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S&W model 15-6 thoughts

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by bikemutt, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. bikemutt

    bikemutt Well-Known Member

    I traded a guy a Ruger LCR I had sitting around for a very minty S&W model 15-6 a couple weeks ago. It's a 4" heavy barrel gun, came with the original grips and wears a Hogue monogrip right now.

    I've had this gun to the range a couple times now and I just can't believe how naturally it fits and shoots, and how accurate it is. I'm blown away with how darn nice this little K-frame is.

    I never see the model 15 mentioned anywhere in the forums, and now I see my local pawn shop has a rather nice 15-3 I think I could make a deal on. But I've learned too, just because I got a great one doesn't mean they are all great.

    Anyone know the history of the 15? Thought and comments?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  2. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    That's a heck of a trade, IMO.
  3. bikemutt

    bikemutt Well-Known Member

    Thanks, found some pictures I've added.
  4. no_agenda

    no_agenda Active Member

    I have myself a 15-4 snub nose. It is my EDC. Also sports hogue grips (I still have the original). These revolvers are top of the line, great triggers and superb accuracy. No wonder it is the "Combat Masterpiece".
  5. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    The Model 15 is the "combat" (4" barrel) version of the Model 14, which is simply the K-38 Masterpiece after the numbered Model designation system kicked in.

    The K-38 Masterpiece is a legendary "Bullseye" competition revolver. Or at least the base that serious Bullseye shooters started with. The only competition for the "go to" .38 revolver for this era was the Colt Officers Model Match. Both are among the finests examples of factory target revolvers extant.

    It is no surprise or secret what a fine little revolver the Model 15 was (or is). If the Model 10 was the icon of durable no frills service revolover, then the Mod 15 Combat Masterpiece is the love child of that weapon and one of the finest target revolvers ever produced.;)
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  6. amd6547

    amd6547 Well-Known Member

    One of the finest COMBAT revolvers ever....
  7. bikemutt

    bikemutt Well-Known Member

    Wow, every post makes me even happier about this trade. I guess every once in a while the wind really does blow my way :)

    I'm going to treasure this little gem.
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Actually what happened is that some FBI Agents (and probably others) started buying K-38 Masterpiece revolvers and then sending them back to S&W to have the barrels cut to 4 inches, and then have a Baughman front sight mounted. What resulted was a revolver that had many of the advantages of the .357 Magnum (pre-model 27) but in a lighter, easier to conceal and carry package. S&W started doing the conversion work in their service shop, but the load quickly became too heavy. By 1949 they decided to make it a regular catalog item.

    One of the early ones was purchased by the then Young Fuff, :D and it quickly became a favorite. Over the many years it has remained so. I consider it to be the best of the mid-frame, .38 Special service revolvers.
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    No, unless badly abused, they are all great.

    Thats why they were named the Combat Masterpiece before the numbering system came along.

    They truly are a masterpiece.

  10. jad0110

    jad0110 Well-Known Member

    And trading an LCR for a mint 15-6 was a heck of a deal too. 99%+ Model 15s are going for near NIB LCR money these days. I've got a 2" 15-2 that I love so much, I couldn't help myself when I came upon a 4" 15-3. I've since passed on others, but all were very nice mechanically. If you like the Model 15, you'd probably also like the 19 (it's near identical twin in .357 Magnum). Heck, K frames in general are addictive. I own more K Frames than any other gun.

    Now you'll have to track down a .22 LR Model 18 / K-22 to be the perfect match for the 15! :evil:
  11. bikemutt

    bikemutt Well-Known Member

    Expanding on what Old Fuff said, the guy I traded with said the 15 was owned by a Federal Marshall and was left to that owner's son, from whom he acquired it. Not ironically I suppose, the trader is also a local Marshall involved with the fire department I believe.

    I find it remarkable how well the gun has been treated given it's history as one carried by LE.

    When I hit the range the first time, ran the target out to 10 yards and fired this gun, I did a double-take; all but one in the center circle, one bulls eye and the "flyer" still in the black rings. And, I'm not that good a shot. The rest of session was equally satisfying, as was a follow up visit, which led me to post here, a way of pinching myself to learn if this gun is for real. Apparently it is.
  12. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    A tip of the cap to professor emeritus Old Fuff to fill in the details and also to rcmodel. More knowledgable opinions you will not find.

    Howdy boys ... been a while.

    p.s. trading an LCR of any description for a 15 is more like trading a modern mass produced digital watch for a vintage Swiss timepiece. Just my humble opinion, and maybe a little understandable hyperbole.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  13. amd6547

    amd6547 Well-Known Member

    A couple years ago, I was at a gun show, looking for a Model 10. I had seen some going for $175 at the previous show.
    I did not find any at this show, but I found a Model 15-3, a version I was unfamiliar with.
    It looked good, but it was obvious it had been reblued, as the S&W stamp on the sideplate looked buffed.
    However, it was $175...a private dealer, FTF, no paperwork or tax.
    Mine has red insert front, white outline rear sights. While the old style K frame trigger stop is supposed to be a no no on a combat revolver, my Model 15 has one, and I like it a lot.
    Recently, I picked up a Bianchi #3 Pistol Pocket IWB holster for this revolver, and find that it carries concealed very easily.
    I was amazed by the accuracy I got at the range. My club has 10" round steel plates at 40yds. I was shooting them and hitting with each shot. Another shooter commented "that thing shoots pretty good...it must be a Smith and Wesson"...Yup.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  14. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    I used a S&W M15-3 for PPC competition. It served me well. I sold it but replaced it with another one. All told I have probably owned and sold 6 of them. Not one was inaccurate. All were good enough to keep me in the top spots. I also carried one on duty, preferring it to the M19s issued by the Dept.
  15. Iggy

    Iggy Well-Known Member

    Nice gun. You should get a lot enjoyment out of it.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  16. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    That was very nice trade for you. I have something similar with 4" HB, target grips, ejector rod shroud in magnum chambering. It's great classic revolver I have nothing bad to say about it.
  17. Jim NE

    Jim NE Well-Known Member

    You're going to be hard pressed to find a gun guy who didn't think that was a great trade (for you, I mean).

    The Model 15 is a classic in every sense of the word. I was going to add "in my opinion" to the previous sentence, but it isn't just my opinion.

    Still, some old goofball at the range was telling me how he traded his 30 year old unfired Combat Masterpiece (he bought it new) for a glock last year. The store gave him $300 trade value. They probably made him pay another $300 to boot.

    What else can you do but shake your head?
  18. amd6547

    amd6547 Well-Known Member

    My Model 15 is definately on my never sell list....
    Sometime after I got it, I got a good deal on a Model 686 four inch...I liked it, but it just didn't compare to the Model 15. I much preferred the handling of the lighter revolver. Sold it recently.
    I have added a 2.5" Model 19 to the rotation, though.
  19. CajunBass

    CajunBass Well-Known Member

    RCM is right. They didn't call them the "Combat Masterpiece" for no reason.

    I've got two. A 15-3 made in 1971, and a "pre-15" made in 1951. They are both great shooters.

    One really nice thing about them is if you look around a little, you can find a Model 18, which is a 22 LR version of the same gun.

    1951, 38 Combat Masterpiece (Too much flash)


    1953, 22 Combat Masterpiece

  20. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Well-Known Member

    Just another one piling on for "Good trade!" ;) There's just something about the fit and feel of a S&W K-frame in any caliber I've tried.

    Right now I have a 4" Model 18 .22LR and a 4" Model 19 .357 Magnum. I was actually looking for a Combat Masterpiece when I lucked into the Combat Magnum. Still on the look out for a clean Model 15 though, and a pencil-barrel Model 10. And...

    I recently picked up a 4" 586 L-frame .357. I like it so far at the range; the grip size of the K-frame with the heft of an N-frame for recoil control. Too bad it's such a slug when transitioning targets. The 19 moves noticeably faster. (The tradeodff being a whole lot less :what: on my face when I light Magnums off in the heavier gun.)

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