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Found a "Peace Officer's Dream..."

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Kor, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. Kor

    Kor Well-Known Member

    So, I stroll into one of the shops on my local "Gun Store Circuit," not expecting to find anything in particular, when what should I come across but a used-but-clean-looking 4" pinned & recessed S&W Model 19-2. :cool:

    The factory bluing is no more, but the gun was professionally bead-blasted and matte re-blued(all the markings are still nice and crisp). Lockup, timing, bore, muzzle crown, cylinder gap and endshake all check out fine.

    Alas, no nicely-figured wood grips, but - quelle horreur! - Uncle Mike's Spegel-design Santoprene grips(how utilitarian!). :p Actually, I like the Uncle Mike's revolver grips, as well as Pachmayr Compacs and Hogue Bantams; however, I DESPISE Pachmayr Grippers and Hogue Monogrips.

    But wait...Oh no, Uncle Remus! Br'er Rabbit done filed away de cocking notch in de hammer, and made de revolver Double-Action Only. Might as well throw it in dat briar patch, now! :rolleyes:

    NATCHERLY, that's why this gun was only worth $199.95... :what: :D

    ...okay, does ANYBODY out there STILL think I DIDN'T put it on layaway IMMEDIATELY? :evil:

    On a more serious note, anybody know off the top of their heads what vintage the 19-2 would be? Serial # is 06071XXX - thanks in advance!
  2. lawson

    lawson Well-Known Member

    could a gunsmith replace the hammer, and make it DA/SA again?
  3. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    M19-2 ran from 1961 to 1967. I can't get it any closer as you provided the assmbly number not the serial number. Look on the butt of the grip frame for the serial number. The serial number should start with a "K".
  4. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Well-Known Member

    Congrats on giving a gun a home. Because your revolver is refinished with alterations done to the lockwork, it is only worth what someone will pay for it (as are all guns, really........) In the case of your revolver, that turned out to be $199.95. The good thing is you got a $200 gun that will likely outshoot anything else at the range if you simply do your part. In my opinion, you did good.

    As far as replacing the hammer and trigger to get a SA/DA gun again, I don't consider it a financially viable option on a revolver without the original finish, or even on a Model 19 period. It would be far less expensive to just find a Model 19 in the condition you want and buy it instead. Unless you already have the parts, and the skill to install them yourself, you will invest too much in the gun.

    The Model 19 has one item of historical note that you should be aware of. When firing 125 grain .357 magnums, the forcing cones tend to crack at the 6:00 position, where the barrel is relieved for the cylinder rod. Over time, problems with excessive endshake will develop on a steady diet of full house .357 magnum. Do not fire this ammo! In fact, many people who have ruined fine Model 19s advise not to fire .357 at all in it, but rather stick to .38 special. Smith & Wesson has no more Model 19 barrels. If you crack your forcing cone, you are out of luck.

    I recently put a Model 19-4 on layaway. My price for a nice nickel one was $279. I passed a sweet Model 19-2 up for $219 last year and I still kick myself. I'm hoping this nickel gun will give me reason to stop doing that.

    The Model 19 was a revolver concieved by Bill Jordan. When asked by S&W to design the ultimate policeman's gun, Jordan simply took the K-38 and said "Make this one .357 magnum." Essentially that is what S&W did. Many still consider the Model 19 to be the finest .357 ever made, but it is meant to carry .357, but shoot .38s.
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Well lets see what can be done with this piece of junk... :evil:

    I see nothing wrong with the price. These days model 10's are going for over $200.00. As for the finish, I've never met a gun that shot better because of a high-polish blue, but I've know a few that were super-shooters while missing any trace of original finish.

    You, or an experienced pistolsmith that knows his way around the insides of a S&W need to examine ALL of the internals to see what parts were modified, and in what way. A lot of fine revolvers have been ruined by do-it-yourself basement gunsmiths. For sake of argument I'll presume that other then the hammer everything else is O.K. If I'm wrong disregard this advice.

    Seek out a used hammer from www.e-gunparts.com Be aware that any K-frame hammer from that period (models 10, 14, 15 for example) will fit in your 19-2, so don't limit yourself to looking for a model 19 hammer exclusively.

    On the other hand you might go and buy a copy of Bill's book, No Second Place Winner, and delve into the field of fast, accurate double-action shooting - which is the way this particular gun was supposed to be used.

    Used copies are sometimes found on www.amazon.com for very reasonable prices. Bill and I once discussed thumb-cocking in a gunfight, but I won't repeat his comments if the distance was under 25 yards (as it usually is) because Art's Grandma might be around... :D
  6. The Boston Patriot

    The Boston Patriot New Member

    Don't be too sure about the origination of the DAO. I recently purchased
    a 15-3 in DAO that must have been a PD gun as it was in great shape with
    only a small amount of muzzle bluing wear. I emailed S&W as I could not
    tell if this was done as a mod since there were none of the usual tell tale
    signs of a custom smithing job. Anyway to make a long story a little shorter,
    the bottom line is that S&W did ship DAO pistols. These were usually specific
    orders from PD's that requested them. Without lettering my pistol I think that
    it is an original factory DAO. I bought it for a shooter and the fact that the
    condition is so good for the price I couldn't pass it up. Yours might also be a
    factory original DAO. At the very least, enjoy your purchase.

    BTW, I too have thought about returning my 15-3 to SA/DA but I want to
    stick with it as a DAO for a little while to see if I want to keep it this way.
    It is the only DAO gun I have, so in that respect it stands alone in the 'pack'.

  7. GrandmasterB

    GrandmasterB Well-Known Member

    Are you sure it is truly DAO or is the spur just bobbed off the hammer? If it is just the hammer spur that is gone, you can get a replacement hammer from Numrich or even ebay.

    If it truly is DAO, then you may need to replace the trigger too. But these parts come up on ebay from time to time and if you are at all familiar with the insides of a S&W revolver, the switch out isn't bad. Get Jerry Kuhnhausen's shop manual (or there are lots of other good books out there too about the S&W) and see if you want to take on the project.

    And I think you did great for $199. Congrats!
  8. Kor

    Kor Well-Known Member

    In no particular order:

    Majic - I was afraid of that, but I can't take the grips off until I pay off the layaway and get it home. The salesman wrote down the number he found inside the crane, I guess S&W hadn't started duplicating the S/N there yet. '61-'67 vintage is close enough, I guess - thanks!

    GrandmasterB - the spur is intact(which will allow thumb-break straps to secure the gun in a holster), but the hammer cannot be cocked. You cannot even draw the hammer back with your thumb more than a fraction of an inch - you have to press the trigger to raise the hammer via the DA sear. This tells me that the SA notch on the hammer has been ground down so far that the "foot" at the bottom of the hammer no longer engages the underside of the "tail" at the top rear of the trigger, but rather stubs against the back of the trigger body.

    Xavier, Patriot, lawson - I can get a K-frame hammer for $40 from Numrich Gun Parts if I really want to; since I expect to NEVER cock the hammer during either POST qualification, IDPA competition, or self-defense within 25yds, I don't think I'll bother. I regularly CCW one of three Centennials, and shoot 90th-percentile scores on POST qualification with same in DAO, so I believe I've learned to shoot without relying on the crutch of a single-action trigger. ;) I might just do the factory letter thing, but I suspect the DAO conversion was done aftermarket because of the refinishing(S&W didn't ever put out matte-finish Combat Magnums IIRC). I'm well aware that the K-frame Magnums are really ".38's that can fire .357", and I intend to do only a limited amount of regular re-familiarization firing with Magnum ammo; in fact, I may just use some of the "reduced-Magnum" loads like the Speer 135gr Gold Dot or Remington 125gr Golden Saber for defensive carry instead of the full-patch hot-rod loads(although I do like the Winchester 140gr Silvertip as an all-purpose loading in my Marlin 1894CS).

    Fuff - One of the most treasured items in my library is an autographed, personalized-to-me copy of No Second Place Winner. I can't take any credit for knowing him - my boss at the gun store I used to work at did, however, and managed to get several copies(including mine) signed on January 1st, 1997 as belated Christmas gifts. In fact, I just had it out again last night, along with another classic revolver book - Chic Gaylord's Handgunner's Guide. Furthermore, I also found an actual Don Hume Border Patrol holster in the $10 bargain bin at a different shop last year - now I suppose I need to order a set of custom Trooper grips from Herrett's...;)

    Actually, I AM considering plugging in a smooth trigger to replace the grooved one on this gun, and possibly installing a SDM gold-bead front sight to replace the red-insert ramp(I like gold-bead sights - they're retro-cool, AND work almost as well as tritium or fiber-op). Even if I don't do a thing to the gun besides verifying function and zeroing the sights, it's still perfectly ready to "ride the river with" as is.

    BTW, can anybody point me to documentation that corroborates certain passing statements I've read while researching the Model 19 that assert that Combat Magnums were carried as personally-owned weapons during the Korean War by individual U.S. Marines in order to penetrate ChiCom/North Korean heavy-quilted winter uniforms and/or body armor?

    Thanks to all for your responses, and for sharing my find with me!
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    You don't have to buy a new smooth-face trigger, because you can round and polish the face of the trigger you have. This is one place you can use a hand grinder because cutting through the case-hardning won't matter.

    The .357 Combat Magnum was introduced in 1955. The Korean War was 1950-53. However a fair number of N-frame .357 Magnums were used for the reason you suggested.

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