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S&W Model 15-3

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by FIB, Jun 30, 2011.

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  1. FIB

    FIB Member

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    N. IL
    I just bought a very nice Smith model 15-3. It is factory nickel (took of the grip and it was stamped N) with a 4" barrel and adjustable sights (I paid $ 300.00 OTD for it). The serial number is 11K 35xx. The store owner thought it was made in 1977. Does anyone have a book that knows? Also what can you tell me about this pistol. All responses appreciated. Regards, Randy Price
     
  2. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    1977 is correct based on the serial numbers about April- May time frame. One of the finest 38 Special revolvers that S&W made. The K frame is a perfect fit for the 38 Special and is strong enough to handle a steady diet of +P loads but really comes into it's own and will last 2 lifetimes when used with the basic 38 Special 148gr wadcutter @ 850 fps or the "Standard" 158 gr semi wadcutter @850 fps. I started training all 3 of my daughters using a blued model 15 4 inch as their first center fire cartridge.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  3. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    The Model 15, engineering change #3, was introduced in 1967 with the only change from a -2 gun being a more forward location for the rear sight leaf screw due to flame cutting as reported by the FBI from their testing of this model, which was subsequently ordered as an issue weapon for their agents. Dash-3 guns were made until 1977, when -4 production began. The only change for the -4 guns was relocating the cylinder's gas ring from the yoke to the cylinder.

    Here is a photo of the -2 rear sight being held next to one of my Model 66s with the same sight as used on the 15-3.

    averaged_2008_0303234.jpg


    The Model 15 originally was called the K-38 Combat Masterpiece from 1949 until 1957, when S&W introduced model numbers. The gun was produced as a regular production model until 1999 and the last engineering change was to a -8. The gun continued to be made as a Performance Center model on special order until 2002.

    Now here's a fly in your gun's ointment, so to speak. According to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, Third Edition, which is S&W's only source of production details prior to 1994, 4" nickeled Model 15s were Product Code 100409 and were only made between 1984 and 1987 as -5 guns. Perhaps yours originally was a blued gun and was nickeled after the fact? Your gun's serial number also dates it to 1977. While I haven't read my copy of the SCoSW cover-to-cover, I have not seen any mention of a letter code stamped on the frame to indicate finish type.

    Regardless, you have a fine gun. The value listed for it in excellent condition is $400 and I've found that the values listed in the SCoSW are somewhat conservative when compared to actual auction sales on sites like GunBroker.com.

    Ed
     
  4. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    If the N marking is in a box or beside a star it is probably a factory refinish with the N in box being the later marking. Look for a date stamped near this marking as well. The extractor star should still be blue.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  5. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that S&W made limited run special order guns that were not cataloged. If you knew the right person they'd also do "one offs".

    I have a Model 29-2 made in 1968 that has a nickel frame with blued barrel and cylinder. It was a special order and a factory letter confirms this. It was also shipped with two Model 19s that were finished identically on that order.

    Speaking of the Model 15, now you need to find its stablemate, the Model 18 in 22 LR. I have one and have put a lot of rounds through it. It was my first Christmas present from my wife almost 29 years ago.
     
  6. SirMissalott

    SirMissalott Active Member

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    You did good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. FIB

    FIB Member

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    Thanks guys. I asked if the nickel finish was factory and he removed the grips and the was a large N stamped in the frame. The finish looked factory. I'll be glad in 3 days when I can pick it up.
     
  8. Allen-MX8

    Allen-MX8 Member

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    I have a pre-model number one i.e. K-38 Combat Masterpiece with 4 inch barrel. I can't remember just when I bought it, many, many years ago however.

    It has served me well with a lot of ammo shot through it. It still is one that I use from time to time.

    Allen
     
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