Buying a revolver

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Post by Soupy44 on 7/2/2019, 10:49 am

First topic message reminder :

Two parts, first what to look for in buying a revolver. What are the chances a new factory gun will shoot? 

Second, I'd love to end up with a set of revolvers for 22, 38, and 45. It would be nice if they all felt the same. Any suggestions on what to get for that set? 

I plan to buy a 38 near the end of this year. The 22 would likely be next, 45 last. 

Once I get my badges, I'd love to spend some time shooting revolver 2700s for fun a few times a year. 

Thanks!

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Post by LenV on 7/4/2019, 9:56 am

If I had to do it over and could only afford one revolver I would get the model 19. It offers everything the 14 does plus a little extra capability if you don't shoot bullseye 100% of the time. There has/have been a lot of discussions on this forum about the pros and cons of a dedicated 38 Special. The consensus of this forum is that there is no consensus. In my Life experience I have never found the .357 cylinder to be more or less accurate with WC (or full length) which is the ultimate test of extra space in the cylinder. I'm using my 27 (also a .357mag) for DR now because my 19 is on loan (I hope) to my son. The 27 is another great choice if you have larger hands.

Top to bottom. DR Revolvers 19, 14 and a 27 
Buying a revolver - Page 2 Lens_b13
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Post by Allgoodhits on 7/4/2019, 11:04 am

LenV wrote:If I had to do it over and could only afford one revolver I would get the model 19. It offers everything the 14 does plus a little extra capability if you don't shoot bullseye 100% of the time. There has/have been a lot of discussions on this forum about the pros and cons of a dedicated 38 Special. The consensus of this forum is that there is no consensus. In my Life experience I have never found the .357 cylinder to be more or less accurate with WC (or full length) which is the ultimate test of extra space in the cylinder. I'm using my 27 (also a .357mag) for DR now because my 19 is on loan (I hope) to my son. The 27 is another great choice if you have larger hands.

Top to bottom. DR Revolvers 19, 14 and a 27 
Buying a revolver - Page 2 Lens_b13

Can't dispute that. As for me, if I could have only one handgun, it would be Model 581 or 681 followed by a Model 586 or 686. All the reasons for the Model 19, except just a little stronger. No, an only one handgun would not be any semi-auto. Lose the magazine, or magazine becomes disabled and it is now a single shot. Also, loading a magazine, then loading and chambering a round with an auto is a challenge with one hand.

Best wishes in your quest for the ideal revolver.


Last edited by Allgoodhits on 7/4/2019, 11:05 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling error)
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Post by adminbot1911 on 7/4/2019, 11:12 am

Any thoughts on model 14 vs model 15?
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Post by VNK971 on 7/4/2019, 11:31 am

Mike, the target trigger, target hammer, and target grips were only options that cost a little more, it is the adjustable sight that makes it a target model. You can put all three on a model 10 if you like the feel, but it will still have the fixed sights and not be a "target model." I put the grips on all the ones I shoot because that's how my grip evolved. Even with the single action only 14 the only change was the trigger and hammer, it didn't necessarily come with target grips.

Like LenV said, the 19 is a good option. The .357 is 0.135 longer than the .38 Special. With everything else going on with a revolver, barrel/cylinder gap, forcing cone, etc, it would be difficult to isolate the difference in length as the only reason for any inaccuracy.

And, as James said, they were all really target models. When the K38/K22s were introduced they had the 6" barrels and were called the "Kxx Masterpiece." S&W started selling them with 4" barrels calling them the "Kxx Combat Masterpiece", and numbering them the 15 and 18. The only change being the length of the barrel. This is a general rule because this whole thing started in the late 40s and continues to today. You can find factory 14s with 5" barrels, the 8 3/8s was a factory option, and other reasons. The thing with S&W is the only rule is there is no rule.


Last edited by VNK971 on 7/4/2019, 2:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add information)

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Post by Wobbley on 7/4/2019, 11:57 am

mikemyers wrote:'VNK971', can you confirm what the differences were between the "target" version and the standard version?  I know about the trigger and hammer width - was anything else changed?  In terms of accuracy and so on, are both versions the same, or was anything special done for the "target" version?

The usual for the “Target” Model was the addition of Target trigger,  Target hammer, and Target stocks (grips).  Sometimes these are referred to “the three Ts”.  

The target trigger had a wide serrated trigger face, the target hammer has a wide checkered spur and the target stocks were larger nand more hand filling for several ergonomic reasons.  S&W had three styles of grips, Standard, Magna, and Target.

Here is a 17 showing the trigger and hammer but it has Magna grips.

Buying a revolver - Page 2 58578510

Here is a gun with target grips followed by a 1917 Service Revolver with Standard grips.

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Post by james r chapman on 7/4/2019, 12:36 pm

Don’t forget the model 66’s! The model 19 in stainless.
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Post by mikemyers on 7/4/2019, 3:16 pm

My S&W Revolvers, top to bottom:

My first gun, S&W Model 29-2
Model 19-3 with 2" barrel, and the wrong grips, but they make it easier for me to shoot accurately
Model 29-3 Silhouette gun with 10 5/8" barrel
Model 28-2 Highway Patrolman
Model 14-4
Model 17-5 with Nill Grips (the stock grips were "borrowed" for my Model 19)

Buying a revolver - Page 2 Img_6710


I have the grips that came with the Model 19, but they are so small, they don't fit my hand.  The grips shown on the gun don't belong, but they help me shoot better at targets.
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Post by VNK971 on 7/4/2019, 3:44 pm

adminbot1911 wrote:Any thoughts on model 14 vs model 15?

Other than the barrel length, 6" vs 4", the front sight blade is different. The 14 has the Patridge front blade and the 15 has the Baughman ramp front blade. During the period they stopped making the 14, 1982 to 1991, they made 15s with 6" barrels starting in 1986. My reference doesn't say what type of front sight blade they had.

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Post by Jack H on 7/4/2019, 11:52 pm

Randall Fung Grips are great too.
Buying a revolver - Page 2 Sw_45a11
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Post by adminbot1911 on 7/8/2019, 9:35 am

Allgoodhits wrote:
LenV wrote:If I had to do it over and could only afford one revolver I would get the model 19. It offers everything the 14 does plus a little extra capability if you don't shoot bullseye 100% of the time. There has/have been a lot of discussions on this forum about the pros and cons of a dedicated 38 Special. The consensus of this forum is that there is no consensus. In my Life experience I have never found the .357 cylinder to be more or less accurate with WC (or full length) which is the ultimate test of extra space in the cylinder. I'm using my 27 (also a .357mag) for DR now because my 19 is on loan (I hope) to my son. The 27 is another great choice if you have larger hands.

Can't dispute that. As for me, if I could have only one handgun, it would be Model 581 or 681 followed by a Model 586 or 686. All the reasons for the Model 19, except just a little stronger. No, an only one handgun would not be any semi-auto. Lose the magazine, or magazine becomes disabled and it is now a single shot. Also, loading a magazine, then loading and chambering a round with an auto is a challenge with one hand.

Best wishes in your quest for the ideal revolver.
Congratulations on your Revolver leg at VA State Championship! Now to see how long before NRA updates its site...
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Post by Soupy44 on 7/10/2019, 9:17 pm

Two more questions:

What is an expecred price range for a model 14? I'm watching some on Gun Broker and it seems I might steal one for $500-$600, and buy it nows are $800-$1000. 

Who does good revolver work? I know you can't do much to them, but I want the gun to get a once over.

Thanks!

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Post by joy2shoot on 7/10/2019, 10:23 pm

joy2shoot wrote:
p.s. The gunsmith at Triangle Shooting Academy is very knowledgeable and experienced with Smith revolvers.  He has worked on several of mine.
While he is not a Bullseye gunsmith, he does know S&W revolvers.

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Post by Jack H on 7/11/2019, 1:38 am

Some S&W revolvers had a cylinder pivot design in the front with little grooves pointing sideways.  Looks like they intended to "slide" the gasses outward.   Using lead bullets in this design might be a no-no as the lead can accumulate into the cylinder pivot.  Happened to me with a S&W 19.  I don't remember the dash number
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Post by VNK971 on 7/11/2019, 12:04 pm

Soupy44 wrote:
What is an expected price range for a model 14? I'm watching some on Gun Broker and it seems I might steal one for $500-$600, and buy it nows are $800-$1000. 

I picked up the 14-3 I use on Gunbroker for $325 a couple of years ago. It functions fine, but has honest wear on the finish. I paid $600 for a 1954 K38 in excellent condition 3 years ago. The most recent one, 6 months or so, is a 14-3 with the three Ts that had been drilled for a scope for $450. It had not been fired much and the finish is about 99%. I took the scope off and put a regular rear sight leaf on it. I haven't gotten around to shooting it yet, and I may put a dot on it.

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Post by adminbot1911 on 7/11/2019, 12:26 pm

Those are good prices, very good, that VNK found.

If the question is "what is the expected price range", I would EXPECT 450-650 for a well worn but usable model 14, 550-800 for a well kept and usable one, 700-900 for a 95%+ and usable one, and 900-1200 for a complete, matching, and extremely low mileage one.

With time, patience, and a little tactical execution including the well-executed gunbroker bid snipe, you can pick up a deal on the low end or below the low end of this value range.  

Yes, I understand there is some dollar amount overlap above, but this is not a science.  You can "expect" to see the exact same equipment from the exact same year with virtually identical round count go for 855 in one auction and 1075 in another.  Location, quality of photographs, season, and the particular whims and budget of the people in this market from one week to the next make costs fluctuate.

I'm willing to pay 800 dollars for a K38 that I will compete with for years.  900, even.  Chances are, I will recover most if not all of this cost in a year or a decade or a generation.  And what value can you put on a perfectly held pistol?  A leg?  A championship?

I would also EXPECT that a 50+ year old item might have not had the best care every step along the way and may require work of some kind, particularly if a deal looks too good to be true.  But great deals are out there.
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Post by DA/SA on 7/11/2019, 12:44 pm

I found a 14-3 by accident and paid $300.00 for it and it is in excellent condition. The sad thing is that I didn't realize what it actually was until I got home, and he had two of them and I only bought one...

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