Gun shop find - Model 64-3 customized for PPC


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The Wiry Irishman
June 21, 2010, 10:11 PM
I was at my local gunshop/range this past week perusing guns after a range session and stumbled across a rather unusual revolver. It immediately piqued my interest because of its uniqueness, sights (I enjoy precision handgun shooting), and my desire to own a .38 special at some point. If I want thump from a gun, I've got a .44, so I have no real interest in .357, but .38s are a boat load of fun to shoot from fullsize guns, and I've been wanting one for a while, ever since a friend let me put a few through his Model 19. I sold my plastic auto that I didn't really like to a friend and picked up the 34.

Here it is:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs142.snc4/36478_10100103704447388_13717046_54087837_4277921_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs122.snc4/36478_10100103704467348_13717046_54087838_1249131_n.jpg

As you can see, it has a 6" heavy bull barrel, a full-length sight rib, and a custom underlug/barrel weight. All told this little .38 weighs more than my 8 3/8" 629. Some people don't like heft in their guns, but I'm not one of them. I love steel and recoil-absorbing weight, and all the extra on this gun makes it a real pussycat to shoot.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs122.snc4/36478_10100103704557168_13717046_54087844_974096_n.jpg

The rear sight is a four-position PPC style, the presets changed by the numbered dial in the center. I love the rear sight blade, it provides a wonderfully clear sight picture.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=54087844&id=13717046&fbid=10100103704557168#!/photo.php?pid=54087842&id=13717046&fbid=10100103704547188

The front sight is adjustable for elevation, as well. Some of the black has rubbed off, I need to paint it or smoke it to get the sight picture looking nice and clean again.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs142.snc4/36478_10100103705759758_13717046_54087935_3567224_n.jpg

The entire rib is removable, and is screwed directly into the bull barrel. There are two small rail cutouts so the gun can accept optics as well.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs142.snc4/36478_10100103704736808_13717046_54087856_446203_n.jpg

The underlug/barrel weight attaches the same way.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs062.ash2/36478_10100103704577128_13717046_54087845_5110992_n.jpg

The muzzle is slightly recessed and the crowned. Also visible in this picture is the only thing I can find wrong with the gun - the underlug/barrel weight is slightly off-center.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs142.snc4/36478_10100103704656968_13717046_54087849_8145229_n.jpg

The backstrap has been hand-stippled, as well. It looks like it was done by repeated peening with a very narrow chisel. It looks decent, and is quite grippy.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs142.snc4/36478_10100103704671938_13717046_54087850_7800413_n.jpg

If you look closely at the stippling, you can tell that the gun isn't bead blasted stainless, but has been hard chrome plated.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs142.snc4/36478_10100103704492298_13717046_54087839_3198898_n.jpg

And adjustable trigger stop has been installed. There has been some internal trigger work, as well. The gun has been modified to double action only. The action is buttery smooth and the break unusually crisp, which also hints at trigger work. Although the action is very smooth, the pull weight is very heavy, more so than any S&W I've ever come across. I'm wondering if this was done on purpose, as well, perhaps a stronger return spring for faster DA shooting?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs062.ash2/36478_10100103704517248_13717046_54087840_2456636_n.jpg

Chamfered charge holes.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs122.snc4/36478_10100103704537208_13717046_54087841_4453155_n.jpg

Extended cylinder release.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs062.ash2/36478_10100103704617048_13717046_54087847_2252723_n.jpg

My other Smith is a -8 revision, so I don't know if this a feature of the older guns or a result of the attachment of the custom underlug, but the cylinder does not lock into the frame via a spring-loaded nub that engages the ejector, but instead a spring-loaded ball bearing on the crane that engages a cutout in the frame. It seems to lock more positively than the ejector locking on my 629, but I'm no expert, and that's totally subjective.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs062.ash2/36478_10100103704681918_13717046_54087852_4129823_n.jpg

A shot of the cylinder to give you an idea of wear. The cylinder notches are almost totally square with little wear showing. The bore is pristine, and if there hadn't have been a tiny amount of leading in it when I bought it, I might have believed it was unfired. Timing is perfect on all cylinders, and lockup is incredibly tight, ranging from no movement at all to hardly any depending on the cylinder. The loosest cylinder on this gun is still much tighter than on my .44, which is still tight as factory new. Cylinder gap appears the same as my .44, but I do not have feeler gauges to confirm this.

Also from this picture you may notice the cylinder flutes are polished, while the rest is left matte.

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The Wiry Irishman
June 21, 2010, 10:12 PM
But who did the custom work? My FFL is trying to track down the man who sold him the gun to find out, but in the mean time, I thought I'd post pictures of some of the stamps hidden in various places on the gun to see if anyone recognizes one as a mark of a known smith. Of course, they could be S&W standard markings, but I don't think they all are.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs062.ash2/36478_10100103704696888_13717046_54087853_5960817_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs062.ash2/36478_10100103704711858_13717046_54087854_3651743_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs122.snc4/36478_10100103704721838_13717046_54087855_5499113_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs122.snc4/36478_10100103717795638_13717046_54088709_3098109_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs122.snc4/36478_10100103717825578_13717046_54088713_4555831_n.jpg

I've only been able to put 50 rounds through the gun so far, but it seems pretty accurate. The target above was shot at 15 yards as I was working on sighting the gun in. The shots in the black, the three to the right and four to the left are all me screwing up the double action pull (not something I've got much practice with) the rest seemed to cluster pretty well once I started to get used it. Still don't have the darn thing sighted in yet, though. Need more ammo.

Overall, I'm incredibly happy with my purchase. I've wanted a .38 for a while, as well as a nice revolver to get good at DA shooting with, and I've also been very interested in doing Steel Challenge with a revolver. This gun fulfills all three of those desires, as well as just being really neat and a lot of fun to shoot. I'm also happy that it essentially cost me nothing - I sold my plastic auto for enough to cover the gun plus a toolhead and .38 dies for my 650. As far as I'm concerned, its one hell of an upgrade.

Sam Cade
June 21, 2010, 10:22 PM
That is pretty durn neat right there.

I have a bit of envy!

RedAlert
June 21, 2010, 11:13 PM
Just curious. Does the rear sight leaf actually have a slight cant to the right? In the photo where you first show the stippled back strap it appears to cant to the right.

Very nicely modified revolver for sure.

The Wiry Irishman
June 22, 2010, 12:09 AM
Just curious. Does the rear sight leaf actually have a slight cant to the right? In the photo where you first show the stippled back strap it appears to cant to the right.

I didn't notice that, so I took a look. Its not canted, its perfectly level, but its adjusted way to the right so there's more of the blade hanging off the right side than the left.

nicholst55
June 22, 2010, 06:54 AM
The DA pull on a PPC revolver should be a buttery-smooth 8 pounds or so, if it was tuned by a smith who specializes in PPC guns. Judging by the off-center underlug, it was not. Still, a pretty nice gun.

MrBorland
June 22, 2010, 09:31 AM
Nice gun. I'm always keeping my eyes open for a nice PPC revolver. Just cuz.

Couple things:

1. You mentioned the gun's been rendered DAO, yet it still has a full hammer. If you're looking to eek out a bit more accuracy, consider bobbing the hammer - the faster lock time and the softer hammer strike helps accuracy, the latter by jarring the sight picture less.

2. Also, regarding the adjustable trigger stop - since it's DAO, I assume it's meant to prevent overtravel in DA mode, yet I hear from some competitive wheelgunners on the brianenos forum that these trigger stops actually hinder accuracy a bit in that they "bump" the frame just as the trigger breaks. Maybe only an issue in fast DA shooting.

3. The edge of the recoil shield in front of the cylinder release look buggered - what's up with that?

4. There are a number of PPC revolver smiths still around. Alan Tanaka, Frank Glenn, Jerry Keefer come to mind, but there are numerous others. You might send them pics and ask if they recognize the handiwork.

S&Wfan
June 24, 2010, 01:28 AM
A neat relic from the glory days of those double action PPC competitions.

I'd love to have one of those lead piped wheelguns myself. They are real pussycats to shoot, and generally with incredible double action pulls too!

Congratulations!!!

9mmepiphany
June 24, 2010, 04:48 AM
it looks like it was done by a local smith...all the "big boys" marked guns from their shops. the rib looks like one from Power Custom (Ron Power)

it does take a while to get the rib sighted in...the 4 positions indicate it is for a NRA match, most ribs only had settings for 3 distances. you need to start at 7 yards, before moving back to 15 yards and 25 yards. the forth position for 50 yards was usually used for a "neck hold" on the B27 target

David E
June 24, 2010, 03:34 PM
Timing is perfect on all cylinders, and lockup is incredibly tight, ranging from no movement at all to hardly any depending on the cylinder. The loosest cylinder on this gun is still much tighter than on my .44...

Just for your information and for the sake of clarity, your gun only has ONE "cylinder."

That cylinder has 6 chambers.

But it's a WAY cool gun !!

RevolvingGarbage
June 24, 2010, 04:05 PM
Man I bet that thing is a ball to shoot. Id take it out in the woods and do some small game hunting.

PinoyInFL
June 24, 2010, 04:12 PM
Nice find. I've shot one of those before and I've been wanting one ever since.

Sniper X
June 24, 2010, 06:04 PM
They had two of them here for sale in my fav gunshop for about a year. When they got down to 389.00 each I went to buy both of them. They were gone the day I went to buy both.......I think they were model 10 based.....38spl only.

The Wiry Irishman
August 1, 2010, 02:34 AM
Quick update:

Met the guy who used to own the gun. The sight rib was installed by Wichita Arms. The rest of the work was done by Clark Custom.

ArchAngelCD
August 2, 2010, 01:45 AM
3. The edge of the recoil shield in front of the cylinder release look buggered - what's up with that?
That question came to mind with me too. What's with that??

That is a really nice revolver. Clark Custom does quality work, I have a Ruger Mark II done by Clark Custom.

9mmepiphany
August 2, 2010, 01:51 AM
looks like it's from closing the cylinder without lowering the muzzle...looks like impact from the ejector star

ArchAngelCD
August 2, 2010, 01:57 AM
To me it looks like someone pried open the cylinder using something hard against the recoil shield.

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