First Shots: S&W Model 64-3 w/4″ HB

| September 20, 2009 | 5 Comments

Like so many within the shooting community, I find myself afflicted with “galloping gunorrhea”, a condition in which resistance to buying certain firearms fades to nothing and one’s backbone becomes mush. The ability to utter even a faint, “No”, becomes almost impossible…especially if the price is right.

The disease’s symptoms are similar but it is triggered by different firearms, depending upon the shooter. For some, it might be brought on by certain Garands for sale, or FAL’s, side x side shotguns or a myriad of handguns.

For me, intense flare-ups occur when I see certain specific handguns such as 9mm FN/Browning Hi Powers, certain 1911-pattern pistols and many pre-lock S&W revolvers. I am as fond of the S&W Model 10/64 family of K-frame .38 Specials as I am Hi Power pistols.

My most recent attack of galloping gunorrhea resulted in my buying a very clean S&W Model 64-3 with a 4″ heavy barrel. It had been carried a little and had a few shiny “rub marks” on the barrel and cylinder from rubbing against a holster. The right-side service grip panel showed a few dings, but not bad; the set can be cleaned up and refinished. The left-side panel was fine. This is typical of a handgun carried on a person’s right side.

The seller advised that the serial number indicated 1981 manufacture.

Here is the Model 64 as I bought it. The double-action was quite smooth and measured 12.5-lbs. Single-action dropped the hammer at S&W’s usually crisp 4-lbs with practically no over-travel. Side plate screws didn’t appear to have been removed or at least had been removed with a proper screwdriver…if at all. The bore was pristine and no nicks or flaws were visible at the barrel crown. Both cylinder lock-up and timing were fine whether the trigger was pressed slowly or not.

I have removed the magnas and will refinish them in the near future. In the meantime, I stuck a set of Pachmayr “Grippers” on the revolver. I also “cleaned up” the extremely minor surface flaws using Flitz and cleaning patches.
Here is the revolver in its current condition and as it was for today’s short range session.

I didn’t have a lot of time today so I only shot a couple of loads through the gun, both being commercial reloads from Georgia Arms. The first load was their lightly-loaded 125-gr. LFP “Cowboy” load and the second was a 158-gr. PSWC (“Plated Semiwadcutter”) that in reality is a plated flat point. I will wring the gun out more in later sessions but despite my lack of time today, I fear it is at least a minor sin not to fire a new acquisition, particularly a favorite even if it has rained for days and you’ve been busy with other projects.

All shooting today was done double-action and using a two-hand hold in a standing position. Distance was only 12 yards. There was no effort at speed. I just wanted to see if the revolver was functioning properly and check POA vs. POI.
I don’t recall how many cylinders-full either load were fired at their respective targets. For this light load, POA was the center of the bullseye. I estimate that a total of about 150 shots were fired total through the gun today but not all at the targets shown in this post.
Not quite a six-o’clock hold, I aimed slightly below the center of the bull when shooting the standard power 158-gr. plated bullet load.
Around the crown, fouling appeared uniform and no obvious flaws or nicks were observed.

In short, I was not surprised with either the 100% reliability or the gun’s ability to group. POA is matching up nicely to POI, at least at this distance and based on past experience, will be fine at about any “normal” handgun distance.

Though a couple of more shooting sessions will be required to be absolutely sure, I strongly believe that this revolver will be a boringly reliable, tight-grouping K-frame .38 Special but in these cases, boring can be good.


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5 Comments on "First Shots: S&W Model 64-3 w/4″ HB"

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  1. Ride Fast says:

    […] Where everyday is range day […]

  2. Fred Pedemonti says:

    Hi, I own a the same S&W 64, I can’t seem to find the correct pachmay grips. It a square butt, correct?
    Do you happen to know what model pachmay grips you purchased?
    Please let me know

  3. Hello. Yes, that Model 64 is the square butt version. The grips are Pachmayr Grippers for the square butt. I believe that they are still manufactured.

    Best to you and yours.

  4. Randy Larsen says:

    I have the exact model 64-3. Found my Pachmayer grips off the shelf at Bass Pro Shops. $35. I believe. Well worth it. Revolver feels much firmer & more comfortable in the hand. Thanks for the Flitz tip. Mine was an armored car trade in. $250. out the door. +P loads not a problem. Great shooter…

  5. Be sure to view my online comment on these classic Smith and Wesson K-Frame
    .38 Specials and .357 Magnums via the NRA. Simply Google: “I have this old gun:
    Smith and Wesson Model 10.” I mention replacing the skimpy factory S&W factory
    Magna grips with a pair of Pachmayr or Uncle Mikes combat rubber grips. Also,
    loading the revolver with modern .38 Special ammo. Nice revolver by the way.
    Enjoy it and good shooting.

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