Difference between S&W Model 17 & 18


November 25, 2006, 06:16 PM
For all practical purposes - is there any?

Would you choose one over the other if the condition of each was equal?

If so, why?

I've been hankering for a Model 18 (hankering... does that word date me?) but haven't had a lot of luck. Might have a line on a Model 17 so I came to where the guys & gals in the know hang out - as usual....:D

All opinions appreciated as always folks.

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Ron James
November 25, 2006, 06:32 PM
The diffrents between the Model 17 and the Model 18 is two inchs of barrel .

November 25, 2006, 06:38 PM
For all practical purposes - is there any?

Well, not much. The Model 17 was of course primarily a target revolver while the Model 18 according to Roy Jinks was "...a companion gun (to the Model 15 Combat Masterpiece) designed for training purposes.". The Model 18 has the narrow barrel silhouette of the Model 15 while the Model 17 has a (slightly) heavier barrel, along with a target front sight.

Longer barrel, front target sight, more detail to fitting, these are the primary differences.

I'd choose the Model 17 for competiton and the Model 18 for a field gun.

November 25, 2006, 06:49 PM
Hmmm..... was the Model 17 never issued in a 4" barrel?

Steve Wynn
November 25, 2006, 06:56 PM

The Model 18 is a 4"

The Model 17 is a 6"

November 25, 2006, 07:08 PM
Some additional info for those that own 17s and 18s: they are still known as K-22s, Target Masterpieces and Combat Masterpieces respectively.

BTW, the 18/Combat Masterpiece seems to be the much rarer of the two. They appear to command almost a $100 price premium over the 17/Target Masterpiece on gunbroker.

November 25, 2006, 07:55 PM
Well, I did some research on the Smith & Wesson website and found their parts list for all revolvers in pdf format. I checked it and among the parts they show for the Model 17 they include 4", 6" and 8-3/8" barrels. They also listed full lug versions of these.

Some of these things sure look a lot (not alot) like the Model 18, except for the front sight. Would that likely be the only difference in the two models?


Dave Markowitz
November 25, 2006, 08:05 PM
The Model 17 was also available with an 8-3/8" barrel, but the 6" tube is much more common.

The Model 17 and 18 are both sweet shooters. The 18s are less common, however.

Old Fuff
November 25, 2006, 08:31 PM
It depends on the era when the revolver was made.

In the beginning, just after World War Two, S&W introduced a series of target revolvers in calibers .22, .32 Long and .38 Special. They were called K-22, K-32 and K-38 Target Masterpieces. All had barrels with narrow ribs. Later, the ribs on the .32's and .38's were made wider so that the revolvers would be equal in weight.

During the time when the K-38 had the narrow rib, various law enforcement officers (FBI Agents in particular) sent back K-38 Target Masterpieces (pre-model 14) to the factory and ask that the barrels be shortened to 4 inches and a Baughman "quick draw" front sight mounted in place of the target one. The modified gun became so popular that S&W introduced it as the K-38 Combat Masterpiece (pre-model 15). This revolver retained the narrow ribbed barrel. The K-22 Combat Masterpiece (pre-model 18) was a .22 caliber understudy used for training, and other then being a .22 revolver was identical to the .38 Special version.

So what is the difference between the K-22 Target and K-22 Combat versions?

The Target model came in barrel lengths of 6 or 8 3/8 inches, and had a patridge front sight. The Combat one came with a 4 inch barrel and a Baughman "quick draw" front sight that wouldn't snag or rip a holster.

In later years S&W dropped the K-22 Combat Masterpiece (model 18),
and added a 4 inch barrel length to the K-22 Masterpiece (model 17).

All of this should now be clear as mud... :evil:

November 25, 2006, 10:02 PM
Here's one for the Fuff...

This is a 6" K-38 Target Masterpiece. At least, that's what it started life as in about late 1949. Was sent back to the factory in 5-50 and had 2" chopped off the barrel and a Baughman front sight put on. At least, that's what Roy Jinks wrote to me.


Old Fuff
November 25, 2006, 10:42 PM
Roy who... ?:confused: Anyway what does he know... :neener:

It does look like a nice gun though... :cool:

November 25, 2006, 10:54 PM
Is there a Model 10 version (fixed sights) of a K frame 22? If not there should have been....

Old Fuff
November 26, 2006, 12:31 AM
Yes, they did make a model 45, which was a fixed-sight K-frame 22 caliber revolver between 1948 and 1978 on special order, but it was never cataloged.

They were blued, and most had 4" barrels, although some were made in 6" length.

Before World War Two they made some Military & Police/ 1905 Hand Ejectors in .22 with 6" barrels.

November 26, 2006, 01:47 AM
I just got this one tonight off my dad. As you can see in the picture, it hasn't been fired enough to even develop a turn ring.


November 26, 2006, 02:04 AM


I want it!

Niiiice one......


Ron James
November 26, 2006, 12:49 PM
In 1985 the Model 18 was discountinued for the Model 17 with 4" barrel.

November 26, 2006, 02:04 PM
Frosty, that is one neat gun!
el44, you owe your dad big time now.........

Here's an eight & 3/8inch Model 17-4.


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