Mystery Smith & Wesson .22 Revolver


June 12, 2006, 04:29 PM
My wife has just received her father's old .22 S&W--but it is stuck at the FFL dealer because they can't figure out what it is--and it's not obvious and it's not on the California approved list. I have not seen it yet but it seems to be the following--

It is a blued gun.
It is 6 shot, .22, I assume LR
4 " bbl.
Target Sights
Hand ejection from a roll-out cylinder

It has no model number but the serial number is 5312XX.

My wife remembers her father shooting it in the late 40s-early 50s. Probably made around that time, or earlier.

Absence of model number suggests it was before model numbers. If it can be classified as a Curio/Relic, she can receive it here in CA. If not, back to her brother in NY.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I may be able to get a photo of it and if so, I will post that if it is allowed in the Forum.

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June 12, 2006, 04:35 PM
My best guess would be a K-22 Combat Masterpiece--"Pre Model 18"

It's blued w/a 4" barrel, not sure about the sights.....but is also a 6 shooter.

Was first produced in 1949, which would correspond somewhat to the time period you've got.....

Feel free to post a snapshot if you want too

June 12, 2006, 04:41 PM
Did any of the K22 guns not have a model number? That's the missing link. I will get a picture this afternoon.

If anyone has a S & W serial number book I would appreciate if you would look up a gun in this range.


June 12, 2006, 05:05 PM
The number you posted is probably not the serial number.

You will have to look on the butt of the gun for the real serial number.


June 12, 2006, 05:15 PM
If it looks like this then it is a K22 Combat Masterpiece. This one has a 6 inch bbl.

June 12, 2006, 05:18 PM
I just talked to our FFL dealer and she says that is the number on the butt and also on another part--she didn't say which because her assistant examined the gun and locked it in the vault and he's tied up right now. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Does this definitely rule out S & W if there are no letters or a long/shorter number?

I will get a picture of it later this evening and we are also going to have a gunsmith who's been in the trade for 30+ years look at it at 4:30 PM PST today.

I am sorry that I don't have this firm. Let's wait 'til tonight.

Thank all of you.

Old Fuff
June 12, 2006, 05:39 PM

I believe that you have what is called a "22-32 Kit Gun." Smith & Wesson made these .22 LR revolvers on their small I-frame. They had adjustable sights and a 4 inch barrel. Most were blued. They were targeted toward fishrmen and others that wanted a small, high quality .22 revolver to "tote" on fishing trips or a hike in the woods.

The particular series in which the revolver you have, were made between 1935-1941 within a serial number range of 525670 through 536684. Serial number 5312xx was probably made in 1939 or '40.

Production of this model continued after World War Two, and in 1957 is was assighed the model number 34. The model 34 was discontinued in 1991. However as you suspected, your revolver pre-dates the model 34.

I hope this will help...

June 12, 2006, 06:22 PM
You are absolutely correct. I just went to the dealer and got the same information. It is in beautiful condition, probably 90-95% The dealer's used gun book gives all the pertinent info including the correct serial number for the range they produced from 1935-41. I will post a picture in a few minutes.

June 12, 2006, 06:39 PM
The picture of this Kit gun is attached with grips removed. Serial Numbers match on all parts including the wooden grips.

Thank you all for your help. Now we have to convince the Peoples Republic of ********** that it is legal to be here. Not a done deal :rolleyes:

June 12, 2006, 07:10 PM
Now we have to convince the Peoples Republic of ********** that it is legal to be here.
Well, I can understand their reluctance. With those black grips, it's obvious you have a fearsome cop-killer assault revolver there.

By the way - nice work, Fuff. Pretty impressive doing that sight-unseen.

June 12, 2006, 07:50 PM
As an inheritance it doesn't need state approval. CA law allows any handgun, on the approved list or not, to be inherited. Even from out of state. Have your FFL check the CA reulations regarding inherited handguns.

Even if it had not been bequethed it's over 50 years old and therefore has C&R status and these are also legal to import and sell in CA.

June 12, 2006, 10:46 PM
You are right. It comes under the Curio/Relic category and we are in fat city.

I thank all of you wonderful gun owners for commenting. I, too, think Fuff did a heckuva' job, sight unseen. :D

Old Fuff
June 12, 2006, 10:47 PM

Your revolver is a little unusual in that it has the square-butt stocks. Most of this particular model came with round-butt ones.

You can confirm what you have by writing Smith & Wesson's company historian, Roy Jinks. Include a description of the gun as you posted it here, and a hardcopy of the photograph. Also a check in the amount of $30.00 made out to Smith & Wesson (not Mr. Jinks).

Mr. Jinks will then research the company records, and send you a formal letter with both an overview of the model (such as you've read here) and then a detailed description of the history of your revolver as it is reflected in their records. This can be used if necesary to identify the gun for California authorities as well as provide some information I'm sure you will find interesting.

You can learn more by visiting: which is the company website.

Old Fuff
June 12, 2006, 10:56 PM
The Old Fuff's knowledge is only exceeded by (1) his ego, and (2) his good looks... :D

Actually benedict1's detailed description made the identification very easy. The pre-war .22 Kit Gun was the only model that fit the description, fell into the right time period, and was in the correct serial number range. The only other possibility might be the .22-32 Target model, but it had a 6" barrel.

June 13, 2006, 09:04 AM
Thank you Fuff! I had already found Mr. Jinks name on the S & W website and copied the form letter of inquiry. We are sending the letter and the photo off today.

Our gunsmith looked it over thoroughly last night. It is in great condition. It also was refinished at some point--he thinks it may have been done by SW at the factory because it is a beautiful bluing job, high gloss, as photo above shows. One curious fact--at the very bottom of the front side of the metal grip there is a five-pointed star stamped in the metal. He thought that might be a factory stamp indicating either the refinish work or a recall/retrofit of some feature/part.

Any clue about the star Old Fuff?

Jim Watson
June 13, 2006, 09:08 AM
Best I recall, the star is a factory rework mark, the gun sent in for reblue and maybe other attention. Better than a gunsmith reblue even though not as collector desirable as a lot of original finish.

Old Fuff
June 13, 2006, 10:43 AM
Jim is correct. The star indicates a factory rework or refinishing job. Be sure to mention the star marking in your letter to Roy Jinks and he may be able to find out what was done, and when.

June 13, 2006, 04:30 PM
I did ask Mr. Jinks to look at the star--sent him a photo with an arrow pointing to where it is on the metal handle frontside.

I'm aware it doesn't have the collector appeal because of the rework, but that's immaterial. For my wife, IT WAS HER DAD"S GUN!(I'm not shouting, just emphasizing the thrill she had when she saw it last night.)

I will pass your agreement on to our gunsmith to firm up his database re the star mark.

You guys are awesome. My wife is thrilled with all this info and so was I. When I was a kid, a long time ago, I always wanted a Kit Gun because every outdoor story I read involving overnight camping or a trip into the mountains had some guy in it with a Kit Gun. I just got finished talking to an old hunting buddy in Connecticut who got it immediately when I said:) "Kit Gun" on the phone. He shot right back "Yep, .22/.32 Kit Gun, I always wanted one when I was a kid!" Seems sort of universal for us old guys(70ish)

Again, thank you all. I can't wait for the next comments. :D

June 13, 2006, 04:48 PM
The star does indicate a factory rework but not necessarily a refinish (although it's a good bet). They also often stamped the date of the work like 6.81 meaning it was done in June of 1981.

Roy doesn't have records on service work, only on new guns like when and where they were shipped.

August 3, 2006, 08:50 PM
Posted by mistake

August 3, 2006, 10:54 PM
benedict1 "Under about 3.8 gr Unique gets a little inconsistent. You'll also find that you may not get anything close to what you would expect from a particular disk cavity because the density of Unique seems quite variable from lot to lot. The lot I'm using right now averages 19 % light so I have to use larger disk cavities than expected by a bunch.

I loaded a bunch of .38 Specials two nights ago looking for 4.2 gr. I measured five charges at random during one loading sequence of about 100 rounds and got 4.15 gr on my Lee Safety Scale for each of them. I can take that.

It also seems like the older and more broken-in the Auto Disk is, the better consistency you'll get. I too find that ball powders, e.g. Win 231, meter very well with the Auto Disk, even down to 3.0 gr and below.

Don't even think about the adjustable charge bar below 4.5 gr with Unique. The cavity size is prone to 'bridging' and you can get some real short charges.

One last point--in another thread someone recommended getting an RCBS powder baffle for the Auto Disk Pro measure-it has to be bent a little to fit but apparently that helps too at the lower end of the charge spectrum.

Hope this helps. I'm sure others will chime in quickly."

:confused: :confused: :confused: :scrutiny:

August 4, 2006, 12:55 AM
Oops. Sorry. This was supposed to go into a thread in Handloading/Reloading. Please disregard completely.

I tried to remove it by editing but it didn't work.

August 4, 2006, 03:05 PM
OOps. Still an error. I haven't figured this out yet. Sorry

Jim K
August 4, 2006, 09:10 PM
To expand a bit on Fuff's post. The gun was called the .22/32 Kit Gun because it was a .22 caliber on the small I frame, originally used for the .32 caliber. It was called the "Kit Gun" because it was intended for packing in a hiker or outdoorsman's "kit bag" rather than being carried in a holster.

The later K-22 was a .22 caliber on the larger K frame, which was the frame used for the .38 Special. Prior to about 1958, S&W revolvers had names, not model numbers, and many of us old timers refer to the guns by those names. The K-22 was originally called the K-22 Outdoorsman, later the K-22 Masterpiece. The Masterpiece series included the K-22, K-32 and K-38.

Versions with 4" barrel and ramp sight were made in .38 and .22 and called the K-38 or K-22 Combat Masterpiece. The former was much liked by police and the .22 was a companion/training version.


August 5, 2006, 08:17 AM
IIRC, the only Smith called a COMBAT Masterpiece was the Model 15, a .38 Special, 4" gun. ( I have one under my pillow.)
The Model 17 was simply the K-22 Masterpiece, as was the Model 14 the K-38 Masterpiece. Both were 6" barrel target revolvers, nearly identical in size and weight so target shooters could have a matched set.Also,the Model 19 .357 was called the Combat Magnum.
All were based on the mediun size K-frame.
Smith has a never ending supply of model names and numbers, but in California I'd hesitate to call any gun a "Combat" anything!
On the other hand, how could anyone object to a revolver designed for hiking and camping?

August 5, 2006, 08:46 AM
IIRC, the only Smith called a COMBAT Masterpiece was the Model 15, a .38 Special, 4" gun. ( I have one under my pillow.)
The Model 17 was simply the K-22 Masterpiece, as was the Model 14 the K-38 Masterpiece. Both were 6" barrel target revolvers, nearly identical in size and weight so target shooters could have a matched set.Also,the Model 19 .357 was called the Combat Magnum.
All were based on the mediun size K-frame.

Not quite. There are pre 14 K-38 Target Masterpieces, and Pre 15 K-38Combat Masterpieces. There are also pre 17 K-22 Target Masterpieces, and pre 18 K-22 Combat Masterpieces. The M15 & M18 are the numbers that were assigned to the K-38 and K-22 Combat Masterpiece revolvers when S&W switched to the number system in 1957. There was also a K-32 Target Masterpiece revolver that remained in production until 1973 as the Model 16. Further there are the Model 67 Combat Masterpiece Stainless and the relatively new M617 Target Masterpiece Stainless, in 38 Special and 22 LR respectively. Could a 618 Combat Masterpiece Stainless 22 LR be in the works?

August 5, 2006, 09:10 AM
It has no model number but the serial number is 5312XX.

Hello benedict1
The serial Number you have provided proves to be a Pre-War serial Number and in 1936 S&W Introduced the 22/32 Target gun you show with a 4" barrel. In that year the serial number's started out at 529771 for the .22/.32 Hand Ejector series of which your revolver is. This revolver was continued until the World War II time span, When S&W stopped all civilian production hand guns, just Prior to World War II, and the last serial number series of Pre-War 22/32 hand ejector Target revolver's like the one you have shown was 534,587 and 534,636 of the .32 Hand Ejector series as well. The .22 Caliber Target and Kit gun were reintroduced After the war with a start up production date of September 6, 1950. The Post War Models looked exactly like Your Pre-War model with the exception of a new Safety Hammer block added to the action, that ran from the rebound slide, to up under the hammer nose area. This can be seen by removing the side plate as well, and would be an easy way to distinguish if a revolver of this era was a Pre-War or Post-War model, regardless of what a serial number may be, ALL revolver's that left the factory After the End Of World war II had this new safety feature, and we have learned that sometimes a revolver may have been serial numbered years before being shipped, depending on what the consumer demand was, and after the war, it was a while before the economy picked it's pace back up, so Many Post War S&W's that were now shipped can come back to a Pre-War serial, if the company had them on reserve in their vault till after the War. A Factory letter is the Only True way to know exactly when a revolver was shipped as well. In conclusion the serial number you have given above would clearly indicate your revolver was made between 1936 and the Start of World -War II leaning towards the Very late 30's or Early 40's Time span. The grip's shown on Your revolver were a target style "extension grip", a S&W factory option to allow better grip at target shooting, with the Round Butt frames. The very early examples of these Factory option Target extension grips were released on the special order placed by Phil Bekeart, a California dealer and avid shooter back then, Called The Bekeart target revolver's and ones seen on his ordered revolver's had the revolver's serial number branded on the out side of the grip panel, along the lower front grip frame area. Most of these Extension Target style grips were made from select Walnut that had a marble stripped effect with the grain and we quickly notice the black stripes often seen on this classic wood used in S&W grips of that time frame, along with the Birth of the early Magna style factory grips, and some early service grips. I hope this is of some use to you, I was attempting to add a little more information to other member's excellent description of your revolver, and that is one sweet looking revolver, even if it has a factory star, may indicate a refinish of the bluing or parts replacement done at The Smith & Wesson Factory. The factory letter will add to it's value and having a family piece like this is something to really cherish and be Proud of. Best regards,Hammerdown

August 5, 2006, 10:18 AM
/dogngun/ IIRC, the only Smith called a COMBAT Masterpiece was the Model 15, a .38 Special, 4" gun. ( I have one under my pillow.)
The Model 17 was simply the K-22 Masterpiece, as was the Model 14 the K-38 Masterpiece. Both were 6" barrel target revolvers, nearly identical in size and weight so target shooters could have a matched set.Also,the Model 19 .357 was called the Combat Magnum.

Smith & Wesson's "Combat Masterpiece" Series was introduced in 1950 at that time the factory Planned to produce in Three calibers. 38, .32, and .22.
Fondly Named the K-38 model 15, The K-32 Model 16, and The K-22 Combat Masterpiece, model 18 and the newer more Modern version, 17-5 Bull Barrel revolver, that has the same features as the rest of the Combat series with it's 4" barrel and Baughman quick draw front sight. The Combat Masterpiece series was a shorter 4" barrel version of their Target Masterpiece, Most commonly with a service length barrel, and Baughman quick draw front sight. They did however make exceptions on some model standards, as the Model 15 was Known to come with the standard service 4" barrel, along with the Heavy Bull barrel and Baughman quick draw sight, and the model 14 may have been considered a target Masterpiece as it more commonly wore a 6" barrel or the longer 8-3/8" barel with a Patridge style front sight But Here is a revolver that was a special order revolver by "Dayton Sport's" of Dayton, Ohio. This revolver is one of 2038 produced by S&W between 1965-1968 that had the very same features as the model 15 but was clearly marked a 14-2, and this would also be considered a Combat Masterpiece as well, with it's features exact to a model 15 mentioned by a previous responder.I did contact Mr. Jinks and he confirmed this revolver is one of the low production Dayton Combat masterpiece models, that shipped from the Factory in 1966. Shown below is The S&W Model 18 .22 Caliber Combat Masterpiece, which is almost the same as it's cousin the K-22 6 " Barrel Target version that has a Patridge front sight as mentioned earlier, and the Model 14-2 Combat Masterpiece, along with yet another Combat Masterpiece the 17-5. Although my current reference book's do not show this More Modern Model 17-5 K-22 to be one of the Combat Masterpiece models, as they are Older than this seldom seen K-22 Bull Barreled model, Which had a short Three year span before S&W added a Full Lug under the barrel from 1986-1989, and it should be Noted to have been one of the only model 17 K-22's to have a shorter 4" barrel as well. It certainly has all the features that S&W require's it to qualify as another Combat Masterpiece bearing in mind to be a true S&W Combat Masterpiece all revolver's must have the 4" barrel and Baughman quick draw front sight.To date this shows the Combat Masterpiece series to have a total of 5 revolver's all of different models and Four of the same caliber, being the Model 14 & 15 and the model 17 & 18. I have a real affection for The Combat Masterpiece series, and have not owned one that did not shoot well making them one of the best S&W revolver's to me.;) Best regards, Hammerdown

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