Handgun help please


Brad B
May 8, 2007, 11:05 PM
First post here. I am a long gun enthusiast but have never owned a handgun. My wife decided we needed a handgun for personal protection and I really really hated to by another gun :) :) but I found the wherewithall after hearing my wife say I NEEDED to go buy another gun and I went out looking for something we could both handle and would handle anything we needed to shoot. I can handle my own when shopping for a rifle or shotgun but don't know much about handguns. I'm a southpaw and most guns are made wronghanded. I knew I wanted a revolver and found a S&W 13-2 with a 4" barrel (that's measuring from the front of the cylinder to the muzzle end of the barrel) and from reading some of the previous threads I got a pretty good deal on it. I brought home some .38 shells and let my wife shoot it, and she loved it, so I dragged myself :) :) back to the fellows house who owned the gun and paid him for it. Now my questions are, and please forgive the elementary school knowledge of handguns. What info do I need to supply for you folks to tell me when the gun was made? And in looking at S&W pistols, what the heck does J, K, L, etc... frame mean? And any other info on this gun would be appreciated. Thanks

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May 9, 2007, 12:25 AM
Brad, welcome to THR.

Your M13 is a K frame, which is S&W's original medium frame. It was designed for primarily .38 special shooting with moderate amounts of .357 Mag mixed in. In 357 Magnum you want to stick to the heavier loading around 158 gr bullets, and stay away from anything near or less than 125 gr. The lighter bullets are known to crack the forcing cone with little use. Further, its fixed sights were factory regulated for 158 gr loads.

For someone here to give you an ID swing the cylinder open, and look at look at the part of the frame under the cylinder arm (that arm is called the crane in revolver terminology) and it should say "MOD 13" or MOD "13 - X" where X is another number. The first part is the model number, and the "- X" is what change or update your revolver is - if at all.

To get more specific, look at the butt of the revolver. The serial number is located there, on the very bottom of the frame. You may need to remove the grips to see it. If you need to remove the grips do so carefully and use a screwdriver with hollow ground blade if possible. The serial number should be a number, the letter K, and then 4 or 5 more numbers. Don't post the whole number, you need only post the first three or four charecters, followed by an X for each remaining number. For example my Model 66 is serial number 6K64XXX

As for the other two frames you asked about the J frame is S&Ws small frame revolver line, and the L frame is a beefed up version of the K frame designed to handle frequent use of full power 357 Mag loads.

May 9, 2007, 01:21 AM
Hi Brad and welcome, there are times in life when we must make sacrifices, and you have answered that call :D That's a great choice in a firearm by the way.

May 9, 2007, 07:27 AM
I own a couple of S&W model 13's myself and really like the way they handle regardless of what rounds I put through them. The best way to tell when your gun was made is to refer to the serial number on the frame. This can be done here @THR or by contacting S&W directly. About being left-handed, not much I can help you with there but in handling the revolver you will develop the skill necessary to make the "wrong" hand work for you. The model 13 is a K frame revolver which is the medium frame size between the smaller J frame and the larger N frame. A side note here - if you are partial to revolvers and would like to try one made for lefties I believe that Charter Arms has just come out with a small framed .38 special designed for use by left-handers. Good luck.

May 9, 2007, 11:29 AM
Welcome to the forum.

You made a good choice for your first revolver, enjoy...

Brad B
May 9, 2007, 07:05 PM
Thanks for the replies.

The model number under the crane is 13-2. There is also a large F 24 stamped below that with the serial number (?) under the F 24 as follows 94###

Same on the side of the butt of the gun. No K Just a large F 24 with a 5 digit serial number (?) 94###.

There is another number perhaps the actual serial number (?) under the bottom of the butt. Again no K. 4DO####

Thanks for any help.

May 9, 2007, 09:04 PM
We keep the stainless version of your new revolver next to our bed.
I like them that much.
Many find that 158 grain bullets work best in hitting to your point of aim with the fixed sights.

May 9, 2007, 11:18 PM
The model 13 was one of the first guns I ever got and it's such a good one for the purpose you said that you've really lucked out. It's a very fine revolver with gorgeous bluing and wonderful craftsmanship.

You're also so lucky to have a wife that tells you you need a gun. Of course, she probably won't say that again for awhile.

Brad B
May 9, 2007, 11:34 PM
Thanks for the additional replies. I'm hoping someone can tell me how old the gun is.

Confederate, I thought since I bought a gun she suggested that I better go out an get one that she didn't just to restore the balance in my life. I got a sweet little .17HMR today. :)

May 9, 2007, 11:55 PM
Great choice on the K frame S & W:)
Iv'e had mine over 25 years and its still going strong.
Used it to teach many people, young, old, male and female, most have no problem using it.
My daughter likes hers with the Pachmayr Compac Professional grips on it, makes for a great hold or feel for smaller fingers or hands.;)
A few good speedloaders from either HKS or Safariland (Comp II) with a decent holster and cleaning kit and you can have decades of good service.
A revolver can be stored loaded a long time as they have no magazine springs to weaken or take a set, it will digest all kinds of bullet types and shapes and at different power levels.
Bullseye or Wolff make lighter weight springs if you want them.
Best of luck:)

Old 112
May 10, 2007, 12:11 AM
Brad B, It will be interesting to see what your knowledge level of S&W is in a few months. 13 months ago I did not know a K frame from an Airframe. For 57 years I did not have, nor thought I needed a Smith, and now I have 4 of them. If you start birddoging the used revolver counters for S&Ws, or searching different forums on the internet about S&W; that might be an indication of.......... well... something. Time will tell. Meanwhile, enjoy your 13 and welcome to group. Also, for 2 years I have been trying to save up for a current production 6.5 Swede, and I still "intend" to. Old 112

May 10, 2007, 02:47 AM
There is another number perhaps the actual serial number (?) under the bottom of the butt. Again no K. 4DO####
Yes, that is the Serial Number.
I'm hoping someone can tell me how old the gun is.
Since you have a Model 13-2, that variation was manufactured between the years 1977 and 1981. That revolver is known as "The .357 Magnum Military and Police Heavy Barrel" It is the successor to the Model 10-6 in .357 Magnum.

Brad B
May 10, 2007, 08:00 AM
Thanks for all the help and info.

I suspect that the gun has been carried and shot a good bit. ArchAngelCD, You said it is a Military and Police and I know that doesn't mean it has been carried daily in the line of duty but it is obvious from looking at the finish wear that it has been holstered with the cylinder in a different "spot" quite often. There is basically the same amount of wear all the way around, along the flat sides of the cylinder. And the obvious holster wear on the other parts of the gun.

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