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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening!

I inherited this from my late father and am trying to get a little info/history on it. This is the gun he kept in his nightstand and that is all the info I have on it. No idea how long he had it or when he got it. He was a Korea/Vietnam Marine vet, but I don't know if he had it back then. Again, it's a "black hole" information-wise.

The serial number is (I think) K 114357 and (I think) the model is 392 19 with a 3U (??) also stamped into the yolk. Oddly, the number stamped onto the inside of the wood grip is 114356 not 114357 to match the stamps on the gun, itself. Not sure what that means, either. I don't think it's pre-WWII, as it has what looks like adjustable rear sights and what little info that I've found indicates that the older models have a simple milled groove/notch for a rear sight.

I'm not looking to sell it and, yes, I know it needs a THOROUGH cleaning. I just think it's really cool and I'd just like to know how old it is. Can anyone give a guy a hand?
 

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Welcome to the forum. You have a Combat Masterpiece from the 1950's. S&W did not use a model numbering system until 1958. Your gun was made before then and what you are calling model numbers are simply parts numbers and inspection stamps. After 1958, the Combat Masterpiece became the model 15. The grips should have the serial number, but sometimes they didnt get it quite right. Yours being off one number are an example probably
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Maybe I can amplify a bit on Jonesy's excellent information. Your .38 Combat Masterpiece was made in 1951. S&W mostly made them in .38 Special caliber but also made some in .22 Long Rifle and a rare few in .32 S&W Long caliber. The Masterpiece series of target revolvers started in1940 with the first .22 LR Masterpiece with a 6" barrel. After the war, S&W made them in .22 LR, .32 Long and .38 Special calibers with 6" barrels. The long barrels were competition handguns. The 4" barreled Combat Masterpiece was introduced in 1949 upon the suggestion of Flora Van Orden of Evaluators Limited in Quantico, VA, a large gun distributor that was well-connnected to the military arms sales. It became the handgun of choice of the Air Force security guards. The Combat Masterpiece was adopted by a handful of law enforcement organizations but never became the handgun of choice like the .38 Military & Police revolver...later the Model 10. It was made to be holstered with the Baughman ramp front sight which was named for the FBI agent that designed it. It is a popular collectible and a terrific heirloom. Congratulations!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow! Thank you both!! That is exactly the info I was looking for! I'm actually surprised that the Combat Masterpiece came in .22 long. Not that I'm surprised S&W made them, but that Dad didn't HAVE one. Several of the guns in his collection are .22 LR's and he has several thousand rounds to go with them. The man LOVED his plinking! 🤣

Anyway, thanks again for the info. Made my day!
 

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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your family heirloom. I am sorry for your loss.

Your father chose a .38 special for home protection because it's a much more effective self defense caliber than a .22LR rimfire. It makes sense.

As Jonsey says, the other numbers in the crane and on the frame under the grips would be factory assembly tracking numbers used in the production process.

You do need to address any active corrosion that is starting, in addition to cleaning the revolver. You can stop the active rust by using a well oiled 0000 steel wool pad on a well oiled blued surface. Don't rub too hard, and the softer red oxide will be removed. Leave it alone like it is and it will eventually eat into the surface and start pitting the steel.

Take the grips off and check under them for oxidation as well.

Hoppes makes good gun cleaning kits. Look online or in local gun stores.

Store it away from any holster it may have. I keep mine in silicone impregnated gun socks and inside zipper gun bags called "Gun Rugs". They are inexpensive and protect the gun.

If you become interested in shooting sports, you'll find good classes like the NRA Basic Pistol program. Many states also have classes associated with their concealed carry permit processes.
 
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This may be a bit much, but you can get an S&W Historian's Letter of Authenticity for $100. This will give you background on the Combat Masterpiece as well as when it shipped, in what configuration and to whom it shipped. The letters are ordered from the S&W Historical Foundation and links to the order form are in sticky posts in the forums.
 
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