Combat Masterpiece

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by 45Smashemflat, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. 45Smashemflat

    45Smashemflat Active Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    OK, stupid question time - how does one know that they are looking at a S&W Combat Masterpiece? Are those words actually on the revolver somewhere? Shop here has a nice 4" smith 357, adj sights, etc, guy referred to it as a CM, but it don't say that on it.....duh? I'm not a S&W expert - as if that ain't obvious....
  2. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    This can be tricky. The S&W Mod 15 is known as a "Combat Mastepiece" in .38 . The S&W K-32 is also known as "Combat Masterpiece". I have also heard the Mod 19 being called "Combat Masterpiece" but I think it is actually "Combat Magnum".

    So, what is the model # of the S&W you are looking at ??

    I'm no S&W revolver expert either but I sure like them.

  3. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    The "Combat Masterpiece" is a name applied to the S&W Model 15.

    The Standard Catalog of Firearms says:

    "Model 15 (K-38 Combat Masterpiece)

    Also known as the "Combat Masterpiece" this model was produced at the request of law enforcement officers who wanted the K-38 fitted with a 4" barrel. The model went into production in 1950 and was discontinued in 1987.

    Exc. - $300
    V.G. - $250
    Good - $200
    Fair - $175
    Poor - $125"

    BUT......the Blue Book says:

    "MODEL 15 COMBAT MASTERPIECE - .38 Spl. cal., adj. sights, 6 shot, square butt, 2 (disc.), 4, 6, (mfg. 1986-91), or 8 3/8 (new 1986, disc.) in. barrel. Disc. 1999.

    100% - $340
    98% - $260
    95% - $215
    90% - $190
    80% - $180
    70% - $160
    60% - $150"

    Sooooo.......if it's a Model 15, it's a CM. Don't know if it says the model on the barrel, but it should be marked on the crane.

    Model 14 = K-38 Masterpiece
    Model 15 = Combat Masterpiece
    Model 16 = K-32 Masterpiece
    Model 17 = K-22 Masterpiece
    Model 18 = .22 Combat Masterpiece
    Model 19 = .357 Combat Magnum
  4. 45Smashemflat

    45Smashemflat Active Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Methinks its a model 19 - I know its a .357. I'll drop by again and fiddle with it a bit more. Every house ought to have a 357, right? (That's what I keep telling the wife.....Every house ought to have crew served weapons too, but she's not buying that one...)
  5. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    Yep, just bought me a Model 18 .22 Combat Masterpiece with 6" barrel last night. Looks brand new and had 36 rounds fired through it. What a beautiful Smiff! Just gotta love those things. Came complete with box and paperwork.
  6. Prior to 1957, S&W revolvers did not have model numbers like they do today. The 'Masterpiece' revolvers denoted the K-frame target guns in .22, .32 and .38 caliber with 6" barrel and the adjustable target sights.

    Hence, the 'K-22 Masterpiece' which became the Model 17, the 'K-32 Masterpiece' which became the Model 16, and the 'K-38 Masterpiece' that became the Model 14.

    In 1949 the K-38 Masterpiece was fitted with a 4" barrel and became the "K-38 Combat Masterpiece" and was an instant hit with law enforcement. It became the Model 15.

    So.... 'Combat Masterpiece' denotes a K-frame revolver with target sights, but a 4" barrel.

    The K-frame .357 Magnum revolver which later became known as the Model 19 was originally called the ".357 Combat Magnum" on its introduction in 1955. It was originally offered with just the 4" barrel, which fits the 'Combat' designation in its original name. It became the 'Model 19' in 1957, but the 6" barrel was not introduced until 1963 - after the older nomenclature was no longer in official use.

    While the Model 18 was in fact a continuation of the 'K-22 Combat Masterpiece', it was discontinued in 1985 when the Model 17 became available with a 4" barrel. To my knowledge, there have been no Model 18 "Combat Masterpiece" revolvers produced with a 6" barrel.
  7. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    As Doc says, both the BB and TSCOF list the Model 18 with a 4" bbl only.

    The Model 17 K-22 Masterpiece was offered in a 6" or 8 3/8" barrel length.

    Are you sure yours is a Model 18, Tex?
  8. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    As CG stated, mine is a 17-7. Great little gun. Can't wait to shoot it! :D :D :D :D :D

    CG helped me to read the crane model number. :D :D My buddy told me it was a model 18.
  9. wdbf

    wdbf New Member

    Feb 26, 2004
    College Station, Tx
    Fondly remember my old Mod 15. Used to drive around pasture with my dad, shooting at varmints. He was amazed that I consistently hit rabbits and armadillos at what he considered ridiculous distances with a pistol. 125gr hp loaded almost +P, or 148 WC, didn't matter. I look back on foolish things I did in youth: marriage, changed jobs, driving too fast, trading Mod. 15. Still have Mod 18, at least I learned something.
  10. Pistolsmith

    Pistolsmith New Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    In about 1950, S&W abandoned the old long drop action and adopted a new short "Masterpiece" action. The first revolver to utilize the change was what is now called the Model 15.
    Following the eager acceptance of the Combat Masterpiece .38 special, Smith gradually equipped all of their K frames with the Masterpiece action.
    The Model 15 has undergone some design changes during its production life; as a general rule, early examples with the overtravel stop are expecially desirable. Used examples, however, are often not in the best condition because of their age and abuse. But, if you find a good one, it will rapidly become one of your all time favorites.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2004
  11. Actually, the short action was introduced in late 1946-early 1947. The K-38 Masterpiece was introduced at that time at serial number K1661. The .38 Combat Masterpiece came along about 1949.

    The K22 Masterpiece and the K32 Masterpiece are all pre-1950. In 1949, the barrel weights were made similar so the three guns would feel the same in the hand.
  12. Pistolsmith

    Pistolsmith New Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    And they showed up in the gun stores about 1950.
    S&W made the Model 39 about 1954, and I never, ever saw a new one for sale locally. And, Jack Webb had a 39 with a real steel frame; go figure.
    A lot of S&W revolvers were bought up by a gun hungry public post WW-II. The wholesalers who bought more than they could sell immediately were loaded up on the old models, many of which had been obtained pre WW-II. An average working man hereabouts made around $50 a week; so, go figure.
    My partner and I bought the first two Combat Masterpiece .38 specials offered for sale in our city. And, I bought the first Centennial .38 offered for sale. And the first Gold Cup .45 a few years later. I wonder where some of them are today.
  13. Bucky Bronco

    Bucky Bronco New Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    Madison, AL
    If he did, he was really lucky to own one. There were only 296 steel framed 39s made according to my research and worth quite a bit today--over a grand. S&W made this gun to compete in the US Army trials which entertained a 9mm for the same reasons they have one now. Tight budgets forced them to stay with the .45 (a gee!). It did manage to get one job with the Illionis HP. I bought a 1957 Mint in the box, never owned. Best 9mm I own. She's purdy and eats everything. My companion on most outings.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2004

    DVUSWAZ New Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Don't forget the United States Air Force issued the Model 15 "Combat Masterpiece" to the Security Police. It was official issue for many years and gave great service. I carried one for more than 4 years and it never failed. My Chief of Security Police allowed for us to by the "K" frame magnum grips to replace the originals so us big folks with big hands could get a better grip. Later on when Pachmyr arrived on the scene (1979-1980 I think) they let us switch to them. I once saw a wharehouse room with racks of them on my base. Must have been more than 500 of them. Awesome sight.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Colt to revive the Combat Commander in 2017 Friday at 12:14 PM
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Wilson Combat Goes Beretta! Mar 28, 2014
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Saw this in a Combat Handgun magazine... Feb 3, 2013
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Colt Combat Commander hi-cap mags Sep 2, 2012
Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers Range Report: SIG 238, S&W E-Series 1911, Colt Combat Elite, and S&W 629 Snubbie Feb 1, 2012