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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 10-16-2020, 01:57 PM
ZGrand ZGrand is online now
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Default Collectability of Model 15-4

Hi all. I have a question about the collectability of an unfired since it left the factory, nickel-plated Model 15-4.

I just bought this item from a forum member here. (Props to member "rone". The item was received exactly as described, and the whole transaction could not have gone more smoothly.) The serial no. is 265KXXX, which I believe dates it to 1982. (Is this correct?)

I bought my first Smith revolver a few months back - a new 6" Model 686-6 Plus Deluxe. I wanted a nice blued 4" K-frame (like a model 19) for my next purchase, but this one came up in the For Sale forum so I jumped on it. My intent for buying the Model 15 was to shoot it, even though it was advertised as being unfired since it left the factory. Upon inspection, I definitely believe this to be true, and it's so nice now I'm not so sure about firing it.

This is not a "Do I Shoot it or Not?" thread. If it were, I know half of you would say, "Shoot It", half would say, "Don't Shoot It", and the other half would say, "Who Gives a Rip". Being new to Smith revolvers, I don't know how collectable the Model 15 is. I know they don't bring huge money. I know there were many thousands of them manufactured and used by numerous enforcement agencies for many years. Are they a desired collectable? Thanks in advance for your insights.

Also, there are two stickers on the butt of the grips, as seen in the picture below. The previous owner thought they might be manufacturing inspection stickers. Can anyone verify?

Here are a couple of pictures.
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Last edited by ZGrand; 10-16-2020 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:03 PM
Breakaway500 Breakaway500 is offline
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The model 15 is as collectible as any and then some. It's my favorite model. Yours is a beautiful example of the iconic revolver.
Those stickers I believe are quality control inspected confirmation, done before shipping. I doubt todays S&W firearms are even looked at till the end purchaser opens the box.

Last edited by Breakaway500; 10-16-2020 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:10 PM
Deceasedeye Deceasedeye is offline
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Not that it's a bad thing, looks like you may have one of the first non-pinned barrels on model 15. The model 15 always gets very high marks from posters on the forum. I have one that's a twin to yours except for the pinned barrel, I consider it my favorite. ALL Smiths are collectable!
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:19 PM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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It's not a pinned barrel, so strike one for collector piece.
If it does not have the original box, papers, and tools, then strike two.
There are lots of Model 15's out there, personally, I think you have a pristine shooter... unless you do have the original box, papers and tools.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:35 PM
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Oh, yes. I forgot to mention, it did come with the original box (in decent shape, not pristine), all paperwork, and cleaning tools in the unopened plastic bag.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:54 PM
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"Collectability" often relates to how
pristine a model is relative to all the
so-called "shooters" that exist.

In the Model 15's case, many many
"shooters" exist so any pristine or
near pristine models become more
desirable.

As noted a negative for the OP's gun
is the lack of a barrel pin and its
later production year. Quite a few
pristine 15s exist from earlier years.

If the OP is not a collector or at least
a judicious accumulator, then by all
means consider the 15-4 a shooter
and realize all the enjoyment that
can be had from it.

I always ask myself if I think the
money I spent is well worth it and
why am I saving the gun for someone
else when now it's mine!

As to a box and papers, when buying
a gun it means nothing to me so I
won't pay extra. But in selling the gun
I'll ask extra because of the box and
papers.
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Old 10-16-2020, 03:15 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is online now
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I have two blue 15-2's, one is a 4" the other is a 2". Blue 15's in fantastic condition are basically "A dime a dozen" because many departments issued them! Nickle post war K frames were produced at a minor fraction of their blue counterparts.

But DON'T LET SEMANTICS FOOL YOU! It can only be a collector gun if it is in a collection. The minimum number of guns in any collection is ONE!

Collector grade, Collector Gun and Collection are all matters of the owner's attitudes or intentions. You alone decide that term for your possessions.

The value of any object, is the amount that you actually buy or sell an item for, not what it might be worth, not "These sell for $X on the internet, and not "I paid $X for one like it."

All that being said, your gun looks worthy of any collection. It also looks "Safe to shoot"! But don't let any one else's opinion dissuade you, Do with it as you and only you see fit!

Ivan

PS, It is safe to shoot +P's in it!

EDITED TO ADD: If you needed a hammer and went to a store and bought a hammer (that thousands like it were made) that sat on the shelf unsold for 38 years, got it home and someone suggested that it was "To Collectable to use!", you would laugh them out of your workshop. ANY FIREARM is a tool first and a work of art way down the road. "Collectable" is a recent invention, to separate you from added amounts of money! All that being said, I too have accumulated and collected a few hundred guns, They were all made with the intent of usage. A few however, have been Honorable Retired.

Last edited by Ivan the Butcher; 10-16-2020 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 10-16-2020, 03:18 PM
JohnRippert JohnRippert is offline
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It is in high condition with box, paperwork and tools. That makes it collectible in my book. May not bring as much as a pinned version in the same shape but calling it a high condition "shooter" is ridiculous.
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Old 10-16-2020, 03:36 PM
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I have said this many times before, the M15 is one of S&W's finest efforts. They along with the M28 are my favorites, and I consider them worthy of collecting. In the pictures below there is a mint 2", and above it a mint 4". Both 15-3's. The 15-2 with the olive grips in unfired, as is the one labeled 1974.

The 6" PPC is a 15-3 ( 1975) that I had built in 1978

I also have a very nice M67 stainless coming soon. That would be the stainless version of the model 15

BTW OP, you have a beauty there. I would consider that collectible
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Old 10-16-2020, 03:42 PM
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For what it's worth...

I suspect there are very few Model 15s out there today that remain unfired...and I suspect that unfired status will prove to be increasingly important as time goes on, pinned barrel or not.

Once you shoot it, it's just another used K-frame.

Whether you maintain it as a collectable, or choose to shoot it, enjoy...it's a beautiful piece...
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:01 PM
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Narragansett,

I note that in your fine collection
some have target stocks. Are they
original to the guns?

I'm used to just seeing the Magnas
as on the 2-incher.
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Last edited by UncleEd; 10-16-2020 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 10-16-2020, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleEd View Post
Narragansett,

I note that in your fine collection
some have target stocks. Are they
original to the guns?

I'm used to just seeing the Magnas
as on the 2-incher.
Uncle Ed, All of the m15's shown except the PPC gun have the original magnas tucked away in their respective boxes. The 4" gun above the 2" gun has my original rosewoods on it from when I was a Town constable, to duplicate what I carried. My carry gun was made into the PPC gun.

The picture below, is what the 2" looks like now with Culina osage orange combats
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:12 AM
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Thanks for the replies, gents. Looks like I'll have plenty of time to decide whether to shoot it or not -- I haven't seen any .38 Special ammo around my locale for months, at any price.

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Old 10-17-2020, 08:41 AM
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I dont know how collectible they are, not very I presume, but I cherish my only two M15s. Id like to find a nice 2 nickel.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CH4 View Post
I dont know how collectible they are, not very I presume, but I cherish my only two M15s. Id like to find a nice 2 nickel.
Care to trade your 2" blue for a 2" nickel?
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:45 AM
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Well, now that you have revealed that not only is it unfired except for the factory test firing, and it comes with everything that it came with from the factory, I'd say this particular Model 15-4 is elevated to collector status.

If I had such a piece, I would keep it NIB and tuck it away. Odds are it will only increase in value. There are plenty of shooter grade Model 15's in circulation.
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Old 10-17-2020, 12:47 PM
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I really wish we did not place so much emphasis on the word "collectible". When used as an adjective, the definition is "capable of being collected". Used as a noun, "an object suitable for a collection". So what is a collection? "something collected especially : an accumulation of objects gathered for study, comparison, or exhibition or as a hobby".

Therefore, I am a collector, since I have an accumulation of objects (guns) as a hobby. Since I am a collector with a collection, that makes all my guns collectible. I also enjoy a number of other interests in my life and have multiple collections. I have these collections because they offer me personal pleasure, they are the "fruit of my life" so to speak.

We place far too much emphasis on "what is it worth", rather than "what pleasure do I derive". If a particular gun is collectible to you or me, then it is collectible, period. I don't care if it is in perfect mint condition or is 98% patina with some rust and dings.

None of my guns have a high dollar value. All of my guns are collectible because I am a collector with a collection that gives me pleasure. You can't put a price tag on that.
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Old 10-17-2020, 10:48 PM
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"All of my guns are collectible because I am a collector." (See Post #17.) I couldn't have said it better myself.

Now let's talk about real world collectibles in terms of dollars and sense-------and it won't take very long at all.

True collectibles, be they firearms, chess sets, or automobiles appreciate in value.

Other stuff people collect does not.

I'm sure there are some S&W Model Number Guns somewhere which will appreciate in value sometime, for some reason. I will opine this is not one of them---or if it is, it will be a loooooooooooooooooong time coming.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
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Care to trade your 2" blue for a 2" nickel?
Thanks for the kind offer, but I need it to keep a future nickel snubbie company
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Old 10-18-2020, 04:29 PM
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I think it is worth preserving in the original condition. Tuck this one away and keep looking for the Model 19.
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