3's, both with 4" barrels. One of them even had the box and papers.

Today, I do still have a Model 24, but it's a -6, with a 3" barrel. A Lew Horton, 1 of 250 model. The stocks are Altamont "cokes." I've ordered a replacement front sight, but it hasn't shown up yet. It too came with the box and papers, but not the original stocks.



I've put about 100 or so rounds through it, but that was before the Covid stuff started up. I haven't fired it since. I've got a box of Berry's 220 grain plated bullets and 100 pieces of new Starline brass set aside.
Your 24 has the sight that is right for me
Have taken red ramps off and put Patridge sights
On several.

Last edited by Dave.357; 07-05-2020 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 07-05-2020, 12:14 AM
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My 1776 ruger bicentennial Police service gf32 the grips sucked. I drew my hand on a piece of paper like herret said to do. Weeks later I received grips made to fit my hand there perfect.
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