I am getting a taste for a 38spl wadcutter revolver. I guess the cream of the crop is the model 14, or the pre 14 k38. Is there a dash number that is more preferable than the others, or is the k38 the preferred model. Some of these go for pretty good money. So, I was wondering what all you experts prefer. I have never owned a model 14 or a k38. What do you guys think? Any and all information is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Okay, S&W junkie here. Purists will tell you the Pre-war are the most desirable, followed by the Pinned & Recessed guns [P&R] S&W started using Model numbers in 1957. The "dash numbers" are engineering changes instituted as they went along.
"Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose."
The ones with the finest finish to me are the ones made from the late 1950s to right around 1968/9. At that point S&W changed their bluing process and while still nice if you look at a 60s vintage gun next to a 70s vintage gun you will see the difference...
Look for a 14-1 (1959-61) or 14-2 (1961-1967)...Serial Number range should begin with a K.
Original service size stock should be walnut and have a diamond around the screw. They will be numbered to the gun. Some guns came with Target grips but for whatever reason Smith didn't number them to the gun even when they were originally shipped from the factory. They will also have a diamond around the screw...
The 38 specials never had a recessed cylinder. They did have the pinned barrels. I have owned two M-14's. One was a "no dash" 8 3/8" that I gave to a friend, and the other I currently own is a 14-3 6". Both of them have been as accurate as ANY handgun I own currently or have owned in the past.
S&W shipped a relatively small quantity of Model 14s (thru dash 3s, I believe), well into the 70's, as Single Action only - intended for Bullseye competition. I stumbled onto one of these not long ago.
A little research showed that the "factory option" was popular enough that S&W also offered an after-market blister-pack kit to convert a double action Model 14 to SA. Then, there were those owners of DA guns who took the least expensive way to a similar end, and removed the double action sear bar from the hammer, as well as a couple related parts. The intent of all this was to simplify the lock work, and supposedly speed up the lock-time a bit. I found one reference which used the term "short stroke" single action. However, in comparing my gun to other K38s, I can't see any difference in the cocked hammer positions, so I'm not sure of the accuracy of this term.
Getting back to the three "variants", a gun which shipped as DA and was modified by removing parts is pretty obvious. If you cock the hammer and look down the "shank" below the firing pin, there will be a slot where the double action sear used to be. If there is no slot, either the SA hammer was installed from a kit, or it was shipped that way. The only way to know absolutely is to get a factory letter. Of course, if you have the original box (with Serial # matching the gun), and it's marked "SA", it's highly likely the factory shipped it that way. But the letter is the ultimate proof. Some feel that a factory SA gun is worth a small premium, while others see it as a liability - limiting its audience and appeal for resale.
Incidentally, on a SA gun you can pull the trigger through a full DA stroke and the cylinder will index normally. However, at the beginning of the trigger stroke, the hammer will start rearward, but only move slightly before falling forward against the frame with no further movement.
I have a question about the model 14-3 I have one and it does not have the target hammer or trigger as does my model 17-3. I was told by the previous owner that it came to him that way. Wondering more about this as others I have seen did have them. Thanks!
Then NRA Precision Pistol (Bullseye) shooter are grabbing these things and shooting the wheels off them. The CMP's Distinguished Service Revolver (DSR) matches and the NRA competition group creating more revolver matches are the drivers. Personally already had a 586 but picked up a post war magnum, 14, and a 686 to play with. Turned out I shot the 586 better than all the rest.
So far as the TT, TH, TS... I think they were produced in a lot of different flavors. My 14 does not have the TT and TH but does have TS. Narrow trigger works best for me as a DA gun. TT is good for SA shooting.