S&W K38 Model 14 Range Report

| November 1, 2009 | 5 Comments

Firearm Tested K38 Target Masterpiece AKA Model 14
One of my favorite revolvers occupying space in my safe happens to be a .38 special K38 Target Masterpiece. For those that have read some of my previous reviews know that I have a thing for long barreled handguns. This K38 has a 8 3/8in barrel and was in mint condition when I got it. A good friend of mine had an uncle pass away and the aunt wanted to part with some of his collection. This K38 was made in 1972 according to it’s serial number and by the condition of the bore I would say had never been shot. This old timer came with matching box and tools. k38 As you can see from the picture it has the original deep S&W bluing on it from the factory, and a very faint turn line. These were made to shoot and I just couldn’t put it away in the safe without having shot it first. At my first available opportunity I headed to the range with it.

Ammo Used
Specifically for this I loaded up some 38spl
148gr WC
158gr FP

As many of you know I am a huge revolver lover to begin with and when this opportunity came along to add another legend to my collection I jumped at the chance. This K38 Target Masterpiece now resides next to another old legend Combat Magnum S&W Model 66 reviewed Here. The traditional look of the older K frame has always been very attractive to me, the 8inch barrel is surely a plus. I am usually not a fan of the serrated target trigger, but the edges on this one doesn’t seem as sharp as some I have tried in the past. Even with the longer barrel the balance still feels very good and centered to me.

I went about putting 20 rounds down range just to test functionality. For a weapon that looks to have never been shot the trigger was very smooth. Though all of my reloads are very reliable I was a little skeptical I would have a few misfires, due to the fact these were loaded with CCI primers known to have the hardest cup on the market today. The hammer mounted firing pin made the first 20 rounds go bang without a hitch. With the light reloads and the extra weight and length of the barrel out front made the recoil similar to shooting 22LR in my 617.

Not having much time to spend at the range I only brought along about 50 rounds of ammo so I decided I would go ahead and test for accuracy. All test were standing with a 2 handed hold at 10 and 20 yards from a modified Isosceles stance, instead of having both elbows locked I am more comfortable with a slight bend in both.

The First test was conducted with 6 rounds of 148gr WC at 10 yards. I was very happy with the first grouping at about 1 1/2inches, with the first 4 shots touching.

The second test was conducted with 6 rounds of 148gr WC at 20 yards. This group was surely not my best at this distance. The white target proved to be a little difficult to see on the white background I had it stapled to.

I brought the target back to the line and posted two shoot-n-c targets to give my 158gr FP reloads a try to see if the point of aim would be different.

The third test was 6 rounds of 158gr FP at 10 yards on a 5×7 Shoot-N-C. It looks like more than 6 rounds but one of the rounds keyholed the target. Not sure what the cause of this was as it only happened once, I should mention these are copper plated berry’s bullets. Usually keyholing happens with these bullets when you try to drive them to hard, but I am positive this was not the cause.

The fourth test was 6 rounds of 158gr FP at 20 yards at a 5×7 Shoot-N-C
I was doing very well until the last shot then I had a flyer.

Overall Results
Though my groups aren’t the best it is all due to the shooter. I can now understand why my father always considered the Model 14 a target gun. S&W really knew how to build them in this era and anyone looking for target or even a self defense revolver the Combat Masterpiece model 14 should be some where near the top of your list. A 37 year old revolver passed on to me and now ready to provide me with a lifetime of enjoyment on the range.

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5 Comments on "S&W K38 Model 14 Range Report"

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  1. Wayne says:

    I appreciate reading this while waiting for my Model 14-3 NIB to arrive. As a suggestion use spell check but the clarity of this review is fantastic. Thanks again.

  2. Thank you for a very comprehensive review. We don’t get a lot of those!

  3. Michael Johnson says:

    I also own a 14-nothing….8 3/8″ barrel…..got to love it!

  4. John Fitzpatrick says:

    appreciate your positive review. I also have a S & W 14 in addition to a model 17 these are top quality pieces. Have often wondered as to their values since S & W discontinued the K fames.

  5. Gary Cates says:

    It was fun to read how you came by your model 14. Me , Dad passed on the 14th of Nov. 19 . By brother handed me our Dad,s 14-4 6″ . I put a dime sized dot on a piece of paper , with it and the Smith in hand I then walked out the back door. As I crossed the thresh hold , over my shoulder. Just want to see if it’s sighted in. At 7 steps off hand, it is sighted in. Cut the dime in half on the horizantil , both rounds touching. Handed Danny the target. Yuup said he. Then we wept.

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