Combat Masterpiece Question


July 22, 2009, 10:05 PM
I picked up a victory model in .38 spl and love it, but I have been wanting it's adjustable sight cousin. I had been looking for a used model 15, and I found one, or at least a pre-15.

This is a five screw gun, so I am guessing it's a pre-15, but correct me if I'm wrong. It is in good shape, but no collector's piece and has pachmayr grips instead of what I am guessing should be diamond magnas.

I don't know the serial number because it is covered by the grips, and the action is zip tied so I have not given it a thorough check out.

What are these going for, and what years was the 5 screw 15 (or pre-15) made?

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July 22, 2009, 11:34 PM
Cant help you out but you need to post some good gun porn!!!

July 23, 2009, 01:34 AM
I would say $225 to $400 based on condition. It's hard to say without seeing the condition and mechanical condition; the price range could be that high for one even without the orig. grips. The "pre-" model was made from '48 or '49 (I think it came out the year after the pre-14 "Masterpiece" model) until '57 when the numbers were introduced.

July 23, 2009, 08:24 AM
FWIW, I paid just south of $300 for a "shooter" model 15 last week. Haven't had time to post pics, inquire about the SN, or anything other than dry-fire a bit. I suspect it's a newer revolver, though, as the barrel isn't pinned. Bore lookos good, but definite holster wear. I got what I wanted - a shooter grade model 15 that I can enjoy w/out worrying about scuffing it a little.


July 23, 2009, 08:29 AM
Thanks. I'm interested in it as a shooter. They are asking 269, so if it's in good mechanical condition, I'll try to get it.

Old Fuff
July 23, 2009, 09:04 AM
If you can swing out the cylinder you may find the serial number stamped on the rear cylinder face, and on the bottom of the barrel above the ejector rod. It should be preceeded by the letter "K".

July 23, 2009, 11:47 AM
Model 15-3 that saw service with a university campus police department. I got it about 10 years ago for $165.

The 38 Combat Masterpiece (rear) set me back $135 about 4 years ago.

These days a decent CM or M15 will run $225-$350 in most cases. Great revolvers.

July 23, 2009, 01:35 PM
The S&W guns used to have names rather than model numbers prior to 1958, IIRC. That would be a 38 Combat Masterpiece.

July 23, 2009, 01:56 PM
I wasn't sure if it was a pre '58 gun. That's why I used the terms 15 and pre-15. It is a five screw Combat Masterpiece. I didn't know for sure when they dropped the top side plate screw, but it looks like that was in '54 or thereabouts.

July 23, 2009, 04:46 PM
You can look up the history of S&W models and the engineering changes here:

This web site made my life simpler when I found it a few years ago. Given how much I've used it, I keep thinking I should be charitable and offer to update it for them, at least to 2000 or so (it's only good up to about the mid-80s).

That chart won't adress the 5 screw vs. 4 screw issue as it only has engineering changes for the dash changes (post '57). But yes, '54 sounds about right for the upper slide plate screw deletion. I would have to get out a reference to check but that is roughly correct. Also, if the gun is pre '52 or so, it will have slightly different Magna grips, with what I call a "high shoulder" or what are also called "Transitional Magnas." The contour line of the shoulder at the top of the grip is much higher and sharper; it is more elegant and comfortable (IMO), and is like the pre-war Magnas. Small detail, but a pleasing one.

July 23, 2009, 04:53 PM
Thanks. I'll post pics of the stocks I have on the refinished Victory model.

July 23, 2009, 10:24 PM
I stopped back by the shop, and put the gun on layaway for $250. The finish is rough, but it is tight. The SN is K 1177**.

Here's a poor pic of the Victory I picked up. The grips look like post war magnas to me, but please correct me if I'm wrong. It was refinished, but apparently quite awhile ago.

July 23, 2009, 10:44 PM
That looks like a pre- model 10 to me, I really cant tell but it does not look like it has the adjustable rear sight.

July 23, 2009, 10:54 PM
Sorry, different gun. I don't have a picture of the Combat Masterpiece. The picture is of a Victory model with grips that I was thinking would be correct for the CM.

July 23, 2009, 11:06 PM
If the serial number you posted is correct it would have been made in 1951. The serial number also is correct for a Model 15 or a pre-model 15.

Congrats on your find, that is a really good price for either one. Thats about the going price for a good model 10. (non adjustable sights)

July 24, 2009, 01:47 AM
Here's a poor pic of the Victory I picked up. The grips look like post war magnas to me, but please correct me if I'm wrong. It was refinished, but apparently quite awhile ago.

What is the s/n on the M&P? Does it start with an "S"? If so those grips are not latter but original and that is what is called a "Transitional" M&P, like I mentioned above talking about grips. To me, those are THE most desirable post-war M&P 10 models, and as a carry gun the very best. They are a very interesting mix of pre-war and post-war features. They were only made from 1946 to 1948. I have a mint 5" and really want a 4" like that. NICE find in my book. Here's why I (and others, it's not just my own little fetish!) consider them interesting:

1) Post war Magna grips standard, but with pre-war styling with the elegant high shoulder (changed about '52)
2) Post-war hammer-block safety (introduced in WWII)
3) Pre-war one line address on right frame
4) Pre-war 1/2 moon front sight (switch in '52 or so)
5) Pre-war "long action" hammer (changed in spring '48 - this is where the "transition" guns really end)
6) knurled, machined ejector rod end machined into barrel notch (ended in late 46 or 47 I think).

All in all, it's a really rare variation which just cherry-picks the best pre-war and post-war features. They are worth no more than other models because, frankly, the "cult" of M&P collecting is really small, so there's no demand for it. But when you stumble on these, they are just so satisfying to buy, own, and shoot.

If your CM has those same grips, then it will be pre-51 or so when those were discontinued. That is a plus in my book.

July 24, 2009, 07:52 AM
Oro, I wish it were true. It is a Victory that I suspect was refinished shortly after the war. Even the hammer and trigger were blued. The serial number begins with a 'V' and does not have an 'S' though an 'S' is stamped on the side of the grip frame (not sideplate) which makes me suspect it was retrofitted with the hammer-block. There is a hole for a lanyard ring in the butt. The grips are not numbered to the gun, and if you were to see them up close, it would be clear that they were not fitted to the gun either.

I do love shooting the gun and the grips are attractive. I will likely move the grips to the CM since it appears they are correct for that gun, and add a t-grip.

July 24, 2009, 08:59 AM
Here is one I acquired recently.

July 24, 2009, 10:12 AM
That's a nice one.

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