View Full Version : Smith & WEsson model 14-4

February 19, 2013, 15:41
All I know is that it is a 38 spcl.
How are they in terms of strength.?
can you shoot 38 + P's in them?
what are they worth? this one is MINT and an 80 year old man inherited it from his father who bought it new. It looks new even.

February 19, 2013, 16:07
Being at work, I donít have my SCSW in front of me so I can only guess
Even without the book, your gun should have been made between 1968 and 1977
If you can post the serial # someone with the book can get its date of birth

For strength, your Model 14 is a K frame and can handle +P ammunition just fine

For value. This is another thing. Do you have box, stocks(original numbered) and docs.
These will add value

Pre-panic price for mint should be about $350 without box or documentation. More if you have all of this.

What you call mint and what a serious S&W collector would call mint may be different. Iím assuming its really good condition.
The panic buying has actually lowered values of revolvers is some parts of the country. SLRs are the hottest ticket

February 19, 2013, 16:42
Nice gun. " K-38 " or " Target Masterpiece "

Around here, $ 400.00 + if 6 inch or 8-3/8 inch barrel, $ 475.00 + if 4inch barrel.

February 19, 2013, 21:50
My opinion is that if you want to shoot .38 special +P, just get a .357 magnum and be done with it.

Why take the chance of beating up a nice K frame? Buy it and shoot standard .38 special. Enjoy shooting it.

If you want more then get an L frame - look for a 686 or 586 - you can shoot .357 magnum in the L frame all day. The L frame is the perfect .357 platform. Not knocking N frames, but the L frame is just the cat's meow for .357 magnum.

Basically you need to buy a J, K, L, N, and maybe even one of the new X frame S&W revolvers!

No Hillary hole either!!! :wink:

February 19, 2013, 22:14
The Model 14-4 was made from 1977 until 1991, but few were made after 1982, when the barrel pin was deleted.

Plus-P .38 Special isn't very much hotter than standard velocity. A lot of testing of it shows much of it doesn't even reach full pressures and velocity limits for standard .38 Special, which is probably also loaded lighter than it used to be. Shoot some of the same bullet weight and type side-by-side, in the same gun, and you will be hard pressed to tell much difference, especially in a sixgun the size and weight of a K-38.

Value, like CaptainJ mentioned, will be boosted by the presence of the original box and papers (owners manual, vapor paper) and tool kit of screw driver, bore brush and handle. Which stocks it has and whether it has a target hammer and/or trigger also matters.

I love my Model 14. I bought it in 1978 and won my first shooting match and trophy with it. Be one of the guns I still will have when I die.

Timber Wolf
February 20, 2013, 08:34
Great shooters, I love my 6" 14-3. I don't shoot it much as I have a heavy barrel PPC gun DAO Model 10 I shoot in competition. I have outfitted my 14 with the same Pachmayer Professional Gripper grips as the Model 10 and intend to install an extended cylinder release on the 14 for my daughter to shoot it, hopefully someday soon. She is doing well with .22 revolvers & semi-autos and I don't think it will long before she is comfortable shooting the .38 with my weenie, bunny fart target loads. The 14 should make a fine gun for a little woman.;) That said, if her big burly Dad did not have the PPC rigged Model 10 he would be shooting the 14 himself!

Edit: I forgot to talk about price. I stole my 14 at a gun show a year and a half ago from a private seller for $235 OTD. It did not have the factory grips but was wearing a nice feeling set of Siles. I changed them because they did not have the speed loader cut. I would be a buyer of another nice 14 anywhere around $400 depending on condition, box, papers, etc.

February 20, 2013, 08:46
I'll take it!! If you don't want it let me know, I will give you enough money for it to buy what you do want.

Stg makes a valid point. I use my K Frame S&W Model 66 for +P, and use an L or N Frame for magnum loads. Never a question of the revolver disintegrating in my face then.

How about some pictures?

Retired Bum
February 20, 2013, 15:05
I have owned several six inch and 8 3/8th inch Model 14's over the years. Currently I own only one, a M14-4 six inch. It has the target hammer and trigger. I replaced the factory grips with a set of aftermarket walnut grips with finger grooves which give me a solid grip during rapid DA fire.

I had the action worked on so that it gives an "oiled glass" DA trigger pull. The SA trigger is just short of being a hair trigger but I don't shoot the M14 in SA mode.

My standard handload is the Lyman #358477 150 gr SWC that I cast. Loaded over 3.8 grs of Bullseye it duplicates the old 158 gr RNL police service load. This load is very easy on the K-38 and gives 1.5 inch six shot groups at 25 yards in my Ransom Rest. Plenty accurate enough for the informal PPC shooting I do with some pals of mine.

I agree about keeping the hotter +P loads out of the M14. It will handle them but why put extra wear and tear on a fine revolver like the M14. I have eight .357 Magnum revolvers if I want to shoot hotter loads.

And so it goes.

The Retired One

February 20, 2013, 20:35
Any extra wear from what are actually legitimate Plus-P loads is pretty well impossible to detect, separate from wear from standard pressure ammo. I have shot probably 20,000 rounds of ammo through mine, a M-14-3. Most have been lead bullets, cast at standard pressures and swaged wadcutters at midrange pressures, but there have been several thousand of my "gopher-grizzly killer" handloads of a Sierra 110 grain JHP over 7.0 grains of Unique, for a bit over 1,200 fps out of that K-38. The gun is as tight as when I bought it 35 years ago.

Standard pressures set by SAAMI is 17,000 psi for the .38 Special and only 20,000 psi. To illustrate that, using the same 110 grain JHP bullets and Unique powder, the Speer #13 reloading manual shows max loads of 5.9 grains for 1,097 fps for standard pressure and only 6.2 grains for 1,165 fps. That's just 0.3 grains of powder and 68 fps.

Plus-P-Plus is another matter altogether. +P+ was basically designed to put low-end .357 Magnum pressure and velocity into .38 Special cases to be fired in .357 Magnum handguns, as a public relations move so law enforcement agencies can tell squeemish folks that "sure, we carry .357 Magnum revolvers, but we only load them with .38 Special ammunition." I shot 10 rounds of Winchester 110 gr. +P+ through a 2 inch M-60 and it was notably harder to eject the fired empty casings. Luckily, +P+ was generally loaded to the law enforcement customer's individual specifications, is labelled to not be shot in .38 Special guns not approved by the guns' maker, and isn't often sold commercially.

Avoid poorly built handloads and +P+ and that K-38 will live a lot longer than you will.

Retired Bum
February 20, 2013, 22:05
I am going on memory here but as I recall the first +P+ .38 Spl factory load was produced by Winchester back in the mid 1970's. It was called the "Treasury Load" because the US Treasury wanted it for use in their S&W Model 19 .357 Combat Magnums. As member BUFF has stated, there was social stigma against using magnum loads for federal law enforcement officers back then. The Treasury Load was a 110 grain JHP +P+.

I had and still do have a poor opinion of this type of load for the .38 Spl cartridge. The light weight JHP bullets had a tendency to fragment and not give adequate penetration in flesh. And in fixed sighted revolvers they shot no where close to point of aim. The federal prison I worked at acquired the Treasury Load for use in our issue Model 10 four inchers. But we never shot any of these loads at our annual qualification. Instead we used Rem or Win 148 gr HBWC target rounds. Very unrealistic IMNSHO.

I repeatedly suggested that the 158 gr LSWCHP +P "FBI Load" be used as the duty load. This load shot to point of aim in the Model 10's and it had a proven performance record that dated back to when it was called the "Chicago Load". But the armorer ignored me because that way he didn't have to order the ammo and then go around and replace the Treasury Load with it. He was of the firm opinion that no one was ever going to shoot any convict with it anyway.....

And so it goes.

The Retired One

Timber Wolf
February 21, 2013, 09:03
I did not reply to the +P part of the question. Based on what little I know on the subject, I agree with Buff that true +P ammo is not that much, if any, hotter or harder on the gun then good .38 Special ammo. If the K-38 was my nightstand gun I would probably load it with quality anti-personnel ammo and +P would be given due consideration during my selection process. But in any event I would not shoot much of it prefering to practice with full or semi-wadcutters ahead of a pinch of Unique. I have a S&W Heavy Duty, an Outdoorsman, and Colt Offical Police revolvers all supposedly +P or 38-44 ammo rated if I want to hot-rod a .38.;) My 14 is for enjoyably shooting pleasingly tight groups on paper targets.