Let's Discuss the Famous S&W K-22 Masterpiece

Discussion in 'Smith & Wesson' started by Hammer Down, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello
    It is no secret that D.B. Wesson was highly attracted to the .22 round. he capitalized of Rollin White's patent being the through cylinder design, and perfected what we know today as the .22 Rim Fire Cartridge. One thing D. B. Wesson did not like about the .22 round was the Primer Ignition of it. He secretly worked in a small area of his Plant perfecting the primer Ignition of this round until he had it perfect. S&W Offered the .22 round in the Famous Lady Smith revolvers along with the .22 straight line single shot Pistol. Phil Bekeart the Famed San-Francisco Gun dealer approached S&W and asked for them to Build a Target style .22 Caliber revolver that could be used in Competition. Out of his request the .22-32 hand eject was born being a .32 Caliber small I frame intended for the .32 Long cartridge but converted to the .22 caliber intended for serious Target work. The sales of this small framed .22 Target revolver were slow due to World War I But D. B. Wesson continued to put forth his efforts by choosing his larger K-Frame size revolver and making it as well into a serious Target revolver. In the spring of 1931 S&W Released it's Famous K-22 "Outdoorsman" Revolver. This revolver was introduced as a revolver the Hunter could take afield Hence the name Outdoorsman. It was the first revolver to hit the Scene with a Recessed cylinder. Reports of Case Head failure got to D.B. Wesson prior to his release of the Outdoorsman series revolver, and these came from the new Improved seed .22 ammo made by Remington and Winchester that clacked an amazing 1450 F.P.S. Back in 1930 when these Two companies released this new High speed ammo, shooters that had single shot Pistols and revolvers made prior to it, were experiencing The Bursting of Case heads that were not surrounded by a recessed cylinder due to the Higher pressures of this new round and the fact they were then making it using Copper for the shell rather than Brass as we see it today. D. B. Wesson was no stranger to safety so it was He that introduced the recessed cylinder to protect the shooter and bystanders and since it was released without a patent it was the most copied design to ever come out of a revolver. The Outdoorsman as it was called was an instant success and orders started Pouring in that were hard for S&W to keep up with. The first 500 Outdoorsmans came from the factory had a call Bead Gold front sight blade. After the First 500 Outdoorsmans were made An Order came to change this Gold front sight to what S&W called Brilliant Silver which is essence was Stainless steel Opted out over the Gold Material used. The Outdoorsman series stayed in Place until 1939 virtually unchanged other than a Two screw rear sight assembly which came later in the series. In 1940 S&W Released the next series of K-22's known as the K-22 Second Model. This is the rarest model to locate as shortly after it's release the production of it ceased for the World War II Effort. It had the new Micro-Click style sights and the short throw hammer action. During the war Effort S&W started to get several complaints from the Competitor shooters that the K-22 did not weigh what the Other K-Framed competition revolvers being the K-32 & K38 Did. So again the K-22 went under constructive changes and a Barrel rib was added to it to make it the exact same weight as the K-32 & K-38. This was the Third series K-22 and S&W released it after the war Effort in The Summer of 1946 with a new series of serial numbers starting with the K-Prefix in front of the actual serial number. They only produced about 614 Models in this series in 1946 then started producing the 1947 Models. This new released Post-War K-22 Proudly woe the name of the K-22 masterpiece as S&W felt they had improved it well enough to add it to the K-32 & K-38 Now calling all three the Masterpiece series.From 1947 forward the K-22 Masterpiece as well came to know it had several small changes but none to drastic. In 1957 S&W started marking all their revolvers in the crane series and all K-22 after that time span became the Model 17 and as improvments were made in design it carried a Dash behind it until they ceased the model 17 being the model 17-7 in 1996 for the now stainless version of it known as the model 617. Below is a Pre-War First series K-22 Outdoorsman of mine that shipped in September 1936, as well as an early Four digit Post-War Third series K-22 Masterpiece that shipped in the spring of 1947, and a Model 17-2 series shown at the Bottom that shipped in 1964 with a Special King Red Post Patridge style sight and special order single action. Let's pay Honor by seeing yours and hearing about to what I want to belive the Best designed .22 Target revolver to ever come about The Famous K-22 Masterpiece...Hammerdown








    The K-22 First Series Outdoorsman Series Circa 1936






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    Early Post-War Third Model K-22 Masterpiece shipped in The Spring of 1947







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    The Model 17-2 K-22 Masterpiece Circa 1964 with King Red Post front sight blade and special order single action









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  2. TheJoker

    TheJoker G&G Enthusiast Forum Contributor

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    Great info, HD ... I can remember when I was a youngster, my Pop(...who always carried a Combat Masterpiece in .38 Special as his service revolver) wanted a K-22 and actually borrowed one for a short time. I remember what a thrill the K-22 was to shoot. I was too young at the time to shoot his .38, so being able to shoot something similar was a treat.
  3. Clem321

    Clem321 G&G Newbie

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    I finally found a 1958 vintage 17 (no dash) a year ago. Great gun.
  4. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

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    What is there to discuss?

    It is one of the greatest revolvers of all time. Smith and Wesson would do well to make it to the original specifications from now till eternity.
  5. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello Clem
    Congrats on your Find. I want one from 1959 but have Not found one as of Yet. I have them all around that date but None from 1959. :sad2:let's see some Pictures of it.. :)Hammerdown
  6. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello Nathangdad
    I agree, But the discussion is half the fun of Owning one. :) I fired one when I was very Young and was thrilled as it made me look great the first time I Picked it up, so it was one of the first revolvers I Bought when I turned 21 and got my Handgun permit.., and it continues to make me Look great Group wise many years after I discovered what one really was.Talk is Cheap, Now let's see some Hardware on this thread..:09: Hammerdown
  7. mabwah

    mabwah G&G Newbie

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    i'll bite

    Hi Hammerdown,
    This is my model 48 S&W of the 4" barrel variety. My father died a few months ago and this passed to me. It belonged to his father before & I believe it was purchased in the 60s. There is no dash after the serial #. I haven't done any shooting in twenty yrs though when we were kids (I come from a family of four boys) we used to hunt and fish and go shooting with Pops quite a bit. I miss him he died from brain cancer Aug 20 after being diagnosed in Feb. I'm going to go shoot some pumpkins soon. He would want me to.
    ~mabwah
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  8. mabwah

    mabwah G&G Newbie

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    well that sucked royally in terms of an attempt to post an image to this forum;) What I did was view the source code of HD's image post & used the same code.
    Any ideas?
    ~mabwah
  9. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello mabwah
    If you are using Photo-Bucket Simply copy the Image Part under your Pictures and take it back to this Thread and click Paste. Then submit the Thread.. Hammerdown
  10. mabwah

    mabwah G&G Newbie

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  11. mabwah

    mabwah G&G Newbie

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    you mean like this!!!
    Thanks Hammer Down:)
    ~m
  12. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello Mabwah
    Yup, and here is my 4" Model 48 that is a Four Screw Like Yours as well..I added The .0400" Smooth Combat Trigger along with the 1950's style upswept Speed hammer as well.. Hammerdown





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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  13. wraco

    wraco G&G Newbie

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  14. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello Rod
    That is average for a 6" gun that is a Pre-17 K-22 In .22 L.R. Caliber. The 4" Barrel model 48's in .22 W.M.R. Caliber that are early ones Meaning No dash models Go Sky High not many of those around.. Hammerdown
  15. drcollie

    drcollie G&G Newbie

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    Have one for sale, any idea of what I should ask for it?

    I have a 6" K-22 Model 17 that has been locked away in a pistol case for nearly 25 years. I last fired it in 1982. I've taken it out occasionally and made sure its kept oiled, and there is no rust or noticeable wear on it. Time to get it to someone who will appreciate it and I'm trying to determine a fair market value. Went searching on the internet and wound up here!
    This was purchased new by my father while at Whiteman Air Force Base, MO in the 1950's. He was a B-47 pilot on the base competitive shooting team and this was one of his target pistols. It has the wide target trigger, target hammer and target grips on it. Shoots extremely accurately, I don't know if he had the action worked but its smooth as silk, better than anything I have ever shot in handgun. Pristine condition, has trigger lock and case (not original). Serial Number is K348428 and below that is stamped MOD-17.
    Where's the best place to sell this fine revolver and what would be a fair price?
    Thanks in advance for your expertise.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  16. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello drcollie
    Welcome to the forum. The serial number you provided proves your Fathers gun is from 1958 see the sequence. 1958-K-317823--K--350547 . It should have a number 17 in the crane area when you open the cylinder it would be on the guns main frame. It is a Four Screw model meaning Three on the side Plate and one in front of the Trigger Guard. It also has the Optional King Gun sight company Red Post Patridge front sight blade and the finish is Bright blue meaning a gloss bluing that was just coming back into Play since S&W started making Civilian guns again Post-War meaning 1946.The large Target grips were a Factory Option but the Ones on yours are the Incorrect ones for the year of the Gun. It should have Diamond center grips with a small foot ball shaped relief rather than the scalloped shape ones it has which came after 1976. It is in super shape for the year of it as I can see it has not been carried and has also been waxed. I would think Gun alone would be worth between $500.00-$650.00 range and if you have it's original box and paperwork it should range a Hundred dollars more. Good luck on your sale is is a nice on indeed. Regards, Hammerdown
  17. drcollie

    drcollie G&G Newbie

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    Hammerdown,

    Thank you! I'm impressed by your depth of knowledge on the K-22 series and that purchase date coincides with my memory (I first shot that gun on the Base target range in 1963, when I was 9 years old.)

    Appreciate the evaluation very much.
  18. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello drcollie
    You are very welcome. I collect and shoot only S&W revolvers and have been doing so for well over 25 years now, so I have seen a lot and read alot in that time span. Regards, Hammerdown
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  19. Tertius

    Tertius G&G Newbie

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    Mod 17-4

    Don't (yet) have a solo shot of my Mod 17-4--it's the bottom one in the group of 3 -- Mod 29-2 (6"), Mod 27-2 (6.5") and the Mod 17-4 (6") SN 22K5922
    (Curious what the other markings opposite the SN are -- an 'A' and '7' stamped above '19579'...)

    Attached Files:

  20. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down G&G Newbie

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    Hello
    From the serial number you provided for your 17-4 it appears it was made in 1978 per my Reference material. 1978--9K84000--9K99999--17K3501--17K9999 All 18K--19K--20K--21K--22K--23K--24K1-24K6700-- ALL-- 35K--36K--37K--38K--39K--40K--41K--42K--43K--44K. The other numbers you ask about are assembly Numbers or bin Loaction numbers and have no use other than Letting S&W assembly Line workers know that part process has been completed. S&W used to have a soft fitting process where they stamped serial numbers on all the part's of their revolvers being made. Then they had a final or Hard fitting process to complete the revolver and make the extruded parts fit Perfectly. They did away with the soft fitting process sometime in the Early to mid 1960's as all parts were standardized along with Frame sizes in 1957 by marking the crane areas with model numbers rather than simple assembly point numbers or bin part location numbers. I hope this answers your question... Hammerdown
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