Accurate 6 in. 38 specials ?? recommendations please ,,,


10 Spot Terminator
May 3, 2009, 11:09 AM
As I have a 357 already in a 4 inch for carry and cast my own bullets I would like to get a .38 special with a longer barrel for plinking and backup. A 6 inch barrel teamed with adjustable sights would do the trick and if it were capable of handling +P loads that would be a plus . Accuracy is my main goal so would like to hear what you may shoot that deserves bragging rights be it an older or newer . Thanks for any insight you can give me . 10 Spot .

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May 3, 2009, 11:41 AM
K-38 Target Masterpiece.

Skip the +Ps -- they're of no real use in a .38 gun like that anyway.

May 3, 2009, 11:51 AM
Colt Officers Special, Target or Match are tack drivers.

+1 skip the +P. Velocities of standard pressure HP's out of a 6" barrel rally dont necessitate +P. If you wanted to load your revlover for serious purposes, check of buffalobore standard pressure LSWCHP.

May 3, 2009, 12:22 PM
I ordered a 6" 66 new from a closeout dealer some years back. When it arrived, I changed the front sight for a HiViz, installed Wolff springs, and the swapped the OEM Hogue grips for square conversion Ahrends in cocobolo. That same day, my first ammo in it was some homebrew .38's from my basement. It has since shot mainly .38s, a few of my wimpy .38s in a .357M case, and even some Remington R38S12 158gr +P LHPSWCs - which chrono-ed 994 fps from it. That's the hottest load it's ever seen.

My 6" 66 is the top one below. The middle one is a 5" half-lug 'Stocking Dealer Exclusive" 686+ I bought mew over a year later. It came with the HiViz and Ahrends, as well as a V-notch rear sight. Never mind the 4" 617 at the bottom, of course. Odd how S&W came out with a 5" 686+ with a half lug - just like I wanted it - and so similarly equipped like I had done my 66 - had to have it! It hasn't launched a real .357M in my use, either. I'd highly reccomend a 6" 66 or 19 - in good shape.

Yeah, I know my 66 is a .357M - but don't let it know, it's happy as is!


May 3, 2009, 12:49 PM
+1 for the S&W K-38 Target Masterpiece / Model 14

May 3, 2009, 03:37 PM
Another vote for the S&W Model 14 / K38 . I've got a 14-4 that, although it doesn't get shot very often, seems to be a perfect match for my home brewed 148 double end wadcutter loads. In fact, 148 grain wadcutters and Model 14s go together like pizza and beer :D . The last time I fired it was on a day of less than perfect conditions (high winds blowing sand into my face, heat index around 110), but I still managed 3" groups from 25 yds, two hand hold supported.

If I shot it more often, I might consider carrying it concealed. Believe it or not, it is very doable given a high quality gunbelt and holster.

I paid about $350 for my near mint Model 14-4 about 2 years ago, a fair if not great price at the time. Expect to pay a bit more today, maybe low $400s.

May 3, 2009, 05:33 PM
There is no Accurate #6 powder. Use #2 or #5. Lots of data on Accurate's site. It's a .pdf file though.

May 3, 2009, 07:37 PM
I also recommend the K38/Model 14. I have a 14-4 with a 8 3/8" barrel. It's an amazing gun. The triggers on them are unreal. 3.2-3.5 gr HP38 with a hollowbase wadcutter makes for a tack driver. 4 grains and it's a solid defense load. Wadcutters make cannulas.

Note: I've swapped out the grips since taking this picture.

May 3, 2009, 07:55 PM
I was first to respond to this post stating the Model 14-K38 Masterpiece, but some way, some how it got deleted???????

Model 14, none finer.

May 3, 2009, 08:06 PM


Do we see a pattern developing here?;)

Ron James
May 3, 2009, 08:25 PM
The most accurate revolver I have ever shot is my Model 14, HBWC with 3.2 grs. of W-231 or 3grs of Bullseye. At 25 yards, all 6 cylinders shoot to the same point of aim creating one clover leaf hole. It is so accurate , it is almost boring

CSA 357
May 3, 2009, 09:02 PM
Mod 14 smith, mine is a dash 1 4 inch, and she is a great shooter! It loves 148 gr hbwc and bullseye, you might find a 14 or 15, they are great guns csa

10 Spot Terminator
May 4, 2009, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the guideance fellas , there seems to be a great following of the S&W model 14 K-38 Masterpiece here and I will start my search . Thanks again for your help.

10 Spot

May 4, 2009, 09:45 AM
Couple buds and I were plinking at a 5 gallon plastic bucket with rifles and my brother drove up. He laughed at us using rifles to hit such a big target at that range(@120 yds). Out he comes with Dad's trusty old 14 (38) with a four inch barrel and commences to hitting it. After four hits he just grinned REAL big and walked away chuckling to himself. He and I both used to fire small bore comp. and he is a crack shot. My buds were just "drop jawed" about it all, lol, wc

May 4, 2009, 11:12 AM
Of course everyone is supporting their favorites.
I suggest Colt Officers Model special or target. or on the low price used but excellent revolver end, a Dan Wesson 15. It is a .357 but shooting very accurately w/ .38's is no problemo

Thomas Garrett
May 4, 2009, 11:31 AM
Colt Officer's Model Match.:D

May 5, 2009, 08:11 PM
I have both a Model 14 6" Masterpiece and a K38 6" Masterpiece and can recommend either one with a little edge to the K38 for smoothness.

Capt Marvel
May 5, 2009, 09:43 PM
I have to agree with Tom Garret. My choice is my Colt Officer's Model Match. I bought mine used in the late 60s. While I haven't shot it in many years as decided to shoot my .45 in ceter fire bullseye matches in the early 80s. Great gun.... but revolvers have gone the way of the Edsel when it comes to bullseye matches. Also if you reload no need to chase brass. I also agree I would not beat up the gun by firing +P ammo in it. That is especialy true if your shooting 1 match a month. That is 1,200 rounds a year plus practice. Many local clubs who run matches only run 1800s (two gun match) In those matches the.38 is very much at home.

May 5, 2009, 10:00 PM
I agree that a 14 is a very desirable gun for a 6" .38. As you can see, lots of folks agree on this and they are priced accordingly these days. If money is an issue, consider a 6" or even 5" pre-Model 10, the old "Military & Police" Model. The pre-1947 guns in particular, with the "long-action" trigger, are much smoother than the later ones. This, even with the fixed sights, is quite the tack-driver (this is 5", not 6"):

May 5, 2009, 10:16 PM
Can't get anything better than a 14 or pre 14:

May 6, 2009, 09:05 PM
I'm going to toss in the Model 19 as an option. The 19 is a .357 so of course you can also shoot .38 through it. And 6 inch barrel version I have is easily a better gun than I will ever be as a shooter. I have not bench rested it yet but I have no doubt that I could put 6 holes within the diameter of a quarter at 25 yards if my eyes were good enough or I were to fit up a scope on it.

And I have the option of the occasional few rounds of .357 for giggles.

May 7, 2009, 09:29 AM
Man, that Model 14 is a beautiful gun.

Thomas Garrett
May 7, 2009, 09:45 AM
My 2 Colt Officer's Model Match's, 1958-.22lr and 1966-.38 Special. Still shoot them weekly. Bought the .22 later for practicing cheaper. "Dead on" accuracy from both. Excellent pistols and becoming "collectors" being the "I" frame which created the Python model.:D

May 7, 2009, 11:10 AM
Just for Old Fuff.....

May 8, 2009, 08:02 PM
I just bought my S&W Model 14 in about 1971. In spite of being used by a novice reloader for a "few" years, it still shoots real good.:)

Several folks that shot that revolver tried to buy it on the spot because it was so "easy to shoot." Of course I was letting them shoot 148 Gr. Wadcutter bullets.:)

I got a .44 Mag Redhawk for deer hunting, a GP100 for "everything gun," and that old K-38 for targets, wonderful shooting, and a lifetime of memories.....;)

May 8, 2009, 09:09 PM
Colt Diamondbacks arent too shabby

WNC Seabee
May 8, 2009, 10:08 PM
I picked up a 14-4 a couple weeks ago that has the finish darn near worn off, a bunch of pitting on the frame...but a bright shiny bore, amazing trigger and ACCURATE beyond belief.

this thing is UGLY but, for the $280 I paid, I'll never let it go.

May 8, 2009, 11:00 PM
My choice would be a Smith Model 14, Model 19, or Colt Officers Model Match. I am quite fond of my Smith Model 10 also but it really isn't a target gun.
May 9, 2009, 02:21 AM
Just like the others said, S&W Model 14.

That said, my pick for best .38 spl revolver would be a 6 inch 686:D

May 9, 2009, 07:07 AM
Another vote for the K-38. Six inch barrel, a trigger direct from heaven and it loves my .38 WC double-ended hand loads with 2.8 grs. Bullseye. I wish I could shoot as well as this gun is capable of.


Thomas Garrett
May 9, 2009, 08:12 AM
A Colt / King Master Target in .38 spec. If you can find one.

May 9, 2009, 12:17 PM
I bought mine about 1 year ago for $350. It was mint but no box. I felt very fortunate to have seen it at the right time, as it was part of an estate buy by the dealer and I am sure it wouldn't have lasted the day.

Patrick (

May 9, 2009, 01:51 PM
Here is my first .38 - actually a .357 Magnum, but it's life was destined for the boredom of my .38 reloads - and the .38-level .357 Magnum-cased, too. I made the first round I ever shot in it. It is a 6" 66-6 - that is an IL - it was made 1/03 - I bought it new from CDNN for $349 - a steal. Also, in the same shipment was a real .38 - a 2" 10-11, also made in 1/03 - and a bargain for $279 new. I think they both got shipped for $10... the 'good old days'.

The 2" 10 was dry-fired to break it in - and regripped - and became a home and car gun. The 6" 66 got the HiViz front sight, Ahrends grip, Wolff springs, and some break-in. The only trigger that is better today - here - is my PC Shop 627 - and that's not by much. It is a tackdriver - and an easy one to shoot, too. Maybe not a K22, but a keeper for me!

The HKS #10 is stoked with defensive loads - Remi R38S12 158gr LHPSWC +Ps. They makr 994 fps from the 6" 66. All of my revolvers in the safe have a speedloader/moonclip loaded with defensive rounds... just in case! That Surefire E2DL Defender is one heck of a light, too.


May 9, 2009, 03:39 PM
You should sign up on the S&W Forum and post a WTB S&W model 14 K-38 Target masterpiece. I'd look for a 14-3 ( 70s) or
14-2 '60s myself.


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