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Thread: Smith & Wesson K38 Combat Masterpiece

  1. #1
    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    As a young USAF Security Policeman I carried the K38 Combat Masterpiece as my duty weapon. So I was delighted to see on sale at a gun show one of these, in the original box and in near-perfect condition. The serial number inside the yoke is K60590 and the butt bears the number k137683. The grips are in perfect condition except that age has given them some deeper color, and they bear the same number as is on the butt.

    I paid $900 for this weapon and was almost immediately accosted by people offering to pay me several hundred more for it.

    There is a reason S&W called this weapon a "Masterpiece". The FBI and various law enforcement agencies were so taken with the K38 "target Masterpiece" that they asked for a 4"barrel version with a Baughman "Quick draw" ramp sight. The esult was the "combat Masterpiece" and it is SWEET!!.

    It is also kind of rare, from what I have heard the USAF mostly destroyed the old K38s and (the later version of the K38) the Model 15s when they switched to the 9mm Beretta 92. And a K38 (pre-1957) in perfect condition is worth a pretty penny or at least there are people willing to pay more than what I did for mine which is the proof of that puddin'.

    I took the weapon to the range - hey, when you meet an old pal you just gotta talk a bit, don't you?? -and put a box of wadcutters and a box ofFMJ through her. Accurate? hell yes, just as I remember. Cylinder lockup is tight, you'd think it was only fired bu a little old lady on Sunday after church. Trigger: couldn't ask for better, smooth and solid in DA and clean crisp letoff in SA.

    I don't plan to take this gem to the range that often because it is valuable; and when I do I take it STRAIGHT HOME and clean and oil it thoroughly.But I DO OC it often, loaded with HORNADY 125 gr JHP/XTP hollowpoints. I wouldn't fire+p in it excepy in an emergency because I would hate to risk damaging the gun seeing as how Ipaid good money and it is (supposedly) so rare. I confess that OCing this piece is sorta like driving a vintage Cadillac around. and I do like it when I run into someone who appreciates a fine example of American gunsmithing. I only wish I could find a Bucheimer "Federal Man" holster for the piece, but Bucheimer is out of business and none was available at the show.

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    So, is this post just to make us jealous, or what? Because it's working. C'mon, make with the pictures already!

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Alexcabbie wrote:
    I only wish I could find a Bucheimer "Federal Man" holster for the piece, but Bucheimer is out of business and none was available at the show.
    PM me - I think I have something you might be interested in.

    skidmark
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Alexcabbie wrote:
    snip..........
    The serial number inside the yoke is K60590 and the butt bears the number k137683. The grips are in perfect condition except that age has given them some deeper color, and they bear the same number as is on the butt.
    Mismatched serial #s ? This would seem to have indicated to me a much lower value on what is IMHO already a very high price. Googling this item will show a goodly number for much less. That said, I understand the worth of "I've just gotta have it."

    Hope you enjoy it and don't discount what Skid has in his closet.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Like this ? http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=111331086

    That one is "buy Now for $450.00



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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Dustin wrote:
    Like this ? http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=111331086

    That one is "buy Now for $450.00
    Exactly.

    Nice piece (assuming serial # match) and still avail. until tommarrow.

    BTW - might be able to pick it up for a little less after 10/2 if it doesn't go.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    my dad told me he trained with a .38 while in the USAF. After doing some picture hunting and research it looks like this was it...the model 15.

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    Ok Grapeshot, Right here, Right now.

    WHAT THE HECK DOES "yata hey" mean !?!? LOL !

    It's driving me crazy !:P

  10. #10
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Dustin wrote:
    Ok Grapeshot, Right here, Right now.

    WHAT THE HECK DOES "yata hey" mean !?!? LOL !

    It's driving me crazy !:P
    That's the whole point - the sole purpose.

    Must be working. :celebrate

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  11. #11
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Dustin wrote:
    Ok Grapeshot, Right here, Right now.

    WHAT THE HECK DOES "yata hey" mean !?!? LOL !

    It's driving me crazy !:P
    Gotcha !

    I need to have cards printed up explaining - in fact I'm going to add that to my "to do" list right now.

    Brief def. - normally I do this by PM but I can't stand to see an animal suffer.

    In Lacota Souix - literally it's a great day for dying. It is both a serious war cry and a greeting/salutation amongst friends as in hi or good day. Much depends on the tone of voice and attitude conveyed. I leave it to the reader to determine if I am only signing off or offering a solution.

    If I were given a choice of when to die, would chose a memorable day - therefore it is by a somewhat convoluted process also a great day to live!

    Yyyyyaata heeey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Finally and Thanks

  13. #13
    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    That's a beautiful example of a Model 15, which is a K38 Combat Masterpiece manufactured AFTER 1957, which is when S&W started assigning model #s.

    My weapon is a PRE-1957 (which is why I wouldn't feed it +p). And it is in similar condition except the grips are brown with age, but the checkering is out-of-the-box sharp.

    I need to check with S&W maybe they can explain the so-called "mismatched" numbers as the butt is part of the frame and it is of a piece with it. The weapon in the photo could have been manufactured anytime between 1957 and 1982. Mine is older - quite possibly much older - and so I believe the price is right especially since collectors offered me several hundred more at the same show 5 minutes after I completed he Brady Check. The box is gold in color and has basic instructions printed on the inside of the top in English and Spanish. The lettering on the box definitely seems to be of a style ysed in the early 1950s and I am pretty sure mine is a post-wwII model but it is most certainly a pre-1957 "5-screw" model.

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Just got an Email from S&W which says the yoke must have been replaced as the yoke serial is a 1965 serial# while the frame bears a 1950 serial #. Which STILL leaves me baffled as the yoke # is stamped ot on the yoke itself but on the frame INSIDE the yoke area. So I stil need to do some digging; but I am astonished to find out that the weapon was manufactured three years before I was born and looks almost pristine and still functions a good as ever. I hold up a picture of myself at 17 in the mirror and cringe at what has happened, but my K38?? good as ever it was.

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Well, I have yet to get the hang of it but I guess these attachments will have to do. Just click on the link to see (I hope)



  16. #16
    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    OH JOY!! IT WORKS!! Here is more:

  17. #17
    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Here is the business end

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    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Yeah and I keep it clean.

  19. #19
    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Oh yeah. ORIGINAL BOX (this piece was made in 1950)

  20. #20
    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    And cleaning rod, brush, and adjustment screwdriver tools (all original)

  21. #21
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    Alex,

    That green glow you see in the sky to the west is my envy.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Personally I wouldn't OC that fine machine, or even use it for self defense. It is such a nice gun that if you did use it to defend your self and a police officer with looser morals did see it he might decide to have it "Become Lost In Evidence". Likely? Not really. Has it happened before and will it happen again? Most definitely.

  23. #23
    Regular Member Alexcabbie's Avatar
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    Yeah, well I sent in the info to this online "firearms appraiser" and they wrote back and said the gun has a "retail value" of $405 and a "resale/trade" value of $298.

    WHAT???!!!??

    Look at the condition, the old 5=screw design, original box (look at that lettering - like a model airplane kit!! original tools and those screwballs say $298???

    Somebody out there know about these things tell me what yall think this classic is worth?



  24. #24
    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    I like older S&W's but I wouldn't call the K-38 the Prince.

    IMHO, the king is
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

  25. #25
    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    And imho, this would be the prince.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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