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Yesterday (August 4th) I attended an auction here in SW Montana and of all things I won the bidding on a "reportedly" unfired and minty S&W Model 18-4 (Combat Masterpiece?) in 22 L.R.
The previous owner approached me after I bought the pistol and relayed to me that he had purchased the pistol new about 35 years ago and never fired it. I asked him about the possibility of the original box laying around somewhere in his house and he said he had not seen it in a long time.
I did not think to ask him about the grips that were on the pistol. I just assumed they were the original factory S&W grips.
The grips are the large, what I call "target grips" style.
Anyway today I took the pistol to a friends home and he has the exact same pistol (Model 18-4) and yet his pistol has the smallish S&W grips on it - my friend said that was what came on his pistol that he also bought new back in the 1980's!
My Blue Book of Gun Values does not give any info on which grips the Model 18 22 L.R. Combat Masterpiece came with but it does give information on the option of target trigger and target hammer for this pistol.
Anyone know if the Model 18-4's came with the large frame covering S&W grips or the smaller just frame sized grips?
I have tried a computer search but no luck so far.
Thanks for any information.
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VarmintGuy

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The 18s could be ordered with "options"....

If the grips are factory original to the gun, on the side of the (missing) box would be the options of Target Trigger, Target Hammer and Target Stocks. If the stocks were the original Service stocks there would just be a "S" in the box.

Bob


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Mine had the smaller Magna grips. I bought some target grips for it and that's what I'm using. Great revolver, by the way. I wouldn't sweat whether they're original or not.

Take them off and see if they're stamped with the gun's serial number on the underside of a grip.


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Buy a set of finger groove square-butt Rosewood Eagles and sell the S&W stocks. Your S&W 18 will be 100% more user friendly with the FG Eagles, maybe more than 100%, and your friends will ask you for Eagle's contact information after they handle your sweet 18.

Rosewood stocks go for $70 (smooth) or $90 (checkered).

www.eaglegrips.com

PS - The first set of Eagles that I bought were to go on a S&W 18, thirty years ago this month, and they have been so good that they have been a purchase I've never second guessed.

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As has been said, the Model 18 came both ways. Chances are if it has the Target trigger and hammer, it came with Target grips. Either way Varmintguy, you found one of the best and most sought after .22 caliber revolvers ever made. Congratulations on a great find.


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RJM: Thank you for the direction.
My Model 18-4 does not have the Traget Trigger or Target Hammer options.
And alas no box to verify the information you enlightened me on.
Thanks again.
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257heaven: I just came up from my gun vault and the grips have a "similar" number to the serial number of the pistol itself!
The grips are marked 888 but the pistols serial number ends in 818???
Any guesses - human error there or just random numbers on those grips?
Once I got the grips off there were numbers all over the now exposed frame none of which coincided with the "yoke" of the frames serial number???
Thanks for the suggestion.
I worry to much.
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260Remguy: I do not plan on shooting this little honey - but I would LOVE to get a less pristine example and maybe shooting it.
22 L.R. chambered pistols and Rifles are about all I can afford to shoot anymore it seems.
I am dumbfounded on the values/prices placed on S&W grips anymore!
Even the tiny "J" frame S&W grips are priced outlandishly - and they sometimes sell.
I worked on a 1,200 officer police department and that department used S&W revolvers of all sizes for many decades.
I distinctly remember visiting the departments armorer/armory often and seeing large bins each holding hundreds of S&W grips of every size and condition - and mixed in were many dozens of custom and rubber grips.
The armorer would on occassions dump some of them in the trash!
I wish I had those discarded grips now.
I really liked the S&W rosewood uncheckered grips - they are especially pleasing to me.
Thank you for the link to the Eagle Grips site - those are some stunnigly beautiful looking grips.
I have saved that site and will peruse it more ASAP!
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I have and "18" and "15" that came from a police trade-in back in the late '60's,both wear the large grips that were standard to that department in those days. I am having a set of smaller "Ropers" made right now for my wife to use on the 18 when we're shooting.
nice gun,taught all my girls to shoot with it....


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Lastround: I just came from town where I had access to the brand new Blue Book Of Gun Values.
My Blue Book is now 3 editions old.
My book showed this pistol to be valued at $650.00 (I paid $525.00) but the newest Blue Book values it at $750.00!!!
Yikes - or maybe my money is just not worth what it used to be?
Thank you for the well wishes - gun collecting/shooting is just a ton of fun for me and rewarding, on occasion, as well.
Nope, again no Target Trigger or Target Hammer on my Model 18-4.
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You obviously have excellent taste. grin

Bottom one is an 18-4 and middle one is a 15-2. As nice a matched pair as you will find anywhere outside of the 223AI thread in Hunting Rifles. wink

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Rifle: Thats interesting a police department using the Model 18 (22 L.R.) for training (I assume).
I had to look up the Model 15 (memory is fading a tad) and that is what I knew as "THE" Combat Masterpiece.
I have no reference book for Smith & Wessons (although I certainly should have one!) and I am going by what my three year old Blue Book Of Gun Values is telling me regarding the Model 18 also being referred to as a "Combat Masterpiece"?
This same Blue Book describes the S&W Model 17 as a Model 17 (K-22 Masterpiece).
I know over the decades I have heard the term "K-22" used a lot but never really knew exactly what that referred to.
Maybe this is good info and maybe not?
Thanks
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Jim in Idaho: Now I am just going to have to go find a "matching" Model 15 S&W to my Model 18!
Great looking group of pistols you have there - I especially like the looks (and feel) of the grips on the bottom two revolvers.
By the way which model is the top pistol - a 586?
Long live Smith & Wesson.
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Yes, the top one is a 586 no dash. I got it back in 1981 when they first came out.


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The Model 18 and other S&W revolvers of the era could be ordered with certain optional features, most notably the "3-T's", Target Trigger, Hammer and/or Grips. The original blue boxes the revolvers came in had spaces on the label that were checked at the factory when any of these options were included. There were sight options as well, including the familiar red ramp front sights and white outline rears, and others that are seldom seen.

The most common of these options was the Target Grip. The Target Hammer and Trigger options were mainly popular with Bullseye shooters and were seen mostly on K-22's with 6 and 8 3/8 " barrels and various centerfire revolvers (the 3-T's were standard on Model 29 and 57 revolvers and also the Model 25).

The standard configuration of the Model 18 if no options were ordered was the smaller Magna grips with the narrow serrated trigger and hammer with the intermediate width spur (wider than a Model 10 but narrower than the Target Hammer).

Last edited by wildhobbybobby; 08/06/13.

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The 18's were sold to departments as a training weapon for those that used the K frame duty pieces(15,19,66).
Not all PO lice officers are shooters from birth....


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I recently bought this shooter grade 18-2. I've really been enjoying it.
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Yep, that's a shooter alright.


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Rifle: Thanks for that - I had never heard of that 22 L.R. training technique/regimen til you mentioned it.
When I went through my police academy we shot every week day for 14 weeks.
We shot open eared (no ear protection!) and to this day I blame my poor hearing on that class of 32 officers firing 50 rounds per day, again with no hearing protection (late 1960's).
This mass firing noise was SO painful that many of us would insert 38 wadcutter bullets into our ear canals to try and stave off the pain and subsequent ringing in our ears.
And indeed I was 21 years of age and had only on a handful of occasions ever fired a pistol - even though I was rather proficient with shotguns and Rifles.
I could have done better with my Whamo slingshot than I did at the beginning of that academy with my issued Model 10 S&W!
By the end of the academy I was somewhat proficient with it though.
Pistol shooting is a discipline that requires much practice and much intensity of endeavor!
When I left my department I was allowed to buy my later issued S&W Model 66 for $60.00!!!
It was unfired by the way when I bought it - but that is another story.
I still have it and its still unfired to this day.
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R_H_Clark: THat is an impressive target and a nifty looking older style Smith & Wesson.
I do recognize the diamond grips as being older/earlier style.
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VarmintGuy

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