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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I'm looking for some help choosing between a S&W K38 model 15-2, 38 special and a Highway Patrolman model 28-2, 357 mag. A little while ago my uncle passed away and left his pistols to my brother and I. By brother is being a gentleman and giving me first choice. Both guns were made in the 1960s. Both are almost new in the box with papers. The K38 has, as i understand it, factory target stocks and a target hammer (looks kind of like an old Python hammer) and a 4 inch barrel. The Highway Patrolman is a 6 inch barrel. I typically will choose a 357 mag over a 38 spec, but i cant really choose between the two.

Any pro's or cons to these two, or is this a pick the one that feels best deal.
Thanks for the help!
 

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Are you trying to decide which is worth money money, or which one is a more interesting gun, or something else?

If the 15-2 comes with the original box, and S&W target stocks that shipped in the 1980s, I would pick that one, I like K-frames and older target stocks, and they are hard to find in as-new condition. Based on the gun only, I would pick the 28-2. It is a pleasure to shoot with both .38 spl or .357.

Either gun is more valuable with original box and stocks, than the gun alone.
 

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I have a 6 inch Highway Patrolman and a 4 inch model 15-3. It's a tough choice, but I would actually go with the 15-2. Factory target hammer, target grips and I'll bet a target trigger too. That's a nice shooting package that's easy to tote around.
Both being like new, with the box and documents, I'd say the 28-2 might be harder to come by in that condition with box, documents and tools. If it was just an average decent gun, without the extras, the model 15 is probably more common
 

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Welcome to the forums from the cotton and peanut covered plains of the Wiregrass! Close your eyes and say "eeny, meany, miney, mo" "you can't go wrong which way you go!" That's a forum rule practiced here for eons...er, decades...ok, recently...but it works...yeah :rolleyes:
 

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You're getting good advice, HOWEVER, I'm a big fan of the Model 15, or pre-model K-frame moniker, "Combat Masterpiece". I have a 6" 'Highway Patrolman' in my stable, along with two other 4" versions, all are crazy good shooters, their values increase daily. On the other hand, the very first firearm I fired as a young boy was my dad's Combat Masterpiece, his service revolver, so I'm partial to them and own a few, my son has my dad's. All that said, if it were me, not wanting to flip the gun for a profit, I'd go with the Model 15-2, it's probably one of the best shooting guns Smith & Wesson ever made. PLEASE let us know of your decision!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again for all the replies. I just handled both of them again and the 15-2 definitely has the better trigger, but the 28-2 seems like a really ruggedly built revolver. I never saw thd point of a 38 special revolver when a 357 mag does more in a similar package, but this model 15 has me serious reconsidering that position.

If my brother is ok with it, I think I'll take them both to the range and put some rounds through them to see what one I like best. Outside of shooting them, I don't see a way to choose...

Thanks!
 

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Based on the pictures, I would take the Model 28-2

Looking at the 28-2, I see a clean N-frame with diamond Magna grips, and hope they are serialized to the gun, same hope with the box s/n.

Looking at the Model 15, I don't see target grips, I see the most common square butt Magna grips of the period, and something on the side panel under the cylinder release latch, that may be dirt, or may also be some kind of cleaning marks or blue loss.
 

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It should look nicer from the factory. The Model 15 is polished to a finer finish before it was blued, and looks more glossy.

The Model 28 was the more budget oriented version of the Model 27. The 28 a.k.a Highway patrolman, was intentionally left a more matte finish before it was blued. There are some other differences too, look at the top strap. The Model 15 should look like there are lines running down the top of the top strap and barrel. The Model 28 will be flat black.

edit:

To be honest, you can't go wrong here, and either way, the two guns stay in the family, :)
 

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The grips on both guns you have are called Square-Butt Magna stocks. Target Grips are oversized, relative to the outline of the steel grip frame, and they would have been optional on either one of these revolvers.

Model 15-3 with SB Magnas removed, foreground:



Same Model 15, and a Model 67 stainless steell, with Target stocks. Checkered target stocks on left, smooth target stocks on the right:

 

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If my brother is ok with it, I think I'll take them both to the range and put some rounds through them to see what one I like best. Outside of shooting them, I don't see a way to choose...

Thanks!
I agree with you.......shoot them both and choose the one that feels best and you shoot the best. As others have already said, "you can't go wrong with either choice".

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Welcome. That's a tough choice and you will get about as many people picking one over the other. N frames are bringing more money right now if all else is equal. However, I can enjoy both revolvers. I'd say simply place a piece of craft paper over both, turn your back and have your mother or wife switch them around. Then, turn around and decide which to pic without knowing. Good luck.
 

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Speaking of grips, would a Model 15-2 have had diamond grips, or did some of them ship with plain SB Magnas? I don't own a 15-2, but I thought my 15-3 was the first version to ship without the diamond center on the factory grips, starting about 1968~69??
 
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