SOLD FOR: $1675
Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: U.S. Contract K-38 Masterpiece, Pre-Model 14
Serial Number: K256815
Year of Manufacture: 1956
Caliber: .38 Special
Action Type: Single Action and Double Action Swing Out Cylinder Revolver
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “SMITH & WESSON”. The left side of the frame is marked “U.S.” below the cylinder. The yoke cut, yoke, and sides of the grip frame are marked with inspection marks. The butt of the grip frame is marked with the serial number “K256815”. The side plate has a large S&W logo and the right side of the frame has the four line Marcas Registradas address. The right side of the barrel is marked “38 S. & W. SPECIAL CTG.”. The barrel flat, rear face of the cylinder, front face of the ejector (no letter prefix), and rear face of the yoke (no letter prefix) are marked with the serial number. The interior of the right grip panel is stamped “272 / 470”.
Barrel Length: 6” Pinned
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Patridge blade on a serrated ramped base pinned to the top of the serrated tapered rib. The rear sight is a square notch sight in a base that is micrometer click adjustable for windage and elevation and screw secured in a slot in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut manga stocks with S&W medallions and smooth diamonds. There is a small chip on the left panel where the front strap widens into the frame. There are a few scattered light marks. The checkering is strong. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 90% of its metal finish. There are some scattered scuffs, draglines, and some light scratches, some of the most noticeable are on the left side of the frame and on the sideplate. There are areas of finish loss, most noticeable on the sides of the barrel at the muzzle and on the edges. There are a few scattered little spots of minor oxidation. There is a light turn line on the cylinder. There are some scattered light handling marks. The screw heads are lightly worn. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver rates in about Very Good Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The single-action is crisp and the double action is smooth. The cylinder lockup produces light side to side play. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be required to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a brown storage box, copies of Smith & Wesson letters detailing a similar U.S. Contract revolver (different serial number), and correspondence between Mr. Williams and Smith & Wesson Historian Mr. Jinks.
Our Assessment: The Smith & Wesson Pre-Model 14, also called the K-38 Masterpiece, is another classic from Smith. Though firearms development has progressed since the ’60s, the name “Masterpiece” was well earned by this revolver. Often issued by law enforcement agencies in the mid-20th century, this revolver embodies the reliability for which Smith & Wesson is famous. This one was made in 1956 as part of a government contract. The revolver comes from the collection of Author Kevin Williams, best known for his work on the topic of General Officers Pistols and covert organization pistols of WWII. While there is not an official Smith & Wesson letter, there is correspondence between Mr. Williams and Mr. Jinks stating it is a government contract gun from 1956. The gun looks good and has matching numbers on the metal parts and a lot of its blued finish remaining. If you are seeking a nice historic revolver to add to your collection the search is over. Please see our photos and good luck!