Looking for your input on my new S&W

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by Fatboy52, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. Fatboy52

    Fatboy52 New Member

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    Hello friends! This past weekend I picked up my latest acquisition, a very early k38 Combat Masterpiece. The gun is in good shape but there is pitting on the frame and I don't have the original grips. There is also a lot of holster wear and the cylinder is pitted as well. That's the bad news. The good news is that the mechanicals are in great shape. Lock up is firm and the trigger is the smoothest I've felt on any revolver!

    Here's my dilemma. I've thought of refinishing the gun (yes, it needs it) but I can't decide if I want to take the gun back to its original finish, or my second option is updating the gun to resemble the current model 66 combat magnum. The dimensions of this revolver are beautiful and I'm sure it will look great either way. I want your help in choosing a direction so please chime in with comments.

    Thanks a bunch.
    Greg

    P.S. I'm a refinisher so all the work will be done by me. Cost isn't a factor. Either way, I'll post pictures along the way.
     
  2. Dakota1

    Dakota1 Active Member

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    The K38 was made back when S&W's quality was second to none. I had one that consistently printed cloverleaf groups at 25 yds.
     

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    I picked up a K38 Target Masterpiece earlier this year. (Unturned, in the original box and papers. Yeah, Christmas came early!)

    You have a dandy revolver. And you know what refinishing does to collector's value. However, I have reblued guns that were mechanically great, finish gone- because I planned to keep them and shoot them. Sounds like you may be headed the same way.

    The way to go is going to be driven by- how bad is the pitting? If light, go for blue. But if you are going to have to go deep enough to lose markings, etc, why not try Cerra-Kote in a color you really like?
     
  4. sigman84

    sigman84 New Member

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    I'd go for cerakote. More durable finish and since it wouldn't be the original either way why not.
     
  5. yazul42

    yazul42 Active Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Personally, I would do my best to return it to original condition, a nice deep bluing and look for the grips that were installed on the revolver, to me, it is a classic revolver and I would work to bring it back to be as close to factory new as possible.
     
  6. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    With the finish that far gone and pitting, there is no collector value unless it was owned by someone famous. The pitting will cause the loss of too much metal on a blue refinish. It is a shooter so do what you like best.
     
  7. Fatboy52

    Fatboy52 New Member

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    I thought i would add a few photos so that everyone could get an idea of the extent of the pitting on the gun. It's not severe by any means but it would require sanding and polishing to prep for a new finish. Take a look and tell me what you think. ImageUploadedByFirearms Talk1418145408.799839.jpg ImageUploadedByFirearms Talk1418145426.312803.jpg ImageUploadedByFirearms Talk1418145451.916207.jpg
     
  8. limbkiller

    limbkiller New Member

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    Restore to original since you asked. That pitting isn't that bad where you would take out some rollmarks. I love the older blued S&W guns. The best looking guns as a whole ever. Yea I know Pythons were prettier but that is one gun not an entire line of guns.
     
  9. Catfish

    Catfish New Member

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    It has no collectors value now and if you refinish it it will still have none. The K frame Smiths are good shooters and that is where it`s value is, so you will do no harm having it reblued, but it will not increase the value of the gun near what it will cost you. How much is pretty worth to you????
     
  10. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    I would carry the gun and shoot it until the rusty spots started to shine. I would do nothing to it except wear it out.
     
  11. rn-cindy

    rn-cindy Active Member

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    I'm with JD on this one...I like it the way it is. The marks and wear it shows are like a map to where it's been...I love old guns...just wish they could talk...LOL
     
  12. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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    My sentiments exactly. Well said.
     
  13. KG7IL

    KG7IL Active Member

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    John Deere has a winner this time.
    (I would keep my eyes open for a set of Smith & Wesson Checkered Goncalo Alves Target Grips)
     
  14. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    My opinion only.
    If you want a 66, then get a 66.
    The current finish gives the gun "character" and says "Hey, I've been around the block once or twice."

    I would use that firearm for practice. And I would practice a lot with it.
     
  15. kfox75

    kfox75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Another vote for run it as it is, unless you are going to use it as a display for your refinishing work. If that is the case, do it as you see fit, do it well, and folks will come to you for your work.

    I myself like a firearm with character, and brother, that Smith has a ton of it. Refinishing it will lose that patina that says, I am not a safe queen. I have seen the elements, and withstood them. I have been dropped, carried everywhere, Worked to the limits of my capabilities, and i have stood by the one who depends on me through it all, ready to serve at a moments notice. I will not win a beauty contest, but I will still be ready when the chips are down, and I, with my handler, are all that stands between life and death.

    The other upside to a beat up looking gun is that you will never agonize of the first scratch in that pretty new finish.
     
  16. CajunBass

    CajunBass New Member

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    Again, I know this is old but maybe it's not too late.

    (1) You can't finish it like a Model 66. The Model 66 is a stainless gun. It's not a finish. You can put something on it that will sort of almost look like stainless, but it won't be.

    (2) Why bother? I don't know what you paid for the gun, but let's say $400.00 for a nice easy number. Then you'll pay another $200.00-300.00 bucks to get it refinished.

    Then you'll have a gun worth about $350.00-400.00 as a used, refinished gun. And that's if the factory does the refinish. Go with some exotic modern finish and you might not do that well.

    Now, if you want to make it look a little better, get a tube of "Flitz" polish and LIGHTLY polish it. Now people will say, "You'll take some of the finish off with Flitz." And they're probably right. But the finish is already shot so you really have nothing to lose. Remember you're trying to polish what's there, not sand a tabletop. Work lightly, and work slowly. Simply wipe the Flitz on, then lightly buff it off BY HAND.

    Here's a Model 19 I got a few months ago. It was ROUGH, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, lots of small scratches, well worn blue areas, it's just a mess. A couple of applications of Flitz, and this is what it looks like now.

    [​IMG]

    Actually it looks better than that picture shows, what's left of the blue on the frame looks like a mirror. You can see youself in it.

    No, it's not as pretty as a new one, but it's a lot prettier than it was.

    I bought a Colt Trooper 357 later on. The barrel on that one looked blotchy, like someone had touched it with sweat or something on their fingertips or something. I later determined they had tried to cold blue it. The Flitz took the old cold blue off down to the original, but well worn factory blue. All that blotchyness is gone. Still looks worn, but much better.

    Here it is before.

    [​IMG]

    And here's the same view this morning after I polished off the cold blue.

    [​IMG]

    Try some Flitz first. You might just like a well worn look. Works slowly, lightly, and carefully.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  17. Fatboy52

    Fatboy52 New Member

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    Well, after close examination I realized that the gun was too badly pitted to restore the finish and preserve the roll marks. The original grips were long gone and there was too much damage to the crown and cylinder to preserve any collectors value so I opted to modify the look. These are a few photos I took after the work was done.. Please let me know what you think. ImageUploadedByFirearms Talk1423444884.882297.jpg ImageUploadedByFirearms Talk1423444901.501938.jpg
     
  18. sigman84

    sigman84 New Member

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  19. kfox75

    kfox75 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Looks like a good EDC option, and it still has good character. Nice.
     
  20. Saman

    Saman New Member

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    I would use the revolver and leave it alone. Finish means nothing , performance is everything.