S&W Combat Masterpiece


February 18, 2007, 10:32 AM
Manufacture date please, anyone?

No model markings, no dash, model 15 Combat Masterpiece in .38 S&W Special, serial K274xxx.

Same number on grip panels but why on earth would there be a different number under the crane? A "T" with "47404" underneath it and a lone "2" under that?

Slight holster wear at muzzle, front of trigger gaurd, and faded blueing on the back strap, other than that blueing is DEEP and DARK, action is SMOOTH, makes my Security Six feel like garbage, no endshake, tight lockup and crisp bright bore, what is a fair offer?

If you enjoyed reading about "S&W Combat Masterpiece" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
February 18, 2007, 10:37 AM
Odd, because the model number stamping began in 1957. I bet your's is a 1957 gun on a frame produced in 1956. Likely one of the first ones stamped.

The crane (yoke) number is an assembly number.

what is a fair offer?For the buyer or seller? ;) These usually sell for between $250 and $350 in the condition you describe. If you can shoot it first, it's a good shooter, and you're dealing with a friend, go high. If not, stick around $300.

Here's K38 Combat Masterpiece. I paid $175 for it several years back. It's my sweetest shooting revolver.

March 4, 2007, 10:41 AM
I find this site helpfull:
It shows the Mod 15 was introduced in 1949. Up to 1957 there were no dashes. Hope that helps a little.:scrutiny:

March 4, 2007, 12:26 PM
I think the website you referenced is misleading. For example, it implies the Model 10 was introduced in 1899. Such was not the case.

According to Smith & Wesson records, no model numbers were used until 1957. Up until that time, S&W revolvers were named rather than numbered.

Jim K
March 4, 2007, 08:12 PM
The K indicates the frame size; the Military and Police (M&P), later the Model 10, is made on the K frame. The first M&P was introduced in 1899. Beginning in 1947, S&W continued the work started before the war, and introduced three target revolvers called the Masterpiece series and arguably the best ever made. Made on the K frame, they were designated (by caliber) as the K-22, the K-32, and the K-38. Police officers liked the K-38 but asked for one with a shorter barrel and a ramp front sight. S&W made the gun and called it the Combat Masterpiece. It was very popular as a holster gun for many years. Later, the K-22 was also made in a "combat" version for training.

Later, Bill Jordan, then with the Border Patrol, prevailed on S&W to make the same gun in .357 Magnum. That required better steel and different heat treatement, as well as a longer cylinder, but the gun was made as the Combat Magnum and became extremely popular with police officers and civilians as well.

Around 1957-58, S&W decided to go with model numbers. The K-22 became the Model 17, the K-32 the Model 16, and the K-38 the Model 14. The Combat Masterpiece became the Model 15, and the Combat Magnum the famous Model 19. The .22 Combat Masterpiece became the Model 18.

So it is really incorrect to call an S&W revolver made before 1957-58 by a model number. The exception is the Model 1917, which was a military designation, not an S&W number.


Johnny Guest
March 4, 2007, 10:40 PM
That's probably the most concise, but still detailed, explanation of this material I've read. I've written most or all of it up a couple of times in the past, but it was much longer, and not so well organized.

I particularly liked your pointing out that it is an error to call a clearly pre-1957 M&P "a model 10."

I most respectfully wish to point out a couple of other pre-'57 "Numbered models:" The 1926, the 1950, and the 1955 - - all grand old heavy-framed revolvers, also named for the year of introduction.


March 6, 2007, 01:13 PM
XavierBreath, thanks for the correction. As Jim indicates the M&P was introduced in1899.
I took a look at S&W web site, they claim continuous production back to 1899: http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CustomContentDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=11601&content=10002

BTW I spent way too much time looking at your gun collection yesterday. Couldn't be more jealous.

Jim K
March 6, 2007, 10:57 PM
Surprisingly, while there have been a myriad of internal changes, S&W has not significantly changed their basic frame over the years. I have replaced grips on a .38 Safety Hammerless with (wood) grips from a Chiefs Special; the latter were a bit long, but otherwise fit perfectly. The same thing with an early .38 HE M&P with the round butt. Modern wood grips from a round butt Model 10 worked just fine.

The frame on a .32 HE I frame of 1896 is almost identical to the modern J frame except that the latter is about 1/2 longer. Amazing!

Yep, Johnny, I forgot those other "date" guns. I have given myself three lashes with the proverbial wet noodle.


If you enjoyed reading about "S&W Combat Masterpiece" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!