Question on S&W 19-4


January 19, 2011, 06:12 PM
I picked up a cherry 19-4 a few months back, original box, manual, and top of warranty card from 1978. I'm the second owner, and the previous owner only put 12 rounds through it, and it shows. While updating my records recently, I noticed the serial number on it, 38K004(X). I'm just curious if this is a low serial number gun as I'm not familiar with S&W's numbering system. As to whether it's extremely valuable for that or not I'm not too concerned, as I plan to thoroughly enjoy shooting this beauty :D

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January 19, 2011, 06:49 PM
The serial # dates your gun to 1978/1979 (25K0001-56k9999).

The serial # on your gun isn't all that low, as M19s began life in 1955 (renamed the 19 in 1957), when there was no prefix to the "K'.

Nice gun, though. Any pics?

January 19, 2011, 06:52 PM
the S&W numbering system is crazy and someone like Radagast (as though there is anyone like him :neener:) might come buy and give you a definitive answer.

If someone with the book doesn't wander to answer , post the query in the thread DOB Smith Revolver at the top of the revolver section.

My guess is that the serial number does not mean anything but best to check.

And congratulations on what I think is one of the finest revolvers Smith ever made.

January 19, 2011, 07:14 PM
Figures they'd have a more sophisticated system than I could fathom. This was my first revolver purchase, and I'm not too familiar with all of S&W's models and year ranges. I've only put a box of .38's through it, and I already love it. Here's a few pictures I snapped of it. I don't know if it's just the flash on my phone, but it looks a lot better in person. That and it could use a little cleaning on the outside. When I first bought it, you needed to look really close to see any amount of wear on the cylinder.

Ky Larry
January 19, 2011, 07:21 PM
If I had to choose one hand gun, it would be my 4" Model 19-4. It does everything well and has no bad manners. You will enjoy shooting yours.

January 19, 2011, 07:42 PM
You picked one of the classic .357 revolvers. They just don't get much better than the Model 19.

It started out as the "Combat Magnum" and became the Model 19 when S&W went to a number designation system with their hand guns.

Shoot mostly .38s, avoid "hot, light bullet" cartridges and your grand children will probably enjoy the gun after you are gone.

DC Plumber
January 19, 2011, 08:20 PM
I have a 4" 19-4 and a 4" 586. My dad gave me the 19-4 nearly 20 years ago. I just recently bought the 586. Both are in excellent condition. Dad's gun was his service revolver. After splitting the forcing cone during duty practice, it was sent to Smith and Wesson. They made it like new and gave it a trigger job. I still have the letter from Smith. At a quick glance you can hardly tell the difference except for the underlug barrel on the 586. They are both masterpieces from Smith and Wesson if you ask me. It's quite possible that if I could only have one handgun, it would be one of these two.

January 20, 2011, 12:53 AM

How "hot and light" would you say is not practical for use or detrimental to the gun? I've just started reloading and am starting with a .38SPL using a 125gr. Hornady FTX on top of 4 grains of Unique. It's a suggested starting load, so I'm not too awful worried. It's about the lowest pressure round I could make for just starting out until I could get some more experience.

I'm honestly planning on getting more than a lifetime's use out of this guy. I'm still relatively young, but I'm drawn to older firearms as they seem to be built to last a lifetime. I have my great-grandfather's Winchester 94 that's almost a century old in the closet that can attest to that, and still drives tacks.

January 20, 2011, 01:00 AM
You're a lucky man, Fanky! I used to have two of those at different times, but mine both had the orange ramp front sight blade and the white outlined rear. Damn, I loved those guns! Many was the time I'd just shine 'em up and smile blissfully. Paid $225 for each of them, from newspaper ads. I regret selling those as much as I regret selling my '68 Chevelle SS396, my '56 Harley Panhead, and my Nikon F3's. Sometimes bills just gotta be paid though......

January 20, 2011, 01:21 AM
If I had to choose one hand gun, it would be my 4" Model 19-4

I agree. That is why I gave my daughter a 4 inch model 19 for her 15th birthday.

If she only ever owns one handgun (unlikely) that is the most versatile and best handling.

January 20, 2011, 02:54 AM

Mr Borland already covered the manufacture date. S&W started their K frame adjustable sight serial range at K1 in 1948 and continued to K999999in 1970. Then they started again at 1K1 to 1K99999, etc. For what its worth, the 19-4 was the last variant with a pinned barrel and the cylinder recessed to enclose the cartridge rim. Pinned and recessed guns are generally considered more desirable by collectors.

Avoid 110 grain and 125 grain .357 magnums. They can crack the forcing cone. Any standard velocity or PlusP .38 Special should be fine. Avoid +P+ .38 specials in the 110 & 125 grain range as they may be slightly downloaded .357 magnums to get around politicians bans on magnum ammo for police issue.
There is a good article on the forcing cone problem here:

Congratulations on buying a fine firearm. I have the Model 66, the stainless steel version of the Combat Magnum.

January 20, 2011, 09:53 AM
What Radagast said.... The gunblast article pretty well explains it.

I own 3 model 19's and carry one every day and have for years. I use 158 grainers and expect my son and grandson will be able to do the same.

January 20, 2011, 11:08 AM
Tanks for the link Radagast, I appreciate it.

January 20, 2011, 04:13 PM
thanks Radagast. helpfull article for me because i am taking my dad out to shoot at my gun club this weekend. he is taking his model 19 that he hasn't shot in about 10 years and i have a variety if .357 ammo to run through it ranging from 110gr. to 142gr. and 158gr. i will keep the 110gr. at home. is there any concern with full metal jacket bullets? the 142s i have are Fiocchi 142gr. fmj.

January 20, 2011, 11:44 PM
Fanky, for a fun .357Mag round for your 19 get some 2400 powder and load up 12 to 12.5 grains behind a 158gn bullet. A nice but not wrist damaging recoil and a fireball that makes you not want to blink in case you miss it. Then give the gun to someone to shoot so you can see the fireball even more. It's a really fun round for my own 19-3.

As magnum loads go it's a slight bit soft. But the full house 14gns of 2400 were stout enough that I fear a little for the longevity of my 19 given that there's no more barrels in existance for them. However shooting these full power loads from my N frame Model 28 is sweetness. Same with the full pull loads from my Rossi made '92 Winchester clone rifle used normally for mamby pamby cowboy action loads.

With the concern over the forcing cone issue I don't mind shooting 124's in .38Spl and +P's. But for the Magnum loads I'll stick with 158's just so the velocities are held back to values that ensure that the forcing cone will keep smiling. 124 gn bullet Magum loads may be fine but I'm just not willing to take the chance.

January 20, 2011, 11:50 PM
I haven't heard of any issues with the 142 grain bullet, I have read several comments on the forum from K frame owners who use them with no problems to date.
If in doubt measure the overall length of the 142 grain vs the 158 grain. As mentioned in the Gunblast article the problem seemed to be with short bullets free jumping from the case and impacting the forcing cone. If the 142 grain rounds are basically the same length then I can't see this being an issue.

Use of FMJ should not be a problem, the 158 grain semi jacketed hollowpoints are considered safe in the K frame guns.
It is the jacketed section of the round that engages the rifling and slows the bullet down as the jacket deforms to the rifling, causing a pressure spike behind it. For the purposes of pressure the jacketed and semi jacketed rounds should be the same. If the 158 grain SJHP is safe then a FMJ should fine as well, assuming it is not an ultra fast load or uses a short bullet.

January 21, 2011, 06:32 AM
thanks again Radagast. i appreciate the info. i will throw a set of mics on the bullet when i get home. last thing i want to do is damage a pristine model 19.

January 21, 2011, 09:43 AM
Here is a pic of my 19-3 snub got the best trigger and action of any gun I have ever owned including a Python. Got it about two months ago from a private party has the TT and TH paid the full asking price and about lit my wallet on fire getting it out that fast $350.00 OTD.

January 21, 2011, 10:32 AM
I have two M-19 4" guns, one in 357 Mag., and the other in 44 spl...

S&W "K" frames are my favorite revolvers of all time!


January 21, 2011, 11:20 PM
Did you get an eyepatch and stuffed parrot to go with it at that price? Lovely gun at a fantastic price.

January 21, 2011, 11:25 PM
If you have a .44 Special Model 19 then you have something truly unique. S&W made a short run of 5 shot L frame guns in 44 special, ther Model 696 & the Model 296. Custom conversions of the N frame Model 28 & the pre-war Heavy Duty to .44 special are also known, but these are all aftermarket, not done by S&W.

If you have a 696 it is a very desirable gun. If you have a true Model 19 in .44 please post pics and tell us the story behind it.

January 22, 2011, 10:25 AM
Radagast, The person I bought it from wanted to trade it and a .22 rifle for a AK. I asked if he had a cash price he said $350.00 next thing you heard were the tires squealing on my truck!!

January 22, 2011, 07:07 PM
and here's a 19-5 from 1984, one of the first after the pinned barrel was dropped and with no recessed holes in the cylinder. It's still a super little roscoe and probably a tad stronger too.

And, if I don't get off my butt and take it out of the safe from time to time, its NEVER gonna wear out!!!

January 22, 2011, 09:38 PM
That gun is in lovely condition, definitely a safe queen. My 66 no dash has all the nicks and scratches one would expect from 30 years in a security guards holster. It will still knock over steel plates at 100 meters so I don't mind.

Are your grips real antler or a polymer?

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