Model 17 Masterpiece - S&W Classics - .22LR?


November 3, 2009, 06:53 AM
What do you guys think about the Model 17 Masterpiece - S&W Classics - .22LR that is currently available? Street price is around $850. Looks real nice to me, but I never see anybody mention them.

Here is a link to it:

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November 3, 2009, 07:21 AM
The viability of the "classics" appears to be inversely proportional to the availability of earlier product in good condition at attractive prices.

In other words, someone will soon chime in with "why pay more for a copy when the real thing is available for less" - despite my having poisoned the well by predicting it.

However, that once accurate keyboard macro is rapidly taking it in the shorts as older product gets priced into the stratosphere. Locally the classic 29s and most especially the 58s are well under any used product that hasn't been used as a chew toy for the last several decades.

The model 17 still appears to be available used for decent numbers but I'm on record as predicting it will end soon making the classic 17 a relative bargain.

If I wanted a new rimfire I'd go for a 617. If I wanted it blue and wood, the 17 classic would look pretty good. You won't find a NIB blued earlier model for that price. If you did, you wouldn't shoot it. You'll need an ability to overlook a few modern day "enhancements" but you were likely born with that ability - it may or may not be eroded by exposure to internet gun boards.

November 3, 2009, 07:34 AM
The current 4"/6" 617 has an MSRP of $135 less. The full lugged 4" 617 weighs about what that 6" Classic 17 does - and holds ten rounds. Too many pluses for the SS 617 - the best one being that I finally bought one over a year ago. I've had one of the earlier 'Heritage' series - a 6.5" 24. It was a beauty - great blue job on them. My 20yr safe queen 6.5" 24-3 'aged' as I looked at it, gaining 'character' to some, just getting 'prematurely grey' to me (Been there... done that...). I said goodbye to blued guns... SS is more my style. Of course, some love blued revolvers... they'll love the current Classic 17.


November 3, 2009, 08:28 AM

"This is a beautiful excellent condition 1971 22 caliber. 6" barrel, Blue, recessed cylinder, Pin barrel, and this one is in the box. Serial number 1K474XX. I am a private individual so if you need it shipped from an FFL please add $25 to the final price."

Minimum bid required is $650 with No Reserve.

BUY IT NOW price is $700.

And if you don't need the box and new gun you can find a Model 17 for a lot less.


November 3, 2009, 08:37 AM
I have a 17-4 about like this one, except mine has a 2x Burris scope on it.

"Smith & Wesson .22LR model 17 blued with wood grips in very good condition. Blueing is about 90% with a few dings and scratches, see pictures. Grips are in very good condition with some slight wear. Barrel is 8 3/8" long."

BUY IT NOW is $625

And I'm not convinced that these prices aren't too high. But maybe I don't get out enough.

November 3, 2009, 08:48 AM

A NIB 6" 17-4 is only $825.

For me it's not old enough to be a real collectible and it's too expensive (for me anyway) to be a shooter, but it's still cheaper than $850 for the new one.


November 3, 2009, 08:56 AM
Dang it, my 9 a.m. appointment just called to cancel.

Upon further review, with an MSRP of $1050 and a street price of $850 they should put the good stocks on it and not the tiny ones. Or at least offer a choice. Here's my 4" 17-6.

November 3, 2009, 12:37 PM
Upon further review, with an MSRP of $1050 and a street price of $850 they should put the good stocks on it and not the tiny ones. Or at least offer a choice.

It would appear they do, or did, or something:

...and with a bin of 750.00.

I'm not sure Gunbroker foot races are relevant though - some folks like to buy local and the classics are easily found under the counter, at least at my dealer.

I am, admittedly, increasingly glad I snagged that pre-17 that Old Fuff found for 755.00. However, I have a low risk tolerance for online purchasing and have added his Kalamazoo guy to a really short list of sellers that I check on.

Still, 750.00 is less than 825.00. In a couple months 98% 17s with box and papers will be equal or higher than new 17s, then it'll be 97% with no box and within a couple years, chew toys.

Prime older ones will all be higher than new production - eventually.
Some already are.

Try the exercise with 58s if you get another cancellation - it even impressed me.

November 3, 2009, 12:41 PM
The Model 17 remains a decent revolver from a craftsmanship standpoint, but as a practical shooting gun it's simply too big and cumbersome for many people. I'd love one in a 6-inch barrel, but unless the K-frame could fire more than six rounds (which its size would certainly allow), I'd prefer a smaller frame.

I ditched mine years ago and got a 63. It wasn't as accurate from the hand, but was fine for resting against something. Still, it was a superbly made revolver, and that counts for something these days.

The Colt Trooper .22 was also a monster. Llama made some huge .22LR revolvers as well. None of these really did well. One magazine noted that the Trooper would fire .22 mag rounds, then added, "Who cares?" The writer's point was that large .22 revolvers just didn't have much practical value.

The 17 is beautiful, it's got a gorgeous blue you don't see much anymore and it's accurate. You can still bag rabbits and squirrels with it, but the Ruger autos have pretty much captured the .22LR pistol market and is far more practical.

I'd pay $425 for one, but not much more.

November 3, 2009, 05:10 PM
""It would appear they do, or did, or something"

That's a "Davidson's Exclusive" and lists for about $39 more than the regular Classic model.

"Altamont Wood, Checkered Square Butt Grip"

Whatever Altamont wood is.

Okay, it's not a wood. According to Old Fuff, "Altamont is one of the best aftermarket hangun stock maker's"

November 3, 2009, 05:16 PM
"The writer's point was that large .22 revolvers just didn't have much practical value. "

The writer probably doesn't like classic .22 bolt action rifles either. You know, too big and only 5-round mags.

And I don't need more than 6 shots. I had a 22/45 and it was okay, but loading the mag was a bit of a pain compared to the ease of reloading a revolver. Actually, I had two 22/45s. The first one was so bad it had to be replaced. The second one was fine after I sent it to Ruger to be nearly half rebuilt and a free 40-ounce trigger job done to it. These were new guns too, bought shortly after the model was introduced. Disappointing to say the least compared to the quality of the Single-Six Conv. I bought in '72.

I still have the Single-Six, but not the 22/45.


November 3, 2009, 05:29 PM
Although they are not the deal they used to be, You can find a a true Model 17 in great condition for a bit less than that.

If you want a shooter the 617 (10 shot) can be had new under $700.

Then again, if a couple hundred bucks isn't that big of a deal, just go ahead and buy it and be happy. They might cancel the line and then you might have a hard time finding one.

November 3, 2009, 05:55 PM
I offer this for your consideration - current production 5" 63 (X8) and 4" 617 (X10):

My pusher, perhaps as reasonable as most, has the 63 for $609 and the 617 at $679 (Oddly, their 6" 617 was $655!). Believe me, the only thing I regret about buying my 617 9/08 was - I wish I had bought it years earlier. I bought the once shot 63 from a range-mate's estate - it improved drastically with cleanup and spring changes. The 617 improved predictably. Both sport aftermarket grips and the 617 has a HiViz front sight. I also have a DS-10 Speeadloader and 6 x 10 loading plate:

I know, the 617 isn't blued - it has ten holes in the cylinder. You know something... it's a blast! It's inherently smoother and lighter in the trigger than the 63 - which still has ~ 500-600 rounds through it - another 500+ probably will help break it in. It's hard to do since I bring both every range trip. The 5" 63 grows on you - it's just over 2/3 the weight of the 4" 617 - and that square conversion Hogue is enough larger than the OEM grips that it is comfortable to my medium+ hands. That stinking 63 makes me remember my old range buddy, too. Sadly, it makes me think of the 5" 60 they made a few years back, too. It needs a holster.

Sorry - didn't want to derail your quest for a classic 17, but...


November 3, 2009, 10:01 PM
Wow, thanks for all the replies!

On second thought a 617 is starting to sound better.....

November 3, 2009, 10:08 PM
That 5-inch 63 looks swell!

November 4, 2009, 12:28 AM
quick question- is the model 617 an L frame or a K frame? I'll consider one if it is a k but if not, I'll stick with my m18

November 4, 2009, 12:56 AM
I cannot give an unbiased review of the newer Model 17 Classic since I love older full - sized rimfire revolvers but would like to hear a comparison here from someone that owns and shoots both. Now, I remember that not all older S&W revolvers that I have seen over the years have been perfect! The earlier pre-K Masterpieces seem to be of better quality and finish than some of the later 17 dash models.

And I have a practical use for my large .22 revolvers; I still use them in ISSF matches they also lend themselves perfectly for hunting small game.

November 4, 2009, 05:29 AM
The 17/617 have always been made on the K-frame. Of course, the L-frame has a slightly taller frame opening for a slightly larger OD cylinder, which permits a 7-shot .357M or 5-shot .44 Special cylinder to be fitted. Additionally, the front strap is .040" or so thicker, permitting a .025" larger OD forcing cone on the barrel - the very reason the L-frame was devised. It has exactly the same sized/shaped gripframe as a K-frame. Hard to tell the difference, unless you see them together. Folks usually think of the 686 as an L-frame - and the 66 as a K-frame. The full lug 686 feels 'heavier' - a 4" 686+ weighs 40 oz - while the partial lug 4" 66 weighs 37.0 oz. Most of that added 3 oz is 'out front' in that full lug - it really feels more nose heavy, while the 4" 66 'points' more naturally.

Hmmm, an L-frame's cylinder in .22 LR - might fit twelve chambers!


November 4, 2009, 06:18 AM
Bought the early 10 shot 617 with aluminum cylinder and its a hoot.6" barrel shoots
straight and every one is supprised at the 10 shot cap.Love that gun.

November 4, 2009, 08:22 AM
I still haven't ordered a USFA 12/22. It's only a single action, but still...

November 4, 2009, 09:55 AM
Consider the Model 17 and when you grow up and get big you can graduate to a .38 caliber model 14 in the same size and weight.:evil:
Then it's only a skip and a jump to the Model 19 .357 Magnum.

By then, there is no hope for you.

November 4, 2009, 12:26 PM
thank you, Stainz, I've been wondering was the actual weight difference between the two were.

November 4, 2009, 12:47 PM
I am not adding anything worthwile to this thread but I can't believe the prices mentioned in this thread. I guess that is a sure sign you are getting old.
I have two Model 17s and a 617 and paid less than half of anything mentioned in this thread. :uhoh:
It doesn't seem that long ago that I bought two of them (the other one was my dad's gun that he had since the early 60s), but I guess time races on by.

FWIW: I like the 17 a lot more than the 617. The 617 I own is a 6" and has the full underlug. I prefer the slimmer barrel on the old Model 17s. Also, the rear sight elevation screw sticks up into my sight picture on the 617 which isn't the end of the world but I would prefer not seeing it.

November 4, 2009, 01:02 PM
If you like to shoot S&W revolvers (and I do) you need a k 22 (17 or 617). The J frame 22s are great for carrying in the woods but they are harder to shoot accurately than the K frame, for me at least. The 4" 617 that I had did not shoot as well for me as the older 17, the chambers were not as tight and would not group under 2" at 25 yards. Good luck with what ever you choose : Bill

November 4, 2009, 03:10 PM
According to the current '09 S&W catalog, the 5" 63 weighs 28.1 oz. They also state, as the '08 catalog does, that the 4" 617 weighs 38.9 oz there, while the '01 -07' catalogs have it at 41.0 oz. It has the same grips now as it had earlier - like it's 6" X10 variant. I tend to believe it weighs 41.0 oz. The 6" 617 weighed 45.0 oz in '01-'07 catalogs; 44.2 oz in '08 & '09. Go figure. The 4"-er is not a lite weight... the 63 is definitely more svelt.


November 4, 2009, 03:24 PM
I have a 1957 K22 6" and love it. Get one, they're possibly the most accurate handguns I've ever had the pleasure of shooting.

One thing to keep in mind....unlike semis, you can use subsonic ammo without worries, and that's what you'll want to use if you want to get the factory verified accuracy out of it.

November 4, 2009, 04:49 PM
"I guess that is a sure sign you are getting old. "

No kidding, I think I paid $339 or so for the NIB 4" 17-6 in the earlier pic and I've been offered as much as $75 just for the stocks.

And the $339 included the dealer giving me the large stocks in place of the little ones that came on it. He couldn't believe anybody wanted the large ones, but my father and I both have x-large hands.


November 4, 2009, 07:17 PM
Well, I ended up getting the 17 Masterpiece Classic today. I got it for a good deal less than $850, so that is not an accurate street price.

I figured I'd rather have a new one rather than taking a crap shoot with an older one, and the lock doesn't bother me on a target pistol.

I'm probably going to throw a set of Nill grips on it.

November 4, 2009, 07:37 PM
Good move.

November 5, 2009, 03:37 PM
Good for you, I like new guns too. I buy what I like if I can afford it. It's not a deal if you're not happy, right? Hey, I spent a grand on a Colt WWI Repro to shoot and there were lots of cheaper options.


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