Pining for a S&W Model 19


February 18, 2009, 12:52 AM
I've been thinking I need a Model 19. Today I happened upon the first one I've ever held in my hand. It is a 19-1, 4", pinned and recessed, original diamond stocks, made in '59 or '60 I believe.

Lots of holster wear, especially on the bottom of the trigger guard and the backstrap under the hammer (from a retention strap?). It has a pronounced drag line, and what looks like lead deposits around the front of the cylinder. There are some other wear spots in the blueing.

Not exactly a beauty...but oh - the trigger! I have never in my life felt a trigger like that. In DA it was In SA it was

It locks tight and feels great in my hand. Perhaps it needs to touched up with cold blue? Maybe even re-blued? Or maybe just clean it up and enjoy shooting the heck out of it.

Here's the deal...they want $450 for it. with sales tax (and FFL?) it's close to $500. Too much, I know. Would they take $400...who knows?

Can anyone tell me if a 19-1 is particulaly collectable? Would you restore it? I'm not looking for a display piece - just a great gun. Should I buy it?

Did I mention that trigger?

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February 18, 2009, 06:36 AM
Well, i'd say its a bit high but not unreasonable.
If the bluing is as worn as you say, I'd ask them to go down another $75.

Otherwise, if the function and lockup is as good as you say and it doesn't appear overly worn, get it and, depending on your preference, get it reblued and have a VERY nice piece.

I have a M10 made in 75 that has worn bluing on the backstrap. underneath the trigger guard and a very pronouned turn line. I bought it for one reason for $300: It locks up tight as a virgin and the bore looks great.

I just bought a M10 made in 64 that was in 99.5% condition. Paid $400 for it. Granted more for a magnum but not in the said condition.

It's your decision, but I think the price is a bit high. I'd try and get it down just a tad, but otherwise not a bad decision based on the mechanical condition and vintage.

February 18, 2009, 06:49 AM

I think $450 is a little too high as well. Even though the mechanicals seem to be tight, you really don't know the amount of wear and tear the internals have had, or if they've been properly maintained. And judging by your description of the condition of the exterior of the gun, it may have seen some hard usage over the years. I would go in low and see what they come back with. If not, resume your search and see what turns up. If you do buy it, it's your call whether or not to have it restored to its former showroom condition. For myself, I might consider having S&W check it out and refinish it, if not overly expensive or time consuming.
If not that route, then I would probably have it hard chrome plated for an extremely durable finish. Good luck with your endeavor, and let us know how things turn out.

Brian Williams
February 18, 2009, 09:13 AM
First look at the bottom of the rear of the barrel, around the forcing cone, look for a crack or split that will run parallel with the bore.
The price should be high, but in today's political situation, guns actually have gone up.

February 18, 2009, 09:19 AM
If it tight and has a good forcing cone, it should, that's not a bargain but it's not a unreasonable price. When was the last 19-1 you saw for sale? Ford's could reblue and restamp to make it look new, or you could have one heck of a shooter.

Ala Dan
February 18, 2009, 09:44 AM
Like other's have said, YES its high priced; but also consider the scarcity
of S&W model 19's in general. Its not often that they get traded in (or
sold) to finance other projects. All too often, a good used S&W model
19 in the hands of someone who gives it a little T-L-C, and appreciates
its long running history; it will be with them until the day the pass from
this earth. Its almost as good as having a new bride~! :D ;)

Old Fuff
February 18, 2009, 10:50 AM

The finish has no effect on the way the revolver shoots.

You can get rid of the turn line on the cylinder by refinishing it, but it will soon come back if you use the gun.

Cold blue seldom matches the color of the original blue, and doesn't wear well. Forget it! If you want the revolver refinished do it right.

The price may be too high, but it's not likely to go down. On the other hand, cosmetic appearence is important when selling used guns. A worn finish causes many potential buyers to pass. Therefore you should have some leverage.

Brian is right about a possible crack in the barrel, and given the obvious signs of substantial usage, carefully inspect the revolver. Start by looking at the sideplate screws. If the screw slots are battered or burred be very alert.

February 18, 2009, 11:01 AM
I have a Model 19-3 that I had tuned (action job) by David Clay. It has the smoothest, slickest action of any gun I have owned. I have had this one since 1978 (it was used then). I carried it as a duty weapon for a while as we were transitioning into autos. I have sold or traded a lot of guns, but have never been tempted to part company with this one. I have never found another handgun that fit the hand or felt better to shoot. Like you said, it will be my lifetime companion.

February 18, 2009, 11:27 AM
19s are wonderful revolvers, but keep your eyes open for a nice 15, if you aren't dead set on a magnum gun. I see 15s for less money, in better shape, pretty often.

Thaddeus Jones
February 18, 2009, 11:29 AM
There are not many 19-1's around. At the past gunshow, 19-5's in not great shape, were bringing $475.

You are aware that the original grips with the diamond, bring more than $150 over on the S&W forum, aren't you?

Run, don't walk down to the shop, and buy it, shoot it, love it!!

Oh, and sell me the grips for $50 ;)

Kind of Blued
February 18, 2009, 12:22 PM
I'm kind of in the same boat as you. Guns were meant to be fired! I'd double check the condition, get the best price you can, then sell the grips to someone who really cared about authenticity, but that's just me.

Being a broke college student, I specifically look for guns with holster wear, with non-original grips, missing the box, etc. As long as it locks up tight and will shoot, I'm game. I don't have enough guns for ANY of them to be safe queens. :)

February 18, 2009, 12:42 PM
19s are wonderful revolvers, but keep your eyes open for a nice 15

I just picked up a beutiful, deep blue, hardly fired M 15-3 two weeks ago - and love it! I didn't know I could shoot as well as that firearm allows me to. I bought it because I hadn't been able to find the M 19 I wanted - and knew I had to have a 4" K-frame.

So now I've found the M 19 - but I'll never sell that M 15. Do I need both? Of course I do!

Thanks to all who have responded so far with good advice and council.

I will closely inspect the underside of the barrel/forcing cone. Is there any possibility that a cracked forcing cone will NOT be evident on close inspection?

I'll look harder at the side-plate screws (although they looked OK on my first look).

And I'll ask for a discount based on the cosmetic condition. But I had no idea the stocks were worth $150. If I buy this, those stocks are going nowhere!

And did I mention the trigger? Seriously...I didn't know a trigger could BE that smooth in DA. I don't want this one to get away for that reason alone.

February 18, 2009, 01:26 PM
I paid $329 for a 19-3 in good condition with rubber replacement stocks last spring. Sounds a little high for the description of the gun. As stated earlier, check the cone for cracks.

I have a 19-3 and and 19-4 and your right, one of the sweetest triggers ever.

February 18, 2009, 01:28 PM
I used to own two Model 19's, both 6". They were identical to each other, just didn't own 'em both at the same time. Man, those were some sweethearts! Wonderful shooters, both had the orange ramp front sight and the white outlined rear. I had to sell them due to financial hardships, I really miss them. Got screwed on both sales (to gunshops), the second one was in another guy's hands before I got to the door, really broke my heart. I bought 'em both from ads in the paper, paid $225 for each one, this was a lotta years ago. I can't even find 'em anymore.

Old Fuff
February 18, 2009, 01:46 PM
You are aware that the original grips with the diamond, bring more than $150 over on the S&W forum, aren't you?

That's dependent on the stocks being in first class/like new shape. Given the finish wear on the revolver I suspect the stocks aren't all that perfect. If they are I'd wonder if they were original to the gun... :scrutiny:

February 18, 2009, 02:52 PM
Just bought a 19-3 for $400 in Texas. Need a little gunsmith work but the store did it for free. It is nice.

February 18, 2009, 04:26 PM
Given the finish wear on the revolver I suspect the stocks aren't all that perfect.

You're right about that, Old Fuff. They look much-handled - but not too dinged up. Do you have any suggestions about cleaning off the years of dirt and oil from the stocks?

Duke of Doubt
February 18, 2009, 04:51 PM
rainbowbob: "Do you have any suggestions about cleaning off the years of dirt and oil from the stocks?"

If you must, remove them from the piece, use the mildest hand soap you can find and the softest bristle toothbrush you can find, use the least water you can, and be gentle. Allow to dry thoroughly before reassembly. Serves six.

Old Fuff
February 18, 2009, 06:50 PM
You can buy soap specifically formulated to clean woodwork at most supermarkets or hardware stores. Put some in a bucket with warm water, stir it up to get some suds on top, and then scoop some suds onto a brush as was described above and scrub. It is the suds that will do the cleaning, not the water.

If the finish is worn off, use a lacquer stripper to remove what's left, scrub again with soapsuds, and then refinish the wood. In the checkered area put a FEW drops of finish on, and spread it around with an old toothbrush. Several thin coats are much better then one thick one. Follow the finish makers instructions.

If you happen to have an old .45 ACP fired case around, you can use it as a cookie cutter to cut out discs of masking tape to put over the nickel plated trademark medallions. It saves a lot of cleanup later.

February 19, 2009, 12:20 AM
I'll get my 19-5/4" out of layawake tomorrow and it was $400, but had very little holster wear or wear of any sort. I'd say 'go for it', and if you want S&W can reblue and make the gun look like new. I'd offer 'em $375 and be prepared to go to $400.

February 19, 2009, 01:01 AM
Any idea what a factory re-blue costs? Since the gun dealer suggested it, that could be the difference in the price negotiation.

On the other hand, this is an M of the earliest examples of a real classic...with what I suspect is is an honest career's worth of duty in and out of the holster of a lifer law enforcement officer.

It would kinda be a shame to erase that.

Thaddeus Jones
February 19, 2009, 09:22 AM
I would not send it to the factory. I would send it to Fords for re-blue.

February 19, 2009, 02:07 PM
I would not send it to the factory. I would send it to Fords for re-blue.

Any idea on cost and turn-around time at Ford's?

Thaddeus Jones
February 19, 2009, 02:30 PM
The turn around is four to six weeks, unless you live locally. For local customers it is three weeks.

The last piece I saw re-blued by Fords, was a beat up 27-2. When returned to it's owner it was simply magnificent, and the cost, IIRC, was $220. That was last year. TJ

February 19, 2009, 03:19 PM
I checked out Fords and the price you quote is about right. Assuming shipping costs, I'm probably looking at about $250. If an M 19-1 with perfect blue would be worth $600 (just my guess) - that would indicate a current value (for the purpose of negotiation) of around $350. I'm thinking of starting there and would be willing to go to $400.

Then again...if I go back in there and pull that trigger one more time - I may be willing to fold on the price!

Nowhere Man
February 19, 2009, 04:07 PM
Post some pics after you bring it home.:)


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