Re: S&W Model Pre-?
Certainly it's a "pre", since model numbers didn't start until 1957.
The 17 is the 22 version of the 38 Target Masterpiece. It came with a 6 or an 8 3/8" barrel and Patridge front sight. The 18 is the 22 version of the 38 Combat Masterpiece, and came with a 4" barrel and a ramp front sight.
According to the book, it's a "Pre-17", with that barrel length. But, also according to the book, it should have a Patridge front sight. If it has a ramp, either a previous owner switched it (which would decrease value to the collector) or it was a special order from Smith (which would increase value to the collector). If you are thinking about the value of it, it might be worthwhile to spend 50 bucks and get a factory letter. If it came from the factory with the wrong front sight, and you have a letter saying it came that way, it makes it worth more.
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