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  #1  
Old 08-19-2010, 9:02 AM
CALATRAVA CALATRAVA is offline
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Default K38 smith and wesson

Any info resources? This particular one has adjustable sights, 5 screws and an exposed ejector rod.

How much would you pay if its in good shape for home defense/ camping/hiking, etc?

I'm in san diego - east, if it matters.
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Old 08-19-2010, 9:05 AM
nn3453 nn3453 is offline
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Barrel length?
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Old 08-19-2010, 9:06 AM
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K38's are pretty common; the 5-screw could be from a number of different periods and so more details are needed.

If it's a shooter-grade (lots of holster wear) I'd probably say $400.

If it's an early 5-screw in really nice shape with numbered diamond magna grips and matching box, then it might be a $600-700 gun (just depends on the details).

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Old 08-19-2010, 9:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nn3453 View Post
Barrel length?
Got me on that one. Either 4" or 5", i think
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  #5  
Old 08-19-2010, 9:34 AM
dfletcher dfletcher is offline
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Barrel length most likely would be a 6" - I suppose they were made in other lengths but 6" K38 is most common. Does the gun have a Patridge (squared) front sight blade or a ramped?

Also, the wood grips should have a large diamond in the center. They cost about $75.00 - $100.00 to replace if not with the gun.

I think any 6 shot, +4" barreled revolver makes an OK home defense gun, but I probably wouldn't carry a nice older gun around camping. Nothing wrong with it just a choice.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:43 AM
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A four inch barrel, which extends maybe an inch past the ejector rod lug would make it a "Combat Masterpiece" or Model 15 post 1957. Open the cylinder and look inside the frame ahead of the cylinder opening for the model #. The Combat Masterpiece was made in 2 and 4 inch barrel lengths.

A Combat Masterpiece will typically have the Baughman "quickdraw" ramp front sight, but any style could be ordered. These are very common, they were widely used as police service guns and tons of them made it out into the secondary market. A five screw Combat Masterpiece would be a bit rarer, and condition would definitely dictate price. The photo below, cadged from the S&W forum is a five screw Combat Masterpiece dating from 1950 with the Baughman ramp front sight.



A true "K38 Masterpiece" would be at least a 6 inch barrel, extending out a good distance from the lug, some 8 3/8" were made. The default front sight on a K38 was a Patridge blade, but any sight style could be ordered or put on aftermarket.

As above, diamond grips that match the number on the gun are a prize. Don't ever lose them, sell them, or scuff them up. A clean 5 screw K38 with matching grips could be up to $700, a bit more if there are oddities like different sights, personalization with provenance supported by a factory letter, box, papers etc. A used and well maintained example without any specific collector value I'd go up to $400 depending what inspection revealed.

This is a K38 Masterpiece, later known as the Model 14, with 6 inch barrel and Patridge front blade. It is also a five screw and from the early 1950's.

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  #7  
Old 08-19-2010, 1:28 PM
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^^^

If the gun is a 5 screw would there be a model number inside the crane? I'm not sure on my chronology, whether the 5th screw was eliminated before model numbers or after.
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Old 08-19-2010, 2:18 PM
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The 5-screws can have a model number. They didn't delete the triggerguard screw until 1961.

Any K-frame .38 special that shows light use I would expect to sell for about $375-$425. Those with excellent finishes where you have to look for signs of use would be the ones >$500. A true, pre-1957 K-38 in excellent shape should bring $600+, depending on details.

The fact is, most people now want a .357 Magnum or they want a bottom-feeding pistol. In .38 special, the snubbies are the rage. These venerable old police-style revolvers don't seem to garner much love.


S&W Model 15's. 4-inch & 2-inch only; .38 Special, Baugman front sights, grooved service triggers and semi-target hammers. 4-inch shown with non-PC oversize S&W grips.

It's a shame, really as these are fine guns. The above 4" model 15 or it's stainless twin, a Model 67, alternate as my home defense gun. Both are loaded with .38 +P and should be plenty adequate for anything but the most extraordinary encounters.

If the 5-screw specimen you're looking at has a finish that's seen some obvious use or it looks like a well-loved police gun but is in sound mechancial condition, I'd expect to pay only about $300-$340 for it. Dings in the metal, scrapes from being dropped, etc. would lower my price for it by $30-$50, depending on how ugly they were.

The only caveat I'd offer is that a pre-model number S&W should not be fed very much in the way of +P ammo. This extra pressure ammo wasn't even conceived of when the original K-38's were made. They'll probably shoot it just fine, but there's always a risk you'll break something.

Last edited by BillCA; 08-19-2010 at 2:20 PM..
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  #9  
Old 08-19-2010, 3:54 PM
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Here is my K38 Target Masterpiece.



K frame will always holds a spacial spot in my heart. For me, it's what revolver should be. 6 shots, blued carbon steel frame, perfectly balanced and smooth action, classic wood grip and most importantly, no BS lock on the frame.
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Old 08-19-2010, 5:51 PM
CALATRAVA CALATRAVA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfletcher View Post
Barrel length most likely would be a 6" - I suppose they were made in other lengths but 6" K38 is most common. Does the gun have a Patridge (squared) front sight blade or a ramped?

Also, the wood grips should have a large diamond in the center. They cost about $75.00 - $100.00 to replace if not with the gun.

I think any 6 shot, +4" barreled revolver makes an OK home defense gun, but I probably wouldn't carry a nice older gun around camping. Nothing wrong with it just a choice.
yeah, ramped front sight, and a big diamond on the grip
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  #11  
Old 08-19-2010, 8:15 PM
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Thanks for all the info. Depending on the particulars it sounds like the $450.00 that is eing asked may not be far off.
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