Inspecting S&W Model 10

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1911 guy

May 5, 2005
Garrettsville, Oh.
Short version is a friend is interested in buying a S&W M10 at a local shop and wants me (the "gun guy") to look it over. The problem is I'm not really a revolver guy. But I do know the M10 has a solid reputation. The piece appears to be in excellent shape, no visible holster wear. Lockwork seems crisp, trigger very good, cylinder tight when cocked. Under the extractor star is pretty clean, especially compared to most other use revolvers I've seen.

Is there anything in particular I need to watch for?

$450 seems like a pretty good deal for a very nice used one, buy i have no idea what series (10-6, 10-8, etc) It has a 4" barrel and "gutter" rear sight channel.
Unless absolutely brand NIB never been fired, or it's some rare variant M10, be it the factory barrel length, or some other feature that was added during a special run for LE, or something out of the S&W custom shot, $450 seems pretty high to me.

I see them quite often, and those that are above average visual condition can fetch around $250 - $350. And the one's that exhibit some significant holster wear and such will often sell for $150 - $200 or so.

It depends on your location. I wished I could find them for 150 to 200 but I am sure some can. In my area 375 to 500. I just saw one yesterday absolutely new in box never fired with all materials for 499.
It's up to your friend to decide if the price is right. Your responsibility, as I see it, is mechanical inspector, not necessarily appraiser. In the current market with guns flying out the doors, $450 may be a good price on a Model 10 in good condition. It depends on how much he wants one.

I have been known to spend a few dollars more than someone else just because I saw what I wanted and had the money available. It's worth a couple of bucks to me to handle the gun in person rather than looking at photos on an internet auction site. If you don't permit that "local shop" to make some profit, it will not be there forever.
Couple of years ago I would have agreed with gamestalker's prices. The last year or so, not so much.

Surplus Model 10s are selling in the $300+ range consistently. These have a bit of wear. Models in better shape are $350 to $400. Seeing non surplus guns in the $400+ range. Those prices don't include shipping and transfer. It's always about condition and barrel length.

Standard barrel is 4" as measured from the front of the cylinder to the end of the barrel.
Two points:

The stickie in question is mostly centered on Colt revolvers. When a S&W or Ruger is checked for cylinder rotational movement while the trigger is held back it should have a very little. They are made so the chamber can self-align with the bore.

The first thing to look for is burred screw slots - especially in the side plate screws. If any screws are chewed up it likely means that someone was inside who shouldn't be. Therefore pass.
Couple of years ago I would have agreed with gamestalker's prices. The last year or so, not so much.

Yeah, I definitely need to go to Arizona and shop where Gamekeeper does. $450 is going price here for used Model 10's.
I've been shopping locally (usually none available) and on the internet for Model 10s and Model 64s (basically the 10 in stainless). $400 and up seems to be fairly common in today's market for guns in decent condition. I'd really like to find one for $250-$350, let alone a shooter for $150-$200. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. S&W made millions of these things, so you'd think they'd be cheaper on the used market. There seems to have been a resurgence of interest in the early, pre lock, pre MIM, pre barrel shroud, pinned/recessed revolvers. And that's reflected in the prices.
If it's in realy nice shape I wouldn't let it get away. $450. + tax may sound high but look at what the new Smith's are selling for. A new J-Frame is around $350. Dealer Cost. So you can guess what that Gun would cost New.
Buds been selling m-10 police guns for just over 300. I look at one other day guy just bought . Was 4" heavy barrel other than holster wear was in good shape . It have to be almost NOS before I pay 450 for one . 300 to 350 tops here in central Ky .

A old model 36,37 or 49 snub Lot more desirable in older S&W than a 10. I'd give over 400 for a good model 15 combat master or a snub 19
357 But not run of mill model 10
$450 is pretty steep for a plain M10, unless it's really pristine, and an older one. A year+ ago, i stumbled onto a very nice one in a little small town gunstore that had just opened. It was priced at $299, but i was pretty sure it was an older one, and looked to have the original grips.
My buddy who lived up that way, had been in the market for another nice old wheelgun, but he was at work, and could only be e-mailed (and we were also working and just driving through).
So i dropped by the city hall where his wife worked and told her to e-mail Dave about it, so he could swing by straight from work.
Well, she ended up just taking my word that it was a nice deal and said she was gonna go get it for him for Christmas (this was about maybe August), and she scooted right over there and scarfed it up !!
That night i got a call from my buddy who sounded partially drunk and partially thrilled with his new toy (she obviously didn't wait until Christmas!).
The next day, he and I were e-mailing over morning coffee, and he asked me about dating the thing, and i told him I'd given him a list with S&W manufature dates a while back, but he didn't even remeber getting it, much less know where he put it.
So I went in back and found mine, and the pistol dated to (now i forget) either 1967 or 68.
So, the point is, only a year ago, we found a pristine (I mean almost brand new looking) Model 10, 4" with original walnut grips, for $299, (and I never found out if his wife weaseled them out of tax or anything, but I'm betting she did).
Anyway, a few months ago, just for spits and giggles, I traded him a CZ75 that he really liked, for that old M10 and a couple hundred bucks......and I'm looking at it right now :D.
$450 seems kinda steep for me.
Have you checked on gunbroker?
What about
J&G has quite a few M10's in various conditions ranging from $300-$400
I decided I wanted a Model 10. Wondering how cheaply I could get one, I haunted Gunbroker for several months until I won this "pre Model 10" for a $143 bid. It has obviously seen some use, but it locks up pretty tight and shoots just fine. IIRC it is from 1915 or so. I have had it about a year.

Yeah, but it pre-dates the more refined heat-treating that occured somewhere in the 1920's, and I'd be reluctant to run a lot of rounds through it.
I've seen pistols pop-up on Armslist in similar "shooter grade" condition, but were a few decades more modern, in the same price range ($200-ish). Several years back, I found an old ,but very tight ,M10 at a gunshow that dated to the 50's (IIRC), that had some finish issues so it had been nicely re-parked, for $165 OTD.
If you look around the classifies sites, you'll find guns with clean bores and tight lock-up, that look worse for wear superficially, for great prices, and you get to inspect personally, rather than take your chances with Gunbroker, J&G,etc.
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