Help selecting a .38 target Revo please


August 20, 2006, 03:20 PM
I am going to be shooting with a local club, and need a .38 (minimal permitted caliber; I don't see a reason to go higher.)
I have other weapons for other purposes.

I have always shot autoloaders and know squat about revolvers.

I would appreciate some help with selection of a pistol


1. I'm not fiercely competitive, just want some fun, so I dont need SUPER accuracy, just a suitable weapon for aspiring to the middle of the pack. I'll shoot off-the shelf inexpensive ammo.

2. Not interested in .357

3. Need to keep cost minimal ($300-400 max). Less is better.

4. I don't like the small grips I have seen on some of the medium frames (but maybe they can be changed).

5. Target sights preferred.

I saw the S&W K-14 strongly endorsed in another thread here.

What else?

And where to look for my choice (S NM - no shops here of any account).

I notice Guns America prices usually are about 30% over Blue Book (or more). I don't know if that says something about GA, or the BB. Other web sources - I know of Gunbroker.

I look forward to your suggestions. Thanks!

And if someone has the perfect gun for me, I'm open minded (PM, please).


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August 20, 2006, 03:29 PM
Hi. Well, first, you can look on as well for deals.
Now, I know that you know that a 357 magnum also will shoot 38 special so I am taking it that you want a dedicated 38 special.

You do not say what type of shooting you will be doing. Is it bullseye, IDPA, pins, steel plates ...

What are the trigger pull requirements as this could substantially influence your purchase choice depending on what the requirements are.

How much volume are you talking about shooting through the gun, and exactly what are the accuracy requirements to shoot a "possible" on the course of fire.

I know this is more questions than answers, but the answers will get you some sound advice from the posters here.


cortez kid
August 20, 2006, 04:00 PM
You could always get yourself a mod 64. Can get one fairly cheap. Usually can find an old police range pistol. The stainless will clean up to look like new and they are very accurate. If you want a competion gun, however, stay with the mod 14

August 20, 2006, 04:02 PM
S&W K38 Target Masterpiece later known as the Model 14 is the definitive Gentlemans Target Revolver with a 6 inch barrel, wide target trigger and hammer, with target grips. They can be found in the 250 to 350 price range and come in SA only or SA/DA. My 14-4 is a dream to shoot and is far more accurate than I am.

Ron James
August 20, 2006, 05:52 PM
I have a Model 14 that is in 90% condition . I gave less than 200 dollars for it abut 3 years ago. This gun is far more accurate than I am. At 25 yard using H/B wad cutters over a light charge of Bullseye, six shots will cut a clover leaf. This is one gun that when I go, my wife had better place it in the casket with me.

August 20, 2006, 06:15 PM
I would recommend either a Model 14 or Model 15. Both can still be found in your price range.

Old Fuff
August 20, 2006, 06:55 PM

Need to know more about the kind of shooting you propose to do. What is the maximum range you have in mind, and will this be stand-up bullseye style shooting or something else? There are some choices beside the S&W K-38 Target Masterpiece (Model 14) but it would be a good one, particularly if you were shooting one-handed between 25 to 50 yards. Certain Colt revolvers cound come into contention too.

August 20, 2006, 08:33 PM
Thanks for the good questions, Lawboy, et al. And for the suggestions.

I mentiond the pistol is for club competition use: for instance, next weekend we will have an IDPA/USPSA revolver match - I don't know what the format will be. I imagine ranges might go to 50 yd.

"You do not say what type of shooting you will be doing. Is it bullseye, IDPA, pins, steel plates ..." All of the above, likely, so an all-purpose range revolver.

I'm sure single and double handed will be required.

I think a dedicated .38 would be best for me because it would be less expensive, and I don't need the qualities of a .357, unless someone shows me a reason why. I'm lusting after a 1911 too (already know what I want!), so I don't want to spend more than I have to on the .38 which is just to get me into the matches & have some fun. I will still have to buy several speedloaders, pouches and a quality holster and pay FL fees and shipping.

I have no particuar expectation of accuracy: I don't aspire to high scorer, so will not hand reload or take other special steps (Except practice, and maybe better factory ammo if I get interested enough). I'm sure the S&W model Mod 14 would shoot better than I.

I desire double action with a reasonably light trigger pull. If I have to get a trigger job, I will.

Volume of rounds? Relatively low, I should think. 1000/yr?

I'm pleased to hear further endorsement of the Mod. 14.

Just wanted to explore the possibilities (and find out where I can get a mod 14 for $200 - $350)! Best I have found is $425 for a 14-3

In making a choice, I think availability must be a factor: it's no good selecting a firearm which is almost impossible to find!

I hope this fill in the gaps.

Many thanks, C

August 20, 2006, 08:44 PM
I can't say enough good stuff about my S&W Model 67-6 4".

Old Fuff
August 20, 2006, 09:01 PM
I mentiond the pistol is for club competition use: for instance, next weekend we will have an IDPA/USPSA revolver match - I don't know what the format will be. I imagine ranges might go to 50 yd.
Ah... It helps to be enlightened.

You should check with a fellow club member as to EXACTLY what the shooting consists of, but if this is IDPA/USPSA I doubt the distance will go over 25 yards, and the shooting will be fast and ferious. You will also have to shoot "from the leather," which is a far cry from bullseye shooting.

Besides the revolver you will need a belt, holster and speedloaders. So far as the gun is concerned I would suggest:

A Smith & Wesson Military & Police (Model 10) revolver. It would be well inside your budget, and accessories are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. With a 4" barrel drawing from the leather isn't dificult. SA/DA action is generally excellent, or can be made so. The biggest negative would be fixed sights. This is an easy gun to find almost anywhere.

A K-38 Combat Masterpiece (Model 15). Similar to the Model 10, but with more deluxe features including adjustable sights. A little harder to find, but not uncommon, and still well within your budget. Generally speaking, the accessories, including oversized stocks, that work for the Model 10 also fit the Model 15. Again this revolver usually comes with a 4" barrel.

The Model 14 that was previously discussed is the 6" barreled version of the Model 15. The longer barrel might make it harder to draw from a holster. It might also not conform with the club or IDPA/USPSA rules. Check before buying anything.

if your main objective is to get a 1911 style pistol I would hold spending on the revolver and accessories to a minimum. If you decide to get more involved with wheel-guns you can trade the basic model toward a better one.

August 20, 2006, 09:19 PM
S&W model 67. Mine has a slightly tapered barrel and the balance is perfect. It's the slickest gun I own and would be the top choice among my handguns for the first 6 shots. A great choice for my first handgun. It polished up nicely too. (

August 20, 2006, 10:13 PM
I'll certainly check the 67's (haven't found one yet) - yours looks great, Sean.

H&B: the IDPA was a "for instance"; I know there are bullseye shoots too. At this point I just want to get int the game, and can only buy one revo for the various events. I'll have to find out if there is a 4" limit on anything.


August 21, 2006, 01:45 AM
I wouldn't say no to a .357 Magnum just because it isn't a .38 Special.

If you can find a S&W 14 or 15, go ahead. They are exactly what you are looking for.
Certainly the classic M10 fits the bill. Some used ones that are mechanically sound but looking (as they say about furniture) distressed can be had cheap, if you are in the right place.
You might even have money left over for a set of grips that suit you better.

But in many areas the S&W 19 can be had in your price range. It is built on the same frame and has the same wonderful trigger. I believe it is slightly heavier too, which will help with recoil control.

I'm not saying specifically to look for it, just don't walk on by because it isn't a .38 Special.

You really need to check what type of competition you will really participate in - some have minimum power levels the ammunition must meet.

August 21, 2006, 07:46 AM
I would have to suggest a Ruger GP-100 with 4" barrel in 357 mag. The mag will shoot 38 spl and never wear out. Can grow with it.

August 21, 2006, 05:40 PM
I used to have a S&W model 10 with 6 inch barrel. $275. A good shooter for the money.

August 22, 2006, 12:04 AM
My Model 15-4 ($220) would work perfect for your needs. It has a great trigger very smooth and darn accurate. Any smith K-frame would work great.

Here is a pic of my Combat Masterpiece!

August 22, 2006, 06:41 PM
If you have to draw then shoot the extra barrel on the M14 takes a second longer to clear leather, balance and get your sight picture. Also the wide target trigger is not best for getting a large finger in proper postion in a hurry. For that type of shooting I think the M15 Combat Masterpiece would be a more practical choice.

August 22, 2006, 08:22 PM
Thank you for more comments.

Evidently the Masterpiece series with a 4" barrel, or the model 67 would be excellent for action shooting. For Bullseye shooting it seems a 6" or longer barrel would be best: I have had another suggestion from another source - the model 19 or 27/28; the latter is the Highway Patrolman, and is a larger frame: heavier is more steady: I have seen a clean one for $390, one with some exterior pitting, $350. These are all .357.

Whatever I choose is going to be a compromise: It is a matter of leaning towards action or bullseye.

I'm inclined to go wth 6". I recently read Wyatt Earp's biography by Stuart Lake - a great read about an honorable man. If he could draw his 14" (IIRC) revolver faster than the other guy every time (and often whack him over the head with it), I should be able to manage 6". I think you MUST have a minimum of 6" for bullseye shooting, and can get by with it for action at slight disadvantage.

Now I have to get my mitts on some of the models mentioned. I hope to shoot the Patrolman in the next few days, and maybe one of the Mastpiece K frames.

The Model 67 gets disqualified on this basis (4" only, and no access to one), nice as it obviously is.

If I really get into it, I can sell the 6", and get a 4" and a 7.5". But that's in the future.


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